Denny Sinnoh's "Akihabara Starlight"

Posts tagged ‘Japanese music’

Hanako Oku and her HAPPY BIRTHDAY memes.

Happy 41st Birthday to “The Little Great One” Hanako Oku, born March 20, 1978.

Japan is twelve hours ahead of my time zone, so I am sending this tonight!

Mr. Penguin, I hope you have a sense of humor! It was Snivy’s idea.

… and now for a little bit of Oku-HISTORY!

Thank you, YouTube user 曽我部幸太郎

Starlight: Been a Hanako Oku fan for eight point eight light years!

PS: Dear friends. I do not have Twitter or Facebook. If you like Hanako Oku, would you mind sharing my post on your social media?

 

 

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Hanako Oku and how it is so difficult to shop for some people.

Merry Christmas! Hey everyone – I have not posted in weeks due to being sunk in a swampland.  However, I want to pull myself up from the disgusting mire long enough to wish all my readers and WP friends a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

“Ya got all your Christmas shopping done yet?” Ha Ha. Kindly old people who are trying to make conversation often say that to me. Ahem … but perhaps I can provide a little shopping inspiration today. Here is The Little Great One’s Christmas Video released last month:

I think it is a very nice music video. I sometimes joke that “nothing really happens” in most Hanako Oku music videos. That may be what I like about them. She usually just walks around, in most of her music videos. It makes the listener concentrate on the music perhaps.

Great also songs inspire great covers. Here is one just released by the lovely and talented Hitomi Sano.

This got me into the shopping spirit alright! I wanted to send her something nice. Oh! — Her new song is the background music in this new commercial for SNOW.

Uh. although I’m not really sure what the lovely young woman is selling. Ideas for smartphone apps? Maybe. I though maybe Ms. Oku-san might enjoy these pantaloon-type puffy pants. They might be something she could wear around the studio.  She might find these useful for yoga, or for lounging at home and  of course — songwriting. Of course, one could wear these, relax at home, eat yogurt, and watch one of the Star-Wars movies that features Yoda … but I digress.

I chose this “Royal Blue” color. Might you suggest a different color choice?  I know that they are not Christmas colors – but I was thinking the hue might brighten up January. It would take a while to ship the pants to Chiba, so I thought that this color might brighten up a dreary day sometime next month for her. Much as the same way that her records cheer me up whenever I have to commute back and forth from the swamp.

https://www.amazon.com/HOEREV-Super-Modal-Spandex-Pilates/dp/B00J6WDFSW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1545238940&sr=8-1&keywords=women%27s%2Bpuffy%2Bpants&th=1

I am also hoping that she will release a new album soon.

Ms. Oku-san will have one final singing engagement this year! There will be a free concert held on Sunday, December 23 at  4:00 in the afternoon at Yokohama Landmark Plaza 1st floor Sakata no Garden Square. Maybe a fan will film a little bit.

There will be CDs on sale of course, and there will even be a handshake opportunity!

(Denny choking up … yes, free open concert … to be able to shake those little hands … )

You can find more information more info on TLGO’s Twitter or her website

Starlight: I figure it would take me less than a day to get to Cleveland. Then from there it is a 16 hour direct flight to Yokohama. Assuming I am not going to stop in Hokkaido. Of course you waste half a day on both ends of the flight due to airport waiting, etc. Then I would need some time to check into a hotel.  Plus, Japan is “12 hours ahead” in the Japan time zone …Yep — I can be there by the 23rd!

Oh, wait — now I see what the app does.

 

My favorite Mr. Children song — “HANABI” — covered by my favorite children!

Mr. Children or “Misu-Chiru” is one of the most popular rock groups in Japanese pop music history. Today I wanted to share with you my FAVORITE Misutā Chirudoren song called HANABI.

There are a number of good live performances of the song on YouTube. It was hard to choose just one to share,  but I settled on this one from late 2017. It does beg the question, how is it Thanksgiving, when the performance is in Japan?

The song was written by Kazutoshi Sakurai. It is from their great 2008 album called Supermarket Fantasy* .

* … and I thought I was the only one who had this grocery store fantasy!

Mr. Children’s web site is linked here if you want to learn more about the band, the albums, upcoming tours and so on. My WordPress Jpop mentor, Morningberryz48, had written a great article about the band — linked here.  Another of her articles is linked here. Lyrics and English translation are linked here.

