Updates in the J-Pop \ J-Rock Industry

The bestselling J-Pop artist Utada Hikaru has returned to Japanese music as of April 2016. She returned with two songs; one being called Hanataba wo kimi ni after being gone for five years. Utada Hikaru was born and raised in the United States. She first debuted in 1998 with an English album called Precious. A year later she came out with an all Japanese language album called First Love. It went on to become the highest selling album of all time in Japan; a feat that has not been matched by any other artist since. Below are links to her music and website.
 

https://open.spotify.com/artist/7lbSsjYACZHn1MSDXPxNF2?autoplay=true

http://www.utadahikaru.jp/music/

 

As one artist returns, another retires from the industry. In September of this year Namie Amuro announced she was going to retire in one year after spending twenty five years making music. In her career Namie has sang songs for many Anime titles including One Piece and Inuyasha. She will be creating one more album before she retires. You can find her site below along with a link to listen to her music.

 

https://open.spotify.com/artist/4BmWSGKG6HiYvLuJvZ9afa?autoplay=true

http://namieamuro.jp

 

AKB48 is in the news again. Firstly, the members of AKB48 did an amazing event in Akihabara to help prevent online crime. This one kind of hits closes to home since I work in IT. The three members of AKB48 that were there spoke about keeping your computers secure and the antivirus up to date. The other event in the news for AKB48 was a more tragic one. Well kind of funny, yet tragic for AKB48. You see a man trashed 585 AKB48 cds. Here’s the thing though. He didn’t put them in a trash can, or dunp them in a land fill. He left them sitting on a mountain. You can stop laughing now. The only reason he got caught is that, he forgot to remove the mailing label from them. OK you can laugh again.

 

https://open.spotify.com/artist/01wau5CL3Z1vfJJWkzBkqg?autoplay=true

https://www.akb48.co.jp/about/chronicle/

 

Now for anyone who has read my blog you know I am a big Scandal fan. If you are like me and follow them on social media then you know they are working on a new album. They haven’t released any information on the new album just yet. Not that I have heard anyway. I can tell you that they are touring across Japan right now when they are not in the studio. On their website they have their tour dates listed. Below is a link to their site and a place to listen to their music.

 

https://open.spotify.com/artist/7hTZwqQILVH4bAbN67CeEz?autoplay=true

http://www.scandal-4.com/

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Questions

I have noticed recently that my posts are not doing as well as I would have hoped. The last three blog posts I put up have had a combined two views at the time of this writing. My goal is to provide you all with content you will find enjoyable. If I am not providing that then I need to adjust what I write about. I want to hear from you all.

How can I improve my blog posts to make it more enjoyable for you all? Among the topics I cover what do you want to read about? I cover Japanese Pop and Rock music, anime, manga, and the culture of Japan. Among these topics what do you all care about the most? What do you want to read about? I truly want to hear from you all. What can I do to make this blog more enjoyable for you? I look forward to hearing your responses.

Japanese Related Christmas Ideas

Christmas is a few weeks away. Some have finished their shopping already, others are just getting started. Either way we all have that one family member we always have trouble picking out a gift for. We always end up waiting until the last minute to pick something out. Most times the gift ends up getting returned. So I might have a solution for you.

For that perfect gift for the Otaku in your life I got some great ideas for you. Below you will find images of items that are made in Japan. Some may seem out there, but that’s one of the joys of buying things from other countries. So have a look and if you find something you like, look through the links at the end.

https://shop.whiterabbitjapan.com

http://www.japantrendshop.com/index.php

http://www.blippo.com

Holiday Shopping

Today is the annual save a lot of money day or as we call it here in the US Black Friday. To be honest I don’t know why it is called Black Friday. The following Monday is called Cyber Monday. Both days are for holiday shopping. They are days set aside each year for stores and online retailers to get people in to spend their hard earned money on Christmas gifts. Personally I think it is over rated and I try to avoid shopping on Black Friday.

However, the stores do always have great sales going on. It would be a great time to get that Otaku in your family something good. To help them, I mean you; out in getting that perfect gift I have listed some links to online retailers for Anime, Manga, etc… The sites I have listed may sell adult items as well as age appropriate items. The ones I know for sure do are listed with a Caution. Be sure not to brows those sites with children around.

http://www.animenpc.com/

https://www.rightstufanime.com/

http://www.animecastle.com/

http://www.thecnl.com/

https://www.funimation.com/shop/

https://www.lightinthebox.com/ (search Anime to get all related items)

https://www.entertainmentearth.com/anime.asp

https://www.jbox.com/ Caution: Site contains adult content

https://www.jlist.com Caution: Site contains adult content

https://www.jastusa.com/ Caution: Site contains adult content

JPOP\JRock Artists

Going back over my blog posts I have done five posts on Japanese music. What I found is that I have never written an article about the artists outside of Scandal and AKB48.  I sat for a couple hours and watched music videos and live performances of various bands. I found some really good solo artists and bands. I also however, found some who I felt was so bad I couldn’t finish the videos. I won’t say who they are. I don’t want to slander someone just because I don’t care for their music. They all have large fan basses and are talented in their own right.

