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

Kurata

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Next up of the trio that I met in Shinjuku is the elegantly-styled Kurata, who stood out a little like a silhouette in a fashion collection sketch. He was rawking a long, corduroy-ish, camel-coloured velour, vintage double-breasted sweater/jacket/trench-coat in perfect nik by French designer Louis Féraud. Peeking out from the jacket (take note in the photos) and over the button-down dress shirt was attention-grabbing accented detail, an intricately-embroidered and delicately-laced silk blouse, that I initially feared could have been accidentally ripped with one wrong move, however Kurata, with a sorta air of regalia about him in it, gave me ease. […]

Tokyo Record Style

Marcus

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The first time, so I thought, that I spotted friendly and fashionable Marcus was at Ella Records in Hatagaya where his tall stature, cool threads, refined specs, and choice camera caught the corner of my eye. We perused the bins opposite of each other, and though I am normally the one to introduce myself in these instances, it was Marcus who said to me, “Aren’t you the Photohoku guy, Brian?” I was instantly taken back to a very big photo event I hosted a couple of summers ago that was so well attended that I didn’t really have a chance […]

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

Makiko Yamamoto

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After years of visiting my (semi-) local Coconuts Disk in Kichijoi, a couple weeks back I finally ventured out over to its slightly older brother, Coconuts Disk Ekoda, the original, in Nerima. Despite its relation to its satellite little bro near me, this record shop was far more different than I had expected. Yes, it had the same signature green sign, and trademark “coconut-ish” plants strewn about. Scattered throughout too were random decommissioned hi-fi accouterments, but unlike their Kichijoji shop, there was a kind of voodoo element in the air, all the music being guarded by exotic taxidermied birds and […]

Tokyo Record Style

Dean

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Friendly Dean from Christchurch via Osaka was up in Tokyo with Malin and Bastian from the previous post, shopping for records. Dean was rawking a VW Bus T-shirt which, having spent many years driving around America in my own, was speaking to me. Nobody probably cares about this but why don’t I just take a few a few lines to hip you to old VWs. Whereas “Beetle Bugs” are called “Type I”, “Vans”, “Combis” or “Microbuses” are called “Type II”. “Type III” are “IV”s are these sorta less interesting sedans. “Karmann Ghia” are “Type 14”, “34” or “145” depending on […]

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

Tsunehito Eda

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The paradox of finding a new way to discover music that involves the city’s denizens at large means that I, more often than not, have to admit, either to them or to you, just how little music I actually know. With every person I photograph whose records I don’t recognize (even for the ones I do), I usually go home and fire up Google, Wiki, Steaming, and Discogs, and find myself in a rabbit hole of discovery. You’d think such an interest would level up your knowledge, but the more you come to know, the less you seem to know…the […]

Tokyo Record Style

Michael Dada

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This is DJ Ozone, AKA, Michael, who I met at Uptown Records in Koenji. Uptown had posted an event flyer with digital art-deco dreamscape graphics that really grabbed my attention, not to mention the words “Ozone” and “DADA”. The post mentioned that Michael was originally from San Francisco and had lived in China for 20 years, since 2003 (I’ve been in Tokyo since 2004, so that was an immediate parallel to me), going on to say that he’d been a Radio DJ (another parallel – I had been a pirate radio DJ), and that he started an event music series […]

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

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

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

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

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

Daniel

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I met Daniel for the first time at Tokyo Record Style Day. A certain aura about him caught my attention. It could have been his blueish-gradient tinted shades, or the hypnotizing patterns on his sweater or pants. It might also have been the statement kicks, the faux-fur hooded-mink (that I admittedly wanted to touch), or even the fingerless gloves, but more likely than not, it was the polka-dotted mask, which would, ironically as it were, later reveal something about Daniel the more I got to know him. In the first record shop we hit, a mutual pal, pointed out to […]

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

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

Yamazaki

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A Tokyo Record Style First! Traversing central Tokyo with just a bit more of Sunday morning to kill, and with a Disk Union that I rarely visit right on my route, how could I not at least pop by and see if anybody was walking around the adjacent plaza with recently purchased records? So I took the right Yushima Seido, the black 17th century Confucian Temple, crossed Kanda River, spotted the green copper roof of the Holy Resurrection Cathedral, and there coming down the stairs of the 2nd floor Disk Union was Yamazaki san carrying a 12×12” vinyl record store […]

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

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 […]