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

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 […]

Tokyo Record Style

Malin and Bastian

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Vertigo! Jaws! Dolly Zoom! I just finally “got”  the “sound” of “Group Sounds!” There was a short 3 or 4-month window of time in the spring of 2004, between the moment that Japan was whimsically put as an unexpected destination on my upcoming-that-summer sojourn to Asia… (after a travel agent who was booking my tickets to Nepal’s Himalaya asked me “How about a stop in Japan? You’ll be flying to Kathmandu via Tokyo and Bangkok?” “Japan?!” I replied, “Hmm… Why not? Sure!”) …and the moment of time when I called my parents from San Francisco Airport to say “Ok, I’m […]

Tokyo Record Style

Lucas

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Meet Lucas from Washington DC and Miami, visiting Tokyo after completing his post-grad studies. Jeez, Lucas, I’m not gonna do out great conversation justice cuz I let too much time pass between the time we met and the time I could sit down and write this, but one thing I remember for sure, nobody has more more gracious with their time since I started this project. We talked about so many subjects, TOO many to remember them all. Ah, I’m gonna butcher this but I think I remember Lucas told me that his mother was from Argentina, and his father […]

Tokyo Record Style

Dylan

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I’m asking myself, “How does one let go of the standard conventions of a song: Intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus?” But that begs the question, “Where did the conventions of a song come from in the first place?” And then that begs the question “What was there before conventions?” I’d guess if you went all the back to the beginning, you’d start with rhythm, the heartbeat, followed by the murmur of breath, or perhaps the howl of wind, rumble of water, crack of wood. But was there harmony before humans? It seems that the Greek philosopher Aristoxenus’s “Elements […]

Tokyo Record Style

Iggy

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With a smile like this, how could I not stop Iggy and chat him up? Outside of Ella Records on the streets of Hatagaya, the bright blue Los Angeles Dodgers cap and t-shirt (“Freeman #5” on the back) grabbed my attention. Being just a very short stone-throw away from the famed “Freeman Shokudo”, famously delicious Jewish/Japanese BBQ Soulfood, run by the ever-affable Jeffrey Freeman (also past Tokyo Record Style subject and proprietor of Deadly Dragon Records) my mind actually went there first. Could Iggy and his crew be mega Smokehouse fans? (Note to Aaron: I’d probably buy a Freeman Shokudo […]

Tokyo Record Style

Destiny

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Welcome to my 200th Tokyo Record Style post! AMAZING! Thank you all for joining me along this wildly fun journey so far. Here’s to the next 200!  Wow, 2024 will mark my 20th year in Japan and I tell ya, Shibuya is still Shibuya. Yeah, she’s a little shinier, a little taller, a little more electric, but she’s still got that Shibuya “charm” …ok, fine, not for everyone. But c’mon, just admit it, yes she’s crowded, noisy, juvenile, and obnoxious, but she’s darling too, Forever 21, Hysterically Glamourous, Ichimaru-cutey. I mean it’s just who she is, and if you can’t […]

Tokyo Record Style

Nori

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Nori-san, pictured here, though the same age as me, knows more about music now than I could ever know even with 2 entire lifetimes. Though initially, we didn’t exchange so many words, I could sense by his attentive and discerning curiosity of me, a lightness but directness in his voice, along with a sensibly understated style, details of which were jumping out at me (tucked-in-to-slim-navy chinos, a “Tunnel Records Shirt San Francisco” Tee, western leather belt and eastern neighborhood sandals, distinctive eyeglass frames and an inconspicuous black-on-black Ralph Lauren cap) that there was probably much more to Nori that even […]

Tokyo Record Style

Akitake Yamato

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Jazz in all its carnations, for me, is like the sea. Being from Oklahoma which is about as far away from the coasts as you can get, it’s like a thing of almost bewildering wonder, I can’t seem to wrap my head around it completely, its depth, its flux, its infiniteness, even its smell. I must have been 11 or 12 the first time I saw the ocean, probably on a trip to Florida. It no doubt short-circuited my impressionable mind. I remember feeling like I had arrived at “The Source”, seeing a fast-forwarding timelapse montage in my imagination of […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tomie Nakagawa

