Tokyo Record Style

Michael Warren

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Pal, peer, Penguin Cafe Orchestra appreciator, protocol polyglot, personal confidant, compatriot, collaborator, fellow expat, record-shopping partner, brother-in-Phish, Dog Log podcast co-host, Top 5 Records accomplice, and Tokyo Record Style repeater #1, my bud, THE Michael Warren. I was initially thinking “what do you say about somebody who you have already said everything about” but then as I started writing, I realized how easy it is to keep sharing about the things and people you really love, which is what Michael and I endless wax and wane about nearly every other day, catching up for a short “Dog Log” – our oddly […]

Tokyo Record Style

Fani

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You might not think Tokyo as the melting of humanity that is New York, London, or Sydney, but if this city’s population is any reflection whatsoever of the diversity of my circle of friends, which I think it HAS to be, particularly if you count all the people regularly and now repeatedly year-after-year coming through, I’m convinced very much that, at least if you go a layer deeper, Tokyo is one of the most international cities in the world. Scoff at that if you must, and yes, I admit that may be statistically highly inaccurate, but that’s my perspective. That’s […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tanno

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Going out on a limb here. The Japanese concept that Steve Jobs was so interested in is called “Kaizen” – “continual improvement” that emphasizes small, incremental changes that lead to better efficiency, higher quality, better performance while forging a culture of collaborative team effort. Then there is a lesser known word, ”Kairyo Bunka” 改良文化 – “the culture of improvement” that encapsulates the notion continually refining and enhancing aspects of culture, technology, and everyday life while incorporating and improving upon external influences, often surpassing the originals, Finally you often encounter this concept of “Parallel Imports” here, though not unique to Japan: […]

Tokyo Record Style

Bridget

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Globe-trotting Bridget I caught up with on Organ Zaka, the street that leads you from Tower Records up to Parco (where Disk Union is) and back down to the HMV Shibuya. She was carrying the iconic Tower Vinyl bag having just scored a record, not for herself but for her significant other who is a huge Oasis fan (and what do you buy an Oasis fan who might already have everything? Their latest offering a 3-disc set “Live from Knebworth 1996” where 250,000 Oasis fans converged to two record breaking, era-defining shows marking the “pinnacle of the band’s success and […]

Tokyo Record Style

Oobasalmon and Kaz USA

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I was recently invited on a photowalk by my friends Keiko Mizuno and Tokyo Record Style regular, Tatsuo Fukutomi AKA bemsha. Keiko is an avid Lomo  LC-A+ camera user, the camera that birthed the Lomographic Society, and she joined my PhotoPeace photo walk and gallery hop two summers ago. Coming back to Tokyo all the way from Gifu, she and bemsha organized this photo around the backstreets of Harajuku-Jingumae with visits to a couple of bookstores plus a coffee break at cool Watarium. Their photo walk was based on them “Tokimeki” which mean the the spark one feels in their […]

Tokyo Record Style

Godzilla Was Too Drunk To Destroy Tokyo

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This is a fun one. For a light-hearted work-related project, we were celebrating International Dinosaur Day (who knew?) and were looking across the interwebs for dinosaur/monster/Godzilla-themed projects to recruit to be involved when I happened to stumble across Italian Stoner Rockers, “Godzilla Was Too Drunk To Destroy Tokyo” AKA GWTDTDT who would be, for the first time, in their career, visiting Tokyo from Finale Ligure, near Genova where they are based, and touring Japan, with a night off to join our event, which they did, presenting this story of their band and their sonic creation of “heavy psych monster fuzz […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tokyo Record Style Day – Vol. 9 – Organic Music + Planet Baby

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Record collecting friends! Brian here, representing Tokyo Record Style!! Announcing “Tokyo Record Style Day – Volume 9 – ShimoIgusa!!” Join us for another afternoon of crate-digging with homies in local Tokyo neighborhoods, where gems and grails await us in clusters of awesome record shops! Score LPs, EPs, 10”s or CDs! Tapes? Reel-to-reels? 8-Tracks? We don’t judge! Just come celebrate your love for physical media and good ‘ol record shop culture! Pose for a photograph in your styley-est digs and with your Record Store scores, and make your mark on Tokyo Record Style!! Organic Music + Planet Baby are side-by-side select […]

Tokyo Record Style

Hinoharu

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I consider myself quite lucky to have grown up in and around dance studios and backstages at performing art centers having a godmother (Miss Shelley) who taught ballet, tap, jazz, modern, and beyond to half the city of Tulsa. My mother was also a ballerina who taught at Shelly’s school for a spell, and while both my sisters studied there for years, neither me nor my brothers ever took a single dance lesson. Still, I really love watching professional dance, and really appreciate the forms, artistry, and athleticism, and it’s not in my bones, it’s at least in my blood. […]

Tokyo Record Style

Majoo and Ruffy

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After a great trip to Nagoya, I was back on home turf in Tokyo when on my way home from work I spotted this VERY cool couple in Shibuya coming out of HMV with what looked like a sizable haul. Ruffy and Majoo introduced themselves and though they were in a bit of a rush to get to the next record store before it closed, they were happy to give me some of their time for Tokyo Record Style. And when I found out that they have a record shop in San Francisco, and were on a buying, selling, and […]

Tokyo Record Style

Takashi Takashima

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One of the best things of doing Tokyo Record Style is befriending so many record shop owners. When they are really warm, like they so often are, especially like the owner of Greatest Hits Records in Nagoya, Takashi Takashima, and they invite you into their inner world, you not only does it feel like you just scored the all-access back-stage pass to your favorite concert, but you hear all about the the inside scoop of upcoming albums or the intricacies of certain pressings, or behind-the-scene stories of visits of famous musicians and celebrities, and all manner of music industry lore, […]

Tokyo Record Style

Jun

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As I was walking into Greatest Hits Records in Nagoya, a customer, Yukinari, from the previous post was walking out. I approached him for a photo and after he agreed we got off to taking some photos. As I was walking backward so as to able to fit Yukinari into the frame, I backed into a gentle looking giant wearing a mono-tone spring linen Japanese Jinbei, a light and airy kimono-style top and loose pants, wooden geta raised sandals with tabi-style socks, a long goatee, a matching terrycloth towel and beanie, smoking tobacco from a thin traditional smoking pipe called […]

