Tokyo Record Style

Fani

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You might not think Tokyo as the melting of humanity that is New York, London, or Sydney, but if this city’s population is any reflection whatsoever of the diversity of my circle of friends, which I think it HAS to be, particularly if you count all the people regularly and now repeatedly year-after-year coming through, I’m convinced very much that, at least if you go a layer deeper, Tokyo is one of the most international cities in the world. Scoff at that if you must, and yes, I admit that may be statistically highly inaccurate, but that’s my perspective. That’s […]

Tokyo Record Style

David Sternberg

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There is a certain quality that some people have, I guess you’d call it literally character, that if you have aspirations of ever writing a novel, you, when meeting these specimens, think to yourself, “Oh, here’s a good one to make a memo of. This guy’s whole being is expressive, I’m gonna base a character on this guy, in fact, I’m gonna cook up a little fictional vignette based on this very meeting, I mean after all, you can’t make up somebody or situations better than this.” David from The Little Record Store in North London was and is one […]

Tokyo Record Style

Hinako

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I decided to write a little bit in Japanese (see below), challenged by a friend, to both level up my Nihongo and to connect with the supportive Japanese audience always cheering me on.  I thought it was a nice idea and it also happens to coincide perfectly with a post about Hinako pictured here, who I met at Replace Records a few weeks back. Though I initiated our conversation in Japanese, because she has grown up for many years attending international schools while living in Indonesia with her family, we were able to quickly change gears and communicate primarily in […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tomatsu

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When we look in the mirror, we don’t see our “true” selves, or maybe a better way to put it is that we don’t see our “accurate” selves, but rather a representation of ourselves, horizontally flipped, but it’s close enough to give us an idea of how we look and who we are. But on the other hand, when we look at a photograph of ourselves, maybe a well-made portrait, we see ourselves as the world sees us …and sometimes, even often, the person we see in the photo is not the same person we see in the mirror. I’ve […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tsuburai

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Crossing paths in NishiOgikubo with Tsuburai pictured here was a lucky chance. Here is a guy, no doubt, steeped in musical knowledge and whose tastes coincided with mine quite clearly but still like a Tokyo super expressway overpass interchange where there are highways are overpassing, underpassing, intersecting and outersecting with eachother. We had a nice exchange on the street where he told me that besides loving music, he also produces events, and projects, another thing we shared in common but because he had another place to be at that moment, he generously gave me what little time he had for […]

Tokyo Record Style

Towa

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Nearly every day on my way home from work, I pass by Manhattan Records, a Tokyo institution of 30 years that mostly Hip-Hop, R&B, Soul, and House. After passing Ultra Shibuya, Hi-Fi Records, several Disk Unions, Tower Records, an HMV, Discland Jaro, Next Records, Mother’s Records, and a couple of Face Records, Manhattan Records is the last record shop on my way out of Shibuya on Inokashira Dori, the road that leads me all the way back home. By the time I’m rolling up on Manhattan, I’ve usually photographed a record collector or two on the way at one of […]

Tokyo Record Style

Miguel

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Meet Miguel who hails from the Catalonia city of architect Antoni Gaudí (of Sagrada Família fam of course, and who I must say to who Miguel bears a striking resemblance san broken-and-taped eyeglasses), Reus, Spain! I’ve only ever heard of Reus by name but have never met and actual Reusenc, so this was quite a prospect! (Side note, Reus is also a famous for its signature Catalan modernism, also as wine-producing region, a rock-climbing mecca, and boasts a millenia-rich history. I wanna go! ) Miguel was carrying a massive haul form Recofan’s new shop in Shibuya Magnet opposite the station. […]

Tokyo Record Style

Marlon

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I met Marlon from Sydney on the back streets of Shibuya in the Udagawa district along with a pal he had just made, Miguel from Spain (who will be featured in the next post.) Talk about friendly, it was easy to recognize that Marlon’s charisma was as big as his heart. He was keen to be photographed for Tokyo Record Style, and chat me up about the records he scored, a rather sizable lot that ran the gamut of genres but mostly 12” that would get your booty shaking on the dance floor. Marlon mentioned that the record store scene […]

