music

J-pop group “Chubbiness” releases first music video, possibly look even less chubby than before

J-pop group “Chubbiness” releases first music video, possibly look even less chubby than before

Back in January this year, we brought you news of an emerging J-pop group going by the name of Chubbiness. The idea behind the outfit was that, as well as being accomplished singers, the members were all “puniko“, or slightly chubby girls. Compared to most J-pop groups, which are very often populated with girls who are all pointy elbows and shoulder blades, Chubbiness just about lived up to their name, but few Westerners especially would ever think to call them “chubby”.

Eight months later, Chubbiness have launched their first official song, complete with an accompanying music video which shows them tucking in to a table full of sugary treats while singing about how there’s nothing wrong with being a bit on the big side.

The only thing is, after watching the video a handful of times, we can’t help thinking that if anything the Chubbiness girls actually look even slimmer now than when they were first introduced to us…

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Mr. Sato goes discount women’s clothes shopping and discovers a shocking secret

Mr. Sato goes discount women’s clothes shopping and discovers a shocking secret

One day, while Mr. Sato was off-duty, he was doing some shopping around Nakano Broadway in Tokyo. This shopping plaza is sometimes called a “mecca of subculture” for its various stores peddling old books and figures. Of course, Nakano Broadway has many other shops including grocery and household item stores.

In particular, the first floor is filled with women’s clothing shops selling items at rock-bottom prices. On a complete whim Mr. Sato steered into one shop boasting every item for only 575 yen (US$5.60). As if guided by a mysterious force, Mr. Sato entered this store. Little did he know that he was being guided… by the god of rock.

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Japan gets skimpy, slippery and wet at “lotion x music” festival

Japan gets skimpy, slippery and wet at “lotion x music” festival

Normally, Shinkiba 1stRING features the physical feats of Japan’s pro-wrestling circuit. The ring is always packed with wrestling fans whenever there is an event, but what happens when there is no wrestling? Partying, obviously! On August 9, with the looming threat of Typhoon 11, people gathered for a one-of-a-kind party in Japan, possibly the first of its kind: a music festival that mixes bumping beats with…clear lube?!?

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AKB48 recruits new part-time idols – for US$10 an hour

AKB48 recruits new part-time idols – for US$10 an hour

The popular idol group AKB48 announced at the AKB48 Group Summer Festival on Sunday that they are recruiting new “part-time” members — for 1,000 yen (about US$10) an hour. Typically, potential AKB48 candidates must first undergo audition and become trainees before being promoted to regular members. However the “Part-Time AKB” campaign will bypass this long process, similar to Glico’s campaign to recruit a member over 30 years old earlier this year.

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Rick Rack: The teenage girl rock band that is way better than they have any right to be【J-Tunes】

Rick Rack: The teenage girl rock band that is way better than they have any right to be【J-Tunes】

Playing in a band as a teenager isn’t exactly a big deal. Don’t get us wrong though–when you’re in high school, playing a local battle of the bands is probably one of the most thrilling things you can do! But when it comes right down to it, there are tons of high school bands in the world, and most of them sound like, well, high school bands. Of course, there are exceptions, but we think it’s still fair to say that there aren’t too many bands that both sound good and can’t buy their own alcohol.

As you have probably guessed, today we’re showing you one of those notable exceptions. The Nara Prefecture three-piece rock band Rick Rack–and their lead singer/guitarist Serina–have absolutely blown us away with their energetic songwriting and catchy hooks. You’re sure to have a couple of these songs stuck in your head until the end of the week!

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Little girl sings her heart out while selling rice cakes, leaves us blown away 【UPDATED】

Little girl sings her heart out while selling rice cakes, leaves us blown away 【UPDATED】

As someone whose singing voice sounds like a baboon trying to speak English, I am always amazed by people who can just belt out a solo without even a piano to back them up. But I’m doubly impressed when that person is a little kid selling rice cakes on the side of the road!

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BABYMETAL plays first ever US show, bootleg videos leave us wowed

BABYMETAL plays first ever US show, bootleg videos leave us wowed

Continuing their meteoric rise to international stardom, BABYMETAL has checked off another box on their world conquest to-do list: Playing a headline show in the US!

The show this weekend has even made waves in Japan thanks to a fan video uploaded to YouTube shortly after the group’s LA tour. Check it out below!

