Harumichi YAMADA: Threads I posted

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[POSTED TO Rocklist: 96.2.6]Re: Five Fave...Are we in the classroom?

**quotation from Gilbert Rodman's thread was here**

Thank you Gil for putting me on the right track.

Now I try to explain 'why' I love them in order to ask Gil's and others' favour to know a bit more about me.
My Five Fave were:
a tribute to led zeppelin: ENCOMIUM
LED ZEPPELIN: symbols (4th album)

I guess the selection is heavyly influenced by my demographic background. I was born in 1958, and have spent all my life so far living in Japan. Here, it is typical for kids to start listening to 'foreign' music somewhere in their junior highschool days (age13-15). In my case, my parents bought me a casette-tape recorder/radio receiver for my birthday of14, in 1972. It changed my access to music in general (and especially that of other countries). Until then, I was a lover of music mainly through TV programs where most of the music are of Japanese then, and my parent disc shelf contained almost no non-Japanese popular music discs except an EP of the Ventures' Pipeline and Pat Boon's Christmas song album. I started listening to the radio, taped favourite music, and start learning the guitar. As for the radio, FEN (the Far East Network of American Forces Radio & Television Service, Tokyo) soon became my most important source of my knowledge on music currents of US & UK then. At that time, I understood almost no English (English was quite Greek or Chinese to me !), but I could tell what's in & what's out through the multitude of playing rotation of FEN. It was impossible for me of 14 to understand what Neil Young tells in his song, but the striking sound of Hard Rock and sophistication of Progressive Rock were quite inspiring. I could read no line of the Stairway to Heaven, for example, when I first heard the song. I started wondering what its lyrics mean only very later, and I should admit it still is quite a maze or rebus for me what it really tells. Still I feel some serious power of its sound.

In my case, my favour in teenage years has a strong staying power, and it rules the types of music I love afterwards. Yes's Fragile was the very first rock album I bought myself at a used record shop (I had no enough money to buy a new one). The reason I didn't buy Zep's album very first was simple. I've already taped most of my favourite tunes of them. As for Yes, however, their songs are seldom played in full length on the radio. I used to listen to Fragile and Close To The Edge albums over and over while preparing for school exams, and later, while writing my thesis. They, and especially Fragile, are still often played on my player. (I love most of later Yes albums, too)

Yes at the time of Fragile was a kind of dream team, but I was especially attracted by the voice of Jon Anderson and the unusual or magical drumming of Bill Bruford. My interest in Bruford attracted some concern from one of my friend at university somewhen around 1977. He was a committed progressive rock mania, and he introduced me several albums where Bruford played including some albums of UK & King Crimson. While in highschool, when most of my 'foreign' music favour was dominated by Zep, Yes & Kiss, I didn't feel attraction of King Crimson so much. Perhaps, Zep & Yes were more catchy and easy to accept as a total sound, when compared to King Crimson (of course so was Kiss). King Crimson was more speculating and intelligent, and I became of proper age for that only after I became a college student. The sequence of The Talking Drum/Larks' Tangues in Aspic, Part Two, at the end of the album, especially shook me hard with its tensed atmosphere, and encouraging or uprising powerof the sound. (Most progressive rock fans in Japan would place King Crimson and Pink Ployd at the top of their list. My preference to Yes is not common among 'real' progressive rock fans. And probably, my choice of The Talking Drum/Larks' Tangues in Aspic, Part Two may also be rejected by the most committed enthusiasts in Japan.)

And now, close to the edge of my thirties, I have already become the age to tint my favour in music with a dash of nostalgia, while I still young enough to have interests in new sound from new artists. The Encomium was something just come out in the right timing for me (thanks to the marketing research !). A Japanese weekly journal SPA! recently had a feature story upon the boom of rock music among middle-age males (and I'm one of them). It may sound strange for non-Japanese to hear this, but in Japan, it is (at least it has been) quite natural for a boy to be a rockmania while in schools, and abandon all that rock after get employed. There is a Japanese term Shakaijin, literally a man of society, which is an antonym to a student. The term reflects some traditional idea that you can enjoy anything while you are a student but it's not the case afterwards. Perhaps, the mood is changing in a better direction. For me of 38, the Encomium is a convenient CD where you can enjoy it with a dual sense of new sound/old song. Sheryl Crow's D'yer Mak'er (well, she is a bit famous in Japan), and Never the Bride's Going To California are gems. It would be quite different if you ask the impression of this album to me of14, but as I write my first Five Faves thread, the list is of current favourites.

