After days of visiting a seemingly endless number of immaculately clean and organized record stores in Tokyo, walking into Flash Disc Ranch Used Records reminded me of many of the used record stores I frequent back home in Portland, Oregon. It was quirky and looked like the dream hideout of true vinyl collector.
Flash Disc Ranch : VinylHub / www.CDSoftCase.com / Facebook
Focus: Used Vinyl – Rock, Soul, Jazz, Latin, Reggae, Oldies and more!
Address: Misuzu bldg. 2F, 2-12-16 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 155-0031 Japan
Phone: 81 (0)3 3414 0421
And yet, amid the old Americana rock records & oldies, there is definitely a very distinct Japanese vibe. The space is bright and colorful, featuring the charming art of Hideyuki Katsumata. Although the shop is a little grungier than the typical record store in Tokyo, it is clear that the owner takes great care in cleaning and grading his inventory.
In fact, owner Masao Tsubaki (椿 正雄) takes cleaning records very seriously and has created his own vinyl record cleaning solution. Masao sells the cleaning solution in the shop as well as selling to other record stores like Disc Union.
Masao opened Flash Disc Ranch in 1982. The first shop was in the same location, but over the last 34 years, the record store has expanded and evolved.
Before Masao started Flash Disc Ranch, he had been working in a record shop in Nishi-Shinjuku in Tokyo. He worked there when he was student, and slowly worked his way up into managing the wholesale trade within the same shop.
Masao started Flash Disk Ranch because he wanted to run his own shop and sell music that people want at an affordable price. Masao’s wife Atsuko (敦子) also helps out at the shop from time to time, and we had the chance to meet her when we dropped by.
Flash Disc Ranch specializes in “cheapies” and is crammed with deals. This was the only shop I visited that had both 100 Yen and 10 Yen bins (about $1 and $0.10).
AlthoughFlash Disc Ranch has a Rock, Soul, Jazz, & Oldies focus, their inventory covers a wide variety of genres and styles.
Although most flat surfaces in the shop are crammed with crates or piles of vinyl, there is also a decent book and magazine selection.
If you happen to be in Tokyo, be sure to stop by and visit Masao and Atsuko at Flash Disc Ranch. After several decades managing and running a record store, Masao has such an incredible depth of knowledge about music and vinyl, that he’s sure to help you discover a new artist or uncover that elusive release that’s on your Wantlist.
…and how can you resist walking into a record shop with an entrance like this?