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

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

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

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

Ayse and Gunter

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Hello, Ayse and Gunter from Cologne, Germany. Ayse is living in Tokyo and currently a student Musashino Art University, or Musabi, and Gunter is visiting her from their hometown. When I spotted them in Coconuts Disk shopping around the bins, the stack of records they were holding was getting bigger and bigger and I thought to myself, “Whoa! Look at that stack! These guys are ballers! Def gonna chase them outside for a Tokyo Record Style photo!” And then when I spied them checking out I followed them out. I chatted Ayse and Gunter just outside in Coconuts has a […]

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

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

Juan and Yvette

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What a supremely cool couple! Meet Juan and Yvette from Los Angeles on a trip they’ve been planning to Tokyo for ages, spotted on the streets of Shibuya. Carrying that unmistakable yellow Tower Records bag, Yvette caught my attention and I approached her for a photo. Immediately friendly, she was warm to the idea of a photo, and asked if she could pose with her boyfriend. “Of course!,” I said, looking over her shoulder to meet the slightly suspicious (read: potentially menacing) glare of Juan who seemed to be carefully, stoically, understandably sussing the situation of some stranger in a […]

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

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

Aratame

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I agreed to meet Aratame a few years ago at our mutual friend, Tomoko’s adamant insistence. Tomoko, having worked with us both, had reason to believe we’d get on like a house on fire, and when she arranged a dinner for us to meet, and as soon we started talking about obscure cameras, Polaroid film, iconic typewriter design, vinyl records, our favorite 80’s gadgets, toys, movies, and cars, all manner of sophomoric comedic pranks or borderline juvenile fashion trends that neither of us seemed to outgrow, music, books, baseball cards and so on, trading stories of adolescent antics and subversive […]

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 […]