Patrick St. Michel is a freelance journalist living in Tokyo, Japan. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Japan Times, MTV 81, MTV Iggy, Esquire, Pitchfork and The Sydney Morning Herald among others. He has also worked at the South Florida Sun Sentinel and The Los Angeles Daily News. He also maintains the music blog Make Believe Melodies, one of the most viewed English-language blogs about Japanese music today. He graduated from Northwestern University with a journalism degree in 2009. While at Northwestern, he co-founded the online student news magazine North By Northwestern, which won several prominent national awards.
Born in Japan, the electronic producer Takuji Shibata found his way to L.A. during the peak years of the city's beat scene. He returned to Tokyo for the release of his debut EP, on which he applies the ethos of L.A.'s headier music communities to old and contemporary Japanese styles.
The debut mini-album from Osaka duo Parupunte starts off sunny enough. A bit of synthesizer leads into an easygoing guitar line and beat, the sort of relaxed atmosphere you might expect from a pair of indie popsters. Then, a sudden guitar screech (think Radiohead's "Creep") rips through.
BABYMETAL is the most successful Japanese pop group going in 2015. The teenaged trio of Su-metal, Yuimetal and Moemetal have become one of Japan's most talked about music units since forming in 2010. Their blend of perky idol-pop and heavy metal has earned them sold-out shows at some of the larger arenas in their home country.
It has been an extremely busy year for teenage trio BABYMETAL. The group, which caught attention in Japan several years ago by blending the peppy sounds of idol pop with heavy metal, went viral in the West thanks to the live music video for their song "Gimme Chocolate!!"
It Came From Japan is an agency running tours and showcases that bring the freshest, creamiest Japanese bands to the UK. ICFJ's podcast is our way of saying thanks to the fans who come to our shows, and a way to expose new Japanese artists to music-lovers in the West.
Sometimes all it takes to jump-start a music career is one viral video. Japanese acts such as Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and Babymetal attracted attention domestically and abroad thanks to memorable clips uploaded to YouTube, earning millions of views in the process. Natsume Mito, a Nara model turned popstar, realizes this.
Suntory's new Craft Select series isn't craft beer. It's not from a charming neighborhood brewery, but a beverage conglomerate that bought up Jim Beam. These limited-run drinks are exercises in branding, but if you're buying beer from a convenience store then you've already settled for a noncraft experience - which is significantly less expensive (¥257 for the regular size, ¥333 for a tall boy).
It's 8 a.m. on an overcast Tuesday and a line of people are queuing along a cramped street in Shibuya's Dogenzaka area. "You've been here since 5 a.m.?!," Shivram Vaideeswaran says while speaking to two people near the head of the line.
The first such crying event in Tokyo was organized in 2013 by Hiroki Terai, a former salesman who had previously launched a successful business conducting cathartic (though unofficial) divorce ceremonies. After watching his clients shed tears and then leave on better terms, he got the idea to start hosting rui-katsu events.