Lily Chou and Chris Anderson are Berkeley-based photographers, major food enthusiasts, world travelers, and music junkies. They've been fixtures in the Bay Area and Chicago punk and garage scene for years, which means they've got tons of musician friends, not only locally, but all over the world. Recently, the couple decided to combine all their passions into one project – "JetLag RocknRoll," a video series that highlights cities through the lens of local musicians. Each episode features musicians sharing their personal favorite places to sightsee, eat, drink, shop, and see music in their home city. It's a pretty cool series, and Umami Mart readers might be especially interested in this episode – the Tokyo Travel Guide – featuring interviews with Guitar Wolf, 126.96.36.199's, and Fifi (Teengenerate, Firestarter, the Tweezers).
I asked Lily a few questions about "JetLag RocknRoll," and about her personal relationship to Tokyo, including her favorite places to go in the city. Here's what she had to say:
What was the inspiration to create "JetLag RocknRoll?" Was there a specific moment in time that the idea spawned into being?
"JetLag RocknRoll" actually started as an online travel guide in 2007. I had edited travel guides for many years at a Bay Area publishing house and it felt natural to create my own, one that incorporated one of my main motivations for traveling at the time: music. My first destination was, naturally, San Francisco. I managed to put up the East Bay and London, but writing all those service entries was so much work! I had pretty much given up on the idea when, last year, my husband Chris suggested we make video guides that featured local musicians and their recommendations. We've made music videos before so why not travel videos?
Why did you decide to feature Tokyo? Had you been there before? Do you have a special relationship with the city?
In addition to a plethora of cultural assets, Tokyo has an insanely rich rock'n'roll scene, which made it a great candidate for our rock'n'roll-centric travel series. I've probably been there about six times, Chris three, and we're still discovering new things to see and do there.
If you had interviewed yourself on this episode, what would your favorite Do, Eat, Shop, Rock, and Drink places be?
That's a pretty tough question, and our guests covered a lot of them!
Do: Definitely wander the streets of Asakusa, making sure to step away from the temple and its tourists to get a taste of old-timey Japan.
Eat: The food court in Shinagawa Station by the shinkansen platform, specifically the sushi/onigiri stand where you can watch chefs making sushi for their boxed sets
Rock: Japanese clubs are much smaller than their U.S. counterparts and allow smoking, which takes a little getting used to. That said, we really enjoyed the show we saw at Earthdom, which has two relatively large, well-ventilated rooms: one for the show and one for the bar/hangout/merch. It's also in the middle of Koreatown, so it's easy to grab quick snacks before, during, after the show.
Drink: Poor Cow! Even if you don't drink, it's a cool place to hang out.
If you could go back to Japan and film another episode in another city, where would it be and what musicians would it feature?
We filmed Osaka during the same trip and interviewed the King Brothers and Kenji of Time Bomb Records. We're planning to finish that one in September.
Thanks Lily! Make sure to bookmark JetLag RocknRoll or follow Chris and Lily on Instagram for the latest episodes of the series.