Emphasis of Live Music Performance in Japanese Culture

Since the big boom of commercialism in the United States, it seems like the only feasible way to make yourself a part of the music industry is by buying your way in or gaining exposure through biased singing competitions.  Musicians everywhere like Foo Fighter’s artist Dave Grohl oppose events like that which turn musical performers on each other instead of encouraging a sense of community amongst its members.  Music should never be about winning a game; it is supposed to be about people getting a chance to express themselves with a type of media that cannot easily be judged.  Most individuals experience judgement at the hands of society and corporate culture, so why are we letting this extend to our arts?

One aspect that we found interesting about Japanese culture besides how easy it is to watch anime online, is that in most genres of music (aside from pop,) there seems to be a hard line between what makes a musician and what makes someone an entertainer.  Popular girl groups and boy bands are seen more as entertainers because most viewers understand that what they see on television is for the sake of selling a pleasant image.

But if you want to be considered a musician by those who are respected for their musical skills, live performance is a must.  Practice is even more essential before lives when you are playing together with a band; if you need help with your gear, http://www.ateammoving.net/ can assist in moving things around.  We have so much respect for the bands and artists who take to the streets of Japan almost every single day; they play music and put themselves out there not for attention, but because they pretty much just live for the love of their music.  An example of a musician like this is artist Mori Megumi, who does street lives almost every day and it shows– she never misses a beat.



Thanks to Anime Teams Worldwide

Watching anime and being a fan of it is all good fun.  We love to talk about our favorite series, movies, and music with lots of other people we meet at events like animation conventions.  It is a great way to also bring confidence for those who are more introverted because the anime fan community is generally very supportive.

But when many of us live so far away from places like Tokyo, it can be difficult to grasp the hours of stressful work that go into our favorite programs.  I often hear of many individuals in the Western world who would love to be voice actors for English dubs of their favorite series.  But the truth is that there is more to the to this form of art than meets the eye.  The voice acting industry is extremely competitive when it comes to the original Japanese audio of a show– there are only a handful of artists who dominate.  On the other hand when it comes to the English or foreign language dubbing of a program, the main reason the performance suffers is because of low funding and not enough time to read the script.

Lately, there are more animated series that try to shed light on the stress of working in the manga or anime business.  Often the artists are the ones who get hounded by managers to always follow deadlines.  But do most of us really understand how difficult it is to constantly create content better than the last project, all of that with a manager who consistently nags?  So thank you so much to all of the team members out there who make our fandom possible.  Your jobs are crazy difficult and often overlooked.

Themed Cafes in East Asia

Part of what makes musicians and other artists of media good at what they do, is the ability to transport audiences and spectators to different places, feelings, or memories.  Cartoon and Japanese animation cover bands can make those who stop and take a listen to their music feel like they have their own little piece of Japan.  Not all of us have the money to go overseas.  And especially when it comes to travel to mega urban centers such as Tokyo or Seoul, most everyday people do not have the time or finances to stay for very long.

In these types of towns that draw so many people, everyday city dwellers need a way to unwind.  There are manga cafes for example.  Visitors often pay by the hour to have a cubicle with internet access, some additional amenities, and a large selection of manga to read.  Although as the economy has declined, these manga cafes with the affordable prices have also become temporary living quarters.

For those who want something else, there are also cat cafes.  When you order a drink from this cafe, you have the opportunity to be surrounded by kitties that you can have around for a little while to pet all of your stress away.

Move your Piano and other Musical Instruments

Especially if you are a member of a full rock band, getting your instruments from one place to another can be difficult without the help of others.    Especially if the only available vehicles are not large cars, you will have your work cut out for you hauling two to three electric guitars with both cabinets and amps, a bass with its rig, as well as a (hopefully) full acoustic drum set.  

Performing at live shows is the essence of being a musician as it allows us to truly connect to our audience members, but the one-day move from point A to B is exhausting.  Not only is there the job of finding the right truck (or trailer and trailer hitch) by calling around all of your friends and family for a personal favor, you also have to stack all the gear in the trunk correctly so nothing gets damaged during the ride.  And somehow remember how you organized everything when it comes time to pack up and head home after the show.

