Sunday, March 18, 2012

Karaoke songs

I am equally happy to sing Japanese or English songs at karaoke. My karaoke “Juhachiban-ban” (number 18 = best song or ‘party piece’) is Anri’s “Olivia o Kikinagara”. This is the song that got me on the “Nodo Jiman” show a few years back, singing live on NHK national TV:

Other personal karaoke faves from over the years are:

“Glass no Judai” (Hikaru Genji)

“Akai Sweet Pea” (Matsuda Seiko)

“Baby, Baby” (Okamura Takako)

“Kagayakinagara…” (Tokunaga Hideaki)

“Honki” (Tamura Eriko)

“Nani mo Ienakate…Natsu” (J-Walk)

and “Suna no Kajitsu” (Nakatani Miki).

OK, I also have to admit I like to do “Gee” by Korean pop girl

group Shojou Jidai--it is just so darn cute. I can’t quite get all the words

yet, since it is so fast, but my girls are happy to sing along with me:

Another newish band I like is Ikimono Gakari--their songs are a little too hard to learn quickly, but I am trying:

The first J-band I ever got into was Carlos Toshiki and Omega Tribe. They were popular right around the time I came here on a working holiday at 18. Lead singer Carlos was from Brazil and I loved the fact that he was another gaijin in Japan like me. Two years later, I came to Japan again after college to work in Hiroshima. I went all the way to Osaka after work—alone--to catch Omega Tribe in concert. My workmates thought I was nuts but it was wonderful. The band broke up soon than that. Watching old videos of Carlos still makes me go gooey inside. Such a sweetheart. My favorite song is the first one I ever heard, “Stay Girl, Stay Pure”, from late 1987.\=PLC2ABB5E13FD45D20

The following songs seem to be ones that most Japanese women around my age really get into. Whenever I go out with girlfriends, these get everyone singing:

“Sabishii Netaigyou” (Wink)

“Ureshii, Tanoshii, Daisuki!” (Dreams Come True)

“Love Revolution” (Morning Musume)

“Diamonds” (Princess Princess)

“Aoi Sangoshou” (Matsuda Seiko)

“Choo Choo Train” (Zoo did the original—Exile covered it more recently)

“Resort Lovers” (Bakufu Slump)

Monday, February 13, 2012

From AFWJ February Journal - Music Blogs 6

Michelle Z.s’s choices.
Curly Giraffe, Water On
“Did not know he was Japanese the first time I heard his song in... I think a Nike commercial or one of the other shoe companies.”
Chara, Yasashii Kimochi
“Another song by Chara specially for Rachel since it was played at her wedding. Typical Chara: voice of a little girl but the attitude and power of a woman as contender. Lots of fun!
Pushim, The Race of Love
“Pushim is the Queen of Japanese reggae. My fave is her song Colors but I cannot find anything on Youtube in my quick search. This song is also pretty good: She is not one of those cute little girls. This woman has style and attitude. She is also proud of her Korean heritage—something unusual in Japan. Pretty good role model I’d say.”
Bennie K, Oasis
“This one gets my butt wiggling every time. Was also used on a Coca-cola commercial. Bennie K is a duo that met while studying in LA. The rapper from Osaka was visiting her grandmother I think, and the one with the clear singing voice is actually a Kyushu girl from Saga.”
Yamaguchi Iwao, Sora
“Change of pace. I cannot remember what song it was off the top of my head but it reminded me of Billy Bragg when I heard it being played in the mall way back when. Not many available on YouTube because this is getting a little older, but this is Yamaguchi Iwao from his album Acoustic with the song Sora”
Hajime Chitose, Fifteen Nights of Carols
“Another one that people either love or hate is Hajime Chitose. Ms Hajime is from Kagoshima in southern Japan and sings in a style very similar to that of the Okinawan islands—much more throaty than most singers.”
lecca, What a girl can Do
“Have posted this one before: lecca singing, What a GIrl Can Do. Also gets me wiggling in my chair.”
Onitsuka Chihiro, Little Beat Rifle
“Another Kyushu girl is Onitsuka Chihiro from Miyazaki. Just for Victoria and Melody. Here is Little Beat Rifle”
Shang Shang Typhoon, Let it Be
“Personally I love Shang Shang Typhoon’s version of My Girl but I cannot find it on YouTube. You cannot help but smile when you hear them. Here is their version of Let it Be. Thought that might be safe for the uninitiated. WARNING! They are a very fun, theatrical band from Okinawa.”
Akiko Yano, Prayer
“And, a couple that is no longer married but they have great solo careers with avid fans. Maybe you don’t know the wife, Akiko Yano. She now lives in New York. She is another one of those that people love or hate. Piano Nightly or Super Folk Songs are great albums. Home Girl Journey is a bit edgier but not much. Surprisingly she sings with a lower voice if you see her live. Here is her song, Prayer.
“(Probably you have hear of her husband, Ryuichi Sakamoto. His fans buy tickets to his concerts and go to several one after the other in different cities. He often works with other artists such as David Sylvian and Ingrid Chavez on his albbum Heartbeat:”
“And, something from his Sweet Revenge album”
(“BTW, his stage shows are amazing!”)
Sister Kaya, Sweet 19 Blues
“Cannot forget Sister Kaya and her cover of Amuro Namie’s Sweet 19 Blues. This Okinawan girl does a much darker, edgier version that is great.”
Bird, Mind Travel
“One of the women who was part of the trend for women with strong voices in Japan was Bird”
AI, Brand New Day
“Cannot forget Barabara’s little girl, Ai.”
UA, Jounetsu
“If you were female and you wanted to listen to somebody who was just all around cool, you listened to UA in the Nineties.”
Aosora Ruka
“More New Age-y. Aosora Ruka. My friend uses her music in yoga class. Very mellow.”

