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

Bemsha, Michael, and Cristopher

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

Tokyo Record Style

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

Tsuburai

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Crossing paths in NishiOgikubo with Tsuburai pictured here was a lucky chance. Here is a guy, no doubt, steeped in musical knowledge and whose tastes coincided with mine quite clearly but still like a Tokyo super expressway overpass interchange where there are highways are overpassing, underpassing, intersecting and outersecting with eachother. We had a nice exchange on the street where he told me that besides loving music, he also produces events, and projects, another thing we shared in common but because he had another place to be at that moment, he generously gave me what little time he had for […]

Tokyo Record Style

Marcus

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

Tokyo Record Style

Cheri and Yoshi

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The world gets smaller through music! Last weekend’s Tokyo Record Style Day Vol. 7 was a total success. If you didn’t catch it, our record-loving homies all met up at シェア音楽棚tent or “Shared Music Shelf Tent” in Nishiogikubo, a shop of shops of sorts, run by the kind Akezawa san, who rents small cubby-type shelves to anybody wishing to sell records or music-related goods. This day was not only our chance to meet up with like-minded music friends but also the “grand opening” of our OWN “Tokyo Records Style Co-op,” a rented-shelf stocked by me and my Top 5 Record […]

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

Kei

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Back to Sources! Tokyo Record Style has become such a little gift from musical heaven. I’m becoming indebted to my own project for all the ways it’s opening my eyes, ears, and mind to new musical discoveries and the more it reveals to me, the more rewarding and truly fulfilling it’s becoming. Through meeting strangers on the street, I’m not only making new music-loving homies and expanding my community, but both the roots and branches of the tree of music in front of me grow further down into and across the soil and higher and wider into the sky, like […]

Tokyo Record Style

Joseph

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Little bit of New York in Tokyo. I was recalling my encounter with Joseph and I couldn’t remember if it was indeed Joseph, Joe, or Joey, but as soon as I heard Joey in my head and remembered that he was from New York, my mind immediately went to a masterpiece of one-man-show that I grew up with, Eric Bogosian’s “Sex Drugs, and Rock&Roll” a collection of monologues of iconic characters from all walks of life. It’s absolutely brilliant, truly a work of genius, comedic, dramatic, tragic, and well worth digging around for. One of the funnier monologues is a […]

Tokyo Record Style

Jaden

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You know that feeling you get when somebody says to you, “You’ve never seen that movie?!” or “You’re never heard of so-and-so?!” or “You’ve never been to that famous place?!” or “How can you not know this band?!” I admit having spent much of my life in fear of being asked these kinds of questions. Yeah, just call it what it is: insecurity, but I’ve always strived, mostly futilely in vain, to at least be “in-the-know” about EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD, and it only really has been in my middle age when I’ve stopped caring so much about not knowing […]

Tokyo Record Style

Michael Warren

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

Tokyo Record Style

Towa

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Nearly every day on my way home from work, I pass by Manhattan Records, a Tokyo institution of 30 years that mostly Hip-Hop, R&B, Soul, and House. After passing Ultra Shibuya, Hi-Fi Records, several Disk Unions, Tower Records, an HMV, Discland Jaro, Next Records, Mother’s Records, and a couple of Face Records, Manhattan Records is the last record shop on my way out of Shibuya on Inokashira Dori, the road that leads me all the way back home. By the time I’m rolling up on Manhattan, I’ve usually photographed a record collector or two on the way at one of […]

Tokyo Record Style

Cheer the Rock

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Hello “Cheer the Rock!” Welcome to Tokyo Records Style! “Where did you get a name like “Cheer the Rock?” “It was thought up by the artist MAAACHIRIN, who is on the Shibuya music label I run called “Pinpuri(.com)”. “Wow, what does it mean?” “It means “Supporting rock feelings [ロックな気持ちを応援する]” Cheer also explained that he is graduated from a music college and is a composer and …Facinating! Cheer the Rock said he didn’t have any vinyl records but rather CDs instead! C’mon now! It’s all about music, we don’t judge! So Cheer pulled out his CDs (none of which I recognized […]

Tokyo Record Style

Yasu

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Sesame Street… …ok bear with me. I grew up on Sesame Street, well not actually ON Sesame Street, but watching it as a kid. I have 4 younger siblings, spread in ages across 12 years. So Sesame Street was on our family TV for a decade. It didn’t change heaps over the years, but I definitely got “old school” Sesame Street (think: 70’s era View Master – “Day at the Zoo”) and my youngest siblings got new updated versions, but all still quite familiar. Even my own kids watched DVDs of Sesame Street, both the oldest and newest seasons and […]