After I viewed a few of their live performances, I came across some interesting covers of the song. Some of the covers were by professional singers. Others are karaoke-like. Let me share some of the pretty ones. Each cover adds a little bit more to an appreciation of the song. I’m sure you will be drawn in the same way I was. Which one do you like best?

This is a very sweet and beautiful cover, by the very sweet and beautiful Minami Sakuma, from her YouTube Channel.

This next cover by the YouTube duo  kobasolo This cover includes the lyrics in Romanji and an English translation. Make sure to have your CC on!

Nice job kids!

More? “mou ikkai … mou ikkai!” …There are so many good, heartfelt covers of this wonderful song out there, but I think this next one is my favorite cover:

This is by Hitomi Sano. See and hear more of her on her YouTube Channel. I love how she sings it while playing solo piano. She sings it with the perfect blend of LOVE and URGENCY. Her hair, her lovely face, give the appearance of windswept emotions. Like the “Hanabi” or “Fireworks” which are ephemeral. They are a joy, but they are bittersweet because although they are a climax, they cannot last. We wonder about our own imperfect perceptions. Are we wrong for feeling this way? We deal, and we make our way … but I see that I have digressed.

There are too many to share here, but I think that this next one will be popular with anime fans.

Mari Channel, another YouTube user, has presented this interesting, amusing and passionate music video as Kashiko Mari. The playback works best if you enable your CC , as you get the sing-along Japanese lyrics, plus the English translation. True, you are watching an animated sprite, but the little cartoon lady really BRINGS IT! Note her very emotional face, mouth and hand gestures.

Thank You Kashiko! Of course you can find other covers through the suggested links on YT. If you need just “one more time — one more time –“

Just for you, Bob: The guitar chords for the song are linked here

Thank you YouTube user Ryuzo.

Starlight: It took nine years for “Hanabi” to reach my world. It bounced around in my atmosphere for a while, until I could perceive it.

Kimonos on Someday: Hanako Oku’s O-mikuji is read at her Hatsumode

It is a lovely kimono – and what a lovely smile!

This photo was posted on the official Oku Hanako website on January 7:

https://ameblo.jp/kokoroletter/entry-12342670278.html?frm_src=thumb_module

Ms. Oku-san is at a Shinto shrine, her first visit to a shrine this year.

The Japanese term “Hatsumōde” refers to a person’s first shrine visit of the New Year. Typically, it refers to a visit to a Shinto shrine, however a visit to a Buddhist temple is sometimes done. The translated page indicates that she admitted she has not visited a shrine in a long time. She also says it has been a long time since she wore a kimono! Oku-in-kimono photos are almost impossible to find.

She is doing that smirk, because that scroll she is reading is her O-mikuji.

An “O-mikuji” is a rolled or folded preprinted fortune which is purchased by making a small offering at the shrine.

I cannot tell from her post what the fortune reads, but she seems a bit amused — and maybe more than a bit skeptical about the prediction.

Perhaps the fortune predicts “at long last an unrequited love will be fulfilled”!

That would be great … but then she would be out of a job … Ha Ha … Oh.

Starlight: Missed this by only a month!

A song? Oh, OF COURSE you get a song!

 

Read any good books this summer? Special birthday wishes to Miss Yuki Kashiwagi of AKB/NGT48.

Of course I keep up with my summer reading! I am so happy that my favorite AKB48 member has made this useful reference manual to help me at my office. Even though I am very dedicated to work, and cannot blog very often these days, I am not too busy to wish my oshi a HAPPY 26TH BIRTHDAY! Please enjoy one of my favorite Yukirin moments from her solo tour last year.

(Denny sighs, swoons) … she’s my favorite niece … but I am pretty sure that she will announce her graduation from AKB this year. Alas, it is probably time for the dear young lady to move on. Yukirin may be near the end of her AKB48 career, but I am sure she will continue as a solo singer, actress and media personality.

I want to pay tribute to Yukirin History here. This is an old AKB sketch where Yuki played an old kendo master –as a man!  Note the Kashiwagi beard and mustache. There is a funny moment at about time 3:00 where her “assistant” is supposed to strike her on the head. Their timing was actually off, because Yuki really does get hit hard on the head. Ha. Watch her reaction.

Oh, Yuki, you are a real trouper!

