Tokyo Record Style

Michael Warren

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Pal, peer, Penguin Cafe Orchestra appreciator, protocol polyglot, personal confidant, compatriot, collaborator, fellow expat, record-shopping partner, brother-in-Phish, Dog Log podcast co-host, Top 5 Records accomplice, and Tokyo Record Style repeater #1, my bud, THE Michael Warren. I was initially thinking “what do you say about somebody who you have already said everything about” but then as I started writing, I realized how easy it is to keep sharing about the things and people you really love, which is what Michael and I endless wax and wane about nearly every other day, catching up for a short “Dog Log” – our oddly […]

Tokyo Record Style

Fani

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You might not think Tokyo as the melting of humanity that is New York, London, or Sydney, but if this city’s population is any reflection whatsoever of the diversity of my circle of friends, which I think it HAS to be, particularly if you count all the people regularly and now repeatedly year-after-year coming through, I’m convinced very much that, at least if you go a layer deeper, Tokyo is one of the most international cities in the world. Scoff at that if you must, and yes, I admit that may be statistically highly inaccurate, but that’s my perspective. That’s […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tanno

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Going out on a limb here. The Japanese concept that Steve Jobs was so interested in is called “Kaizen” – “continual improvement” that emphasizes small, incremental changes that lead to better efficiency, higher quality, better performance while forging a culture of collaborative team effort. Then there is a lesser known word, ”Kairyo Bunka” 改良文化 – “the culture of improvement” that encapsulates the notion continually refining and enhancing aspects of culture, technology, and everyday life while incorporating and improving upon external influences, often surpassing the originals, Finally you often encounter this concept of “Parallel Imports” here, though not unique to Japan: […]

Tokyo Record Style

Bridget

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Globe-trotting Bridget I caught up with on Organ Zaka, the street that leads you from Tower Records up to Parco (where Disk Union is) and back down to the HMV Shibuya. She was carrying the iconic Tower Vinyl bag having just scored a record, not for herself but for her significant other who is a huge Oasis fan (and what do you buy an Oasis fan who might already have everything? Their latest offering a 3-disc set “Live from Knebworth 1996” where 250,000 Oasis fans converged to two record breaking, era-defining shows marking the “pinnacle of the band’s success and […]

Tokyo Record Style

Oobasalmon and Kaz USA

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I was recently invited on a photowalk by my friends Keiko Mizuno and Tokyo Record Style regular, Tatsuo Fukutomi AKA bemsha. Keiko is an avid Lomo  LC-A+ camera user, the camera that birthed the Lomographic Society, and she joined my PhotoPeace photo walk and gallery hop two summers ago. Coming back to Tokyo all the way from Gifu, she and bemsha organized this photo around the backstreets of Harajuku-Jingumae with visits to a couple of bookstores plus a coffee break at cool Watarium. Their photo walk was based on them “Tokimeki” which mean the the spark one feels in their […]

Tokyo Record Style

Godzilla Was Too Drunk To Destroy Tokyo

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This is a fun one. For a light-hearted work-related project, we were celebrating International Dinosaur Day (who knew?) and were looking across the interwebs for dinosaur/monster/Godzilla-themed projects to recruit to be involved when I happened to stumble across Italian Stoner Rockers, “Godzilla Was Too Drunk To Destroy Tokyo” AKA GWTDTDT who would be, for the first time, in their career, visiting Tokyo from Finale Ligure, near Genova where they are based, and touring Japan, with a night off to join our event, which they did, presenting this story of their band and their sonic creation of “heavy psych monster fuzz […]

Tokyo Record Style

Hinoharu

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I consider myself quite lucky to have grown up in and around dance studios and backstages at performing art centers having a godmother (Miss Shelley) who taught ballet, tap, jazz, modern, and beyond to half the city of Tulsa. My mother was also a ballerina who taught at Shelly’s school for a spell, and while both my sisters studied there for years, neither me nor my brothers ever took a single dance lesson. Still, I really love watching professional dance, and really appreciate the forms, artistry, and athleticism, and it’s not in my bones, it’s at least in my blood. […]

