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

Ksniea

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Did you know that, according to research, the average person meets about 80,000 people in their lifetime? As a rather outgoing person myself, I was guessing I’d fall somewhere on the high end of that curve, that was until I started to crunch the numbers. If you live to be 80, that’s 1000 people a year, every year of your life, which is about 3 people a day on average. You’d think the only way to keep that high average would be by joining occasions like parties, classes, or gatherings where you meet a lot of people at once …but […]

Tokyo Record Style

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

Yusya

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I just listened to “Patto”, the album pictured here, and I have to say, never have I better understood the smile of one of the people I’ve photographed with their recent record-shop score. This album just melted my face right off my head. Dare I say that I probably looked a lot like the illustrated face on the cover here, while listening to the whole album as amazing guitar heavy guitar, wild changing chord progressions, and some outer-space avant-guarde free jazz interludes washed over me. What an absolutely killer album! Where has this been my whole life? Jeez, I’m a […]

Tokyo Record Style

Takeshi Shimizu

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The artists that compel me the most are the ones who, themselves, are compelled to create. It’s often the compulsion that is more interesting and admirable to me than whatever art they create. My favorite artist John Baldessari said great art cannot be willed into creation, the artist must be possessed to make it. All the time, I so badly WISH that I was possessed to create, that I couldn’t help but make art, a need to create like a need to breathe, like my photographer friend John Sypal, whose project Tokyo Camera Style inspired this one, seems to be […]

Tokyo Record Style

Daniel

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

Tokyo Record Style

James Banbury

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Little did I know when I met James Banbury that I was speaking to a renowned music arranger, writer, and musician. We met at an exhibition opening through mutual friends a couple weeks back and I found out then that he had only recently moved to Tokyo after a decade+ in Hong Kong. Our mutual friend had mentioned he was a musician, and we talked about tons of music, shared interest in artists, rapped about club music and DJ days, beloved but now defunct record labels, and about how he was making a spontaneous trip back to Hong Kong for […]

Tokyo Record Style

Jason Garcia

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There are two sports that, despite being a student of neither, command my respect more than any others: Boxing and Skateboarding. Both demand enduring enormous physical pain, psychological distress, and emotional failure. No athletes get knocked down harder than these two. Yet, in the instances when defeat can be overcome when punches and landings are stuck square, it’s never the adrenaline, the force, the strategy, or the athleticism that impresses me, but rather the dogged determination, the unwillingness to fail, even if outmatched, the mental fortitude of facing fear. There’s a virtue, grace, and majesty to that that captivates me […]

Tokyo Record Style

Mijonu

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As the years have gone by, Mijonju has become one of my oldest pals in Tokyo. We’ve been bouncing around and crossing paths in this city for well over a decade and probably soon a decade and a half! In a city that sheds its sometimes transient residents as frequently as it sheds its own skin, it’s just nice to have some familiar faces, and Mijo is certainly that. He famously “loves cameras like a fat boy loves chocolate cake” (the jingle from his legendary Mijonju Show on YouTube) and for that reason, we’ve always been close buds, but he’s […]

Tokyo Record Style

Shouu Tanaka

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I met the artist Shouu Tanaka on the streets of Mitaka yesterday. I spotted her and a friend (who turns out to be the bass player of Fuji Rockers, Neconemuru) shopping at Parada Records. After she purchased this cool-looking CD-LongBox Set of “The Ultimate Sparks Collection” (and after I picked up a Mamas and Papas single), I dashed out of Parade to see if I could catch up with her, and lucky for me, I did. Shouu san agreed to join this Tokyo Record Style project after I introduced myself. She told me her real name (not mentioned here), and […]

Tokyo Record Style

Yuto

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I met 22-year-old Yuto outside Coconuts as I was rolling up on the motorcycle and he was heading out, holding in his hand a recent score. I killed the engine and grabbed his attention before he could dash away. As I began to explain to him that I was a photographer and wanted to make his portrait, rather than initial suspicion, he was nothing but good vibes and warm smiles. A can badge on his jean jacket caught my eye – “Have you hugged a mutant today?” Then I noticed one untied Chuck Taylor, then a flannel layer, a sorta […]

Tokyo Record Style

Asa and Hitomi

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“Who are these two interesting and colorful characters browsing around in Shimokita’s Disk Union? Are they together? They must be. Oh, look! Dare I say he’s going to buy that record, wait, another! Maybe if I just look a little longer in the 45s, keep an eye on them, and then time the purchase of these outer sleeves right as they’re walking to the register, then I can conveniently walk out at the same time as them. Oh, good, Auld Lang Syne has been queued for the shop’s closing. Just wait a little longer, Brian. Wait a sec… could this […]

Tokyo Record Style

Jeff Sato

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Goodness, gracious. Jeff Sato is one of the coolest, most friendly, and interesting characters you can meet in the Tokyo Record shop scene. He’s a veteran rock&roller, with his own records, CD’s, and books, dozens of producer credits, pals and A&R guy for Jeff Beck, David Lindley, Ry Cooder, Jackson Brown, X Japan, and a bunch of others. He has heaps of stories, like the time he interviewed Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, or seeing Clapton 100 times, or the very first time he heard the Stones or Dylan on FEN, Far East Network AM Radio, the American armed forces […]

Tokyo Record Style

Aurelien

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For those who might not know, I have a volunteer photography project called “Photohoku” where I gift photographs to people in need. It would take a while to share all about it, but I just encourage you to check it out. But one of technical the aspects of it, not completely unlike Tokyo Record Style, is approaching (read: accosting) strangers, trying to diffuse their immediate apprehension with some welcoming, unthreatening charm and an honest smile (which, in a world filled with nefariously-intended people requires a certain finesse), and in a very, very short amount of time, seconds really, sell them […]

