Mukai Saketen 向井酒店

by Matt Kaufman

Visited Mukai Saketen, an 80 year old tachinomiya near Temmabashi. Fantastic old relic. They have a 70 year old sake poster of a geisha on the wall. Like drinking in a museum. I noticed an interesting plant. The mama told me it was wasabi. They grow their own. Get out at JR Temmabashi or Ogimachi Station. Walk towards Doshin同心 Mukai Saketen is a couple of blocks past OASIS. 向井酒店 7 minute walk from Temmabashi Station. 大阪市北区同心2-3-17 (Kita-Ku Doshin 2-3-17) 18:00-21:00 M-F)

 

Susumu すすむ Standing Yakiniku @ Temmabashi

by Matt Kaufman

Had the best yakiniku meal at SUSUMU in Temmabashi. The first place I’ve been to that serves LAMBCHOP (¥500) in Japan. Everything was delicious. I also enjoyed YEBISU CREAMY TOP on tap. Good beer. While I was there two young ladies from Singapore came in and asked if I could read Japanese. So I ended up ordering for them. They left and a couple from Indonesia came in. The man asked me the same question so I ordered for them too. I think I have disproved that (funny) Tanaka Ken viral video “But we’re speaking Japanese!”twice in less than 45 minutes. Susumu is highly recommended. You can try a variety of dishes for around 300 yen. The rosu and bara are a must. About five minutes from JR Temmabashi. 天神橋5-6-22 丸山マンション 1F (Tenjinbashi 5-6-33 Maruyama Mansion 1F) Open 17:00-24:00.

 

Parking Lot Yakitori: Namba Yatai Yumeya (Sennichimae)

I went to Yumeya 夢屋 last night, the yakitori place in the parking lot. It really was some of the best yakitori I have ever had. You get a big portion for 150 yen. The meat is fully cooked. Incredible. I brought my wife there and she loved it. Great atmosphere.15-20 people can easily fit inside. There are no walls, only plastic sheets, but the place is fully heated. There are two masters, Gian and Suneo, both named after Doraemon characters (see last photo). When we went Suneo was working. Friendly guy…he told us to call him by his first name instead of Master. Took our photo at the end and stapled it to the wall. My wife loved the tebasaki (chicken wing) oden. I had two beers and the bill came to 2,200 for two people. Very reasonable. (Directions 大阪市中央区千日前2丁目5-17 Sennichimae 2 Chome 5-17..Make a right at Bic Camera. Walk 1 1/2 blocks. You’ll see the Parking sign and an alley (Next to Nishinoryu chanko nabe restaurant) Or simply get out of exit 25 of Namba Walk. Open 7:00PM-5:00AM.

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Sign says. (rough trans) “Our freshly-slaughtered chicken is too delicious. Do not eat! Danger! Our chicken is so delicious that it will cause trauma” This is a pun because toriuma means “delicious chicken” but the “ri” is crossed out and replaced with “ra” so it reads as “torauma” (trauma).

Yumeya is in the parking lot near Koushiya (see post)

December 19th, 2013 by Matthew M. Kaufman

Koushiya (Namba Sennichimae)

Koushiya (子牛屋) Located 10 seconds away from Yumeya. Tiny standing yakiniku place that fits no more than 6 people. Feels like you stepped into Japan in the 1950s (It actually started off as a postwar black market shop). You cook your own meat on a shichirin. They have six dishes: tan (tongue)、mino (tripe)、kokoro (heart) harami (tender meat around the diaphragm.) tsurami (?) . All 600. The sauce contains a lot of green onions. Excellent. Beer: daibin is 500. I recommend having one or two dishes at this place before going to Yumeya or Marufuku. Not a place you stay at for more than 30 minutes. Very Expensive if you don’t watch what you order! I had a great time talking to the other customers. Open from 大阪市中央区千日前2-5-12 (Sennichimae 2-5-12) Koushiya (子牛屋)