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Basement Jaxx’s bizarre Japan-based music video freaks us out, makes us want to dance

Basement Jaxx’s bizarre Japan-based music video freaks us out, makes us want to dance

Sometimes it seems like whenever a Western creator wants to get away with something really over the top and crazy, they just set it in Japan to take advantage of that “those Japanese are sooooo weird” stereotype while simultaneously distancing themselves from criticism.

The latest creators to do this are British electronic dance band Basement Jaxx, who have come up with something really, uh… special.

Before we let you watch, we’ll give you a heads-up that it’s somewhat NSFW-ish, mainly on account of it involving robotic butts twerking. We told you it was bizarre.

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New video from Wagakki Band “Hanabi” is an original, awesome song【J-Tunes】

New video from Wagakki Band “Hanabi” is an original, awesome song【J-Tunes】

When we introduced you to the Wagakki Band last year, we were pretty sure they might end up being a big deal. And, as it turned out, we were definitely right about that! After releasing a full album to rave reviews earlier this year, the band has been on the road touring both in Japan and at the Japan Expo in Paris. But despite their busy schedule of rehearsing and performing, they’ve had time to work on a new, original song. While they haven’t released a full video yet (you’ll have to wait a few more weeks), you can check out the short version below!

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Touching Final Fantasy X cover on the violin takes you “To Zanarkand”【Video】

Touching Final Fantasy X cover on the violin takes you “To Zanarkand”【Video】

If you love classical music, and you love Australia, then the name Ayako Ishikawa, is a name you are familiar with. However, if you aren’t familiar with “Devils Ayako”, you’re missing out on an artist that has been given the honorary title of “The Best Performer in Australia“. Already a phenom on the classical music stage, she has recently been making a name for herself on the Internet. Since she began posting her videos to Niconico back in 2013, her popularity has blossomed into a real fan following and she is just hitting her stride now with a string of well-known songs in Japan. Today she takes you “To Zanarkand”…

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Natural sounds: Stunning Kyoto-made speakers are made from 30-year-old Japanese cedar

Natural sounds: Stunning Kyoto-made speakers are made from 30-year-old Japanese cedar

If you’re the kind of person who appreciates traditional craftsmanship and doesn’t mind paying a little more to get it, we have a product for you today that you really have to see.

On sale from tomorrow, these stunning mini speakers are made by master craftsmen in Kyoto and use specially grown Japanese cedar, taking an incredible 30 years to go from planting to finished product.

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Little Texas: The Tokyo country bar for all of Japan’s cowboys【Photos】

Little Texas: The Tokyo country bar for all of Japan’s cowboys【Photos】

You can find just about anything you want in Tokyo. The city is a wonderful melting pot of new and old, domestic and foreign, low and high brow. With everything from a vibrant French quarter to gorgeous temple gardens, it’s hard to imagine anyone getting bored in Japan’s capital. Even so, we have to admit that we were a bit surprised to find a country bar–let alone a country bar with such authentic shows and delicious food! But that’s exactly what Meguro’s oldest country bar, Little Texas, has. With everything from license plates covering the walls to amazing bands on stage, you are guaranteed to have a great time–even if you don’t know the difference between a steer and a bull!

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Japan’s 10 best singing voices as chosen by people in the industry

Japan’s 10 best singing voices as chosen by people in the industry

Japanese music has a wide variety of artists, and like any country’s music scene it too is full of gimmicky sounds or imagery. Such music can be great and a lot of fun too, but there’s something about a naturally talented vocalist that demands our attention and respect.

But who in Japan is the greatest pure singer? Some of you may have already pulled up an image of your favorite Japanese singer while others like me are drawing a blank, still unable to shake the image of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu dancing with candy skeletons.

Luckily, the TV show Suiyobi No Downtown held their own ranking survey asking 200 people in the Japanese music industry from vocal trainers to studio engineers “Who is really good at singing?” Here are the results.

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Taiwan’s newest boy band is painfully uncool, painfully popular【Videos】

Taiwan’s newest boy band is painfully uncool, painfully popular【Videos】

Pop idols and boy bands are ten a penny these days, with multi-million-dollar enterprises built on farming young talent, putting it on stage in matching outfits and telling it to follow a routine. Japan has more than its share of floppy-haired boy bands and short-skirted songstresses, many of them decidedly awful and with as much charisma as an emphysemic squirrel with a penchant for racism, but a new group from Taiwan called Ice Man is raising eyebrows all over Asia this week, not just because they’re “painfully uncool”, but because they have nevertheless garnered quite the following and are already making stacks of cash.