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When I last visited Physical Store – Organic Music + Planet Baby, I may have tornado’d in a bit, I guess, (read: “NORM!” from Cheers) initiating some bolstered chat with a few familiar faces, as I’m wont to do, and I may have slightly disturbed, or at least caught off guard, I presume local regular (which I am not, but maybe slowly becoming) Mr. Tomie Nakagawa who seemed to be having an otherwise relatively quiet weekend afternoon, now with his daughter, son-in-law, and his grandchild having just returned to El Paso where they reside, after a two-week (no doubt, whirlwind) […]

Tokyo Record Style

Hisashi (and Setsu)

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Hello Hisashi and little Setsu-chan, cute father/daughter combo who I met at Physical Store – Organic Music + Planet Baby in Shimo Igusa. These two were decked in full weekend regalia – I really loved Hisashi’s glasses which had flip-up shades that only covered ¾ of the frame when down which I don’t think I had ever seen before. And he had a killer colorful “Meet Beat” shirt on too with its illustrated music heads all over it. I also caught out of the corner of my eye that was rocking some understated black leather Jack Purcell “Black Tips” maybe, […]

Tokyo Record Style

Hiroto

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I came across Hiroto having some solitary sidewalk respite on a quiet Shibuya back alley off the beaten path. He was sipping a cold beer admiring a couple of records he had just scored. He seemed mostly unphased by my noisy motorcycle and my non-native Japanese as he stood up and was nothing but smiles, quickly agreeing to a chat and a photo.  Hiroto told me he’s s student on the stressful path to becoming a lawyer (the Japanese Bar exam is notoriously hard and nearly all would-be attorneys famously fail it many repeated times before passing) and that he […]

Tokyo Record Style

Top 5 Records Vol. 14 – “The Color of Music”

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Top 5 Records Vol. 14 – “The Color of Music” – September 23, 2023 Welcome to Season 2 of “Top 5 Records” where music-loving pals and DJs Michael Warren, “bemsha” (Tatsuo Fukutomi), and “Zebrio” Brian Scott Peterson, invite their friends to an afternoon and evening of playing records and counting down their Top 5 Records on various themes! The Season 2 – Episode 4 theme is “The Color of Music” – songs and albums that relate to color! It will be up to our DJ’s to share how they interpret “The Color of Music”, whether that be “Songs with Color […]

Tokyo Record Style

Matteo and Chingya

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As soon as I spotted the turntable-sized box being carried out of Tower Records along with some record-sized vinyl bags, I chatted up these lovely characters, Matteo and Chingya to find out they were from Italy and Taiwan but met and currently reside in Stuttgart, and rendezvousing with their pal Wendy in Tokyo before headed to Taipei and then back to Germany, all with a record player in tow! Now that’s a dedication! When I stated the obvious, that record players are also sold in Germany, Chingya told me that she wanted to gift Matteo with a memorable anniversary present […]

Tokyo Record Style

Cynthia

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Talk about a bubbly character, 16-year-old Cynthia had an effervescence that the world needs more of. I couldn’t tell if her Andy Warhol shirt, her blue hair, her chucks, and her recent record score, were all complimenting her contagious cheery smiley, or if they were competing for its charm. It didn’t help that she was in cahoots with equally hip her homegirl mom (who was probably also younger than me), a Jesery girl no doubt (I can say that, cuz I’ve known a few), but by way of Guangzhou, and with whom Cynthia communicates in Chinese. Here they both were […]

Tokyo Record Style

Markus

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Bumped into Markus visiting Japan for the first time from Berlin where he works for a major record label managing artists and musicians! WOW! It appeared by the contents of his record store bag, which had a smattering of all-genre scores from Disk Union, HMV, and Tower, that Markus was a record-store tear! He was generous with his time with me but I could tell he was keen to get to Face Miyashita before it closed in 30 min. We had a nice short chat and I shot him on the stairs suspended over Organ Zaka that go up to […]

