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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

George

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Hey Tokyo Record Style Friends! I doubt anybody has noticed, but I had to pause TRS for a bit (seems about 20 days since my last post) to work on other priorities, some of which I’ll be excited to share with you very soon. Though I couldn’t seem to carve out the time to write much, I did not stop meeting record-loving people, jotting down their stories in my notebook, and photographing their smiling faces with their recent record store scores. Something that maybe is coming to light to me as a …beat(?) writer, as it were, is that the […]

Tokyo Record Style

Ricky K Tanimoto 

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Last weekend’s Top 5 Record Event (which I hope to recap this weekend) lead me to Ricky, pictured here, and his cool Shinjuku Shop, Anchor Records. I was on a hunt for a particular record at a particular price, that I wanted to add to my Top 5 List, and was scouring the web when I finally found the record at the price on Anchor’s website. I had never heard of Anchor but knew exactly where it was, next to a camera shop I used to visit all the time, like multiple times a week, on the northwest side of […]

Tokyo Record Style

Nao and Ryu

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I spotted Nao and Ryu, two young buds and college classmates, coming out of HMV in Shibuya with their first records and a turntable in their hands! WOW! “How old are you guys?” “I’m 21 and he’s 22” I think I remember one of them saying. “When you can stream everything, why are you guys suddenly buying records?” I asked. “Well, I tend to listen to playlists on streaming platforms, and that’s fine, but if I listen on a record, then I’ll be forced to listen to the whole album and in the sequence the artists intended. It will be […]

Tokyo Record Style

Laura

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I met globe-trotting, vinyl-raiding, sound-selector, DJ Laura Lopez outside of HMW in Shibuya after she had just scored a smattering of City Pop 45s to add to what I might guess is a rather large collection of wax with which she regularly DJs sets of Soul, Funk, Boogie, and Disc (see her Instagram). Hailing from D.C. and having visited Tokyo (with her record-collecting partner-in-crime Ed – see next post) so many times that she’s lost count, she knew the Tokyo Wax Trax as well as anybody and had the vinyl to prove it. I loved her white jacket on all-black […]

Tokyo Record Style

Hiro

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While killing some time to pick up my son from cram school, I spotted Hiro, pictured here, wearing a cool bandana-pattern jacked and carrying a Disk Union bag, that 12” size that is all too easily recognizable for holding recently scored records. With little time before needing to dash off on Dad-duty, I chatted up Hiro san who upon my explanation of Tokyo Record Style, shared with me a big friendly smile and the record he just scored – Todd Rundgren, T. Rex, and The Three Degrees. Like most who people I ask, Hiro was eager to have a chat […]

Tokyo Record Style

James Banbury

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Little did I know when I met James Banbury that I was speaking to a renowned music arranger, writer, and musician. We met at an exhibition opening through mutual friends a couple weeks back and I found out then that he had only recently moved to Tokyo after a decade+ in Hong Kong. Our mutual friend had mentioned he was a musician, and we talked about tons of music, shared interest in artists, rapped about club music and DJ days, beloved but now defunct record labels, and about how he was making a spontaneous trip back to Hong Kong for […]

Tokyo Record Style

Shouu Tanaka

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I met the artist Shouu Tanaka on the streets of Mitaka yesterday. I spotted her and a friend (who turns out to be the bass player of Fuji Rockers, Neconemuru) shopping at Parada Records. After she purchased this cool-looking CD-LongBox Set of “The Ultimate Sparks Collection” (and after I picked up a Mamas and Papas single), I dashed out of Parade to see if I could catch up with her, and lucky for me, I did. Shouu san agreed to join this Tokyo Record Style project after I introduced myself. She told me her real name (not mentioned here), and […]

Tokyo Record Style

Asa and Hitomi

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“Who are these two interesting and colorful characters browsing around in Shimokita’s Disk Union? Are they together? They must be. Oh, look! Dare I say he’s going to buy that record, wait, another! Maybe if I just look a little longer in the 45s, keep an eye on them, and then time the purchase of these outer sleeves right as they’re walking to the register, then I can conveniently walk out at the same time as them. Oh, good, Auld Lang Syne has been queued for the shop’s closing. Just wait a little longer, Brian. Wait a sec… could this […]

Tokyo Record Style

Koichi

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This project is proving to be an interesting little vehicle for the perfect conversation with a stranger, particularly from one music lover to another. It seems that with nearly everybody I’ve met, spoken to, and photographed, we’ve come to learn something that we have in common beyond just a love for music. And it’s kinda remarkable how it starts. Just the sentence “Excuse me, are those records?” seems to simultaneously cause curious antennas to raise while initiating the diffusion of any tension or suspicion as if it’s some kind of secret password buried in subconscious that overrides all external perceived […]

Tokyo Record Style

Shimpei

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I met Shimpei on the streets of Shinjuku with his new vinyl scores from Disk Union: Peter Tosh’s Bush Doctor and Tom Browne’s Magic. I asked Shimpei why he collects records and he mentioned being a DJ, and when I looked at his Instagram, I can see he’s spinning music every few nights. Shimpei was super friendly as you can see by his warm smile – Looking forward to listening to these records and keeping tabs on Shimpei so I can catch one of his DJ sets.   Peter Tosh – Bush DoctorLabel: Rolling Stones Records – CUN 39109Format: Vinyl, […]

Tokyo Record Style

Yuta

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Yuta was hanging out with a couple of pals on the streets of Shinjuku holding a recent score from Disc Union. I told him about Tokyo Record Style and asked him to pose for a photo. From his Disk Union Bag, he produced 2 records, neither of which I knew, a repeating occurrence I’m finding. One record was Sweat by the System, Electro Synth-pop which Yuta described basically as Disco. The 2nd record was Teddy Mike’s instrumental funk record, On Point. Looking forward to listening to both these records. Thanks, Yuko for posing for these shots and looking so effortlessly […]

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 […]