FYI, here's a nice, brief New York Times profile piece on the Koenji music scene. All those tiny yakitori joints and pubs do indeed look worth exploring...
Many years ago I considered living in Koenji but ended up in Sangenjyaya instead, and have stayed close to Shibuya ever since. I sometimes wonder how different my Tokyo experience would have been if I lived in Koenji or some different area. And would it have affected my musical tastes?
Koenji, for example, seems to be a good place for progressive, alternative and experimental music. Punk reigns supreme in Shinjuku. As the label 'Shibuya-kei' indicates, pop and electronica are the thing in Shibuya, as well as guitar pop and neo-acoustic. How much does your environment determine what sort of music you like? But I do think the sound of guitar pop bands like advantage Lucy and Swinging Popsicle would have been irresistible to me no matter where I lived in this city.
As I was pondering this I ran into a passage in the Natsume Soseki novel The Gate where the main character is thinking about the walks he takes in the city on his Sundays off, but he still never feels he's figured out Tokyo: “When he comes to the conclusion that, even though he lives in Tokyo, he's never really seen 'Tokyo', he always feels a strange sadness.” I know the feeling. I've made my way through many neighborhoods of this city (a lot of them as part of my gig-going trips...), but because Tokyo's so big, and ever-changing, it's hard to feel like you ever really know the place.
Thanks for reading, and for your support in 2008. I hope you have a happy 2009.