Tokyo Record Style

Chee Shimizu

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Whenever music legends are honored at award shows and for lifetime accolades, there will often be tribute performances of artists who were inspired by the honorees, covering the guest’s own songs (Strange reference, but think of Heart’s Ann and Nancy Wilson doing Stairway to Heaven for the remaining members of Zeppelin during their Kennedy award a few years back.) The performing artists often cite terror of what their musical heroes might think of their renditions. Well…, That’s kinda how I feel as I’m about to write about Chee Shimizu, a musical institution of Tokyo, who has performed countless DJ sets, […]

Tokyo Record Style

Bemsha

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DJ bemsha in d’house …of Tokyo Record Style again! Our deal pal bemsha joined up for another edition of Tokyo Record Style Day last weekend when we went to Tohto Records and Disc Union Ochanomizu Eki Mae. Bemsha has about 6 or 7 years on me I guess in terms of age, but about 6 or 7 decades on me in terms of deep musical knowledge. He’ll dismiss that comment as an overstatement cuz he’s that kinda guy, but it’s true. But this was precisely the reason, compounded by the fact that he is a voracious reader, that I was […]

Tokyo Record Style

The Omnia Burger T-shirt! I love it!

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This month, just for fun, I entered turntable cartridge maker @jico_international‘s T-Shirt Sweepstakes – “OMNIA BURGER” launched to commemorate their killer OMNIA Package and Cartridge Line. The T-shirt featured a tasty-looking hamburger replete with a record and turntable tonearm (with JICO cartridge) toppings. This design by renowned illustrator AIMI Odawara (), known for her remarkable artistic legacy in Japan, jumped off the T-shirt for me because: 1.) My record-loving pals and I often go out for burgers after a record store visit, like we did just last weekend for Tokyo Record Style Day Vol. 5 to Tohto Records & Books, […]

Tokyo Record Style

Yusya

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The Indonesian Force is strong in this photo. Yusya, pictured here, though from rural Illinois, USA, Jakarta, Indonesia, and now Tokyo, Japan, and despite being a lover of Jazz, Rock, Pop, Ska, Reggae, Psych (see previous Tokyo Records Style post in which Yusya is showing off a monster record by Patto), and apparently an expert on Ween (my brother in Boognish), went full roots Indonesian for this photo, scoring not one, but TWO classic “Dangdut” albums, one by Elvy Sukaesih and another by Hetty Koes Endang, two legends of the Dangdut genre, I’m told.  Yusya explained to me that Dangdut […]

Tokyo Record Style

Michael Warren

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Well, hello there, my good buddy, my good ‘ol pal, THE Michael Warren with your recently scored Walter Wanderley Rain Forest in such a lovely green, that was featured by our mutual friend and Top 5 Records co-host DJ bemsha in our last installment of the live talk-show series on the theme “Summertime.” As we shared at Tohto Records, that record also caught my attention, bemsha’s as well, as we were sifting through the Brazil section together right before you arrived. I was slightly on the fence about taking it home myself. While I know it to be a killer […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tokyo Record Style Day – Thank you!

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If “New York is the city that never sleeps” then “Tokyo is the city that never ends.”  It’s just so vast, so colossal, so limitless. There are neighborhoods inside of neighborhoods inside of neighborhoods. Even if you lived here your whole life, maybe even 2 or 3 whole lives, you’d be hard-pressed to know it all. And always is the case that just if or when that fleeting feeling comes when you sense you’re getting close to knowing it, it either sheds a layer, generates another, or on a whim, presents a completely new pocket of itself that simply couldn’t […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tokyo Record Style Day – Miro Blue Identity Giveaway!

