Welcome to the letter F ! ! ! Gosh we are at F already ! ! ! ! That means this week we are sharing some views on the crazy world of Japanese J-pop fans, some cool music from Shibuya, Tokyo’s capital of cool, some really nice pop punk and a great girl band who even sing in Engrish ! ! ! I think it is really fun week and we hope you like it ! ! !
A letter that means a lot of things to a lot of people, some of them quite rude. Nevertheless we must cover it and here is our selection of music related things that begin with F. We hope you find them interesting.
P Sensei says:
Do not forget He Said – She Said is educational and not just fun. Learn Japanese the fun and easy way with my world famous one word a week method, available exclusively in He Said – She Said on The Spill ! ! !
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She Says: F is for Fan ! ! !
J-pop fans are really very enthusiastic and this enthusiasm shows in some ways that western people find a little strange. The popular image of an idol fan is of a sad loner sat in his room collecting figures and posters but actually being a fan is an activity you usually do with friends or “circles” which are like unofficial clubs that meet for events and concerts.
Japanese fans follow their idols in some ways like British people follow a football team. You are part of group, you sing the same songs together you wear a “team” scarf and t-shirts, you all learn the same chants, and you do the same dances. You bore friends with pointless discussions about if Maeda Atsuko ( Ronaldo ) is better than Jurina Matsui ( Maradona ) You collect concert ( match ) programs and take long drunken bus rides to obscure places to watch concerts ( away matches ) and can not understand why anyone who is not a AKB48 ( Manchester ) supporter can not understand the world significance of the Graduation ( Transfer ) of Maeda Atsuko ( Ronaldo ) ! ! !
I do not know if British soccer fans do ritual dances before a game , but at most J-pop concerts you will see a group of fans performing Otagei . Otagei are basically a special dance the fans perform either before or sometimes even during the concert.
Here is a clip of some fans doing an Otagei and enjoying themselves at the entrance of a Morning Musume concert. These particular fans are fans of Miki Fujimoto and they “worship” her as a goddess and refer to her as Miki Sama ( Mistress Miki ) in their chanting. You will notice they being their dance in praying position and at about 3 minutes you will them prostrate themselves before her “altar” Of course they are only worshiping her in fun and nothing is taken seriously except the sense of all supporting the same idol and having fun together.
The another thing is the level of involvement of the fans in the groups. The groups management make a big effort to create a feeling of belonging and
involvement with the idols and giving the fans opportunities to support their favorite idol, and elections are a major part of this. Fans can vote on who will be the “center” ( sing the main part of a song ) or appear in videos, or in popularity competitions. The biggest of these popularity elections is the AKB48 Senbatsu General Election. Of course in order to gain voting rights you need to buy a CD and many fans will buy scores of CDs to have extra votes so that they can vote for their favorites. The AKB48 elections are major national event and huge and dramatic TV show is shown covering the elections. More people vote in the AKB48 elections than in the parliament elections actually ! ! ! ( maybe )
Some fans become very emotional when the elections are announced :
You can also get tickets for a hand shake event by buying special editions of CDS. The hand shake events of the most popular groups are huge public occasions and an opportunity to gather and socialize with other fans and also to actually shake the hand of your idol ! ! ! Ten thousand fans attended this AKB48 event in Kobe and they all bought a CD to get the ticket and many bought several ! ! ! You can see that the people are all in groups with friends and that it is a very social event.
Another feature that is particular to J-pop is the synchronised chanting that takes place during the concert during certain songs. Here the fans will chant in unison at certain points in a song, it is another way of sharing the togetherness that the fans feel.
Being a fan of a J-pop group is a fun and social activity, of course just like soccer clubs the groups management make a lot of money from the fans, but in the end the fans have a lot of fun and that is what J-pop is all about at the end ! ! !
I will leave you with the fabulous Melon Kinenbi in concert with their friend Maki Goto as a special guest. Melon Kinenbi started their career as backing dancers and singers for Maki Goto and they have been friends ever since then. You can hear the chanting in this song quite nicely I think.
Melon Kinebi + Fans – This is Unmei ( This is destiny )
What can you say ! It’s a very “Japanese” thing, I think. We do have similar “crews” following people like Lady Gaga and Beyonce etc but they rarely show quite the same level of devotion to the cause. I’m certainly in favour of the “fun” side of it but I think it can be a little exploitative too. The “graduation” thing for the idol groups is clearly designed to keep the group going longterm without the need to worry about the stars ageing, getting married or going crazy etc.
The synchronised dancing is impressive though and I don’t mind a bit of Melons now and again.
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He Says: F is for Little Fujiko
Just daft fun, as Sakura said, totally mad.There’s not really a lot else to say !
Little Fujiko – The Scale Monster
Little Fujiko formed in 1996 and were the indie Rookies of the year. They released two really great albums. White Peach Jelly Fish ( which this track is from ) and in 1998 and Little Fujiko in 1996. They were a great band that are impossible to define . . . .except as totally mad ! ! ! This is maybe my favourite track from them ! ! !
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She Says: F is for Flippers Guitar
Flippers Guitar we only together for a short time, but they were very influential and helped shape the Shibuya Kei style of music. Shibuya is a neighbourhood in Tokyo which is a famous fashion and night life area. It is a hip and young people area and many of the latest fashion and street styles start here. Shibuya Kei means Shibuya style
Shibuya Kei as a music movement maybe formalised at the end of the 1980 decade. The feature of Shibuya Kei was these groups rejected the mainly American
influence and in rock and pop and looked to 1960’s Europe and Brazil for their influences.
Keigo Oyamada and Kenji Ozawa were two friends who formed Flippers Guitar as a reaction to what they saw as an overwhelming US influence in Japanese music.
Flippers Guitar were maybe the first band to be considered fully Shibuya Kei and in some ways defined the style. The members went on to have successful careers as musicians, producers and writers after the band split.
Flippers Guitar – Young Alive and in Love
Who knew dolphins could play guitar ! The Shibuya sound is heavily influenced by “Euro-pop” and I think you can hear that very well here. It’s all Gaulloise and Dubonnet. Nice !
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He says: F is for The Floppy Pinkies
I know nothing about this band other than this song which is from a compilation and is totally awesome. The vocals are what does it for me here, the “yelping” really enhances the “ready to break” feel. Lovely.
The Floppy Pinkies - Ready to Break
Mr P always does this to me ! ! ! I really know nothing about The Floppy Pinkies except they are a group of two girls and a guy and have a really unhelpful website ! ! !. They seem to be a new group and are from Norarikurari in Tokyo. They seem to be very active in playing the club scene and I will definitely go to see them later this month as they are playing near my my home. I really enjoyed this track ! ! ! I think this type of pop punk is something that really suites girls voices and this group really do it well ! ! ! I really made me want to dance around my apartment ! ! !
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P Sensei’s Word Of The Week ! ! !
Learn Japanese the fun and easy way with P Sensei’s Word Of The Week ! ! !
Underpants. Yes, traditional Japanese underwear, a kind of “pouch and thong” thing , is called “Fundoshi” ( putting the “fun” up your “doshi”). A useful word if you find yourself alone and naked in Tokyo in the middle of the night….or something.
Suitable for both men and women and sometimes worn with nothing else at all.
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I hope you liked this week’s episode ! ! ! I hope you found something new, i certainly did ! ! ! We are doing our best to earn our sponsorship money from the Ministry of Culture by educating The Spillers in Japanese language and culture but we hope you had fun also ! ! !
So there you go, we hope you had fun with “F”. We certainly did. I wonder what next time’s letter will be…..