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Namewee: Tokyo Bon

Tokyo Bon 2020 is a rather silly song celebrating the upcoming Olympics by displaying a beautifully choreographed Bon Odori dance as an Olympic event, while filling the lyrics with Japanglish that just makes you grin. Bon Odori is usually danced while holding hands in a circle and symbolizes reaching out to others in a gesture of peace and friendship, and this video expresses that nicely as well.

But as I dug deeper into the music Namewee creates I found a more serious side, including one song that is serious as a heart attack, while filled with compassion: Stranger in the North. I had to include two versions of it here, and follow it up with Thai Cha Cha, yet another excellent tune which returns to his silly side. He has a huge range of other music in many different styles, but I felt like these songs were the ones that made the best introduction if you were not already familiar with his work.

Something to Do: Movies

There hasn’t been anything worth mentioning for a while, but this week there are a couple of good choices. Top of the list is Marvel’s Black Panther, possible the only Marvel superhero to address the U.N. periodically as part of his day job. As near as I can recall, anyone else that went before the U.N. did it as part of their superhero persona, or worked for a U.N. agency. Also this week, Early Man from Aardman is a comedy about the Stone Age getting overrun by the Bronze Age, with all the highly detailed stop motion animation they made famous with Wallace & Gromit.

Kisida Kyodan & The Akishin Rockets: Stray

A brand new song from Kisida Kyodan & THE Akishin Rocket, it is another great Anime OP track, this time from Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens. The Cd/DVD music video combo was released earlier this week (February 7th), and the anime series just started airing at the beginning of January. The series only has 5 episodes out so far, but more than anything else it reminds me of Cowboy Bebop, and not just because of the incidental music. I included one of their earlier Anime tracks, Blood On The Edge being the OP from Strike The Blood, just because I could.

Gentle Forest Jazz Band

If you are a Swing fan, you need to check out the Gentle Forest Jazz Band. The first track is Dolls look the Moon, the second is A Man Is A Man, and the 3rd is Thrilling The Band. They may not be politically correct from a gender perspective, but they do create some amazing music, and I can’t wait to hear more from them.

Garden of Earthly Delights, 2017

For those of you who haven’t had a chance to see this yet, it is a contemporary interpretation of The Garden of Earthly Delights, commissioned for the 500-year anniversary of Hieronymus Bosch’s death. Wish I could have seen the exhibition at the MOTI Museum in Holland when it all happened last year, I bet it was amazing.

PARADISE – A contemporary interpretation of The Garden of Earthly Delights from STUDIO SMACK on Vimeo.

New Yoshida Brothers: Cool Spiral

This may be my favorite music video from the Yoshida Brothers so far, posted this past Tuesday. The song is Cool Spiral, from their new mini-album which also features their rendition of While My Guitar Gently Weeps and the Japanese language theme for the animation Kubo. The disc will be released on February 7th.

New Vivid Undress

The new song from Vivid Undress is called Goodbye dilemma, released last July on their 3rd mini-album Endless. They will be doing the third leg of their Endless tour beginning in mid January, finishing up at the Daikanyama UNIT on March 31st, 2018.

The Future of Piano

I think you will enjoy this one!

Something to Do: Movies

The winner this week has to be The Shape of Water, a story by Guillermo del Toro that seems to be an evolution of one of the characters from his Hellboy films. I am looking forward to seeing this one on the big screen.

Something to watch; Discs

I didn’t see anything in western releases, Anime has Kiddy Girl-AND, the sequel to Kiddy Grade. Taking place 25 years later, the galaxy is once more on the brink of chaos, and two new heroines need to step forward to save it. Squid Girl is also being released this week, silly fun for the aquatically inclined.