Tokyo Record Style

Yukinari

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As my daughter begged and pleaded with me at the 11th hour’s last 5 minutes to take her all the way to Nagoya to see her favorite boy band (she’s 13) at Vantalin Dome, and as I refused her a dozen times trying to explain to her that it made absolutely no financial sense, there sitting on a massive shelf behind her were about 1000 2nd-hand records that cost a small fortune to accumulate, and as many dollars worth of stereo equipment, not to mention a piano and two guitars and a few other musical trophies (all of yours truly), […]

Tokyo Record Style

Saleh

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Jet Set Records in Shimokitazawa (and their original shop in Kyoto) has to have the coolest of all the record store bags. It riffs on the classic PanAm logo and it has a cool two-tone opacity so you can see the records through the logo. It always catches my eye as it did when I was driving down Ichiban-gai, the streets where it’s located, and spotted a handsome young lad with two equally sharp escorts I’d soon find out were his parents. This has become a rather common occurrence, spotting young adults on family holidays who have dragged their parents, […]

Tokyo Record Style

David Sternberg

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There is a certain quality that some people have, I guess you’d call it literally character, that if you have aspirations of ever writing a novel, you, when meeting these specimens, think to yourself, “Oh, here’s a good one to make a memo of. This guy’s whole being is expressive, I’m gonna base a character on this guy, in fact, I’m gonna cook up a little fictional vignette based on this very meeting, I mean after all, you can’t make up somebody or situations better than this.” David from The Little Record Store in North London was and is one […]

Tokyo Record Style

Minoru

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It’s been a while! Happy to be back after a short hiatus. With 17 people currently in the Tokyo Record Style queue, it’s time to get going again, starting with the manager of Kichijoji’s HMV, Minori san who was introduced to me by one of the shop’s friendly staff (and singer-songwriter) Nozomi san, who I photographed a few months back in Shibuya with a copy of Workingman’s Dead! When I spotted her working on a recent visit to HMV KJ I felt obliged to come clean that I created, against my better judgment, and semi-clandestine video walkthrough of HMV Kichijoji […]

Tokyo Record Style

Jake and Kate

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Jake and Kate were coming out of hip Big Love records when I caught up with them for a photo and a chat. They were old college schoolmates both visiting Tokyo from opposite ends of the Globe, Jake from Boston where he’s involved with a local Japanese community and Kate, originally from the Bay area but coming for a rendezvous from Taiwan where she has been living for a year. The three of us had such a whirlwind conversation that covered so much ground from US/Japan history, to Taiwan, to Sweden, to Harajuku-ura fashion, to Kanye and Big Love, to […]

Tokyo Record Style

Mai (and Masaya)

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Despite this album arriving to the world some 20 years before the person holding it, the sound contained within “Vitamin E.P.O” by early J-Pop idol star of mid-1980s “Epo” (known as one of the “Three RCA Daughters’ along with Taeko Onuki and Mariya Takeuchi) somehow perfectly matched the vibe and style of …if I may… darling Mai(-chan) who had just scored this at Union Record in Shinjuku while out on a date to with her squeeze, Masaya. The revived interest in “City Pop” can’t be understated, it seems to be peeking out of every facet of culture these days. The […]

Tokyo Record Style

Hinako

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I decided to write a little bit in Japanese (see below), challenged by a friend, to both level up my Nihongo and to connect with the supportive Japanese audience always cheering me on.  I thought it was a nice idea and it also happens to coincide perfectly with a post about Hinako pictured here, who I met at Replace Records a few weeks back. Though I initiated our conversation in Japanese, because she has grown up for many years attending international schools while living in Indonesia with her family, we were able to quickly change gears and communicate primarily in […]

Tokyo Record Style

Laurent and Michelle

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Bonsoir, lovely Michelle and Laurent! I met these friendly folks on the streets of Shibuya a couple weeks back, who hailed from France’s northeastern region of Grand Est, the city of Metz, famous for gardens and leafy promenades along the Moselle and Seille rivers. I learned that this 3000 year-old city, which I’d very much now like to visit, is also famed for its gothic cathedral that, according to Michelle and Laurent, is flooded with light from more stained glass windows than any other place in the world, many made by noted artists. Wow! That must be quite a site! […]

Tokyo Record Style

Namioka san

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Pal, partner-in-crime, and regularly-featured Tokyo Record Style friend, bemsha and I hung out a few weeks back visiting a fashion/jewelry exhibition of our mutual friends Paramitha and Fani, who hail from Indonesia and whom we both know through photography and Tokyo’s creative world. The exhibition was super cool and afterward, bemsha and I remembered that Tower Records in Shibuya had recently closed, remodeled, and reopened its record floor, stocking it with twice as many records and thought it would be fun to check it out before heading back home. On our way there, we spotted friendly Namioka san on the […]

Tokyo Record Style

Yatabe

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Wrapping up the trio of buds that I photographed a few weeks back in Shinjuku is Yatabe. Now technically, Yatabe hadn’t scored any records like his friends, Kurata and Tomatsu from the previous two posts, but hey, we’re all the gang here, and I made a little rule for moments like these: If we’ve initiated the whole Tokyo Record Style thang, and it turns out for some reason that you don’t actually have a record, so long as you can recommend a good artist to check out and so long has you’ve got some style, cuz this blog is not […]

Tokyo Record Style

Kurata

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Next up of the trio that I met in Shinjuku is the elegantly-styled Kurata, who stood out a little like a silhouette in a fashion collection sketch. He was rawking a long, corduroy-ish, camel-coloured velour, vintage double-breasted sweater/jacket/trench-coat in perfect nik by French designer Louis Féraud. Peeking out from the jacket (take note in the photos) and over the button-down dress shirt was attention-grabbing accented detail, an intricately-embroidered and delicately-laced silk blouse, that I initially feared could have been accidentally ripped with one wrong move, however Kurata, with a sorta air of regalia about him in it, gave me ease. […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tomatsu