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I’m convinced! Nothing beats Tokyo Record Style Day! As Tina Turner says, “Simply the best!” In my next post, I’m gonna recap the fun time we had but for now, I want to spread the message of “Blue Identity” by Tokyo artist, Miro who recently styled me with an amazing work of Bob Marley art and a pack of stickers of some amazing heroes, both literal and figurative in blue. Miro’s “Blue Identity” is a beautiful notion that challenges racism and injustice. While we’re capable of discriminating against black, red, brown yellow, and white and of believing wrongly that our […]

Tokyo Record Style

Izzie (and Abbas)

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I primarily make photos of people. This includes lots of portraiture, editorial, events and parties, studio time, and just hanging out with a camera around my neck. The art of making a good portrait really lies in making the subjects comfortable. The faster you can do that, the more natural the photo will generally be. The way I do this is to diffuse the tension with humor, a light heart, taking interest and having curiosity, carrying the moment with an effortlessness to put the subject at ease, making them feel comfortable and confident. This is my natural state of flow […]

Tokyo Record Style

Hazel

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Hi, friendly and smiley, Hazel, who was the 3rd and final part of the “Tremendous Trio” I met on the streets of Shibuya last week. I just love the word/name “Hazel” – I think it’s the letter “Z” inside it, and the plant from which the hazelnut comes, believed by the Celts to give one wisdom and inspiration (look up the story of the sacred Druid salmon who ate a hazelnut, then the Druid boy who cooked the salmon and gained all its fishy wisdom – good story), and of course the color Hazel, and the fact that it’s just […]

Tokyo Record Style

Brandon

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It happens again. I’ve photographed an album neither on Discogs nor on streaming, the first EP (released just 10 days ago) “人類滅亡ワンダーランド” or “Human Destruction Wonderland”, by 3-piece indie-rockers “Brandy Senki”, and goddamn, they’re good. They have some fun videos on YouTube you can check out, one with 3M views, (and one that features a Fuji Instax Wide Camera! COOOL!”) I owe this musical discovery to Brandon, photographed here, who was part of the trio of friends I met under Miyashita Park last week. Brandon is a student at the University of Oregon in Eugene which is a sorta long […]

Tokyo Record Style

Cass

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Hello Cool Cass from Dalian, China, visiting her pals Hazel and Brandon (who’ll I’ll feature in the following posts), on her 3rd or 4th trip to Japan and who had scored a sweet and recent repress of an, until recently, out-of-print “Heaven Beach”, the fourth studio album by highly-successful Citypop rocker, Anri, whose long-beloved tunes are, with the renewed popularity of City Pop, being sampled by many new artists of the Vaporwave and Future Funk genres. I’d guess that of the nearly 200 people I’ve photographed, some sizable 20% are young people in their early or mid-20’s not-at-all-necessarily-from-Japan, like this […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tokyo Record Style Day Vol. 5 – Yushima/Ochanomizu

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Record collecting friends! Brian here, representing Tokyo Record Style!! Announcing “Tokyo Record Style Day – Volume 5 – Yushima/Ochanomizu!!” 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!! The Yushima/Ochanomizu area has a couple of great […]

Tokyo Record Style

Top 5 Records – Volume 14 – That’s a wrap!

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Happy Summer from Tokyo Record Style!  There’s no denying it’s summer out there. With intermittent heat waves, blazing sunshine only occasionally interrupted by cream puff clouds or scattered late monsoon rains (now I sound like the weatherman), we decided we needed to lean into it all and celebrate the music of summer in another edition of Top 5 Records, on the theme: “Summertime!” Back at Talking Gorilla (THANK YOU!) in Shimokitazawa Station, who hosted the 3rd edition of our official 2nd season, Episode 13 (now I sound like a math teacher), usual suspects Michael Warren, Tatsuo Fukutomi AKA “bemsha” and […]

Tokyo Record Style

Blue is Free, Blue is Nobel, Blue never racial discrimination – Thank you, Miro

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Blue is Free, Blue is Nobel, Blue never racial discrimination – Thank you, Miro More Life One Love View this post on Instagram A post shared by Tokyo Record Style (@tokyorecordstyle) Update: Music is Life I found a temporary home for my beautiful blue Bob Marley on my record shelf, and a spot on my 7″ case for a blue Jimi Hendrix. These beautiful artworks are by the talented Miro, whose message is “Blue is Free, Blue is Nobe. Blue never discrimination. Please be encouraged to visit Miro’s Instagram and give him a follow.

