Justin’s J-Pop Jukebox #8

Stay With Me by Tokyo Girls’ Style

me and TGS

The Artist: Sometimes, if you’re me, you walk around Shibuya. You go into a random music store and buy a DVD of the Morning Musume concert you attended in New York last year.
But sometimes you also look around and it just happens that an idol group you never heard of, Tokyo Girls’ Style, is having a cheki (photo) event to commemorate their new single. Sometimes you say what the heck and buy the CD/ticket. It’s a longer line than you thought, but you have time.
Sometimes you start talking to the guy lined up in front of you, and find he’s a TGS super fan. You talk for a while, about GWAR, America, this band you never heard of…whatever. Then it’s time for the cheki.
Sometimes you’re buff, so you remove your hoodie so you’re just wearing a t-shirt for the picture. You tell them you’re American and they’re surprised. They were just in San Francisco. Sometimes one of them (second from right) says “nice body” so you flex and let them all touch your biceps. There is much giggling and shouts of “Sugoi!” Then sometimes you take the little Polaroid of the moment, have an awkward goodbye with your new super fan friend, notice a few nearby schoolgirls looking wide-eyed at you, and then you go buy your wife some awesome socks. Sometimes. If you’re me. Continue reading

Justin’s J-Pop Jukebox #7

日本の米は世界一 by Uchikubi Gokumon Doukokai

uchikubi_group

The Artist: To be honest, I know very little about Uchikubi Gokumon Doukokai. I saw them on a recent episode of J-Melo (Japanese music show on NHK World), and liked what I heard so I investigated. I bought an album off iTunes and scoped out any YouTube videos. Continue reading

Justin’s J-Pop Jukebox #6

恋愛 WARS by Bitter & Sweet

bitasui_split

The Artist: Bitter & Sweet are a duo made up of Asahi Tasaki (left) and Moemi Hasegawa (right). Individually, they won the Forest Award NEW FACE Audition (in 2012 and 2013, respectively). They were paired up at the end of 2013, after Tasaka had a brief solo career; she’s also an accomplished pianist. Continue reading

Justin’s J-Pop Jukebox #5

Iine! by BABYMETAL

iine

The Artist: BABYMETAL took the world by storm early last year. I’m going to assume Gimme Chocolate is a big enough hit that you’ve already heard it a few dozen times. The group expertly blends metal music with idol music – two of my favorite genres, of course. It only took one listen for me to buy the entire album and fall in love with BABYMETAL. There are some metal purists that disagree, and they can sit upon their spiky, wrought-iron thrones. Continue reading

Justin’s J-Pop Jukebox #4

Gomen ne by Country Girls

country_girls

The Artist: Country Girls is a new group under the Hello! Project banner (see also Morning Musume, ANGERME). It resurrects the spirit of Country Musume, while recruiting popular Berryz Koubou member Momoko Tsugunaga (Momochi) as an active member/mentor. Continue reading

Justin’s J-Pop Jukebox #3

PonPonPon by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

The Artist: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is a big deal in Japan. I risk saying she’s the Lady Gaga of that country – and in fact, most of her concert appearances in the US have been opening for Gaga herself. Kyary innovative as much for her visual style as her musical stylings. Her beginnings were as a Harajuku model and fashion blogger, so that makes sense.
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Justin’s J-Pop Jukebox #2

Yattaruchan by S/mileage

The Group
S/mileage had long been known as ANGERME, before adding three new members in September 2014. It had always been a smaller idol group that boasted high energy and large smiles. It steadily gained popularity, and just this week had its second concert at the famous Nippon Budokan Hall. The new name and larger roster seems to betray some of the group’s identity, but what’s in a name – especially when it uses some French/English hybrid? Had I been in charge, I’d have called it Angel Army, which is actually closer to the actual katakana pronunciation, “Anjurumu.”
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Justin’s J-Pop Jukebox #1

One • Two • Three by Morning Musume

One Two Three single cover

First, an introduction. I’m cool. No, just trust me on that, even if you know me IRL and disagree. And since I’m cool, that means the things I like are cool as well. J-pop doesn’t have that reputation among us gaijin (foreigners), but it should.

I aim to change that. For Justin’s J-Pop Jukebox, every Friday I’ll post a J-pop song that I dig. I’ll talk about the band, the song itself, and post a video and an iTunes link. Please check them out, and if you enjoy it too then support the artist. Without further ado, here’s the first entry. Continue reading