Sunday Blog Roundup

Filed in Cult Of Pop 2.0

It’s always fun to find new Jpop blogs, exciting to see new perspectives and different takes on something I love and hold dearly. A couple of Jpop blogs have come to my attention this week and start off this week’s roundup as new essential reading.

First, CJ Marsicano has debuted a new WordPress version of Stuck in a Pagoda with Motoko Aoyama. I’ve mentioned his Livejournal version before, but this one will be a more focused take on his twin loves of Jpop and punk rock music. CJ starts off with a bang by answering the question, “Why J-Pop and Punk Rock?” – it’s an engaging personal history of his love affair with music, starting with the Clash and Fear and winding up with Zone and Minimoni. CJ then goes on to write an excellent blog entry about Whiteberry, a band I’m only beginning to get into, using the notion of a DIY indie label to define his own take on the group.

The second blog that recently caught my attention is Shay’s SparkPlugged, a very snazzily designed, well-informed look at Japanese pop culture in general with a good amount of attention devoted to Jpop. There’s a great range of news and information, and Shay has even started a new weekly feature of favorite PVs, starting with Teriyaki Boyz and moving on to Hirai Ken – and miracle of miracles, I’m actually intrigued and amused by the latter!

From SparkPlugged I was also directed to “A Denied Claim to Fame”, an entry on the blog Watashi no Hon which tries to explain why Jpop has not caught on big in the United States. The main reason considered is identity politics, and there’s compelling evidence presented. However, the former graduate student in me finds the schematics of the theory too general, too willing to take the theoretical and make them factual absolutes. The argument needs to be problematized – the race angle is played out on essentialist terms, obscuring other approaches that can open up the issues in interesting ways – before I’ll find myself swayed. But as a starting point, this piece works well to ignite discussions.

On the Jrap front, Jordi of Subliminal Beats is elated by the new Teriyaki Boyz DVD and has a full review “with added snark”. How can you resist? Halcali make a brief appearance on the DVD and at HALCALI day by day, jariten breaks news of Haruka getting a three-month stint on MTV. And for those who still require a lesson, Jordi helpfully provides “Teriyaki Boyz for Dummies” so that you no longer need to embarrass yourself.

Santos of Idolizing St. Anna has his usual wide selection of interesting posts. My favorite this week is about how top-notch AV stars can demand over 10 million yen – that’s a hundred thousand dollars – per video. Santos also translates a message from dream’s Aya to SweetS, as well as brings news of Koriki becoming manager of Team dream – which has already paid off on the futsal field, believe it or not! Thea of Made in Paradise covers news on dream Party 2006 and a-nation ’06, both of which look promising. And in their inimitable tag-team Avex coverage style, both Santos and Thea both take a look at Koriki’s last appearance with Hinoi Team on Music Fighter, Santos considering Hinochi in comparison to Parago and Berryz Koubo while Thea mentions Hinoi Asuka’s own great news. I especially like how Santos confesses that he’d probably wind up arrested if he had Hinoi Team for neighbors…

Meanwhile, there’s a new para para girl group with a comedian buddy on the Jpop scene, as ikimasshoi breaks the news of the Soran Happys. The girls look real cute but again I find myself wary with the whole comedian angle… Karakui has some interesting news of its own, as Gackt will be starring in next year’s NHK Taiga Drama and Yamada Yu will be starring in a movie about… um… yakiniku.

At The Mind: My Own Personal Idea Factory, Johnny provides a nice selection of Hello! Project bikini eyecandy. Meanwhile, the boys at Your Opinion Doesn’t Count decided that this past week would be AV Idol Week for their Pic of the Day series, including the lovely Maria Ozawa, Matsuura Aya-lookalike Monbu Ran, and a special J-Music Clip of the Week from Aoi Sora. They also have their regular J-Music Clip of the Week, which this time around is Otsuka Ai’s “Frienger”. And at Don’t touch my jpop!, kagofeet lists his five favorite PVs as well as provides the now-infamous Berryz footage from that same Music Fighter with Hinocki…

Go of jrocknyc attends a Loudness concert but still misses the quirks of Tokyo nightlife. And while he’s bored with a new Despairs Ray video (that’s okay, so were the band), he’s quite pleased with their latest single. Miki of Deepest Thoughts compares the Japanese and Koran versions of the new single and PV from one of her favorite boy bands, finding some very interesting differences.

On the Nana front, Wapiko of Musings of a Fangirl finds hope in the latest installments of the manga, while usagi of the usagi incidents reviews the first episode of the new anime based on the popular series. Still recovering from the end of 2nd House, Akiramike of the mighty HamsapSukebe looks at Isoyama Sayaka’s latest gravure video, Ruby Fish.


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2 Responses to “Sunday Blog Roundup”
  1. Thanks a ton for the link. (A Denied Claim to Fame)

    One of the reasons I just sort of run with the observations I’ve made was that I wanted to spur some discussion on the issue and get other views. That being said, I don’t follow music very heavily as — you might noticed from my main page — I have plenty of other stuff that soaks up all my time first. Again, thanks for the link, as anything to help get some other views/discussion about the topic is much appreciated.

  2. Shay says:

    Yeah, thanks for the link back to SparkPlugged! Great links and lots of sites to check out. I’m excited!