Tag - strange-boutique

 
 

STRANGE BOUTIQUE

Japan Times
CULTURE / Music / STRANGE BOUTIQUE
Mar 26, 2017
Music's shifting tides reveal a hunger for artistry in Japan
Music is often characterized over-simplistically as a battle between rock and pop, seriousness and fun, but the two are always in an ever-shifting balance. With this column coming to the end of its six-year run, it feels timely to cast a look back — and perhaps also a hopeful eye forward —...
CULTURE / Music / STRANGE BOUTIQUE
Feb 26, 2017
Music venue Three tries to up its numbers
Tokyo's independent live music scene has always been somewhat dysfunctional.
CULTURE / Music / STRANGE BOUTIQUE
Jan 29, 2017
Happier times in the era of Tetsuya Komuro
A 58-year-old Japanese man with a dyed blond mullet in a thick, woolly sweater hunches over a series of a dozen keyboards. With a casual confidence his fingers trip through a few bright, up-tempo chords. There's something familiar about the sound — a nostalgia tinged with just a hint of guilty pleasure....
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music / STRANGE BOUTIQUE
Dec 25, 2016
The best of Japanese indie in 2016
While the J-pop mainstream seemed in 2016 to have finally and irreversibly consummated the awkward courtship of streaming technology, the year was business as usual for the basement-dwellers of the indie and underground scenes. And as usual, the result was a raft of terrific records that hardly anyone...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music / STRANGE BOUTIQUE
Nov 27, 2016
A reading list for Japan's music scene
Sometime in the spring of 2014, a friend of mine who works for a small publishing company asked if I would write a book about the Japanese music scene for him.
CULTURE / Music / STRANGE BOUTIQUE
Oct 30, 2016
Mama's Tattoo event pushes women to write new narratives
Deep in Tokyo's indie music hub of Shimokitazawa, the twin venues of Three and Basement Bar often play host to some of the most diverse and offbeat expressions of Japan's underground music culture.
CULTURE / Music / STRANGE BOUTIQUE
Sep 25, 2016
Hikaru Utada and the iconic women of Japanese pop who came before her
In an age where anyone and (it often seems) everyone can be an idol, it takes something special to be an icon.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music / STRANGE BOUTIQUE
Jul 24, 2016
Yumi Ito of The Peanuts was a muse to both moth and men
I learned of the death of Yumi Ito, the last remaining member of 1960s pop duo The Peanuts, while battling a giant moth that had found its way into my apartment.
CULTURE / Music / STRANGE BOUTIQUE
Jun 26, 2016
Wrapping up a musical trip across Japan
When I first embarked on my attempt to visit every prefecture in Japan and learn about the local indie music scene in each one, the idea that I would be able to draw any meaningful generalizations from the adventure seemed ludicrous. The music scene of Tokyo alone is an incomprehensible mess, so how...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music / STRANGE BOUTIQUE
May 29, 2016
The dream of the '90s is alive in Kansai
A big part of Japanese music's wild overseas image is defined by groundbreaking artists from the Kansai area.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music / STRANGE BOUTIQUE
Apr 24, 2016
Kyushu's music scene takes care of its own
When the Great East Japan Earthquake hit on March 11, 2011, I was at home in my apartment in Tokyo. The ground lurched, the walls shuddered and my CDs began flinging themselves from the shelves.
CULTURE / Music / STRANGE BOUTIQUE
Mar 27, 2016
Indie music finds a novel way to survive in Kyushu
We are living through the dying days of the CD format. It clings to life here and there, but its usefulness as a medium for transmitting music is pretty much over. What remains is a sort of meta-existence, where the value of a physical music format lies purely in the tactile physicality of the object...
CULTURE / Music / STRANGE BOUTIQUE
Feb 28, 2016
Icy Kanazawa, sunny Naha: A tale of two live scenes
I have been traveling around the country since September meeting people involved in different independent music scenes in such places as Hokkaido, and Iwate and Saitama prefectures. After taking a break over winter, I resumed my travels this month and headed to the contrasting environments of icy Ishikawa...
CULTURE / Music / STRANGE BOUTIQUE
Jan 24, 2016
Afrirampo reunion may save 2016
While 2016 kicked off for most of the music world with David Bowie tricking hundreds of thousands of people into buying a jazz-prog concept album about death, the message from the heart of J-pop was loud and clear: "DO NOT WORRY, NOTHING WILL EVER CHANGE."
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music / STRANGE BOUTIQUE
Dec 27, 2015
The best Japanese indie albums of 2015
While it remains this column's firm conviction that J-pop is trapped in a self-perpetuating dark age, the indie and underground music scenes provide a far livelier picture of Japan's musical landscape. In 2015, there was such a flow of fascinating new releases arriving from all angles that it was difficult...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music / STRANGE BOUTIQUE
Nov 27, 2015
The complexities of living too close to Tokyo
While traveling in the northeastern part of Japan last month, I was struck by the way quirky, alternative and avant-garde music carves out a space for itself in parts of the country that are isolated from the major cultural centers.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music / STRANGE BOUTIQUE
Oct 23, 2015
Unexpected places step in to fill the role of live house venues in Japan's north
When I made the decision to embark on a largely bicycle-based tour of every prefecture in Japan to investigate music scenes outside the industry mother-brain of Tokyo, I made a point of not having any expectations.
CULTURE / Music / STRANGE BOUTIQUE
Sep 25, 2015
Hokkaido's musical 'dreamers' and 'patriots' comprise a necessary duet
Viewed from the hothouse of the Tokyo music scene, the northeast of Japan can sometimes seem like a mysterious land. A gray, frozen, sparsely populated expanse: a cultural wasteland.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music / STRANGE BOUTIQUE
Aug 29, 2015
Music festivals are better when the customer isn't always right
In an industry that devotes itself with ever more granular precision to the art of serving you what its research says you want, music and events that demand you meet them halfway are ever more precious.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music / STRANGE BOUTIQUE
Jul 26, 2015
Rock in Japan focuses on the experience of an eternal afternoon
If the lackluster response to Fuji Rock Festival's lineup announcements and the closure of at least one of its stages suggests looming trouble for Japan's festival scene, there is one rival that has gone from strength to strength: the domestically focused Rock in Japan.

Longform

Things may look perfect to the outside world, but today's mom is fine with some imperfection at home.
How 'Reiwa moms' are reshaping motherhood in Japan