Tokyo Record Style

Ian Thomas (and Family)

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It’s been a long overdue Miles Davis kind of Sunday morning. The fact that today is the first rainy and overcast day in weeks makes it all the more fitting for “Kind of Blue” which followed a listening of “Ascenseur pour l’échafaud” Miles’ soundtrack to the groundbreaking 1958 French crime thriller film with the same name, which I was turned on to by the subject of today’s Tokyo Record Style post, Mr. Ian Bob Thomas, who was visiting Tokyo for the first time from Adelaide, Australia with his lovely family. I caught up with them rather late in the evening […]

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

Alan

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I started off the new year up with a midtown meetup in Chiyoda-ku and my dear pal and DJ extraordinaire, Tatsuo Fukutomi, also known as “bemsha” for a burger at BK and a record dig at Disk Union above Ochanomizu’s station. After a loooong chat over lunch and a short obligatory dig at DU, we headed out to the plaza and back towards to the station, but not before we both spotted a camo’d-out character walking down the Disk Union stairs and across the square with what seemed like a record store bag. Bemsha knew exactly what I cooking up […]

Tokyo Record Style

Leslie, Jeff (and Cousin Kevin)

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How can, after all these years, Shibuya Scramble, AKA, “The busiest interaction in the world” keep impressing? It knocked my socks off the first time I saw it as it does everybody who has ever beared witness to it, and it’s still captivating me two decades later, even having seen it literally thousands of times. Viewing it from slightly afar these days, say from the new Sakura pedestrian overpass, with the major ongoing transformation, new skyscrapers arising all around it like a citadel, while the Tokyo Department Store that as once sat in the center atop the station having come […]

Tokyo Record Style

Sean

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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, […]

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

Tsunehito Eda

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“I’m getting closer! I can feel it!” ..a thought I was having to myself.  “Closer to what?” you ask.  (Hmmm, I must be thinking out loud) “Not to what,” I reply, “to who…” “Dammit, Brian! Closer to WHO?!?” you exasperate.   “The Selectors,” I murmur just under my breath.  “Oh gawd! Here we go again, you and these ‘Selectors’! How many times do we have to go over this? They’re not REAL! They’re ARE NO SELECTORS! When will this STOP?!?! You’ve been looking for these elusive Seletors for 4 months straight! They don’t EXIST!!” “The Suginami Selectors.” “THEY DON’T EXIST, BRIAN!” […]

Tokyo Record Style

Lee Kyong Sung

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Hey there Kyong Sung! Thanks for taking the time to say hello! Kyong Sung and his friend had just paid a visit to Tower Records when I caught up with them on the streets of Shibuya. I don’t know if I’d call Kyong Sung’s visit to Tokyo from his native Seoul part of a growing trend per se, as Koreans have statistically far out-visited Japan than any other nationality, averaging a million per year for the last several, compared to just ~300k of it’s next two rivals, Taiwan and USA, BUT I do keep meeting Koreans on the streets of […]

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

Mori (and Rio)

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What an encounter, meeting Mori and his lovely lady, Rio! What an insanely cute couple! I swear, I keep traveling back in time to my 20s when I meet young people on the streets in love. What I see are the playful of hearts, innocent spirits with ornery sweetness, that child-like twinkle of wonder in their eyes that reflect back wide-open roads, roads that tend to glimmer less and less for those whose decades have passed and as midlife tries to beat us down, break our will, suck the creative marrow out of bones. But some of us fight to […]

Tokyo Record Style

Kana (and Ryuhei)

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Ryuhei, kind and friendly boyfriend of lovely Kana pictured here, you don’t deserve to be thrown under the bus, like I am sadly about to do to you. You seem very gentle, and smart, and cool, and handsome, and sweet, and no doubt a great catch for Kana …god, please know how much I genuinely hate to have to do this… but purely by virtue of Kana’s love for records, compounded by the fact that the one and only record that she brought home this day was an un-cheap record, requiring hard-earned limited cash of a 20-somthing-year-old, and by the […]

