Sakura-Con J-Pop Extravaganza!

Since the Asian Americans behind this blog don’t know shit about Japanese pop culture, this guest post is brought to you by special J/K Pop correspondent, lace front-wearin’ Sakura fashion model, and BCB Affirmative Action Fellow, Reese Umbaugh aka Bishie Reesie.

Beginning today, all of downtown Seattle will be flanked by cosplayers, otakus, and tons and tons of adults in Pokémon costumes. That’s right: It’s Sakura-Con weekend. For those unfamiliar, Sakura-Con is Seattle’s annual three-day anime convention held at the cavernous Washington State Convention & Trade Cener. Programming includes panels on everything from voice acting to Japanese cooking, RPG and tabletop gaming, fashion shows (more on that in a later post!), and J-pop concerts.

Much like my previous post on K-pop, I’d like to take a moment in honor of Sakura-Con weekend and share with you my 5 favorite J-pop bands, in no particular order:

Stereopony:

If you are a fan of anime, there’s a damn good chance that you’ve heard a song by Stereopony. They basically have the anime theme song market on lockdown, having done theme songs for Gundam, Bleach, and Darker Than Black. They’re also note-worthy for being an all-female rock band, which makes them instantly badass. If you’re into it and heading to Sakura-Con then you’re in luck! Stereopony will be performing tonight at 6:30PM. Not able to make it? Good news, they’re also live-streaming the show. More info here.

The Pillows:

Man, I love me some Pillows. I remember being in high school and spending a hefty chunk of change to import this record from Japan. I’d blast it in my car on full volume with my windows down and other kids would stare me down. I finally saw The Pillows live in a shitty Seattle venue last fall and they blew my face off.

Perfume:

Originally formed in 2001, Perfume has slowly taken over the Japanese pop world. Recently signing on with Universal in order to release their music internationally, the girls seem poised for worldwide success. Fun Fact about Perfume: They formed the group themselves as teenagers, without being put together by a record company. This video stands as one of my favorites of all time.

Shonen Knife:

The song above is called “I Am a Cat”. That is all.

The Seatbelts:

Less a band and more a force of nature, The Seatbelts is composed of over a dozen members and helmed by the musical Goddess of anime: Yoko Kanno. Nothing makes me want to run in the opposite direction quite like the words “jazz band”, but The Seatbelts are so much more than that. They span genres, have songs in multiple languages, and make some of the craziest music I have ever heard.

See you in the mosh pit at Sakura-Con!

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