Tokyo Record Style

Kojima san of Replace Records

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After last week’s Tokyo Record Style Day meetup at Tent Records in NishiOgikubo, our pal Christopher, who knew the neighbor better than most of us, suggested we go to a new-ish record shop called Replace Records just a short walk away. Christopher explained that Replace opened just a little over a year ago and that it was quite cool, and never having visited before, we were all keen to check it out. So we walked and talked along NishiOgi’s cool backstreets, spotted Tsuburai featured in the previous post, and enjoyed the laid-back stroll to Replace. When we came upon it, […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tokyo Record Style Day Vol. 7 – Tent Records

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Epic day yesterday for Tokyo Record Style Day Vol. 7 at Tent Record in Nishiogikubo …and then on to Replace Records! A great crew of homies gathered and we talked music and records stores, and style and on and on. It was a particularly special day because it was the “Grand Opening” (you could say) of our “Tokyo Record Style Co-op” a shared record store INSIDE a record store, currently stocked by my Top 5 Record pals and fellow DJ friends, Tat Fukutomi AKA bemsha, and Michael Warren. Together we went in on renting shelf in Tent, each pulled out […]

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

Jeroen and Naomi

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Oh boy… Have I got a story for you! Strap in cuz this is gonna be a good one A few weeks back while I was on my way home from Ebisu, I drove past General Store Records right as one of the charming and cute staff was walking down the stairs at the end of her day, carrying a record taboot! “Here’s my chance!” I thought. Despite my best pitch and that she knew TRS, fact was she was late for a date, and reluctantly declined. Not to be defeated, I dashed over to Disk Union and spotted a […]

Tokyo Record Style

Nozomi

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There have only been a couple of records that have really caught me off guard on this project: Leon Russel’s self-titled debut, Shane MacGowan’s (R.I.P.) “The Snake” and now the Grateful Dead’s “Workingman’s Dead” – WOW! When I asked Nozomi san what record she had scored from HMV in Shibuya, I did NOT expect her to bust out Workingman’s Dead, a deeeeeeply formative record from my youth. Arguably the Dead’s best studio attempt, Workingman’s is to the equally beloved American Beauty maybe what Rubber Soul was to Revolver, a companion masterpiece, and my favorite of the two. As you may […]

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

Shunsuke

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Shunsuke pictured here was part of a trio of friends I caught up with a couple of weeks back in Shimokitazawa. He was with his pals, Keigo, (who had also scored a record and who I will feature in the following post) and Haruki, who together make up “The Tomato Ketchup Boys” a band that the three have kept together since for some 7 years after forming in highschool (if I remember correctly.) With Shunsuke on drums, Keigo on bass, and Haruki on lead guitar and vocal, these three had some pretty good brotherly chemistry, and the fact that they […]

Tokyo Record Style

Brian

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Wow, another TRS first …we’ll at least first since my very first post. I’M being featured on Tokyo Record Style! Yours truly – Brian Scott Peterson, AKA, “BP”, “Peter Brianson”, “Pete Mesquite”, “Moosehead”, “Zebrio”, “Wendell (my bowling name), “Big Boss” to some, and “Safety Samurai” or “Bura-chan” to even fewer. Um… How coud I not, when the very friendly Oscar from Sweden (featured a dozen or so posts back), who appeared at my last “Tokyo Record Style Day” event at Coco Isle Music Market, despite not even being a record collector himself, whose heartwarming first words to me where “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

Tsunehito Eda

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“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

Taichi

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A number of years ago I was in the market for a new amplifier. I really debated whether to buy a feature-thin power-amp, optimized for a 2-channel, high-fidelity listening experience, or a feature-rich, multi-channel mainframe Audio/Video receiver for the home entertainment center. As much as I wanted to go for a warm and roaring, analog and VU metered, tube-glowing vintage hi-fi amp for myself, I opted for max HDMI ports, Bluetooth, and the like, to stay in good graces with my growing family. (I’d get the hi-fi rig down the road).  Well, one of the interesting and unexpected features I […]

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

Ophelia

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I spotted Ophelia and her BF Matt on the streets of Kichijoji last week. They had just come from Coconuts Disk and Ophelia had scored The Square’s “Midnight Lover”, which I didn’t know at all. She told me she chose it for the cover and that she really liked the yellow car juxtaposed on the green background. Ophelia told me that she and Matt are students from Guangzhou China living in Tokyo during their studies. She is studying design and Matt is studying photography. Having been to Guangzhou a number of times myself, I suggested Ophelia and Matt connect with […]