From AFWJ February Journal - Music Blogs 4

Catherine rarely goes to karaoke, but 26 years ago knew Futari no Osaka because her husband is from Osaka. Since then, she’s learned Shima no Uta, because they used to live in Okinawa

Miyako Harumi and Miyazaki Tadashi, Futari no Osaka:

The Boom, Shima Uta

Helen likes Masaharu Fukuyama’s Sakura Zaka and Masayoshi Yamazaki. She says she doesn’t “remember the names, early stuff”. She doesn’t pay much attention to J-Pop, but know Utada Hikaru’s Automatic because her friend used to sing it at karaoke. As for herself, she tried to do Ryuichi Kawamura’s Glass a long time ago, and has been known to sing along to her husband’s attempts at Ken Hirai’s Grandfather’s Clock and the GeGeGe Song, but says she doesn’t read hiragana/katakana fast enough usually!

Fukuyama Masaharu, Sakura Zaka:

Yamazaki Masayoshi, One More Time, One More Chance:

Utada Hikaru, Automatic

Kawamura Ryuichi, Glass

Original GeGeGe no Kitarou opening song:

Janine's favorite is Satoshi Ikeda’s Tsuki no Fune, from 20 years ago. She generally does not like Japanese music, though her daugher is becoming a teeny-bopper and she is subjected to AKB and other horrors regularly these days! She sings no Japanese karaoke songs, and says “Karaoke is for having fun with my English friends”

Satoshi Ikeda, Tsuki no Fune

Melissa likes Angela Aki, Ayaka Ide, NOT AKB or any of that pop stuff. Her music preferences stop in the mid 1990s. No karaoke—“can’t even sing any songs in English.”

Angela Aki, Every Woman’s Song

Tammy has only one Japanese CD, Hikaru Utada’s Greatest Hits, which she bought her first year in Japan. She likes Ayaka Ide’s videos that she’s seen on YouTube, thanks to her mom! “She has a beautiful and strong voice”. She also like the songs she’s heard by Mika Nakashima (of Nana fame).

For karaoke, Tammy has three Japanese songs in her repertoire: Time Will Tell by Hikaru Utada, Cutie Honey by Koda Kumi, and Glamorous Sky by Mika Nakashima.

Koda Kumi, Cutie Honey

Nakashima Mika, Glamorous Sky, acoustic version

From AFWJ February Journal - Music Blogs 5

Rachel Greenwood Yokomatsu:

My favorite all-time favorite Japanese band is Blankey Jet City. Actually, they’re one of my favorite all-time bands, period. Especially this song about going to Disneyland:

Blankey Jet City, Akai Tambourine

I was introduced to the band by my husband, but before I met him and his more alternative taste, I liked bands like Yellow Monkey, Glay, and Globe.