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When we look in the mirror, we don’t see our “true” selves, or maybe a better way to put it is that we don’t see our “accurate” selves, but rather a representation of ourselves, horizontally flipped, but it’s close enough to give us an idea of how we look and who we are. But on the other hand, when we look at a photograph of ourselves, maybe a well-made portrait, we see ourselves as the world sees us …and sometimes, even often, the person we see in the photo is not the same person we see in the mirror. I’ve […]

Tokyo Record Style

Bemsha, Michael, and Cristopher

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I’ve made the comparison before of expanding one’s musical horizons by keeping friends who know more about music than you to getting better at tennis by playing with partners who are better than you. However the sport golf is on my mind this morning (maybe because of a Michael Jordan story I heard the other day, of him being not only competitive and wager-prone at basketball, but at golf too). It’s also probably because of the fact that after a bigger group of record-loving homies initially met up at Tent Record earlier this day for “Tokyo Record Style Day”, and […]

Tokyo Record Style

Kojima san of Replace Records

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After last week’s Tokyo Record Style Day meetup at Tent Records in NishiOgikubo, our pal Christopher, who knew the neighbor better than most of us, suggested we go to a new-ish record shop called Replace Records just a short walk away. Christopher explained that Replace opened just a little over a year ago and that it was quite cool, and never having visited before, we were all keen to check it out. So we walked and talked along NishiOgi’s cool backstreets, spotted Tsuburai featured in the previous post, and enjoyed the laid-back stroll to Replace. When we came upon it, […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tsuburai

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Crossing paths in NishiOgikubo with Tsuburai pictured here was a lucky chance. Here is a guy, no doubt, steeped in musical knowledge and whose tastes coincided with mine quite clearly but still like a Tokyo super expressway overpass interchange where there are highways are overpassing, underpassing, intersecting and outersecting with eachother. We had a nice exchange on the street where he told me that besides loving music, he also produces events, and projects, another thing we shared in common but because he had another place to be at that moment, he generously gave me what little time he had for […]

Tokyo Record Style

Marcus

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The first time, so I thought, that I spotted friendly and fashionable Marcus was at Ella Records in Hatagaya where his tall stature, cool threads, refined specs, and choice camera caught the corner of my eye. We perused the bins opposite of each other, and though I am normally the one to introduce myself in these instances, it was Marcus who said to me, “Aren’t you the Photohoku guy, Brian?” I was instantly taken back to a very big photo event I hosted a couple of summers ago that was so well attended that I didn’t really have a chance […]

Tokyo Record Style

Cheri and Yoshi

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The world gets smaller through music! Last weekend’s Tokyo Record Style Day Vol. 7 was a total success. If you didn’t catch it, our record-loving homies all met up at シェア音楽棚tent or “Shared Music Shelf Tent” in Nishiogikubo, a shop of shops of sorts, run by the kind Akezawa san, who rents small cubby-type shelves to anybody wishing to sell records or music-related goods. This day was not only our chance to meet up with like-minded music friends but also the “grand opening” of our OWN “Tokyo Records Style Co-op,” a rented-shelf stocked by me and my Top 5 Record […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tokyo Record Style Day Vol. 7 – Tent Records

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Epic day yesterday for Tokyo Record Style Day Vol. 7 at Tent Record in Nishiogikubo …and then on to Replace Records! A great crew of homies gathered and we talked music and records stores, and style and on and on. It was a particularly special day because it was the “Grand Opening” (you could say) of our “Tokyo Record Style Co-op” a shared record store INSIDE a record store, currently stocked by my Top 5 Record pals and fellow DJ friends, Tat Fukutomi AKA bemsha, and Michael Warren. Together we went in on renting shelf in Tent, each pulled out […]

Tokyo Record Style

Kei

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Back to Sources! Tokyo Record Style has become such a little gift from musical heaven. I’m becoming indebted to my own project for all the ways it’s opening my eyes, ears, and mind to new musical discoveries and the more it reveals to me, the more rewarding and truly fulfilling it’s becoming. Through meeting strangers on the street, I’m not only making new music-loving homies and expanding my community, but both the roots and branches of the tree of music in front of me grow further down into and across the soil and higher and wider into the sky, like […]

Tokyo Record Style

Joseph

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Little bit of New York in Tokyo. I was recalling my encounter with Joseph and I couldn’t remember if it was indeed Joseph, Joe, or Joey, but as soon as I heard Joey in my head and remembered that he was from New York, my mind immediately went to a masterpiece of one-man-show that I grew up with, Eric Bogosian’s “Sex Drugs, and Rock&Roll” a collection of monologues of iconic characters from all walks of life. It’s absolutely brilliant, truly a work of genius, comedic, dramatic, tragic, and well worth digging around for. One of the funnier monologues is a […]

Tokyo Record Style

Jaden

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You know that feeling you get when somebody says to you, “You’ve never seen that movie?!” or “You’re never heard of so-and-so?!” or “You’ve never been to that famous place?!” or “How can you not know this band?!” I admit having spent much of my life in fear of being asked these kinds of questions. Yeah, just call it what it is: insecurity, but I’ve always strived, mostly futilely in vain, to at least be “in-the-know” about EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD, and it only really has been in my middle age when I’ve stopped caring so much about not knowing […]

Tokyo Record Style

Michael Warren

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Making his 5th or maybe 6th appearance on Tokyo Record Style is my dear pal Michael Warren who recently moved from the far east Side of Tokyo to the far west side of Tokyo, nearer to where I live …and do most of my record shopping and TRS scouting. Michael has so many claims to fame, too many for me to rattle off here, and so many that, despite knowing him quite well, I doubt I know the half of them, but here are a few: He grew up with a jukebox, a pool table, and a house and family […]

Tokyo Record Style

Towa

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Nearly every day on my way home from work, I pass by Manhattan Records, a Tokyo institution of 30 years that mostly Hip-Hop, R&B, Soul, and House. After passing Ultra Shibuya, Hi-Fi Records, several Disk Unions, Tower Records, an HMV, Discland Jaro, Next Records, Mother’s Records, and a couple of Face Records, Manhattan Records is the last record shop on my way out of Shibuya on Inokashira Dori, the road that leads me all the way back home. By the time I’m rolling up on Manhattan, I’ve usually photographed a record collector or two on the way at one of […]

