Tokyo Record Style

Fani

Posted on:

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

Hinoharu

Posted on:

I consider myself quite lucky to have grown up in and around dance studios and backstages at performing art centers having a godmother (Miss Shelley) who taught ballet, tap, jazz, modern, and beyond to half the city of Tulsa. My mother was also a ballerina who taught at Shelly’s school for a spell, and while both my sisters studied there for years, neither me nor my brothers ever took a single dance lesson. Still, I really love watching professional dance, and really appreciate the forms, artistry, and athleticism, and it’s not in my bones, it’s at least in my blood. […]

Tokyo Record Style

Majoo and Ruffy

Posted on:

After a great trip to Nagoya, I was back on home turf in Tokyo when on my way home from work I spotted this VERY cool couple in Shibuya coming out of HMV with what looked like a sizable haul. Ruffy and Majoo introduced themselves and though they were in a bit of a rush to get to the next record store before it closed, they were happy to give me some of their time for Tokyo Record Style. And when I found out that they have a record shop in San Francisco, and were on a buying, selling, and […]

Tokyo Record Style

Saleh

Posted on:

Jet Set Records in Shimokitazawa (and their original shop in Kyoto) has to have the coolest of all the record store bags. It riffs on the classic PanAm logo and it has a cool two-tone opacity so you can see the records through the logo. It always catches my eye as it did when I was driving down Ichiban-gai, the streets where it’s located, and spotted a handsome young lad with two equally sharp escorts I’d soon find out were his parents. This has become a rather common occurrence, spotting young adults on family holidays who have dragged their parents, […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tsunehito Eda

Posted on:

“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

Posted on:

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

Akitake Yamato

Posted on:

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)

Posted on:

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

Michael Warren

Posted on:

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

Posted on:

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

Sasagu

Posted on:

Sasagu, pictured here, was Natsuki’s pal from the previous post who I photographed right after Natsuki just outside of Coconuts Disk in Kichijoji. I just can’t tell you how heartwarming it is to see two buddies… (both record store clerks, I failed to mention before, Sasugu at Face Records in Miyashita, and Natsuki just started Ella Records – say hi to them when you meet them next) …hitting the bins together on a Saturday afternoon. I can’t think of many more chilled-out things to do, besides maybe some happy hour time afterward where you could listen to purchased records (Thinks […]

Tokyo Record Style

Natsuki

Posted on:

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

Suda Yuichiro

Posted on:

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

Mack

Posted on:

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

Posted on:

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

Tatsuo Fukutomi (bemsha)

Posted on:

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

Johnny and Bora

Posted on:

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

Milan

Posted on:

I’m on a boat. I guess you gotta call this one “Hiroshima Bay Record Style”. During the Golden Week Holiday in Japan, after Osaka, we took the family down to Hiroshima and the Seto Island Sea area, with a stop at Itsukushima Island to visit the famous Miyajima Shrine with the giant red Torii gate in the middle of the shallow sea, that when the tide is out, you could walk through, and when is in, you can boat through. I’d visited once before in my very early Japan days but the family had never been. So we took the […]

Tokyo Record Style

Hideaki

Posted on:

Just as I was about to turn the last corner out of Shimokitazawa, right at the end of Ichibangai, I saw Hideaki rounding the corner carrying a Disk Union bag and I flipped on the Tokyo Record Style switch again. “Hi there! (Huge smile/non-threatenings stance) Are those records?” “Ummm, yeah?…” (slight suspicion) “Niiice, I collect records too! I’m also a cameraman” (point to camera bag) ”I do this project called Tokyo Record Style” (bust out on-the-ready phone) “where I make photos of people with their recently scored records” (scroll past a couple dozen portraits) “and your record bag caught my […]

Tokyo Record Style

Kumpei (Ricca)

Posted on:

So Kumpei was standing with Ayato in the Coconuts cul-de-sac when I approached Ayato about his Mamiya RB67. As soon as Ayato told me his name, I jotted it down in my note app, but it kept auto-correcting as Ayata, which is the name of one of my twin nephew pals. And then Kumpei told me his name, but before also jotting it down, I lit up – PEI – KumPEI! You see, “P” while IN the name “Ja’P’an”, or the Japanese pronunciation “Ni’PP’on” is an ever-so-slightly rare sound in Japanese, certain in names. This is just a personal observation, […]

Tokyo Record Style

Laura

Posted on:

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

Akira and Noa

Posted on:

A Tokyo Record Style FIRST! The album photographed here, Argentinian in origin, Las Grandes Creacions de Antonio Tormo, scored by this cute couple that I met outside Tower Records in Shibuya, has no Discogs listing and is nowhere to be streamed – a record that is officially off the grid, proving yet again, that if you want access (and knowledge of existence) to the full breadth of music available, record stores are still your best bet. And the fact that I can’t listen to this album, except directly from Akira and Noa’s copy pictured here, makes me want to listen […]

Tokyo Record Style

Takeshi Shimizu

Posted on:

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

Aurelien

Posted on:

For those who might not know, I have a volunteer photography project called “Photohoku” where I gift photographs to people in need. It would take a while to share all about it, but I just encourage you to check it out. But one of technical the aspects of it, not completely unlike Tokyo Record Style, is approaching (read: accosting) strangers, trying to diffuse their immediate apprehension with some welcoming, unthreatening charm and an honest smile (which, in a world filled with nefariously-intended people requires a certain finesse), and in a very, very short amount of time, seconds really, sell them […]