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Koushiya is the tiny place on the left side of the street (see last photo). Make a right at Bic Camera. Walk 1 1/2 blocks. You’ll see the Parking sign and an alley (Two doors down from to Nishinoryu chanko nabe restaurant). Or simply get out of exit 25 of Namba Walk

 

 

Butthole Surfers vs Boredoms Live in Osaka (From Exile Osaka #2)

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BUTTHOLE SURFERS vs. THE BOREDOMS

Club Quattro 9/28

Publication: Exile Osaka: Japan Underground Bizarro World (Issue #2)
Author: Matt Kaufman

I was debating whether to see this show when it was announced because I had heard that after Lollapalooza and the Stone Temple Horseshit tour, the Buttholes had degenerated into some second rate cabaret lounge act. When the Boredoms were added to the show I decided to drop the Yen on tickets.

The show was held at Club Quattro, which is located on the ninth floor of The Parco Building in Shinsaibashi. There are two other Quattros in Tokyo and Nagoya. A lot of lesser known acts (at least in Japan) often play here. Porno for Pyros played here last night. The Pastels are coming in November. There are also a couple of half decent record store in the building so it’s easy to kill time before a show.

I bought a bunch of Boredoms stickers while I was on line, but I didn’t have the ¥3000 for a t-shirt. (I should have bought one. It had a really unusual design by Eye and Yoshimi.) The inside of Quattro reminds me of The Roseland in NYC. Ever been there?

I was hanging out by the side of the stage and these two Japanese girls came up to me and asked, “Excuse me, are you King?” King? Who the fuck is that? Sounds like a dog’s name. I realized that I left my drink ticket in my jacket, so I went back to the bag-check lockers or whatever the fuck they’re called. Another girl comes up to me and asks me the same question. Yeah, I’m the King. The King of Rock. There ain’t none higher. Sucker MC’s they call me sire. Strange.

The Boredoms finally take the stage. Eye leaps into the crowd. Grunts. Screams. Sweat. Noize. Scum. Chaos. A typical Boredoms show. Eye and Yoshikawa slam serving trays together. I think that the audience at the Boredoms shows are half the fun. Let’s face it, most people do no appreciate or even try to understand what the Boredoms do. I learned that when I attended the Boredoms show at the New Music Seminar with four or five people. Only one of my friends “got it.” The others put their hands over their ears and run to the back of the club in horror. My friend Mike seriously thought the band was drunk and out of control. Good Grief!

Because the band cannot be easily defined and are not radio and MTV friendly (forgive me for using stupid industry terms), the average “alternative dork,” who digs shit like Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains, is not going to go out of his or her way to see a band like The Boredoms. This is especially true in Japan. Many people make the mistake of assuming that the average Japanese person has heard of bands like Shonen Knife and The Boredoms because they are known overseas. I would say that 99.9% of the people that I know have never heard of the Boredoms. Most young Japanese music fans are into crap like Bon Jovi, and nauseating big hair and lipstick bands such as X Japan and Princess Princess. The majority of the people who listen to “indie” music tend to lean toward pop bands such as the Lemonheads, Jesus Jones or whatever’s trendy at the moment. It’s also fair to assume that a number of people will see a Boredoms show solely because they’ve read the band opened up for Sonic Youth on their last tour, and consider a Japanese band I that position a novelty. But then again, the Boredoms are a novelty and I mean that in the best sense of the word. Bands today have very little idea how to put on a good performance. Even punk and hardcore bands rely on the same tired cliches that would put heavy metal bands to shame. Watching the Boredoms is like watching six different bands at once. Each member of the Boredoms either leads their own band and/or is involved in several of side projects that comprise different musical genres.

