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Philip Brasor
For Philip Brasor's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Sep 15, 1999
Young at heart, but never free of Johnny
On Aug. 30, former idol singer and tell-all autobiographer Hiromi Go staged an unannounced live show from the back of a tractor trailer parked near the Hachiko intersection in Shibuya. The five-minute performance, which featured four other dancers, stopped traffic and clogged up the area as pedestrians rushed to catch a glimpse of Go's hairless, flabless torso.
CULTURE / Music
Aug 31, 1999
Songs you can hum on the Pavement
The opening act at Akasaka Blitz on Aug. 24 was an earnest Danish group called Thau, who offered a thumping and searing sound reminiscent of the Meat Puppets. The audience awarded their 20-minute set with a warm and noisy ovation, prompting effusive gratitude from the band's drummer, who mentioned what an honor it was "to play in front of the mighty Pavement."
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Aug 5, 1999
Emperors, journalists, critics and other influential people
Several weeks ago Time Magazine's Tokyo bureau asked Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi to nominate someone for the magazine's series of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century, and Obuchi chose Emperor Showa.
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Jul 15, 1999
Free of corporate connections, Kinyobi targets toxic offenders
As a buzzword, "dioxin" has quickly come to represent all that's wrong with Japan's mish-mash of contradictory and ineffective environmental policies.
CULTURE / Music
Jul 2, 1999
Sleater-Kinney rocks solid, but dig that crazy backbeat
Is Janet Weiss the best rock drummer in the world? That question crossed my mind last January when I saw her and her ex-husband Sam Coomes, collectively known as Quasi, open for Elliott Smith. Though Coomes is the focus of the duo since he writes and sings almost all the songs, Weiss's contribution was more than rhythmic.
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Jul 1, 1999
'Liberation' of birth control proves a bitter pill to swallow
On Aug. 16, the Health and Welfare Ministry announced that it had finally approved the low-dosage birth control pill, which will likely become available through prescription in the fall. Oral contraceptives for women have been available in the West for close to 40 years, but in Japan they've always been viewed with a distrustful eye by the authorities.
CULTURE / Music
Jun 19, 1999
Between rock and a warm place
Having never been pregnant myself, I'm not sure what it is obstetricians are recommending these days for expectant mothers. As little excitement as possible, or business as usual?
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Jun 17, 1999
Regular publicity necessary for healthy marketing
To: Buena Vista Prunes, Inc. Attn: Mr. John Murray, vice president in charge of communications From: Takeshi Ebihara Tokyo Senden Services Re: Public relations progress and proposals
CULTURE / Music
Jun 5, 1999
bis moves forward -- to the past?
Growing up is hard to do, especially if you're bis, a band that made its reputation promoting something called "Teen-C Power" and producing infectiously frisky pop songs with bitter lyrics about the inherent dishonesty of adults and the indignities of adolescence.
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
May 20, 1999
Pinching pennies for a better future — if any
One of the bedrock beliefs that Japanese society has about itself is that everyone belongs to the middle class. This isn't to say pronounced social classes don't exist. A middle-aged woman once expressed to me her fear that her adult daughter would never get married and move out. Since the daughter worked as a nurse in a large hospital, I said that maybe she'd meet a nice young doctor. The woman looked at me as if I were crazy. In Japan, doctors never marry nurses.
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Apr 29, 1999
D-I-V-O-R-C-E becomes final in one day
While divorce in Japan is increasing at what some people might call an alarming rate, it is still less common than it is in most Western countries, particularly the U.S., where it's projected that between half and two-thirds of all couples who marry this year will someday split.
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Apr 15, 1999
Japanese women say single life fine — if they're financially independent
Some say that '70s feminism began its fall from grace in 1986 when a study claimed that a woman's chances of marrying sometime in her life drops to 5 percent after she passes her 35th birthday. The notion that so many nominally liberated women found this conclusion distressing gave rise to the cynical belief that reconfiguring a woman's place in society is fine as long as she isn't required to give up that ring.
CULTURE / Music
Apr 9, 1999
Lo-fi sounds to take you higher
The so-called lo-fi aesthetic that developed in the 1980s among American indie groups like the Replacements wasn't really an aesthetic at all. Independent record labels' hands-off policy had less to do with respect for artistic expression than it did with lack of liquidity.
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Apr 1, 1999
Can the education escalator be derailed?
There's a debate going on in government and in the media about revising the Japanese system of education. The forces for change want to do away with rote, test-based instruction, which they blame for all the youth-related problems we read about now, and replace it with something more individual-oriented and flexible. The debate is important, but so far no one has mentioned one of the major reasons why the current system won't be easy to get rid of.
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Mar 16, 1999
XTC colors songs with earthy palette
Since they don't tour or make videos, XTC gives interviews. Lots of them. Colin Moulding, the group's soft-spoken bassist reckons he and his partner, guitarist Andy Partridge, have done something like a million since they began promoting their new album, "Apple Venus, Vol. 1," last fall.
JAPAN / Media / MEDIA MIX
Mar 2, 1999
Alexei Sultanov
Not long ago a famous American classical pianist gave an interview to a Japanese newspaper in which he complained, "I can't tell if a Japanese audience is enjoying the performance or if they're bored."

Longform

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