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

Atsushi – BBQ Records

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To be perfectly honest, when I finally found BBQ Records after having driven past it 2-3 times, situated above a Matsuya Gyudon beef-bowl fast-food chain, in what looked like a tiny little 2nd-floor apartment, I pretty much lost all hope that I might have been stumbling upon a Tokyo diamond in the rough. But you never know, and I was keen to check it off the list of shops I’ve visited, and so I parked the bike and headed up those sorta sad and all-too-familiar non-descript apartment stairs. I followed the signs, rounded the corner, and came upon a surprisingly […]

Tokyo Record Style

Daisuke (and Mao)

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I have been dying to visit Coconut Disk in Ekoda for some time, and having a few hours to kill last weekend, I found it on the map, and though it appeared just a short jaunt away in Nerima, Maps was telling it me would take 50 minutes to get there by car on a busy Tokyo Saturday. Knowing that I can split lanes on the bike and work my way to the front of every green light, I can usually shave off about 30-40% of every trip (I’ve insister for years that Tokyo really is best experienced by bike. […]

Tokyo Record Style

Kazuki – Coco Isle Music Market

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I’m really happy to shine the Tokyo Records Style spotlight on Kazuki from Coco Isle Music Market, a well-established and beloved Reggae records specialty shop in Tokyo. But what’s a more honest way to put it, is that I am really happy to be IN the spotlight OF Kazuki, because as one of the most friendly and knowledgeable record shop owners that you will meet in Tokyo, to spend any amount of time with him is to brighten your day (or night). It’s also easy to tell that all the positive vibrations Kazuki regularly absorbs through music across 2 decades […]

Tokyo Record Style

Taylor Mingon

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Now I’m not really cunning with a camera per se, but having made too many portraits of people over the decades to count, I know virtually ALL the tricks to get flattering smiles out of people. For example, when you meet really stiff, fake, forced smiles in your viewfinder, you show people how to take a deep breath and relax (which fixes most ..but not all). For others still needing nerves calmed, you show by example by shaking out the jitters and getting loose (which fixes more remainder …but still not all). So then, (here’s the magic) you take the […]

Tokyo Record Style

Oscar

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I arrived at Coco-Isle about ten minutes before 7pm which was when the 6th Volume of my Tokyo Record Style Day (record-shopping with homies) was meant to begin. Because it’s a little tricky to find, and suspecting that if anybody was actually coming (which due to a snafu on my part might no longer been the case) I thought that I ought maybe wait outside on the street to help guide any wandering lost-looking record collectors up the stairs. When none seemed to arrive in those 10 minutes, I thought, “Well, let’s make the most of this and try to […]

Tokyo Record Style

Julian Cirnigliaro

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Last weekend I hosted another edition of “Tokyo Record Style Day” – basically just record shopping with pals. For this 6th volume, I slated to go to Coco Isle Music Market in the afternoon around 2 or 3pm. Then just a few days before the event was here, Dad duties threw a little wrench in the gears and I had to postpone it til later in the evening. I few people who wanted to come, wouldn’t be able to make it and, in addition to feeling cross at myself for screwing up those people’s weekend plans, I worried for the […]

Tokyo Record Style

Atsu

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Finally, autumn is here in Tokyo and Atsu’s long muted-green jacket I’m guessing was seeing the first action of the season. When I saw it hanging casually off the laid-back shoulders of ball-capped Astu, along with a graphic Tote bag that I wished I had gotten a better look at, I thought to myself, “There’s a photograph…” I had popped into HMV Shibuya’s gallery space, “Bankrobber LABO” named for the fact that the space was once a bank, and the back upstairs room where the gallery is was the bank’s vault. They’ve re-purposed it as an experimental space, curated by […]

Tokyo Record Style

Mori (and Rio)

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What an encounter, meeting Mori and his lovely lady, Rio! What an insanely cute couple! I swear, I keep traveling back in time to my 20s when I meet young people on the streets in love. What I see are the playful of hearts, innocent spirits with ornery sweetness, that child-like twinkle of wonder in their eyes that reflect back wide-open roads, roads that tend to glimmer less and less for those whose decades have passed and as midlife tries to beat us down, break our will, suck the creative marrow out of bones. But some of us fight to […]

