Having settled in the magical town of Nara, Japan, some 8 years ago, designer Mike Thomas
found himself among a close-knit music community where his eclectic sets were well-received in their regular haunts. His record collection spans soul, jazz, funk, disco, house and electronica, the majority of which are of African, Caribbean and tropical origin. Under his DJ name, Mr Thomas,
he brings us a selection of Kayōkyoku and Group Sounds from ’60s and ’70s Japan that he has collected (mostly on 7”) since he’s been living there. Kayōkyoku – literally meaning popular music – sees traditional Japanese styles blended with Western influences, including; blues, jazz, Latin pop, and European pop. ‘Group Sounds’ became popular in the mid to late 1960s, fusing Kayōkyoku with western rock ‘n’ roll, rhythm and blues, beat and psychedelia.
Mike didn’t have to forage far for his Hot Plates recipe. Yuka, Mike’s wife, lets us in on her perfect companion for the wintery months; a traditional Japanese noodle broth called Nyūmen. As with most things in Japan, the ingredients are simple and few in number yet the result is perfectly balanced, full of flavour and wholesome.