imomus (imomus) wrote,

Koenji renaissance

As yesterday's entry on our Greek Orthodox pajama party made clear, I'm definitely interested in "stranger regions of fun" (to recycle an old Fischerspooner headline). An actual physical region where fun is currently interestingly strange might be Koenji in north-west Tokyo, where a group of young ostranenie fun-gineers are clustered around a club night and magazine called Asoko. The word means "over there", and the best sort of strange fun always happens "over there" -- just out of our ken, and slightly beyond the pale.

You can certainly feel an admiring distance in Think Gaikotsu (skull) act Lefebvre, an account of the "Koenji renaissance" by a Tokyo observer called Intellipunk. He identifies someone called Fukuyu as the central figure, but locates himself as a mere smitten voyeur of the hijinks.

But, as the Asoko blog Sajonpork shows, the Koenji crew are exhibitionists, so the symbiosis is perfect. Even if you don't catch their blog, their space, their Saturday night party, or their magazine, you may well see the Asoko people streaking by on a narrow Koenji street astride a skateboard, dressed only in a taped-up cardboard box.

Family ties link the Asoko gang to Emerald Clitorix and Peniffiko, two blogs we learned about in Hisae's Top 10 Blog Picks earlier this year (Hisae is, of course, supplying much of the information and research this time around, too). The Kansai chapter represented by Peniffiko have seen their underground hiking magazine Meris joined by a new publication called IN/SECTS, which has Oorutaichi ("the future of music") writing for it, and focuses on Mount Ikoma near Nara, where it encourages local rappers -- or Ryuichi Sakamoto -- to trek around the temples and lodges then write about their experiences.

Back in Koenji, the Asoko party people brush shoulders with Shiroto No Ran, the "amateur revolution" who run various secondhand stores, with the mysterious "usagi circle", the Koenji Reading Group, Pachika Village, and with vegan cafes like Sepia and Seesaa. I like how they're dressing in the Koenji renaissance.

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