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

Tokyo Record Store Day Vol. 6 – Coco Isle Music Market

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Reposting from yesterday, no change in plan, just posting again! Guys, I really dropped the ball on this one. I need you guys to please give me a pass. I had originally planned this for 3pm in the afternoon but then I found out I had a family obligation. Although I didn’t actually make a dedicated post or event page about it yet, I had mentioned the initial time in one post, but then the 7-9 postponed time in another post. Ahhhhh!!!! I just got overwhelmed and didn’t know if I should keep pushing or not. Anyway…. It’s *TODAY October […]

Tokyo Record Style

Kana (and Ryuhei)

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Ryuhei, kind and friendly boyfriend of lovely Kana pictured here, you don’t deserve to be thrown under the bus, like I am sadly about to do to you. You seem very gentle, and smart, and cool, and handsome, and sweet, and no doubt a great catch for Kana …god, please know how much I genuinely hate to have to do this… but purely by virtue of Kana’s love for records, compounded by the fact that the one and only record that she brought home this day was an un-cheap record, requiring hard-earned limited cash of a 20-somthing-year-old, and by the […]

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

Takahashi San – Moonbeam Records [月光社/Gekkōsha]

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I’ve been visiting Moonbeam Records for many years but it wasn’t until I was facing a little disaster that I had my first earnest conversation with Takahashi san a while back. What had happened was that I had an upcoming DJ event at which I was meant to spin records. At the previous event, I had used my pals’ personal turntable cartridges rather than my own, and of course, as luck would have it, one of the needles broke on my watch and it was only fair that I replace it. Not wishing to face the same dilemma again, I […]

Tokyo Record Style

Top 5 Records Volume 14 – The Color of Music Recap

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Before moving on to more Tokyo Record Style fun, I just wanted to stop and recap our last “Top 5 Records” and send another big thank you to everyone who participated either as a DJ, presenter, or attendee, (or organizer!). It was heaps of fun and the theme made for some interesting musical exploration. If you’re new here or don’t quite know what “Top 5 Records” is yet, it’s our monthly DJ event and talk show where we play records and countdown our favorite songs, albums, and artists, on various self-imposed themes in tribute to our unlikely heroes and record-store […]

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

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

Dylan

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I’m asking myself, “How does one let go of the standard conventions of a song: Intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus?” But that begs the question, “Where did the conventions of a song come from in the first place?” And then that begs the question “What was there before conventions?” I’d guess if you went all the back to the beginning, you’d start with rhythm, the heartbeat, followed by the murmur of breath, or perhaps the howl of wind, rumble of water, crack of wood. But was there harmony before humans? It seems that the Greek philosopher Aristoxenus’s “Elements […]

Tokyo Record Style

Iggy

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With a smile like this, how could I not stop Iggy and chat him up? Outside of Ella Records on the streets of Hatagaya, the bright blue Los Angeles Dodgers cap and t-shirt (“Freeman #5” on the back) grabbed my attention. Being just a very short stone-throw away from the famed “Freeman Shokudo”, famously delicious Jewish/Japanese BBQ Soulfood, run by the ever-affable Jeffrey Freeman (also past Tokyo Record Style subject and proprietor of Deadly Dragon Records) my mind actually went there first. Could Iggy and his crew be mega Smokehouse fans? (Note to Aaron: I’d probably buy a Freeman Shokudo […]

Tokyo Record Style

Destiny

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Welcome to my 200th Tokyo Record Style post! AMAZING! Thank you all for joining me along this wildly fun journey so far. Here’s to the next 200!  Wow, 2024 will mark my 20th year in Japan and I tell ya, Shibuya is still Shibuya. Yeah, she’s a little shinier, a little taller, a little more electric, but she’s still got that Shibuya “charm” …ok, fine, not for everyone. But c’mon, just admit it, yes she’s crowded, noisy, juvenile, and obnoxious, but she’s darling too, Forever 21, Hysterically Glamourous, Ichimaru-cutey. I mean it’s just who she is, and if you can’t […]

