[M/V] Miyavi – Strong & What’s My Name?

Big big big big big huge thanks to whatthefrell for tipping me off to this guy. He is amazing! His name is Takamasa Ishihara but is better known by his stagename in Japan as Miyavi. If you check out the video clip of his single “Strong” (where he plays guitar and popular Japanese rapper Kreva rhymes) and “What’s My Name?”, you’ll know why he’s called such names as the “guitar ninja” or “samurai guitarist”. No doubt these monikers hint to his nationality, but they may also hint to the speed, precision and grace with which he plays his guitar. I’m digging his talent and style, and even more so I appreciate his unabashed trek off of the beaten path of the musical “same ol’ same ol'”. We’ll be keeping an eye on this guy. Enjoy the videos!

Miyavi featuring Kreva – Strong

Miyavi – What’s My Name

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[M/V] Jin Akanishi – Sun Burns Down

Happy Sunday you guys! Check out Jin Akanishi’s latest video for his single “Sun Burns Down”.

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“Afro Tanaka” To Be Released In February

“Afro Tanaka”, the movie, is set to be released in Japan theatres February 2012, and is the story of a 24-year-old Japanese man who was born with naturally curly hair, styled into an obedient, well-trimmed afro. He’s a high-school dropout, but he’s hardworking and puts finding a girlfriend (his first) at the top of his priority list. According to AsianMediaWiki, “Afro Tanaka” is based on a gag manga series by Noritsuke Masaharu. By “gag manga”, my assumption is this story was probably written from a comical perspective. I have to admit that I do find a Japanese guy with a huge, natural afro a tad comical. So as soon as it is available, I will check out this movie. Anyone else read this manga or looking forward to seeing the movie?

Matsuda Shota

A little background on the actor who plays Tanaka: his name’s Matsuda Shota, comes from a family with a thespian background and is 1/4 Korean. He came on the Japan movie scene around 2006, and has been relatively successful nabbing a string of tv films and movie roles, and even winning a few newcomer awards in the past few years.

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[Rerun] Takeshi Kaneshiro’s Not Down With Hollywood’s Typecasting of Asian Actors

This makes me respect the 37-year-old (very) popular Japanese actor even more. I always knew he was smart, but this interview confirms his savvy when considering entering the Hollywood American market. He has no interest in it because he has no interest in being typecast into the same parts or “characters” as he states in the interview below. If you’ve seen any of his movies, you know that all of his characters are strong and masculine. Why should he come to Hollywood and be cast in a desexualized, nerdy or token role?

This echoes one of the previous posts about Rick Yune and why there should be no reason why he can’t be successful in Hollywood.

“BECK” Strikes a Sweet-Sounding Chord

Oooh, the excitement, drama and chaos that goes along with being in a band. There’s nothing more cyclical. Throw together five people with different backgrounds, life philosophies and ambitions up against stiff competition with a rival band, and you’ve got a recipe for either promise or disaster. That’s what “BECK”, originally a popular manga and now a 2010 movie made in Japanese is all about. No, I’m not talking about the eccentric, pasty solo artist famous for the hit 90s song “Loser” or the English artist with the same surname. I’m talking about BECK, the band featured in this movie which was named after the lead guitarist’s dog.

Besides boasting a winning and talented cast, this film has music that would make any rock music enthusiast (such as I!) who grew up in the 90s nostalgic, with its constant injection of famous guitar riffs and samples from some of the most popular rock songs in American and English music history. This film also manages to pay homage to blues music, the forefather of rock ‘n’ roll, in its own way (if you are familiar with American blues/rock ‘n’ roll history, you’ll be able to identify origin of the name of the lead guitarist’s guitar). BECK’s sound is reminscent of early Incubus and Oasis, and after a few listens, it’s tough to get songs like “Looking Back” and “Moonbeams” out of your mind.

From left to right: Kenta Kiritani, Aoi Nakamura, Hiro Mizushima, Takeru Sato, Mukai Osamu

And would this post be true to BWLB if I didn’t mention how hot the guys in the band are?? Ok I’m gonna be more specific. The two guys (Takeru Sato and Aoi Nakamura) who played the high school kids didn’t really do it for me, but the senpai?? Yum! Hiro Mizushima plays the tortured, but genius musician, who’s bullet-holey guitar has a dangerous past. Mukai Osamu is BECK’s bassist and shirtless voice of reason, and Kenta Kiritani is incredibly convincing as Beck’s loose canon loud-mouth frontman.

There is much, much more to say about this film but I will spare you. I’m sure at least half of you are interested enough to find out more about “BECK” yourselves. But the moral of this post? SEE THE MOVIE!

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[M/V] Jin Akanishi – Test Drive

Who’s the sexy, talented Japanese guy in the music video below? He’s 27-year-old Jin, at one time belonging to KAT-TUN, one of the most popular boybands in Japan, and is now set on taking the U.S. by storm as a solo artist. His first U.S. single is “Test Drive” featuring Jason Derulo. He’s even collaborated with Crystal Kay. Ooooh this is exciting! We’ll definitely be keeping tabs on this one! ^^

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The Great Happiness Space: Tale of an Osaka Love Thief

Enter the world of Issei, a young Japanese man who runs Rokkyo, the most popular male host club in Osaka, Japan. This documentary begins with a superficial look of the club, Issei and his male host co-workers, who sell love and attention to rich, but lonely women who cannot find what they’re looking for in real life. This make-believe love does not come cheap, with many of the women (who make their livings as call girls and hostesses) spending $3,000 to $5,000 a night for one-on-one time with their favourite host. A good number of the female clients fall in love with their host object of affection, but the documentary explores how both host and client play the game to get by, whether emotionally or financially.

It may be easy to write these guys off as prostitutes, or losers, or deceivers, but a deeper look into this destructive cycle shows that they are not happy, and want true love, but are in too deep. In the end, financial gain wins out, but hopefully, only for a time. Boab81’s rating: Two thumbs up!

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