Travel Diary

A Trip to Toyko with LUNAKAI

@itslunakai

"Tokyo is a mind-boggling, expectation exceeding wonderland. Bustling is and understatement - it’s officially the biggest city in the world. Alongside music, I also do photography and because of its dense population, lights, and quirky-ass stuff around every corner it’s basically a dream to shoot there."

Having always wanted to visit Japan as a kid, musician LUNAKAI fulfilled his childhood dreams in a recent trip to the iridescent streets of Tokyo. Visiting the city to film his latest music video, All In, we chat to him about what he got up to on the rest of the trip. From getting lost in the back alleys of Golden Gai to partying with Hayao Matsumura in his legendary club Trump Room, LUNAKAI shares memories and flicks from trippin down the streets of Tokyo.

Hayao Matsumura outside of his legendary club Trump Room, this place has closed down now, I’m super glad I got to see it. Its a tiny semi-secret place where you’ll randomly see A$AP Rocky or Rihanna but its not a crap mayfair type club like it would be in London.
The Taxi drivers in Tokyo wear pretty amazing uniforms...
The Taxi drivers in Tokyo wear pretty amazing uniforms...
like many things in Japan they do things with a certain pride and class.
like many things in Japan they do things with a certain pride and class.
Aki after a long ass night of shooting and a few beers.
Aki after a long ass night of shooting and a few beers.

What was the reason for the trip?

I’ve wanted to go to Japan pretty much since I found out it existed as a kid, I’ve always been into the art that comes out of Japan, from Akira & all of the studio Ghibli films to the twists on fashion and music and culture in general. Japanese people have an amazing way of taking a few influences from around the world and morphing it into their own unique version which blows my mind. I was pretty lucky on this trip, I went with my friend from London who has modelled in Japan for a few years so he knew what was what in Tokyo including introducing me to Rinaco & Aki - the two legends in my music video.

Behind the scenes shot of Rinaco on the video shoot in our Airbnb.
Rinaco at the end of the shoot, somehow still looking this damn cool.
Rinaco at the end of the shoot, somehow still looking this damn cool.
BTS of Aki on the video shoot. This was right at the end which was about 4am as we started shooting at 2am because Rinaco had work the only evening we could shoot!
BTS of Aki on the video shoot. This was right at the end which was about 4am as we started shooting at 2am because Rinaco had work the only evening we could shoot!

How would you describe Tokyo to someone who’s never been?

Tokyo is a mind-boggling, expectation exceeding wonderland. Bustling is and understatement - it’s officially the biggest city in the world. Alongside music, I also do photography and because of its dense population, lights, and quirky-ass stuff around every corner it’s basically a dream to shoot there.

Taken somewhere in Golden Gai, a lot of tourists go to check this out yet somehow it doesn't feel super touristy. Tons of TINY bars in these alleyways that seat only a few people.
Taken somewhere in Golden Gai, a lot of tourists go to check this out yet somehow it doesn't feel super touristy. Tons of TINY bars in these alleyways that seat only a few people.
The Wonders of Golden Gai
The Wonders of Golden Gai
This was on the journey up to Nikko. We accidentally got on the wrong train, and instead of kicking us off, the train instructor called ahead to various other train instructors and they shimmied us between trains until we were back on track. Unreal.
This was on the journey up to Nikko. We accidentally got on the wrong train, and instead of kicking us off, the train instructor called ahead to various other train instructors and they shimmied us between trains until we were back on track. Unreal.
This is a school opposite the Airbnb balcony. Every day the speaker that you can see in the shot played this crazy song, it was their school bell I think, but it sounded like the intro song to a cartoon.
This is a school opposite the Airbnb balcony. Every day the speaker that you can see in the shot played this crazy song, it was their school bell I think, but it sounded like the intro song to a cartoon.
Swindle happened to being playing while I was out there, I’ve been a long-time fan so it was sick to finally see him! I’ve never seen him live before and he absolutely smashed it.
Swindle happened to being playing while I was out there, I’ve been a long-time fan so it was sick to finally see him! I’ve never seen him live before and he absolutely smashed it.
Ben AKA the legend that is Two Inch Punch was in Tokyo as the same time as well and we had a few drunken nights of hanging out around the city, my camera strap in the shot says a lot, and I think this is Devon’s hand hailing a taxi.
Ben AKA the legend that is Two Inch Punch was in Tokyo as the same time as well and we had a few drunken nights of hanging out around the city, my camera strap in the shot says a lot, and I think this is Devon’s hand hailing a taxi.

What was the best thing you ate / saw / experienced on the trip?

It was pretty relentlessly amazing every single day so its hard to say. I don’t think I ate one bad meal. Even the 7/11 & Family Mart food in Japan bangs. People say Japan is super expensive, but you can get the best ramen you’ve ever had for about £4. I was lucky enough to have a unique experience visiting the city, one of many highlights was a Kenzo party which was in a theme park, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu played in the middle of the roller disco & Sam Spiegel who did the insane track ‘Mutant Brain’ on the Spike Jonze ad which I was already obsessed with did a DJ set.

On the other end of the spectrum, a highlight was going up to see the waterfalls and temples in Nikko in the Tochigi province. Me and my good friend Troy Baird who by sheer coincidence was in Tokyo at the same time (and is also the legend who took some of these shots and lent a hand shooting the music video) ventured up into Nikko. We arrived just as the other tourists were leaving (thanks alcohol) and ended up getting stuck overnight 2 hours outside of Tokyo the day before I had to shoot Rinaco’s scenes, but we ended up on an adventure so ridiculous that it would take me a few pages of writing to do justice.

An alleyway, off an alleyway. It looks as if the walls are closing in.
An alleyway, off an alleyway. It looks as if the walls are closing in.
This was outside our Airbnb somewhere in Nishi-Shinjuku Gochome. You could walk from here to Shinjuku through a beaut park.
This was outside our Airbnb somewhere in Nishi-Shinjuku Gochome. You could walk from here to Shinjuku through a beaut park.
Bloodpop warm-up set at Trump Room
Bloodpop warm-up set at Trump Room
My friend James’ had a photoshoot at Bloc Japon which is this 3 storey hair salon hidden in the backstreets in a residential part of Shibuya.
My friend James’ had a photoshoot at Bloc Japon which is this 3 storey hair salon hidden in the backstreets in a residential part of Shibuya.

Photography: Kyle Ross & Troy Baird



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