I’m gonna tell you a secret. It involves time travel. It’s like this: There’s a portal. Like a wormhole. And it opens up in the foothills of Mount Fuji in September. You just got to know the right place and the right time. This year the portal opens at 10 a.m. on Sept. 27 at a place called Asagiri. You may pass through dense mountain fog, but keep going to be rewarded. Remember you’re in a movie penned by someone like Charlie Kaufman.
The portal remains open for two days and once you enter, you are transported to a prehistoric period when the idea behind a music festival was not about how much money was to be made — it was about the right vibe. Asagiri Jam is probably what the first Glastonbury Festival must have been like with handfuls of hippies and bikers standing round fires roasting hog while T-Rex headlined on the stage. Asagiri is a mini-Fuji Rock and with only a few thousand people spread out you’ll bump into the same person again and again. It is impossible not to make new friends.
This year you’ll find yourself dancing before the Rainbow Stage to The Skatalites — yes, that ’60s ska band — and then you’ll catch Television, the ’70s band that manufactured a musical template now in possession of The Strokes. The Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra will live up to their name and you’ll be introduced to Jack Johnson, Tony Allen, James Holroyd and a bunch of others. They’ll be walking around the site, shaking your hand and sharing your drink. There’s no backstage snobbery here.
Kicking back next to one of the many bonfires on site you listen to the charming retro-pop of Ego Wrappin’ and then check out the Chemical Brothers. At the DJ Field you’ll take in a lecture in dub from the Mad Professor before grooving to whatever DJ Eye, DJ Wada, DJ Kensei, DJ Mamezuka or DJ Whoever rustle up. Just don’t expect the expected. At Asagriri Jam all you need is a sleeping bag and an open mind. There’s something for everyone when you travel through time.
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