Yuki Saito – Japanese pop gem from the 80s

When I hear the term ‘Japanese idol pop‘, two names that first come to mind are Momoe Yamaguchi and Akina Nakamori. That’s my opinion though, as both were quite different artistically than most of their peers –  Yamaguchi and Nakamori stood as sort of femme-fatale figures, capable of powerful delivery, whose music was often dark and/or provocative. They were certainly huge back in the day, but even then, the bubbly sugar pop dominated the scene, and it continues to do so to this day. I’m definitely not trying to make it sound as if it was a bad thing – the 80s produced a great deal of amazing idol-singers, and there are some newer artists I’m also fond of.

Music-wise I particularly love the 80s, and my previous great discovery from that time was Yukiko Okada – her catchy music and the tragic story gripped my heart. My most recent unearthed 80s gem is Yuki Saito. I did hear about her before, but only in the context of the timeless 80s anime Maison Ikkoku and the superb song used for that show –  悲しみよこんにちは (Kanashimi yo Konnichi wa – ‘Hello Sadness’). It was composed by Tamaki Koji of 安全地帯 (Anzen Chitai) fame.

However, I soon found out, that there’s much more to her career than an anime opening theme. Continue reading →

We need more of Better Off Ted

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Office Space started it all, (the original) British version of The Office perfected it, and IT Crowd played around with the idea. But when it comes to corporate/office environment shows there’s one often overlooked gem – Better Off Ted. Ricky Gervais’ The Office was absolutely hilarious, but underneath the comedy, there was something extremely dark about it.

On the contrary, Better Off Ted is an upbeat, rather lighthearted take on the genre, with some really witty quirks thrown in here and there. Recently I re-watched the two seasons which came out, and it really left me craving more. It’s not an ‘ambitious’ kind of show, with the word used in the meaning the critics use it, but it has plenty of clever jokes and running gags which will make you laugh your ass off. Continue reading →

Lifestyle changes and decision-making

frankunderwoodI’ve known my best friend for most of my life. We went to the same elementary, secondary and high school, stayed in touch throughout the college years and we still regularly hang out. We share love for rock music and great movies, although these days we often end up discussing cultural, social or political matters instead. It does sound a bit snotty, I guess. But at one point you might take a look around, and realize that there is a very limited variety of topics you speak about with the majority of your buddies and acquaintances. To put it bluntly, these people either have no idea whatsoever about certain issues (and most likely won’t ever become aware of them, unless the Facebook timeline brings the enlightenment right in front of their faces), or simply don’t care, as they have to deal with mortgage payments, shopping lists, children’s school assignments, work projects, planning holidays and watching talent shows. Of course, those things are important. Yet for the large number of folks who build their lives around all the chores and responsibilities, self-improvement and their own needs and wishes never come into picture. Continue reading →

Why so little love for good ol’ grumpy Dave Letterman?

Daaaave

Lately I was preoccupied with other stuff and I ended up missing on David Letterman’s announcement regarding his retirement in 2015. When I finally learned about it like a week ago, it came as quite a shock for me. A television icon of 31 years decided that it’s enough and thought it is time to wrap things up. The sudden move caught everyone by surprise.

As a matter of fact, the news hit me so hard, that last several days have been a crazy Youtube marathon involving me watching all my favorite Dave videos.

I’ve been checking out the Late Show bits for 6 or 7 years. Thankfully there’s plenty of shows available on the Internet. What I found out over the years, apart from me absolutely adoring David Letterman, is that he actually is not particularly liked by Americans anymore. People’s comments mainly consist of lines such as ‘he’s an old fool’, ‘ignorant’, ‘stupid’, ‘Ferguson is better’, ‘Jimmy Fallon/Kimmel is better’ or my favorite – ‘rude’. Continue reading →