Street Live: Cross

Cross Last Friday night on the way home I came across a duo playing outside Shinjuku Station. They’ve got the typical J-Pop sound that makes all the OL’s (office ladies) swoon. Well, in theory at least. No CD yet, but their home page is here.

Fade to music

Podcasting neurosis update: I’m almost OK with the thought of nearly 1,000 people from around the world listening to each episode. (15,000+ MP3s served this month.) I can brainfart while recording without becoming overwhelmingly self-conscious. But to be honest, I still think I suck. I should be over that after another 10 or 20 more episodes. Old habits die hard, or something like that.

The song is from Daiki and Little Wing. Check out his photo. He looks like a pirate. Arrrrrh.

Help Yamaha “Get” Podcasting

You know, if I could just stay on topic until I finish expressing a complete thought, the 10-15 minute walk from the station to the office would be plenty of time to cover everything I want so say. Once I tackle the sniffling problem, I’ll work on it.

As a follow-up to last night’s podcast, please send Tokura-san from Yamaha Music Communications (and CC me) feedback, advice, a CD order, or invitation to participate in our new form of media here, if you feel so inclined. By convincing record labels and band promoters to use podcasting for exposure, everyone benefits. Except of course, any curmudgeonly label execs who equate music downloading only with pirating, not promotion. In which case, I’ll stick to helping independent musicians tap into an international audience and market. Sooner or later, most of the music industry will come around. Fact is, as consumers move away from TV and radio and more towards online social networking, they won’t have much choice.

I’s CUBE: Remember, you heard them here first.

Right now, for the first time I’m listening to the title song from the CD I bought from them earlier tonight. Holy shit. If I’s CUBE doesn’t end up making it really really big here, then either there’s something seriously wrong with collective musical taste of this country, or there are hordes of incredibly talented Japanese female vocalists that I don’t know about yet, and Ai Ujita is just a drop in the bucket.

And to think that not just me, but all of us were less than a minute away from totally missing their performance. It’s funny how fate works sometimes, isn’t it?


Music Podcasts from Japan

Another cringe-as-I-upload kind of episode.

Links go right to the RSS feeds to save ya’ll some trouble. If you know of any good music podcasts from Japan that actually play music, let me know and I’ll add them to the list.

  • Monochrome Cafe – Professional, very, very mellow. Do not listen to while operating heavy machinery.
  • Pod the Music – Professional, J-Pop. If you like J-Pop, this one’s probably your best bet.
  • Progressive Music Cast – Amateur, infrequent, not sure if they actually get around to playing any music, but it’s highly ranked.
  • abcdefg*record – Podcasts from an independent label. More talk than music. The music is definitely not mainstream. Might appeal more to the pink haired, body-pierced, tattooed crowd.
  • BEATCLUB – 1 minute samples. Very popular, maybe I’ll like it more if I give it a chance.
  • NETZ_MUSIC – Commercially sponsored, mostly talk, songs not played all the way through. Perhaps interesting if you’re fluent and curious to hear famous musicians just be themselves.
  • Pod Street Music – Not exclusively Japanese music, but podsafe.
  • TEPCO & Yoshimoto EntamecasTY – Commercially sponsored, either mostly or exclusively talk.
  • Oricon Single Top 40 – Commercial, professional, no music, just listing off the chart-topping song titles.
  • Radio Sakamoto – Ryuichi Sakamoto’s podcast for J-WAVE FM. He’s articulate and easy to understand in comparison to other podcasters, but unfortunately no music, which seems to be typical for podcasts produced by radio stations. They strip the music from the their radio shows and recycle them as podcasts.

In summary, I haven’t been able to find a music show I like by searching the podcast rankings, but keep in mind that J-Pop really isn’t my thing. I guess it’s like someone who lives in Nashville but would rather have his ears chewed off by rabid weasels than listen to country music. If you can read Japanese, check out’s blog or Staff Picks for other recommended podcasts. They review all kinds of podcasts, not just J-Pop ones.

Update: Listener recommended J-Pop podcasts:

  • Jpop Blast – Definitely not podsafe. I don’t owe the price-gouging music industry here any favors for putting out a never ending barrage of homogenized bubble gum pop songs sung off key by here-today-pumping-gas-tomorrow cookie-cutter teenie bopper dance troops, so tune into to their show if that’s your kind of thang. (…Did that come out of me? Golly gee, who says you need a vagina to turn into a PMS monster?)
  • Muzie – Not a podcast but rather a community site for indy & independent artists in Japan. The should have a podcast, really, because on sites like this, sifting through the sludge for gold nuggets is an arduous process.

A Musical Interlude

Show notes, photos and links later. I’m goin’ to bed.

Street Performers

Now, I know someone out there is going to be tempted to post something negative about them because they didn’t sing and play every single note perfectly. The way I see it, they’re simply amateurs enjoying themselves–just like me.

Soundseeing in Akasaka

Warning: This episode is neither work safe nor podsafe. It will corrupt your children and jeopardize your career. And if that weren’t bad enough, it’ll probably hurt your eardrums too.

Last night I had fish & chips with cider at an English pub in Akasaka, took a stroll, talked with a few kyakubiki (customer pullers), and finished up the evening with karaoke. Recently I showed off some photos of me when I was younger, and a friend told me I looked like Freddy Mercury when I was in college, so I chose a song from Queen to sing.

Rich “Freddy Mercury” Pav

Herro Flom McDonald’s

If the lack of commentary in The Frogcast made you pine for the velvety smoothness of my voice, you’re going to love this episode. It’s blabberific! (TM) And every time I say “um” you have to take a drink. (Or come to think of it, maybe I should take a drink.)

Show notes:

  • My toy collection:
  • Otofuke’s website
    • Listen to more of their songs
    • Photos from their street performance in NYC
    • Photos of them performing on the east side of Shinjuku Station (The side Kabukicho is on.)
  • If you like playing with digital photography, definitely check out AutoStitch. I have a gallery of images I made last night and today.
  • Ani-Zoo (Pronounced “Zoe”)
    • His official, under construction website
    • Page with a photo of him
    • I forgot to take a photo of the place where I saw him perform. So sue me.
  • Learn all about Golden Week just like I did. Until now I never bothered.
  • If you were to download my humble carp streamer photo and use it for your desktop wallpaper, I would be most honored.
  • The sad sad Planet’s website

My podcasting hat