Mai (and Masaya)

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 loosely-defined genre of “Adult-oriented Rock” that merges jazz, funk, disco, R&B, basically emerged in Japan’s boom era and reflected a burgeoning sense of leisure and technology in the 80’s – a sorta urban yacht rock. But what I find particularly fascinating about this new obsession with City Pop, which I feel every so slightly comes through in these photos, is that it’s not purely 80s nostalgia, but rather mixed with 90’s, 00’s, and 10’s, all quite seamlessly. Mai’s puffball hair accents made me imagine her in a Shannon Hoon Lollapalooza performance, a Deee-Lite MTV video, or a maybe Tarantino film. Her white Nike Air Force 1s clearly had a 00’s hip-hop flair, but the fact that they were chunky platform gave them some 10’s Dad-sneaker power. Lace tights took me back to Madonna and the 80’s and her oversized Denim Jacket I think is all the rage at this moment. It’s all simultaneously “adult” (with sometimes ostentatiously blingy accents) and (respectfully) “juvenile” (with slacker qualities). I’m beginning to ramble (on!) but taking it all in makes me curious, in a Larry Clark sorta way, to go where they go to be together, to document what they’re all wearing, what they’re all listening to, to hear the conversations, and better understand what the hell is going on.

Well that was interesting. Didn’t quite know where I’d end up, but here we are. Thank you Mai, and thank you Masaya too, for sharing your time, your music, and great style on the streets of Shinjuku. See ya around!

More Tokyo Record Style on the way!


Epo – Vitamin E.P.O = ビタミンE.P.O
Label: Dear Heart – RAL-8806
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo
Country: Japan
Released: Apr 5, 1983
Genre: Electronic, Funk / Soul, Pop
Style: Funk, Synth-pop, City Pop, Kayōkyoku

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