Yellow Monkey, Love Love Show (fan video, very interesting!)

Glay, However

Globe, Faces, Places:

Another favorite was Judy and Mary:

Puffy is my go-to standard for karaoke!

Kore ga Watashi no Ikiru Michi was the first Japanese song I learned, as part of my Japanese study! I like how different the girls looked from the usual pop stars with their grungy jeans. I also like singing Asia and Ai no Shirushi

Puffy, Ikiru Michi:

Puffy, Asia:

Puffy, Ai no shirushi:

I even took karaoke lessons for a short while, and was taught a couple of Japanese enka, Nagayama Yoko’s Suterarete and Teresa Teng’s Toki No Nagare Ni Mi Wo Makase

Nagayama Yoko, Suterarete

Teresa Teng, Toko no Nagare ni mi wo Makase:

I was so into J-Pop at the time that I even selected several Japanese songs to be played at our wedding, including:

Chara, Yasahii Kimochi:

Blankey Jet City, Sweet Sweet Days:

From AFWJ February Journal - Music Blogs 3

Member “EM” knows very little about presently popular artists, she prefers the ‘old’ ones like Kato Tokiko and Miyuki Nakajima. She also likes the actor Isamu Mukai, who was the son of Ieyasu in last year’s Taiga drama. “at least he’s a young star” she adds. She doesn’t go to or sing karaoke at all.

Kato Tokiko, Now is the Time:

Miyuki Nakajima, Earthly Stars:

Cherrian doesn’t have any favorites, but her daughter likes AKB48. At karaoke, she names Kyu Sakamoto’s Sukiyaki, but adds “I am not a singer and I would not dare try it again…”

Sakamoto Kyu, Ue o Muite:

Adele names Angela Aki and Ken Hirai, but adds that “music sounds the same so I don’t really bother with it”. She never goes to karaoke.

Ken Hirai, My Grandfather’s Clock:

Annette can sing the Algorithm March (こちむいてふたりでまえならへ) from NHK’s Pitakora Switch!

Sarah likes Ulfuls (Urufurus) and Exile, and sings Ulfuls at karaoke, for example this one:

Urufurus, Te wo Tsunaide

EXILE Someday:

Cheryl hates J-pop mostly, but her husband has an extensive music collection, she hears a lot of oldies—Inoue Yosui, Harada, Sho-ken, Yazawa Eikichi, plus jazz artists. She doesn’t sing Japanese karaoke, but is tempted by Saori Yuko and Pink Martini versions of classics on the ‘1969’ album: Mas Que Nada, Is that All There Is, etc.

Inoue Yosui, Youme no Naka e:

Eikichi Yazawa, Tomaranai Haha (Ichiro Suzuki’s ‘at-bat’ song in 2008):

Saori Yuko and Pink Martini, Mas Que Nada :

From AFWJ February Journal - Music Blogs 2

Fiona has a similar opinion about karaoke: “People would pay me not to sing karaoke.” She sings the Anpanman song at home until everyone tells her to shut up.

Rebecca “love, love, loves” Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra! She doesn’t know many songs for karaoke, just one or two folk songs*

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, Skaravan:

Amanda: “I used to like plenty of Japanese artists and songs, but recently, all I see is the crap put out by overly-populated idol groups such as AKB48 and their multitude of copycats. I know there are talented artists out there somewhere, but it gets annoying to wade through the crap. I used to listen to Kyosuke Himuro...that is the one I most remember from my high school days.”

Kyousuke Himuro, Kiss Me:

For karaoke, Amanda likes Ue o Muite, otherwise known as Sukiyaki (see below for link) in the West. She taught her daughter how to sing it, and now they enjoy singing it together.

Bessie says she is not good at karaoke, but cites ‘chanson (French lyrical song)’ Ai no Sanka

Okuda Aikko; Ai no Sanka (Hymne a L’amour):

Lynda declares Spitz’s Cherry is the only one she likes enough to mention! For karaoke, she cites Cherry, plus “all the really well known songs that you can’t escape in Japan!”

