Native Dancer vs Native

[PV] Sakanaction - Native Dancer

A song from Sakanaction's third (and latest) album "Shinshiro". Sakanaction is a new-wave/alternative rock band that has recently started to become popular in Japan over the last couple of years. And judging from the sound of "Native Dancer", it's pretty easy to see why. This accessible and catchy electro-pop tune really beckons comparisons to other hit artists both in America and Japan. The video's pretty entertaining too.

Osashiburi desu ne. Apologies for the long wait between entries this time around. It was tough to find a new video to post up and not a whole lot has been going on lately. Classes are (already) starting to become a blur. It's hard to believe that Golden Week is coming up next week. Don't really have any major plans for Golden Week. I might be heading to an onsen with some friends. I also know I'm planning on going to a couple shows in Tokyo during Golden Week. On the upside, I will be saving more money than if I went to someplace major like Korea or even Kyoto. Also, my parents gave the "OK" to go ahead and sign up for the trip to Okinawa that IES is doing at the end of next month. So, that'll be fun.

I guess the other news is that I recently was able to get a guitar from the Shimokura Secondhands guitar shop in Ochanomizu. ~$100 for a used guitar ain't half bad. Plus, over the past couple of weeks, I've been aching to have a guitar with me, so I can have something to do while I'm bored in my room. And now, I do. BTW, for those interested in the specifics, the guitar I got was an Aria Pro II MAGNA Series. [Pic] Fun.


P.S. More and more, I'm noticing how often I get mistaken for Japanese. Awesome.


Concert Ozis

[PV] mudy on the Sakuban - Ozis

PV of the song "Ozis" from the post-rock/instrumental band mudy on the Sakuban. On the first listen, I actually felt that mudy was ridiculously similar to their Japanese post-rock peers te'. But, after listening to them a bit more, there can be similarities in terms of the pace of their music. But the aesthetic feel of the bands is certainly different. Oh, and I particularly got a kick out of this video due to the fact that, unlike in America, those photo booths are EVERYWHERE. I mean, they are almost as common as vending machines over here.

Okay, now onto the (highly?) anticipated report on the concert I went to yesterday. First of all, I have to say that going to a show in Japan definitely feels different from shows in America. I showed up at the venue about an hour before the doors opened like most fans do in America. It's a good thing I did, not because there was a line of people (I'll get to that in a bit), but because they started selling band merch like t-shirts right outside the venue almost a few minutes after I got there. And then they stopped like half an hour later. Another thing that is pretty different that some of you might know about already is the fact that there is no line when it comes to getting into the venue. When you buy your ticket, you are assigned a number. The venue staff will then call you up by number when the doors open. (Hooray for practicing my Japanese numbers.) Also, this might not be the same for everyplace, but the venue I went to forced you to purchase a 500 yen drink ticket upon entering, which you could use at the bar for practically anything on the menu.

As for STUDIO COAST, it looked really nice on the outside, but it really wasn't as big as I expected. The actual size of the stage/floor was about the same as House of Blues (the last venue I went to in the States), but the neat thing is they had what seemed like metal separators (to prevent moshing perhaps?) in the floor. I ended up choosing a spot in the back, as I didn't want to get sucked up in the mosh pit that I was expecting to appear. But, when the show started, it really wasn't as bad as I thought at all. I almost regretted choosing a spot in the back, because all the people in the back were barely moving at all. Everyone seemed to have their own personal space for rocking out. The actual "moshing" seemed more like synchronized jumping and finger pointing. Now, I don't want to generalize the entire Japanese crowd as tame. It might have been because the band I was seeing wasn't a real punk/metal/"rock out" band. Either way, it was really fun, especially for someone like me who gets sick of dealing with the shovers and pushers of a normal American concert.

Oh, and for fans of the band apart, being able to see them live was amazing. When I got to see/hear the transition from "higher" to "amplified my sign" for the first time live, I really couldn't hide the smile on my face at all. Plus, now I totally understand the reason why bassist Hara Osakazu is such a fan favorite with his antics and sense of humor during his running dialogue with the crowd between songs. Getting cheered on for chugging water bottles sums it up pretty nicely. The ending of the first set was pretty cool too. Hara and drummer Kogure Eiichi did a fun little switcheroo during the outro of "beautiful vanity". The final encore of "K. and his bike" was also a nice touch.

Needless to say, I can't wait for the next show I get to go to. (Which is apparently VELTPUNCH and condor44. Nice.)


P.S. Doing much better in Japanese class now. Yay.



[PV] Base Ball Bear - Kamigami LOOKS YOU

Newest single from power pop band Base Ball Bear. Is it just me or do they use an acoustic in this song? And is it just me or does vocalist Yuusuke Koide sound ever so slightly different than usual? Well, either way, I always find it interesting that the band was actually originally an Oasis cover band, because I think you can hear the connections between Oasis and Base Ball Bear musically pretty clearly. This could be why they are oh so popular with the Japanese kiddies. It could also be the fact that their bassist Sekine Shiori was in the film "Linda Linda Linda". Also, yay for zombies.

First week of classes went good I have to say. Haven't exactly been doing the best in Japanese so far. Been struggling a bit on kanji dictations for no good reason. I will say that it has been a lot of fun in class, and I feel like I'm getting much better with speaking. The other classes I am taking on Japanese culture both seem interesting so far. (Contemporary Urban Society and Japanese Pop Culture, for those interested.) Not looking forward to the papers I am going to have to write on those classes though.

