Tokyo Record Style

Jacee

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Now, here is somebody who deserved his holiday to Tokyo with his family, and a trip to Tower Records for some of his favorite music on vinyl. Meet Jacee from Manilla who, after many years of hard vacation-less effort acquiring a medical degree, has been working in the Philippines healthcare system emergency room doctor for the last year and a few months. I caught up with him and his family at the big Shibuya Scramble Crossing. Jacee and his family with warm and welcoming and we chatted each other up quite a bit. I was able to share a bit […]

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

Garageville Yasu

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With so many awesome record store owners in Tokyo, it would impossibly hard and really unfair to to rank them in terms of coolness (first noting that by definition that they are many degrees cooler that the populace at large), but you’d be very, very hard pressed not to put Yusa san of Garageville Records at the very tip top of the list. You’d really need several Mt. Rushmores to carve them up the pantheon of cool shopkeepers but Yusa san really does stand out among most. You could say it’s because taste in music and his great curation of […]

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

Jeffery Beats

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Hello, Jeffery Beats from Beijing! Nice to meet you and welcome back to Japan. I met up with Jeffery at Ella Records who was being toured around with pal, Ryoki from the last post. They are both DJs in the hip-hop, chill-hop, city-pop-loving vein of what I am more broadly calling “Wamono” henceforth. It wasn’t Jeffery’s first visit to Japan but if memory serves me, it was his first time hanging with Ryoki though have been connected for some time online through music. Visiting from China, I naturally was curious about the record store and music-loving scene in Beijing. Jeffery […]

Tokyo Record Style

Ryoki / Teresahenn

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When I lived in Hatagaya nearly 20 years ago, it certainly had a “neighborhood-in-the-shadow-of-Shinjuku charm” about it, but it had no association at all to sophisticated, classy, posh Yoyogi-Uehara just down the road, nor would I necessarily described it as “hip”, rather quite unassuming and nondescript, salaryman-ish. “Hata-where?” …but all that has changed in these years and now it’s one of the hippest hoods west of the Yamanote, thanks to places like Paddlers Coffee, Freeman Shokudo, and Ella Records. Needless to say, I love zipping through the ol’ neighborhood nearly every day as it’s on my way home from both […]

Tokyo Record Style

DJ Gundam

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Oh, the people you’ll meet! Staking out Vinyl Union in Shinjuku a few weeks back on a Saturday at dusk, I didn’t expect to wait long for an interesting-looking character to come out with records who I could approach for a photo. Cavalierly passing on a few too-pedestrian-looking collectors emerging from the shop with records, I overzealously waited for somebody a bit more “special” …I know, I’m not proud of this, but it was wild and seedy Shinjuku after all, Tokyo’s Time Square… and somebody with some reason style and character was bound to emerge. So I waited… But dusk […]

Tokyo Record Style

Azim and Family

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Do you remember the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail when King Arthur and his Knights reach the mysterious and feared “Bridge of Death”? Some of the knights make safe passage by correctly answering the scary and mean bridgekeeper’s riddles of various difficulty (What is your favorite color?) while some don’t (What is the capital of Assyria?) and are magically thrown into “Gorge of Eternal Peril” When it’s King Athur’s turn to answer the riddle “What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?” King Arthur stumps the bridgekeeper himself by inquiring “Which kind of swallow: African or […]

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

Tokyo Record Style Day Vol. 1 – Shimokitazawa

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Record collecting friends!!! I’m starting a new project called “Tokyo Record Style Day” where I am going to try to gather some pals together on a Sunday afternoon once a month and hit a small cluster of record stores in one local neighborhood of Tokyo, and photograph you all with your records, starting with a dig through Shimokitazawa! Shimokita has over dozen record stores and I can suggest a path to visit a few of my favorites, or we can choose our own. Let’s meet at the legendary Flash Disk Ranch, and end at Disk Union, and maybe hit General, […]

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

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

Anthony

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First Tower Records spotting, at Shibuya Crossing! I caught up with Anthony and his wife walking along after what looked like a nice little shopping spree! I initiated a conversation in Japanese, wrongly assuming Anthony was Japanese but when we looked at me a little sideways, not completely understanding, he pulled back his mask revealing a giant and friendly smile, me having been to the “Land of Smiles” instantly suspected Anthony might be… “Where are you from?” “Thailand!” Bingo. Anthony scored Bruno Mars’ XXIVK Magic and told me he was debating between this and one other record, but I’m failing […]

Tokyo Record Style

DJ Bow

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DJ Bow’s 12” x 12” square bag caught my eye on the back streets of Shibuya. I could see some friendly eyes behind his mask when I explained why I stopped him, but when I suggested we make a photo right here in the middle of busy Shibuya, he was much more keen to keep a low profile, so we ditched down a back alley and made this image. DJ Bow spins techno and house and asked me not to reveal his identity nor to photograph his face, nor mention the quite famous location he would be DJing the following […]

