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This blog is a storage space for various thoughts, observations and musings centering on shōjo manga (少女漫画, Japanese comics for girls), josei-oriented manga (Japanese comics for women) and manga created by women (in the widest sense). Topics from other fields of relevance, such as music, art, literature and film may be discussed here as well.

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Viewing all posts with tag: music: jrock



[Translation] RADWIMPS 7 Keywords Interview for Altocolony no teiri (B-PASS 4/2009)

The cover of Aruto koronii no teiri/Altocolony no teiri, the 5th RADWIMPS albumAs the end of the year draws closer and closer I can safely say that Arutokoronii no teiri (アルトコロニーの定理), the 5th album by Japanese rock band RADWIMPS, is already among my favourite albums released in 2009. I’ve been meaning to translate a “7 Keywords” feature they did as part of the promotions for the new album (released on March 11) in the Japanese music magazine B-PASS (4/2009) ever since I got it, but alas have only found the time to do it this week. Name-dropping Foals and Radiohead is probably the safest way to get me to translate something ^^;

Just a short bit of information about the band:
RADWIMPS are Noda Youjirou (vocals & guitar), Kuwahara Akira (guitar), Takeda Yuusuke (bass) and Yamaguchi Satoshi (drums), all born in 1985. They debuted in 2003.

And on to the translation of the B-PASS interview. Please see the credits at the end of this entry before posting this translation anywhere else!
[Translator’s notes look like this.]

7 Keywords in search of RADWIMPS

We set out to analyze (!?) RADWIMPS for everyone who wants to know more about RAD and, of course, their album with the help of seven keywords.

The origin of the album title
Noda: I like mathematics but I’ve never really believed in “theorems” or “propositions” [Japanese: teiri]. It’s just that in my opinion this album can become a kind of “solution” when you’re confronted with problems and doubts in your life.
“Alt” [Japanese: aruto] is a term which refers to a register. It’s pretty high for a man and totally fits the songs we recorded.
The term “colony” [Japanese: koronii] expresses our wish to create a collective with this album.
And it’s also a pun on “in a land far, far away” [Japanese: aru tokoro ni]. *laughs* We have some fairy tale-inspired songs, like track 8 on the album which is called Meruhen to Gureeteru [Märchen to Gretel, English: Fairy Tales and Gretel] too, so we thought we just had to give the album that title.

The design concept of the album cover [click here for a close-up]
Yamaguchi: I think the cover image represents what we are as a band quite nicely in the sense that it maintains its balance even though it looks like it’s out of balance and it becomes one whole being the second its respective components are put together with a certain intention. The character on the cover looks a lot like Youjirou because it’s wearing a hat, so it was exactly the right thing for us and we instantly chose it to be on the cover. According to Nagato Tetsuya, the collage artist who let us select one of his works, the character’s name is “Jack” [Japanese: Jakku] because we used it as the album cover [jaketto (jacket) in Japanese]. *laughs*

Your lucky number
Yamaguchi: 4. It has that sort of round-ish image like a “circle” in my head and it gives off a certain “sense of solution” which I find really nice. But that’s just the image I have of it. *laughs*
Noda: It’s probably 7 for me, just like you’d expect. I have a certain affinity for the number 7, so much so that I even wanted to call this album “7”. I’ve always liked numbers but the number 7 had that image of “it’s a bit of trouble but a good one after all”.
Takeda: For me, it’s got to be the number 3. Every time I want to buy something, let’s say juice, I buy three bottles of it. It’s the same for cup ramen. It just makes me feel at ease if I have three of them. *laughs*
Kuwahara: It’s the number 2 for me. Simply put, I just think that two people is better than one person alone. If you want to go shopping it’s so much easier to walk around when it’s just two people instead of three. And if you want to talk about something serious with someone, I really like it when there’s just me and one other person talking face to face.

What you were into during the recording of the album
Yamaguchi: We all drank Dekavita [a vitamin softdrink] when we were exhausted. I also wrote about it in our blog but let me just repeat that it really worked and gave us new energy. We drank so much that I’m now asking myself “Wouldn’t it be cool if they finally let us appear in a commercial for it?” *laughs*
Noda: Probably sleeping. They had pillows and blankets prepared for us in the studio so I used to lay down and sleep for a bit. But of course every time I flopped down and thought “Ah, I can finally fall asleep”, someone came calling for me. *laughs*
I always find it very hard to fall asleep to begin with, plus when we’re in the studio recording an album I’m totally excited all the time so it was pretty hard for me.
Takeda: I was very fond of alcohol. *laughs* During recording breaks I often went for drinks all by myself. I also liked to buy cheap whiskey at the convenience store and drink it mixed with cola.
Kuwahara: For me, it was meeting friends. We were classmates in middle school and they don’t have anything to do with music nowadays. We went to family restaurants and bars and stuff and just chatting to them always made me feel relaxed, more so than anything else.

