Osaka to Tokyo, Seiho his night life story and recommended fun places&time.Area Guide
Seiho is an Osaka-born, Tokyo-based producer/DJ that you don't want to miss. With electronic music at the core of his passion, Seiho releases tracks with overseas record label LEAVING RECORDS as well as domestic labels. He is currently reaching wider audiences by carrying out a tour in North America. His passionate performance style is gaining massive support in the commercial side of music as well as in the deep Japanese underground scene. We asked Seiho about the nightlife scene in Japan today.
- Tell us about when you first started going out.
Seiho: I used to live in Osaka, and when I was 21 or 22, I started getting booked in Tokyo for live and DJ gigs. As late-night parties go, these lasted till 5:00 in the morning. So, since I had to check out by 10:00 even if I got back to the hotel, I would just stay out doing things. One such time I was DJ-ing at MADO LOUNGE in Roppongi, and it started to get bright outside because of the morning sunlight. Everyone was looking at the morning sun and saying things along the lines of “long day,” “good job, see you tomorrow.” I thought to myself, “wow, I'm really hanging out in Tokyo.” “Wow, that was Tokyo,” if you know what I mean (laugh).
- So, you're born in Osaka. What do you find fascinating about nightlife in Japan? In Osaka or Tokyo.
Seiho: For starters, we can get drinks 24 hours a day. It's also safe 24 hours a day. I don’t think there are many places in the world where the same can be said. Another thing is all of the small businesses. For example, there is the Misono Building in Osaka that comprises a huge number of small bars, and Tokyo has its Golden-gai (Golden District). I think those are quite fun places to be.
- Chaotic but charming mess.
Seiho: It's quite different from the likes of food stalls you see in other Asian cities. It's more like a hideout - a peculiarly Japanese one. Japanese people like private rooms. There are many such private rooms, and it's like decorating one of them to your liking. I think it's similar to tearooms, and Japanese culture is rooted in it.
- I've never heard of anyone comparing a tearoom to the Golden-gai or Misono Building.
Seiho: Samurais used to leave their sword outside when entering small spaces like a tearoom. Small spaces can give you comfort; they can pull people closer to each other. Maybe Japanese people like that closeness. Inside the Misono Building, there is a maid cafe, next to a bar that serves top-shelf brandy, next to a Nintendo game bar. Have you ever seen a place like that? I think it's a really Japanese thing. Each person can tune into exactly what they want, and have a good time in that space.
- What's a memorable event among your night activities like DJ-ing or just going out?
Seiho: I didn't drink much until 25 or 26. I had different ways of having a good time. If you asked me back then, I would have been like “going to a diner, getting free refills for soft drinks, and chatting forever is so much fun!” Musicians and music-lovers living in Osaka like to argue a lot, so we're talking all the way from leaving the dressing room to paying the check at the diner. I never really needed alcohol in those situations - the soda fountain kept me quite busy.
- But after turning 25, 26...
Seiho: I stopped having a place I could call home when I was about 25 or 26. I was pretty much a wanderer for about three years. There were many AirBnBs, and if I posted that “I'm looking for somewhere to stay” on SNS, people would contact me saying I can stay from when to when. I've also stayed for about a month in the suite room at the ROCK STAR HOTEL in Osaka. I do, however, have a home again now.
- Do you go abroad? Is there any place overseas that has influenced you culturally?
Seiho: On the way back from last year’s North America tour, I went to Cuba. It was great. Everyone is singing and dancing all day - people are so open to music and art. Dancehall and trap music are popular in Cuba. Since they can only go online in parks, young people gather at parks, listen to music on their iPhones, and dance with their phones in their hands.
- So, you have some releases overseas as well. Have you ever thought of using Japanese sounds in your work - to appeal to overseas?