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

Destiny

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Welcome to my 200th Tokyo Record Style post! AMAZING! Thank you all for joining me along this wildly fun journey so far. Here’s to the next 200!  Wow, 2024 will mark my 20th year in Japan and I tell ya, Shibuya is still Shibuya. Yeah, she’s a little shinier, a little taller, a little more electric, but she’s still got that Shibuya “charm” …ok, fine, not for everyone. But c’mon, just admit it, yes she’s crowded, noisy, juvenile, and obnoxious, but she’s darling too, Forever 21, Hysterically Glamourous, Ichimaru-cutey. I mean it’s just who she is, and if you can’t […]

Tokyo Record Style

Akitake Yamato

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Jazz in all its carnations, for me, is like the sea. Being from Oklahoma which is about as far away from the coasts as you can get, it’s like a thing of almost bewildering wonder, I can’t seem to wrap my head around it completely, its depth, its flux, its infiniteness, even its smell. I must have been 11 or 12 the first time I saw the ocean, probably on a trip to Florida. It no doubt short-circuited my impressionable mind. I remember feeling like I had arrived at “The Source”, seeing a fast-forwarding timelapse montage in my imagination of […]

Tokyo Record Style

Hisashi (and Setsu)

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Hello Hisashi and little Setsu-chan, cute father/daughter combo who I met at Physical Store – Organic Music + Planet Baby in Shimo Igusa. These two were decked in full weekend regalia – I really loved Hisashi’s glasses which had flip-up shades that only covered ¾ of the frame when down which I don’t think I had ever seen before. And he had a killer colorful “Meet Beat” shirt on too with its illustrated music heads all over it. I also caught out of the corner of my eye that was rocking some understated black leather Jack Purcell “Black Tips” maybe, […]

Tokyo Record Style

Cynthia

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Talk about a bubbly character, 16-year-old Cynthia had an effervescence that the world needs more of. I couldn’t tell if her Andy Warhol shirt, her blue hair, her chucks, and her recent record score, were all complimenting her contagious cheery smiley, or if they were competing for its charm. It didn’t help that she was in cahoots with equally hip her homegirl mom (who was probably also younger than me), a Jesery girl no doubt (I can say that, cuz I’ve known a few), but by way of Guangzhou, and with whom Cynthia communicates in Chinese. Here they both were […]

Tokyo Record Style

Bemsha

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DJ bemsha in d’house …of Tokyo Record Style again! Our deal pal bemsha joined up for another edition of Tokyo Record Style Day last weekend when we went to Tohto Records and Disc Union Ochanomizu Eki Mae. Bemsha has about 6 or 7 years on me I guess in terms of age, but about 6 or 7 decades on me in terms of deep musical knowledge. He’ll dismiss that comment as an overstatement cuz he’s that kinda guy, but it’s true. But this was precisely the reason, compounded by the fact that he is a voracious reader, that I was […]

Tokyo Record Style

Michael Warren

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Well, hello there, my good buddy, my good ‘ol pal, THE Michael Warren with your recently scored Walter Wanderley Rain Forest in such a lovely green, that was featured by our mutual friend and Top 5 Records co-host DJ bemsha in our last installment of the live talk-show series on the theme “Summertime.” As we shared at Tohto Records, that record also caught my attention, bemsha’s as well, as we were sifting through the Brazil section together right before you arrived. I was slightly on the fence about taking it home myself. While I know it to be a killer […]

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

Igor

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While photographing PechaKucha Night Tokyo, I met a fan of Tokyo Record Style, Igor. During the beer break, a mutual friend who happened to be presenting that night about motorcycles, another hobby of mine, and who makes a cameo in the 3rd photo of this series – notice the surprised face (Hi Xuan!) – introduced us, mentioning that Igor was following and enjoying the project. That’s nice! On the job, I only had a few minutes to chat with Igor but he told me a story that, now two weeks later, I’m a little fuzzy on, but about an album […]

Tokyo Record Style

Scooter

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“Scooter” (there is something muppety about him, perhaps more Gonzo than Scooter) told me his name but I seemed not to have written it down anywhere. It was probably because when I asked to make his photo for Tokyo Record Style, he said he was in a hurry to get somewhere… and after already having another such interaction (see previous post) suddenly I felt like I needed to get somewhere in a hurry too …perhaps shooting that cool looking girl walking out of Coconuts, right behind Scooter who maybe I would have had the time, and lord knows we need […]

