How Kana Nishino Made Me Go Back To Hong Kong/Kanayan Tour Asia 2013

I think it was late 2011, when scouring the latest updates in Jpop, when I discovered Kana Nishino. Her singles always topped the charts, but like a lot of Jpop groups and artists, there wasn’t that much of an appeal to me, I was quick to judge her as dry and generic. I eventually did give her music a try, starting from songs from her third album, Thank You, Love.

So, yes, the day actually came: I have fallen in love with a Japanese pop star.

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Daddy’s Music

My father passed away yesterday due to heart failure. We didn’t get into a good how-are-things talk before it happened, but I would have the usual short Q&A sessions with him during video calls with my mother some weeks ago. No, we’ve been in good terms, and that’s the normal setup since my parents migrated to the US: I talk to Mommy, he’d most probably be near her listening in. Our exchange would vary from technical difficulties with the chat program we were using, to his standard “May girlfriend ka na ba?“.

There are lot of things I could type down and share about Daddy, but most of these things, I know I should just keep to myself, and to people I value. Or maybe some other time when it would be easier to arrange them in a nicer narrative. I’m still emotionally shaken, but I’m finding this word-crunching cathartic right now.


I’ll write about my father’s music.

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The 2012 Music List

When one has to make two year-ender music lists, one is already compromising. Why not just mishmash them together? See, its easier this way. Once you present the reader with a somewhat familiar and current, rock-oriented list, you lead them to another list that comprises of sunny, joyous music, sung in a language I don’t understand myself, with a lot of pretty girls dancing. This way, the reader is already seated, and its just rude for them not to finish the show.


The Standard List

One would write something like this for publication, and sometimes, I still do think of myself as that hesitant music pundit, who once fancied to be in the pages of music magazines Jingle (80s de facto music rag) and Rock N Rhythm (90s rocker bible). Truth is, though, I haven’t listened to enough of this year’s releases to make this critic-worthy. Yes, I have tried listening to the favorites: Frank Ocean, Alt-J, Japandroids, etc. To up the ante on honesty here, not enough material hooked me. Here are the exceptions:


Dinosaur Jr./Soundgarden

Two bands I hope to exist forever. The former trumps the latter here, though. Dinosaur Jr., with this year’s I Bet On Sky, maintains that guitar crunch, and everything else J Mascis wins at. King Animal, Soundgarden‘s post-reunion release, is a heavy slow-creep, but this seems like a machine operating at 60% of its optimum power. Ben Shepherd’s bass pummels like never heard before.

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Perfume World Tour 1st, Part 3: Front and Center

As soon as my ticket was torn at the venue entrance, I sped up my pace, and highly advised dude-from-Taiwan in front of me, to run for it.

I was slightly off-center facing the stage, but I wasn’t complaining. After some time, the crowd settled, and looking back from where I was, the venue was only half-filled, which was puzzling since the concert was sold out. Days later, there was a sensible conclusion that was posted online, that Hong Kong didn’t have a lot of options for smaller-scale concerts like this, and maybe the promoters did set a quota that wouldn’t fill the venue. I was told the Taiwan leg of the tour had a venue half the size of Hong Kong’s, and it was packed.


That idea I had where I should find a way to get shoes or shoe accessories to give me a few more inches in height to guarantee a good view of the stage now seemed foolish, but I just happened to make the right decision of queuing early. The girls behind about 6-feet tall Taiwan-dude (never got his name) were precisely in that unfortunate predicament I was scared to be in. So we switched places. Now, the claim is all mine: I’m in front, and I’m right smack in the center.

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Perfume World Tour 1st, Part 2: Arriving and Waiting

By 6AM, the morning of the concert, I was regretting buying the breakfast pasta I got from McDonalds, because I didn’t know it was actually macaroni soup. See, I was intent on bringing food I could eat while queued up for the gig, and this obviously wouldn’t work.

I arrived in Hong Kong early afternoon the day before, settled in at Casa Hotel, was not too surprised how small my room was, but soon realized, even if I just finished work at 8AM earlier that day, I will probably have sufficient, but not too satisfying, sleep. The bed was harder than expected, and the 5 hours of slumber halted around 4AM, when I checked the Hong Kong Perfume fan group and read that people will start lining up at 8AM. Thirty minutes went by, I didn’t think I’ll be able to catch sleep again anyway.

The cab driver knew where I wanted to go to, which was what the hotel staff told me as I asked them to write down the concert venue address in Chinese. There wasn’t a line to speak of, and I went around the building to be sure of this. Fifteen minutes later, Theo, a Hong Kong student, clad in the t-shirt he designed for the local fans, showed up and introduced himself.

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