Monday, January 3, 2011


Ake Ome...a word I learned recently from a friend in Japan, which is a short way of saying "Happy New Year" in Japanese(AKEmashite OMEdetou gozaimasu). I thought it had a nice ring to it.
So to get right to the point, I've always wanted to post more to this blog but I never really have time or a point to posting...but when I really think about it, there are things happening in my life that I could right miles about that deal with music but I just usually pass them by. So since I'm sure I will always have content to write about I decided that this year, I'd like to write at least once a week in this blog with some sort of music happening, a CD review, and a band recommendation. It's not like I'm going to publish this as a book, but at least getting something written down will help practice writing. In fact, why don't I get started...


Sebastian X on Ustream

For those that aren't too familiar with the website Ustream: Ustream is a site that allows users to easily stream video straight from a camera. Since the program is streaming in real time it allows the people in charge of the programs to interact directly and promptly to viewers who can comment on the video as it is being broadcast, a feature that gives it an advantage over regular video upload sites like youtube. It's only once in a while that hosts actually record the shows, so many ustream programs are only available for viewing once.
Japanese music is benefiting a lot from the Ustream trend and many users can find their favorite group's bands hosting regular programs on the website. In addition to just discussions, some bands have opted to have their concerts broadcast live on Ustream for viewers. Recently, the hugely popular L'Arc~En~Ciel's New Year's concert was broadcast live on the website. In addition, hardcore-punk/jazz outfit Midori announced the premature dissolution of the band to many fan's dismay over the streaming service, with vocalist Mariko actually being brought to tears. 

I just so happened to check out Sebastian X's website the other day to see the announcement for their first Ustream program in a long time. The event was held a couple hours ago at 9PM Japan time, which was just an hour behind my time here so I was able to watch the program no problem. The band was slated to announce a couple things, such as details about their new single as well as upcoming shows.

The band started out chatting while having a feast of traditional Japanese food dressed in their kimono's:

Many of the viewers greeted them happy new year through the chat service. Besides just chat over the food they ate, including the group indulging in a box of Pocky from Manatsu, the band talked a little bit about their upcoming shows and what they had accomplished over the past year and what they would be up to this year. Recording is slated to take place in April, and during summer the band has some shows(possibly a tour of some sort?) planned with Odotte Bakari no Kuni and Suiseinoboaz. Sebastian X has played about 80 shows in 2010 alone!
Each member also wrote some calligraphy to start out the new year.

They also talked about some of the reasoning behind the distribution of their new single, "Hikari no Tategami". Due for release on January 26, the one song release is only available through online services. For PC users, the single can be purchased for 200yen from iTunes and ototoy and it is also available for a bit cheaper through mobile phone services in Japan.
I can't quite remember, nor translate accurately, what Manatsu was trying to explain about going this route and not a physical CD, but I believe it had something to do with a lot of people these days not purchasing as much CDs and by going digital they may be reaching more fans(and probably saving a lot of money) by not going the CD route, since downloading, especially through mobile phones, I think, is more popular now.

Probably the most awaited portion of the program was the airing of PV for the aforementioned single which the showed about an hour after the program started. Unfortunately, they did not make the video available for watching later but I'm sure in the coming days it will be uploaded to youtube, since most of their videos have been in the past. I'll be sure to link the video once I can figure out where it has been uploaded to. Basically, it's Manatsu running in the street for a very long time until the sun comes up. That probably implies that they filmed the nights at 4 or 5 AM, which is why Manatasu wasn't in the way of many cars while running throughout the streets. Anyways, it's no use describing in full a PV that will come out eventually, right?

I couldn't catch the tail end of the program but I know the band talked a bit longer about a couple of things. They took questions from the audiences, talked about the possibility of a fifth member(what????) and also linked to an interview on how the band formed(it's also important to note the really old photo of the band contained in that interview, worth checking out!).

It was a rather long program but getting to see the music video and hear a little in detail about the band I wouldn't otherwise be able to was great. Ustream is looking to be a really great source for information and news for Japanese music, if only more bands would set to record their programs, especially since it's so hard for people in the western world to get up at 5AM for these things.
Also, I'm not sure if the new single can be purchased by those of us overseas or not...hopefully there is an easy way to acquire it for those of us not in Japan right now : )

I guess that's all for now! I hope I can provide better coverage and more screen shots next time. Good way to start the new year? I think so. For the record, the new year really starts tomorrow(erm, well since it's passed 12AM then today!) on the fourth in Japan since they tend to take the first three days of the new year as holidays.


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