The first up is Yui. She has an amazing voice and her music is great. Not only is she a talented musician she is also an actress.  You can hear her music here. https://tunein.com/artist/YUI-m318670/?autoplay=true

The next up is the Band BABYMETAL. As the name implies they are a heavy metal idol band. I’m not into Heavy Metal but, this band sounds really good.  You can check out their music here. https://tunein.com/artist/BABYMETAL-m695062/?autoplay=true

Next up is KAT-TUN. KAT-TUN is a boy band. The videos are good. They put on a great show. Think N-Sync.  You can check them out here. https://tunein.com/artist/KAT-TUN-m241308/?autoplay=true

TVXQ is the next one up on the list. I get a real 90’s boy band vibe from them. They harmonize fantastically. The first video I watched I believe was called Order. (Had to get it translated.) Ypou can check out their music here. https://open.spotify.com/artist/6nVMMEywS5Y4tsHPKx1nIo?autoplay=true

I couldn’t do this list without mentioning Stereopony. Next to Scandal they are my favorite band. Unfortunately, they disbanded in 2012. Like Scandal they are an all-girl band. You can still listen to their music. Of you get a chance, go check out their video for Hitohira No Hanabira on YouTube.  You can listen to them here. https://open.spotify.com/artist/35VNJ4BFDvs9XkLf6ghUi6?autoplay=true

This next one is a little different. Ringo Sheena from what I can tell does not sing J-POP or J-Rock. She seems more contemporary compared to others on this list. I decided to add her since her music was so good. You can listen to her music here. https://open.spotify.com/artist/2XjqKvB2Xz9IdyjWPIHaXi?autoplay=true

 

There are so many more I would like to list here. However, if I did that I think you all would stop reading. If you want to find out who some other artists are, you can do a google search for j pop artists. You will get a rather large list with pictures across the top. To finish this post off here is the video for Scandal’s Koisuru Universe.

Collectables

In today’s post I am tackling the concept of collecting. What gets collected and why they are collected.  I’m going to start off with anime figurines. When I started my research for this post I found several forums asking this very question. I started to notice a pattern that would develop within the first five comments on each forum. Inevitably someone would make a comment about being looked down on for collecting figures. There were of course those who rightfully came to their aid and proclaimed that there was nothing wrong with collecting figures. Collecting figures can be an expensive hobby. Some figures go for over a hundred dollars.

Now let’s talk about a subject I know a little more about, collecting pins. No I’m not talking about the kind you write with. I’m referring to the ones you ware. Collecting pins is a huge business. There are thousands of styles and subject matter. I have collected a few pins over the years. I got started with it when I went to my first anime convention over ten years ago.

Pins and figures are not the end all collectables. There are all kinds of collectables. Anime and Manga are two of the most collected. What you need to keep in mind is that it is your hobby. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about your collections. Display those figures, pins, plushies, anime, manga, etc. however you want. Take pride in your collectables.

Announcement

This blog post is going to deviate a little from my normal Otaku related posts. A good friend of mine runs a blog called TSetzler Designs. She is a web developer in Pittsburgh, PA. She asked me to put together something about The Otaku Corner for her blog. My post will show up on her blog http://tsetzlerdesigns.com/ on Monday the 13th at 10am Eastern Standard Time. Be sure to go give it a read and check out her blog. While you’re there be sure to give her blog a follow.

Hobby vs. Obsession

I’m sure all of you out there have an anime collection, but how big is it? Does it seem like it’s getting out of control? I have a modest collection. It takes up a full book shelves. My manga collection is the same way. I would be easy for me to go overboard and buy everything I want. I’m not rich; I just know how to take advantage of anime sales. I know how easy it can be to get out of control when it is something you like.

As a kid, I collected baseball cards, comic books, and video games. It all got a little out of hand. I was buying used games because; I could get more of them. No other reason. I learned then that quality was better than quantity. Today I have found a way to get the anime I want while not driving myself into bankruptcy. You would be surprised how quick a hobby can turn into an obsession.

What I do is to wait until around Christmas. May online stores will have big sales around that time. I know it means having to wait until the end of the year for me to get anything new, but it is always worth it. I combine the sales with other discounts I get from memberships or coupons. One year I spent $300 on anime. I saved up a little by little over the year. I ended up walking away with anime worth a lot more than the $300 I spent.

Doing this helps keep my hobby a hobby. I’m not telling you to only buy anime once a year. That’s just what works for me. You need to find out what works for you. Find a happy medium that allows you to purchase the anime you want without it taking over your life. Live to enjoy your hobby and don’t let it obsess you.