The difficulty of a full-band set up is probably why it seems like most musical performances for the public often feature a more bare-bones acoustic stage.  But for all our pianists out there, we know there is actually no good substitution for a good, old-fashioned acoustic piano.  When it comes time to call professional piano moving services, see the people at http://www.richmondmoving.net/.  Forget about two guys and a truck coming to your house.  If you are a part of the Richmond, California area then you qualify to get move services from the Wildcat Movers– where speed is their middle name.  Whether you have a standard stand-up piano or the much more heavy and valuable grands and baby grands, you can rest assured knowing that you were recommended by fellow musical artists and your “baby” will be safe.

Uncommon Musical Time Signatures / Rhythms

Even if you are just someone who cannot play a musical instrument and just like to have fun listening to songs, chances are you know most of the mainstream ones follow a 1, 2, 3, 4 beat. In musical theory studies, a student would recognize this pattern as a 4/4 time signature, popularly known as “common time.” In writing, it will be represented by either two 4’s stacked on top of each other, or by the letter “c” at the beginning of the music score.

But there are lots of other time signatures in which a song could be written. Another one that can sometimes find some popularity, is 3/4 time (three-quarter time) or better known as the waltz.

An example from an animated film, is a song from the soundtrack of “Anastasia” released November 1997 in the United States. Titled, “Once Upon a December” written by Lynn Ahrens and composed by David Newman and Stephen Flaherty, it became relatively well known in the late nineties, and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.

For those of you who like rock music just as much as we do, there are also some rock songs in 3/4 time that gained notoriety. Examples include guitar legend Jimi Hendrix’s “Manic Depression” and the band Weezer’s “My Name is Jonas.” There are even a couple songs in 12/8 time— “Holiday” by Green Day being played on many radio stations at one point in time.

Video games & music connection

Le Canne Sampei is a band that has fun jamming out to their carefully chosen setlist of cartoon or Japanese anime covers.  Getting the word out there about your music at first can be extremely difficult, especially if you are not a naturally outgoing performer.  And it seems like a lot of the people who are able to premier on television just find the right hookups in the business.  So other than getting up on stage, where does that really leave the animation-themed music groups, solos, and ensembles to have a way to express themselves?

Recently gaining more traction by video game and software services such as steam, visual novels are quickly becoming the type of video game for novice story writers, artist, animators, and/or song writers.  There has already been software created on the market that allows someone new to video game design, but familiar with file organization, to easily make their own adventure.

Visual novels are often like choose your own adventure stories.  However, what makes them different from what the American style of the genre, is that the stories, characters, and themes are stylized like Japanese animation and manga.  Often, the music will play a key role in setting mood and tone that will make the rest of the game believable for the player.  So, if any of you aspiring musicians and other media artists are looking for a way to get started quickly and cheaply at home, video games are the new avenue for multiple possibilities.

Top 3 Anime Fan Goods to Hide from Mom

We have met a lot of people over the years from events that let us share our common fandom of Japanese music, animation, artwork, and even some cartoon covers.  Part of the reason those meet-ups and events are so fun is that our normal, everyday lives are not quite as awesome as it would be if we went to anime high school in cosplay.  Although an appreciation and love of that part of culture is more accepted in some places, in the Western world, the mothers and fathers of people in their thirties (age-wise) will definitely scratch their heads in confusion.

If you should ever choose to move as a Japanese animation otaku, it would be best to call a professional company like http://www.trivalleymovers.net/  rather than asking anyone who may judge you for your fan gear.  There have been plenty of folks who have made this mistake, and ended up with a huge scolding from their mothers who just don’t get it like the fan community does.

