Friday 5 July 2024

VIVA Strange Boutique - Tokyo's Post-Punk, New Wave & Indie Store

VIVA Strange Boutique is a fantastic store located near Okusawa station in the south-west of Tokyo close to Jiyugaoka and its packed with vintage Post-Punk and Indie posters, badges, records, music magazines and memorabilia. The emphasis is very much on U.K. Post-Punk and Indie with prominent displays of the more avant-garde and DIY acts such as Alternative TV, Television Personalities, Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV. Store owner Minami, who also sings and plays guitar with her own band, She Talks Silence, designs and produces original, officially authorised merchandise for some of her favourite bands and artists such as Felt, A Certain Ratio, The Raincoats, Durutti Column, David J, The Vaselines, Primal Scream, Sparks and the Japanese band Plastics who were a kind of cross between The B-52's, Wall of Voodoo and early Talking Heads. She's had some well known visitors too, DJ Don Letts and Devo's frontman Mark Mothersbaugh have popped in to visit the store. 

You can check out the VIVA Strange Boutique online store here for the full list of merchandise, as they also offer shipping worldwide. Of course, you can probably guess from the store's name, that Minami is a huge fan of The Monochrome Set and they recently invited the band over to Tokyo to headline a sold-out gig at the WWWX venue in Shibuya to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the store's opening. 

There's also an exhibition space in the basement and luckily we were able to catch an exhibtion of stunning photos by the music photographer Toshi Yajima who also just so happened to be in the store, so we could have a nice chat about this work and career as a UK based correspondent sharing his photos to various publications back in Japan. He took very early photos of the Sex Pistols in their Denmark Street rehearsal room in 1976 and would go on to photograph all the musical greats such as The Clash, The Jam, David Bowie, XTC, Iggy Pop, The Damned, Japan, Morrissey, The B-52's, Devo, Paul Weller, The Specials and Kraftwerk among many others - all are featured in an excellent book entitled "Each & Every One" which was actually published by VIVA Strange Boutique. Hopefully, we will be doing a more in-depth feature on his superb pictures sometime in the future.

With thanks to Minami and Toshi Yajima. For more information on VIVA Strange Boutique please check out their web-site here and Facebook page here, they are also on Instagram.

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