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News Overseas tourists treasure-hunting for second-hand goods

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Unswerving cyclist
14 Mar 2002
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Nikkei Asia reports that the global boom in all things retro fueled demand for analogue products like records, cameras, and gaming software. Japan offers rich pickings to those seeking vintage, secondhand goods, including hit items and rare goods from the 1980s and '90s, when Japanese consumer electronics and gadgets dominated the global market.

On a weekday afternoon in mid-January, the vinyl record section on the sixth floor of Tower Records Shibuya in Tokyo was packed with foreign customers. Sam Reid, who came to Japan from Australia on a family trip, marvelled that records are cheaper in Japan than back home. The 18-year-old was also surprised at the excellent condition of the used vinyl. As streaming has largely displaced CDs as a medium for music, some audiophiles are rediscovering the joy of owning physical copies of their favourite tunes. Analog records also have unique sound characteristics that many enjoy, helping to spark a vinyl boom around the world. At Tower Records Shibuya, foreign visitors have jumped since Japan eased COVID-19 curbs in October last year. Foreign visitors accounted for around 30% of vinyl record floor sales in December and 40% in January this year. Tsuyoshi Tanoue, who manages the floor, says most of his customers are non-Japanese.

In the '80s and '90s, many vinyl records were circulated, including imported versions from the U.S. and U.K. and limited-edition versions produced in Japan. As a result, a good selection of vinyl is still available in good condition across a range of genres, which appeals to collectors. City pop, a musical genre that developed in Japan in the '70s and '80s, is also catching on with overseas fans through social media. More foreign visitors are snapping up vinyl records by Tatsuro Yamashita and other Japanese artists. The weaker yen allows non-Japanese customers to buy vinyl more cheaply in Japan than at home. "Some foreign customers even buy premium vinyl records costing 100,000 JPY to 200,000 JPY (USD 730 to 1,460)," Tanoue said.

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Sailing away...
Top Donor
3 Aug 2007
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I can understand that. Bookoff is usually a stop during our visits. :)
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