As for Page/Plant's No Qurter, there was, and still is, heavy and bitter debates going on among Japanese music critics/journalist or Zep enthusiasts (They tour Japan pretty soon). Such debates are seen, for example, Honoo, a Japanese quarterly for serious opinions on HR/HM, or Music Magazine, the Japan's most established popular music critique monthly. On one side there are the majority denying the value of the album for it being old men making money by humiliating their own glory days, and for its ciltural imperialism over arab/asian music. Those who support the project being experimental are minority. And those who admit and justify their own nostalgia, like myself, are quite rare. It seems most Zepmania in Japan share a kind of elitism for they believe that they were those who had supported most serious rock music. Most of them may think they are more serious people than those who had been the fans of Deep Purple or of Kiss (and of course of any other Japanese artists). And such elitism prevent them from openly enjoying the art of Page/Plant. Page/Plant tour was sold out very quick, but some of those who think they are the real Zep followers seem to have felt difficulties in reserving their place on the arena for different reasons. With the same reasons listed for the Encomium, and with my taste for acoustic music rocking inspirit, I love the album. I love the CD, but I didn't reserve the ticket.

Although, Najma Akhtar has a powerful and attractive voice, and I love her British-Asian music, her beautiful and unique performance in The Battle Of Evermore of No Quarter only makes me realize how great Sandy Lenny was. Zep's 4th/symbols album is no doubt a masterpiece with tension and style. The whole album was so tightly constructed that whenever I hear the Stairway to Heaven on the Radio I'm deeply incurred by frustration for not to hear the opening bars of Misty Mountain Hop. It is impossible for me to conclude my Five Faves without Zep, but it is extremely hard to choose one as the best or the most favourite. Maybe I should have name the Box Set.

As the lines above show, I also love Kiss for their simple and happy rock'n'roll Americanism. MTV Unplugged appearence of Ace & Pete was a prettey happy experience of nostalgia (here again, I use the term in good sense). I also like surf music of 60's, maybe for some functional reason. They seem to make me work more efficiently while I'm doing paper works (The worst BGM for work is anything sung clearly in Japanese!!!!!! I can't concentrate for the lyrics rush into my brain). When compared with the music mentioned above, however, those music filled with Americanism seem just a bit superficial. I don't know whether this is my unique personal feelings, or something delives from general Japanese perception of difference between UK & US rock tradition.

I wonder if the writings above would make sense to Gil or everybody here around. It is quite difficult to answer 'why' for any answer may face another 'why'.

I'm afraid this is not academic in some way, but it might be possible for some people to read my biographical explanation of favourites scholastically. I believe there are some points to start discussion over cross cultural experience of rock music in my text.

The text may contain any mistake or improper usage of grammar and/or vocaburary. Please be tolerant enough to forgive me, for I'm writing in a foreign language.
Harry (Harumichi) YAMADA

[POSTED TO Rocklist: 96.2.7]Re: Five Faves...Are we in the classroom?

**quotation from Tony Dillof's thread was here**

Thank you, Tony.

Page/Plant played at the Budokan (Tokyo's most well-known hall of rock, and of martial arts). As I mentioned before, I didn't go, but some of my friend surely did. Yeasterday, on our campus, I was asked by an administrative staff of my university 'what ticket (of PAGE/PLANT) have you got, sir ?'

Well, Zep-mania is more a phenomina of thirties/forties male culture in Japan. Of course, there should also be younger fans, but those who can afford to buy Box Sets are not young.

