The end of the year in Japan is a joyous time when families get together to laugh, reflect, and enjoy delicious, seasonal cuisine while watching the yearly Kohaku Uta Gassen singing competition. Interestingly, this week in Tokyo pop culture has also been about laughing, singing and eating (with a slight horror twist):
びっくりしたー！！！ いくらなんでも活きが良すぎませんかね？ pic.twitter.com/ielC5FODXB
— しゃみおつぜみ (@mtgdel) December 1, 2019
Between sashimi, rice with raw eggs and plenty of vegetable dishes, it’s clear that Japan likes its food to be as fresh as possible. But one establishment has taken it a bit too far. In a December 1 tweet that currently has been liked more than 60,000 times, user @mtgdel posted a video of Japanese tiger prawns from a Shizuoka supermarket… which were still alive and thrashing about in their plastic containers trying to break free. The good news is that if you feel compelled to help them out, you can free the prawns for just ¥780, which is a bargain for four new pets. Or dinner. Your choice.
The Reiwa Era’s First Year of Music
Every year, Fuji TV airs their FNS Music Festival (Kayosai), with the December 4, 2019 edition marking not only the show’s first airing in the Reiwa era, but also their 45th anniversary. Originally starting out as a music competition, FNS transformed over the years into a more general music festival that today attracts some of the biggest stars in Japanese entertainment. One of them, Arashi‘s Aiba Masaki, hosted FNS this year, which welcomed such stars as Exile, KinKi Kids, Juju, AKB48 and many more. Part two of the festival will air on December 11.
Interestingly, FNS intertwines with another 2-day music event: Animelo Summer Live, which this year takes place on December 1 and 8. Hosted by the media company Dwango and Nippon Cultural Broadcasting, Animelo is one of Japan’s biggest anime music festivals, although they also feature performances from the world of games and the tokusatsu genre. This year’s edition was dubbed Animelo Summer Live 2019: Story, and introduced such artists as fhána, Sphere or Iris. And since we’ve already discussed what’s happening in Japanese pop and anime music, it only seems fair to end the music segment by taking a quick look at the country’s rock scene.
L’Arc-en-Ciel are one of Japan’s biggest rock bands, and they’ve been in the music business for nearly 30 years. But it was only this week that they’ve finally caught up with the times and opened their official YouTube channel. It currently only has five videos, including three full MVs, but more are sure to come any day now (and best of all, none of the vids are region-locked!) The channel also promises that some very big L’Arc-en-Ciel news will be announced on December 11, so keep an eye out for that.
Yokohama Finally Gets Top Billing
Earlier this month, it was reported that Kenta Kiritani and Masahiro Higashide were cast in the upcoming TV Asahi series The Detective and The Prosecutor in which they’ll be playing the title of the show. There are two reasons to get excited about this announcement. First, the show will be set in Yokohama, Japan’s second largest city which, while not a stranger to TV and cinema, is always a welcomed change of pace from so many major productions that always seem to take place in Tokyo. Secondly, The Detective and The Prosecutor will pose somewhat of a challenge for the two leads, who until now have mainly played sensitive and meek TV characters like with Kiritani’s Ren in the TBS series Marigold in 4 Minutes, or with Higashide’s Boku-chan in The Confidence Man JP. To see how the two actors tackle playing hardboiled fighters for justice, tune in to TV Asahi in January 2020.
Not long after that, in February next year, we’ll also get to see the new comedy Goodbye: Life Comedy of Starting From a Lie. Set in postwar Japan, the movie will tell the story of a magazine editor played by Yo Oizumi who, instead of breaking up with his many girlfriends, hires Kinuko Nagai (Eiko Koike) to pose as his wife. Based on the trailer for the movie that dropped recently, Goodbye promises to be a silly, energetic and nostalgic comedy starring the guy who played the monstrous Shou Tucker in the live-action Fullmetal Alchemist movie getting hurt – a lot.