Category Archives: Music

Music = soul.

Reminding You That It’s Okay

In this day and age, people get more worked up about certain things than they need to. In fact, people being inundated about information about the entire world should cause that — but wait a moment, take a breath. Things aren’t all bad, or even half bad.

Here are some Japanese songs to remind you of that:

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Man – Shou ga Aru. The lyrics are there in the video, and listed in Japanese in its description, reminding us that something can always be done. A reader, Marin, introduced me to Man. Already I like him, singing messages such as these. Some people refer to this age as the “the end times”, for some reason, just because bad things are happening and they are more aware of them now, as opposed to their sheltered childhoods. Well, we’re no worse off than mankind ever has been, and if you’ve ever read a single bit of history then you’ve got to believe that. Revolutions are taking place even as we speak, because people feel compelled to move. Something can always be done.

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Ulfuls – Eenen. The lyrics say it all  – “It’s fine if you regret; it’s fine if you start over; it’s fine if you fail; it’s fine if we go again; it’s fine if you face forward; it’s fine if your heart moves on; that’s fine, that’s fine!” I think people worry about some things too much, or view failure in the wrong way. Yes, especially in the US; we even worry about completely rubbish issues that only people in the Esteem level of Maslow’s pyramid would make up. Part of growing up is realizing that dealing with things and just moving on or trying again is fine.

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Kishidan – I Love You. The subs in the video are in Spanish – more options here. This song is different from the others in that it deals specifically with relationships and the pain they can bring. Ultimately, you must power through the bad times and accept that love still exists.

I love the great little things life can bring. It all adds up to something fantastic. We can’t ignore or dismiss our problems, certainly, but we also can’t take good things for granted. So, clear your head, lift your hands up to the air and say, “It’s okay!!”

Japan Blog Matsuri 9-’10: Music!

Japan Blog Matsuri

Awight! It’s the Japan Blog Matsuri for September! It’s all about MUSIC! Classic or contemporary, it continues to move us through the years. The evolution of Japanese music, like its culture in general, is particularly fascinating! I hope these articles serve to further incite your interest, as they did for me.

Last month’s host was Through Eyes from Afar, who did “Japanese Nature/Culture“! A great theme if I ever heard one.

As for this month, we have several entries, and they’re all pretty great!

Oh Enka!

If you had any misconceptions about enka, Rene lays them to rest — a short but informative entry educates us on the slightly traditional music style.

The Soulfuls

What causes great music to endure? It’s guts!! Franzi introduces us to soulful Kansai band Ulfuls.

J-Music and Me: The Little Guys

A degree of immersion in the music scene clues Blue Shoe in to the trials musicians in Japan must face in order to make a name.

Gig Going in Japan

In Japan, and perhaps everywhere, the size of the gig makes a world of difference for both fans and performers, as noted by Shaun.

Hooked on J-Pops Worked for Me!

Have you ever wondered if learning Japanese through J-Pop could actually be practical? Well, here’s Liv’s answer.

Shopping Boogie by Kasagi Shizuko

Harvey shares the history of a key song by the post-war Queen of Boogie that endures to this very day.

P5: Pizzicato Five

The early 90′s group that spearheaded the Shibuya-kei movement! Philip’s article is all about the 16-year band.

Pat Suzuki’s How High the Moon

A slower, sadder version of the classic Jazz song much sought after by Loco, sung by the American Jazz/pop singer.

Japanese Music

Tony mentions music’s ties to culture, his fondness for even national anthems, and Masayuki Suzuki.

Thanks to everyone who submitted! :D

Next month’s Matsuri can be found at Todd’s Wanderings, so be sure to shimmy on over there!

Kishidan’s New Album (And My Favorite Kishidan Songs)

It’s still Music Month! I hope you’re all working on your J-Blog Matsuri entries. The deadline approaches!

Kishidan, another of my favorite six-man bands, is releasing a new album: Kisarazu Graffiti!

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It came out a few days ago. I want it so, so bad.

Kishidan is one of my favorite Japanese bands. Singing songs with themes ranging from camaraderie to love to just plain badassery, their classic style is fierce and unforgettable. Jump the cut and see some of my favorite songs/videos of theirs!