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

Teo

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Maybe it’s not strange to admit that the first thing I generally do when I enter a record store is to scan the place for other record shoppers and, without trying to judge, which I guess is actually what I am doing, size everybody up. It’s not really an exercise in assuming things about people as much as it is a pure curiosity of what fingers are on what pulses for this particular group of people, because when all is said and done, you no matter what your style, or taste, or preferences in music are, you at least know […]

Tokyo Record Style

Jasper

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As I was coming over the hill from Miyashita Park where I’d ridden past Face Records at Miyashita Park and Tower Records behind it, with no luck on my side in spotting a record-collecting and record-store-bag-carrying Tokyo denize, as just and I rounded the top of Organ Slope and zooming down towards, HMV and Manhattan Records, up the street was walking Jasper from Hong Kong, who had just scored from Disc Union Parco a peculiar US Pressing of John Coltrane’s Blue Trane, but with a …”Hype Obi” – not quite an obi, or a hype sticker, and again, a US […]

Tokyo Record Style

Miori, Ayaka, and Uta

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Tokyo Record Style started as a confluence of several things. The first and foremost is an amalgamation of the past several decades of working as a writer and a photographer, primarily portraiture, and all the experiences that have come along with that. The 2nd inspiration, which can’t be understated, is my dear and talented friend John Sypal’s brilliant project, Tokyo Camera Style, where he essentially documents (read: celebrates) the state of photography in Tokyo (and really around the world considering how Tokyo is a sorta Mecca for photography lovers) by way of photographing the cameras of people he meets on […]

Tokyo Record Style

Onigiri and Nao

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“TOOOKKKYYYOOORRRKKKKRRRRDDS!!!” (inaudible) “Honey, I think that gaijin over there on the motorcycle with the crooked smile and camera around his neck is motioning to us” “I don’t think so. Just ignore him, he must be mistaken, and something is not quite right about that disheveled beard, those sunglasses, and that ratty bike. I’m sure he’s motioning to somebody else.” “No, I think he’s definitely pointing us, it seems he’s interested in your record bag” “RRRKKKKRRRRDDDSSSSHLOOOOOWAAAIIII” (inaudible) “Oh my goodness, Dear, he’s quite animated. There is something rather harmless about him. Should we check to make sure he’s not lost or […]

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

Michael

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Just like the postal service’s motto, “Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall keep the postmen from their appointed rounds”, we record collectors won’t let a little Tokyo drizzle keep us from the record store, or in this case, with my ace bud and Tokyo Record Style super repeater, Michael Warren, from an actual Record Fair, especially when you can find Edmundo Ros and his Orchestra’s “Hollywood Cha Cha Cha”, replete with percussive “Shekere” of West African (i.e. gourd dressed in woven beads, painted lightning bolt?), a fish-sonified “Güiro” etched wash-board-gourd from Cuba, Puerto Rico, or from Brazil […]

Tokyo Record Style

Marcus Atennsio 

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For those who might not know, among other things, I founded a now long-running volunteer project with my friend, biz partner, and long-time collaborator, Yuko Yoshikawa. The effort is called Photohoku, and over the years, it has broadened in scope but at its essence, it uses photography as a means to do goodwill projects. Many of the techniques that I have learned and used in Photohoku efforts are proving very useful for Tokyo Record Style. Last summer we hosted a single-day photowalk and gallery hop through Shinjuku’s photo gallery cluster and it brought together over 100 photographers for Peace including […]

Tokyo Record Style

Bobb

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I caught up with Bobb from Singapore in the backstreets of Udagawa-cho, in that cluster of record stores on Cosmic Zaka that include Next Records, Face Records, Manhattan Records, and Mother Records, four shops that are a stone’s throw away from 4 more shops – Perfect Circle, Jammers, HMV, and Rock and Roll Music Garden, which are a stone throw away from 4 more… In fact, I got a fairly definitive count on record stores in Shibuya. Care to take a guess? 37 Record shops in SHIBUYA ALONE! Insane! Back to Bobb and the record he scored, Nujabes, the beloved […]

