japanese music

Perfume World Tour 3rd by Aisha Anime

perfume banner

On Wednesday 12th a whole bunch of retro, new and groupies turned up the equisite Hammersmith Eventium Apollo to witness the 3rd world tour of Perfume! (However there second performance in the UK). 

Perfume is a Japanese pop girl group from Hiroshima, Japan, consisting of Ayano Ōmoto, Yuka Kashino, and Ayaka Nishiwaki. Formed in early 2000 In 2008 the group hit their peak with "Polyrhythm", which was chosen to be the theme song of a recycle campaign by NHK. Since then, all of their subsequent works shave ranked Top 3 in the charts. Their first original studio album, Game, released on April 16, 2008, became their first number one album in Japan. The sound of the band is a mix of synthpop, bubblegum pop, dance-pop and house music.

 

Here is the set list for the London tour:

Enter the Sphere    
Spring of life (Album-mix)    
Cling Cling    
ワンルーム・ディスコ    

MC - talking to the crowd :-)

ねぇ
SEVENTH HEAVEN    
Hold Your Hand

Interlude

Spending all my time (DV&LM Remix)
GAME        
Dream Fighter

-P.T.A. CORNER-

Party Maker    
GLITTER
チョコレイト・ディスコ (2012-Mix)    
ポリリズム    

Encore

Handy Man    
MY COLOUR

perfume

It was fantastic to have the ladies talk to the crowd for a long period of time, the ladies talked about how sunny London was and how we should have bigger visors. They also asked for our cafe recommendations, to with people responded with Nandos, well you can buy coffee there i suppose ! Also nice to know they have never tried Pret a Manger before but absolutely love it. I have never seen such interaction with the audience before and welcome more - hopefully with a translator however Mr Mida from the crowd did a sufficient job of explaining what Nandos was to the ladies.

People also had the option of standing or sitting with a good view of the stage and there were a few screens to see the ladies in full view and the animations. The actual  light show and animations worked well with the more technological theme the ladies went with this year. With four dress changes and only a break to talk to the crowd they put on a great entertaining show keeping the crowd on their tip toes with enjoyment jumping up and down to classics such as CLING CLING and Game.

Worth the money and would love to see them again ! Thank you to Malcolm Critchell for the wonderful photos from the concert ~Aisha Anime~

All photos belong to are copyrighted to Malcolm Critchell

All photos belong to are copyrighted to Malcolm Critchell

Hyper Japan Summer 2014 by Aisha Anime

I'm just too kawaii for Tomb Raider

I'm just too kawaii for Tomb Raider

Welcome to Hyper Japan a convention dedicated to all things Japanese! The line ups were bigger and better with so much to pack into the timetables I wish I could split into two to watch everything. Here are some of the highlights I was lucky to catch at Earl's Court:

Vocaloid Opera Aoi with Bunraku Puppets premiered their film on screen at Hyper Japan and I caught up with the team at the weekend. The director explained they finished putting it all together on the friday the day before the screening! It was all a team effort from Chihiro (voice actress of the Vocaloid database) for months of recording her voice to the puppeteers which were three per ;puppet to the composer creating the original music. One of the important questions was:

Why is this debuting as pre recorded film rather than a live show?

“Advantage of the film is that we can look close up to the puppets themselves. If we preformed on stage, you can’t see the face and the small, subtle movements of the puppets and  the face since it’s far away... Also, video is portable, easy to display & distribute to many people and we want many people to watch.” 

Vocaloid Opera Aoi team, Mr Director loved my Lolita outfit ^_^

Vocaloid Opera Aoi team, Mr Director loved my Lolita outfit ^_^

For more information on Vocaloid Opera Aoi with Bunraku Puppets go to their website.

I caught up with the ASOBISYTEM models in colaboration with Moshi Moshi Nippon including twin sensations and Yura to find out there favourite fashion styles. Surprisingly the twins absolutely love British vintage fashion and love to base their outfits around that theme. On the other-hand Yura preferred to base her outfit around her shoes. There are significant differences between Japanese and British fashion when I asked what did the ladies wear they look puzzled and explained they could wear what they wanted from a certain designer for themed shoots and there was never a restriction on what they did with their hair ie. cutting it short or doing pig tails they could also choose to wear natural or over the top makeup at their own desecration.