I would like to answer Tony's enquiry in two ways.
1)Japanese rock music tastes with Zep and other heavy metal bands of that sort
2)Beatles/Stones in Japanese youth culture

1)Japanese rock music tastes with Zep and other heavy metal bands of that sort Unfortunately I haven't seen Spinal Tap (just heard about it), but it is surely easy to find youngsters wearing HM T-shirts walking down Tokyo streets (of course in summer). Most popular among those on T-shirts are Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth etc. They are Heavy Metal fans.
I myself is an older Hard Rock fan (though I also love some of HM pieces). The difference is quite vague, and ordinary disc shops sell discs under category of HR/HM, but there are several general tendencies like HR for thirties+/HM for teenager, HR more British taste/HM more American or more placeless, HR diversity/HM stylized, and HR fans seldom wear Zep T-shirts/HM fans should have a chest of gorgeous HM T-shirts !
Thus, I guess those at the Budokan last night should have been mostly thirties+. And it surely have been a right place for a young guy (if not of thirties) to date with his (probably younger). It's not the case for HM bands I believe.
What is interesting is that HM fans are almost only visible group of music fans. It used to be (and to some extent, it still is) quite easy to tell HM mania by their fashion. It's not the case with HR fans, or any other music genres.
Precisely speaking, what used to be a fashion among HM mania in Japan in 1980's are now developping into another unique style of fashion among Japanese youth (including non-HM fans). If you saw a boy with gold/yellowishly dyed long hair and in loose wardrobe on a Tokyo street in 1985, he should have been a HM mania. Besides UK/US HM bands, X Japan (then an X) might have been his favourite. If you have any chance to see a Japanese/American film 'Tokyo Pop', it depicts those boys daily life vividly.
Nowadays, hair-dying, metal wrist band, accessory pierce are more common and the only banner for HM fans left are their T-shirts.
Remember, even among thirties, a selebrated few still have longer hair (though getting bald fast) and have T-shirts collection, interestingly those HM old boys are mostly chubby ! and they seldom dye their hair. If you were born here in Japan in late1950's or 1960's, and were first baptised by HR, then A: lead a normal looking life after graduation but keep on listening to HR and buy PAGE/PLANT ticket, or B: follow the rock current from HR to HM era with your long hair gradually lost, your weight getting on, and maybe organize a HM fanzine organizing younger ones with their hair dyed.
If you saw the MTV Unplugged of Kiss reunion, Peter looked more like type A, while Ace looked more
like type B. Myself? I'm probably a quarter to B.
And If you were born here in 1970's, and were baptised by HM, you can't tell the difference between HR & HM, you can have limited chance of HR/HM type music on the radio, there hardly are general fashion in taste of music. What is there is diversed pitholes for the people of maniac interests (like the internet??? I hope not).
And anywise, you buy a HM T-shirt, and probably dye your black hair into gold.

2)Beatles/Stones in Japanese youth culture
Are they not big ? Mmmmm.... they should be too big to scale whether they are big.
What is common with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones is their generation. When the Zep is of thirties, B/RS are of forties+???
As for the Beatles, they are already too familiar in Japanese daily life. I should say, it's quite exceptional. Their music is on Japanese school textbook (while other foreign popular music is absent). The Beatles generation here are parent already of teenagers+. Every KARAOKE may have a dozens of collection of the Beatles.
If you ask a Japanese student their favourites, and he/she answer the Beatles, it means A) he/she don't know much about non-Japanese music, or B) their parents have some influence upon his/her taste, or C) he/she is trying to be a teacher's pet.
The Beatles is overwhelming here as any other place in the world with little exception like North Korea. In my history of Popular Music lecture (due to start this April) I can't avoid them. I would say, however, their music is CLASSIC in every meaning of the term, and I hesitate to name their name on my five faves list.
As for the Stones, it is more complicated. They are living legend, but I think their popularity here is relatively definitive. There are several reasons why the Stones are not as popular as the Beatles, for example, especially in 1970s, lyrics of the Stones were seldom printed in Japanese media for copyright matters. Those bought discs of forein=UK/US music in 1970s were, and for some extent those buy them now are, in need of printed lyrics, for it is impossible for most of them to understand, at least superficially, what the song say. Publication of Song Books were commonly done to help people sing along, and the Stones had no channel to this kind of demand at that time. In addition, Stones' tour had never actuallized in their hay days.
It would be again interesting that young Japanese seldom name the Stones as their Faves. If there is a young guy/girl who would listen to the golden-days (or the darkest-days) Stones, he/she would think it being more chic to name, say, the Velvet Underground. For such latecomers, present popularity of the band and the current presence of the band are both something negative. In addition only few would love the Stones only because of their music they play in the 1990's (at leaset in Japan, I should say).

