Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

A number of years ago I watched a great little movie called The Happiness of the Katakuris. The best character by far was “Richaardo” (aka Richard), better known in real life as Kiyoshiro Imawano.

(the guy in the marine uniform)

Although he’s done a number of solo albums, he’s possibly better known, at least in Japan, as the vocalist for RC Succession and The Timers.
Unfortunately, early this morning he passed away from lymphatic cancer.
This is a short tribute to his 40-year rock career…


Daydream believer

Transistor Radio


Mitsubishi Commercial

Kirin Beer Commercial

君が代 (his version of the Japanese national anthem)


あこがれの北朝鮮 (song about North Korea)


Stand by me


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and the only prescription is http://www.morecowbell.dj

Pony – Ginuwine
(wordpress won’t let me embed the flash player, so you have to go directly)

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ran ran ruuuuu!

…just blew at least an hour watching a Japanese Ronald McDonald doing dozens of schizophrenic song covers…

so let’s start with a few to get you warmed up…

and maybe something more familiar

now some video games…

Dragon Quest


Mother 2

and then we move on to anime…

and some thrown in randomly

and just because I like the anime…

I’m exhausted…

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…in a bit of an 8-bit mood lately :o)

first, here’s a song that should sound familiar…

the group is YMCK…

here’s another of their videos, ‘magical 8-bit tour’

here’s chiptunist Sabrepulse out of Scotland…

another popular chiptune song, ‘hexadecimal genome’ by bit shifter

…some original NES songs we can’t forget…

and of course, last but not least, I can’t go without posting this…

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…but there’s just something cool about this song…
get it
my head

…and some more 8-bitty OMODAKA music videos…

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any requests?

Well, I often find myself sending and/or receiving emails about music, so I thought I’d post some random Japanese music…

The Blue Hearts

A staple in every Japanese person’s diet, their songs are used in countless commercials and there was even a hit movie here that took its name from one of their hit songs. They played from the mid-80s to the mid-90s and have been in other bands since then… anyway, this is one of their bigger hits “情熱の薔薇” (Rose of Passion) and like any performance near a camera, the lead singer just can’t refrain from doing his trademark spastic lizard impression :o)
It’s a live performance that’s unapologetically retro :o)

Puffy AmiYumi
Probably the biggest duo of the 90s, everyone knows them and because their songs have been played endlessly since the mid-90s, some have grown to hate them. Regardless, this song’s cuteness is only amplified in the video by the stiff choreographed dancing that seems to be a signature of their music videos. And with that, we’ll overlook the fact that they threw in lots of ‘foreign’ babies for cheap ratings :o)
…it’s hard to be in a bad mood after listening to this :o)
(sorry, no embedding for this one… but it’ll open in a separate window)

They used to make Nintendo-like music and now they’re moving into house/electro territory. This song marks the beginning of their transition and with it they’ve started to get big here. The producer, Yasutaka Nakata, has been producing a few other groups here as well. Especially one of them, Perfume, is getting huge. Yasutaka’s also associated with some fashion designers and so this group is really trying to push their ‘Shibuya’ style in terms of music, fashion and art. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if some TV station has bought the rights to their earlier songs because I seem to hear snippets of their music played on just about every kind of show imaginable.
Anyway, this is “Sugarless Girl”

I haven’t a clue what their name means but they’re about the most talented Japanese band I can think of. They formed in Osaka over ten years ago and they’re still together. At this point, I don’t quite understand their lyrics but even talking with some of their Japanese fans it seems I’m not the only one :o)
Anyway this is “色彩のブルース”, which could probably be translated to “The Color of Blues”

Ryo the Skywalker
I saw a Japanese movie a long time ago and I was amazed to hear Japanese reggae. After some digging, I found out it seemed to be quite popular but I couldn’t get my hands on much else. Anyway, those were in the dark days of the internet before the wonders of youtube. Also, living in Osaka, which has a particular fondness for reggae, I hear it all the time… whether that’s a good thing or not is still up for debate but there is some good stuff amid the rubbish. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything I know well on youtube but this will suffice for an intro to Japanese reggae…
So, also from Osaka, this is Ryo the Skywalker…

Thee Michelle Gun Elephant
I’ve gotta admit, I found this song from a great movie “青い春” (Blue Spring). These guys got together in ’91 and broke up about 5 years ago. You’ll notice almost everyone’s name so far has been (somewhat) English… well this group is no except and it’s entirely nonsensical, which makes it all the more enjoyable. Anyway, this song epitomizes badassery, making it a great choice for the movie.
Here’s “赤毛のケリー” (Red-headed Kelly)

Kiyoshiro Imawano
Found out about him from another movie I recommend, ‘Happiness of the Katakuris‘ but it wasn’t until I came to Japan that I could actually hear more of his music (almost nobody my age seems to know about him). His old album covers are great… the guy looks like he made a lot of yakuza drug dealers rich back in those days. His voice is quite unique and even now, at 57, he’s putting out music. The only thing more strained than his worn-out vocal chords is his face, which he unfortunately still pastes on his album covers :o)
Anyway, this guy is awesome and thankfully he’s been getting more and more film roles recently. Here’s him doing a cover of Daydream Believer with one of his bands RC Succession.

(sorry, no embedding for this one either… but it’ll open in a separate window)

Katamari Damacy
A kick-ass game where you run around picking up random junk to make new stars (or planets?). You can start with a couple rubber bands and some paper clips and before you know it, it’s snowballing into cows and ocean liners.
The soundtrack is also great… here’s the intro.

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