Tokyo Record Style

Cheer the Rock

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Hello “Cheer the Rock!” Welcome to Tokyo Records Style! “Where did you get a name like “Cheer the Rock?” “It was thought up by the artist MAAACHIRIN, who is on the Shibuya music label I run called “Pinpuri(.com)”. “Wow, what does it mean?” “It means “Supporting rock feelings [ロックな気持ちを応援する]” Cheer also explained that he is graduated from a music college and is a composer and …Facinating! Cheer the Rock said he didn’t have any vinyl records but rather CDs instead! C’mon now! It’s all about music, we don’t judge! So Cheer pulled out his CDs (none of which I recognized […]

Tokyo Record Style

Yasu

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Sesame Street… …ok bear with me. I grew up on Sesame Street, well not actually ON Sesame Street, but watching it as a kid. I have 4 younger siblings, spread in ages across 12 years. So Sesame Street was on our family TV for a decade. It didn’t change heaps over the years, but I definitely got “old school” Sesame Street (think: 70’s era View Master – “Day at the Zoo”) and my youngest siblings got new updated versions, but all still quite familiar. Even my own kids watched DVDs of Sesame Street, both the oldest and newest seasons and […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tokyo Record Style Day – Vol. 7 – Tent Records

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Record collecting friends! Brian here, representing Tokyo Record Style!! Announcing “Tokyo Record Style Day – Volume 7 – Nishiogikubo!!” Join us for another afternoon of crate-digging with homies in local Tokyo neighborhoods, where gems and grails await us in clusters of awesome record shops! Score LPs, EPs, 10”s or CDs! Tapes? Reel-to-reels? 8-Tracks? We don’t judge! Just come celebrate your love for physical media and good ‘ol record shop culture! Pose for a photograph in your styley-est digs and with your Record Store scores, and make your mark on Tokyo Record Style!! Tent Records (Share Music Shelf Tent) is a […]

Tokyo Record Style

Miguel

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Meet Miguel who hails from the Catalonia city of architect Antoni Gaudí (of Sagrada Família fam of course, and who I must say to who Miguel bears a striking resemblance san broken-and-taped eyeglasses), Reus, Spain! I’ve only ever heard of Reus by name but have never met and actual Reusenc, so this was quite a prospect! (Side note, Reus is also a famous for its signature Catalan modernism, also as wine-producing region, a rock-climbing mecca, and boasts a millenia-rich history. I wanna go! ) Miguel was carrying a massive haul form Recofan’s new shop in Shibuya Magnet opposite the station. […]

Tokyo Record Style

Marlon

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I met Marlon from Sydney on the back streets of Shibuya in the Udagawa district along with a pal he had just made, Miguel from Spain (who will be featured in the next post.) Talk about friendly, it was easy to recognize that Marlon’s charisma was as big as his heart. He was keen to be photographed for Tokyo Record Style, and chat me up about the records he scored, a rather sizable lot that ran the gamut of genres but mostly 12” that would get your booty shaking on the dance floor. Marlon mentioned that the record store scene […]

Tokyo Record Style

Ian Thomas (and Family)

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It’s been a long overdue Miles Davis kind of Sunday morning. The fact that today is the first rainy and overcast day in weeks makes it all the more fitting for “Kind of Blue” which followed a listening of “Ascenseur pour l’échafaud” Miles’ soundtrack to the groundbreaking 1958 French crime thriller film with the same name, which I was turned on to by the subject of today’s Tokyo Record Style post, Mr. Ian Bob Thomas, who was visiting Tokyo for the first time from Adelaide, Australia with his lovely family. I caught up with them rather late in the evening […]

Tokyo Record Style

Daisuke

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Friendly and fashionable Daisuke puts the style back in Tokyo Record Style. I caught up with him outside of HMV in Shibuya (Interesting side note: Did you know that HMV stands for “His Master’s Voice” and that the possessive “His” refers to the tilted-head, white-furried, black-ear’d, music mascot, terrier mix, “Nipper” also known as the RCA Victor Dog, and that “master’s voice”, more specifically the deceased master’s voice, which in all the old advertisements, refers to what plays in the dog’s ear from the adjacent gramophone which sits atop, along with the dog, the deceased master’s coffin, yes coffin, as […]

Tokyo Record Style

Casimir (and Heloise)

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Within 10 minutes of my on-the-way-home route I pass 20 record stores, just in Shibuya alone: Ultra Shibuya, Lighthouse Records, Discland Jaro, Recofan Magnet, Face Miyashita, Hi-Fi Records, Tower Records, Union Record Parco, Union Jazz Soul Punk, Disc Union Rock, RnR Garden, Manhattan Records, Next Records, Nerds Record, Mothers, Records, Original Face Records, HMV Shibuya and Coco Isle Music Market. From there, I can either take the shorter way home through Shimokitazawa where there are just as many shops, or I can take the ever-so-slightly longer route through Shinjuku and where I think there may even be more than 20 […]

Tokyo Record Style

Igami

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I feel like all my life I’ve been elbowing my way into social scenes that I don’t really have any business being a part of, as if for some kind of dare to myself. I don’t know what it is about me, but when I encounter a world of things and people I know nothing about, I’m often compelled to infiltrate, spy as it were, pick up some intel, save it for another occasional that waiting me down the road. Then when that 2nd chance comes, and I’m caring the Ace in my sleeve, I bust it out, and presto, […]

Tokyo Record Style

Alan

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I started off the new year up with a midtown meetup in Chiyoda-ku and my dear pal and DJ extraordinaire, Tatsuo Fukutomi, also known as “bemsha” for a burger at BK and a record dig at Disk Union above Ochanomizu’s station. After a loooong chat over lunch and a short obligatory dig at DU, we headed out to the plaza and back towards to the station, but not before we both spotted a camo’d-out character walking down the Disk Union stairs and across the square with what seemed like a record store bag. Bemsha knew exactly what I cooking up […]