Tokyo Record Style

Majoo and Ruffy

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After a great trip to Nagoya, I was back on home turf in Tokyo when on my way home from work I spotted this VERY cool couple in Shibuya coming out of HMV with what looked like a sizable haul. Ruffy and Majoo introduced themselves and though they were in a bit of a rush to get to the next record store before it closed, they were happy to give me some of their time for Tokyo Record Style. And when I found out that they have a record shop in San Francisco, and were on a buying, selling, and […]

Tokyo Record Style

Takashi Takashima

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One of the best things of doing Tokyo Record Style is befriending so many record shop owners. When they are really warm, like they so often are, especially like the owner of Greatest Hits Records in Nagoya, Takashi Takashima, and they invite you into their inner world, you not only does it feel like you just scored the all-access back-stage pass to your favorite concert, but you hear all about the the inside scoop of upcoming albums or the intricacies of certain pressings, or behind-the-scene stories of visits of famous musicians and celebrities, and all manner of music industry lore, […]

Tokyo Record Style

Jun

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As I was walking into Greatest Hits Records in Nagoya, a customer, Yukinari, from the previous post was walking out. I approached him for a photo and after he agreed we got off to taking some photos. As I was walking backward so as to able to fit Yukinari into the frame, I backed into a gentle looking giant wearing a mono-tone spring linen Japanese Jinbei, a light and airy kimono-style top and loose pants, wooden geta raised sandals with tabi-style socks, a long goatee, a matching terrycloth towel and beanie, smoking tobacco from a thin traditional smoking pipe called […]

Tokyo Record Style

Yukinari

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As my daughter begged and pleaded with me at the 11th hour’s last 5 minutes to take her all the way to Nagoya to see her favorite boy band (she’s 13) at Vantalin Dome, and as I refused her a dozen times trying to explain to her that it made absolutely no financial sense, there sitting on a massive shelf behind her were about 1000 2nd-hand records that cost a small fortune to accumulate, and as many dollars worth of stereo equipment, not to mention a piano and two guitars and a few other musical trophies (all of yours truly), […]

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

David Sternberg

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There is a certain quality that some people have, I guess you’d call it literally character, that if you have aspirations of ever writing a novel, you, when meeting these specimens, think to yourself, “Oh, here’s a good one to make a memo of. This guy’s whole being is expressive, I’m gonna base a character on this guy, in fact, I’m gonna cook up a little fictional vignette based on this very meeting, I mean after all, you can’t make up somebody or situations better than this.” David from The Little Record Store in North London was and is one […]

Tokyo Record Style

Minoru

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It’s been a while! Happy to be back after a short hiatus. With 17 people currently in the Tokyo Record Style queue, it’s time to get going again, starting with the manager of Kichijoji’s HMV, Minori san who was introduced to me by one of the shop’s friendly staff (and singer-songwriter) Nozomi san, who I photographed a few months back in Shibuya with a copy of Workingman’s Dead! When I spotted her working on a recent visit to HMV KJ I felt obliged to come clean that I created, against my better judgment, and semi-clandestine video walkthrough of HMV Kichijoji […]

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

Laurent and Michelle

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Bonsoir, lovely Michelle and Laurent! I met these friendly folks on the streets of Shibuya a couple weeks back, who hailed from France’s northeastern region of Grand Est, the city of Metz, famous for gardens and leafy promenades along the Moselle and Seille rivers. I learned that this 3000 year-old city, which I’d very much now like to visit, is also famed for its gothic cathedral that, according to Michelle and Laurent, is flooded with light from more stained glass windows than any other place in the world, many made by noted artists. Wow! That must be quite a site! […]

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

Yatabe

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Wrapping up the trio of buds that I photographed a few weeks back in Shinjuku is Yatabe. Now technically, Yatabe hadn’t scored any records like his friends, Kurata and Tomatsu from the previous two posts, but hey, we’re all the gang here, and I made a little rule for moments like these: If we’ve initiated the whole Tokyo Record Style thang, and it turns out for some reason that you don’t actually have a record, so long as you can recommend a good artist to check out and so long has you’ve got some style, cuz this blog is not […]

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

Tomatsu

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When we look in the mirror, we don’t see our “true” selves, or maybe a better way to put it is that we don’t see our “accurate” selves, but rather a representation of ourselves, horizontally flipped, but it’s close enough to give us an idea of how we look and who we are. But on the other hand, when we look at a photograph of ourselves, maybe a well-made portrait, we see ourselves as the world sees us …and sometimes, even often, the person we see in the photo is not the same person we see in the mirror. I’ve […]

