Tag Archives: Nippon Budokan

Sakura 2014

2 Apr

Here are some of the photos my wife, kids and I took at 花見 (cherry blossom viewing) we went to yesterday.

We went to a small park, 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine), and 千鳥ヶ淵 (Chidorigafuchi) near the 日本武道館 (Nippon Budokan).

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The world-famous 日本武道館 (Nippon Budokan).

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The torii entrance to the 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine). We ate “okonomiyaki” for lunch from one of these ‘yatai’ (traditional Japanese food booths).

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The 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine).

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This old sakura tree in Yasukuni Shrine is the official tree that determines the start of “Sakura season” for Tokyo. When five flowers bloom on this tree, it’s announced that the season has begun.

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千鳥ヶ淵 (Chidorigafuchi) near the Budokan.

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Postponed…or canceled?

6 Mar

As I mentioned in this post, the American hard rock band KISS were scheduled to perform in concert seven nights in a six-city tour around Japan this coming April (2011).

The KISS flyer for the four dates KISS were scheduled to perform in the Tokyo area.

I say that they “were scheduled” to come to Japan because it was announced today that KISS “postponed” their tour of Japan.

The "radio schedule" from the newspaper that the postponement of the KISS tour will be explained tonight.

My friend told me that the famous hard rock / heavy metal music critic / journalist Masa Ito mentioned on his radio show that KISS are now tentatively scheduled to come to Japan this autumn (2011).

Hopefully they won’t just decide to cancel the tour altogether.

A “Sonic Boom” will hit Japan

27 Feb

First of all, as I mentioned in this comment, the “2011 Tokyo International Marathon” was held today.

30,000 people from Japan and other countries ran the 42.195 KM (over 26 miles) course through the streets of Tokyo.
For the past five years now, the Tokyo Marathon has been an annual event held at the end of February.

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Anyways, my friend has just informed me that the American rock band KISS will be coming to Japan this April to play seven shows around Japan to support their “Sonic Boom” album.

(I did an interview with the artist who designed this album cover, by the way.)

The dates of the shows that KISS are scheduled to play in Japan are:

2011 April 13 – Nagoya, Japan at the Aichi Prefecture Gymnasium
2011 April 14 – Yokohama, Japan at the Pacifico Yokohama
2011 April 17 – Saitama, Japan at the Saitama Super Arena
2011 April 18 – Kobe, Japan at the World Hall
2011 April 20 – Tokyo, Japan at the Nippon Budokan
2011 April 21 – Tokyo, Japan at the Nippon Budokan
2011 April 23 – Sapporo, Japan at the Makomanai Indoor Stadium

Tickets for the shows in the Tokyo area (which are Yokohama, Saitama and Tokyo) will go on sale on 2011 March 12th.

I have seen KISS play in Japan in both Yokohama and Tokyo before. In Yokohama, I saw them at the “Yokohama Arena” (not the “Pacifico”, where they’ll being playing this time). In Tokyo, I saw them at both the “Tokyo Dome” and the “Nippon Budokan”.

An interesting thing about this tour is that KISS will play a show in Sapporo, Japan. KISS has played many shows in Japan since their first time here in the 1970’s and they’ve never played northern Japan before. I’m sure that KISS fans in Hokkaido are happy to hear that there will finally be a KISS concert in their area!

The name of the 「日本武道館」 (Nippon Budokan) in Tokyo means “Japan Martial-arts Hall”.
Traditionalists don’t really like the idea of musicians playing pop music in this “sacred” hall. The first pop band to play there were The Beatles when they first came to Japan. The traditionalists protested their concerts. But The Beatles drew huge crowds to the Budokan…and they held the record for the most consecutive sell-out shows there. They played four sold-out shows in a row at the Budokan.
But KISS beat The Beatles‘s record when they played five sold-out shows at the Budokan on their first Japan tour in the late ’70s.

