Being Big In Japan

The other night, I happened upon this clip of Swing Out Sister (SOS) on YouTube.  It dates back to 96 or 97, back when SOS had definitely declined from most North American limelight.  I’ve been a longtime fan of SOS since my first listen in the late 80s (you might remember Breakout and Twilight World); their British sophisti-pop style appealed to my overgrown eclectic appetite for diverse music.

In the clip Andy and Corinne are being interviewed on the Japanese TV show,Music Station, which has been around since 1986 (or so Wikipedia tells me).  Many popular music artists have also been on the show, including… Green Day, Deborah Gibson, Tiffany, Kiss, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Boyz II Men, Lenny Kravitz, Charlotte Church, Alanis Morissette, Enya, Destiny’s Child, Shakira, Alicia Keys, Busta Rhymes, Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Avril Lavigne, Hilary Duff, The Offspring, Backstreet Boys, Stevie Wonder, James Blunt, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fergie, Sarah Brightman, U2, Kanye West, Maroon 5, Flo Rida, Lady Gaga, The Black Eyed Peas, Oasis, Christina Aguilera, Norah Jones, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Carly Rae Jepsen, and many other artists (ones I didn’t know by name).  The show equates to the British Top of the Pops in how it features popular media and rising music stars.

To me, the Youtube clip captures a moderately awkward interview…

My observations:
What kind of host wears sunglasses while conducting an interview?  I love the co-host’s pink pop filter on her microphone–it seems kinda 80s, but in the 90s.  With the translator on the left, there’s a lot communication going on during the interview, but if you listen clearly, you can hear it’s their first time in Japan (Corinne nods).   When the host asks about where they’d been already, Corinne indicates a reference to some record store.  In there place, I would too, mostly because I wouldn’t have a clue how to pronounce anything else.  “I want to buy some workmen’s trousers.”  I didn’t quite get what Corinne was saying about the workmen’s trousers so I had to look them up…worker_trousers

So here’s the stylish Japanese work wear… It looks pretty snazzy when you compare it with the gear at Mark’s Work Warehouse.  I’m not sure how safe those flair bottoms would be, but hey, it’s fashionable.tabi

And these are the funky shoes that Corinne indicates with her bare stocking.  Speaking of shoes, I wonder what happened to her shoes.  Maybe the airline lost her luggage. Who knows?!  And is it just me, or do the groupies sitting behind SOS look like they might be on loan from the Power Rangers?  I love their facial expressions too.  Some of them evidently very board with the whole interview (insert imaginary mother’s voice saying, “And remember, while on TV, don’t fidget! And for heaven’s sake don’t lift your dress.”).

Outside of the expected musical giants, like U2, Madonna, or Michael Jackson, a couple other artists I enjoy also went big in Japan, specifically Sara Bareilles and Cathy Dennis.  Japanese culture is very different from Canada, and it makes me curious about the things that end up big in popular culture over there.  It seems appropriate to wind up my ramblings today with this little tune…

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