Tokyo Record Style

Nori

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Nori-san, pictured here, though the same age as me, knows more about music now than I could ever know even with 2 entire lifetimes. Though initially, we didn’t exchange so many words, I could sense by his attentive and discerning curiosity of me, a lightness but directness in his voice, along with a sensibly understated style, details of which were jumping out at me (tucked-in-to-slim-navy chinos, a “Tunnel Records Shirt San Francisco” Tee, western leather belt and eastern neighborhood sandals, distinctive eyeglass frames and an inconspicuous black-on-black Ralph Lauren cap) that there was probably much more to Nori that even […]

Tokyo Record Style

Akitake Yamato

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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)

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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

Hiroto

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I came across Hiroto having some solitary sidewalk respite on a quiet Shibuya back alley off the beaten path. He was sipping a cold beer admiring a couple of records he had just scored. He seemed mostly unphased by my noisy motorcycle and my non-native Japanese as he stood up and was nothing but smiles, quickly agreeing to a chat and a photo.  Hiroto told me he’s s student on the stressful path to becoming a lawyer (the Japanese Bar exam is notoriously hard and nearly all would-be attorneys famously fail it many repeated times before passing) and that he […]

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

Markus

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Bumped into Markus visiting Japan for the first time from Berlin where he works for a major record label managing artists and musicians! WOW! It appeared by the contents of his record store bag, which had a smattering of all-genre scores from Disk Union, HMV, and Tower, that Markus was a record-store tear! He was generous with his time with me but I could tell he was keen to get to Face Miyashita before it closed in 30 min. We had a nice short chat and I shot him on the stairs suspended over Organ Zaka that go up to […]

Tokyo Record Style

Chee Shimizu

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Whenever music legends are honored at award shows and for lifetime accolades, there will often be tribute performances of artists who were inspired by the honorees, covering the guest’s own songs (Strange reference, but think of Heart’s Ann and Nancy Wilson doing Stairway to Heaven for the remaining members of Zeppelin during their Kennedy award a few years back.) The performing artists often cite terror of what their musical heroes might think of their renditions. Well…, That’s kinda how I feel as I’m about to write about Chee Shimizu, a musical institution of Tokyo, who has performed countless DJ sets, […]

Tokyo Record Style

Bemsha

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DJ bemsha in d’house …of Tokyo Record Style again! Our deal pal bemsha joined up for another edition of Tokyo Record Style Day last weekend when we went to Tohto Records and Disc Union Ochanomizu Eki Mae. Bemsha has about 6 or 7 years on me I guess in terms of age, but about 6 or 7 decades on me in terms of deep musical knowledge. He’ll dismiss that comment as an overstatement cuz he’s that kinda guy, but it’s true. But this was precisely the reason, compounded by the fact that he is a voracious reader, that I was […]

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

Michael Warren

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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

Tokyo Record Style Day – Thank you!

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If “New York is the city that never sleeps” then “Tokyo is the city that never ends.”  It’s just so vast, so colossal, so limitless. There are neighborhoods inside of neighborhoods inside of neighborhoods. Even if you lived here your whole life, maybe even 2 or 3 whole lives, you’d be hard-pressed to know it all. And always is the case that just if or when that fleeting feeling comes when you sense you’re getting close to knowing it, it either sheds a layer, generates another, or on a whim, presents a completely new pocket of itself that simply couldn’t […]

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

Brandon

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It happens again. I’ve photographed an album neither on Discogs nor on streaming, the first EP (released just 10 days ago) “人類滅亡ワンダーランド” or “Human Destruction Wonderland”, by 3-piece indie-rockers “Brandy Senki”, and goddamn, they’re good. They have some fun videos on YouTube you can check out, one with 3M views, (and one that features a Fuji Instax Wide Camera! COOOL!”) I owe this musical discovery to Brandon, photographed here, who was part of the trio of friends I met under Miyashita Park last week. Brandon is a student at the University of Oregon in Eugene which is a sorta long […]

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

Tokyo Record Style Day Vol. 5 – Yushima/Ochanomizu

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Record collecting friends! Brian here, representing Tokyo Record Style!! Announcing “Tokyo Record Style Day – Volume 5 – Yushima/Ochanomizu!!” Join us for another afternoon of crate-digging with homies in local Tokyo neighborhoods, where gems and grails await us in clusters of awesome record shops! Score LPs, EPs, 10”s or CDs! Tapes? Reel-to-reels? 8-Tracks? We don’t judge! Just come celebrate your love for physical media and good ‘ol record shop culture! Pose for a photograph in your styley-est digs and with your Record Store scores, and make your mark on Tokyo Record Style!! The Yushima/Ochanomizu area has a couple of great […]