In addition to the above discussion, I would like to ask a qustion.
In Japan it is widely believed that mega-sales is achieved only when the market that do not buy that commodity often buy a particular commodity. That means, majority of those bought Mariah Carey's Christmas album (in Japan) are not regular buyers of (non-Japanese) records.
Do you agree ?

If you agree, the long-term gigantic sales of the Beatles in Japan might be easily understood.

Harry (Harumichi) YAMADA

[POSTED TO Rocklist: 96.2.9]Re: japanese music

**quotation from Digest Dan Gormley's thread was here**

Thank you, Dan (or "Gorms" should I call you ?)
for your interest in Japanese music which is still a terra incognitae for the most of Rocklist readers.

First, honestly, I know LOUDNESS, and have heard them often in mid-1980s on the radio, but have no CD at hand. So, after I received your message, I sent inquiry upon LOUDNESS to some of my friends who might have more information.
By now, Charao, who operates his own Web-pages on HM info (unfortunately in Japanese only) at
told me the following information (quoted through my translation/[ ]my additions)
They went to America only to fail unfortunately. They changed their [Japanese] vocalist Araihara to Mike Vescera (presently Yngwie's) [to survive in US market], but came home to Japan after publishing two albums. Mike left the band soon after, replaced by Masaki Yamada, formerly Flat Backer->EZO.
They went on touring domestically around Japan in constant manner, but Yamashita the original bass player and Higuchi the drummer quitted the band.

Well, who is their present bassist ?
Shibata, formerly Anthem ? May be not ?
Drummer is Taro, formerly Flat Backer->EZO.
However, the band leader Takasaki [guitarist] recently got freaky with India, and the melody-line of their music have changed quite a bit, that made older LOUDNESS fans disappointed and left consequently. That's very sad.
I feel Yamada's vocal somewhat lacking in power....

Meanwhile, Araihara and Higuchi with Shara the guitarist from Earthshaker (and possibly with Shibata the bassist) formed a new band called SLY, which plays something quite close to Royal Road of Heavy Metal [authentic HM]. They are nostalgiacally said to be 'the All-Japanese HM Team'.....

[Besides LOUDNESS] those bands like EZO, UNITED, OUTRAGE have challenged the US market.
I don't know what have happened to them [in US], but results seem negative. I'm sorry for not studying well.

Thanks a lot, Charao.
CD International, Summer 1995 (the newest one at hand) lists 24 LOUDNESS albums (including compilations, box sets, different versions of their original albums) all still available in Japan, and 4 of them are still available in US Market. Namely, HURRICANE EYES, LIGHTNING STRIKES, ON THE PROWL, and SOLDIER OF FORTUNE.
SLY(Japan) have one album SLY, not available outside Japan.
Likewise, the following is the list of those band mentioned above with the number of albums available in Japan/ in US/ and the titles of albums available in US market.

EARTHSHAKER 19/0/they were one of the most well-known HM band, but never tried US market
EZO 2(+2 under the name of FLAT BACKER)/1/E.Z.O.
OUTRAGE 5/0/they have SPIT in UK market, and BLIND TO REALITY and FINAL DAY in German market
and honourally mentioned my favourite
VOW WOW 9/0/their album V. is in UK & German market

The list shows how much effort LOUDNESS paid in their challenge, and how difficult to evaluate the reward they received.
I wonder who is the Japanese popular music artist(s) who mainly based in Japan and selling most album titles in US market.
It could be Sadao Watanabe, a Jazz Saxophon player, with 19 titles currently available.
And among Rock musicians, it could be the Yellow Magic Orchestra (the techno-pop evangelists of early 1980's who made Ryuichi Sakamoto, keyboards/composer, famous) with 10 titles available mostly from RESTLESS label. (Sakamoto himself have 6 titles in US market)
If my meories are correct, there are two Japanese srtist(s) who were listed Billboard Top 40: the only Japanese chart-topper Kyu Sakamoto with SUKIYAKI(originally known as UE WO MUITE ARUKOU), and Pink Lady a cute pop entertainig girls pair achieved mega-sales in Japan in 1970s with KISS IN THE DARK. No title is available for them now in US market.
4 titles still in US market....? Not a disaster, at least.