As for the weekend, I went to karaoke with a bunch of friends last night. T'was fun albeit a little more expensive than I thought. And today, I got to travel to Narita for the Taiko Matsuri (Japanese Drum Festival). Very fun. Got to eat quite possibly the best unagi (eel) that I've ever eaten. Also got to see the sights around Narita which I have to say was very nice. The temple that the festival was located in was complete with Buddhist shrines, waterfalls, koi (and a random mallard), and that is not even mentioning the actual performances by the taiko players. Good times.


P.S. My first concert in Japan is on this coming Wednesday. Impressions coming soon!


I'm Doing Alright Sugar

[PV] Fujifabric - Sugar!!

Newest single from prog/funk/disco/etc. rockers Fujifabric. I have to admit, when I first heard this, my first reaction was "Wait, this is Fujifabric, right?" Vocalist Shimura Masahiko sounds so soft in comparison to the songs on "TEENAGER". The song is also very synth-heavy, even more so than "Passion Fruit". It's not until the chorus first hits that the typical Fujifabric sound starts to pop out. The band has also made another look change apparently, with Masahiko looking more and more like BUMP OF CHICKEN's Motoo Fujiwara with his long straggly hair. I do have to say that I approve of his new guitar choice. Also, the video is pretty standard for Fujifabric with the inclusion of yet another random dancing girl.

So classes are now in session (since Monday). It's been pretty fun in Japanese class so far, but I can already tell that the word load is going to be killer when we start getting into the thick of things. We're just reviewing right now and, while I am thankfully not struggling with the stuff we are going over (I know most of it), it's gonna be fun when we go even faster and start going over completely new material for me. But, I have to say that the teachers are fun (even though Kinoshite-sensei totally picked on me all of the last class for no reason) and I know that I'll definitely get better this way.

In other news, I was able to get some tickets finally for some concerts I'm interested in. Let's see, I got tickets for:

- the band apart @ Shin-Kiba STUDIO COAST on 4/15
- HIBIKI ROCK FES. 2009 @ Shin-Kiba STUDIO COAST on 5/6

Also planning on getting tickets for these shows when the tickets become available:

- Fujifabric @ Zepp Tokyo on 6/7
- Base Ball Bear @ Hibiya Open Air Arena on 6/27
- OGRE YOU ASSHOLE @ Shibuya O-NEST on 7/10
- Suneohair @ Shimokitazawa GARAGE on 5/22
- lostage @ CLUB QUATTRO on 6/26
- VELTPUNCH @ Shibuya O-NEST on 5/2

So should be a fun 3 months. Hopefully.



Shout Aloud Fun Times

[PV] POLYSICS - Shout Aloud!

Newest single from the new-wave/electro-rock band POLYSICS. I have to say that I personally am not a fan of the new outfits they have chosen to go with since the latest change. (My favorite has to be the outfits before this one from KARATE HOUSE-era.) But, either way, both the video and song are the typical fare you would expect from POLYSICS. It does sound really fun to listen to live, as do most of their songs. Also, as many fans have been quick to point out, the teaser for the b-side "Beat Flash" at the end of the video sounds very promising!

To follow up on the last post I made, I did kind of terrible in the placement test, mainly in the listening and conversation sections. However, thankfully, I have been fortunate to not get placed in 200-level Japanese (the lowest section you can get placed in my program). I'm right where I want to be, so I guess that makes me happy.

All of the other things that have been going on since then have been making me happy too. Let's see:

-Visited Harajuku and the famous Takeshita Street
(Also found a really awesome modern art gallery in Harajuku.)
-Visited Ueno Park and proceeded to get stuck in permanent awe-mode.
(Awesome shrines + tons of sakura = permanent awe-mode.)
-Went to Meikai University's Nyuugakushiki.
(Nyuugakushiki = Entrance Ceremony.)
-Visited Yoyogi Park and proceeded to get stuck in permanent awe-mode...again.
(Tons of sakura + awesome atmosphere = permanent awe-mode.)
-Visited Shibuya.
(Got screwed on my tickets for OGRE YOU ASSHOLE and POLYSICS. Sold out. *shakes fist*)

Oh well @ the last part. Kind of disappointed I won't be able to see OYA. (I found another POLYSICS show I can attend thankfully.) But, now, I know a bit better on how tickets in Japan. Selling out about a week before the show is more common than I thought, so I'll have to be more careful in purchasing them a bit more ahead of time.

I'm still determined as ever to attend a show here before I leave. Oh, and to not fail miserably in Japanese. Riiight. >_>



SURRENDER my free time

[PV] lostage - SURRENDER

Now I present a song from the latest album of lostage known as "GO". Sounds like a typical fare from them, complete with ghostly vocals, airy melodic guitar riffs, and pretty solid drumming. Seems like their stuff has been leaning more and more towards this exact kind of soft yet foreboding sound since the days of "PLAY WITH ISOLATION". Maybe they're finding their musical "niche" so to speak or maybe their signing with major label Toy's Factory has something to do with it. Either way, if you like the song, I do recommend checking them out.

Okay, so lots of things have been happening since I last posted. I did end up going to Akihabara with Dobby. We mainly just explored the place, but we did end up visiting and eating at a maid cafe. I have to say that it was even more interesting/fun/awkward than I had thought beforehand. The both of us got a combo meal that came with a picture with the maid that served us. And by picture, I mean getting up on a stage in the middle of the establishment in front of all the other customers and doing cute poses with the maid while wearing things such as cat ears. Needless to say, you can imagine how crazy it is. I mean, we even had to repeat a cute chant with our maid as she served our drinks and food. Again, interesting/fun/awkward.

Not much has happened since then. I have noticed that my legs are getting ridiculously sore the past couple of days. I guess that means I've been doing an equally ridiculous amount of walking, which doesn't really surprise me I guess.


P.S. I took my placement test today. I did well.

P.P.S. April Fools! I didn't do so well. :(