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, oh and of course, mad for hockey, aside from these things, my grandfather wasn’t all that different from your average grandfather …but he was.

The aforementioned differences were charming but what always impressed me infinitely more was that uprooted himself from very rural Manitoba and, despite it not being a drastic leap, ventured off really into another world to make a new life for himself in the States. While always remaining connected to his roots, he never looked back. “Wow! How does one just do that?” I always asked myself.

My grandfather and I actually had many things in common. As a writer and a photographer, his career was as a journalist (as was my grandmother’s, his wife) and I probably got my compulsion for both those practices from him. Compelled also like him, I left home for good at the first chance I had, and I’m sure that was something that deeply connected us. We exchanged many hand-written letters over many decades until his passing just a couple of years ago, and in those letters, he once wrote the word “sojourn” which until then, I hadn’t recalled ever encountering. I had to look the word up and learn that it meant “an extended but temporary stay”. After living so far, and so long, away from “home” and though even the very notion of “home” has become blurred in these some 30 years way of my earliest roots, it still seems to perfectly encapsulate the experience of basically being a temporary/permanent “stranger in a strange land” which seems to be the one through-theme in my life.

When you live in that place and time between worlds, a permanent outsider as it were, and resident of the seemingly temporary, the people with whom you tend to identify most are necessarily not your country of origin fellow passport expat sharers, nor necessarily your adopted land’s denizens, but your fellow sojourners, past and present. Though there is no secret handshake, something tells you to ask yourself when encountering one, often at times when you’ve forgotten that they still exist, “Wait a sec, I may have just found another. ‘Are you …from the …“Tribe of Sojourn”?’” And when the other confirms YES, and stories parallellaly align, no matter from where you both have come, there often is great, great delight, that you have found, what is known more commonly to the layman, a kindred spirit.

Music-loving, record-collecting, motorcycling-riding, mechanically-inclining, design-appreciating, Leica-sporting, photograph-making, Ø-Beer IPA drinking, perhaps beaver-tail eating, Greatish Plains-haling, far-way-from-home-residing, all-around good egg and chummed-out vibing, Sean Selvedge, who I believe is the very first ever follower of Tokyo Record Style, is one such spirit. As kindred as they come, his engaged interest, genuine curiosity, authentic good nature, and infectious smile, not only reflect all the values I aspire to have myself, but his Canadian-ness also connects me to my Grandfather who shared many of these same attributes. It’s GREAT to know Sean (“Simply marvelous!” as Grandpa Gordon would say), and sorry I took the LONG way to express it. Glad and grateful our paths have crossed. Here’s to the sojourner life, and to many more hangs!

More Tokyo Record Stye on the way!

Michiru Kojima – Best Friend
Label: For Life Records – 28K-95
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: Japan
Released: Sep 5, 1985
Genre: Electronic, Funk / Soul, Pop
Style: Boogie, City Pop, Funk, Synth-pop

Yuming [松任谷由実] – Pearl Pierce [パール・ピアス]
Label: Express – ETP-90175
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Gatefold
Country: Japan
Released: Jun 21, 1982
Genre: Funk / Soul, Pop
Style: Pop Rock, City Pop

Niagara Triangle – Niagara Triangle Vol.2 [ナイアガラ トライアングル Vol.2]
Label: Niagara Records – 28AH 1441
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: Japan
Released: Mar 21, 1982
Genre: Electronic, Rock, Funk / Soul, Pop
Style: City Pop, Pop Rock, Soft Rock, Synth-pop

Various – Secret Agent File
Label: GNP Crescendo – GNPS 2166
Format: Vinyl, LP, Compilation
Country: US
Released: 1984
Genre: Jazz, Pop, Stage & Screen
Style: Score, Soundtrack

Earth, Wind & Fire – All ‘N All
Label: CBS – CBS 82238, CBS – 82238
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Gatefold
Country: Europe
Released: 1977
Genre: Jazz, Funk / Soul
Style: Disco, Fusion, Jazz-Funk, Soul

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