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. It was all well-paired with some high-voltage slacks, glossy patent leather shoes, and some Hollywood moviestar from the 70’s sunglasses-at-night and a full head of lushly messy hair. The only thing he was missing perhaps was a pearl necklace, but on the other hand, I suspect he had it all exactly right. It was indeed something to behold. Nice digs, Kurata. Way to go for it.

Kurata was as friendly and as could be and shared with me two interesting records he scored, one by Jazz Funk pioneer and vibraphonist extraordinaire, Roy Ayers, AKA “The Godfather of Neo Soul” and another record that really pique my curiosity by “Palmbomen II” about whom I just learned is moniker of the Amsterdam-based musician Kai Hugo who releases music on NON Records, a label he helped found with his friend Bear Damen, and French label Kitsuné Maison. Palmbomen has also scored the soundtrack for the PlayStation Vita game Metrico as well as being featured on the soundtrack for Grand Theft Auto V. Very interesting… Looking forward to giving this one a listen.

Kurata shared with me that he has a vintage pioneer turntable in a wooden plinth, an Onkyo amp, and just started his record collection. For lack of time, I followed up with Kurata after our meeting via mail and he shared with me a few more details about himself, which I’ll add here in his words:

“My name is Kurata. Once again, nice to meet you! I am 25 years old and though I live in Saitama, I’m not originally from there. My hobbies are watching anime, playing video games, and wearing elegant clothing. Growing up, I felt that it was always anime and games that “saved me” so my music heroes are also artists discovered from anime and video games… As I told you, I’ve just started collecting records and I often buy records because of their covers, and my records are mostly house and trance genres. As for clothes, I like elegant clothes of Japanese brands, especially those of Comme des Garcons. The outfit at that time was inspired by the elegant women of the 70’s and 80’s.”

Kurata finally sentence really blew me away:

“I want to be a cool OJISAN in the future.”

…which is to say, “I want to be a cool old dude someday”, with “Ojisan” not exactly translating directly to English. It technically means “Uncle” but in its slang context, I think “old dude” is about as close as you can get. And as a side note, on a recent shoot I did of a family with a 4-year old boy, for the entire shoot, the youngster kept calling out to me “Hey, Ojisan! Come look at this” … “Hey, Ojisan!” … “Hey, Ojisan!”

…So Kurata san, take it from me: It wasn’t that long ago that I was hanging on the streets with my music/fashion/art buds, wearing my sunglasses at night… So just take some time to enjoy your youth and no need to rush to be a cool Ojisan, but I’m sure you’re well on your way. It will be here for you before you know it.

Something else on the way: More Tokyo Record Style…

Roy Ayers / Cash – Deep Disco & Boogie
Label: Kindred Spirits – KSDB-01-12B
Format: Vinyl, 12″
Country: Netherlands
Released: Dec 17, 2010
Genre: Funk / Soul
Style: Disco, Boogie

Palmbomen II – Make A Film
Label: World Of Paint – WOP004
Format: 2 x Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: Netherlands
Released: Oct 1, 2021
Genre: Electronic, Stage & Screen
Style: Ambient, Acid House, Leftfield, Synth-pop, Score, Lo-Fi

I’ve – GIRL’s COMPILATION Vol 10 “ALIVE” 通常盤
Label: Fuctory Records –ICD66050
Format: CD, Album, Compilation
Country: Japan
Released: 2017
Genre: Electronic, Pop
Style: Trance, Techno, J-pop

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