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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gokky

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“Never judge a record by its cover.” An adage updated for the modern age. As I came around the corner past the famous Suzunari Gekijo Theatre, made famous for being about as far off Broadway as you can get, and over the old tracks of the now-underground Odakuyu line, where we Shimokitazawans used to wait for sometimes 15 minutes at a time for all the local, semi-express, commuter, and double-decker Romance Car train to pass, and then through the once-iconic-but-now-a-bit-sterilized gate of “Ichi-Ban-Gai”, the “#1 Street”, right in front of Jet Set Records, I spotted a pair of full-sleeve tattoos […]

Tokyo Record Style

Natsuki

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I’ve just stepped into an alternate reality time machine where I’m looking in a mirror and seeing a 20-something Japanese version of myself, surviving on cup noodles, party beer, cheap rent in a house full of like-minded hippies, spending every last cent on records and concerts, and having just blown through my entire week’s paycheck at the record store in one go, with absolutely no concern or worry that I now have no funds for food. Don’t worry, I’ll subsist on music… Meet Natsuki, who I caught up with outside Coconuts a couple of weeks ago, who in a way […]

Tokyo Record Style

Michael Warren

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Michael pictured here is a brother-in-music-appreciation to me. We only came to know each other 4 or 5 years but considering how we both can go on and on, and on and on, about music, as we do on our 1-to-1 logs pretty much every day, it feels like we’ve already shared a whole lifetime, or even two, of musical and philosophical discussion. Yes, that’s right, we have been maintaining a collaborative 2-person idea and discussion log, a sorta oral diary, almost every day for these last 4-5 years that we affectionately coined “The Dog Log” (which has been mentioned […]

Tokyo Record Style

Chaz

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Zig-Zagging home through the streets of Shibuya, Chaz’s Supreme Jersey, White Polo bucket hat and record bag caught my eye. Then I noticed that the tote bag his wife, Nana, was carrying was one of those heavy canvas incognito Disk Union bags. “Sumimasen? Disuku Yunion no baggu desu ka? Naka ni rekōdo haitemasu ka? Watashi mo rekōdo daisuki. Rekōdo o katta bakari no hito-tachi no shashin wo toru kameraman desu. `Tokyo Record Style’ to iu boku no insutaguramu desu. Shashin totte mo īdesu ka?” “We’re Korean.” “Annyeonghaseyo!” (Laughter) “…that’s about all the Korean I know …and Gamsahabnida (Thank You). Is […]

Tokyo Record Style

Keesh

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I met Keesh and crew in Shinjuku outside of Disk Union. His lovely wife Tama was waiting outside with a trolly full of vinyl while he and the scratch brothers, Haruto and Keito (stay tuned for the next post) were inside the shop. Right as I approached Tama, who easily looked the DJ part, for the Tokyo Record Style pitch, out came the Keesh with half an eyebrow ever-so-slightly raised in natural suspicion about this strange foreigner chatting up his wife who has been guarding a crate-full of records. (Japan IS as safe as a society can be, but this […]

Tokyo Record Style

Saeka Shimida

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A fellow photographer – Saeka! I caught up with her and a pal with a nice stash of records just scored from Jet Set which, a little like Big Love Records, keeps a highly curated inventory of mostly new-ish records, finds that for the more discerning listener. Maybe I’m imagining things, but walking around with records in a Jet Set bag says to the more basic (in that modern dismissive sense) listeners like me, “That gay/gal didn’t just score some records from Jet Set …that person IS A JETSETTER!” That could actually be true because when Saeka produced the records […]