Tokyo Record Style / Uncategorized

Hinata and Kaho

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Hello Hinata and Kaho! Another couple who claimed not to be a couple (yet?) but who were out on what looked very much like a record-shopping date. This got me thinking back to, well, slightly dangerous territory to venture into, but …loves of yore, all the music I’ve shared with past girlfriends …and just the notion of music in a relationship, and how personal music is, and how unlikely it probably is to genuinely share music tastes with a partner. Some know that I met my wife in a band. I played piano and she played drums. I also play […]

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

Atsushi – BBQ Records

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To be perfectly honest, when I finally found BBQ Records after having driven past it 2-3 times, situated above a Matsuya Gyudon beef-bowl fast-food chain, in what looked like a tiny little 2nd-floor apartment, I pretty much lost all hope that I might have been stumbling upon a Tokyo diamond in the rough. But you never know, and I was keen to check it off the list of shops I’ve visited, and so I parked the bike and headed up those sorta sad and all-too-familiar non-descript apartment stairs. I followed the signs, rounded the corner, and came upon a surprisingly […]

Tokyo Record Style

Atsu

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Finally, autumn is here in Tokyo and Atsu’s long muted-green jacket I’m guessing was seeing the first action of the season. When I saw it hanging casually off the laid-back shoulders of ball-capped Astu, along with a graphic Tote bag that I wished I had gotten a better look at, I thought to myself, “There’s a photograph…” I had popped into HMV Shibuya’s gallery space, “Bankrobber LABO” named for the fact that the space was once a bank, and the back upstairs room where the gallery is was the bank’s vault. They’ve re-purposed it as an experimental space, curated by […]

Tokyo Record Style

Makabe

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I was listening to Pink Floyd’s heartstring-pulling tribute to their founder and lost-to-the-60’s friend, Syd Barret, “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” this morning in the car, wondering around my brain, thinking, “How many times have I heard this song? How many more times will I hear it in my life? How many songs are there to hear? Should I listen to this again? Could I be using this time more wisely to listen to a song that I haven’t already heard a thousand times? How many more hours do I have in my life to listen to music? 20 more […]

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

Ray

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“Hey, there! Did you score some records?” “Yeah, I did. What’s up?”  (Mom and Dad [read: “Mama Bear” and “Papa Bear”] spot a furry foreigner talking to their 14-year-old son, and circle in, along with 13-year-old daughter [read: “Sister Bear”] to suss out the situation with me and Ray, pictured here [read: “Brother Bear”].) “Oh! It’s a family affair I see! At the record store! Quite rare, but not completely unheard of! Hi, everyone! I’m harmless [read: Friendly Bear of the Strange Woods]. The name is Brian,” and “Yes” (I can say confidently), “Though I may not look like the […]

Tokyo Record Style

Ryosuke Kimura

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I came to Japan, completely on a whim, in 2004, with very little knowledge of what I would find. It was 3 years before the iPhone came out, the same year Lost in Translation debuted, which, aside from fleeting images and stereotypes that I might have gained from 80’s American TV/Cartoons, besides images conjured by brands like Sony, Nikon, Toyota, or Nintendo, or even the little glimpses that I had gathered from snowboarding magazines that would sometimes feature the Japan Alps, Lost in Translation was really my only current cultural reference at the time. To be honest, I really didn’t […]

Tokyo Record Style

Sophia

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I’ve read that there are over 100 record shops in the 23 wards of Tokyo. If you add all the recycle and books shops that have decent record offerings, add another 100 shops. If you add in record stores and recyclable shops of the surrounding sprawl of Tokyo Megalopolis, in which 37 million people live, there are another 100 shops. That’s about 300 in total. Pretty insane, huh? Count Uptown Records in Koenji among them, and one that certainly stands out among the others. Located right in the middle of Koeji’s famous Koshin-dori Shotengai shopping street, its cool DIY-made sandwich-board […]

Tokyo Record Style

Maj

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As the sun was setting on my crosstown traffic home, serendipity shone one last beam upon me, illuminating this crazy diamond, whose name I’d eventually learn was “Mai”, but spelled “Maj”, wandering back streets of Shimokita far, far away from her home in The Hauge. Her crimson clothes and fair hair starkly contrasted the muted neighbor tones of Tokyo, and the evident inquisitiveness of her stride and gaze, and the proximity of the encounter to curiously-curated Pianola Records, all of which I was synthesizing in a matter of seconds, gave me no doubt that she was very likely a little […]

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

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

Unknown Treasure Music

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I recently heard a story told by Dave Grohl, of him as a kid, driving around with his mom in the 70’s listening to the radio, singing along to Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain”. He shared how his mom was singing Carly’s high melody, and how he stumbled into singing Mick Jagger’s lower backing vocal, and how the combination of his voice and his mother’s together made harmony, and it blowing his young impressionable mind, and how it was from then that he started listening to all the parts of music, the symphony of instruments and voices, all the colors […]

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

Yamazaki

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A Tokyo Record Style First! Traversing central Tokyo with just a bit more of Sunday morning to kill, and with a Disk Union that I rarely visit right on my route, how could I not at least pop by and see if anybody was walking around the adjacent plaza with recently purchased records? So I took the right Yushima Seido, the black 17th century Confucian Temple, crossed Kanda River, spotted the green copper roof of the Holy Resurrection Cathedral, and there coming down the stairs of the 2nd floor Disk Union was Yamazaki san carrying a 12×12” vinyl record store […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tetsuya Hoki

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A late Sunday morning with kids off tied up in a school activity afforded me a visit to RECOfan, a record shop in Akihabara with a rather huge inventory. Despite digging through nearly everything there, nothing quite jumped out of the crates at me, so I left empty-handed, even without a ¥100 7inch. With a ride clear across Tokyo to get back home, a “Records shops around me” Google search lead me to Tohto Records & Books in Yushima where I discovered a quaint shop run by the friendly Tetsuya san, who as it turns out, prior to opening Tohto, […]

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

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 […]

Tokyo Record Style

Naohiro

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Anyway, I had no clue what records Naohiro was showing me, but I’ll check them out and give them a listen in the coming days (All the records photographed are listed on Discogs with info – link in bio). Despite not knowing industrial/goth/metal music well (nor the -waves / -cores), I mentioned that my neighbor (and father of my son’s best pal) is part of legendary industrial outfit, Skinny Puppy, and Naohiro was quite impressed to hear that. We also discussed The Cure’s (one of his favorite bands) recent re-release of “Wish”, which was one of the first CDs I […]