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Robogrip
04-23-2008, 08:49 AM
Fukuoka on the southern island of Kyushu to be exact. Visiting my stateside buddy that is teaching english.
Here is the question: Do I bring my Costco Concert or succumb to UAS and look for something Japanese while I'm there ? And if it is to be UAS, what "should" I look for ?
Thanks, Jon

seeso
04-23-2008, 10:16 AM
From what I understand the ukulele scene in Japan is awesome.

The only Japanese builder I know of is Kiwaya (http://www.kiwayaukuleles.com/), they make the K-Wave electric ukulele.

http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/6333/safariscreensnapz002vk4.jpg

I don't know the names of any custom builders or anything, but I know of a guy who probably does.

His name is John Pak. You can get in touch with him through his YouTube channel:

http://youtube.com/user/keonepax

He's got some serious UAS. He was born and raised in Hawaii, but he's living in Japan now.

Bosko and Honey (http://www.youtube.com/user/boskohoney) did an interview with him for their Ukulele Safari project. They did a beautiful cover of "Return to Pooh Corner" which you can see here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHArhZUU0X8

The rest of the Ukulele Safari videos are all really great. You should check the rest of them out, if you haven't already. They spent a few weeks in Japan interviewing various figures in the Ukulele scene over there.

Among their other interviews in Japan:


MAX, the Ukulele Punk Rocker
Max is awesome. Every video of his is a delight. Here's the interview (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjcBQ02g25M), and here's his YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/maxevancejpn).

Shigeto Takahashi
An amazing player with 3rd generation traditional Hawaiian finger style technique. A student of Mori Takuji. Here's the interview (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2Y5YidwI5Y), and here's his YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/SHIGETOTAKAHASHI).

Ukulele Aya
Another student of Mori Takuji. She's another great player, a street performer in Odaiba. You may have seen the cake ukulele she made. Here's her interview (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=au8IQ5l0v9s), and here's her YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/Ukuleleaya).

Yoshihiro Yasuda
Mr. Yasuda runs the Japanese website Ukulele Calls (http://www.cscreate.net/ukecalls). He also works with Kiwaya Ukuleles and the Ukulele Museum in Tokyo. I'd suggest you pay the museum a visit. Here's his interview (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qlNhlCJaz8).

Odajima
Mr. Odajima runs Hikoroku (http://www.inv.co.jp/~hiko6/), an ukulele-friendly bar in Tokyo, and is also the leader of Ukulele Afternoon, a group of ukulele players that meet once a month in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo. Here's his interview (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C93OENAahX8).

Chisato Tsuwano
Mr. Tsuwano publishes Rolling Coconuts (http://rollingcoconuts.com/), a Japanese ukulele magazine. Here's his interview (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxauvTIiQpc).

NukeDOC
04-23-2008, 10:22 AM
dude, you gotta try to find some of those high end custom bugsgear eleukes. if you dont buy one, at least take some pron pics for me :D

elemenohpee
04-23-2008, 11:52 AM
Fukuoka on the southern island of Kyushu to be exact. Visiting my stateside buddy that is teaching english.
Here is the question: Do I bring my Costco Concert or succumb to UAS and look for something Japanese while I'm there ? And if it is to be UAS, what "should" I look for ?
Thanks, Jon

i'm in fukuoka now. don't mean to burst your bubble, but the uke scene isn't so big down here; i've had the hardest time even finding worth strings. if you can make it up to the osaka or tokyo areas, you'll have much better luck.

Guting
04-23-2008, 01:12 PM
yea thats what I figured as well.

When I was in the MIE prefecture, there were a few guys who could work the uke pretty good, but nothing like in Tokyo.

UkeNinja
04-23-2008, 02:36 PM
If your friend has an ukulele (or two, tell him to buy one extra) then don't take it. But don't count on getting one there if you're picky, like elemenophee says, it's not really the center of the world.
Not sure about the Osaka area, but Tokyo is a regular ukulele buyer's heaven. Unfortunately, a one-way trip will set you back $200... but you get a bunch of specialized stores, an ukulele museum (see seeso's post, it's in the Kiwaya building) and a whiff of super-urban atmosphere.
As far as what to buy... there are quite a few custom luthiers here, check the Kiwaya site seeso mentioned and check "Special Limited" to see some samples.

edit for seeso: Kiwaya's specials (http://www.kiwaya.com/catalog_store/limited/limited_uke.html).

seeso
04-23-2008, 02:47 PM
As far as what to buy... there are quite a few custom luthiers here, check the Kiwaya site seeso mentioned and check "Special Limited" to see some samples.