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

Rina

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ALERT: Cute young woman, wearing holy jeans, 70’s green top, black boots, gold watch, bleached blonde, walking down the streets of Shimokitazawa, carrying a matchingly cute and sticker’d 45 case, loaded with deep cut Soul 45’s and a brown paper Disc Union sack full of equally soulful 33’s, en route to local DJ gig. Uh… Can you get any cooler? Um. No… No, you can’t. Well if you could, Shimokita would be the place, Tokyo’s Bohemian enclave, where I’ve mostly called home for my decades here, despite moving a little down the road. One of the things that I feel […]

Tokyo Record Style

Suda Yuichiro

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A rather frequent interaction that occurs in the process of pitching people on the idea of photographing them with their records is them acknowledging the concept “Oh, that’s actually pretty cool” but then them politely declining, “Sorry, but I’m just not…”…PAUSE… Now, reader, it’s in this moment that the brain immediately says “Ok, Brian, this one is going to require winning over. What’s gonna be our approach here?” And I really just have a couple of plays. Now there is a lot of nuance to these approaches, but I basically have the  “Go-For-It-Brian-What-Have-You-Got-To-Lose” Way (AKA “Brian Tsunami” / “Bunami”), which […]

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

Mack

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Say hello to Mack! He was the person that Massimo from the previous post who was searching for Japanese Promos w/ obi’s, trusted to help him find and identify them. And without trying to judge a book by its cover, it’s not hard to look at Mack, with his effortlessly cool rock-and-roller bed-head and understated goatee, his rusty dog-tags and thought-provoking leather-covered guitar pick pendant, his concert festival style bracelet, his funky colored, but sensibly comfortable city-style Asics, and finally his mustard-brown Credence Clearwater Revival Raglan T-shirt, and know that he was the right man for the job. But there […]

Tokyo Record Style

Massimo

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Primo and Promo! Mega score by Massimo from Italy is pictured here (and in my behind-the-scenes photos from the previous post). I connected with Massimo and his pal Mack outside of Disk Union in Shinjuku last weekend when I was hanging out with my buddy Michael. Massimo and Mack had just scored a huge haul of premium copies of some great titles, and ALL PROMO copies, i.e. early pressings intended for Radio DJs, Promoters, Record Stores and so, copies meant to promote the album.} For those who don’t know, a very over-simplified version of the record creation process. Artists record […]

Tokyo Record Style

Kerry and Yuki

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Meet lovely Kerry and (and Yuki) whom I caught up with on the streets of Shibuya for a friendly chat and some Tokyo Record Style. As is always the case, they were a little suspicious at first, just as I would be on the chaotic streets of Shibuya, but a genuine shared interest in music broke the ice and we got a off to smashing start. Kerry had just scored some records from Tower Records down the road. (Side note: In case you don’t know, a few months back Tower moved its giant ~7th-floor vinyl section in Shinjuku all over […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tatsuo Fukutomi (bemsha)

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One can never really have enough of our good pal TRS and TRSD repeater, Top 5 Co-Host, resident PK toaster, photographyphile, devourer of books, “Delinquent” (a person who displays anti-social behavior or challenges authority as a result of listening to Bob Dylan) and DJ extraordinaire, Tatsuo Fukutomi AKA “bemsha” in our lives. Bemsha makes his 3rd or 4th (or 5th?) appearance on the stream, but always a welcomed guest (…truth be told, I started Tokyo Record Style Day just to hang out more with him.) What more can I write about the ol’ bemshmeister that I haven’t written already? I’ve […]

Tokyo Record Style

Morgan Fisher

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The Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Tina Turner lived her days in Switzerland. The Queen of Queen, Freddie Mercury, lived his early days in Zanzibar. The Dude of All the Young Dudes, Morgan Fisher, lives in Japan and has since 1984! Keyboard wizard and maestro composer, Morgan is a bit of a Tokyo institution, and an actual living urban legend, having a long-lasting music career that has spanned the decades. He started with The Soul Survivors, who became Love Affair for their 1968 number-one hit single “Everlasting Love”. Soon thereafter he founded his own prog-rock outfit Morgan with members of […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tokyo Record Style Day Volume 3 – Hatagaya – Thank You!

