Patrick St. Michel

Patrick St. Michel is a Tokyo-based writer with a focus on Japanese music. He runs the blog Make Believe Melodies, which has focused on Japanese independent music since 2009. Besides The Japan Times, he also contributes to MTV 81 and The Atlantic.

For Patrick St. Michel's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

A timeline of how Pikotaro went viral

Nov 4, 2016

A timeline of how Pikotaro went viral

Internet memes often feel like they come out of nowhere, emerging from the digital ether at random before becoming inescapable fixtures of late-night comedy shows and social-network news feeds. Online ephemera tends to follow a clear path, however, journeying from obscure LOL-bait to something ...

Ten years on, Maltine sticks to its guns on free music

Jul 17, 2015

Ten years on, Maltine sticks to its guns on free music

Tomohiro Konuta sometimes imagines an alternate world where he’s not running a music label. “In high school, I enjoyed studying philosophy and modern thinking, and focused on that in university,” he says. “There was a time I thought I could become a philosopher.” Instead, ...

Rap gets a new delivery from a wave of female artists

Jun 28, 2015

Rap gets a new delivery from a wave of female artists

Hip-hop is a major force on the American music charts, but its presence has been less prominent in Japan. Elements of the wider culture have found their way into teenage wardrobes and pop-video dance routines, but even Japanese rappers admit they have a hard ...

'Gelato on a stick' comes to Tokyo

| Jun 26, 2015

'Gelato on a stick' comes to Tokyo

The first Japanese outpost of Popbar — a franchise offering “handcrafted gelato on a stick” — opened June 26 in Shibuya, Tokyo (www.pop-bar.com/japan), and early reports indicate the line snakes well around the corner. Not only do customers need to decide between the stores ...

Noah takes inspiration from Hokkaido on 'Sivutie'

Jun 19, 2015

Noah takes inspiration from Hokkaido on 'Sivutie'

The way Ayuko Kurasaki, who creates music as Noah, describes her childhood home of Chitose in Hokkaido is so lovely that I’m surprised it isn’t being used in tourism ads. “It’s a wide-open place. There were forests near my house and I would see ...