Archive for the 'Pop Culture' Category

Two Songs from Shugo Tokumaru’s New Album – Exit

Nice. Two official music videos to songs from Shugo Tokumaru’s new album have surfaced on YouTube. First, there’s “Green Rain”…

… and then, we have “Parachute”:

The release date to the album, which will be called “Exit”, is October, 19th.

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Néojaponisme

Japan is bigger than just Japan. Japan is metaphor and allegory, successful case study and cautionary example, tragedy and comedy, Eden and the Land of the Lotus Eaters. All these multiple narratives cannot possibly be correct at the same time, unless we remove Japan from its strict geographical denotation and explore a more abstracted Japan in conjunction with our normal surveillance of reality.

Thus speaks W. David “Marxy” Marx in what he calls the first manifesto to his new group blog Néojaponisme (his co-bloggers are Jean Snow and Ian Lynam, both Tokyo-based like Marxy). Marxy’s old blog was – and hopefully will continue to be – highly insightful, for the often critical and thoughtful posts as much as for the, ahem, passionate debates in the comments section on contemporary Japanese society and pop culture. Some of the friction generated in these debates has obviously spilled over into his new project, as the following passage shows:

As Japan blossoms in the international garden, a few cling to Néo-Orientalisme, a Romantic ideology updating the old lust towards submissive geisha and beautiful ukiyo-e with an obsession for Japan’s post-1980s cultural and technological accomplishments. Japan certainly provides the world with alternate social, economic, and political systems for serious consideration, but we should not make the mistake of believing that we have discovered a utopian parallel to our own society. If we really want to advocate certain policy triumphs in Japan for global betterment, we must fully understand the sometimes painful realities behind the working order.

I wonder who these “few” might be? Anyway, count me among the regular readers of this very promising new web journal.

Video Game Nostalgia in Japan: Tokyo Game Bars

8-bit_02.jpg
Check out the first episode of the newly launched Points series for GameVideo.com, where Jason DeGroot — a gamer, performer (as 6955), and game company employee — will guide you through some of the coolest game-related happenings in Japan… For the first episode of Points, we visited two fantastic videogame-themed bars, 8-Bit Cafe and 16 Shots.

The series looks promising, I have to say.

via Gridskipper

New Shugo Tokumaru Album Scheduled for Release

Japanese neo-folk wunderkind Shugo Tukomaru is one of my favorite artists, ever. His first two albums Night Piece (2004) and L.S.T. (2005) were both brilliant. Give them a listen if you like, say, Animal Collective, or beautiful music in general. Today, Shugo’s third album has finally been announced. It is titled ‘Exit’ and will be released in Japan on Ocober 19th. Here’s the cover art and the tracklist, straight from Shugo’s official website:

Shugo Tokumaru - Exit

1. Parachute
2. Green Rain
3. Clocca
4. Future Umbrella
5. Button
6. Sanganichi
7. D.P.O
8. Hidamari
9. La La Radio
10. Wedding

I believe that the fourth track, ‘Future Umbrella’, has already been released on a compilation of sorts. The rest sounds brand new. Expect a full review once I can get my hands on an import copy. For a taste of Shugo, check out this fan-made video for his Song ‘Metrion’, which captures the spirit of his music nicely.

Also, go read Marxy’s old (but bilingual) interview with Shugo.


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