Starlight: Yuki Kashiwagi – born July 15, 1991

See more of Miss Yuki Kashiwagi on my Pinterest board linked here.

Growing up with Tsuri Bit: A thousand days of happiness.

Thanks for the photo, girls. Please make it out to “Uncle Denny” and write: “Thank you for all your kind advice and aged wisdom!”

A teenage girl can do a lot of growing up in 1000 days. They can make the journey from awkward teen to sophisticated young woman. About three years ago (a thousand days ago?), I discovered the Japanese Idol group Tsuri Bit. The name loosely translates as “fishing lure”. No, not “bait” mind you! (Denny looks at reader sternly.) The first music video of theirs I watched was “Odoroyo Fish” (踊ろよ、フィッシュ “Odoroyo Fisshu” or “Let’s Dance Fish” ) This fun song was a hit for Japanese singer Tatsurō Yamashita in 1987. The Tsuri Bit girls update it – and “idol” it up. They capture the spirit of the song.  They retain the original’s warmth, charm and FUN! They make it their own. Lyrics are linked here. Please SING with me!

I always wanted to be an Ichthyologist!

This might be one of the the cutest Idol videos I have ever seen — certainly the girls could not be any cuter. I used to play this one on my iphone in the grocery store. You should have seen me there in Produce, through the Dairy and Seafood isles — headphones on — movin’ and grovin’.. Imagine me spinning my cart around almost like I was dancing with it! I was trying to just  hum quietly to myself, but I probably let out a few audible sounds  … Odoroyo FISH! … O-do-ro-yo BAY-BEE … Ha. The other shoppers would think I was crazy if anyone would notice. The song starts about 59 seconds into this YT linked video from 2014. Enjoy in 1080 HD.

From there you can find links to many of their videos. KISSPOINT Records has recovered from that “Ban in America” thing. Here is an idol group you can enjoy. Tsuri Bit’s shtick is that they are the “Fishing Idols”. They have made several songs and videos about going fishing. In fact, Tsuri Bit has meet-and-greet events with fans that are FISHING TRIPS! If AKB48 are “the idols you can meet” then Tsuri Bit are “the idols you can go fishing with“!

“Scales of Clouds and Orion”

I can relate a lot to this next music video, even though I was not liking the actual song all that much at first. Sometimes with music videos I like the song but not the video, or vice versa. The Tsuri Bit girls must have been thinking about me in this next video from 2015. This early 2015 MV is about a sad “Salaryman” who is stuck in a dead-end job that he hates — just like me! He is berated by bosses — just like me!  He is not respected by coworkers or clients — just like me!.  He is behind on the technology and frustrated, he’s slow and fat and … just … like … uh … heh … heh ….. oh. (Denny slumps) Dang, this guy even LOOKS like me.

He might have to work for A-holes, but Tsuri Bit believe in him.

The good news that the Tsuri Bit girls are there wearing cute cheerleader outfits.  (I wonder though if they are there only in his imagination.) The girls remind him of all things that are good in this world. The things worth fighting for!  They cheer him up, he gets motivated, goes back to his job, applies that fat ass to work … and he succeeds! All it took was the cuteness and encouragement of his favorite idols. Tsuri Bit are so wholesome and good, it is like they have magical girl powers. The song itself?  Well, it had to grow on me — but look how much the girls have grown.

This next one is my FAVORITE Tsuri Bit music video. I LOVE this power-pop song.  Here they are in late 2015, perfecting their idol moves on the beach.

Several months later, the girls are on a beach vacation again. This next MV reminds me of the Beatles’ movie “Help” where the fab four all live together in the same house. There is an amusing part near the start of this video where the girls are sorting through their beachwear. They are trying to gauge which swimsuit top belongs to whom.  Since the last video, it looks like Mizuki (the 19 year old) grew some BOOBIES! Somebody needs a bigger suit. The sweet little fish-scientists have a lot of fun singing, dancing and just idol-ing on the beach.

I know what you are thinking: “Denny, you are a dirty old man.”

To that I say “OH YEAH … well is that YOUR NOSE, or are you eating a TOMATO?” Then I would start throwing punches.  Uh .. Ok … er ..  maybe I should take the high road and try to explain. The Japanese Idol culture/subculture is a very difficult concept for outsiders to grock.

