A Brief Trip to the Electric Room

Remember when MTV used to play music? I do. Maybe I am a lot older than you.

I never had MTV, growing up, we couldn’t afford it, so I used to get my penpal in Berkshire to mail me videotapes of my favourite music promos and shows. The newest clips from the Breeders; recordings of Hole guest-hosting a show I’ve long forgotten the name of … I’ll never forget PJ Harvey’s video for Down by the Water. I’d watch it, rewind the tape, watch it again, sick on lipgloss and fake eyelashes, and sinking deeper into the dark thoughts that bloomed around the ages of 15, 16 … but I digress.

The internet and music video channel, VEVO has recently entered into a partnership with Dream Downtown to bring its 24-hour music channel to the hotel’s guestrooms. They had a launch party earlier this week and I was lucky enough to be invited: very lucky because it’s usually a serious mission to get into Dream Downtown’s velvet-roped-off Electric Room basement club. Sceney, obviously, but it was fun; here’s some pictures.

Dream Downtown exterior
Dream Downtown exterior
Passage leading to Electric Room
Passage leading to Electric Room
IMG_2686
Electric Room art
Electric Room art
Electric Room art
They had a DJ while playing music videos ...
They had a DJ while playing music videos …
The scene.
The scene.

Tokyo Movie Locations

The city itself is cinematic and is familiar even to those who have never been there; we can all picture walls of neon lights, screeching advertisements blaring from giant video screens and a great sea of humanity moving in sync with one another. It is no wonder that Tokyo is a source of inspiration for many writers, artists and movie directors.

Park Hyatt Shinjuku

In Sophia Coppola’s 2003 movie Lost in Translation, Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson play Bob and Charlotte; two Americans adrift in Tokyo. Their first meeting occurs in the hotel bar of the five-star Part Hyatt located in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo.
A night’s accommodation in the Park Hyatt is likely out of the budget of most travelers but you can still visit the bar for (like in the movie) a jazz accompanied cocktail, or the restaurant for lunch, dinner, or one of the most popular Sunday Brunches in Tokyo. Both bar and restaurant feature huge windows with views over the Tokyo skyline – perhaps best appreciated at nighttime when the hypnotic neon lights of Shinjuku and its red light district Kabuki-cho are twinkling in the dark sky.

Womb, Shibuya

One of not only Japan’s best clubs, but also one of the top-rated clubs in the world, Womb appears in the 2006 movie Babel. In the movie we see a group of young deaf girls taking their first hits of Ecstasy and going to the Shibuya club.
Despite Womb’s powerful Phazon sound system, the movie shows moments from the point of view of the deaf girl Chieko, drawing attention to the impressive laser system which, along with one of the world’s biggest mirror balls, is another reason for Womb’s fame.

Gonpachi, Nishi-Azabu

The House of the Blue Leaves, setting for The Bride’s (played by Uma Thurman) final Tokyo showdown with the Crazy 88 was inspired by the Edo-themed restaurant Gonpachi. Whilst no movie scenes were actually filmed in the restaurant, Kill Bill’s set was built to resemble Gonpachi. The restaurant will look familiar to anyone who has seen the film.
At the crossing of Tokyo’s up market Nishi-Azabu district, Gonpachi is just a few minutes’ walk from the nightlife center of Roppongi. The restaurant serves simple Izakaya style foods – yakitori and soba are their specialties. Gonpachi is open for lunch and dinner, and stays open until five in the morning. Reservations are recommended as this is one of the most popular restaurants, particularly among foreigners, in Tokyo.
Besides the Quentin Tarantino movie connection, Gonpachi was in the news when then-Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi decided to take then-US President George W Bush here on his state visit to Japan.