Since then it’s become quite normal for musicians to perform at the Nippon Budokan. Even with the bigger and newer “Tokyo Dome” not far from the Budokan, upcoming Japanese pop stars still consider it a sign of success to play at the Nippon Budokan…not unlike American musicians playing at the “Madison Square Garden”.

The famous "Nippon Budokan"; Tokyo, Japan

Have you ever seen a KISS concert? If not, you’re missing out on the best live show by any band. Their shows are quite exciting…fire-breathing, blood, flying guitars, flying musicians, outrageous costumes, kabuki-style face paint.

To get an idea, watch this music promotion video for the single “Modern Day Delilah” from their most recent album “Sonic Boom”:

And, in a more good news for us KISS fans…the band has announced that a new KISS studio album of brand-new songs is due out later this year (2011)!

A number of newspapers in Japan had articles about the upcoming KISS tour here.
I bought today’s copy of 「夕刊フジ」 (“Yuukan-Fuji“) evening paper:

Here’s a close-up of the article about KISS:

 

The headline says: "Hell's group" KISS return for a Japan tour after four-and-a-half years!

New KISS album

12 Jul

I have been a fan of the band KISS since I was about eight years old in the late 1970s (at the height of KISS‘s popularity in America).

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I have a number of KISS-related posts on this site. For example, click here to see one that gets many visitors (I wrote it in 2008 August, and it still gets alot of hits.)

KISS has recently announced that their first studio album since their 1998 “Psycho Circus” album will be released this Autumn (2009).

KISS is getting old. Founding members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley were in their late-forties when they released their last album eleven years ago, already a bit old for a rock ‘n roll band…but now they’re both almost 60!

Although KISS is notorious for over-commercializing their brand by putting the KISS logo on anything and everything (they sell KISS notebooks, KISS golf equipment, KISS dolls, KISS comics, KISS condoms, even a KISS funeral casket and much, much more!), and KISS bassist Gene Simmons is infamous for behaving like a “dirty old man” (when he was young and single, it was acceptable for him to flirt with young women. But now that he’s old and has a family…he just embarrasses himself).

But, regardless, I’m still a KISS fan. And I’ll be buying the new KISS album when it’s released in Japan (there are about 40 albums in the KISS catalog so far, and I have them all (I have some of them on LP record, cassette tape and CD!)).

I will also see them in concert again if they include dates in Japan on the tour to promote this new album.

KISS has also announced the titles of three songs that will be included on their new album (the album has yet to be titled).
The song titles are:
Russian Roulette“, “Modern Day Delilah“, and “Stand“.

It was also announced by KISS that on the new album, lead guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer will sing lead vocals on a song each.

This is interesting to a KISS fan because the current line-up of KISS is: bassist Gene Simmons, rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley, lead guitaris Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer…of which, only Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley have ever sung lead vocals.

Current KISS line-up

Current KISS line-up

Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are founding KISS members…but the lead guitarist and drummer position in the band has changed members a number of times (there have five different lead guitarists and three different drummers in KISS). All of the original KISS members have sung lead vocals on various songs…but of the replacement members, only Bruce Kulick and Eric Carr have been allowed to sing lead (one song and two, respectively). Vinnie Vincent and Mark St. John never sang on a KISS album.

Anyways, I’m looking forward to hearing the new KISS album (and seeing the artwork)!

Have you ever owned a KISS album? Which one? Have you ever seen one of their amazing concerts? Which tour?
What’s your favorite KISS song?

靖国神社の桜祭り

8 Apr

Today my wife and I went to 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine).

靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) is a beautiful shrine in Tokyo that is dedicated to all who have died defending Japan in battle.

Some of the WW2 veterans enshrined at 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) have been classified as war criminals by Allied courts. So, for that reason, 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) is a controversial place, especially with neighboring Asian countries.

To me, 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) is Japan’s equivalent to America’s Arlington Veterans Cemetery in Washington D.C..
Nothing wrong with honoring those who sacrificed their lives for their country. (I’ve written a few other posts about 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine)…click here to read one.)

