Tokyo Record Style

Saleh

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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

Jake and Kate

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Jake and Kate were coming out of hip Big Love records when I caught up with them for a photo and a chat. They were old college schoolmates both visiting Tokyo from opposite ends of the Globe, Jake from Boston where he’s involved with a local Japanese community and Kate, originally from the Bay area but coming for a rendezvous from Taiwan where she has been living for a year. The three of us had such a whirlwind conversation that covered so much ground from US/Japan history, to Taiwan, to Sweden, to Harajuku-ura fashion, to Kanye and Big Love, to […]

Tokyo Record Style

Mai (and Masaya)

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Despite this album arriving to the world some 20 years before the person holding it, the sound contained within “Vitamin E.P.O” by early J-Pop idol star of mid-1980s “Epo” (known as one of the “Three RCA Daughters’ along with Taeko Onuki and Mariya Takeuchi) somehow perfectly matched the vibe and style of …if I may… darling Mai(-chan) who had just scored this at Union Record in Shinjuku while out on a date to with her squeeze, Masaya. The revived interest in “City Pop” can’t be understated, it seems to be peeking out of every facet of culture these days. The […]

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

Namioka san

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Pal, partner-in-crime, and regularly-featured Tokyo Record Style friend, bemsha and I hung out a few weeks back visiting a fashion/jewelry exhibition of our mutual friends Paramitha and Fani, who hail from Indonesia and whom we both know through photography and Tokyo’s creative world. The exhibition was super cool and afterward, bemsha and I remembered that Tower Records in Shibuya had recently closed, remodeled, and reopened its record floor, stocking it with twice as many records and thought it would be fun to check it out before heading back home. On our way there, we spotted friendly Namioka san on the […]

Tokyo Record Style

Bemsha, Michael, and Cristopher

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I’ve made the comparison before of expanding one’s musical horizons by keeping friends who know more about music than you to getting better at tennis by playing with partners who are better than you. However the sport golf is on my mind this morning (maybe because of a Michael Jordan story I heard the other day, of him being not only competitive and wager-prone at basketball, but at golf too). It’s also probably because of the fact that after a bigger group of record-loving homies initially met up at Tent Record earlier this day for “Tokyo Record Style Day”, and […]

Tokyo Record Style

Michael Warren

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Making his 5th or maybe 6th appearance on Tokyo Record Style is my dear pal Michael Warren who recently moved from the far east Side of Tokyo to the far west side of Tokyo, nearer to where I live …and do most of my record shopping and TRS scouting. Michael has so many claims to fame, too many for me to rattle off here, and so many that, despite knowing him quite well, I doubt I know the half of them, but here are a few: He grew up with a jukebox, a pool table, and a house and family […]

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

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

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

Ksniea

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Did you know that, according to research, the average person meets about 80,000 people in their lifetime? As a rather outgoing person myself, I was guessing I’d fall somewhere on the high end of that curve, that was until I started to crunch the numbers. If you live to be 80, that’s 1000 people a year, every year of your life, which is about 3 people a day on average. You’d think the only way to keep that high average would be by joining occasions like parties, classes, or gatherings where you meet a lot of people at once …but […]

Tokyo Record Style

Keigo

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Say hello to Keigo, bass player of Tokyo indie rockers “Tomato Ketchup Boys”, who I ran across in Shimokitazawa a few weeks back while record-shopping with his bandmates, frontman and guitarist Haruki, and drummer Shunsuke (from the previous post).  Keigo scored a very interesting record – a record that, after listening to and reading up on, perfectly illustrates the kinds of amazing discoveries I keep making through this project. It turns out that Diners is a project by a rather enigmatic musician, Blue Broderick, who seems to have a bit of the genius of Brian Wilson, Paul McCartney, and I […]

Tokyo Record Style

Hiroto

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This is a bit of a Tokyo Record Style first. I met up with Hiroto outside of Rare Records in Kichijoji last Sunday. The day before had been “Record Day” in Japan, neither to be confused with “Record Store Day” (which is celebrated worldwide) nor “Tokyo Record Style Day” (which is my own little concoction). Maybe I can only say this as a Damn Yankee but “Record Day” is to Boxing Day what “Record Store Day” is to Christmas, a sorta slightly obscure 2nd reason to celebrate. In actuality, I think “Record Day” is basically Japan’s own “Record Store Day” […]

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

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

Amano (and Uchi)

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“Vinyl is the poor man’s art collection.” – Noel Gallagher As I was cruising by Tent Records in Nishi-Ogikubo on my way home from Kichijoji, as I’m wont to do, I spotted Amano’s vibrant green dress as she and her boyfriend, Uchi, were sitting inside at the listening station, both actively listening on headphones to the same record. That dress alone would be reason to stop, which I did do, and as entered the shop I started to peruse the records, I tried not to study them too hard, but thought to myself, “Wow, they’re quite photogenic!” Then I overheard […]

