Sometime is a jazz club in Kichijoji. Though Kichijoji is actually located in Musashino, outside of the 23 Special Wards, I have to talk about Sometime because it is an essential part of the Tokyo jazz scene. At first glance, it may not seem like a very serious venue — it’s small, almost dingy and it’s a little ways off the beaten path. Even so, it’s said that any jazz musician in Tokyo with real chops has played there on several occasions.
Sometime’s trademark charm comes from its atmosphere. Squeezed into a cramped walkdown, this club does not leave much room for dancing, lounging, or even walking. In fact, depending on how many pieces the band is, you have a decent chance of literally brushing elbows with its members. The piano, drum kit [extremely minimalist] and vocalist’s microphone are crammed into a little nook in the center of the club, with the potential to cannibalize an aisle for a guitarist or bassist.
Aside from its role as a first-rate jazz club, Sometime is a bar and restaurant, serving drinks and food from its little kitchen in the corner. As the charge for seeing a set [or two, on some days] is only 1600 yen, it’s still quite affordable even if you need a coffee or something to nosh on. One thing to be careful about is where you’re seated — I was put on the opposite side of the band on one occasion and there was no service during sets for us! Still, when Sometime lights up and the band gets going, you don’t really need to be sipping anything.
Sometime is a small place, and there is always a shortage of seats. Therefore, it’s always best to make a reservation before you go to be sure you get in. It’s totally worth going, too. You’ll find the feel of the place totally unique. What keeps you coming back are those little draws…knowing what your neighbor ordered before it arrives because it’s wafting in from the kitchen. Feeling the pillar behind you vibrate with the bass. Taking a drink during a set break and turning around to see the drummer taking a sip of something himself, right there next to you.
I recommend Sometime to anyone interested in jazz around Tokyo. And as it’s located on the Inokashira Line, it’s just a half-hour’s ride from Shibuya. No reason not to, right?
Access: 3 min. walk from Kichijoji Sta. [Chuo Line, Inokashira Line] via North Exit
Address: B1F 1-11-31 Kichijoji Honmachi, Musashino-shi, Tokyo
Hours: 11am – Midnight; 3-set groups begin sets at 7:30pm, 9pm and 10:30pm
2-set groups begin sets at 7:45pm and 9:45pm; afternoon schedule is subject to change