This past week, we have been following the Tokyo travels of Russ Pope, who was in Japan for 3 separate solo shows over the span of 9 days. The first show was held at the Trunk (Hotel), the second being shown here at Pilgrim Surf + Supply and the third upcoming in Yokohama. Here is Russ, in his own words, on his adventures so far.

Friday I woke up to the ravens of Tokyo making a racket. We had been sleeping with the sliding doors open and again, woke up before sunrise. After searching out some breakfast foods, we walked through Daikanyama for an espresso tonic at Perch by Woodbury Coffee Roasters, a favorite from our last trip to Tokyo. The same barista was working and we had a nice conversation. This was the first place I had heard of an espresso tonic and upon my return to the US two years ago I was constantly on the hunt for a comparable, refreshing drink. Most of the time, US baristas had no idea what I was talking about. But, in the last couple of years I have been able to find a few decent bubbly coffees, but none as good as the espresso tonic at Perch. I was happy to be back.

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From there, I headed to Meguro to visit my friend Yok at Sunday’s Best. I was stoked to hang with Yok and chat about his latest travels to the American Southwest. He told a great story about taking his two year old son to Chuck E. Cheese for the first time. A wild experience for a Japanese toddler. I picked up an epic vintage button up he had found in the US and shipped to Japan. Hysterical to be buying it in Japan to take it back to the US. Doesn’t make much sense, but the shirt was so worth it. Yok showed us his latest gear, talked skateboarding and made us laugh.

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On Yok’s recommendation, we checked out a cassette and record shop nearby. Waltz is full of old ghetto blasters, cassette tapes and such a solid collection of vinyl. They had almost every iteration of the Sony Walkman, in mint condition.

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The day was hot, humid and sunny, so we stopped for a beer and quick lunch before heading back to the Airbnb for a power nap before the opening at Pilgrim Surf +Supply that night. . . We headed over to Pilgrim just before 7:00pm. The sun was starting to go down, there was a nice and it felt like a Friday. People on the street were smiling, relaxed and cracking beers on their way home for the weekend.

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The conversation paintings I had worked on for months looked fresh and new when they were framed and hung on the wooden walls at Pilgrim. The colors popped and the lighting popped the details of the works. I was pleased with how “Intercontinental” came together.

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Everyone who came out shared stories of past visits and I connected with some old friends. Tony Alva came in with a smile, a hug and some great stories. The Stance crew drove in from Yokohama to show some support and the Chrome dudes came by as well. It’s so good to see friends and meet new people at my shows. It always feels special to hear how art affects people and how they interpret various pieces.

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After the show, we wrapped up the night with an epic French dinner at Pignon thanks to Taka’s recommendation. —Russ Pope

Stay tuned for Russ Pope's travel logs from the Greenroom Festival in Yokohama, Japan, next!