Tokyo Record Style

Muraguchi

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There is one particularly most-beautifully human expression that I feel blessed to be able to experience frequently throughout this project. I feel like it could be one of the deepest ways to study the nature of humanity. It’s the exact moment when the language of the face changes from suspicion to trust, from anxiety to ease, from fear to not only relief but even delight. It’s like watching a child back up as far as he can on a swingset, then letting go, and then flying past the “maxima” i.e. point of mechanically expected return, breaking the laws of physics, […]

Tokyo Record Style

Malin and Bastian

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Vertigo! Jaws! Dolly Zoom! I just finally “got”  the “sound” of “Group Sounds!” There was a short 3 or 4-month window of time in the spring of 2004, between the moment that Japan was whimsically put as an unexpected destination on my upcoming-that-summer sojourn to Asia… (after a travel agent who was booking my tickets to Nepal’s Himalaya asked me “How about a stop in Japan? You’ll be flying to Kathmandu via Tokyo and Bangkok?” “Japan?!” I replied, “Hmm… Why not? Sure!”) …and the moment of time when I called my parents from San Francisco Airport to say “Ok, I’m […]

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

Matteo and Chingya

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As soon as I spotted the turntable-sized box being carried out of Tower Records along with some record-sized vinyl bags, I chatted up these lovely characters, Matteo and Chingya to find out they were from Italy and Taiwan but met and currently reside in Stuttgart, and rendezvousing with their pal Wendy in Tokyo before headed to Taipei and then back to Germany, all with a record player in tow! Now that’s a dedication! When I stated the obvious, that record players are also sold in Germany, Chingya told me that she wanted to gift Matteo with a memorable anniversary present […]

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

Yusya

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The Indonesian Force is strong in this photo. Yusya, pictured here, though from rural Illinois, USA, Jakarta, Indonesia, and now Tokyo, Japan, and despite being a lover of Jazz, Rock, Pop, Ska, Reggae, Psych (see previous Tokyo Records Style post in which Yusya is showing off a monster record by Patto), and apparently an expert on Ween (my brother in Boognish), went full roots Indonesian for this photo, scoring not one, but TWO classic “Dangdut” albums, one by Elvy Sukaesih and another by Hetty Koes Endang, two legends of the Dangdut genre, I’m told.  Yusya explained to me that Dangdut […]

Tokyo Record Style

Izzie (and Abbas)

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I primarily make photos of people. This includes lots of portraiture, editorial, events and parties, studio time, and just hanging out with a camera around my neck. The art of making a good portrait really lies in making the subjects comfortable. The faster you can do that, the more natural the photo will generally be. The way I do this is to diffuse the tension with humor, a light heart, taking interest and having curiosity, carrying the moment with an effortlessness to put the subject at ease, making them feel comfortable and confident. This is my natural state of flow […]

Tokyo Record Style

Hazel

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Hi, friendly and smiley, Hazel, who was the 3rd and final part of the “Tremendous Trio” I met on the streets of Shibuya last week. I just love the word/name “Hazel” – I think it’s the letter “Z” inside it, and the plant from which the hazelnut comes, believed by the Celts to give one wisdom and inspiration (look up the story of the sacred Druid salmon who ate a hazelnut, then the Druid boy who cooked the salmon and gained all its fishy wisdom – good story), and of course the color Hazel, and the fact that it’s just […]

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

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

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

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

Klein

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This is barely-20-something-year-old “Klein” from Peking, China on her third trip to Tokyo, and en route after this summer to study at Virginia Commonwealth University which, sidenote: …is the Alma Mater of one of my personal heroes, doctor, activist, and clown Patch Adams! Even though I’m big, furry, and brutish, and accosting strangers for unsolicited street portraits, Klein wasn’t at all intimidated, in fact, quite the opposite, overflowing with congeniality and willingness to share, so much that it even caught me a little off guard, matching my own enthusiasm to meet her, not a common occurrence. She shared with me […]

Tokyo Record Style

Kurumi

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Did you see that study a while back saying that 50% of vinyl buyers in the US don’t own a record player? The study found that 50% of consumers who have bought vinyl in the past 12 months own a record player, compared to 15% among all music listeners. What the media latched onto was that if 50% of vinyl consumers have record players, then that of course implies 50% not. That was the headline. To deduce from the fact that half of vinyl buyers own record players, that half don’t is perfectly logical, but it made me suspicious of […]

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

Tanno

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I’m truly a massive forever-fan of Slacker-Style and have been for as long as I can remember. Now I’m not gonna waste this whole post talking about the iconoclastic nature of a Kurt Cobain cardigan or the sheer fun and fuck-you-ness of some Dee-Lite sunglasses, nor will I talk about the perfect level of sneaker tattered-ness that provides a Sk8-Hi wearer with credibility, nor any discussion of Dickies or Carhartts, nor the irony of a trucker hat or oversized glasses from 2 or 3 decades ago, nor talk of any the countless nuances of a vintage flannel, self-shredded denim, or […]