Tokyo Record Style

Naoki

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Jet Set Records in Shimokitazawa is known for stocking a pretty eclectic, alternative selection in music (They’re also known for this easily recognizable borrowed Pan-Am logo on their bags that somehow always spots my eye, and which I just found out was called “The Blue Meatball” back in the day.) Apparently Jet Set has a bigger shop in Kyoto, maybe the original, I’m not sure. I spotted the Jet Set logo the other night on a smaller-sized bag being carried by the fella pictured here. Initially, I couldn’t tell if it was a CD that he had purchased or a […]

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

Taketora

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I spotted Taketora san coming out of Record Union in Shinjuku in full head-to-toe punk regalia, holding not only a black and red Union bag but also a bright yellow Record Store Base bag. Such an intriguing character, I had to chat him up and see if he’d pose for a Tokyo Record Style portrait. He instantly obliged me and showed me the records he scored, two hardcore records I was seeing and hearing of for the first time. I’ve since gone home and looked both of them up, finding neither of the albums nor artists on Spotify, proving the […]

Tokyo Record Style

Yamazaki

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

Tokyo Record Style

Tetsuya Hoki

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A late Sunday morning with kids off tied up in a school activity afforded me a visit to RECOfan, a record shop in Akihabara with a rather huge inventory. Despite digging through nearly everything there, nothing quite jumped out of the crates at me, so I left empty-handed, even without a ¥100 7inch. With a ride clear across Tokyo to get back home, a “Records shops around me” Google search lead me to Tohto Records & Books in Yushima where I discovered a quaint shop run by the friendly Tetsuya san, who as it turns out, prior to opening Tohto, […]

Tokyo Record Style

Miyu

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This is Miyu. She was one of the very first people born in the new millennium, and she just turned 23 in the year 2023, and for her birthday, her sister gave her a record player. Here, on the sad day of the passing of one of the most influential music innovators of our lifetime, Yukihiro Takahashi of legendary YMO and Sadistic Mika band, Miyu buys her 10th record, YMO’s seminal Soul State Survior. I can’t help but think about how YMO music was one of the first things to pique a deeper interest in me about potentially staying longer […]

Tokyo Record Style

Makayla Bearpaw

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Working at a record shop would be a dream job for a certain sect of people in life. You’d have to have a wide breadth of musical knowledge and appreciation. You’d have to constantly keep up with trends and new music and artists, and yet also know the sources of such trends and the influences of said artists. You’d have to have a mental file cabinet deep enough to know if this particular pressing of Led Zepplin II was the Robert Ludwig “Hot Mix” or not, and whether that rare Otis Redding “Hard to Handle” single that you buried in […]

Tokyo Record Style

Aaron Hamby

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While visiting family back in my hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, Tokyo Record Style will only temporarily be recognized as “Tulsa Record Style” 🙂 Exploring the Tulsa Record stores has been interesting and enlightening. Busy with family activities, I haven’t had time to visit them all but I did manage to spend half a day running around to various locations. At Josey Records, on Historic Route 66, I spotted Aaron having just wrapped up a dig in a giant pile of 45s that I was coming upon. “They’re all yours,” he said with a friendly smile, having no doubt painstakingly […]

Tokyo Record Style

Koyabashi

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I spotted Kobayashi san walking down the street carrying a Disk Union bag. When I asked him if he’d pose for Tokyo Record Style, I realized I was interrupting a live stream he was either hosting or participating in on his phone. Not wishing to derail his stream I told him not to worry about a photo but then he agreed so long as he could continue livestreaming while I photographed him, to which I of course was happy to oblige. Kobayashi san produced a “not for sale” promo copy of Hard Reversal by Amore Hirosuke & Love Machine which […]

Tokyo Record Style

Turistan, Tiger, Keita

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At 17 years old, Turistan (@trippin_tree3) is the youngest person that I’ve photographed so far for Tokyo Record Style. I caught up with Turistan seminal classic “Enter The Wu-Tang” from ‘93, that’s 30 years ago. That would be the equivalent of a 17-year-old me in 1993 buying “With the Beatles” (which I probably did). Thats give me great encouragement to not only see youngsters (Oh, my god do I sound old) interested in records, but interested in GREAT records. Turistan was with his skating bros, Tiger and Keita, (Fellas, Turistan is our-cooling you! Time to score some wax!) They were […]

Tokyo Record Style

Mizuyu

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“Everything’s too easy. Just one stroke of the ring finger, middle finger, one little click, that’s all it takes. We’ve dropped the coin right into the slot. We’re pill poppers, cube heads and day trippers, hanging in, hanging out, gobbling blue devils, black mollies, anything we can get our hands on. Not to mention the nose candy and ganga grass. It’s all too easy, too democratic. You need a solar X-ray detector just to find somebody’s heart, see if they still have one.” – Bob Dylan Dylan offered this social commentary in a recent WSJ article specifically about streaming music, […]

Tokyo Record Style

Aratame

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

Tokyo Record Style

Koichi

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This project is proving to be an interesting little vehicle for the perfect conversation with a stranger, particularly from one music lover to another. It seems that with nearly everybody I’ve met, spoken to, and photographed, we’ve come to learn something that we have in common beyond just a love for music. And it’s kinda remarkable how it starts. Just the sentence “Excuse me, are those records?” seems to simultaneously cause curious antennas to raise while initiating the diffusion of any tension or suspicion as if it’s some kind of secret password buried in subconscious that overrides all external perceived […]

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 […]