I can't find the "Special Limited" link that you're referring to. Would you mind posting the link here?

Ukulele_Junkie
04-23-2008, 02:54 PM
kiwaya mostly distributes their ukes here in my state, there warehouse isn't too far from where i live so there won't be anything special to bring a kiwaya back from japan. BUT just like nuke said you gotta try some of those specialty custom bugsgears cuz those are really hard to get ur grubs on, the only sites that sell them are in japanese and their pricing is going going going gone. OUTTA HERE! haha

Robogrip
04-23-2008, 06:59 PM
Thanks Guys You Rock. Since my travels on this trip will be centered on Kyushu only, I'll take the Lyon, and keep an eye out for opportunities as we travel.
And as the young guitar players have been telling me "15 minutes every day, is better than an hour every other". And seeing as how I'll be on a plane for 24 hours over the next two weeks have any Uke is better than having No Uke at all.

Hey Junkie, Your state is my state too. (You know why Tacoma smells so bad don't you. So blind people can hate it too.)

Ukulele_Junkie
04-23-2008, 07:01 PM
Hey Junkie, Your state is my state too. (You know why Tacoma smells so bad don't you. So blind people can hate it too.)

ha yeah ur rite it does stink in downtown tacoma, i think its the harbor water. I live in the part that doesnt stink. :D

Robogrip
04-23-2008, 07:10 PM
Old Joke...Sorry. Used to be much worse. Round the corner in Fife and the Pulp Mill smell almost made one pass out. Looks like I may have to head down to Renton and check out the Kiwaya's.

Ukulele_Junkie
04-23-2008, 07:14 PM
Old Joke...Sorry. Used to be much worse. Round the corner in Fife and the Pulp Mill smell almost made one pass out. Looks like I may have to head down to Renton and check out the Kiwaya's.

they have most of their stuff at Dusty's Strings in Seattle too.

timothypfox
08-22-2012, 04:30 PM
i'm in fukuoka now. don't mean to burst your bubble, but the uke scene isn't so big down here; i've had the hardest time even finding worth strings. if you can make it up to the osaka or tokyo areas, you'll have much better luck.

I know this is a VERY old thread, but I want to update you on information on ukulele in off-the beaten path parts of Japan. I live in Kirishima, Kagoshima - a town of about 56,000 people. The closest big city is Kagoshima (about 600,000 people). Kagoshima city has a cafe called the Ukulele Cafe, which I've been meaning to go to for some time but haven't....

Music stores in Kagoshima always have ukulele corners. The local music shop here and nearby Miyako no-jo also have ukulele corners. They can also order anything you want even if it is not in stock.

The online Internet catalog site called Rakuten has an English website and you can order a variety of Ukulele's online. I bought an affordable aNue-aNue Tenor from their site and the set-up was amazing - with decent quality strings. But you can also get very expensive high end ones and I'm sure top quality strings....

Ukulele players are a little rare here, but I think I can get something going either with musicians playing other instruments or with ukulele if I post adds at music stores. Most music stores in Japan have bulletin boards where you can post an add.

There are a couple of good trade magazines (only in Japanese) - one is Ukulele Magazine, and the other is Rolling Coconut. Each year there is an annual Ukulele Picnic in Yokohama. I have my eyes out for something closer in Kagoshima - if not maybe in Fukuoka....

Dan Uke
08-22-2012, 04:54 PM
Check out Brittni Paiva as she'll be in Japan!

timothypfox
08-22-2012, 05:34 PM
Where's she going to be in Japan? It depends because I am pretty far south. Tokyo is generally out of the picture for me. Curvy mountain roads it takes a long time from Kagoshima to there.

PS. I just asked her over Youtube - so hopefully she'll be able to let me know specifics about her schedule.... Thanks though for letting me know!

GKK
08-23-2012, 04:23 AM
Here's Brittni's show schedule.

http://www.brittnipaiva.com/calendar.cfm

hoosierhiver
08-23-2012, 04:25 AM
Asada from Ribbee is doing a ukulele tour there right now.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjfZRN2gYiM&feature=g-all-lik

TheCraftedCow
08-23-2012, 07:44 PM
Check out Mikael Makino in Osaka [Basic Records] and ukuleles !! tel# +81-(o)6-6944-3877 is the international #. I don't know how much gets dropped for a in country call.

They have a beautiful wide selection of ukuleles. I am sorry I cannot access their information while on this site. If you want it, let me know in an email to thecraftedcow@comcast.net. I will be able to get their website as well as address .

timothypfox
08-31-2012, 05:47 PM
Thanks guys! Thanks for all the info!