Tokyo Record Style

Saqip

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With the pandemic having more-or-less ended, and travelers having postponed their Japan trips for a couple of years now , Tokyo is brimming with tourists. “Over-tourism” is a buzzword being floated around on TV and in conversations, which comes with a plethora of contradictions and complexities. On one hand, it’s great to see business booming, and restaurants and bars full, record stores too, but on the other hand, the streets and train stations are crowded with lost people standing in your way, and every once in a while, you yourself get slightly overwhelmed with a bit of that entitled New […]

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

Okubo

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“This album got me through a difficult time in my life.” Thank you to Okubo san, pictured here, for sharing those personal sentiments with me as he showed me his recent score of independent singer-songwriter and poet, Satoko Shibata’s highly awaited re-release debut album from 2012, “しばたさとこ島 [Shibata Satako Island]” I was unfamiliar with Shibata’s work, and even her name, however, I have seen this album’s cover and others by her, including her 2022 release “Bochi Bochi Galaxy” appearing over and over as featured recent scores by music lovers of a certain age, becoming beloved lost treasures in their collections. […]

Tokyo Record Style

Nolan

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I’m not sure how comfortable I am comparing Nolan, pictured here, to… a… well, a french fry, but… the comedian Jim Gaffigan has a bit about how good McDonald’s fries are, and how there are never quite enough of them, and that moment you realize that you’ve nearly eaten them all, followed by the sad reality they’re all gone. He says in that moment that sometimes the universe smiles upon you, and that gods in heaven recognize your accumulated good deeds, and graciously grant you, at the bottom of the paper sack, one more bonus fry. Simply the best. And […]

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

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

Sachie

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Sachie and her friend were at the edge of Shibuya when I spotted that distinctive yellow-orange Tower Records bag from the corner of my eye. As I got closer, I could see that, although it was a 12” records-style bag, it seemed to be filled with something other than records. Tower Records is a popular place to buy not just records, but CDs, books, posters, and all manner of music goods, and judging by the blocky shape of the contents in her bag, I guessed it wasn’t a poster or a book, but perhaps a CD box-set of sorts. Despite […]

Tokyo Record Style

Hideaki

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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

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

aCYy

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Disk Union in Kichijoji’s Parco opens at 10am. I think it might be the earliest-opening record store in Tokyo where shops typically open at Noon, 1pm, or even 3pm. If I had a record shop, I’d try to be open 24 hours. I love the idea of visiting records shops super early in the morning, or really late at night. Because it’s the Golden Week Holiday in Japan, I because I had one extra special free day off, where everybody was at school or at work, I wanted to make the most of the day and get an early start, […]

Tokyo Record Style

Takumi, Seia, and Tetsu

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How can you see a character like Takumi (not to mention his two cohorts Saia and Tetsu) in a record shop and not want to make his portrait! Talk about photogenic! I spotted these three inside Coconuts and wanted to make each their portraits, not realizing they were pals until they walked out together. Takumi &Co were instantly receptive to the Tokyo Record Style pitch, and as we got to talking, I learned that while Takumi is Japanese, Saie and Tetsu are from Mainland China and living in Japan, which sparked a conversation about Chinese and Taiwanese Pop, Indie and […]

Tokyo Record Style

Sara and Tyler

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Slammed on the breaks on my way home from work, and made a hard left to catch these two standing in front of Tower Records, carrying that signature Yellow-red-orange bag. From quickly chatting Sarah and Tyler up from atop my bike, they gladly agreed to a photo, and told me they were cousins traveling together to Japan, from their home in Vancouver, on a trip they’d been planning for years, adding that after a few more days in Tokyo, they’d be heading to Kyoto to rendezvous with yet more family! Well, done team! From their vinyl Tower Records bag, they […]

Tokyo Record Style

Sean Ellis

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Nice haul by Sean Ellis who I met at Face Records in Miyashita Park recently. Soundtracks, some Kayōkyoku, and the motherload of Video Game Records! Face was hoarding a treasure trove of them apparently, waiting to be discovered by Sean. It was my first time meeting Sean, though it turns out we have heaps of mutual friends. After comparing notes, I was quick to recognize that our shared contacts are friends who tend to be deep into at least two but usually more of the following subcultures: Comics, Anime, Tokusatsu, Kaiju, Soft Vinyl Toys, Thrash Metal, Idol bands, Noise Music, […]