I'm afraid all what I write is only a trashboxful of trivia for you, Dan. If you are happy reading this thread, please put some comments on it.
Harry (Harumichi) YAMADA

[POSTED TO HONYAKU: 96.3.6] Re: fukutoshin [A]

**this thread includes some kanji characters, which may not be read by some browsers**

As one of few (possibly the only) person on HONYAKU who have majored in Geography, I would like to try to answer Robin's and Uwe's questions.

The term "toshin"(sS: <'to' of 'toshi'=city, kanji of 'miyako'> + <'shin' of 'shinzo'=heart, kanji of 'kokoro'>) in Japanese may be used in several ways including the followings.

(1) The central business district (often abbriviated as CBD) of urbanized area in general.
CBD is often translated as 'chuuou gyoumu chiku'(Ɩn) as a precisel y looking expression, but it is more common to put 'toshin' or 'toshin bu'(sS: 'bu' of 'bubun'=part).
It is important to remember that this usage can be applied to any city other than Tokyo.
It is also crucial that this usage has relatively professional sound, and ordinary Japanese may feel strange to the idea like 'Nagoya no toshin' ( ̓sS), for Nagoya is not the Miyako or Capital city.
For geographers, civil engineers etc, however, 'Nagoya no toshin' is a quite natural expression.
In addition, 'London no toshin' or 'New York no toshin' sounds more acceptable, for those cities are more suitable to be treated as a Capital city.

(2) The CBD of Tokyo, in particular. And for this meaning, there are several variety in their extension.
(a) Such locations like Ohtemach(蒬), Kasumigaseki(), Hibiya( J), Nagatacho(ic), where government buildings, head offices of big busi nesses, etc. occupy the whole area, are traditionally seen as 'tishin'. It is also possible to add shopping districts like Ginza() in addition. If you have a Tokyo map, draw a triangle putting the Tokyo station(w), the Shimbashi station(Vw), and the Diet building(c) on its poin ts, then you get a rough idea of the extension of 'toshin' in this sense. It should be remembered in relation to 'fukutoshin' that the main office of Tokyo Metropolitan Government used to be located in this district.
(b) For professional statistical analuses, etc. 'toshin' or more precisely 'toshin sanku'(sSO), often appears as a total extension of chiyoda-ku( c), Chuuou-ku(), and Minato-ku(`). This extension includes all the area of 'toshin' in the sense of (a).
(c) In daily conversation, 'toshin' is more loosely used in reference to urbanized area, or simply, downtown. For example, if someone says "toshin no manshon nanka sume nai yo", it simply means it is impossible to afford a flat in central Tokyo. He/she might be referring to anywhere within(or close to) the ring of the Yamanote-line, or possibly, anywhere in whole 23 'ku' area.

Well, then, the 'fukutoshin' came. THE fukutoshin is the Shinjuku fukutoshin, where several skyscrapers stand including the Tokyo Met. Govm't Office. The site used to be of a waterworks. Development plan of the site strated from 1960s, and it included the removal of Tokyo Met. G.O. from its site in traditional 'toshin'.
Thus, the Tokyo Mat. Govm't called the development plan as 'Shinjuku fukutoshin kauhatsu keikaku'(VhsSJv), for it was impossible for the TMG people to think that they are going out of the of the Capitol city ! The great removal took place in 1991.

After this Shinjuku project, several projects bore the titles of 'fukutoshin' or 'shintoshin'(VsS: 'shin' kanji of 'atarasii'=new), and ' rinkai fukutoshin' is one of those projects.

Thus, 'fukutoshin' means,
(1) most likely the Shinjuku (especially west) area.
(Uwe refers to the higashiguchi(: east), but the development took place on the opposite side. 'Fukutoshin' should be either the west side, or whole Shinjuku.)
(2) several other subcentres of Tokyo, especially in contexts of (re)development planning.
(3)acceptable to use in general meaning as sub-centres in similar context as 'toshin' (1).
For example, "yokohama no fukutoshin to shite no Shin-Yokohama chiku".