Here is a top 3 list of anime fan goods to keep away from mom:

  1.  Tentacle animations.  We won’t go into detail about what this means.  But for those of you who have already taken a gander and like what you see, we hope everything works out for you in the end.
  2. Anything school girl related.  Although school girl things are widespread and will not bring up any inappropriate thoughts to those who already have a few anime series under their belt, the older generations will just take it the wrong way.  It will just take too long to explain the whole cultural significance of high school settings, coming-of-age tales and how this ties in with learning about world cultures.
  3. Cosplay weapon props.  Especially if you choose to purchase professional-grade props for your latest costume project, your mother may have herself a bit of a heart attack until you explain yourself.

Cat Islands

Once a friend mentioned something about a bunny island to us, and so we went and looked it up on youtube.  Sounds crazy, but there is actually a place inhabited by many rabbits.  But what is even more fascinating are the multiple cat populated islands in Japan.  Here is a little bit more information on this awesomely cute distraction on the internet.

Although articles or youtube videos may publicize that there is only one nekojima (or cat island,) in reality, there are multiple Japanese isles populated by numerous felines.  Have you ever seen a lucky cat figurine?  One would look like a chubby cat with its paw up, and a grin on its lips.  It is believed by a lot of people that cats can bring wealth, fortune, and prosperity.  Because of this belief, the stray cat populations have thrived and are rather robust.  In fact, many of the islands’ inhabitants are elderly and some are even considered “cat witches” or healers.  

Today cats videos are amongst the most watched on Youtube, but the general public in many countries did not always hold a favorable view of them.  For example, when witch hunts became an occurrence in the United States and England, many cats were systematically eradicated by governing systems.  There is a strong possibility that diseases spread because cats were no longer around in enough numbers to control populations of illness-carrying mice and vermin.

We may never be able to visit a nekojima, but their success and peace between nature and humanity are a great positive example of what humans are capable of achieving.  

Vocaloid and Vocaloid Characters

Chances are you have probably seen a singing character with long, blue pigtails right?  That cutie has a name:  Hatsune Miku.  In reality, there is no living person like Hatsune Miku, but voices like hers are made possible by modern technology.  Vocaloid is a software that allows songwriters to have an artificial singing voice, completely programmable and able to replace a human singer.

Before vocaloid, there was a predecessor called vocoder.  Vocoders were often part of the synthesizer, (such as the modern Microkorg) musicians would sing (or talk) into the microphone while simultaneously playing the desired vocal notes on the keys.  This was ideal for live band performances, and the technology has been made popular by artists like Peter Frampton and Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing).”

Vocaloid is primarily edited using a computer, by typing in the lyrics and melody.  Downloading the software means that the voice data has already been recorded by professional singers or voice actors, rather than that coming from you.  It was first made available in Japanese language, but has since released some English, Korean, Chinese, and Spanish support for some of the characters.

Cosplay Tips

Cosplay can be a fun way to shake things up when you come see Le Canne di Sampei play anime covers.  Just like our music, you do not have to be an expert on costuming to entertain or be entertained by cosplay.  If you plan to come out to our shows dressed up, here are some tips when you will be on-the-go.

Pack a bag of supplies that you can use to mend your cosplay as the day goes on.  Often due to the unique silhouettes of anime character apparel, you will probably discover that although you left your house in a pressed outfit with fierce makeup and a tidy wig, time and body heat will eventually wear on your look.  Even if you do not have a sewing machine and purchased a costume, there are some basic items that can be used:  

  • Hot glue gun
  • Lots of safety pins
  • Scissors
  • Basic sewing kit
  • Duct tape
  • Stain removing pen
  • Fashion/double-sided tape

If your cosplay needs attention to your hair, you may want to consider getting a wig.  Although they can get hot in the sun, temporary hair color will most definitely stain clothing and skin when the weather gets too warm.  When choosing a wig, one with a more matte texture will appear the most natural.  And don’t forget a wig cap!  Most wigs will come with a wig cap, but if that isn’t the case and you need one fast, then you can even make one at home:  the legs of nylons can be cut to the shape of a longer headband which makes a cheap diy cap.