Tokyo Record Style

Miguel

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Meet Miguel who hails from the Catalonia city of architect Antoni Gaudí (of Sagrada Família fam of course, and who I must say to who Miguel bears a striking resemblance san broken-and-taped eyeglasses), Reus, Spain! I’ve only ever heard of Reus by name but have never met and actual Reusenc, so this was quite a prospect! (Side note, Reus is also a famous for its signature Catalan modernism, also as wine-producing region, a rock-climbing mecca, and boasts a millenia-rich history. I wanna go! ) Miguel was carrying a massive haul form Recofan’s new shop in Shibuya Magnet opposite the station. […]

Tokyo Record Style

Marlon

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I met Marlon from Sydney on the back streets of Shibuya in the Udagawa district along with a pal he had just made, Miguel from Spain (who will be featured in the next post.) Talk about friendly, it was easy to recognize that Marlon’s charisma was as big as his heart. He was keen to be photographed for Tokyo Record Style, and chat me up about the records he scored, a rather sizable lot that ran the gamut of genres but mostly 12” that would get your booty shaking on the dance floor. Marlon mentioned that the record store scene […]

Tokyo Record Style

Ian Thomas (and Family)

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It’s been a long overdue Miles Davis kind of Sunday morning. The fact that today is the first rainy and overcast day in weeks makes it all the more fitting for “Kind of Blue” which followed a listening of “Ascenseur pour l’échafaud” Miles’ soundtrack to the groundbreaking 1958 French crime thriller film with the same name, which I was turned on to by the subject of today’s Tokyo Record Style post, Mr. Ian Bob Thomas, who was visiting Tokyo for the first time from Adelaide, Australia with his lovely family. I caught up with them rather late in the evening […]

Tokyo Record Style

Daisuke

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Friendly and fashionable Daisuke puts the style back in Tokyo Record Style. I caught up with him outside of HMV in Shibuya (Interesting side note: Did you know that HMV stands for “His Master’s Voice” and that the possessive “His” refers to the tilted-head, white-furried, black-ear’d, music mascot, terrier mix, “Nipper” also known as the RCA Victor Dog, and that “master’s voice”, more specifically the deceased master’s voice, which in all the old advertisements, refers to what plays in the dog’s ear from the adjacent gramophone which sits atop, along with the dog, the deceased master’s coffin, yes coffin, as […]

Tokyo Record Style

Casimir (and Heloise)

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Within 10 minutes of my on-the-way-home route I pass 20 record stores, just in Shibuya alone: Ultra Shibuya, Lighthouse Records, Discland Jaro, Recofan Magnet, Face Miyashita, Hi-Fi Records, Tower Records, Union Record Parco, Union Jazz Soul Punk, Disc Union Rock, RnR Garden, Manhattan Records, Next Records, Nerds Record, Mothers, Records, Original Face Records, HMV Shibuya and Coco Isle Music Market. From there, I can either take the shorter way home through Shimokitazawa where there are just as many shops, or I can take the ever-so-slightly longer route through Shinjuku and where I think there may even be more than 20 […]

Tokyo Record Style

Igami

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I feel like all my life I’ve been elbowing my way into social scenes that I don’t really have any business being a part of, as if for some kind of dare to myself. I don’t know what it is about me, but when I encounter a world of things and people I know nothing about, I’m often compelled to infiltrate, spy as it were, pick up some intel, save it for another occasional that waiting me down the road. Then when that 2nd chance comes, and I’m caring the Ace in my sleeve, I bust it out, and presto, […]

Tokyo Record Style

Alan

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I started off the new year up with a midtown meetup in Chiyoda-ku and my dear pal and DJ extraordinaire, Tatsuo Fukutomi, also known as “bemsha” for a burger at BK and a record dig at Disk Union above Ochanomizu’s station. After a loooong chat over lunch and a short obligatory dig at DU, we headed out to the plaza and back towards to the station, but not before we both spotted a camo’d-out character walking down the Disk Union stairs and across the square with what seemed like a record store bag. Bemsha knew exactly what I cooking up […]

Tokyo Record Style

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

Blue is free, Blue is noble, Blue never racial discrimination!

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Another amazing display of generosity by my artist friend, Miro, who has created and is sharing the notion of “Blue Identity” speaking about blue as a color for freedom, for peace, for nobility, and never racial discrimination. I love this concept so much and I am so honored to know, be inspired and supported by Miro! Please check out is moving work and join me in spreading the notion of “Blue Identity”! THANK YOU MIRO!!!