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

Erika

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Needing a current photo of Hachiko (Japan’s famous faithful dog) for an upcoming project, I zipped down to Shibuya with my camera to snap the landmark statue. After I got the shot of the beloved pup, and with a little time to kill before an engagement at Mac Jacob’s “Bookmarc” where one of Tokyo’s most enigmatic street photographers and my dear photohomie, John Sypal (also of TokyoCameraStyle fame, read: this project’s inspiration) would be signing his sublime new book, Nebraska, I decided to stake out the intersection of… “Inokashira Street and Organ Slope.” Now, if the intersection of “Inokashira Street […]

Tokyo Record Style

Kelsey and Joseph

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I was born in 1976. Not long after I bought my very first few LPs to play on the family turntable, I probably got the dream birthday or Christmas present of every MTV-watching pre-teen adolescent in ‘86 or ‘87 suburbia America, a Ghetto Blaster Boom Box, replete with double tape-deck for dubbing, am/fm radio and antennae, and probably a button for “Turbo Bass”. The Boom Box did several things for me. It gave me the ability to listen to music by myself, to tune into and to record to cassette Casey Kasem’s Top 40 every Sunday morning, listening to which […]

Tokyo Record Style

Shin, Hatsu, XiaoXiao

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As I was walking out of Rare Records this weekend with a George Harrison “What is Life” / Apple Scruffs” 7”, walking in were three of the most colorful record shoppers I’ve ever seen. I immediately called my 3:30 rendezvous and said I’d be late, and that three fur-coated, kinky-booted, and Vivienne Westwood-ed, could-be-models had just walked into Rare, and if they wanted to come to potentially see some Tokyo Record Style in action, to rush my way. Then, admittedly, I waited outside the shop, spying to see if these three attention-arresting-fashioned women would walk out with any records. One […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tatsuo Fukutomi (bemsha)

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Bemsha (AKA Tatsuo Fukutomi) left me with less than 100 characters. So I’ll just say, “One Love, Jah Rastafari!” Tat: “Here’s my answer to your question, ‘Why do you love records when you can stream it all?’” “I guess it’s because vinyl records appeal not only to our sense of sound, but to three others as well. One of my favourite genres of music is ambient. It’s supposed to be played at a volume so low that you can hear it only when you want to. It is music that becomes part of the environment – as a matter of […]

Tokyo Record Style

Jason Garcia

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There are two sports that, despite being a student of neither, command my respect more than any others: Boxing and Skateboarding. Both demand enduring enormous physical pain, psychological distress, and emotional failure. No athletes get knocked down harder than these two. Yet, in the instances when defeat can be overcome when punches and landings are stuck square, it’s never the adrenaline, the force, the strategy, or the athleticism that impresses me, but rather the dogged determination, the unwillingness to fail, even if outmatched, the mental fortitude of facing fear. There’s a virtue, grace, and majesty to that that captivates me […]

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

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

Yuto

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I met 22-year-old Yuto outside Coconuts as I was rolling up on the motorcycle and he was heading out, holding in his hand a recent score. I killed the engine and grabbed his attention before he could dash away. As I began to explain to him that I was a photographer and wanted to make his portrait, rather than initial suspicion, he was nothing but good vibes and warm smiles. A can badge on his jean jacket caught my eye – “Have you hugged a mutant today?” Then I noticed one untied Chuck Taylor, then a flannel layer, a sorta […]

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

Aurelien

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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 […]

Tokyo Record Style

Miyu

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This is Miyu. She was one of the very first people born in the new millennium, and she just turned 23 in the year 2023, and for her birthday, her sister gave her a record player. Here, on the sad day of the passing of one of the most influential music innovators of our lifetime, Yukihiro Takahashi of legendary YMO and Sadistic Mika band, Miyu buys her 10th record, YMO’s seminal Soul State Survior. I can’t help but think about how YMO music was one of the first things to pique a deeper interest in me about potentially staying longer […]

Tokyo Record Style

Koyabashi

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I spotted Kobayashi san walking down the street carrying a Disk Union bag. When I asked him if he’d pose for Tokyo Record Style, I realized I was interrupting a live stream he was either hosting or participating in on his phone. Not wishing to derail his stream I told him not to worry about a photo but then he agreed so long as he could continue livestreaming while I photographed him, to which I of course was happy to oblige. Kobayashi san produced a “not for sale” promo copy of Hard Reversal by Amore Hirosuke & Love Machine which […]

Tokyo Record Style

Natsumi

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I met with Natsumi near the iconic Suzunari Theater in Shimokitaza, carrying a Disk Union bag. I stopped her for a chat and she very kindly agreed to be photographed for Tokyo Record Style. She had just scored the debut CD “Cavemen’s Law” by her friend’s new psychedelic pop band band, “Paddy Isle”. It’s not listed on Discogs yet, but I already listened to a few tracks from it on YouTube and it RIPS (Check the links in the comments.) Natsumi was super friendly and kind and shared with me that she is a ballerina and a ballet teacher. I […]

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

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 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 […]