Tokyo Record Style

Jacee

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Now, here is somebody who deserved his holiday to Tokyo with his family, and a trip to Tower Records for some of his favorite music on vinyl. Meet Jacee from Manilla who, after many years of hard vacation-less effort acquiring a medical degree, has been working in the Philippines healthcare system emergency room doctor for the last year and a few months. I caught up with him and his family at the big Shibuya Scramble Crossing. Jacee and his family with warm and welcoming and we chatted each other up quite a bit. I was able to share a bit […]

Tokyo Record Style

Taka of Bar Travis

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Music is life. Music make the world smaller. Just had to say that. Happy New Year Tokyo Record Style, Friends. I’m getting off to a late start writing and posting , and the backlog of photographed people is piling up. Had a bit of your standard issue writer’s block I suspect, but my fingers and clickity-clackiting away again. So here’s to a great 2024 of music life and record style! Off we go! The first person featured on Tokyo Record Style of 2024 didn’t actually have any records! But he did have a proper Disk Union-branded premium tote, very much […]

Tokyo Record Style

Leslie, Jeff (and Cousin Kevin)

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How can, after all these years, Shibuya Scramble, AKA, “The busiest interaction in the world” keep impressing? It knocked my socks off the first time I saw it as it does everybody who has ever beared witness to it, and it’s still captivating me two decades later, even having seen it literally thousands of times. Viewing it from slightly afar these days, say from the new Sakura pedestrian overpass, with the major ongoing transformation, new skyscrapers arising all around it like a citadel, while the Tokyo Department Store that as once sat in the center atop the station having come […]

Tokyo Record Style

Sean

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I had a slightly peculiar claim to fame growing up, that my grandfather was from Canada, technically making me, for whatever it was worth, ¼ Canadian (if a person can actually claim such a thing). Well, I did, and although I could really only make a few distinctions, some being having different words for things like sofas, napkins, bathrooms, and ending sentences with “eh” a lot, loving to eat permission fruit, roasted chestnuts, and whatever beaver tails are (I eventually found out), always having a reserve of real maple syrup, and arguably a pretty darn good national anthem and flag, […]

Tokyo Record Style

Garageville Yasu

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With so many awesome record store owners in Tokyo, it would impossibly hard and really unfair to to rank them in terms of coolness (first noting that by definition that they are many degrees cooler that the populace at large), but you’d be very, very hard pressed not to put Yusa san of Garageville Records at the very tip top of the list. You’d really need several Mt. Rushmores to carve them up the pantheon of cool shopkeepers but Yusa san really does stand out among most. You could say it’s because taste in music and his great curation of […]

Tokyo Record Style

Asao

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I was thumbing through my 7” singles recently and came across Frank Zappa’s “Valley Girl”. It’s no secret that I’m a huge Zappa head, and with all the money that I spent collecting his absolute massive discography I could have bought a car by now. But I didn’t always love Zappa, in fact, the first time I heard that VERY song, “Valley Girl”, played to me on Sony Walkman headphones by a 2nd cousin, I remember thinking it was musically the worst song I had possibly ever heard. I was probably 11 years old, listening to a lot of Michael […]

Tokyo Record Style

Apollo

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Brian (Dad) at (Chez) Tokyo Records Style! This season is always filled with cheer and goodwill, but also tons of great music, so much of which is pressed on glorious wax!! From Nat King Cole to Ariana Grande and everything in between, the holiday air is filled with classic Christmas tunes. Probably like at your house, our favorite Christmas records have finally been back in heavy rotation. The definitive favorite at our house has been “Rockin’ Little Christmas”, an 80s compilation that kicks off Side 2 with Bobby Helm and The Anita Kerr Singers’ […]

Tokyo Record Style

Xuan

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I became friends with somebody this year that has really captured my imagination and curiosity, if I’m honest, like nobody quite has in a long while. When I was introduced to her among a circle of brand-savvy fashionistas, in-the-know vanguards, and trendsetting designers themselves, she was wearing something like cheap slacker work dickies, classic checkered vans slip-ons, some chunky self-repaired eye-glasses, fuzzy cardigan, a funky haircut and a kelly-green watch that matched her kelly-green socks. Plus she stood tall, but with a swagger that you could hear in her confident voice. “This is Xuan, from Beijing” I was told. “Xuan, […]

Tokyo Record Style

Jeffery Beats

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Hello, Jeffery Beats from Beijing! Nice to meet you and welcome back to Japan. I met up with Jeffery at Ella Records who was being toured around with pal, Ryoki from the last post. They are both DJs in the hip-hop, chill-hop, city-pop-loving vein of what I am more broadly calling “Wamono” henceforth. It wasn’t Jeffery’s first visit to Japan but if memory serves me, it was his first time hanging with Ryoki though have been connected for some time online through music. Visiting from China, I naturally was curious about the record store and music-loving scene in Beijing. Jeffery […]

Tokyo Record Style

Ryoki / Teresahenn

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When I lived in Hatagaya nearly 20 years ago, it certainly had a “neighborhood-in-the-shadow-of-Shinjuku charm” about it, but it had no association at all to sophisticated, classy, posh Yoyogi-Uehara just down the road, nor would I necessarily described it as “hip”, rather quite unassuming and nondescript, salaryman-ish. “Hata-where?” …but all that has changed in these years and now it’s one of the hippest hoods west of the Yamanote, thanks to places like Paddlers Coffee, Freeman Shokudo, and Ella Records. Needless to say, I love zipping through the ol’ neighborhood nearly every day as it’s on my way home from both […]

Tokyo Record Style

DJ Gundam

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Oh, the people you’ll meet! Staking out Vinyl Union in Shinjuku a few weeks back on a Saturday at dusk, I didn’t expect to wait long for an interesting-looking character to come out with records who I could approach for a photo. Cavalierly passing on a few too-pedestrian-looking collectors emerging from the shop with records, I overzealously waited for somebody a bit more “special” …I know, I’m not proud of this, but it was wild and seedy Shinjuku after all, Tokyo’s Time Square… and somebody with some reason style and character was bound to emerge. So I waited… But dusk […]

Tokyo Record Style

Igor (and Alexa)

