Down in the Underground You'll Find Someone True

Hello m'friends!

My supervisor is a waste of space. ^_^

God help me if I ever fell off a roof. This is what he’d say:

“Oh K-chan, try not to die, okay?”

I am sure in some universe he means well. But I find things get done ACTUALLY if I don't rely on him.

So I asked him to make a reservation for a pick up at Narita. Gave him a phone number and the date. Not that I couldn’t probably do it myself but I am completely busy and one less phone hassle would make my week less painful.

He laughed at me and said "K-chan, I don't believe such a thing exists.”

Try anyway you worthless twat.

In reality, I opted to respond in his language. “Well, be that as it may I am very busy right now so if it would not be inconvenient please call this number that doesn't exist for me, okay?”

He laughed again. He finds my Japanese as amusing as I find his English. Except I never laugh.

Kids are taking exams now so I am needed not so much. I have been playing El Jezel's Hidden Track fairly nonstop since I got it. George and Jess. I miss you.

At Shinada's house last night boozing and watching Japan MTV. They were doing a tribute to Number Girl, Japan's answer to the Pixies. Number Girl is now no longer but they helped start the Japanese underground scene. They recently released an obligatory "Greatest Hits and B Sides" album (forthcoming Christmas present to myself) so all the music stations are focusing on them.
"Hey! Number Girl!" I cried. The video to Cibbicoさん was playing. It looked like an episode of the Upright Citizens Brigade. The band members meandering high and dazed around Tokyo. Getting lost in hidden stairways and questionable establishments run by intimidating men. Collpasing in the middle of a busy intersection. Running in circles around Shibuya. Provoking stares. I was glued to the set like a kitty outside a tuna factory. Face against the glass, breathing heavy, misting up the pixels.

"Oh! You very underground!" Shinada remarked. "Even Japanese don't know them."
"Their loss, dude." Said I.
"OTAKU!”("You geek!")
"Yes." I make no arguments.
"We never listen this kind of music."
"Well, what DO you listen to?" I asked with genuine curiosity.
"Maroon 5. NSync. Mariah Carey."
Or Franz Ferdinand. Green Day. Ashley Simpson. Etc.

It's the same with movies. Japanese films are a sub-genre in their own country. Which is a real shame because a lot of them are awesome. Take Toyoda Toshiaki, a director from Osaka--a city reputed for yakuza. Not only does he have superb taste in actors but he also has a fine ear for music. Tell, not sell. I can thank his 2001 “gritty” high school drama Aoi Haru for introducing me to Thee Michelle Gun Elephant.

A few months back, I rented another of his films called 9 souls. A drama about 9 escaped convicts and their downward spirals. The film was moving, if a bit long (as reality is wont to be), but what got me was the music. No, I can't describe it in educated terms. I don't know a hook from a hack from a hock. All I know is that I watched that scene over and over again just for that song. The song shared the same title as the film (9souls) and was by a Japanese group called dip. It was a long song. About 7 minutes and ferocious. Kind of like Man in Gray's NiV at its peak. Minimal lyrics. Fine. The usual broken poetry of Japanese indies.

Hmmm. dip. I liked dip. But they were nowhere to be found.

I traveled to a bigger city and sought out the biggest electronic store in town. There I found the soundtrack to a cheesy Japanese comedy called ROKKAZU, about the start of the 80's punk scene in Japan. Based on a true story. Pompadours a-flyin. Music none too shabby.

Favorite scene: Our plucky little indie band has been booked to entertain a crowd of scary yakuza gangsters and their scarier hoes. Courageously, they begin all a-tremble with a broken English slow dance called Mary Jane. The thugs seem to tolerate it and hit the floor with their hoes who methodically smack hands away from their asses.


Before the song can come to a lackluster end, the NEW guitarist--yeah, the mysterious character in black who wears sunglasses all the time and NEVER speaks--suddenly leaps in front of the vocalist and starts belting out a punk version of the song.

Now they're rockin! *thumbs up*

It was so fucking cheesy. See this film.

So I scored the soundtrack to ROKKAZU at the MEGA HUGE MIND BOGGLING electronics store in Niigata shi. Flipping through the "Indies" section, I noticed a CD cover that looked oddly familiar.

Isn't that...PIANOS? East Village Bar. Good cocktails. Home to the Whitest Kids You Know?

Why so it was.

I turned the CD over.

Oh...my god...it's DIPPPPPPP!*

They had played in NY just last summer. A picture of the band setting up in front of the establishment. They're in Tokyo now I suppose. All roads eventually lead to Tokyo.

I went home very very happy.

I am sorry I can't post samples yet. I intend to do that when I get home. Happy Holidays, guys!

*Name that quote

Songs to seek: Cibicco san/Number Girl, Teppu Suru Doku Natte/Number Girl, Manga Sick/Number Girl, Mary Jane/ROCKERS soundtrack, 9souls/dip

Labels: ,


Blogger Tavie said...

"Oh...my....god....it's.... DIIIIIIP!!!!"

Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Give me a hard one.

(Wait, was I not supposed to answer?)

11:39 PM, December 21, 2005  
Blogger Kirsten said...


Stop that laughing.

You know what happens...when you can't...stop...laughing???

11:02 PM, December 22, 2005  

Post a Comment

<< Home