Tuesday, February 26, 2013

J-Pop Scandal of the Month

The big headline news this month in Japan is about a member of the girls band AKB48. She cut off her hair due to her embarrassment for being caught staying overnight with a man. The horrors. The fact that she acknowledged her scandalous behavior is what made the headlines. This “sleep over” became such a big deal because members sign a contract when they join girl bands. The girls are not to have sexual relations while they’re in the group. Yes, you basically have to be a nun while you’re in a J-pop girls band.

As an act of contrition, singer Minami Minegishi cut off her beautiful long hair. This ritual of shaving ones head as an act of self-punishment goes back to ancient times in Japan. So when Minami made a video apology sporting an almost shaved head, no one was surprised. It seems her act of contrition has worked so far. I haven’t read that she’s been kicked out of AKB48. (Don’t get me started on how stupid some of the band names are in Japan.)

I decided to call my friend Midori to get her take on the big scandal. “So how do you feel about the whole Minami shaved head deal?”

She sucked in a breath. “Very embarrassing.”

“Really? I mean all she did was sleep with a guy.”

I heard nervous tapping on the other line. “I know, but she is supposed to be better than that.”

“Oh. So she can’t be attracted to guys at all?”

“I know it sounds harsh but she signed a contract. She knows what is expected of her.”

“But who can blame Minami. Aran is hot!”

She stuffed back a laugh. “He is cute, but rules are rules.”

“Boy, you Japanese are a bunch of hard asses.”

“Why thank you. It takes many hours in the gym.”

Sunday, February 3, 2013

What the Heck is That? J-Pop

I've been MIA for awhile due to a family member passing. So I hope you won't mind if repost one of my most popular subjectsJ Pop. I promise to be back to writing new posts the end of the month.  

J-Pop Fashion Rules

Watching TV in Japan often becomes a cultural education. But one particular phenomenon fascinated me—J Pop fashion. Some of the singers wear crazy clothes straight off the streets of Harajaku. And no one exemplifies it better than current sensation Kyary. Watch one of her videos and your eyes bug out from visual overload. She takes Hello Kitty cuteness to a whole new level. I had to investigate the appeal. All the cute kitty did for me was make me lose my lunch.

I could think of no better person to ask then my friend Midori. After all, she was a  Harajuku girl. A Fairy Kei to be exact.
“Can you tell me what’s the deal with the crazy video’s and clothes Kyary wears? Some J Pop just seems so over the top.”

“That’s the whole point. She’s dress up gone crazy.”

“No kidding. But why does she wear such bright colors, wigs and those enormous eyelashes. She looks like an anime character.”

“Exactly. She wears Kawaii style.”  

“Okay, but why do her pupils look so huge like a dolls?”   

“Oh, those are contacts. Like mine.”

I looked into Midori’s eyes. “Wow, I can’t believe I never noticed before.”

She batted her gigantic eyelashes. “I don’t wear them all the time. Just when I want to look extra cute kawaii.”

“Okay, that’s my problem. What’s cute about dressing up like a little girl and putting stuffed animals on your clothes?”

“Americans have a hard time understanding our ways.”

I rolled my eyes. “I’ll say.”

She grabbed my hand. “Come to my house and I’ll show you just how cute you can look.”

It took Midori almost an hour to complete my transformation from boring American college student to Kawaii Harajuku girl. She proudly stood me in front of the mirror. “See, you look super cute kawaii neh!” 

The person that looked back at me was some kind of cartoon character. I had on a giant pink wig with pigtails and a matching tutu skirt worn over pale pink tights and glittery high-top sneakers. The sweater I had on was covered in bows and little stuffed bears. All in shades of pink of course. I could barely hold open my eye lids as the fake lashes I had on were almost as big as butterfly wings. I twirled around in front of the mirror astounded by the transformation.

Midori beamed. “You’re amazing. Let’s go to Shibuya and show you off.”

I looked at her and smiled. “You’re right. I’m so kawaii! In fact I’m so cute I need to go to the bathroom and throw up.”   

So you can see J Pop craziness for yourself here's Kyary's latest video Fashion Monster.