Spitz, Cherry:

Charmaine also likes Spitz:

Spitz, Kaede

Rachel likes Angela Aki, especially Sakura Iro and Tegami, and that’s about it! She loves music of many different genres, but doesn’t really enjoy Japanese pop music. She doesn’t do karaoke, but would not do any Japanese songs if she did. She only knows kids’s songs well enough to sing them.

Angela Aki, Sakura Iro:

Angela Aki, Tegami:

Marybeth likes some Arashi and SMAP because the tunes are everywhere and they grow on her. She also thinks Ken Hirai is good and enjoys Ayaka Ide along with her daughers, and Dreams Come True, because “they all have actual talent”. She adds: “SMAP members should ONLY sing as a group—never with solos”

A very cute video from Arashi:

SMAP the singles:

Dreams Come True, Winter Song (in English

Video of Ayaka Ide’s previous single, featuring the wild horses that live around where she and her mother, an AFWJ member, live in southern Miyazaki prefecture.

Ken Hirai, Pop Star, live

Sunday, February 12, 2012

From AFWJ February Journal - Music blogs

We asked on femail and facebook for members (and non-members!) to post their favorite Japanese songs, both for listening to and for singing at karaoke.

Here are the results! Please click on the links to be taken directly to YouTube to have a listen to this incredibly diverse selection

The songs Sandra likes are: Nadasoso, Ringonouta, Amahikoue, plus many others. All the songs she likes, she can sing at karaoke.

Natsukawa Rimi, Nadasoso:

Kuroshitsuji, Ringonouta:

Nakashima Miyuki, Chijou no Hoshi

Vivian likes Nakamura Masatoshi. She leaves it to her daughter to recommend more recent songs, but doesn’t remember their names. She hasn’t been to karaoke for a long time, but used to sing Shiroetto Romansu, and English songs with other foreign wives.

Nakamura Masatoshi, Fureai

Kisugi Takao, Silhouette Romance:

Kisugi Takao, Goodbye Day

Vicky also recognizes songs that her kids play, but doesn’t remember the names! She likes Angela Aki and Ayaka Ide. And karaoke: “You couldn’t pay me enough to sing karaoke in ANY language!”

Ayaka Ide’s single, Hikari, featured on a Pantene shampoo ad:

Ayaka Ide’s single, Kitto Zutto, featured on NHK drama 'Tightrope Woman':

Ayaka Ide’s previous single, Sukoshi Zutsu:

Angela Aki, One Family, which she sang on the Kohaku Uta Gassen last year, nine months pregnant!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Two AFWJ members' exhibitions

Member Irena Keckes will hold a solo art exhibition in Nihonbashi, before leaving Japan. Don't miss this last chance to get to meet her once more and take in her beautiful artwork. Irena will be at the art gallery on the opening day.

Gallery Saoh & Tomos
Dates: Jan. 24 (Mon) - 29 (Sat) (open every day)
Hours: 11:00-19:00 (final day until 17:00)
1-3-1 Hon-cho, Nihonbashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-3271-6693 (map)

additional links of interest:

*   *   *   *   *   *

Kanto member Cornelia (Connie Koyama), who was featured earlier on this blog, will also be participating in another exhibition. She describes it as "a rather large group in a rather small art gallery in Kichijoji, so each of the 39 artists gets to show one rather small artwork :-) "
The art gallery is ~5min. walking distance from the Park Exit of Kichijoji Stn. C

Gallery Face to Face
Dates: Jan.19 (Wed) - Feb.13 (Sun), 2011
Hours: 13:00-19:00 (final day until 17:00)
Closed: Mondays and Tuesdays
1-18-8-101 Kichijoji-Minamicho, Musashino-shi, Tokyo
Tel: 0422-70-0885 (in Japanese only)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Introducing... Makayla S.

Kanto member Makayla S. is a pottery artist.

Let her introduce herself: "My name is Makayla and I am a Bulgarian who has lived in Japan for 25 years. My greatest passion is pottery and I have been fortunate to live in a country that has such a rich tradition in ceramics. I also love to travel and allow the beauty and culture of each place I visit to touch and inspire me. Then reflect that in the pottery I make."

You can follow her on her Etsy Shop...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Introducing... Amy Nakazawa

You can follow member Amy Nakazawa, a long term Tokyo resident, online on her blog, twitter, etc.

These days, she blogs about Japanese cooking, life as a mom, etc.

Enjoy !