Category Archives: JPop

Perfume and OK Go

Hi guys,

This is just something fun I wanted to share. This is a video by the American alternative group OK Go. This video was filmed in Japan (you can see the ladies of Perfume at the beginning). If you can’t see the video below, you can click on it here.

The song is pretty catchy. You can also watch the interview explaining how they made the video:


Sour Grapes

Earlier today, I got really upset about something that I was rejected for. It was something I originally didn’t want, but was invited to take part in. However, I started to get my expectations up, and then when I was finally rejected, I felt insulted and was brooding and mad all morning.

Then I suddenly realized I was just being sour grapes. The term “sour grapes” (makeoshimi 負け惜しみ in Japanese)1 means that you want something, but you couldn’t get it, so now you act angry and pretend you didn’t want it. That’s exactly how I was behaving. Worse, thinking back, I didn’t really want it anyway; it was just ego. So, when I got rejected, my ego was bruised, and I got mad. How silly.

When I realized this, I kind of laughed for a moment and forgot about it. My bitterness was gone just like that. Sure, my pride stung, but oh well. Life goes on.

It reminds me of that great Japanese song 女々しくて (memeshikute) by Golden Bomber:2

The phrase 女々しい (memeshii) means “effiminate”, but applied to a guy, it kind of also means “whiny” or “emotional”. So, instead of sucking it up, and learning from the experience, I was just being memeshii.

I guess I need to develop more emotional intelligence. ;)

1 I couldn’t find the equivalent Korean term. If anyone knows, please send a blog comment, thanks!

2 Golden Bomber is a good example of Japanese Indie music, compared to big-name, polished groups like AKB or Johnny’s. The lead singer is a really nice guy, writes all the lyrics, and is pretty humble. Golden Bomber can be really naughty sometimes (please do not watch the “kpop version” of 女々しくて), but they have great energy and don’t take themselves seriously. They are a lot of fun.

Perfume Teaches Japanese

For this Sunday afternoon, I wanted to share this one. The lovely ladies of Perfume came out with another song recently called “1mm”:

The video is clever because the lyrics are super-imposed all over the screen as they’re singing. There’s no furigana, pronunciation guide for the kanji characters but they are singing it, so you can still see how they’re read.

Honestly, I can read most of the lyrics, but I’m pretty slow so I have to pause the video sometimes. The only way to improve is practice and exposure. “Flight time” in other words.

Anyhow, catchy song, I like Kashiyuka’s new look and the video, as always, is super clever and artistic.

If you like Perfume, techno-pop or learning Japanese, enjoy!

Happy Halloween 2013

I decided to post this classic Arashi song for fun to celebrate Halloween this year. In the past, it was really hard to find Johnny’s music videos on Youtube, but now Arashi has it’s own channel on Youtube/Vevo,1 which makes things a lot easier. This it the song “Monster”:

The song was used as the theme for the live TV version of the Japanese children’s classic, 怪物くん (Kaibutsu-kun), which in this context can be translated as “Little Monster Prince” or something.

The story behind Kaibutsu-kun is about a “Monster World” and a “Demon World”. The Prince of Monster World, which includes were-wolves, vampires and Frankenstein monsters, is sent to the Human World as punishment because he’s spoiled and selfish. His three servants (a werewolf, vampire and Frankenstein) come with him. He has eventually learns to be humble and how to make friends while stopping the demons from causing trouble.

Since these monsters are part of Halloween too, it all fits together nicely.

Also, this is probably the first Arashi song I truly liked. I knew a few songs before that (I can sing them in Karaoke too), but for some reason I couldn’t stop listening to this song for weeks. Coincidentally that was around Halloween too.

Anyhow, enjoy and have a safe, happy Halloween!

1 Which seems to only have 1 video in it. Hm. One is better than none, I guess.

2 Roger Zelazny’s novel “A Night In The Lonesome October” also features all 3 monsters too. Hint, hint. :)

New Perfume Video: “Magic of Love”

For all you Perfume fans (a surprising number of blog readers are), here’s the latest song by Perfume: Magic of Love.

Similar to their video for Voice, it includes a lot of cool room-shifts and visual tricks. My daughter loves watching “Voice”, so I think she will enjoy this one as well. One reason I like Perfume is that I can show my daughter and not worry about showing anything naughty or inappropriate.

But I digress. Great song, and great video. Enjoy!

