interested in and listening to Japanese Pop Music (J-Pop) ever since I first
visited Japan in the summer of 1998. I can't understand most of it since
my Japanese is so poor, but like many things for me here in Japan, understanding
isn't a requirement for enjoyment.
Hi Puffy AmiYumi:
One of Japan's biggest pop music acts arrives in America, not with a massive
stadium tour but as a cartoon. Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, set to debut in December
2004, follows the adventures of two very cool, but very different, pop stars
as they travel from gig to gig or just hang out in their hometown of Tokyo.
Ami is the peppy, positive and resourceful one. Yumi is the hard-rocking,
no-nonsense cynic with an absolutely infallible sense of cool. Together,
they take the world by storm, despite occasional misjudgments from their
well-meaning but tragically square manager, Kaz. Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi also
will feature live-action segments starring the real life Puffy AmiYumi (pictured
below) as well as the group's catchy J-pop hits.
that started it all for me was PUFFY (Yumi & Ami). They have some
really crazy videos and super happy music. Both of them are pretty funny
and put on a good show. Speaking of "a good show" they even
have their own TV program which is on every Wednesday here in Japan around
midnight. These two are the best (and as far as I'm concerned always will
be). I went to my first PUFFY concert on April
12th, 2002 at Zepp's Osaka. It was... well... fantastic of course.
Yumi was a student at Neyagawa NOVA (where I teach) when she was in high
school [long before I started teaching there].
a lot of other bands I became interested in during or after my trip to Japan
in 1998. Aside from PUFFY I became a fan of Judy & Mary, Shiina Ringo,
and a bunch of other artists on a song by song basis. I wont go into detail
here about all of them since there are plenty of other pages on the web
dedicated to that sort of thing. Instead I will simply give a brief list
of what J-Pop I'm listening to circa February 2002.
February, I recently bought a single (shown on the left) by Tommy February
[formerly a member of The Brilliant Green]. She's not one of my favorites,
but she's just so damn poppy and catchy I have to listen to her anyway [just
like when Hanson released "Mmm Bop". Or maybe that was just me].
I went to see her at a local club here in Osaka in the month of, you got
it, February (2002). She's a terrible live performer and she just lipsynced
and danced like a drunken parapalegic the whole time, but her album is still
purchase (although the CD came out a while ago) is this Snail Ramp CD. They're
a sort of Ska/Punk band. Although I'm not usually listening to either of
those genres all that much I have really been enjoying this CD as of late.
It's extremely high energy. I went to their concert in Osaka on April 17th
at On Air Osaka. It was packed and full of energy the whole time. A lot
of jumping, screaming, and fun.
favorite new J-Pop group is Love Psychedelico. Their music is in both English
and Japanese (often in the same song) and has a king of Pop Rock feel to
it. I've been enjoying their first CD since I came back to Japan and recently
bought their new CD when it came out this year. Both of them are full of
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