Tokyo Record Style

What’s on your Top 5?

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A brief introduction to my monthly talk show, Top 5 Records. And an invitation for you to come participate! Head over to the Top 5 Section of Tokyo Record Style, find any of the past “Top 5 Records” past theme, and leave your Top 5 as a comment! Let’s share and learn from each other, become better connected through music!

Tokyo Record Style

Top 5 Records Vol. 14 – “The Color of Music”

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Top 5 Records Vol. 14 – “The Color of Music” – September 23, 2023 Welcome to Season 2 of “Top 5 Records” where music-loving pals and DJs Michael Warren, “bemsha” (Tatsuo Fukutomi), and “Zebrio” Brian Scott Peterson, invite their friends to an afternoon and evening of playing records and counting down their Top 5 Records on various themes! The Season 2 – Episode 4 theme is “The Color of Music” – songs and albums that relate to color! It will be up to our DJ’s to share how they interpret “The Color of Music”, whether that be “Songs with Color […]

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

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

Tokyo Record Style Day – Miro Blue Identity Giveaway!

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I’m convinced! Nothing beats Tokyo Record Style Day! As Tina Turner says, “Simply the best!” In my next post, I’m gonna recap the fun time we had but for now, I want to spread the message of “Blue Identity” by Tokyo artist, Miro who recently styled me with an amazing work of Bob Marley art and a pack of stickers of some amazing heroes, both literal and figurative in blue. Miro’s “Blue Identity” is a beautiful notion that challenges racism and injustice. While we’re capable of discriminating against black, red, brown yellow, and white and of believing wrongly that our […]

Tokyo Record Style

TOP 5 RECORDS – SummerTime

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Welcome to Season 2 of “Top 5 Records” where music-loving pals and DJs Michael Warren, “bemsha” (Tatsuo Fukutomi), and “Zebrio” Brian Scott Peterson (yours truly), invite their friends to an afternoon and evening of playing records and counting down their Top 5 Records on various themes! The Season 2 – Episode 3 theme is “Summertime” – songs and albums that are made for summer! It will be up to our DJs to share how they interpret Summertime, whether that be “Hits of the Summer”, “Surf-Rockers/Beach-life classics” “Scorching Hot Solo-ridden jams”, “Albums for Convertibles”, and so on. This will be our […]

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

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

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 […]

Tokyo Record Style

Kazuyoshi Yajima

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Record shops come in every shape, size, specialty, scale, sort, stock selection, spaciousness, sophistication, sound system, staff service standard, scene, style, and spirit. The “Seventeen S’s”, as I call them. Naw, I just made that up. But it’s kinda true. Sometimes you just choose a record shop based on one of these, or maybe just the one that’s closest, sometimes you choose one cuz you’re looking for something specific. Sometimes, any records store will do, and other times, you’re in the mood for a particular flavor. Record stores are a little like pizza, they’re always good, but some are better […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tanno

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

Tokyo Record Style

Nana

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I met friendly Nana (and Tanno who will be featured in the next post) on the streets of Shibuya last week. Both carrying records, I presumed they were a couple, but turns out they’re colleagues in a small creative company making 3-D Computer Graphics, working in commercials, advertising, events, concerts, and more. When I commented on Nana’s cool Lunar Lander T-shirt, she informed me it was, in fact, her own design and shared her online store @neko_kayo where I could get one! Cool! Not immediately recognizing the pink vinyl record bag that Nana carried, I assumed it was from a […]

Tokyo Record Style

Saqip

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

Tokyo Record Style

Nobuhiko

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In this project, as you’d expect, you often catch people off guard. Well, technically I guess nobody is ever really expecting such an interaction like this after a recent purchase, to be approached by a random foreigner and to be asked to pose for a portrait. As I’ve often described in these posts, the overwhelming majority of people are initially slightly suspicious but willing to hear my pitch. Once they grasp the nature of the project, they essentially come around in this gradual way: “Ok, Ok… I get it… I see what you’re doing. It’s actually kinda cool. Yeah, I’ll […]

Tokyo Record Style

Sophia

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I’ve read that there are over 100 record shops in the 23 wards of Tokyo. If you add all the recycle and books shops that have decent record offerings, add another 100 shops. If you add in record stores and recyclable shops of the surrounding sprawl of Tokyo Megalopolis, in which 37 million people live, there are another 100 shops. That’s about 300 in total. Pretty insane, huh? Count Uptown Records in Koenji among them, and one that certainly stands out among the others. Located right in the middle of Koeji’s famous Koshin-dori Shotengai shopping street, its cool DIY-made sandwich-board […]