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Hatagaya has a special place in my heart. It was the first place I lived in Tokyo, two stops from Shinjuku on the microscopic 2-station Keio-Shinsen Line. Little did I know when my pal Taku and I traded places, him leaving Japan on a sojourn of a lifetime, and me ending mine, that when he handed me the keys to his little apartment in Yashiro Mansion, and the keys to his motorcycle, that I would become forever rooted to Japan and that Shimokita/Shibuya/Shinjuku triangle would more-or-less remain my stomping grounds all these nearly 20 years later. Back then Hatagaya was […]

Tokyo Record Style

Johnny and Bora

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I just keep meeting the absolutely coolest and nicest people in the world on this project. What a brilliant little way to interact with the world that I seem to have just stumbled into. Though every person I meet is unique with totally different taste in music, it kinda feels like I keep meeting members of a sorta Secret Society, “The Illuminadio”, “Knights of the Turntable”, “Order of the Black Circle”, “The Fellowship of the Ringwear”, the “Fraternal Order of Record Collectors” and these two knew the secret handshake. As soon as I started speaking Japanese, I could sense that […]

Tokyo Record Style

Ryodai 

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Having been a photographer for nearly 3 decades, I’ve come in and out of hundreds of spells of inspiration or slumps of creative blocks, too many episodes to count. Sometimes I’ll go weeks without even picking up a camera, and other times I won’t dare make a 10-minute run to the supermarket without. Inasmuch, I juggle several other Instagram accounts that are in various states of activeness or hibernation, I have @BrianScottPeterson which I’d say is my main feed, which has inadvertently also become the default catchall feed for another project, Photohoku, but I try to make it about me […]

Tokyo Record Style

Mikuna

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Never has the style of the person so perfectly matched the records scored. This is Mikuna who I spotted with Takumi in Shimokitazawa. These two were nothing but smiles, and when I asked their ages, they confirmed what I keep suspecting, and that is that for every middle-aged collector who never stopped collecting records (I guess me, am I middle-aged?) or every made-of-money Boomer now re-collecting, for ridiculous prices at that, all the records from their youth, there are twice as many 20-something gen Zer’s out there buying vinyl. “Why?” I keep asking them? None of their answers are wrong […]

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

Oscar

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Hello, Oscar from New Jersey and Spain, visiting his buds in Tokyo, and who got slightly off the beaten path and made his way to Coconuts in Tokyo’s juuuuust-far-enough-away-neighborhood-to-be-isolated-from-Tokyo’s-bustle-but-juuuuust-barely-close-enough-not-to-be-too-inconvenient-to-call-home, bohemian and family-friendly (yeah, we have Inokashira Park …our own zoo) chilled-out oldschool hipster enclave that, those-who-know, know, forever lovely Kichijoji.  Oscar was stoked to have scored Casiopea’s Eye’s of the Mind, which, I know you’re not supposed to do, that is, judge a record by its cover, but if I do just that, judge away, this record has GOT to be interesting. Looks like a GEM and in great nick!  Well […]

Tokyo Record Style

Miho Jonishi

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This is one of those individuals whose mere presence makes any and all molecules in her immediate vicinity, I suspect everywhere she goes, begin to vibrate with excitement, whose high-voltage smile on the street demands a double-take, whose coolness, if you’re lucky enough to be acquainted, makes YOU feel cool, who not only has aura, but who IS aura – the incredibly talented and supremely hep Jazz vocalist from Sapporo/Sydney/NewYork/Tokyo, Miho Jonishi. Beyond this firecrackin’ bang of character and charisma I mention, she is also a most soulful vocalist, with a deeply nuanced and signature voice that I highly recommend […]

Tokyo Record Style

Ed

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Photographed here is Ed, who accompanied DJ Laura Lopez from the last post, on what seems to be another trip (of many) from D.C. to Tokyo, replete with lots of record shop exploring, and with whom I shared a lively conversation on all things music. Ed might be as big of a vinyl junkie as Laura is, having scored two records Japanese pressings by Taipei Jazz/Synth-Pop 5-piece, Sunset Rollercoaster, who, myself never having heard, is just a perfect example of new interesting music that I am discovering (and I hope you are too) by way of this project. I’ve mentioned […]