A few words to your fellow band mates
Yamaguchi: I have to say “The restaurant you took me to yesterday had the best take-out food I’ve ever had!” to Kuwahara. *laughs* Every once in a while we go out and have dinner together. He’s the type of person who likes to check out everything before he finally decides for something. Me and Takeda on the other hand are the kind of person to make quick decisions so we demonstrate our leadership when it comes to food. *laughs*
Noda: I want to say “Thanks” to [Yamaguchi] Satoshi. He’s sent me emails pretty often during the recording of the album. The other two haven’t sent me any messages at all, though. *laughs* I recorded my vocal takes alone in the studio, so Satoshi messaged me with his impressions. In a way, the band members are my first audience to me, so it makes me really happy when I receive criticism in the form of simple words.
Takeda: I’m going to talk about an email message too now. On the very last day of recording, Youjirou sent all of us a message that read “I’m so glad that we made this as the band we are” which made me extremely happy. So I’m just going to use this opportunity to say thanks, too.
Kuwahara: There’s this huge wardrobe in Youjirou’s apartment which we bought at IKEA and which all four of us assembled. And I paid for it. Won’t you pay me back soon? *laughs*

An impressive concert you went to recently
Yamaguchi: I went to see Foals. Well, it wasn’t all that recently, rather in May last year. I saw them at Ebisu Liquidroom. It had been a while since I last went there. And it had also been quite some time since my last concert at a live venue. The way they put together their sound is pretty close to what we sound like. I bought their CD as well. We’re also pretty close as far as age is concerned so there are things about them that I find quite impressive. They’re really cool.
Noda: I saw Radiohead at an extra tour date at Tokyo International Forum. I fought my way through to the fifth row from the front and I think we made eye contact a couple of times. But everyone thinks that, don’t they. *laughs* They’re only humans so of course the band made some mistakes but that couldn’t spoil their fun and they were so into the music, which was great to watch. It made me realize that I want the people who create something as interesting as Radiohead to receive a lot of praise in the Japanese music scene, too.
Takeda: Bread&Butter. I was able to watch them from their rehearsal on. They are all such talented and influential musicians so everyone did their job very efficiently. When they were playing, everyone had a lot freedom but at the same time they were a very tight ensemble which I found very inspiring.
Kuwahara: I saw 9mm Parabellum Bullet last November. They were even cooler than on CD.

A challenge you want to face in 2009
Yamaguchi: Cooking. I already like cooking quite a bit but I want to do it more often. I’m really concerned about current issues and I think that I haven’t had enough of the awareness of “appreciating things” up until now. Bearing that in mind, I want to get to know a lot more about what we call “food”. I love tanmen [Chinese noodle soup] and I want to cook the most delicious food in the world. *laughs*
Noda: I just want to do something exciting, like every year. On the one hand, this includes music because we made this album and a lot of doors have opened for us. This might sound a little abstract but I don’t like carefully planned, preestablished harmony to begin with so I think I just want to try and do exciting things.
Takeda: I want to build a musical instrument. I had the idea before but didn’t really know how to do it and lacked quite a bit of determination. I don’t think I can go as far as chopping the wood myself, though. *laughs* I just want to try to collect all the necessary parts and assemble a bass. I think that when I say it now I’m definitely going to do it, so here is my announcement!
Kuwahara: I’ll just talk about my life as a musician now, but I really want to do a Battle of the Bands tour. I’m only friends with 9mm at the moment *laughs* and that way I’d be able to hang out with a whole lot of other bands too.

Translation credits: Yuuya @ coinlockerbaby.org.
Please leave this line intact when re-posting this on other sites.

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Categories: Japanese, JRock/JPop, Music, Translations, Various.
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Posted on Oct 9, 2009 (Fri, 8:16 pm). .

kannivalism – Comeback of the Man Eaters

Oh, I still like knowing what’s become of the (ex-)members of the bands I followed many years ago. Yesterday when I was browsing random music information sites, I came across the news that kannivalism are going to resume their activities very very soon!

Kannivalism are the band Ryo and Kei were in before baroque, the (over)hyped visual kei/jrock indies band that went major only to disband soon after, was formed. After baroque disbanded, Ryo and Kei revived kannivalism, Yuchi of k@mikaze (another not-so-visual vkei band that put out quite good CDs which I can still listen to today without feeling ashamed of myself) and Kiri from Porori (yet another fun not-so-visual vkei band that et cetera, blah blah, I ♥ed them) joined and they could have turned into my new favourite band except I had completely grown out of that sort of music. Their releases were good but nothing too exciting so I never really followed kannivalism. I wasn’t too surprised when they suspended their activities in January 2008. They were on Avex, Ryo and Kei were young and liked to have fun so I knew it wasn’t meant to last.

Now last week, on August 25, the band held a press conference at the Avex headquarters in Tokyo and announced they are ready for a comeback! This is what kannivalism look like in 2009:

Kannivalism shortly before their comeback in fall 2009

They have a new drummer, Mitsuya (far right in the picture above). Ryo who’s been suffering from adjustment disorder said at the press con that he’s doing fine now and wants to give his best now that they have a new member in the band. Even though Mitsuya’s younger than him, Ryo thinks he’s got a really strong attitude and comes across more like the singer in the band (sort of more like a band leader). Yuchi added that because of Mitsuya it really feels like a fresh start as a band and Mitsuya himself hopes the band’s going to be even better than before now that he’s joined them.

