62nd Annual Kōhaku Uta Gassen / 2011 紅白歌合戦

On December 31, 2011, at 7:15pm Japan Standard Time (December 31, 2:15am Pacific Standard Time/California), NHK will broadcast the 62nd annual Kōhaku Uta Gassen (“Red and White Song Battle”). Some of my favorites will be performing, including Hamasaki Ayumi, Mizumori Kaori, Wada Akiko, Porno Graffiti, and of course, Perfume. The show will run approximately 4.5 hours.Continue reading “62nd Annual Kōhaku Uta Gassen / 2011 紅白歌合戦”

Necomimi / 猫耳

Musician Ryūichi Sakamoto tries on a pair of Neurowear’s necomimi (“cat’s ears”), which responds to one’s emotional state.  They perk up when you’re excited or happy, droop when you’re sad or relaxed, and so on. According to Reuters, Neurowear says the necomimi will be available for sale in the spring, at a price of “several hundredContinue reading “Necomimi / 猫耳”

The Wonder 3 / ワンダー3

I’ve never heard of Osamu Tezuka’s The Wonder 3 (aka The Amazing 3) before, but it seems to be one of the better animated series to come out of Japan in the 1960s. The animation and character design are more sophisticated, the characters have more depth to them, the storytelling is entertaining and crisp, and there’s even aContinue reading “The Wonder 3 / ワンダー3”

“Machine Civilization” by World Order

Music video from World Order (led by former martial artist Genki Sudō) entitled “Machine Civilization” with some cool and quirky choreography. It’s especially funny that nobody in the airport told the passengers and workers to either avoid the area or to ignore the dancers and cameras. I dig the crisp cinematography and location shooting; theyContinue reading ““Machine Civilization” by World Order”

Hashimoto-San cartoon

I love Hashimoto-San.  Despite the fact the characters behave and speak in a slightly stereotypical manner, the series was created by Japanese-born Bob Kuwahara for Terrytoons.  Obviously he went to the trouble of making sure the Japanese cultural aspects were correct–Kuwahara didn’t randomly blend different Asian cultures and the characters have real Japanese names.  Kudos!

New Perfume Album: “JPN”

My favorite Japanese girl group, Perfume, has finally released a new album!  It’s called “JPN”, and features the singles “Fushizen na Girl”, “Voice”, “Nee”, “Laser Beam”, “Spice” … but not “Fake It”, alas!  Can’t wait to get this. I really like producer/songwriter Yasutaka Nakata’s pristine production style. The album debuted at #1 on the Oricon Daily Charts.

Creative Japan

Just a short list of some of my favorite current Japanese creative types, in no particular order: Toshio Iwai (multimedia artist) Miyuki Nakajima (singer and songwriter) UA (singer) Hitoshi Matsumoto (actor, director, comedian) Yasutaka Nakata (music producer) Tomoko Sawada (photographer) Cornelius (musician) Tadao Ando (architect) Akiko Wada (actress and singer) PLUS heads Inc (animation studio)