Sonic Japan: Sounds of retail

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Matcha Cake Yobikomi
Staff try to sell their wares to commuters on the their way home from work. (2016/10/20)
More:Kyoto
'Ear Menu' in Trendy Tokyo
This cafe offers not only drink menus, but a music menu to give the discerning customer more information about the background music (known in Japanese as 'BGM') played in the restaurant. Music is important in creating an aesthetic atmosphere in public places like this fashionable cafe in Tokyo. This renovated building combines old and new style features to create a strong visual sense of contemporary Japanese culture which integrates old and new, indigenous and foreign. Their dishes use high quality organic Japanese ingredients which are clearly marked on their menu. It has a reputation as being very 'classy' (oshare) amongst locals, who say that they would like to go more often but rarely do because it is expensive. It is mostly frequented by both Japanese and foreign tourists in the area, who stay in the related small ryokan next door. (2016/06/30)
More:Tokyo
The Sound of Udon
Udon are thick white flour noodles that differ in taste and texture from ramen or soba (buckwheat) noodles. This is a very busy udon restaurant in Kyoto Station. You can hear the wait staff shouting to each other and to customers, and the clink of dishes as they are cleared away. This shop is also selling pickled plums (featured here) that are served as a relish to the noodles. (2015/04/08)
More:Kyoto

Latest posts

Green Tea Cakes and Yobikomi

Fri Jul 21 2017 by Carolyn Stevens

In my recent article ‘Irasshai! Sonic Practice as Commercial Enterprise in Urban Japan’ (Journal of Musicological Research, link here, I observe that recorded versions of yobikomi (calling in customers) are increasing, likely due to cost cutting measure – it’s cheaper to record the company jingle and play it on...>>

Sound, sight and taste

Fri Jun 03 2016 by Carolyn Stevens

One of our main themes in this sonic repository is food: the sound of food is often one of the main indicators we use to describe the experience of eating; the crunch of a vegetable or fruit speaks to its freshness, for example. In Japan, the slurping of noodles...>>

Sonic Practice as Commercial Enterprise in Urban Japan

Tue May 03 2016 by Carolyn Stevens

The Journal of Musicological Research has just published an article arising from the Sonic Japan project, part of a special issue on street music around the world.

Street music in Japan is often associated with the performance of one’s shōbai, translated as one’s trade, business, or occupation. An examination of...>>

築地の場外 Tsukiji's Outer Market: Tokyo's Pantry

Fri May 23 2014 by Carolyn Stevens
Tsukiji is often called 'Tokyo's Pantry'. Located only blocks from Tokyo's glittering Ginza, Tsukiji—the world's largest marketplace for seafood—is a prominent landmark, well known but little understood by most Tokyoites: a supplier for countless fishmongers and sushi chefs, and a popular and fascinating destination for foreign tourists.>>

大阪の大丸デパート Daimaru Department Store in Osaka

Wed Apr 02 2014 by Thomas Baudinette
The Daimaru chain of department stores are principally located in Kansai, although they may be found within other regions of Japan and also in other parts of the world (interestingly, there used to be a Daimaru in Melbourne, Australia, but it has since changed hands). .>>

音は商売:新大久保のKPOP屋 Selling Sound: A K-Pop store in Shin-Okubo

Wed Apr 02 2014 by Thomas Baudinette
The area around Shin-Okubo station in Shinjuku Ward has long been an area associated with resident Koreans in Japan (zainichi kankokujin). Many resident Koreans moved to the district after the Allied Occupation of Japan due to cheap rental prices.>>

音は商売:新宿のタワーレコードズ Selling Sound: Shinjuku's Tower Records

Wed Mar 26 2014 by Carolyn Stevens
The music industry in Japan, as elsewhere, is seen to be a troubled industry. Since the late 1990s, sales figures of CDs in Japan have been in steady decline, in part due to the rise of online music as the primary source for consumers.>>

音は商売:東京の楽器街 Selling Sound: Music Stores in Tokyo

Wed Mar 26 2014 by Carolyn Stevens
Ochanomizu is an area in central Tokyo that is located near several major universities:  Meiji University, Tokyo Medical and Dental University and Juntendo University (Ochanomizu University moved to another part of the city after the 1923 Kanto Earthquake. Tokyo University's Hongo Campus is a short distance away).>>

大阪の新世界 Shin Sekai (New World) in Osaka

Wed Mar 26 2014 by Thomas Baudinette
Shin Sekai (literally New World in English) is a neighbourhood in Osaka. Originally developed during the 1910s as a modern, fashionable "Western" district, after WW2 the district fell into disrepute and became one of Japan's poorest neighbourhoods.>>

浅草橋での焼き芋 Yakiimo in Asakusabashi

Wed Mar 26 2014 by Thomas Baudinette
During the cooler months, itinerant salesmen roam the streets selling baked potatoes: yakiimo. Similarly to the cries of hi no yojin, the sounds of men wandering the streets chanting "imo.>>

銀座三越前 In front of Mitsukoshi Department Store in Ginza

Wed Mar 26 2014 by Thomas Baudinette
Ginza has long been home to Japan's largest department stores and "brand" fashion boutiques. Strolling along the wide boulevards (the first western style boulevards in Tokyo), a practice known as gin-bura, has long been a custom amongst young couples.>>

浅草の浅草寺 Sensoji Temple in Asakusa

Tue Mar 25 2014 by Thomas Baudientte
Sensoji Temple in Asakusa is Tokyo's oldest and most popular temple and is a popular tourist attraction, drawing in millions of tourists annually. Sensoji is also a popular place for Japanese to pay their respects to the gods during New Year.>>

京都の伊勢丹デパート Isetan Department Store, Kyoto

Fri Aug 16 2013 by Richard Chenhall
Isetan is one of Japan's ubiquitous department stores. With its flagship store in Shinjuku, Isetan has branches throughout Japan and also Asia (including China, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand) and former branches in London and Vienna.>>

新宿3丁目駅の地下道 Underground paths at Shinjuku 3-chome Station

Wed Aug 14 2013 by Thomas Baudinette
Shinjuku Station is connected to Shinjuku 3-chome Subway Station and Tochomae Subway Station via a number of subterranean paths (chikadō). These paths crisscross the Shinjuku Ward area, connecting the stations to not only each other, but also various department stores and office building complexes which extend beneath the ground to connect this subterranean world of pathways.>>