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Ringo Shina

I have seen her name spelled different ways, I guess the only real way to spell it is in japanese. She's my favorite japanese artist. Well, my favorite japanese pop artist. There is some other interesting japanese music but as mentioned in the article you have to wade through a lot of crap to find it.

Got interested in her when I heard some mp3s downloaded off something or other, maybe I found them under a rock. But after that I wasn't happy until I had an actual CD in my hand. The only place I could find that had anything was the Tower Records on Sunset (the original eh?) Ouch, something like thirty bucks to satisfy (at least temporarily) that obsession. A nice album with the loudest song I have ever heard on it--"Identity" starts with a long punk rock style scream. I remember playing it for a bunch of friends outside of Sanamluang (my favorite thai restaurant in Los Angeles) and just laughing.

What he says in the article is true. There seems to be more and more interesting pop music coming out of japan. I used to wonder if it was just that I was acquiring a taste for it or if it was getting better. Of course it was both...

TIMEasia Magazine: Rinngo's a Star


Coin Locker Babies

I started seriously reading Ryu Murakami's "Coin Locker Babies" recently. An excerpt I found somewhere on the web perked my interest and then a few months before I left Los Angeles I checked the book out of the non-circulating reference stacks at the library downtown and read the first chapter. Thatdid it, I had to have the book.

I saw the book once while hanging out at the Barnes and Nobles in "The Grove" there at 3rd and Fairfax in Los Angeles. The Grove is the place with that groovy new Apple store where the staircase is made of thick tempered glass--you see through it as you climb it. Kind of freaky, and not for those who don't enjoy amusement park rides. The staircase makes a good metaphor for the arc of Apple's marketing campaign.

Ryu Murakami interests me. My first knowledge of him was from seeing his film "Tokyo Decadence" (japanese title "Topaz".) The movie seemed to have been influenced a great deal by Lynch's "Blue Velvet"

Simple and confusing at the same time, with several memorable scenes the film was about a day in the life of a Tokyo call girl. It seemed clear too that the film was at least partly inspired by Lynch's "Blue Velvet". Several scene make this clear, most notably one where a women sings into a dildo as though it were a microphone (ala Dean Stockwell's Candy Colored Clown), one with a table full of empty Heinekin bottles, and another where a guy in a park holds a dog's leesh while the dog craps. Maybe you have to have seen Blue Velvet at least fifteen times [like me] to see the connection. Trust me it's there.

The book is hitting the spot. Here's an excerpt:

...TV sounds are all the same; there's no difference between the sound of the wind in Northern Ireland and the wind on a Polynesian island. You can't tell anything unless the air vibrations are produced directly. On TV the original vibrations in the air pass through a microphone to tape, then from the tape they're converted to electrical waves; somewhere in there the real sound dies and all you've got left is electricity. The sound they played for us was probably reproduced somehow, but it was more than just taped; there was something special about it. As far as I can tell, it must've been a mixture of natural sound, something fixed up electronically, and some kind of electronic instrument. There's nothing like that on TV. All you get on TV is pigs squealing...



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