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Igor is the kind of big brother you want: One you grow up with who is constantly turning you on to new music for your whole life, one who provides a drum backbeat for your fledgling guitar hero aspirations, one who teaches you about the ways of people, relationships, work, fashion, stye, being a dude, one who eventually becomes both a music producer and a music video producer, and pushes you in your own path for music excellence, one who visits Japan, decides how awesome and inspiring it is, returns to your hometown in Belgrade, Serbia, then insists he brings […]

Tokyo Record Style

Aleksa (and Igor)

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I keep saying the world gets smaller through music and it happened again a couple weeks back when I met Aleksa (and his older brother Igor who’s coming up in the next post) from Belgrade, Serbia on the streets of Tokyo. We connected so wholeheartedly that we ended up losing all track of all manner of time, conversing about so many topics for over an hour; talking about Serbia, about Tokyo, about music, and life, that eventually my notebook went back into my pocket with very few actual notes in it – whoops! This happens sometimes, when you are just […]

Tokyo Record Style

Azim and Family

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Do you remember the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail when King Arthur and his Knights reach the mysterious and feared “Bridge of Death”? Some of the knights make safe passage by correctly answering the scary and mean bridgekeeper’s riddles of various difficulty (What is your favorite color?) while some don’t (What is the capital of Assyria?) and are magically thrown into “Gorge of Eternal Peril” When it’s King Athur’s turn to answer the riddle “What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?” King Arthur stumps the bridgekeeper himself by inquiring “Which kind of swallow: African or […]

Tokyo Record Style / Uncategorized

Hinata and Kaho

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Hello Hinata and Kaho! Another couple who claimed not to be a couple (yet?) but who were out on what looked very much like a record-shopping date. This got me thinking back to, well, slightly dangerous territory to venture into, but …loves of yore, all the music I’ve shared with past girlfriends …and just the notion of music in a relationship, and how personal music is, and how unlikely it probably is to genuinely share music tastes with a partner. Some know that I met my wife in a band. I played piano and she played drums. I also play […]

Tokyo Record Style

Ksniea

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Did you know that, according to research, the average person meets about 80,000 people in their lifetime? As a rather outgoing person myself, I was guessing I’d fall somewhere on the high end of that curve, that was until I started to crunch the numbers. If you live to be 80, that’s 1000 people a year, every year of your life, which is about 3 people a day on average. You’d think the only way to keep that high average would be by joining occasions like parties, classes, or gatherings where you meet a lot of people at once …but […]

Tokyo Record Style

Jeroen and Naomi

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Oh boy… Have I got a story for you! Strap in cuz this is gonna be a good one A few weeks back while I was on my way home from Ebisu, I drove past General Store Records right as one of the charming and cute staff was walking down the stairs at the end of her day, carrying a record taboot! “Here’s my chance!” I thought. Despite my best pitch and that she knew TRS, fact was she was late for a date, and reluctantly declined. Not to be defeated, I dashed over to Disk Union and spotted a […]

Tokyo Record Style

Nozomi

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There have only been a couple of records that have really caught me off guard on this project: Leon Russel’s self-titled debut, Shane MacGowan’s (R.I.P.) “The Snake” and now the Grateful Dead’s “Workingman’s Dead” – WOW! When I asked Nozomi san what record she had scored from HMV in Shibuya, I did NOT expect her to bust out Workingman’s Dead, a deeeeeeply formative record from my youth. Arguably the Dead’s best studio attempt, Workingman’s is to the equally beloved American Beauty maybe what Rubber Soul was to Revolver, a companion masterpiece, and my favorite of the two. As you may […]

Tokyo Record Style

Keigo

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Say hello to Keigo, bass player of Tokyo indie rockers “Tomato Ketchup Boys”, who I ran across in Shimokitazawa a few weeks back while record-shopping with his bandmates, frontman and guitarist Haruki, and drummer Shunsuke (from the previous post).  Keigo scored a very interesting record – a record that, after listening to and reading up on, perfectly illustrates the kinds of amazing discoveries I keep making through this project. It turns out that Diners is a project by a rather enigmatic musician, Blue Broderick, who seems to have a bit of the genius of Brian Wilson, Paul McCartney, and I […]

Tokyo Record Style

Shunsuke

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Shunsuke pictured here was part of a trio of friends I caught up with a couple of weeks back in Shimokitazawa. He was with his pals, Keigo, (who had also scored a record and who I will feature in the following post) and Haruki, who together make up “The Tomato Ketchup Boys” a band that the three have kept together since for some 7 years after forming in highschool (if I remember correctly.) With Shunsuke on drums, Keigo on bass, and Haruki on lead guitar and vocal, these three had some pretty good brotherly chemistry, and the fact that they […]

Tokyo Record Style

Brian

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Wow, another TRS first …we’ll at least first since my very first post. I’M being featured on Tokyo Record Style! Yours truly – Brian Scott Peterson, AKA, “BP”, “Peter Brianson”, “Pete Mesquite”, “Moosehead”, “Zebrio”, “Wendell (my bowling name), “Big Boss” to some, and “Safety Samurai” or “Bura-chan” to even fewer. Um… How coud I not, when the very friendly Oscar from Sweden (featured a dozen or so posts back), who appeared at my last “Tokyo Record Style Day” event at Coco Isle Music Market, despite not even being a record collector himself, whose heartwarming first words to me where “I […]

Tokyo Record Style

Hiroto

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This is a bit of a Tokyo Record Style first. I met up with Hiroto outside of Rare Records in Kichijoji last Sunday. The day before had been “Record Day” in Japan, neither to be confused with “Record Store Day” (which is celebrated worldwide) nor “Tokyo Record Style Day” (which is my own little concoction). Maybe I can only say this as a Damn Yankee but “Record Day” is to Boxing Day what “Record Store Day” is to Christmas, a sorta slightly obscure 2nd reason to celebrate. In actuality, I think “Record Day” is basically Japan’s own “Record Store Day” […]

Tokyo Record Style

Shinichi

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The backlog of music… a great problem to have, or a sign that you are spread too thin. There is a great line from the intro of “Better Off Without a Wife” off Tom’s Wait’s seminal classic from 1975, “Nighthawks at the Diner” where he paints the scene of going out on a date (comically with himself), going to dinner and a movie, aving some provocative conversation on the way home in the car, pulling up to the house, smoothly scooting a little closer, sultrily whispering “I think you have something in your eye”, walking the date (again, himself) up […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tsunehito Eda