Tokyo Record Style

Jacee

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

Tokyo Record Style

Taka of Bar Travis

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Music is life. Music make the world smaller. Just had to say that. Happy New Year Tokyo Record Style, Friends. I’m getting off to a late start writing and posting , and the backlog of photographed people is piling up. Had a bit of your standard issue writer’s block I suspect, but my fingers and clickity-clackiting away again. So here’s to a great 2024 of music life and record style! Off we go! The first person featured on Tokyo Record Style of 2024 didn’t actually have any records! But he did have a proper Disk Union-branded premium tote, very much […]

Tokyo Record Style

Leslie, Jeff (and Cousin Kevin)

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How can, after all these years, Shibuya Scramble, AKA, “The busiest interaction in the world” keep impressing? It knocked my socks off the first time I saw it as it does everybody who has ever beared witness to it, and it’s still captivating me two decades later, even having seen it literally thousands of times. Viewing it from slightly afar these days, say from the new Sakura pedestrian overpass, with the major ongoing transformation, new skyscrapers arising all around it like a citadel, while the Tokyo Department Store that as once sat in the center atop the station having come […]

Tokyo Record Style

Sean

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I had a slightly peculiar claim to fame growing up, that my grandfather was from Canada, technically making me, for whatever it was worth, ¼ Canadian (if a person can actually claim such a thing). Well, I did, and although I could really only make a few distinctions, some being having different words for things like sofas, napkins, bathrooms, and ending sentences with “eh” a lot, loving to eat permission fruit, roasted chestnuts, and whatever beaver tails are (I eventually found out), always having a reserve of real maple syrup, and arguably a pretty darn good national anthem and flag, […]

Tokyo Record Style

Garageville Yasu

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

Tokyo Record Style

Apollo

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Brian (Dad) at (Chez) Tokyo Records Style! This season is always filled with cheer and goodwill, but also tons of great music, so much of which is pressed on glorious wax!! From Nat King Cole to Ariana Grande and everything in between, the holiday air is filled with classic Christmas tunes. Probably like at your house, our favorite Christmas records have finally been back in heavy rotation. The definitive favorite at our house has been “Rockin’ Little Christmas”, an 80s compilation that kicks off Side 2 with Bobby Helm and The Anita Kerr Singers’ […]

Tokyo Record Style

Xuan

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I became friends with somebody this year that has really captured my imagination and curiosity, if I’m honest, like nobody quite has in a long while. When I was introduced to her among a circle of brand-savvy fashionistas, in-the-know vanguards, and trendsetting designers themselves, she was wearing something like cheap slacker work dickies, classic checkered vans slip-ons, some chunky self-repaired eye-glasses, fuzzy cardigan, a funky haircut and a kelly-green watch that matched her kelly-green socks. Plus she stood tall, but with a swagger that you could hear in her confident voice. “This is Xuan, from Beijing” I was told. “Xuan, […]

Tokyo Record Style

Jeffery Beats

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

Tokyo Record Style

Ryoki / Teresahenn

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

Tokyo Record Style

DJ Gundam

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

Tokyo Record Style

Aleksa (and Igor)

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I keep saying the world gets smaller through music and it happened again a couple weeks back when I met Aleksa (and his older brother Igor who’s coming up in the next post) from Belgrade, Serbia on the streets of Tokyo. We connected so wholeheartedly that we ended up losing all track of all manner of time, conversing about so many topics for over an hour; talking about Serbia, about Tokyo, about music, and life, that eventually my notebook went back into my pocket with very few actual notes in it – whoops! This happens sometimes, when you are just […]

Tokyo Record Style

Azim and Family

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

Tokyo Record Style / Uncategorized

Hinata and Kaho

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Hello Hinata and Kaho! Another couple who claimed not to be a couple (yet?) but who were out on what looked very much like a record-shopping date. This got me thinking back to, well, slightly dangerous territory to venture into, but …loves of yore, all the music I’ve shared with past girlfriends …and just the notion of music in a relationship, and how personal music is, and how unlikely it probably is to genuinely share music tastes with a partner. Some know that I met my wife in a band. I played piano and she played drums. I also play […]

Tokyo Record Style

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

The Omnia Burger T-shirt! I love it!