Asobisystem models

It was amazing to see the ladies strut their stuff on stage and alongside some British hopefuls, one of which chosen was our very own Himezawa the aspiring German model and cosplayer. She was very exciting to be walking alongside the pros and wore some exclusive items she'd seen in magazines - my personal favourite was the Sailor Moon themed outfits ! The catwalk occurred three-four times each day with lots of different outfit themes.

The models are wearing Sailor Moon themed outfits for this particular show

The models are wearing Sailor Moon themed outfits for this particular show

One had to drop by the Broken Doll stall after they started talking to the public on facebook, the friendliest band ever. Ken from Broken Doll even made all the merchandise to sell, super kawaii jewelry alongside their CD's. Ken told me that their gig the previous night at Namco Funscape courtesy of Japan Underground was a roaring success.  I then proceeded to fire kami hami's at the other band members who fan boyed over my Dragon Ball Z cosplay of Femme Gohan. 

Broken doll hype

Sadly I missed YanaKiku's performance on stage but they waved me down at the fringe area as they recognised the Japanese character on my cosplay saying 'Grandson' they proceeded to make a calligraphy gift for me. It was an absolute honour to meet the friendly duo and they were more than happy to talk to me about anime ! Seriously they sing, draw, have great personalities I wonder what else they can suprise their fans with next !

Yanakiku

Karaoke was a serious thing at Hyper Japan especially when tickets to Japan were at stake - enthusiasts to youtubers battled to get picked and win the glorious tickets. NHK World certainly got a huge buzz at their stall with that alone without having Mr Domo Kun prancing around having his digital self captured on cameras or the just the good old fashioned the massive mascot.

Karaoke: Kelsey gives it her all to win the tickets to Japan

Karaoke: Kelsey gives it her all to win the tickets to Japan

After grabbing some delicious salmon curry from Sushi & Friends which you can order online  I declared myself king of the feylines and poogies on the Monster Hunter chair (which Capcom kindly brought with props for people to pose at) and on my way to leave caught the last performance of the electric Shiro-A. 

Shiro A demonstrating their music based performances, touring around London in Novemebr

Shiro A demonstrating their music based performances, touring around London in Novemebr

This year's Hyper Japan had such a wide variety of entertainment I spent most of my time on my feet admiring the fashion, listening attentively to the new and familar music. HJ also introduced a few new things too with their massive stalls sections separated into fringe and normal.  Looking forward to the Christmas Market edition of

For more photos go to my page ~ Aisha Anime
Hyper Japan Friday Album 

How Japanese Music Changed My Life - Pt 3 The Inspired by Storyaboutagirl

"Kokyuu tomete karameru FLAVOR, matataki de kuruwaseru LOVER, Hamatteiku MOOD wa TRAP”   -D’espairsRay, “Love Is Dead”

"Kokyuu tomete karameru FLAVOR, matataki de kuruwaseru LOVER, Hamatteiku MOOD wa TRAP” -D’espairsRay, “Love Is Dead”

I was immediately hooked and began adding to my wardrobe.  For a while Visual and Goth were the two styles I always wore, shocking people at conventions when I told them this was how I dressed every day.  These days my style has changed.  I favour more of the rock styles of clothing but I’m probably influenced by lots of my favourite bands still.

It’s very difficult for me to choose just one favourite band.  Something I have learned to appreciate since starting to listen to VK is the voice of the lead singer, although I find it very difficult to describe.  However, each singer has a different quality.  For example Acid Black Cherry’s Yasu has quite a high pitched voice, whereas Hizumi from D’espairsRay has a lower pitch and tends to sing using a mixture of singing and something close to scremo.  I could describe the voices of lots of different singers I like but really I want to talk about two bands- D’espairsRay, who I’ve previously mentioned and Angelo.

I was already in Japan when clicking around on YouTube I found D’espairsRay.  By that time they were already on hiatus.  Hizumi, the lead singer, was and still is suffering from a vocal problem that has left him unable to sing (but following a recent announcement it seems he is beginning to recover).  For the next few months after I discovered them, they were all I would listen to.  I bought their back catalogue and everywhere I went I would listen to only them.  Their music was and still is something that gave me strength.  There are songs I listen to when I need comfort or when I need to be strong.  You can find the chorus to “HORIZON” scrawled in Japanese over my University notes, amongst many other things.  So, I was devastated when they announced their disbandment.  I remember thinking “what was I going to do?” I still had their music, but I wouldn’t get to see them in concert and there would be no new music.

