The Twilight Zone

October 7, 2010

After hearing about everything Atron and David experienced in Japan, it definitely sounds like a surreal experience.  I’ve always wondered what it would be like visiting Japan ever since I’ve grown to like their media, specifically when I witnessed Japan’s girl group AKB48 skyrocket in terms of popularity.

A place where AKB48 posters are regularly hung on the sides of buildings and singles can be bought in any music establishment?  A place that has an official store where I can buy goods directly without an expensive middle-man?  Where their magazines and photobooks are casually lain about in a 7-11?  It’s definitely not the world I live in.  Even throw-away fliers for various merchandise baring the sacred ‘AKB48’ logo feel like they have some sort of value simply because they don’t exist outside of Japan.

While I have to scour and look for whatever media my favorite idols appear in through the internet, all I would need to do in Japan is turn on the television.

Such thoughts were even more punctuated when I came across this Japanese commercial for the XBox 360’s ‘Kinect’.

It’s a pretty funny commercial, parodying old ads from the 70’s and 80’s, complete with antiqued audio, questionable dubbing and a grainy-bleached aesthetic; but the casual inclusion of SKE48’s Matsui Jurina and Matsui Rena had me doing a double-take.  Was that really them?  In a ‘Kinect’ ad?  I bet the general public didn’t think much of it, but that’s what’s so funny; how the ordinary becomes extraordinary just because I live across the ocean.


Three Hour Base Ball Bear Concert on Ustream? I’m In.

September 28, 2010

David loves this band.  I’ve probably heard a number of songs from them in the past, but don’t remember a single one.  Ayrton and David both were able to see Base Ball Bear perform live in Japan, while I sat in the darkness with only the glow of my laptop screen to soothe me.  Even though I wasn’t familiar with Base Ball Bear, you’ll bet envy was coursing through my veins.

Tokyo Hive has informed me that Base Ball Bear have heard my struggles and decided to throw me a bone.  To celebrate the simultaneous release of two brand new albums, “CYPRESS GIRLS” and “DETECTIVE BOYS”, they are doing a promotional three hour concert at 7:30pm to 10:30pm on the 29th (which is about 6:30am-8:30am eastern time), and it’s supposedly going to be streamed LIVE on Ustream at EMI MUSIC LIVE.  Sure, a live internet stream isn’t going to be at all excellent quality, but it’s pretty neat and I’m going to check it out.

Again, they will be live HERE at  7:30-10:30pm Japan time, 6:30-8:30am Eastern American time.

Make it if you can!

SNSD debut single in japan

September 7, 2010

SNSD’s first single in japan came out, singing ‘genie’ in japanese with a brand new PV.

dance shot:

many people say they don’t like the militant-like precision of their synchronized dancing and formations, but i think it’s hypnotizing and great.  every dance movie is razor sharp and make even the most mundane movements look good.  that said, i’d love to see the girls dance without holding anything back; that’d be something amazing.  they’ve been in rigorous training for years before they were able to debut, yet it seems like they haven’t been given the liberty to showcase it to the fullest extent.  from what i’ve been hearing, it looks like SNSD has successfully debuted, and i’ll be looking to see how they do in their first day and week sales.

…but man, what a boring cover.

subway comparison

May 29, 2010

i’ve been living in manhattan for four years now, and i’ve become accustomed to how things work around here.  the way people shout across the street at each other, people power-walking through the crowded streets like a highway, the five sirens you hear inevitably everyday without fail no matter where you are, and the sense of immediacy you feel when you see hundreds of people carrying about their business as if they were each tasked with saving the world; but if there was one thing i could change about it, the condition of subways would be near the top of my list.

new york banks a lot from its urban grit; it does hold a certain charm and gives one a feeling of deep history, but subway stations smelling like garbage and death in the summer is something i feel does not need to be a new york experience.  it’s times like this i wish the metro would be more like korea and japan.

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May 24, 2010

I remember watching this video a while back and being fascinated by it. It really isn’t anything to special, just a bunch of Japanese people running towards a camera while looking as ridiculous as they can get while the whole is in recorded in slow motion. I don’t know why I am so fascinated by the video. Its more humorous then anything else.

P.S- The second to last guy running in the at the end of the video……I think we can all agree that it is indeed painful to watch.

the appeal of idols

April 29, 2010

i’m no expert on japanese culture.  i read manga and watched anime occasionally, but selectively.  my knowledge of japanese cinema boiled down to critically acclaimed old-timer directors like akira kurosawa and yasujiro ozu, campy pop films like ‘death note’ and ‘battle royale’, or recommended films like ‘nobody knows’ and ‘linda linda linda’.  my japanese music collection were usually bands that i ran into or given to me by friends.  most of what i saw from japan were acknowledged internationally, but i’ve never gone deeper than that.

sure, coming from a korean background, japan never felt super-foreign to me;  my grandfather grew up during the japanese occupation.  he taught me a lot of the japanese i know and we’d watch variety shows together on television when i was younger.  but there was one thing that was totally foreign to me until recently.  idol groups.  specifically, akb48.

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