I’m sure you’ve heard the USA For Africa charity song from the ’80s that raised money for starving children in Africa called “We Are The Children”.
I know that song was popular but, honestly, I never liked it.
You may not be aware of a much better charity song for African children that was recorded 28 years ago today by some of the biggest names in 80s heavy metal.
On 1985 May 20th, members of Dio, Judas Priest, W.A.S.P., Twisted Sister, Dokken, Queensryche, Quiet Riot, Rough Cutt, Motley Crue, and more got together and called themselves Hear ‘N Aid to record the song “(We Are) Stars “!
“(We Are) Stars“, twenty-eight years old today, is the heavy metal answer to We Are The World.
And it’s much better!
Today is February 3rd … in Japan, it’s a holiday called 節分 (Setsubun).
On this day, fathers wear a demon mask and the children throw beans at him and shout 「鬼は外！福は内！」 (“Demon (bad luck) go out! Good fortune come in!”) until he runs away.
Then everyone eats the number of beans corresponding to their age (one bean for each year of their age).
Also, there is a special sushi people eat on this day.
And, at major temples in Japan, there is a ceremony in which celebrities who were born in the current Chinese zodiac year throw beans at the crowd.
We went to the famous 浅草寺 (Sensouji Temple) in 浅草 (Asakusa, Tokyo) and caught some beans that were thrown by famous people there. The celebrity that I was most looking forward to seeing was 「アニマル浜口)」 (“Animal” Hamaguchi)!
Animal Hamaguchi was a professional wrestler in Japan and then he became the trainer / coach of his daughter, Kyoko, who was a female wrestler that represented Japan at the Olympics and other games.
Animal Hamaguchi is well-known for his loud, animated and humorous support and cheering of his daughter!
I like him!
The charismatic “Animal” Hamaguchi throwing beans at the crowd.
People around the world can name American presidents, American movie actors, American pop music artists, American companies, and American fictional characters.
They’re world famous.
It’s been that way for at least a few generations now.
But before I came to Japan, there was no internet back then and Japanese food and pop culture wasn’t popular around the world like it’s become in recent years.
Back then, I wouldn’t have been able to name a single Japanese prime minister.
The only Japanese actor I knew back then was Pat Morita (from “Karate Kid“)…and he was actually a Japanese-American.
The only Japanese musicians I knew were Yoko Ono and the Japanese heavy metal band Loudness.
Of course, I would have been able to name a number of Japanese companies such as Sony, Toshiba, Toyota, Honda, etc.
As for Japanese fictional characters, I knew Ultraman and Godzilla.
I’ve now been living in Japan for most of my life…so, I probably know more about Japan than I know about America anymore.
How about you? How familiar are you with Japan and Japanese culture?
What famous Japanese people do you know?
How about Japanese food / dishes?
Actors / actresses?
Bands / musicians?
How about Japanese words?
Or any other things you know about Japan?
There is a Japanese artist / comedian who goes by the stage name “Tekken“.
He’s quite easy to recognize on TV since he wears black and white face paint and has a goofy hairstyle.
It says 「金」 (“gold”) on his forehead.
He is an excellent artist and he’s especially known for his amazing flip-animation stories. He draws hundreds…sometimes even thousands of pictures in a sketchbook, and flips them causing them to “move” like a TV cartoon.
Well, his flip-animation story (movie) titled 「振り子」 (“Pendulum”) has become the official music video for a song by a British pop band called “Muse“.
I’ve never heard of that band before but I have seen Tekken and his work on TV here in Japan many times.
You should watch the video. It’s very good…a bit of a “tear-jerker”. It shows a teenage couple falling in love, getting married, having a child, a growing old together. Not all of their days are happy…and near the end of their lives the husband regrets mistakes he’s made.
Next Wednesday (2012 October 12th), the new KISS album “Monster” will be released in Japan.
Album cover of KISS “Monster”
The track listing is:
‘Hell Or Hallelujah‘
‘Wall Of Sound‘ ‘Freak‘
‘Back To The Stone Age‘
‘Long Way Down‘
‘Eat Your Heart Out‘
‘The Devil Is Me‘
‘Outta This World‘
‘All For The Love Of Rock & Roll‘
‘Take Me Down Below‘
‘Right Here Right Now‘
The Japanese version of the album will include a bonus track (as many Japanese pressings of albums do), which will be the live version of ‘King Of The Nighttime World‘.
The video for the single ‘Hell Or Hallelujah‘ is here:
And the November 2012 issue of the Japanese heavy metal magazine called “Burrn!” went on sale today and Paul Stanley of KISS is on the cover.
Also…the iconic Japanese character Hello Kitty teamed up with KISS and a huge variety of products showing Hello Kitty‘s face painted in KISS make-up is now available in Japan.
Anyways, please take my poll and also leave a comment to tell me what you think of the rock band KISS and whether or not you’ll buy their new album:
Do you know the 1992 movie “The Unforgiven ” with Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freedman and Gene Hackman?
It’s about a man who was a ruthless killer in the American “old west” (played by Clint Eastwood) who, after having a wife and kids, changes his ways and becomes a farmer.
But his wife dies of smallpox and he finds himself financially struggling to provide for his children..so he takes “one last job” as a hired killer / bounty hunter.
One of my favorite scenes from the movie is when Clint’s character sees his friend’s murdered body displayed in front of a bar as a “message” to all potential bounty hunters…he walks into the bar and shoots the bar’s owner.
At which, the sheriff says “Well, sir, you are a cowardly son of a b***h! You just shot an unarmed man! “
And Clint’s character replies “He should have armed himself if he’s going to decorate his saloon with my friend. “
Well, I just learned that a Japanese remake of “The Unforgiven ” is being filmed.
It is due to hit theaters in Japan in the autumn of next year (2013) and will be titled 「許されざる者」 which means “The Unforgiven” in Japanese.
It will star the internationally famous Japanese actor 渡辺謙 (Ken Watanabe) who worked with Clint Eastwood when he starred in the movie “Letters From Iwo-jima “.