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Phillip stood up to go take pics all round the joint, including the upstairs space that looks down on the main area, while Justin and I sat at the table drinking and talking with Sugawara-san.Then his very old pal Shimaji-san came in and sat down, receiving a glass of wine within seconds.Nanashima-san insisted on driving us over there, while refusing to take any money for the coffee.
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The Tohoku region is a trek from Tokyo, 460km north to our first stop.
We mapped out an ambitious 24 hours aiming to get to at least 5 jazz spots in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, ending the night in Sendai city to reach the 100 mark.
A few weeks back after some back and forth about what to do as we approached our 100th jazz joint visited, we decided to forget any geographical designations about 'Tokyo Jazz Joints' (and to be honest, we've already included some Kansai region joints anyways) and make the trip up north to visit Basie, the mecca of jazz cafe culture in Japan.
It seemed like every other cafe owner and customer we'd met on this long jazz project had mentioned Basie, saying we must go visit, that it was the gold standard for jazz kissaten in Japan, etc etc; 縁がある (It was fated) as is said in Japanese.
That's how I get when I enter a gorgeous jazz joint. And that's only the wall behind the bar, there were records lining two other walls around the side where we sat.
After ordering some drinks, I went up to talk to Sugawara-san, the legendary owner of Basie. Johnson, he never came here but most of his band did when there were in Japan.casualness with which he talked about all this struck me.Take a look at these two bosses:1pm on a Saturday and they're hitting the wine and cigars, not giving one f#$k about anything.75 and 76 years old; may we all be living it like that when we get there.The OK Jazz Podcast is a weekly show hosted by James Catchpole aka Mr OK Jazz.An eclectic selection of World Music, Jazz, Soul, Funk, Blues and more, ranging from classic tracks to fresh releases plus info on live gigs, cultural events and anything interesting going on in the Tokyo and Yokohama areas. Get started using the mobile friendly podcast player for ‘on the go’ access to all of the shows. (Well, perhaps not, but more on that later..) Two years and three months into the Tokyo Jazz Joints photo project and we're near the finish line as my partner on this adventure, photographer Philip Arneill, is getting ready to leave Japan.With very infrequent local trains in the countryside and far distances, this was going to require pinpoint scheduling.