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This month, just for fun, I entered turntable cartridge maker @jico_international‘s T-Shirt Sweepstakes – “OMNIA BURGER” launched to commemorate their killer OMNIA Package and Cartridge Line. The T-shirt featured a tasty-looking hamburger replete with a record and turntable tonearm (with JICO cartridge) toppings. This design by renowned illustrator AIMI Odawara (), known for her remarkable artistic legacy in Japan, jumped off the T-shirt for me because: 1.) My record-loving pals and I often go out for burgers after a record store visit, like we did just last weekend for Tokyo Record Style Day Vol. 5 to Tohto Records & Books, […]

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

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

Tokyo Record Style Day Vol. 1 – Shimokitazawa

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

Tokyo Record Style

Takashi

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Takashi’s striped sweater had something Charlie Brown about it, his chain wallet and oversized rims had something Elvis Costello about them, and I have always wanted a pair of leather Chuck Taylors. Carrying a Union Record Bag, naturally, I had to spark up a conversation with him. I told him about Tokyo Record Style but he was expectedly hesitant to just pose for a stranger with a camera. That’s understandable, but since we were already talking, I asked what records he just scored and he pulled out the Ronettes! That very day, I had spotted Phil Spectors’s Christmas Album on […]

Tokyo Record Style

Shimpei

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I met Shimpei on the streets of Shinjuku with his new vinyl scores from Disk Union: Peter Tosh’s Bush Doctor and Tom Browne’s Magic. I asked Shimpei why he collects records and he mentioned being a DJ, and when I looked at his Instagram, I can see he’s spinning music every few nights. Shimpei was super friendly as you can see by his warm smile – Looking forward to listening to these records and keeping tabs on Shimpei so I can catch one of his DJ sets.   Peter Tosh – Bush DoctorLabel: Rolling Stones Records – CUN 39109Format: Vinyl, […]

Tokyo Record Style

Yuta

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Yuta was hanging out with a couple of pals on the streets of Shinjuku holding a recent score from Disc Union. I told him about Tokyo Record Style and asked him to pose for a photo. From his Disk Union Bag, he produced 2 records, neither of which I knew, a repeating occurrence I’m finding. One record was Sweat by the System, Electro Synth-pop which Yuta described basically as Disco. The 2nd record was Teddy Mike’s instrumental funk record, On Point. Looking forward to listening to both these records. Thanks, Yuko for posing for these shots and looking so effortlessly […]

Tokyo Record Style

Anthony

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

Tokyo Record Style

DJ Bow

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

Tokyo Record Style

DJ Nishiyama

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

Tokyo Record Style

Saeka Shimida

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A fellow photographer – Saeka! I caught up with her and a pal with a nice stash of records just scored from Jet Set which, a little like Big Love Records, keeps a highly curated inventory of mostly new-ish records, finds that for the more discerning listener. Maybe I’m imagining things, but walking around with records in a Jet Set bag says to the more basic (in that modern dismissive sense) listeners like me, “That gay/gal didn’t just score some records from Jet Set …that person IS A JETSETTER!” That could actually be true because when Saeka produced the records […]

Tokyo Record Style

Joshua and Madeline

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

Tokyo Record Style

Koji

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

Tokyo Record Style

Yujiro

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

Tokyo Record Style

Eric Jacobsen

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

Tokyo Record Style

Itaru

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

Tokyo Record Style

Naohiro

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Anyway, I had no clue what records Naohiro was showing me, but I’ll check them out and give them a listen in the coming days (All the records photographed are listed on Discogs with info – link in bio). Despite not knowing industrial/goth/metal music well (nor the -waves / -cores), I mentioned that my neighbor (and father of my son’s best pal) is part of legendary industrial outfit, Skinny Puppy, and Naohiro was quite impressed to hear that. We also discussed The Cure’s (one of his favorite bands) recent re-release of “Wish”, which was one of the first CDs I […]

Tokyo Record Style

Yukiko

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

Tokyo Record Style

Yuji

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

Tokyo Record Style

Sota

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

Tokyo Record Style

Tets Igeta

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