Idol culture offends many (stupid, American) women because Japanese Idols start out so young — and that their audience includes many middle-aged businessmen. Despite what the hags think, the middle aged fans are NOT perverts. Look, an idol show is pure entertainment. Just like that Salaryman in the video above —  Japanese men have to work many long hours for relatively pay. Being a fan, and/or going to an idol show is pure escapism. It is fun to support and cheer for your favorite idols.

That is how wota feel about their Idols. When idoling is done correctly, it becomes pure happiness. Happiness which transcends age, ethnicity and gender.  They remind us that there really can be something pure in this harsh universe … like at my work.

Older male fans are cheering the girls on, not lusting after them — Jesus.  Look, if all someone wanted to do was “look at young girls” then there would be a lot of other ways to do that.  Dirty old men, are not buying singing-and-dancing DVDs. Wota LOVE our idols because they bring HAPPINESS with their presence. There may be some perverts among the fans, but they are not the norm. Just like the pundits on the CHH news channel who are always saying that “not ALL Syrian refugees are psychotic terrorists and rapists.” Well … and … OK, maybe that’s not a very good example.

I once had an Internet feud with an anti-AKB hag. She said on her blog that wota are bad people. What was surprising was that she followed various homoerotic Korean boy-bands! So it is OK for a bitter, dried-up, middle-aged hag to follow boy idols, but a middle-aged man cannot follow idol groups? Talk about your hag privilege.

Next video — here the girls are in Shibuya — growing up, and heading out on their own. They look very sophisticated and mature in the outfits they wear here.  The music is upbeat, jazzy and sophisticated. Their concerns are that of an adult, but they can still go for a good ice cream sundae.

(Denny’s reverie:) So … it looks like my girls grew up and turned out all right. Soon they will be off to college and living on their own.  I will worry about them, but I really shouldn’t worry about them. They are fine young women now. Pure of heart and of high moral character. If aliens visited Earth and asked me to show them the best part of humanity, I would lead then to that karaoke party with Tsuri Bit. Pretty idols and ice cream.

If you want to learn more about this idol group, the official Tsuri Bit website (in Japanese) is linked hereA great fan site IN ENGLISH is linked here. The site has a lot of useful statistical information about the girls — including which species of fish they would most want to catch. 

Starlight: A thousand days of happy.  Traveling at the speed of light, Tsuri Bit’s earliest broadcasts should now be nearing the Centauri system.

Imagine the alien boys living on a planetoid which orbits Beta Centauri. They are monitoring signals from space … and then receive this devastating cuteness:

Here is how I imagine the conversation.

Alien Boy 1: “Beezit — wabba wabba zoop beena beena!”

Alien Boy 2 “Shazzbat!!! wabba wabba zoop beena beena — hoo HOO!”

Kimonos on Monday: Iwasa Misaki at Shin-Kabukiza Theater

It seems light years since I made a post to my “Kimonos on Monday” series. It has also been a long time since I posted anything about the lovely and talented Miss Iwasa Misaki. It’s been a long time since I rock-and-rolled. Ahem. Excuse me …

Unlike me, the ex-AKB48 Idol turned Enka-singer has kept busy performing concerts, releasing new singles, albums and concert Blu-Rays. Yes I own both concert disks!

Wasamin posts a lot of her glamorous kimono photos on her Instagram page (linked here) and her Twitter site (linked here). I thought that this photo was particularly interesting. Is it a kimono or a costume? Ms. Misaki contributed to a show at the Shin-Kabukiza Theater in Osaka last month. Even though Misaki-san usually wears a stunning kimono for her Enka-music concerts, I would have to classify this kimono as a “costume” for the show.

Wasamin is wearing a WIG in case you could not tell. I wonder if she would ever style her real hair in that traditional way for a special concert.

Wasamin next to a promotion for her latest record release.

“Say Hello to my little friend!”

(Denny’s Readers groan …)

I love both the traditional and popular culture of Japan. Despite that, I could never really get too interested in Kabuki. I’ve seen some Kabuki Theater on YT videos, but I have to admit, I can’t watch for very long. The art and costumes are great of course … but I can’t really understand it. I would certainly enjoy a show if it featured Wasamin though!

The official website for the Osaka’s Shin-Kabukiza Theater is linked here: https://www.osakastation.com/osaka-shin-kabukiza-theater/

Although I do not have video of Wasamin at the SK Theater, here are some recent TV performances: How long will YT leave then up?

Starlight: What, where did they go?

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