Tokyo Record Style

DJ Nishiyama

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Spotted Nishiyama san on the streets of Shibuya. He was a bit taken aback by me suddenly accosting him with an interest in his records and a request for a photo, but we got some nice music talk going and he showed me his scores, an Akiko Wada double LP and a Hiromi Miyano 7”. Then he produced another curious looking 7” saying “I have no idea what this is, but I got it anyway” – I LOVE THIS, this notion of taking a risk on music, not entirely sure what you’re going to get. When I look back on […]

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

Joshua and Madeline

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I met Joshua and Madeline near General Record Store, and they were quite the photogenic characters. They had just picked up copies of The Ataris – Blue Skies, Broken Hearts… Next 12 Exits (a guilty pleasure admitted Joshua), and Adventures In Stereo / The American Analog Set – After Hours Issue #2, two more records whose bands I only really know by name. Madeline mentioned that she works in translation and Joshua that he works in fashion. They both were very hip and we had a nice chat on the stoops of General. A couple other things to mention is […]

Tokyo Record Style

Koji

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I spotted Koji (and his GF, Yoshimi who battles the Pink Robots) on the streets of Shimokita. He had just scored this 1980 New Wave classic of Channel Good by Sheena & the Rokkets from Disc Union. I didn’t know the album but it looked really intriguing and just quite good. After photographing Koji I went home and immediately listened to this record, for the first time (follow link in bio), and as I had expected, it absolutely slays (with a killer version of Creedence’s Suzie Q). While listening to it, I learned about the Mentai Rock scene, the name […]

Tokyo Record Style

Yujiro

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I met Yujiro coming out of Disk Union Shimokita as I was walking in. He was on his way to play a gigi with his band, “Blue Damp”, but stopped to pick up a copy of George Smith’s – Oopin’ Doopin’ Blues Harp before heading there. I wasn’t familiar with George Smith (I have a feeling I’m gonna not be familiar with 90% or more of what I photograph here on Tokyo Record Style) but I did mention owning a handful of harmonicas including a chromatic one, the kind with the button on the side that seems to make playing […]

Tokyo Record Style

Eric Jacobsen

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Little did I know when I was chatting up Itaru (from the previous post) about Leon Russel, there was Tokyo Institution standing right behind me patiently waiting for me to finish rambling to say hello. If you have had kids in the last 30 years, you probably are familiar with the very famous TV show Eigo de Asobo – Let’s Play English, which like Sesame Street has a bit of a rotating cast of characters with a few major mainstays, and the person featured here has been THE mainstay of this series, and beyond, for a long as I’ve known […]

Tokyo Record Style

Itaru

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What are the odds! I caught up with Itaru coming up the street pushing a bicycle and a tote bag on his shoulder and asked him if he might want to pose for Tokyo Record Style. With a warm smile he agrees, reaches into his bag and pulls out, much to my amazement, lo-and-behold, Tulsa hometown hero, Leon Russel, who, as legend has it (according to my parents) had a girlfriend who lived across from my first childhood home, and who used to come around and play with me when I was just a wee kid. I only became aware […]

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 […]

Tokyo Record Style

Yukiko

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I take my kids back and forth everyday to Japanese cram school and I pass right by Coconuts Record Shop. I’ve mentioned it here a few times already and will probably be mentioning it a bunch more. Since starting this project, I can’t seem to drive past it without starting to scan the area for people who maybe have just scored some records. Though the vinyl bags are quite cool, they’re quite subtle but I can still easily spot from across the street, which was the case for the one Yukiko was carrying. I stopped her and chatted her up. […]

Tokyo Record Style

Yuji

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Stopped by a Tokyo institution the other night, Big Love Records, an independent record shop located in a nondescript apartment building in the backstreets of très chic Harajuku. Big Love Records is more than a record shop, it’s a gallery, an underground label, it’s a fashion brand, a cafe and bar that serves premium coffee and beer-on-tap to patrons and provides Tokyo not only with an amazing curation of new music but with events, art, fashion, pop-ups and tie-ups, and just cool lifestyle. It’s beyond a central cultural resource for Tokyo, but also for the world. So it’s no surprise […]

Tokyo Record Style

Sota

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After I walked back to my bike after meeting Tets in the car park under the tracks, I bumped into Sota who had just scored 3 soul and funk records from HMV (where I had spotted him earlier) and Coconuts in Kichijoji. He asked me where I was from and told me the records would have probably been 1/10th of the price or less if he could score them in the American. He told me he got his taste for Soul and Funk from his father who used to bring them back from the States. Sota told me he is […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tets Igeta

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I met Tets on the streets of Kichijoji with Matty Fresh (from the previous post). He hadn’t any records with him in that moment so I didn’t really think to make his photo. But it was nice to meet him. It was even nicer to run into him again about 15 minutes later at HMV digging through the jazz records, and chat him up a bit more. He mentioned knowing Matty from his days in Brisbane and we got to talking about DJing and he pulls out an image from his phone of 2 face-to-face dueling DJ decks, 4 turntables […]