Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon

This and That

Posted in Current Events,J-Pop,Japanese literature,Music by bourdaghs on the January 21st, 2010

The New Year sumo tournament is heading into its final days now with yokozuna Asashoryu holding the lead at 11-1 and fellow yokozuna Hakuho lingering one step behind at 10-2. Hakuho just lost today to ozeki Harumafuji, but perhaps the most exciting match so far was yesterday’s face off between Asashoryu and sekiwake Baruto. See if you can tell who won from this photograph (link courtesy of Moti’s sumo news mailing list). Meanwhile, the sport’s backstage politics have hit the front pages, as former yokozuna Takanohana pursues his reform effort by seeking a spot on the Sumo Association’s board of directors.

Meanwhile, in another fine old Japanese cultural institution, the Emperor’s New Year waka poem for 2010 (source):

Where rays of sunlight
Filter through the trees I see
In the middle of the path
Carpeted with fallen leaves
A clump of green grass growing.

The assigned theme this year was “light.” Back in the old days, this would have been by definition the best poem of the year.

Although I have my doubts about the accuracy of the crowd count figure given, this article shows that legendary J-Rock band X-Japan can still pack them in, even in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the Tokyo Shinbun newspaper is reporting (Japanese-language only) on the hit chart bounce enjoyed by artists featured on the NHK Kohakau Utagassen New Year’s Eve television spectacular. Ikimono Gakari’s “YELL/Joyful” (performed to great effect in the NHK broadcast with the backing of a choir of junior high school students) jumped from #23 to #12 on the Oricon charts the week after the show, while Kimura Kaera’s “Butterfly” moved up from the teens to the #1 slot on several music download sites, including I-Tunes Japan.

This has nothing to do with any of the above, but recently while wading through the Internet, I came across some amazing live performance of Iggy & The Stooges from 1970. Let’s call it “The Sweet Bloom of Youth.” Subtitle: “A Boy and his Peanut Butter.”

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