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

Michael Warren

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Of all the things that influenced my early love and appreciation of music, from memories of smooth 70’s yacht-rock classics heard while riding around in the “way-back” of the station wagon, to the bombastic Dr. Teeth and Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show, from early synth-, metal- hip-hip-driven bands on MTV to all the original soundtracks of all the coming-of-age movies of the time, I’d say, rather embarrassingly the one source that had the most influence on me was eagerly waiting each week to listen to Casey Kasem’s (AKA Shaggy on Scooby Doo) Classic American Top 40 Countdown. I’m not […]

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

Tokyo Record Style Day, Vol. 4 – THANK YOU!

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Record-loving homies! Brian here. I want to give an update on this weekend’s Top 5 Records event but with a busy summer family schedule, I’m still catching up on past activities, including our last “Tokyo Record Style Day” which was our 4th edition of visiting and celebrating cool record stores with out homies. For this edition, we visited Coconuts Disk in Kichijoji run by the gentle soul Yajima san, and a cast of laid-back music experts, the kind that keeps great tunes on the house system and knows all the degrees of separation from one artist to the next.  We […]

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

Igor

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While photographing PechaKucha Night Tokyo, I met a fan of Tokyo Record Style, Igor. During the beer break, a mutual friend who happened to be presenting that night about motorcycles, another hobby of mine, and who makes a cameo in the 3rd photo of this series – notice the surprised face (Hi Xuan!) – introduced us, mentioning that Igor was following and enjoying the project. That’s nice! On the job, I only had a few minutes to chat with Igor but he told me a story that, now two weeks later, I’m a little fuzzy on, but about an album […]

Tokyo Record Style

Scooter

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“Scooter” (there is something muppety about him, perhaps more Gonzo than Scooter) told me his name but I seemed not to have written it down anywhere. It was probably because when I asked to make his photo for Tokyo Record Style, he said he was in a hurry to get somewhere… and after already having another such interaction (see previous post) suddenly I felt like I needed to get somewhere in a hurry too …perhaps shooting that cool looking girl walking out of Coconuts, right behind Scooter who maybe I would have had the time, and lord knows we need […]

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

Jasper

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As I was coming over the hill from Miyashita Park where I’d ridden past Face Records at Miyashita Park and Tower Records behind it, with no luck on my side in spotting a record-collecting and record-store-bag-carrying Tokyo denize, as just and I rounded the top of Organ Slope and zooming down towards, HMV and Manhattan Records, up the street was walking Jasper from Hong Kong, who had just scored from Disc Union Parco a peculiar US Pressing of John Coltrane’s Blue Trane, but with a …”Hype Obi” – not quite an obi, or a hype sticker, and again, a US […]

Tokyo Record Style

Kazuki – Coco Isle

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With 300+ record stores in the Tokyo Metropolitan area, it seems impossible to know them all. When you think you know every shop in a particular area, when you have visited, say 36 different shops in Shibuya alone, and you’re certain there couldn’t POSSIBLY be another one, along on your radar comes the 37th. Welcome to Coco Isle Music Market, up past the fire station and en route to Kenzo Tange’s Yoyogi National Gymnasium, run for 20 years by the ever-so-kind Kazuki san. This is a ska, rocksteady, reggae, dub, dancehall, roots rock island paradise. While it impresses at every […]

Tokyo Record Style

George

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About a month back, I had mentioned being in Union Vinyl, Disk Union’s flagship store in Shinjuku on a Saturday afternoon. As is usually the case, the shop was filled to the brim with vinyl junkies of various non-descriptions. Meandering around the bins, about a foot above the rest was a curiously-looking, curly-blonde-headed-big-haired western gal whose overall look I thought might make for a great photo. When I saw her leaving from the corner of my eye, I paused my perusing, followed her out, and approached her, catching that her Sultan, a traveler to Japan from Turkey. I pitched her […]

Tokyo Record Style

Mermaid (and Manabu)