**quotation from Tony Atkinson's thread was here**

As Tony wrote there are several subcentres, but they are referred as 'fukutoshin' mostly(if not only) in planning contexts. It is more natural to refer to these places (except the Waterfront) as 'sakariba', 'taaminaru(terminal)', etc., or parts of 'toshin' (2-c).

I hope you grasp some ideas from this thread.
Any more question will be welcome.

**technical message was here**
Harumichi YAMADA, DSc
Department of Communication Studies
Tokyo Keizai University
1-7-34 Minamicho, Kokubunji, 185 JAPAN
e-mail: yamada@tku.ac.jp
telephone/faximile: +81-423-28-7923

[POSTED TO HONYAKU: 96.3.23]Re: Political/Economic buzzwords [A: partly]

**this thread includes some kanji characters, which may not be read by some browsers**

**quotation from Alan Gleason's thread was here**
**Alan's question was upon 'doushuu-sei'**

The term 'doushuu-sei' vaguely refers to several reform proposals where the whole nation would be divided into several 'blocs', and the central national government would transfer its present administrative power to those 'bloc' governments. Those 'blocs' consist of several prefectures. The idea does not necessarily mean abolition of prefectures. Such idea is often argued in the context of alternative (more decentralized, federation oriented) national administration system.

Historically, in traditional Japanese administration systems, Do(kanji of 'michi') was seen as a large-scale province which include several kuni, wh ich are almost as same scale as present prefectures, especially along historical trading route, as in TokaidoC(Eastern Route by the Sea). In 10th century, for an archaic example, Japan (except Hokkaido and Okinawa) was divided into 8 provinces, that is, Kinai E('home counties') and 7 Do; TokaidoC, TosandoR, Hokurikudok, San'indoRA, Sa n'youdoRz, SaikaidoC, and NankaidoC. You would notice some na mes still survive today, though their contents might have changed.

Back to the present time, most 'doshuusei' proposal count 7-9 'blocs'. This corresponds well with the most commonly referred geographical division 'chihou'n', that is, HokkaidokC, Tohokuk, Kanto֓, chuubu, K inkiߋE (remember, Kinki means vicinity of 'Home counties'), Chuugoku, Shikokul, and KyushuB chihou's which count 8 in number.

Additionally, ShuB traditionally meant almost the same as kuni. You woul d have called present Nagano prefecture either as Shinano-no-kuniMZ̚ or as ShinshuMB. From 19th century, however, the term Shu was also used to t ranslate 'States' of USA. This gave the term a new connotation that Shu is something more independent and autonomical than Ken etc. Thus, the combination of 'doushuu-sei' suggests imagery of new administrative systems in which newly established large-scale provincial governments of more independent authority play key roles.

I hope this helps.
Harumichi YAMADA, DSc
Department of Communication Studies
Tokyo Keizai University
1-7-34 Minamicho, Kokubunji, 185 JAPAN
e-mail: yamada@tku.ac.jp
telephone/faximile: +81-423-28-7923

[POSTED TO Rocklist: 97.6.18] Re: Japanese info

**quotation from Charles McClure's thread was here**
**Charles's question was upon how to get information about Japan and things Japanese in English language**

I advise you to try "goo", the most powerful 'webcrawler'-like search engine in Japanese.
URL of "goo" is :

The top page is written in Japanese, but you don't have to worry anything. Just put some English keywords in to the blank below the adverts banner, and hit the red oval shape button, which 4 chinese characters are on, at the end of the next line.

When the result page arrives, check the number seen on the next line of the red button first. It tells the total number of pages where those keywords are found. At the end of each page, you will fing blue arrows. If you hit the rightward arrow, you will get the next page of the continued result.

For example, if you put 'english japan music radio', you will find some1300 pages.
If you put 'english japan music radio reggae', the result would be some 100.
Convination of 'english japan music radio reggae marley' will be some 20.

Hope this helps.

Harumichi YAMADA, DSc

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