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There’s lots of important stuff on the horizon, with my Dad and Uncle visiting Japan from saturday (although I’ll first meet them on tuesday), Blues important home game against Liverpool on saturday night, and then a trip to Koshien stadium to watch Hanshin Tigers play Yakult on wednesday. I’ll be away from home for a week or so, but when I return there’ll be plenty of bloggable stuff to, well, blog about.

Until then let me introduce two great Japanese artists to you- Ketsumeishi, and Hikawa Kiyoshi.

Ketsumeishi have been around for a while, and have 5 albums, named Ketsunopolis 1 thru 5. They reached their peak around Ketsu 3, and this video is an interesting bonus track from that album.

Its name is 花鳥風月, pronounced “Kachoufuugetsu”, meaning the beauties of nature. Its constituent parts are four “nature” kanji- 花、flower, 鳥, bird, 風, wind, and 月、moon (pronounced “hana, tori, kaze, tsuki).

Remember, as with all YouTube videos, that if it keeps starting and stopping just pause it and let the whole video load before playing.

Next up is a track by the King of Enka, Hikawa “Zundoku Bushi” Kiyoshi. As you may or may not be aware, Japanese enka is not universally liked, either in Japan or beyond these shores, and is definately not very cool. But it does have a certain pazzazz that makes me warm to it. Kiyoshi was a pioneer in the genre in that he broke the mould of ageing “ojiichan” and “obaachan” singers with his youthful popstar looks and silky smooth voice, appealing to both young and old alike. Sadly his appearances on his own daytime TV show seem to suggest he has little personality whatsoever (although maybe its just lost in translation). This is his signature tune, “Kiyoshi no Zundoku Bushi”, used as the title track from BBC3s “Japanorama” series with Jonathan Ross.

Enjoy!

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