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“I’m getting closer! I can feel it!” ..a thought I was having to myself.  “Closer to what?” you ask.  (Hmmm, I must be thinking out loud) “Not to what,” I reply, “to who…” “Dammit, Brian! Closer to WHO?!?” you exasperate.   “The Selectors,” I murmur just under my breath.  “Oh gawd! Here we go again, you and these ‘Selectors’! How many times do we have to go over this? They’re not REAL! They’re ARE NO SELECTORS! When will this STOP?!?! You’ve been looking for these elusive Seletors for 4 months straight! They don’t EXIST!!” “The Suginami Selectors.” “THEY DON’T EXIST, BRIAN!” […]

Tokyo Record Style

Taichi

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A number of years ago I was in the market for a new amplifier. I really debated whether to buy a feature-thin power-amp, optimized for a 2-channel, high-fidelity listening experience, or a feature-rich, multi-channel mainframe Audio/Video receiver for the home entertainment center. As much as I wanted to go for a warm and roaring, analog and VU metered, tube-glowing vintage hi-fi amp for myself, I opted for max HDMI ports, Bluetooth, and the like, to stay in good graces with my growing family. (I’d get the hi-fi rig down the road).  Well, one of the interesting and unexpected features I […]

Tokyo Record Style

Lee Kyong Sung

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Hey there Kyong Sung! Thanks for taking the time to say hello! Kyong Sung and his friend had just paid a visit to Tower Records when I caught up with them on the streets of Shibuya. I don’t know if I’d call Kyong Sung’s visit to Tokyo from his native Seoul part of a growing trend per se, as Koreans have statistically far out-visited Japan than any other nationality, averaging a million per year for the last several, compared to just ~300k of it’s next two rivals, Taiwan and USA, BUT I do keep meeting Koreans on the streets of […]

Tokyo Record Style

Ophelia

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I spotted Ophelia and her BF Matt on the streets of Kichijoji last week. They had just come from Coconuts Disk and Ophelia had scored The Square’s “Midnight Lover”, which I didn’t know at all. She told me she chose it for the cover and that she really liked the yellow car juxtaposed on the green background. Ophelia told me that she and Matt are students from Guangzhou China living in Tokyo during their studies. She is studying design and Matt is studying photography. Having been to Guangzhou a number of times myself, I suggested Ophelia and Matt connect with […]

Tokyo Record Style

Makiko Yamamoto

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After years of visiting my (semi-) local Coconuts Disk in Kichijoi, a couple weeks back I finally ventured out over to its slightly older brother, Coconuts Disk Ekoda, the original, in Nerima. Despite its relation to its satellite little bro near me, this record shop was far more different than I had expected. Yes, it had the same signature green sign, and trademark “coconut-ish” plants strewn about. Scattered throughout too were random decommissioned hi-fi accouterments, but unlike their Kichijoji shop, there was a kind of voodoo element in the air, all the music being guarded by exotic taxidermied birds and […]

Tokyo Record Style

Blue is free, Blue is noble, Blue never racial discrimination!

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Another amazing display of generosity by my artist friend, Miro, who has created and is sharing the notion of “Blue Identity” speaking about blue as a color for freedom, for peace, for nobility, and never racial discrimination. I love this concept so much and I am so honored to know, be inspired and supported by Miro! Please check out is moving work and join me in spreading the notion of “Blue Identity”! THANK YOU MIRO!!!

Tokyo Record Style

Atsushi – BBQ Records

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To be perfectly honest, when I finally found BBQ Records after having driven past it 2-3 times, situated above a Matsuya Gyudon beef-bowl fast-food chain, in what looked like a tiny little 2nd-floor apartment, I pretty much lost all hope that I might have been stumbling upon a Tokyo diamond in the rough. But you never know, and I was keen to check it off the list of shops I’ve visited, and so I parked the bike and headed up those sorta sad and all-too-familiar non-descript apartment stairs. I followed the signs, rounded the corner, and came upon a surprisingly […]

Tokyo Record Style

Daisuke (and Mao)

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I have been dying to visit Coconut Disk in Ekoda for some time, and having a few hours to kill last weekend, I found it on the map, and though it appeared just a short jaunt away in Nerima, Maps was telling it me would take 50 minutes to get there by car on a busy Tokyo Saturday. Knowing that I can split lanes on the bike and work my way to the front of every green light, I can usually shave off about 30-40% of every trip (I’ve insister for years that Tokyo really is best experienced by bike. […]

Tokyo Record Style

Kazuki – Coco Isle Music Market

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I’m really happy to shine the Tokyo Records Style spotlight on Kazuki from Coco Isle Music Market, a well-established and beloved Reggae records specialty shop in Tokyo. But what’s a more honest way to put it, is that I am really happy to be IN the spotlight OF Kazuki, because as one of the most friendly and knowledgeable record shop owners that you will meet in Tokyo, to spend any amount of time with him is to brighten your day (or night). It’s also easy to tell that all the positive vibrations Kazuki regularly absorbs through music across 2 decades […]

Tokyo Record Style

Taylor – Side 2

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I had written my typical 2200-character mini-essay about photographing the beat of Taylor Mignon’s own drum. It was not about the struggle of photographing him per se, but a bit about my inability to evoke from the subject my, perhaps rather boring now, standard-smile-pose that spans most of Tokyo Records Style. It was about how every once in a while you encounter a creative force in front of your camera as equally unbending as your own, and about how despite having an image in your head of what you want, you sometimes just have to take what they give you […]

Tokyo Record Style

Taylor Mingon

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Now I’m not really cunning with a camera per se, but having made too many portraits of people over the decades to count, I know virtually ALL the tricks to get flattering smiles out of people. For example, when you meet really stiff, fake, forced smiles in your viewfinder, you show people how to take a deep breath and relax (which fixes most ..but not all). For others still needing nerves calmed, you show by example by shaking out the jitters and getting loose (which fixes more remainder …but still not all). So then, (here’s the magic) you take the […]