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I had a hunch when I saw these characters walking down the street, one carrying a Pianola Record Store Bag, Pianola being the famously avante-guarde shop beloved by the most curious music listener (and the only place I have ever seen a Moondog pressing that I so regret not buying), that “mermaid” and Manabu might be a fun chat. And if I’m not mistaken, it turns out to be a Tokyo Record Style first, a subject photographed with their OWN record. “mermaid” is a musician and producer and I’ve since found out is a member of “DDM.” “What’s DDM”, you […]

Tokyo Record Style

Miori, Ayaka, and Uta

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Tokyo Record Style started as a confluence of several things. The first and foremost is an amalgamation of the past several decades of working as a writer and a photographer, primarily portraiture, and all the experiences that have come along with that. The 2nd inspiration, which can’t be understated, is my dear and talented friend John Sypal’s brilliant project, Tokyo Camera Style, where he essentially documents (read: celebrates) the state of photography in Tokyo (and really around the world considering how Tokyo is a sorta Mecca for photography lovers) by way of photographing the cameras of people he meets on […]

Tokyo Record Style

Onigiri and Nao

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“TOOOKKKYYYOOORRRKKKKRRRRDDS!!!” (inaudible) “Honey, I think that gaijin over there on the motorcycle with the crooked smile and camera around his neck is motioning to us” “I don’t think so. Just ignore him, he must be mistaken, and something is not quite right about that disheveled beard, those sunglasses, and that ratty bike. I’m sure he’s motioning to somebody else.” “No, I think he’s definitely pointing us, it seems he’s interested in your record bag” “RRRKKKKRRRRDDDSSSSHLOOOOOWAAAIIII” (inaudible) “Oh my goodness, Dear, he’s quite animated. There is something rather harmless about him. Should we check to make sure he’s not lost or […]

Tokyo Record Style

George

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Hey Tokyo Record Style Friends! I doubt anybody has noticed, but I had to pause TRS for a bit (seems about 20 days since my last post) to work on other priorities, some of which I’ll be excited to share with you very soon. Though I couldn’t seem to carve out the time to write much, I did not stop meeting record-loving people, jotting down their stories in my notebook, and photographing their smiling faces with their recent record store scores. Something that maybe is coming to light to me as a …beat(?) writer, as it were, is that the […]

Tokyo Record Style

Gokky

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“Never judge a record by its cover.” An adage updated for the modern age. As I came around the corner past the famous Suzunari Gekijo Theatre, made famous for being about as far off Broadway as you can get, and over the old tracks of the now-underground Odakuyu line, where we Shimokitazawans used to wait for sometimes 15 minutes at a time for all the local, semi-express, commuter, and double-decker Romance Car train to pass, and then through the once-iconic-but-now-a-bit-sterilized gate of “Ichi-Ban-Gai”, the “#1 Street”, right in front of Jet Set Records, I spotted a pair of full-sleeve tattoos […]

Tokyo Record Style

Ray

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“Hey, there! Did you score some records?” “Yeah, I did. What’s up?”  (Mom and Dad [read: “Mama Bear” and “Papa Bear”] spot a furry foreigner talking to their 14-year-old son, and circle in, along with 13-year-old daughter [read: “Sister Bear”] to suss out the situation with me and Ray, pictured here [read: “Brother Bear”].) “Oh! It’s a family affair I see! At the record store! Quite rare, but not completely unheard of! Hi, everyone! I’m harmless [read: Friendly Bear of the Strange Woods]. The name is Brian,” and “Yes” (I can say confidently), “Though I may not look like the […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tokyo Record Style Day – Volume 4 – Kichijoji

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Announcing “Tokyo Record Style Day – Volume 4 – Kichijoji!!” Saturday, July 22nd at 3pm! Join us for another afternoon of crate-digging with homies in local Tokyo neighborhoods, where gems and grails await us in clusters of awesome record shops! Score LPs, EPs, 10”s or CDs! Tapes? Reel-to-reels? 8-Tracks? We don’t judge! Just come celebrate your love for physical media and good ‘ol record shop culture! Pose for a photograph in your styley-est digs and with your Record Store scores, and make your mark on Tokyo Record Style!! The Kichijoji area has a couple of great record stores, including Coconuts […]

Tokyo Record Style

Michael

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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

Makoto

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Despite having lived here for 19 years, Tokyo is just too vast of a city to know very well. People are constantly saying to me “You don’t know ? How can you not know ?” Well, the answer simply is “There’s just too damn much to know.” Upstairs Records, run by the infamous Makato, previously of Broolyn’s similarly infamous “Weekend Records” opened around 2017, fairly long after my many years of Shimokita nighthawk life, and it was one of those places everyone seemed to know except for me. Those ~6 years go when it opened, my kids were kindergartners, and […]

