Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Monkey Majik and the Yoshida Brothers

Some stranger sent this video of the band Monkey Majik. After I got over the initial shock of seeing some gaijin in a band in Japan, I decided I actually like the song and the video, with its nod to kitsune mythology. And of course, I really, really love the Yoshida Brothers. So, thank you, mysterious person!

The ending bit with the kitsune reminded me of the opening vignette in Akira Kurosawa's film "Dreams," in which a boy is told not to go out and play, but does anyway, and in doing so, spies on a fox-wedding. As a result, he is told he must commit suicide. Never, ever mess with foxes.

First posted over at Japundit, where someone noted: Best cross-cultural music/video I’ve seen so far.Not cheesy, not even too “clichesque”. I tend to agree.

I love it. And you're right, the ending does remind one of that particular vignette.
It is rather uncommon. I have been playing in and out of Japanese Indies bands for over five years now and I have yet to see another foreigner at any of the venues we have played. And this is in Tokyo. They exist, but the foreign crowd tends to stay seperated, usualy playing with other foreigners and at there own select group of venues. It is really a shame too. I'd really like to see more mixed groups and what they could put out.

Here's our band if you're interested:

We consist of two Japanese, an American (me), and a Canadian.
Scott-Sorry I'm so slow to respond. A family emergency had me away from the computer for a little bit. I'm very interested in your experiences as a musician in Japan and will most definitely check out your band.

I imagine, though, that at least one of you must speak pretty good Japanese? I'd think the language barrier would prevent collaboration to some degree. I'm guessing that you and your band-mates have overcome this! And, like you say, I would think that cross fertilization would lead to some really interesting music.
Thanks to response and I'm sorry to hear about the family emergency. I hope everything is OK.

Yes, the language I image can be a rather large barrier. Even in our case where we can all get around in Japanese (as you assumed), we can still hit the occasional cultural expectation barrier. It is definitely not as easy as all being brought up in the same area but at the same time, that can be a major plus. You have to be a bit more open, and in turn, the music ends up being so as well.

As for being good or not, well, that's a different story :P
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