It’s always fun to try new things.
There’s a real novelty appeal to this.
One of the best sources of novel experiences is the world of Japanese music. It’s always easy to find something that’s intriguing and new. While it’s undoubtedly fun, I worry that I have a significant disadvantage. By not understanding some words or double-meanings that would be obvious to a native Japanese speaker, I could very easily miss the point of what I’m listening to. In other words, I’ll end up inadvertently liking some real bollocks.
It’s an important point. It’s why whenever I hear some Japanese music and find myself thinking ‘Yeah, that’s not total bollocks’, I always stop and remind myself of this conversation I once had.
Scene: one day I was chatting to Yoshimi (I’ve changed her name to protect her identity), a highly intelligent and serious English teacher.
Me: So, how was your weekend?
Yoshimi: Ah yes! I finally achieved my goal, I saw Bonjovi live.
Me: …Is that a fact?
Yoshimi: Oh yes! I was so happy. I’ve wanted to see them for years.
Me: Right,…so what songs did they play?
Yoshimi: I’m not sure. Actually, I don’t really know the names of the songs so well. Sometimes I don’t even understand their songs. But I like them anyway.
Clearly, we’re in dangerous territory here. The line between ‘OK’ and ‘insufferably lame’ is one that is easily crossed by the non-native speaker. It seems I can’t be sure that any Japanese music I like is not actually really really bad.
Nonetheless, there is some music that I do like and I want to recommend it. But I have to take all this into account and lower my sights accordingly. So, here’s the first instalment in what I’m sure will be a long-running and much beloved series; “Japanese music that might not actually be really all that bad”.
First up is ミドリ (midori). This means ‘green’ in Japanese, which I’m not entirely sure is a fitting name for ‘a jazz-punk fusion band’. Then again, as the words ‘jazz-punk fusion band’ don’t conjure up images of anything in the least bit good, I guess that most people wouldn’t be interested at all, no matter how good the name.
More pink than green, how ironic.
That’s a shame, however, as ミドリ are far better than their wikipedia description would lead you to believe. They have an interesting sound, one that’s basically made up of a lot of piano and a lot of energy. This ranges from driven to the mildly deranged.
They broke up a few years ago, so it looks like they’ll remain a cult favourite. Or to put it another way, they’ll never be as big as Bonjovi.