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 just about records but about style too, then you can be added to the stream, in fact, I think I’ll christen these encounters with a new name – rather than categorizing these as canonical “Tokyo Record Style” posts, henceforth, they shall be known as “Tokyo Style Record” posts, with the word record leaning slightly more into it’s 2nd or 3rd related definition. So, glad to have you, Yatabe, as one of the few TSR featured posts.

On this occasion, Yatabe had scored, rather than records, some fashion accouterments including a nice pair of vintage trousers and a classing pair of leather-ended button-on suspenders. I dug his pink Vans Authentics, his Carhartt hoodie, his Ralph Lauren Chaps button-down (a pattern which I’m sure I owned at one point), his silver jewelry and his unique ear piercings. When I asked him to recommend an artist whose record he wished he had for this photo, without hesitation he answered with the American-born Japanese superstar, Hikaru Utada, one the most influential artists of the 2000s (whose records despite often featured on the walls of record stores, I sadly know very little of …so I took his recommendation as a chance to dive into her discography, firstly her highly acclaimed 1999 album “First Love” which was recently remastered and re-released.) I can’t say it’s my jam, but I can still appreciate why she is such a celebrated artist and why Yatabe or anybody would be a big fan.

Wanting to let these gentlemen on their way, I told them I would follow up via mail with any further questions or comments. Gratefully they all wrote me back and each offered some lovely little insights into who each was. Here is Yatabe’s introduction in his words:

“Hello, I’m Yatabe. About my musical tastes, what my parents loved and played during my childhood had a big impact on me – my mother loved J-pop and the first song as far as I can remember, was “Sazan’s” [abbreviated from Southern Alls Stars] “Katteni Sinbad,” heard in my father’s car maybe when I was 2 or 3 years old. Personally, my music hero is Utada Hikaru – I’ve loved her music for over 10 years.

“As far as fashion goes, I like aloha shirts, indian jewelry, and I’m generally interested in street fashion, …overalls and suspenders are some of my favorite items – when I look back at family albums, I see photos of my father and I both often wearing them. I also enjoy visiting art museums, and last year’s “Christian Dior exhibition” was a memorable highlight. Lastly, I recently acquired a small succulent plant called ”aromaticus” which has inspired a new interest in botanical-pattern shirts!”

COOOOOL! What a great introduction Yatabe! Thank you so much for sharing your love of music, fashion, art, and …gardening! We’re all impressed. Hope you meet all three of you guys again some day! 

More Tokyo Record Style on the Way…

宇多田ヒカル [Utada Hikaru] – First Love
Label: Eastworld – TOJT-24141-2
Format: 2 x Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: Japan
Released: 1999
Genre: Funk / Soul, Pop
Style: Contemporary R&B, J-pop

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