Seiho: Shamisens and shakuhachis (both traditional Japanese instruments), for example, belong to the realm of traditional Japanese arts, so I think they belong in a special place for Japanese people today. I kind of regard them as things of a different world. In my case, when I'm in Japan, everyone thinks I'm foreign. When I'm abroad everyone thinks I'm Japanese, so I really don't belong to anywhere (laugh). In the first place, the fact that I left - that I went outside - suggests that there was no demand for me inside. It means I couldn't make it inside - but those that leave and go outside are strong. Because outside is a challenge. I was weak inside racial customs, but strong in the realm of society. I think this happens in the world of music, too. I just needed to find where my music was in demand.
- What do you want to see happening in the Japanese nightlife scene?
Seiho: Well, I want to do an all-nighter in a new live-mix combination style. Parties are somewhat like a show in Japan, and many people come just to see the peak-time performance. There is nothing wrong with that, but it's like watching just the best parts of a movie. The parts in between are also important. So are the people that are in between. So, I want to do a whole night so that I can entertain everyone at the party from start to finish. Of course, you are also welcome to stay for just an hour. I want to present what I think is the gist of “going out at night.”
▷Seiho's favorite nightspots
SKY BUS_ Odaiba Night View Course
Tokyo sight-seeing bus tour “SKY BUS” is aboard an open-top double-decker bus that cruises around the city of Tokyo. Seiho's recommended course is to check out the “INTERMEDIATHEQUE” (free admission), a division of the University Museum, the University of Tokyo, located inside KITTE, which is just across the street from Tokyo Station, before getting on the “SKY BUS Odaiba Night Course” to enjoy night views of Tokyo. “I think it's quite a rare experience to enjoy the view from the second floor while traveling through the city. It's really nice to watch the people in Ginza and Odaiba from that distance.”
Course: Odaiba Night Course
Days of service: Every day
Duration: 120 minutes (60 minutes of free time at Aqua City)
Fee: Adults 2,100 yen, children 1,000 yen
SONO TOURI is an oden (Japanese dish made by slow-cooking various ingredients such as eggs, vegetables, and meat in fish stock) restaurant at night and becomes a Japanese tea and creative sweets shop called Kantan-na Yume (easy dream) during the day. It is located in the Shoto area of Shibuya and produced by Seiho. “I wanted a place that I'd like to take my friends to when they visit Tokyo and started the restaurant. You know how women sometimes say things like 'I want to have something nice'? Oden is the perfect dish in those situations,” Seiho explains. The restaurant is open until 5:00 in the morning on weekend nights, so it's a perfect place to visit after going to lives and club events.
Address: Not listed
*Make reservations using your LINE account.
Hours: 18:00-TBD:TBD, -5:00 on Friday and Saturday nights
Odens are served in courses (3,000 yen and up)
KUCHU TEIEN OBSERVATORY
The observatory “Kuchu Teien” is located on the 39th and 40th floor of the Used Sky Building in Umeda, Osaka, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city. You can also enjoy the view at night - which Seiho himself also praises. “Observatories that are too high get a little boring because it's similar to looking down at cities from an airplane. At the Kuchu Teien, you can enjoy a view of Umeda and Namba from a really perfect height. It's especially pretty at night,” Seiho explains.
KUCHU TEIEN OBSERVATORY
Adress: UMEDA SKY BUILDING 39-40F, 1-1-88, Oyodonaka, Kita-ku, Osaka, Japan
Fee: Adults, 1,500 yen (disability discount, 750 yen), from 4 years old to 6th-graders 700 yen
Misono Building is a leisure building that was built in Minami, Osaka, back in 1956. The place gained popularity during the period of high economic growth, which has been passed down to the current generation and still allows a diversity of unique establishments to create their own cultural hangouts. “There's a maid cafe, next to a brandy bar, next to a Nintendo bar. It's chaos,” explains Seiho. Misono Universe is a popular live/event space that used to be a cabaret. They feature a great lineup of performers, as well.
Adress: Misono Bldg, 2-3-9 Senichi Mae, Chuo-Ku, Osaka-ku, Osaka, Japan
Text: Kana Yoshioka
Photo: Reiji Yamazaki
Hair & Make up：Miwa Hirose