Today our new guest contributor, Sara Ai Coe,introduces a petition to save Japan’s dance culture!
James Brown once said ‘The one thing that can solve most of our problems is dancing.’ Now there were times when James Brown didn’t make much sense, but with this one, he really hit the spot. A form of release, a form of expression, dancing is a way we shake our daily nags away and get lost in the moment.
And Japan, known for it’s overtime and stressful work ethics, is probably a country that would benefit from a LOT of dancing. Yet in Kansai right now ‘dancing’ has become regulated. Yes our friend ‘dancing’ has gained a bad reputation and has been handed down a curfew by Japanese authorities.
A club as it should be ~ Picture by Natalie Coe
Under the Fuzoku (or Adult Entertainment) Law, clubs and bars that cater to dancing are now only supposed to operate up to 1am. As the name of the law suggests, the law was created to deal with the sales and operation of adult businesses (host clubs, brothels, girls bars etc….) However, due to the vague nature of the terminology, the law also includes “nightclubs and related establishments that allow customers to dance.” Because nightclubs in Japan are categorized under this law, they have to conform to strict specifications for business operation.
Now this law is nothing new and has been in place since 1948. Back in post war Japan, in some establishments, ‘dancing’ itself wasn’t just dancing. It was a way for places to lure customers in for some other ‘services’ (wink nudge). Continue reading →
OK. Let me be completely honest about this. I’m an old git and I don’t go to clubs anymore. The only other club I’ve reviewed up here is Club Metro and that’s only because they have an ’80s night (that’s how old I am). So when John Gatewood II wrote to me saying he was “a bit sad” I hadn’t reviewed World on Deep Kyoto and then invited me along, I have to admit I was a little reluctant to be stirred out of my normal sedentary lifestyle into the active whirl of hip young things. In fact I managed to put the whole thing off for several months. Here’s what I found though, when I finally got there.
Isn't it nice to see the young people having fun?
Club World is an underground sound chamber replete with stone arches (it used to be an Italian restaurant you know) and an awesome light system that holds at capacity about 700 people. This intimate atmosphere, the top-level djs and the music (electronica, house, hip-hop, reggae) pulls in a young crowd and at the weekends it’s thumping. Check the schedule for upcoming events. We ended up, rather randomly, at a regular “Sprung” party event. This was around the time of the Gion Matsuri so the dance floor was full of young girls jumping around in their summer yukata…
For the first hour or so, Mewby and I sat in a corner people-watching and analysing different nampa techniques, but after a couple of Long Island Iced Teas we were about ready to hit the dance floor. Mewby being yet young and full of verve, enjoyed herself thoroughly jumping about like a wild thing. I did what I normally do wherever I go and took a lot of pics.
Despite my misgivings Mewby and I had a great night at Club World (many thanks Mr. Gatewood!) and if I was a bit younger and single, I would undoubtedly be there every weekend. But don’t tell Mewby I said that.
19 years old this year Metro is a popular location for dance events in all genres. Take a look at their schedule and you’re bound to find something to suit you: rock, reggae, hip-hop, techno, house, electronica and live music too. Last Wednesday I went to Club ’80s night. So much fun! And such a bargain too! For ￥600 you get a free drink, a mix-CD of classic ’80s tunes and a super cheesy trip down dance-tastic memory lane. Take a look at the pictures below and watch out for bewigged dancer Mori Mori whipping up the crowd. You can click the arrows to move them along or go to flickr for a closer look.
Well, I had a blast that night. I think it was the Nik Kershaw that finally got me to my feet. Or was it the Bow Wow Wow? Anyway, once up I didn’t stop dancing till the end at 3:00 a.m. A great night and I really, really recommend it. Club ’80s is on the 3rd Wednesday of every month. Club Metro sits beside the Kamo river on Kawabata Dori, below cafe etw and above Marutamachi Station. Take Exit 2 from the station to find it. Here is a super simple map. Tel: 075-752-2787
Check the schedule on their website for the opening hours.
The Weller’s Club is a spacious bar/club venue on Takoyakushi Dori. The owner, Yamamoto-san is a big fan of Paul Weller (hence the name) and also of British pub culture, and in 1998 opened this club with the intent of creating a space where people could meet and have a drink while listening to British music.
The array of musical events that go on each month are not limited solely to Paul Weller’s music however, and include soul, jazz, roots rock, rock and more. When I went last weekend I was treated to performances by three dj’s and a local singer/songwriter and all free of charge. Also they serve beer in proper pints, which is nice. Check out the photos below; the black lighting makes everyone look tanned and healthy. Click through to flickr for a closer look:
To find The Weller’s Club head west on Takoyakushi Dori from Kawaramachi. The Weller’s Club is on your right on the 5th floor between Fuyacho Dori and Tominokoji Dori. Look for the swirly purple Weller’s sign. Here’s a map.
Open: 20:00 ~ Late / Saturday: 21:00 ~ 5:00 / Closed: Wed&Thurs