Osaka is a must-visit for anyone with a love of the underground scene in any country. It has something for every sub culture, from the punk rockers to the eccentric hippies. It is refreshing to see people dressing, acting and doing what they want. It is a stark contrast to Tokyo where most people seem a little more in line with their fashion and attitudes.
In direct correlation to a city that seems to do as it feels, the music scene is also varied and raw. Reflected in the many music shops in the Osaka area (see my list below), you will find Japanese and western versions of rock, lo fi, psychedelic, noise, hardcore, 50's-90's and other cross genres that may be new to your ear.
Each record shop is different and tends to gravitate towards a particular theme. Time Bomb Records has been providing Osaka with its dose of all things Rock and Roll since 1990 when it opened. I was drawn to it from the red neon sign pointing towards a staircase that literally takes you underground. Look out for the Sun Bowl building with a large bowling pin on top and you are heading in the right direction.
Time Bomb Records has everything you could possibly need from a record store. Band merchandise line the walls, CDs, cassette tapes and vinyl are neatly arranged into sections and an English store guide is ready to help bewildered tourists like me find something new. Although its foundation is built upon a sturdy commitment to all things rock, you will also find surf, guitar pop, funk, R & B, soul, new wave electro, punk, noise and a great mix of past and present Japanese artists.
Like any good record shop, there are headphones against the far wall with music ready to go and close by a cage full of records that are normally hard to track down.
You can easily spend half an hour in here and still have more to trawl through. When you are shrined out and cannot fathom another temple, wander through one of Osaka's record shops for a taste of the real Japan as it stands today.
Other records shops in the area included (not limited to):
King Kong Records
Rockers Island Records
Night Beat Records
Night Beat Records
Afro Juice Records
Root Down Records
Rare Groove Records