Tokyo Record Style

All Japan Records & CD Summer Carnival

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I dropped by the Metropolitan Industry and Trade Center Taito Building this weekend for the “All Japan Records & CD Summer Carnival” where 31 record shops from around Japan all came together for a big trade/swap fair which according to their website (https://alljapan-records.com/) is the biggest 2nd hand record fair of its kind in Japan. I’m not totally sure, but I think this is a rather new event, having hosted just 4 other carnivals in years past with a big 3-year pause with the pandemic. The general vibe I picked up was that everybody was really happy to be back […]

Tokyo Record Style

Marcus Atennsio 

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For those who might not know, among other things, I founded a now long-running volunteer project with my friend, biz partner, and long-time collaborator, Yuko Yoshikawa. The effort is called Photohoku, and over the years, it has broadened in scope but at its essence, it uses photography as a means to do goodwill projects. Many of the techniques that I have learned and used in Photohoku efforts are proving very useful for Tokyo Record Style. Last summer we hosted a single-day photowalk and gallery hop through Shinjuku’s photo gallery cluster and it brought together over 100 photographers for Peace including […]

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

Bobb

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I caught up with Bobb from Singapore in the backstreets of Udagawa-cho, in that cluster of record stores on Cosmic Zaka that include Next Records, Face Records, Manhattan Records, and Mother Records, four shops that are a stone’s throw away from 4 more shops – Perfect Circle, Jammers, HMV, and Rock and Roll Music Garden, which are a stone throw away from 4 more… In fact, I got a fairly definitive count on record stores in Shibuya. Care to take a guess? 37 Record shops in SHIBUYA ALONE! Insane! Back to Bobb and the record he scored, Nujabes, the beloved […]

Tokyo Record Style

Sasagu

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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

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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

Rina

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ALERT: Cute young woman, wearing holy jeans, 70’s green top, black boots, gold watch, bleached blonde, walking down the streets of Shimokitazawa, carrying a matchingly cute and sticker’d 45 case, loaded with deep cut Soul 45’s and a brown paper Disc Union sack full of equally soulful 33’s, en route to local DJ gig. Uh… Can you get any cooler? Um. No… No, you can’t. Well if you could, Shimokita would be the place, Tokyo’s Bohemian enclave, where I’ve mostly called home for my decades here, despite moving a little down the road. One of the things that I feel […]

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

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

Suda Yuichiro

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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

Ryosuke Kimura

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I came to Japan, completely on a whim, in 2004, with very little knowledge of what I would find. It was 3 years before the iPhone came out, the same year Lost in Translation debuted, which, aside from fleeting images and stereotypes that I might have gained from 80’s American TV/Cartoons, besides images conjured by brands like Sony, Nikon, Toyota, or Nintendo, or even the little glimpses that I had gathered from snowboarding magazines that would sometimes feature the Japan Alps, Lost in Translation was really my only current cultural reference at the time. To be honest, I really didn’t […]

Tokyo Record Style

Top 5 Records Volume 12 – Heroes Just for One Day

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One week ago my music-loving pals and I hosted a 12th episode of our Top 5 Records, which has evolved into a Live Podcast, DJ Event, and Talk Show. The event pays homage to Nick Hornby’s novel “High Fidelity” and the cult classic movie by the same name, in which the 3 music aficionados anti-heroes, the clan of misfit record store clerks from “Championship Vinyl”, list their “Top 5” records on various themes throughout the book and movie. Not unlike the three protagonists, my pals Michael Warren, Tatsuo Fukutomi (bemsha), and myself pick an agreed topic of interest, and essentially […]

Tokyo Record Style

Ricky K Tanimoto 

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Last weekend’s Top 5 Record Event (which I hope to recap this weekend) lead me to Ricky, pictured here, and his cool Shinjuku Shop, Anchor Records. I was on a hunt for a particular record at a particular price, that I wanted to add to my Top 5 List, and was scouring the web when I finally found the record at the price on Anchor’s website. I had never heard of Anchor but knew exactly where it was, next to a camera shop I used to visit all the time, like multiple times a week, on the northwest side of […]

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 […]