With the temperature soaring into the 30's Celsius (in the 90's Fahrenheit for the Americans out there), the heat makes it almost unbearable to venture out in Tokyo’s summer. The heat and humidity seem to be the topic of every elevator or small talk that’s made on daily basis. This leaves people to only attempting to go out at night. Where can you find a good place to eat, drink, or dance?
Yes, there are clubs, but what about experiencing it in a local way? Sure, there are Izakayas, which are places with drinks and light tapas, but is there anything unique? Is it possible to find a place to hear good hip hop, rap, or R&B music in Japan? Yes. Would you have to pay for a cover in order to attend? Probably. However, every now and then, you come across some really cool underground stuff. Last weekend was one of those times.
I was walking around Shibuya with some friends trying to catch the world cup match. Since living in Asia, it’s been quite hard keeping up with international sports. Soccer games are very late at night. Since the game was going to come on at 3am, my friends and I decided to find a popular sports pub in Shibuya. We missed the first match with England vs. Sweden, but we tried to find a place to watch the match with Croatia vs Russia.
While walking towards the bar with some newfound friends, we began to hear some pretty nice music that had a sweet bass line. Strangely enough it was coming from a side street. As we walked closer we realized that it was a block party that was in a small alley. Despite it being so small, there were many people there. Let’s not forget that a party isn’t complete without a poke ball. Not really, but one was there and it was fun to bounce it about. I’ve never seen people so happy to have their cigarette knocked out of their mouth as I did when the poke ball came down on so many people. It’s the little things in life that make me smile.
The DJ was awesome. I was impressed with the samples that he used. My Japanese was limited, but I tried to tell him that I really enjoyed the music. The setup crew was really nice and took the compliments well. What made it awesome was how the set was in the middle of everything. The convenient stores were quite, convenient. We were able to get a few snacks and drinks. Also, we could drink them outside because there is no open container law in Japan. We didn’t abuse this, but it was pretty cool to drink a few beers while dancing and enjoying the music.
I met a lot of different people, saw a couple break dancers, a couple of c-walking battles, and had just all-around fun. It's cool to see that fashion or style isn’t lost in places of the world that are normally considered to be conservative or uniform in their society. Sometimes some of the best nights are spent wandering around with friends and just winging it. In the end, I wasn’t so angry about missing the world cup match. I met some pretty great people and had a much better time outside.
To top it all off there was some sort of running group in the morning and we just watched them run past. It’s kind of funny to be carrying a can of beer, dancing at 6am, and then watching a healthy group of people who are exercising jog passed. Oh Japan. You are awesome. Stay tuned for more stories!
If you are curious about the group and want to see where to find their events, check out their instagram pages or mixcloud below below. Happy exploring in Tokyo!
Follow the Ill Effects crew on instagram at
and check out their set music at