Before you start reading, know that this article came from the now-defunct Gnorb’s UltraKitchy CyberXtreme iBlog. (“Because one cliche is not enough.”) The site was dedicated to Japanese influences in today’s culture, especially J-pop music, movies, and video games. This is the last feature I’ll be reposting from there. Enjoy.
I spend a good amount of time — a really, obscenely good amount of time — listening to the Jpop stations in Shoutcast and other services. (JPopSuki TV being my biggest source of J-pop music videos.) Artists like Morning Musume, Sakamoto Maaya, and Utada Hikaru have become to me what 50 Cent, Trisha Yearwood, and Dave Matthews are to most everyone else around here. (Not that Morning Musume, a collection of teen-aged Japanese girls singing happy pop songs, sounds anything like 50 Cent, a 30-something muscle-bound black guy rapping about inner-city problems, but that’s beside the point.) Eventually, this got me wondering if there are any Japanese pop(ish) artists planning to tour the US any time soon.
(FYI: “Musume” means “Daughter.” Frankly, I don’t know what “Morning Daughter” is supposed to mean, but I think this qualifies as one of these cultural things you’ve just got to be there to understand.)
Mind you, I’d expect tickets to be fairly pricey, at least if concerts around here are any indication, but frankly I’d love to see one of these bands live. The funny part is that other than the local orchestra and small performance groups, I don’t really go to concerts. (Unless it’s a punk rock band in some park somewhere.)
I guess the question is, when did I start listening to J-pop, and why do I prefer it over Pop music from the west? (Daing it, Mana, why did you have to give me those Japanese music CD’s?!)
One answer: It’s a fad; the Japanese language (at least in the US) is mostly a fad. (I’ve wanted to learn Japanese since I was 6, when my uncle would go to business trips, but that’s beside the point.) And I can’t understand what they’re saying so it sounds more intellectual than American or British music. It’s not, and I know it, but it’s in another language, one I can’t understand, so it’s cool and mysterious. (Why don’t I put a few more commas there: ,,,,,,,,,,,,,. Ok, now it feels complete.) To be honest, if it was in English, I probably really wouldn’t like listening to most of this stuff.
Except, of course, Morning Musume, Ayumi Hamasaki, Maaya Sakamoto. Oh, and Utada Hikaru; she’s a definite.
Heck, while I’m at it, maybe even Koda Kumi. This one mostly because I used to have a cat named “Koda.” This was before I knew Koda was a person’s name, apparently. As a side note, at that time there was a store called “Coda”, and although wanted to name my cat after the music symbol “coda” as in “Dal Segno al Coda,” everyone thought I named it after the store. That annoyed me, since everyone then thought I really liked that store (I actually hated it), so I named my cat with a “K” instead of a “C.” But I digress…
…to the point of Alzheimer’s.
The point of this story is simple: I’d like to see a Japanese artist touring the US. Miami and Orlando are big enough venues; I don’t see why they couldn’t make it all the way out here. Well, other than market share. I’m sure I can scrounge up enough Japanese-language students who want extra credit for this to happen, though.
Edit: I just saw the video “Hot Stuff” by Koda Kumi. She’s off my list. Too much Lil’ Kim. The spirit of my dead cat is not pleased.