Kei also said at the press con that they and the record company have been thinking about changing the band’s name because it doesn’t exactly have the most positive meaning, obviously. He’s been wanting to ditch the kanniva bit and reduce their name to “ism”. The timing would be perfect now but they’re not sure if they really want to pull through with the name change.

Kannivalism have a full schedule for autumn and early winter including a new single and a concert:

– From September 9 on, kannivalism’s new song “life is” will be available for download as a full ringtone via mu-mo.

– On September 30, a solo mini album by Kei titled “for a fleeting moment.” is supposed to come out (also via Avex).

Ryo at the kannivalism press conference August 2009– On November 11, a diary-like book by Ryo will be published (by Random House/Kodansha – Avex often has tie-ups with Kodansha) chronicling his fight against his illness (AD). At the press conference he stated that he’s very optimistic now when it comes to his illness and hopes to offer a little bit of support to those people who’re suffering from a mental illness just like him. I think that’s a very admirable thing to do, especially in a society who likes to remain silent about people with mental problems. It’ll also offer a good explanation what he’s been going through when kannivalism was inactive. But at the same time, I can’t shake a certain feeling of suspicion because the book release is so conveniently placed before the band’s comeback… Anyway, I really hope Ryo is strong enough to keep kannivalism alive with the other band members. The entertainment industry probably isn’t the easiest surrounding to work in when it comes to stress but I wish him all the best!

– A week later on November 18 (yes, how convenient), a new single will be released.

– Shortly before the end of the year, on December 26, the band will play a comeback show at Zepp Tokyo.

– A new album, kannivalism’s second, will be released in 2010.

Well, well. We’ll see how that goes.
News link 1 & 2.

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Categories: JRock/JPop, Music, Various.
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Posted on Sep 3, 2009 (Thu, 12:35 am). .

2×7 – NANA TV anime

The new anime season started off for me with NANA, which was also my personal most anticipated new series for spring ’06. This being the adaptation of one of my favourite shoujo manga, my expectations were extremely high.

The animation is being done be Studio MADHOUSE, who did a great job at Paradise Kiss, another adaptation of a Yazawa Ai manga, in the second half of last year.

And they did not disappoint me with NANA. Luckily, the first episode proved that the TV anime is not a pannel to frame adaptation but takes a bit of artistic freedom here and there by leaving things out, adding short scenes and showing scenes from a different angle than in the manga, so it doesn’t give the avid NANA manga reader the feeling they’ve “seen” it all before.
(Which is what happened to me with the NANA movie last year where some scenes seemed all too familiar, especially the scene on the train, the two Nanas’ first meeting, because it used the same angles as the manga and seemed to follow it pannel by pannel.)

The character design of the anime is good, but by no means as cute or beautiful as in the manga. Especially the profiles tend towards the ugly side of things, and a lot of times the full body proportions seem too stretched, even for a shoujo series.

The animation itself is quite decent, including the CG sequences which blend in rather well with the traditionally created scenes.

The music fits pretty well; the opening theme by Tsuchiya Anna and the ending theme by Olivia set the mood for the respective bands and these two vocalists symbolize the fact that NANA (like the original manga itself) is not about authentic (indie) rock or punk but just their mainstream versions (or how the mainstream perceives these genres).

What I’ve noticed after the first 5 minutes already, is that the TV adaptation relies heavily on comedy scenes, more than the manga. The background music (which sometimes reminded me of BGM to be heard during a circus show) emphasized that effect. There were more melancholic and quieter scenes but they definitely were fewer (and shorter) than those slapstick comedy scenes.

I am satisfied with the way they condensed the story, though Hachi/Nana doesn’t quite come off as the bad girl she really is as they left out a lot of her past (her affair with the married man etc.) but this was only the first episode and they might fit in bits of the background story at some later point.

The first episode aired late this past Wednesday so naturally, there aren’t any fansubs out yet. However, if your knowledge of (modern, everyday) Japanese is at a medium degree, you’ll be able to follow the dialogue pretty well. And if you’ve read the manga in Japanese (like me), you won’t face any difficulties at all because all the lines have been used in the manga and you won’t hear anything new.

Ah, I almost forgot: the voice acting! I love Oosaki Nana’s voice *_* Last year, I took really long to get used to Nakashima Mika’s voice who played Nana in the movie adaptation. Her voice sometimes seemed a bit too weak. Not with Paku Romi, the voice actress of the animated Nana :) She has this ultra deep, manly voice which is how I imagine it when reading the manga. And it’s when she speaks softlier that she sounds irresistibly sexy! So far, I really really like her. Hachi’s voice is alright and there’s nothing to be said about the rest of the cast because besides Shouji and Junko, no other main characters have appeared yet. Can’t wait for next week’s episode~

Here are some screencaps:



















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Posted on Apr 7, 2006 (Fri, 1:34 am). .




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