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Quaff RELOADED

Since it’s Music Month here at Nippon-Ichigo, I’ll make some more music-oriented posts. Like this news that burst onto the internet a couple days ago: Quaff, the band which I posted about earlier this year, is basically getting made-over!

Makito, the band’s guitarist and leader, announced via Myspace, Twitter, and Facebook that all the current members of Quaff (except him) would be leaving as of October 1st. Ukisemi also posted his own announcement. An excerpt from Makito’s:

ON OCTOBER 1, 5 MEMBERS WITHDRAW FROM QUAFF: HAL, TAKUMA, SHINGO, SEIYA & UKISEMI.
WE DO NOT HAVE PERSONAL PROBLEMS, AND THERE ARE NO MUSICAL DIFFERENCES.
THEY HAVE CHOSEN A NEW LIFE AND SEEK TO HOLD A HAPPY FUTURE.
AS FOR THE TIME I SPENT WITH THEM, IT IS VERY VALUABLE. AND IT IS A BIG PART OF MY LIFE.
THEY LOVE MUSIC, THEY LOVE QUAFF, AND THEY LOVE THE FANS.

So, fortunately, nothing bad happened, no irreconcilable differences or anything of the sort; it’s just a new direction for the lives of all involved. That at least puts the fans’ minds at ease; while we don’t know all the specifics of this change, we do know that it’s probably the best decision for all of them. I support the old and soon-coming new members of Quaff!

Speaking of the new members: from what I can tell, the new members’ names are Renji, Iori, Neu, and Mio. They’ll be performing live with the old members of Quaff in a show certain to rock the pants off of anyone who sees, on the 1st of October! Sounds like a passing of rites. An awesome passing of rites. I really hope it’s streamed, like the recent Access concert I watched (in the wee hours of the morning, heh). I really, really hope.

I look forward to new work produced by this group. The soul and spirit lives on! I can heartily recommend their existing albums.

Like this one, which I bought immediately after MTAC this year.

One of the ticks on my litmus test for good music is “is great to listen to in the car.” I’ve listened to this album in my car nonstop all summer.

Whatever Quaff’s future holds, I hope to see them again at MTAC next year!

Jun Seba and Satoshi Kon

In February, Jun Seba passed away — accidentally, in a car accident (caused by an earthquake?). Most people didn’t know until about a month later. People like you and me knew him as Nujabes, and perhaps started listening to his music more after seeing Samurai Champloo for the first time. For everyone, it was amazingly sad; you’re never prepared to hear about someone with influence in your life, someone still so young, just up and leaving this world, and you’re never sure what to do afterward. You don’t think of such people as invincible, but you do think things like “someday I may meet them, even briefly.”

Nujabes

With his record label, Hydeout Productions, he collaborated with people from all over, music that could touch souls from all the way across the sea. He produced music like no one else had. His enlightening hip hop beats helped me get through a rough patch in my life… not all music can do that.

It’s people like him I look up to — real innovators, with real passion, inspiring all who hear his music. People like that are of real value to the world…

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…which is why it comes as a shock to most of the world, especially the creative world, that now, just Wednesday, Satoshi Kon has also died. Prevalent in the famous director’s work was a real unconventional approach to heady topics in animation, much different than anime and movies in general.

Director Satoshi Kon

His last words, posthumously publicized, have been unofficially translated. I cried…I felt emotional for a good part of the day. No one knew about the nature of his condition until nigh the very end; understandable, as he had his reasons… I especially respect someone who admits his own flaws, who obviously has reverence for other people, with maturity in coming to terms with things. I want to cry again…

This has lit a fire under me to finally see more of his works. I’ve been intending to see the rest of Paranoia Agent for ages… Kon’s work is intriguing in a way that snags me, questioning the perspectives of characters, of viewers, of people, probing the mental, the subconscious, the emotional. I watched Paprika with friends the other day, and I can recommend it to anyone.

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Thanks for doing what you did, Kon and Seba. We’re all glad you did what you loved and enjoyed it. Your influence will be seen in the world for ages to come.