Tokyo Record Style

Oscar

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I arrived at Coco-Isle about ten minutes before 7pm which was when the 6th Volume of my Tokyo Record Style Day (record-shopping with homies) was meant to begin. Because it’s a little tricky to find, and suspecting that if anybody was actually coming (which due to a snafu on my part might no longer been the case) I thought that I ought maybe wait outside on the street to help guide any wandering lost-looking record collectors up the stairs. When none seemed to arrive in those 10 minutes, I thought, “Well, let’s make the most of this and try to […]

Tokyo Record Style

Julian Cirnigliaro

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Last weekend I hosted another edition of “Tokyo Record Style Day” – basically just record shopping with pals. For this 6th volume, I slated to go to Coco Isle Music Market in the afternoon around 2 or 3pm. Then just a few days before the event was here, Dad duties threw a little wrench in the gears and I had to postpone it til later in the evening. I few people who wanted to come, wouldn’t be able to make it and, in addition to feeling cross at myself for screwing up those people’s weekend plans, I worried for the […]

Tokyo Record Style

Atsu

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Finally, autumn is here in Tokyo and Atsu’s long muted-green jacket I’m guessing was seeing the first action of the season. When I saw it hanging casually off the laid-back shoulders of ball-capped Astu, along with a graphic Tote bag that I wished I had gotten a better look at, I thought to myself, “There’s a photograph…” I had popped into HMV Shibuya’s gallery space, “Bankrobber LABO” named for the fact that the space was once a bank, and the back upstairs room where the gallery is was the bank’s vault. They’ve re-purposed it as an experimental space, curated by […]

Tokyo Record Style

What’s on your Top 5?

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A brief introduction to my monthly talk show, Top 5 Records. And an invitation for you to come participate! Head over to the Top 5 Section of Tokyo Record Style, find any of the past “Top 5 Records” past theme, and leave your Top 5 as a comment! Let’s share and learn from each other, become better connected through music!

Tokyo Record Style

Mori (and Rio)

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What an encounter, meeting Mori and his lovely lady, Rio! What an insanely cute couple! I swear, I keep traveling back in time to my 20s when I meet young people on the streets in love. What I see are the playful of hearts, innocent spirits with ornery sweetness, that child-like twinkle of wonder in their eyes that reflect back wide-open roads, roads that tend to glimmer less and less for those whose decades have passed and as midlife tries to beat us down, break our will, suck the creative marrow out of bones. But some of us fight to […]

Tokyo Record Style

Amano (and Uchi)

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“Vinyl is the poor man’s art collection.” – Noel Gallagher As I was cruising by Tent Records in Nishi-Ogikubo on my way home from Kichijoji, as I’m wont to do, I spotted Amano’s vibrant green dress as she and her boyfriend, Uchi, were sitting inside at the listening station, both actively listening on headphones to the same record. That dress alone would be reason to stop, which I did do, and as entered the shop I started to peruse the records, I tried not to study them too hard, but thought to myself, “Wow, they’re quite photogenic!” Then I overheard […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tokyo Record Store Day Vol. 6 – Coco Isle Music Market

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Reposting from yesterday, no change in plan, just posting again! Guys, I really dropped the ball on this one. I need you guys to please give me a pass. I had originally planned this for 3pm in the afternoon but then I found out I had a family obligation. Although I didn’t actually make a dedicated post or event page about it yet, I had mentioned the initial time in one post, but then the 7-9 postponed time in another post. Ahhhhh!!!! I just got overwhelmed and didn’t know if I should keep pushing or not. Anyway…. It’s *TODAY October […]

Tokyo Record Style

Kana (and Ryuhei)

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Ryuhei, kind and friendly boyfriend of lovely Kana pictured here, you don’t deserve to be thrown under the bus, like I am sadly about to do to you. You seem very gentle, and smart, and cool, and handsome, and sweet, and no doubt a great catch for Kana …god, please know how much I genuinely hate to have to do this… but purely by virtue of Kana’s love for records, compounded by the fact that the one and only record that she brought home this day was an un-cheap record, requiring hard-earned limited cash of a 20-somthing-year-old, and by the […]

Tokyo Record Style

Muraguchi

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There is one particularly most-beautifully human expression that I feel blessed to be able to experience frequently throughout this project. I feel like it could be one of the deepest ways to study the nature of humanity. It’s the exact moment when the language of the face changes from suspicion to trust, from anxiety to ease, from fear to not only relief but even delight. It’s like watching a child back up as far as he can on a swingset, then letting go, and then flying past the “maxima” i.e. point of mechanically expected return, breaking the laws of physics, […]

Tokyo Record Style

Takahashi San – Moonbeam Records [月光社/Gekkōsha]

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I’ve been visiting Moonbeam Records for many years but it wasn’t until I was facing a little disaster that I had my first earnest conversation with Takahashi san a while back. What had happened was that I had an upcoming DJ event at which I was meant to spin records. At the previous event, I had used my pals’ personal turntable cartridges rather than my own, and of course, as luck would have it, one of the needles broke on my watch and it was only fair that I replace it. Not wishing to face the same dilemma again, I […]

Tokyo Record Style

Top 5 Records Volume 14 – The Color of Music Recap

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Before moving on to more Tokyo Record Style fun, I just wanted to stop and recap our last “Top 5 Records” and send another big thank you to everyone who participated either as a DJ, presenter, or attendee, (or organizer!). It was heaps of fun and the theme made for some interesting musical exploration. If you’re new here or don’t quite know what “Top 5 Records” is yet, it’s our monthly DJ event and talk show where we play records and countdown our favorite songs, albums, and artists, on various self-imposed themes in tribute to our unlikely heroes and record-store […]

Tokyo Record Style

Dean

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Friendly Dean from Christchurch via Osaka was up in Tokyo with Malin and Bastian from the previous post, shopping for records. Dean was rawking a VW Bus T-shirt which, having spent many years driving around America in my own, was speaking to me. Nobody probably cares about this but why don’t I just take a few a few lines to hip you to old VWs. Whereas “Beetle Bugs” are called “Type I”, “Vans”, “Combis” or “Microbuses” are called “Type II”. “Type III” are “IV”s are these sorta less interesting sedans. “Karmann Ghia” are “Type 14”, “34” or “145” depending on […]