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

Mariko Lilly / DJ Lily

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Perhaps the most charming record store in all of Tokyo, Ella is home to some very carefully curated vinyl. It’s not because all the wax is premium, rare, or obscure records, it’s just that it’s all solidly selected, all killer, no filler. Located in a quaint and quiet little pocket surrounded by busy Tokyo, it’s situated ever so slightly just off in the buzzing shadow and neon glow of Shinjuku. It’s actually the neighborhood where I spent my first 5 years in Tokyo, called Hatagaya, so its backstreets are my old familiar stomping grounds. Ella opened in 2016 at the […]

Tokyo Record Style

Keiichiro Fukuzumi, Akitake Yamato, and Kosuke Awane

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I had 20 minutes to kill last weekend while waiting for my son’s backflip class (yes, backflip class) to end and spotted a record store on the map just a stone-throw away, one I had never been to before, called “OM Physical Store” (OM for Organic Music). DEEP in the backstreets of Shimoigusa, far off the beaten path, I did NOT expect to find such an extremely hip store, just recently opened last September by author of the holy grail guide, “Obscure Sound”, Mr. Chee Shimizu, known for compiling the comprehensive discography of some of the best rare records from […]

Tokyo Record Style

Takeshi Shimizu

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The artists that compel me the most are the ones who, themselves, are compelled to create. It’s often the compulsion that is more interesting and admirable to me than whatever art they create. My favorite artist John Baldessari said great art cannot be willed into creation, the artist must be possessed to make it. All the time, I so badly WISH that I was possessed to create, that I couldn’t help but make art, a need to create like a need to breathe, like my photographer friend John Sypal, whose project Tokyo Camera Style inspired this one, seems to be […]

Tokyo Record Style

Mijonu

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As the years have gone by, Mijonju has become one of my oldest pals in Tokyo. We’ve been bouncing around and crossing paths in this city for well over a decade and probably soon a decade and a half! In a city that sheds its sometimes transient residents as frequently as it sheds its own skin, it’s just nice to have some familiar faces, and Mijo is certainly that. He famously “loves cameras like a fat boy loves chocolate cake” (the jingle from his legendary Mijonju Show on YouTube) and for that reason, we’ve always been close buds, but he’s […]

Tokyo Record Style

Aaron Hamby

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While visiting family back in my hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, Tokyo Record Style will only temporarily be recognized as “Tulsa Record Style” 🙂 Exploring the Tulsa Record stores has been interesting and enlightening. Busy with family activities, I haven’t had time to visit them all but I did manage to spend half a day running around to various locations. At Josey Records, on Historic Route 66, I spotted Aaron having just wrapped up a dig in a giant pile of 45s that I was coming upon. “They’re all yours,” he said with a friendly smile, having no doubt painstakingly […]

Tokyo Record Style

Mizuyu

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“Everything’s too easy. Just one stroke of the ring finger, middle finger, one little click, that’s all it takes. We’ve dropped the coin right into the slot. We’re pill poppers, cube heads and day trippers, hanging in, hanging out, gobbling blue devils, black mollies, anything we can get our hands on. Not to mention the nose candy and ganga grass. It’s all too easy, too democratic. You need a solar X-ray detector just to find somebody’s heart, see if they still have one.” – Bob Dylan Dylan offered this social commentary in a recent WSJ article specifically about streaming music, […]

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

Takashi

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Takashi’s striped sweater had something Charlie Brown about it, his chain wallet and oversized rims had something Elvis Costello about them, and I have always wanted a pair of leather Chuck Taylors. Carrying a Union Record Bag, naturally, I had to spark up a conversation with him. I told him about Tokyo Record Style but he was expectedly hesitant to just pose for a stranger with a camera. That’s understandable, but since we were already talking, I asked what records he just scored and he pulled out the Ronettes! That very day, I had spotted Phil Spectors’s Christmas Album on […]

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

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 […]