Even though Yamatsuka Eye is considered the main vocalist for the Boredoms, that role is constantly challenged onstage, allowing for more interaction between members of the band. Yoshikawa Toyohito is Eye’s alter-ego, doppleganger, sidekick, evil twin, and court jester rolled into one. Just as Public Enemy could not exist without Flavor Flav, The Boredoms would not be The Boredoms without Yoshikawa. Eye has said himself, that in many ways Yoshikawa is The Boredoms. Yoshimi P-we (ds.) narrates the chaos with high pitched screams and blasts of energy from her trumpet. When Yoshimi has had enough of watching the action from behind her drumkit, she’ll join in the melee and take control of the stage. Yamamoto (g.), Hira (b.) and percussionist ATR are the glue that hold the band together, but having seen Hanadensha and Omoide Hatoba live, I can tell you they are capable of exploding at any given moment. All these elements come together to make the Boredoms one of the most exciting live acts in the world.

The Boredoms put on a tremendous show and I start to leave before it hits me that The Butthole Surfers are on next. I need a beer. Good time to use that ¥500 drink ticket.

The Buttholes come on and the crowd goes berserk. People are jumping off tables. I guess a lot of people must have loaded up on isotonic drinks (Pocari Sweat etc.) during the Boredoms set because I can hardly move. I get kicked in the head a couple of times. Somebody needs to teach this crowd Stage Diving and Slam Dancing 101: How to Have a Good Time Without Causing Bodily Harm to Others. Look at me gripe. I must be getting old.

Gibby looks like Jim Morrison during his bearded pot-bellied stage right before he croaked. He’s pretty pissed off for some reason. The little effects doohickey that he uses doesn’t seem to be working properly. He seems as though he had a few cans of Sapporo before the show and he’s guzzling a Budweiser (Brewed in Japan) with a ciggy dangling from his mouth (Keith Richards style.)

The Background film showed someone getting circumcised. It might have had something to do with the theme of the show. I just wonder how they got the damn thing through customs at Narita, because I have friends who have been nabbed for bringing in a copy of Penthouse.

Although the show wobbled along in the beginning, the band got their shit together and showed Osaka how it’s done Texas scumbag style. I got kicked in the head again when a crazy fan dived off the railing during “Jesus Built My Hot Rod.” After the show I realized that King is the name of the drummer. Maybe I do look like him from a distance, in a poorly lit place after a few beers. I guess that I lost my chance to act like a rock god. Oh well, there’s always next year. I bought a pair of Ray-Bans just in case.

Violent Onsen Geisha: Nakahara Has Left The Building (From Exile Osaka #4)

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Violent Onsen Geisha: Nakahara Has Left The Building
I was watching one of these quiz shows that are all the rage in Japan, corny moronic nonsense like Tick Tack Dough or Hollywood Squares. In most cases the guests are shown a video and they answer dopey questions based on what they’ve seen. Bona fide edu-tainment. The only difference is that in Japan famous celebrities, not common folk, compete for prizes — something which does not make sense to me. Anyway, on this particular show the celebrity panel was shown a short segment about Boryoku Onsen Geisha aka Violent Onsen Geisha aka film critic Masaya Nakahara. The narrator pointed out that Boryoku Onsen Geisha had remixed a track by a popular indie singer named Cornelius and the camera zoomed in on the credits listed on the CD as if to prove the national television audience that this was no crackpot, this was someone that trendy young consumers should know about. The celebrity contestants (who one year ago would have made faces to show how perplexed they were by such a strange performer) all tried to show how hip they were to the noise scene. One middle aged comedian mentioned that he knew about Einsturzende Neubauten, some young singer said that she was really into “noise music”. As I got up to turn off the TV I heard the host of the show say something about “noise idol”.

The meteoric rise Violent Onsen Geisha is fascinating when you take into consideration that the Japanese recording industry is tightly controlled and extremely conservative. A few years ago VOG was releasing tapes on Vanilla Records in Kyoto, an extremely influential label that is also responsible for early releases by Masonna and C.C.C.C. Now VOG’s mug is splashed across the pages of everything from TV Guide to the Japanese equivalent of The Saturday Evening Post. (It’s kind of pathetic how the Japanese media suddenly took interest in VOG only after his major label debut Que Sera Sera was released by giant conglomerate Toshiba EMI. Kansai labels such as Vanilla and Bron never get credit for anything.)