JPop Saturdays: Perfume’s “Spring of Life”

I felt like posting this one this weekend for three reasons. First, spring is coming again soon and I’m excited for it. Second Girls’ Day (Hinamatsuri) is coming to Japan and I wanted to post something that celebrates Japanese women. And third, I just like this song:

I’ve seen a lot of other Kpop/Jpop videos lately featuring girls as robots, but I think this is one of the best because the whole scene looks like a laboratory plus the illuminated dresses are really creative.

Anyhow, enjoy and for all the ladies out there, happy girls’ day!

JPop Saturdays: Perfume’s “Nee”

I’ve been saving this one for Christmas time because I like the winter theme of the video. This is another JPop song by Perfume called “nee”:

Sadly, this is only the short version. The long version is available Youtube, but I try to only post the official videos by JPop and KPop groups, so this is all I had available. Anyhow, this is one of my favorite songs by Perfume and the video really shows how artistic and talented they are. I love the “three-camera angle” shots among other things.

The song’s title is “ne”, which is a particle used constantly in Japanese. Tae Kim’s site does a great explanation of what it means. Usually it goes at the end of a sentence, but it can also be used at the beginning of the sentence as done here. Here, “ne” is more like “hey” as in getting someone’s attention. The full sentence in the chorus is ne, doko ni ikou kana? (ね、どこに行こうかな?) which means “hey, I wonder where [we] should go…?”

Normally I try not to spend this much explaining the meaning, but it’s central to the song.

Anyhow, hope you enjoy and I hope this song puts you in a good Winter mood. :)

JPop Saturdays: Perfume’s “Fake It”

Wait, whoa. WHOA. Stop everything. Call the President, go to Defcon 2, and scramble the fighter-jets.

Just kidding. Some folks might be surprised to see that I am reviewing a JPop song this week, not KPop. More on that later. For now, allow me to introduce you to a girl group named Perfume and their latest song:

Perfume is a relatively new group in JPop, and I have seen them a lot on Japanese music shows lately. I like their funky, technopop style, plus the fact that they’re cute and stylish without being overtly sexy or risqué.1 As for the song, I love it! This song has that distinct style you often hear in Japanese female-vocalists, and supports this with a really catchy beat.

Also, Perfume is one of the few JPop groups that actively promotes themselves internationally through YouTube and such. KPop is very good at promoting itself internationally, and it’s very easy for me to share new music and such on this blog to other foreigners and such. Music is fun, and something people all over the world can enjoy, even if they don’t understand the lyrics. Music crosses cultural and geographic boundaries.

But the Japanese music industry hasn’t really caught onto this yet, so it’s very hard for me to promote groups like Arashi or Kanjani, even though I like them. The only other group I know that promotes itself internationally is AKB48, and as readers know I am not an AKB fan at all.

So, as I got interested in Perfume lately, I was very happy to see that they represent a new, internationally-focused generation of Japanese music, and I am happy to call myself a fan, and promote their works alongside KPop.

P.S. I highly recommend the song “Hurly Burly” even though there’s no official music video for it (believe me, I looked). I also liked “Spring of Life“, which seems to continue the trend of cute, Asian robotic singers.

1 I have no problem with girl groups being sexy of course, I just think its disappointing when it’s their main selling-point instead of music and such. I can think of a few girl groups like that and it’s too bad. Plus, I try to remind myself that those girls are someone’s daughter and/or sister.

KPop Saturdays: KARA’s “Pandora”

Another video I wanted to post recently was “Pandora” by KARA. KARA is huge in Japan. I would argue they’re one of the most popular groups in Japanese music, and I know of some KARA fans, plus you can see KARA endorsements, advertisements and such everywhere.

I think this is also reflected in KARA’s music which sounds more like JPop in a way:

I admit I don’t listen to KARA much, but I definitely think they’re good in their own way, and are a great example of KPop success in Japan (other examples: After School, Girls’ Generation). If you live in Japan or anywhere nearby, you probably know KARA already. If not, meet KARA. :)

Happy 8th Anniversary, Baby!

Hi Honey,

It’s been 8 fun years together as husband and wife, and since you’re in Japan1 enjoying sunny weather while we’re here in Seattle stuck in a snow-storm, I thought you might enjoy this video from Kinki Kids that seemed fitting somehow. :)

Anyhow, from your Scottish-wannabe husband:2

Wedding Day

Happy Anniversary!

P.S. I like Kō-chan better than Tsuyoshi. Just kidding. ;p

1 For readers: wife is staying in Japan a few extra days for a friend’s wedding. Plus she’s a Kinki Kids fan. :)

2 I actually did find the right tartan for my family ancestry. I’d be super impressed if you can name the clan (no cheating if you know me in person).