Anyways, the reason we went to 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) was to see the 桜祭り (Cherry Blossom Festival) there.

The (Cherry Blossoms) in Tokyo are close to the end of their short life. They are beginning to fall to the ground. Soon they’ll be gone until next year…so, as we do every year, we’re appreciating them before they’re gone.

Whenever the wind gently blew today, the 桜の花びら (petals of the Cherry Blossom flowers) would fall to the ground. It was like a beautiful pink snowfall!

Here are some of the photos we took today (in many of them, you can see the falling 桜の花びら (petals of the Cherry Blossom flowers)):

Entrance to 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine)

Entrance to 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine)

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Can you see the falling petals in this photo?

Can you see the falling petals in this photo?

You can see the falling petals in this picture too!

You can see the falling petals in this picture too!

Sakura petals are floating in the lake.

Sakura petals are floating in the lake.

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屋台 (Festival food booths)

屋台 (Festival food booth

Entrance to the world-famous 日本武道館 (Nippon-Budokan)

Entrance to the world-famous 日本武道館 (Nippon-Budokan)

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Statue of a 19th century Japanese politician 品川弥二郎 (Shinagawa Yajirou)

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草鹿式

14 Oct

As I mentioned in an earlier post (here), we just finished a three-day weekend because yesterday was a holiday. (It was 体育の日 (Sports Day)…(see my short FAQ about it here)).

We went to two festivals. One was on Sunday (at this post) and the other one was yesterday.

The event that we went to yesterday wasn’t really a festival but more of a ceremony.
It was the 草鹿式 (Archery Ceremony) at 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine).

The literal translation of 草鹿式 would be “Grass deer ceremony“. This is because the archers, wearing traditional outfits and speaking in traditional 日本語 (Japanese), shoot arrows at a stuffed deer. Not a real deer…a fake one.
The arrows don’t have arrowheads so that they can use the target deer every year.

Like 相撲 (Sumo), this event has alot of ritual and tradition that is done before each shooting.

It was fun to watch…not as exciting as 流鏑馬 (Horseback Archery), but still fun. (Click here and here to read my posts about 流鏑馬 (Horseback Archery)).

Here are a few photos I took:

Here are some videos:

Because 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) is where all who have died fighting for Japan are enshrined, it attracts Japan’s right-wing extremists.

But they are a minority. Most visitors to 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) are just like visitors to war memorials in other countries…only there to honor the sacrifice and the memories of soldiers who died in battle. (See an earlier post I wrote about 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) here).

After we left there, we went to the nearby 昭和館 (Showa-kan).

The 昭和時代 (Showa Period) in Japan was when the current Emperor’s father was alive and was Emperor. The 昭和館 (Showa-kan) is a museum that focuses on how life in Japan was during and just after World War 2.

I couldn’t take any pictures inside but it was very interesting. Japan has changed alot since then and there were many hardships back then. But some things, like the food that Japanese people eat, is still quite the same.

The museum’s website is here (日本語 (Japanese) only).

Over the years I have seen many American celebrites do television commercials in Japan. (Kinda like in that overrated movie “Lost In Translation“. (I thought that was a painfully boring movie…but some people, it seems, liked it alot. C’est La Vie. Did you like it?)).

Tommy Lee Jones has been making humorous commercials for Boss Coffee for awhile now.

Most of the American celebrities just say a few lines in English or they may say a couple words of Japanese…but they usually slaughter the language if they do. Tommy Lee Jones speaks Japanese pretty good in his commercials though.

From there, we walked past the 日本武道館 (Nippon Budokan Arena). Along the walk, I took these pictures:

On the way home, we stopped for a break at the Lotteria Fast Food Restaurant. We ate dinner at home, but just took a “coffee break”. They sell Japanese style snacks…Green Tea Shake, and An-bean and mochi pastries. So we had one each.