Tokyo Record Style

Kerry and Yuki

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Meet lovely Kerry and (and Yuki) whom I caught up with on the streets of Shibuya for a friendly chat and some Tokyo Record Style. As is always the case, they were a little suspicious at first, just as I would be on the chaotic streets of Shibuya, but a genuine shared interest in music broke the ice and we got a off to smashing start. Kerry had just scored some records from Tower Records down the road. (Side note: In case you don’t know, a few months back Tower moved its giant ~7th-floor vinyl section in Shinjuku all over […]

Tokyo Record Style

Okubo

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

Tokyo Record Style

Nolan

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

Tokyo Record Style

Tatsuo Fukutomi (bemsha)

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One can never really have enough of our good pal TRS and TRSD repeater, Top 5 Co-Host, resident PK toaster, photographyphile, devourer of books, “Delinquent” (a person who displays anti-social behavior or challenges authority as a result of listening to Bob Dylan) and DJ extraordinaire, Tatsuo Fukutomi AKA “bemsha” in our lives. Bemsha makes his 3rd or 4th (or 5th?) appearance on the stream, but always a welcomed guest (…truth be told, I started Tokyo Record Style Day just to hang out more with him.) What more can I write about the ol’ bemshmeister that I haven’t written already? I’ve […]

Tokyo Record Style

Morgan Fisher

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The Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Tina Turner lived her days in Switzerland. The Queen of Queen, Freddie Mercury, lived his early days in Zanzibar. The Dude of All the Young Dudes, Morgan Fisher, lives in Japan and has since 1984! Keyboard wizard and maestro composer, Morgan is a bit of a Tokyo institution, and an actual living urban legend, having a long-lasting music career that has spanned the decades. He started with The Soul Survivors, who became Love Affair for their 1968 number-one hit single “Everlasting Love”. Soon thereafter he founded his own prog-rock outfit Morgan with members of […]

Tokyo Record Style

Tokyo Record Style Day Volume 3 – Hatagaya – Thank You!

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Hatagaya has a special place in my heart. It was the first place I lived in Tokyo, two stops from Shinjuku on the microscopic 2-station Keio-Shinsen Line. Little did I know when my pal Taku and I traded places, him leaving Japan on a sojourn of a lifetime, and me ending mine, that when he handed me the keys to his little apartment in Yashiro Mansion, and the keys to his motorcycle, that I would become forever rooted to Japan and that Shimokita/Shibuya/Shinjuku triangle would more-or-less remain my stomping grounds all these nearly 20 years later. Back then Hatagaya was […]

Tokyo Record Style

Shinkawa san and Meika

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I met my old pals Jim and Shana early Saturday Morning in Ginza where there were staying. Because our old weekend-coffee-beers-photography-brunch haunt around the corner, “Aux Bacchanales” didn’t open till 11, the three of us landed on some really lovely Eggs Benedict at METoa Cafe and Kitchen around the corner (which I can highly recommend), and right in eyesight of Leica Ginza. After brunch and having some time still to kill before needing to get back to weekend Dad duties, we took a leisurely stroll over to always-impressive Tokyo Kokusai International Forum, where we snapped a few nice shots before […]

Tokyo Record Style

Jim O’Connell

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Somebody with many interests and creative pursuits is called a “Multipotentialite”. Somebody with knowledge that spans a substantial number of subjects is called a “Polymath”. Somebody who has wide interests and is an expert in several areas is called a “Renaissance Man.” Somebody who is competent in many endeavors, but excels in none of them is called a “Pantologist” or a “Jack of All Trades.” Jim is all of these things but also more than all of them. I’ve been searching for a way to describe one of my oldest, dearest, closest friends, the godfather of my first kid, my […]

Tokyo Record Style

Temuge

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They say Shibuya Scramble is the busiest intersection in the world. Is it true? Could be. Two things are for sure. 1.) It still manages to impress, no matter how many hundreds (or thousands) of times you’ve crossed it, and 2.) It’s where I spotted Temuge crossing in the sea of people with his pal, both with ice-pops on a Saturday Night. I chatted Temuge there on the corner in a mix of Japanese and English and I began to wonder if Japanese was both our second languages. I asked Temugu where he was from and I thought I heard […]

