JAPAN NITE! AN INTERVIEW WITH AUDREY KIMURA

This piece was originally published March 15th, 2010.

Japanese Demon IconIf I had to pick one single annual event that would be my all time favorite to attend, it would without a doubt, be JAPAN NITE, which is a touring musical showcase/festival that brings to the United States some of the coolest, most creative (and at times most insane) Japanese pop, punk, rock and beyond bands that you’ll ever see.

The lineups change on a yearly basis and you get to hear and experience amazingly fun groups who otherwise would doubtlessly not have a chance to tour the States on their own.

Some of these bands are really popular and signed to major label record deals back in Japan, and many due to their appearance on one of these JAPAN NITE prestigious tours, which includes the hugeSouth By Southwest Festival a.k.a. SXSW, gives an added boost to further their careers and create large American cult followings (and for some even bigger prospects along the vast trajectory that is now indie rock’s network).

As well as having one of the nicest vibes you’ll ever experience (yes politeness and happiness really is the order of the evening, however crazy the show gets) and you’re able to purchase all sorts of great merchandise and meet the band members in person after they perform.

The Mystery Box
 had the great pleasure of talking with JAPAN NITE’S inimitable founder and tireless promoter, Audrey Kimura, who sheds some light on this most happening of all music evenings…

Audrey Kimura and her fantastic, signed Lolita No.18 poster
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Hey Menko! A Look at Japan’s Colorful Little Card Wonders

This piece was originally published April 20th, 2009 Menko Man IconMenko is two things: first, a card game that has been played by kids in Japan since Japan’s Edo period (1603 to 1868 a.k.a. the pre modern isolationist Shogunate era of Japan, usually the period where most bad ass Samurai films take place) and is surprisingly still around today, and second, the name for the actual cards themselves. Menko as a game is similar to marbles and with much respect to this actual game, which is ingrained in a multitude of Japanese childhood memories to this day, you probably won’t be playing Menko anytime soon, nor will I, but oh boy, a piece of cardboard with a colorful printed image on one side has rarely been as visually appealing and fun as the glorious Menko. The Menko card reflects Japan’s cultural history, pop history and team sports history. Being a close relative to the trading card, or even a Pokemon card, kids have collected them, traded them and probably sneaked a few into their pockets at the corner store…uhh, forgetting to pay at the register.

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