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Feeling down? Kyoto’s Tachibana High marching band is here to brighten your day 【Video】

Feeling down? Kyoto’s Tachibana High marching band is here to brighten your day 【Video】

Since it served as Japan’s capital for over 1,000 years, the city of Kyoto has a strong connection with traditional arts such as Nihon buyo dance and the tea ceremony. We’re sure you could also find a number of students living in Kyoto who, once their classes are over for the day, make beautiful music with the koto, Japan’s most refined indigenous stringed instrument.

Things are a little more bombastic at Kyoto’s Tachibana High School, though. Tachibana is home to one of the country’s most talented marching band programs, and the school’s musicians have made performances at Disney theme parks not only in Japan, but in America too, as seen in this energizing videos.

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Internet declares Yoko Ono’s Glastonbury festival set “the worst live performance ever” 【Video】

Internet declares Yoko Ono’s Glastonbury festival set “the worst live performance ever” 【Video】

It’s been a week since Yoko Ono made her festival debut at Glastonbury. A week, however, is a long time on the internet. While music critics have been fairly kind – if not particularly enthusiastic – about the 81-year-old’s performance, netizens have let rip on the singer-songwriter’s erratic wailing, with one criticising Ono’s voice as sounding “like a goat with a sore throat”.

Join us after the jump for screaming, giant political banners, and an octogenarian dancing like there’s no one watching.

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Japan’s sobbing politician set to make everyone get wild in the club with dubstep remix 【Video】

Japan’s sobbing politician set to make everyone get wild in the club with dubstep remix 【Video】

Until about a week ago, Ryutaro Nonomura was a relatively unknown prefectural assemblyman from Hyogo in Japan’s Kansai region. Name recognition is extremely important for politicians in Japan, where ballots often require voters to write in the name of the candidate they’re voting for, so under normal circumstances the fact that the whole country now knows who Nonomura is would be a major boon for his political career.

Unfortunately, “manically crying while responding to allegations of misuse of government funds” is anything but normal, but that’s exactly what has caused Nonomura’s sudden rise to fame. Aside from making citizens shake their heads at the conduct of public officials, Nonomura’s meltdown has caused people to both laugh and cringe.

And now, it’s ready to make them dance.

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Awesome anime fan art inserts the cast of Madoka Magica into classic rock album covers

Awesome anime fan art inserts the cast of Madoka Magica into classic rock album covers

There are a couple of things anime fans have come to expect from the magical girl genre. Magic and girls are on the list, of course, plus things like flowers, sparkles, and probably a parfait or two.

What they usually don’t anticipate are decapitations, handguns, and implied homicides, but they got all that and more in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, the 2011 TV series that defied magical girl conventions with the same gusto it crammed words into its title. Not only did the hard-edged anime win over legions of fans, it also inspired one to insert the Madoka cast into some iconic rock album covers.

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We ask Arashi fans why the boy band is so popular… because we couldn’t figure it out ourselves

We ask Arashi fans why the boy band is so popular… because we couldn’t figure it out ourselves

Arashi is a common Japanese word meaning “storm” but utter it to any Japanese person and images of the top male idol unit in the country will likely cross their minds before those of cloudy skies and overflowing gutters. Not a day goes by without Arashi appearing on some television show, and every album they release is pretty much guaranteed to hit number one.

However, the thing is… we don’t understand why they are so successful. Not to take anything away from Arashi as performers – they’re good looking chaps who have a sound easier to digest than a cup of warm yogurt. We just don’t get why they stand above all of the other boy bands on the scene in Japan who seem to be and do exactly the same thing. So, we sent our reporter P.K. Sunjun to interview Arashi fans and get to the bottom of the group’s appeal.

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Felinephonic: New cat-ear headphones let you share your sound

Felinephonic: New cat-ear headphones let you share your sound

Even if you’re more of a dog person, there’s no denying that neko-mimi have a cuteness all of their own. Knowing this, the creative folks over at Axent Wear, an independent startup now just weeks away from launching a Kickstarter campaign, are hoping to bring cat ears into consumers’ lives in a way that is both cute and functional with a product that’s sure to put a smile on your face and spring in your step.

Introducing: Axent Wear cat-ear headphones.

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