Raymond’s excursions into East Asian pop music, episode 4: Yuki


When my story left off, a colleague of mine had dedicated himself to finding some good Japanese pop music, and what he found was this music video of the song JOY by Japanese pop star Yuki Isoya, who performs under the stage name YUKI.

The video was mesmerizing. The Flash Gordon extras. The dance steps. The blinking. The hyperventilating. (Though I don't think the blue dress suits her; she's not a teenager any more.) But the best part is the retransition from the middle section. After the wiggling fingers, she just leans into the big note and swings her arms in, well, joy. I have no idea what she's saying, but somehow that doesn't matter.

My colleague became obsessed with his own discovery, buying all of Yuki's solo albums. Apparently, he's in good company; she seems to be quite popular. The JOY video won the Japanese Space Shower Music Video Awards prize for Best Video of 2006.

During my tourist day in San Francisco earlier this year, I stopped by Japantown and bought two CDs. One was the album JOY. Would the other songs on the album be as infectious as its title track? Fortunately, I was not disappointed. They're all great.

The other album I bought was Katamari Fortissimo Damacy (塊フォルテッシモ魂), the soundtrack to the video game Katamari Damacy, thereby bringing the story full circle.

Comments (15)
  1. KTamas says:

    "Dramatic" is very food, too (with another unique video):

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=4pcaKq4Llmo

  2. Ross Bemrose says:

    I didn’t care for the game Katamari Damacy, so I haven’t heard much of its music.  What I did hear was fairly quirky, though.

    Now we just need to get Raymond hooked on other video game music… er… sorry, I was talking to myself there.

  3. KG says:

    Be careful, Raymond, or <a href="http://www.xkcd.com/c161.html">this may happen to you!</a>

    ;-)

  4. roxfan says:

    Well, it’s food too!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qn_StsYNdXU

    (starts at around 00:35)

  5. KTamas says:

    Yeah, the music video has some pancakes in it too. H&C surely had some extraordinary opening videos (both seasons).

  6. KTamas says:

    *ahem* good, not food.

  7. Jorge Coelho says:

    Damn, that ‘Joy’ song grows on you. Can’t stop listening to it now, ahah! :-)

  8. HeadlessCow says:

    The first time I watched the opening to H&C I thought it was some sort of joke. I was actually kinda disappointed when I watched the OP for the second season and it was so much less weird :)

    Season 2’s opening video is a reference to the artwork of Jeff Koons. Season 1 is a reference to some culinary artist that I can’t remember (or maybe I never knew).

    The real video for Dramatic is full of (obvious) references to the series, and the video for Fugainaiya is also full of (less obvious) references to the show. Since it doesn’t seem to be on youtube, screencaps of it can be found here: http://www.designchronicle.com/memento/archives/yuki_fugainaiya_pv_honey_and_clover_ii_op_theme.html

  9. N. Velope says:

     There is a great dancing video game that uses JPop music called Osu Tatakae Ouendan (roughly = leaders of magnificent cheers) for the Nintendo DS.  You tap to try to match rhythms presented on the touch-screen and your in-synchness affects how well 3 very stone faced men "strike encouraging manly poses" to help a troubled townsperson in their task (like studying for homework or starting their motorcycle).  Each task is done to a different cover version of a popular JPop song.

  10. N. Velope:  That game is being released in the USA, as "Elite Beat Agents".  Of course they changed the music to be all American songs:

    http://kotaku.com/gaming/elite-beat-agents/elite-beat-agents-tracklisting-for-your-reading-pleasure-207745.php

  11. BryanK says:

    Sounds like DDR, too.  (That is, Dance Dance Revolution, which I believe is for the Xbox.)

  12. Cody says:

    DDR started in the arcades and has been put out on Dreamcast, PSX, PS2 and X-Box as far as I know.

    The difference from DDR, I think, would be the fact that you can’t use feet on your DS.

  13. HeadlessCow says:

    Don’t forget Mario DDR on the Gamecube :)

  14. John Goewert says:

    Na-Naa Na-Na-Na Na Na Na  Na  Na-Na Naa Na Na Na.

    I have KD in the changer at my shop. People always give questioning looks when it comes into cycle.

    "I’m so in love with you, I want to wad you up into my life. Let’s roll up to big the most biggest star in the sky."

  15. Brian says:

    My roommate had introduced me to the song "Nagai Yume" (長い夢) by YUKI, which is pretty darn catchy.

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