Andrew’s world in Japan


86en_mg_9514_editAndrew Artist & researcher based in KL since 2009, passionately exploring thcreative process & connecting with other creative people.




Language of Observation – Part2



86enimg_20160706_234512_editThis has been going on for awhile now. An establishment of fine food and beverages often incorporates elements of décor, uniform and music into their space. In comparison with days of yore, when the only sounds you’d usually hear were from the kitchen, today, music is a must. I’d postulate we may have hit the opposite extreme. Too much noise. For peace and quiet, room to think, where can we go. Especially in a megalopolis like Tokyo, where can you go for a relaxing beverage with a friend volume low enough to hear each speak. My friend Hiro and I share a similar interest in relaxing over a refreshing beverage in a special atmosphere. Buy Back Bar in Ebisu-Minami was where he took me.





Every subculture maintains their own linguistic vernacular. It’s only natural. New phrases and words emerge to ease the communication burden of conducting business. In the world of bars and drinking, a particular term has emerged called the “buy back.” Usually a sign of a small or midsized bar, after about the third drink, a customer is rewarded with a drink “on the house.” A method to keep folks drinking. As a global practice, I don’t know it to be so common. That’s why it came as a surprise to learn of Buy Back Bar. The third bar in a series of record bars by the same owner.

For some reason I was unable to uncover, Ebisu-Minami is full of music bars focused on vinyl. They all have a wall behind the bar packed to the brim with an amazing collection of classic vinyl records. But wait… there is more. Music itself is not enough. These owners have curated spaces that host high-end analog sound with a warm city environment. Massive classic wood speakers, MacIntosh tube amp, a sound as crisp and strong as the top shelf whisky’s served.


86en_mg_9513_editToday, Hiro and I ‘toriazu biru’d’ a couple of Kirin, followed by the house specialty, a highball Suntory whisky. Walls lined with various whisky’s, lighting dialed in on the vinyl, each table has the option to request to play one album. You have to know what you want though, flipping through the collection is not allowed. All this coupled with complementary snacks like spiced banana crisps, buffalo jerky and fried peas to name a few. The lights were dim, completely the opposite of ideal light for full on photos. Hiro was nervous about me taking photos. He believed they may have some rule blocking photos. Without hesitation, I was snapping away, but intermittently and discreetly. When a bartender happened to drop some snacks by, Hiro grabbed her and was relieved to hear her say there’s no issue with photos. She also was kind enough to answer some of our question’s. Turns out Bar Martha, Bar Track and Buy Back Bar are all slightly refined concepts by the same owner. Tonight, we enjoyed the warm raw décor of the whisky, wine and records bar. If I can find my way back to 2F Ebisu-Minami, I’m definitely visiting again.