Tokyo Record Style

Michael

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Making an official second appearance on Tokyo Record Style is my dear homie, fellow vinyl junkie, daily Dog-Logger, Top 5 Records co-host, and musician extraordinaire, Michael Warren. Michael’s paths and my own had intersected a couple of times over both our long tenures in Japan but we weren’t really connected in earnest until one unsuspectingly auspicious post I had made about the band Phish. I happen to own a very rare copy of their 2nd release “Lawnboy” which I just serendipitously found in the “P’s” at Amoeba Records in San Franciscos’s Haight-Ashbury about 25 years ago. (Sidenote/Tangent Warning: I happen […]

Tokyo Record Style

Johnny and Bora

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I just keep meeting the absolutely coolest and nicest people in the world on this project. What a brilliant little way to interact with the world that I seem to have just stumbled into. Though every person I meet is unique with totally different taste in music, it kinda feels like I keep meeting members of a sorta Secret Society, “The Illuminadio”, “Knights of the Turntable”, “Order of the Black Circle”, “The Fellowship of the Ringwear”, the “Fraternal Order of Record Collectors” and these two knew the secret handshake. As soon as I started speaking Japanese, I could sense that […]

Tokyo Record Style

Euna

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t bears worth mentioning again, the word “Style” in “Tokyo Record Style (TRS)” has significance. Like in my pal John Sypal’s project “Tokyo Camera Style (TCS)” on which TRS is based, this feed is not just about music in the same way that TCS is not just about cameras, but it’s also about expressing individuality, attitudes, and fashion sense through music taste (like with cameras in TCS). Now you needn’t at all be “fashionable” to catch my eye, you simply need to be holding a record store bag. HAVING SAID THAT, I know you’re not supposed to judge a book […]

Tokyo Record Style

Milan

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I’m on a boat. I guess you gotta call this one “Hiroshima Bay Record Style”. During the Golden Week Holiday in Japan, after Osaka, we took the family down to Hiroshima and the Seto Island Sea area, with a stop at Itsukushima Island to visit the famous Miyajima Shrine with the giant red Torii gate in the middle of the shallow sea, that when the tide is out, you could walk through, and when is in, you can boat through. I’d visited once before in my very early Japan days but the family had never been. So we took the […]

Tokyo Record Style

Icksun

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I’m hijacking this post, after spotlighting Icksun, pictured here, who I met on the backstreets of Ame-Mura in Ōsaka, nearly equidistant from my home in Tokyo, and his home in Seoul, Korea. Icksun was carrying a decent-sized stack of recently-scored 12”s down the street, while I was drinking a “0-Beer” (is what I like to call them), on the curb watching people pass by, while my son chewed on some gummies sitting next to me. The three of us had a friendly chat, Apollo dropped an “Annyeonghaseyo” and 1: 일 (il), 2: 이 (i), 3: 삼 (sam), 4: 사 (sa), […]

Tokyo Record Style

Kenji

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The second stop on the short Ōsaka record shop whirlwind was Timebomb Records, recommended by Yasushi from the previous post, where, after I explained being mostly a Roc&Roll head, he promised I’d find endless records to fiend over. He was right. A short walk from Groovenut, I found Timebomb in a downtown underground passage of sorts, and was getting a sense just from the shop signage, which mentioned “R&R, Oldies, R&B, Soul, Beatles, Stones, Garage, Psych, Punk New Wave, Alt., Indie/Pop” (in a seemingly perfect sequential order), and all the concert posters, a few pin-up girls, a font that reminded […]

Tokyo Record Style

DJ Yasushi (Sushi)

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“I can’t believe I just signed an original pressing of 3 Feet High and Rising… History” – Vincent Lamont Mason Jr., AKA Maseo, P.A. Pasemaster Mase, and Plug Three, of the one and only, you guessed it, De La Soul “White Label Test Pressing bought for $2.99 from a random bookstore in Pennsylvania decades ago”, according to whom the signature is addressed, DJ Yasushi of Groovenut Records in Ame-Mura (American Village) in Ōsaka. Good grief! Test Press of one of the most important and influential albums in Hip Hop history, personally signed no less. Talk about treasure… …For the Golden […]

Tokyo Record Style

Maj

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As the sun was setting on my crosstown traffic home, serendipity shone one last beam upon me, illuminating this crazy diamond, whose name I’d eventually learn was “Mai”, but spelled “Maj”, wandering back streets of Shimokita far, far away from her home in The Hauge. Her crimson clothes and fair hair starkly contrasted the muted neighbor tones of Tokyo, and the evident inquisitiveness of her stride and gaze, and the proximity of the encounter to curiously-curated Pianola Records, all of which I was synthesizing in a matter of seconds, gave me no doubt that she was very likely a little […]