Violent Onsen Geisha has created some of the most spectacular albums to emerge from the Japanese underground scene. Start with Shocks Shocks Shocks, a reissue of the first Vanilla cassette on CD by Ring Records in the USA with stunning cover art. It’s raw sounding and filled with VOG’s trademark off the wall samples, jeep beats, and sheets of pure noise. The relatively new Teenage Pet Sounds is a maxi single but it has close to an hour of music. It’s much more produced and commercial sounding than his earlier work but a blast to listen to, especially on headphones.

Nakahara pulled of a prank that is also a part of underground folklore. He convinced people that there were other members in Violent Onsen Geisha who died under mysterious circumstances. Everyone now claims that they were in on the joke all along, but the truth is that there were many who believed the story and reported it as fact.

There’s been a boom of young bands who have started their own cassette labels who list Nakahara as a major influence. Nakahara is the “cassette tape superstar” and the rare appearance of Violent Onsen Geisha at Japan Overseas Night at Bears in September was highly anticipated. Machine Gun T.V. and Masonna played highly entertaining sets, Masonna was especially confrontational at this show, he grabbed an audience member and shoved him around violently. Solmania was scheduled to go on next but for some reason Ohno (and Nakahara) had not arrived yet.

After about 45 minutes they walked through the door, much to the relief of Bears manager Yamamoto Seiichi. After Solmania finished his set the lights came on and there was another delay. Suddenly, the inside of Bears was pitch black. It was impossible to see the stage but I assumed that Violent Onsen Geisha was on because everyone moved up front to get a better look. It was a long set of pure harsh noise and it ended abruptly. Later on I found out that Violent Onsen Geisha didn’t even appear that night. He popped in a prerecorded cassette and took the bullet train back to Tokyo. When it became apparent that Nakahara was not coming back an angry fan (Mikio of Prisoner #6) picked up the cassette deck and threw it on the floor. Was it live or was it Memorex? That is the question to be decided.

How To Make Kitty Litter Out of Discarded Manga (From Exile Osaka #4)

Manga are big fat comics (duh!*) the size of telephone books that come out weekly and are read by millions of people. Weekly manga such as Jump and Sunday Shonen Comics are printed on newsprint and are quickly disposed of after a quick read on the train or after dinner. Fan boys in Japan for the first time are often shocked to find that the same comics they paid $10 to read every week at the import collector store can be picked out of garbage cans for nothing at the train station. I discovered a new use for discarded manga by accident. My cat had to take a piss like you wouldn’t believe but I had run out of kitty litter. I grabbed the latest copy of Jump and started ripping pages out to use as a substitute. To my surprise, the manga absorbed my cat’s urine much better than the leading brand of kitty litter and there was no mess afterward. I figured what the hell, from now on I’ll use manga all the time and since kitty litter sells for $5 a bag, it has saved me a considerable amount of cash. It’s easy to obtain discarded manga. Simply wait until the newspaper and magazine recycling day. People tie up their manga in bundles and a truck comes around to collect them. Just get up early and pluck a couple of bundles off the street. You’ll have enough kitty litter for two weeks. I have developed a fail safe method to ensure your cat’s ultimate satisfaction. Follow these easy instructions:

1. Pick up a stack of manga from the street.

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2. Rip the glossy covers off the manga and place them flat down in the litter box. You are now lining the litter box to ensure an easy clean up.

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3. Rip off about 30 pages from the manga and tear them into thin strips. Place the paper strips in the litter box and make sure that there is enough paper inside for your cat to bury a large load.

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4. Place your cat in the litter box. If it takes a dump or a squirt (see photo below) you can take pride in your recycling efforts. If your cat refuses to do its business right away then add a little more paper. Do not stare at your cat. Cat’s have feelings, too. How would you feel if someone made goo-goo eyes at you while you were on the can?

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I have this photo in color somewhere. My cat Whitestock (RIP) modeled for this article.

*Message from my 2014 self to my 1995 self: “Nice explanation, idiot!”