“Shiroi hane ga oichi iku, mirai made kakikaeru  ame ni nure nagara, namida to mazariatte nige basho wo ushinatta kanashi  yokogao”   -Angelo, “Feather”

“Shiroi hane ga oichi iku, mirai made kakikaeru  ame ni nure nagara, namida to mazariatte nige basho wo ushinatta kanashi  yokogao” -Angelo, “Feather”

About a year later I was looking at a Japanese music news website, when a photo caught my eye.  I recognised a member of the band.  It was D’espairsRay’s guitarist Karyu and he had joined a band called Angelo.  I YouTubed them and immediately fell in love with Kirito’s voice.  I can’t explain what it is about his voice, but something just moves me.  However, I only like Angelo’s music since Karyu and Giru joined.  Again their music is something that gives me strength and comforts me when I need it.  The band has more of a rock look than a VK look.  If you’re interested in seeing what VK looks like I suggest watching some old X-Japan videos (the band that founded VK) or trying the Neo Visiualizm music video by Miyavi, or even some of his older stuff, as the afore mentioned video is more representative of modern VK.

 

“Jiyuu wa amaku amai na sonzai, gensou no you de, kousoku naku shite, arienai sonzai koikogareteku”   -Exist Trace, “Resonance”

“Jiyuu wa amaku amai na sonzai, gensou no you de, kousoku naku shite, arienai sonzai koikogareteku” -Exist Trace, “Resonance”

There is one thing that I noticed about VK however, and that is that it is pretty much male dominated.  At least I thought it was, until I discovered the band Exist Trace.  There are a few all girl VK bands about right now and I’ve listened to several, but the only band I like is Exist Trace.  The lead singer Jyou really influenced my style of dress and the way I cut and coloured my hair in my last year of University.  I would even go so far as to say she is my style icon. 

“Giri giri de itsumo ikite itai kara”   -KAT-TUN, “Real Face.”

“Giri giri de itsumo ikite itai kara” -KAT-TUN, “Real Face.”

But VK aside, there is one more type of music that impacted my life although, recently I’ve almost altogether stopped listening to it and don’t follow it at all. 

Around half way through my year in Japan as a student I discovered KAT-TUN.  KAT-TUN are an idol group.  They are from the same company, Johnny’s, as Arashi and SMAP.

I’d heard of them before I really ‘discovered’ them.  I had a friend who was constantly telling me I might like them and I’d heard a little of them on the radio in the Uni shop, but it didn’t grab me.  Anyway, I was watching a Christmas Eve Music special when they came on and I asked my friends to turn it up.  I was captivated by them.  They were just so cool!  I began to buy some CDs and I must admit their early stuff, when they had six members, was hit and miss.  Their five member stuff was pretty good, but I kind of prefer their rockier numbers. 

I actually followed them for around two or three years.  Not only listening to their music, but watching their TV shows and dramas; reading articles and collecting magazines; going to the Johnny’s store when I was in Japan.  They were a massive part of my life.  However, recently I haven’t listened to their music much at all and I don’t keep up with the news about them.  I think in part it has something to do with them losing another member, after a scandal.

I know that some people don’t like idols because they see the bands as manufactured, but they are really talented.  Each member of KAT-TUN doesn’t only just sing and dance, they each have their individual talents and interests.  I could explain in detail, but may be some other time.

 So right now, who am I listening to?  Well, I’m quite enjoying Sheena Ringo and Tokyo Jihen, as well as my usual mix of VK and JRock- Angelo, D’espairsRay, Kuroyume and Acid Black Cherry, amongst others. 

I hope that you find my story interesting and that it may be inspires you to go out and try listening to Japanese music, if you aren’t already.  If you are, I hope you find a new band or two.  Anyway, thank you for reading.  I had no idea it would turn out to be quite so long...     

“Kimi ga mirai o miushinai, kanashimi ga semeru yoru mo, kimi o kaeru kate ni nari, mata arukidaseru”   -D’espairsRay, “HORIZON”

“Kimi ga mirai o miushinai, kanashimi ga semeru yoru mo, kimi o kaeru kate ni nari, mata arukidaseru” -D’espairsRay, “HORIZON”