Tokyo Record Style

Ji Eun and Homin

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I met this smiley young couple on the back slope of Organ Zaka under the Miyashita Park and Yamanote Line underpass. They were just around the corner from Tower Records carrying that iconic red/orange/yellow bag and I immediately pulled over and chatted them up. I often pull this maneuver, spotting somebody walking down the street, safely but suddenly hitting the brakes and start chatting them up in Japanese with my sunglasses and helmet still on. Maybe they should cringe, feel accosted, and run the other direction, but the reaction is usually to freeze, stunned perhaps by the whole onslaught of […]

Tokyo Record Style

Michael Warren

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Of all the things that influenced my early love and appreciation of music, from memories of smooth 70’s yacht-rock classics heard while riding around in the “way-back” of the station wagon, to the bombastic Dr. Teeth and Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show, from early synth-, metal- hip-hip-driven bands on MTV to all the original soundtracks of all the coming-of-age movies of the time, I’d say, rather embarrassingly the one source that had the most influence on me was eagerly waiting each week to listen to Casey Kasem’s (AKA Shaggy on Scooby Doo) Classic American Top 40 Countdown. I’m not […]

Tokyo Record Style

Teo

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Going out on a limb here to explain a feeling that I had when I saw Teo from Sweden for a 2nd time during his short stay in Japan.  So… I’ve already mentioned a number of times of another photography project I run called Photohoku, making photos for people in need, basically using photography as a means to do goodwill projects. The project started in response to the big earthquake here in Japan, and when my pal Yuko and I started it, we really had no idea what we were getting into. It became a huge project that took us […]

Tokyo Record Style

TOP 5 RECORDS – SummerTime

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Welcome to Season 2 of “Top 5 Records” where music-loving pals and DJs Michael Warren, “bemsha” (Tatsuo Fukutomi), and “Zebrio” Brian Scott Peterson (yours truly), invite their friends to an afternoon and evening of playing records and counting down their Top 5 Records on various themes! The Season 2 – Episode 3 theme is “Summertime” – songs and albums that are made for summer! It will be up to our DJs to share how they interpret Summertime, whether that be “Hits of the Summer”, “Surf-Rockers/Beach-life classics” “Scorching Hot Solo-ridden jams”, “Albums for Convertibles”, and so on. This will be our […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tokyo Record Style Day, Vol. 4 – THANK YOU!

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Record-loving homies! Brian here. I want to give an update on this weekend’s Top 5 Records event but with a busy summer family schedule, I’m still catching up on past activities, including our last “Tokyo Record Style Day” which was our 4th edition of visiting and celebrating cool record stores with out homies. For this edition, we visited Coconuts Disk in Kichijoji run by the gentle soul Yajima san, and a cast of laid-back music experts, the kind that keeps great tunes on the house system and knows all the degrees of separation from one artist to the next.  We […]

Tokyo Record Style

Ayse and Gunter

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Hello, Ayse and Gunter from Cologne, Germany. Ayse is living in Tokyo and currently a student Musashino Art University, or Musabi, and Gunter is visiting her from their hometown. When I spotted them in Coconuts Disk shopping around the bins, the stack of records they were holding was getting bigger and bigger and I thought to myself, “Whoa! Look at that stack! These guys are ballers! Def gonna chase them outside for a Tokyo Record Style photo!” And then when I spied them checking out I followed them out. I chatted Ayse and Gunter just outside in Coconuts has a […]

Tokyo Record Style

Igor

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While photographing PechaKucha Night Tokyo, I met a fan of Tokyo Record Style, Igor. During the beer break, a mutual friend who happened to be presenting that night about motorcycles, another hobby of mine, and who makes a cameo in the 3rd photo of this series – notice the surprised face (Hi Xuan!) – introduced us, mentioning that Igor was following and enjoying the project. That’s nice! On the job, I only had a few minutes to chat with Igor but he told me a story that, now two weeks later, I’m a little fuzzy on, but about an album […]