Friday, September 29, 2006

Konishiki and Layzie Bone - "Livin like Kings"

For the uninitiated, Konishiki, formerly Saleva'a Atisano'e, is a Hawaii-born Samoan sumo wrestler, who became the first foreigner to reach the rank of Ozeki, or champion, the second highest rank in sumo. Surprisingly quick and powerful for his nearly 600 lb body, he could, during his prime, easily force out almost any Japanese sumo wrestler from the ring. As the years passed by, injuries took its toll, and Konishiki had to retire from the world of Sumo. So what's an ex-sumo wrestler to do?

Click on the picture of Layzie Bone above, or the picture of Konishiki's album to see a video of Konishiki, the 500+ lb Sumo wrestler-turned-rapper (posted by MusicVideos808). Layzie Bone of the rap group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony makes a special guest appearance. I love this video - Konishiki must be literally the biggest rapper on this planet, and the song does grow on you after awhile.

This song, "Livin' like Kings" from the album Konishiki, KMS was released in the year 2000, after his retirement from sumo wrestling, but I don't recall it doing very well in the U.S. As of now, Konishiki now goes about Japan singing Hawaiian songs and making good money through his television appearances. Here's a link to a clip of his song Sumo Gangsta, in which he raps in Japanese!

How did the critics receive this album? Jon Azpiri of the All Music Guide sums it up:

Konishiki, KMS is definitely what you would call niche marketing. The album is targeted at those underrepresented fans of both sumo wrestling and hip-hop. Not exactly a growing demographic, but nobody's going to stop Konishiki from trying. When you're a 6'3", 600-pound champion sumo wrestler, odds are you can make rap albums or do anything else you want to and no one will stop you. No doubt Konishiki's considerable girth, not to mention his fame, earned him a record deal. What's scary is that this relative novice provides some passable West Coast hip-hop....Konishiki really shouldn't be making albums. Of course, nobody wants to be the one to tell him.

Regardless of what the critics say, you gotta love this guy as he is still active after retirement from sumo and now promotes Hawaii - Japan ties. He plows much of his money into helping disadvantaged children in Hawaii go to Japan, through his Konishiki Kids foundation. And he even did the second ending theme for the animation Kirby (based on the video game). Check out this video posted by IvynaJS!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Japanese potty training anime

"If you can use the toilet, you've become a 'pantsman'!"

The above quote starts off this Japanese potty training video posted by Deebingo. It teaches kids that when they can use a toilet, they can become a "pantsman." Think of it as the equivalent of getting your blue belt in karate class. And I just love the smiling turds near the end of the video!

Here's the first dialogue:
Kid tiger:"My stomach's going muzu muzu (feels itchy)."
Tiger Mom: "And when your stomach goes muzu muzu, what does it mean?"
Kid tiger: "I gotta pee pee! Toilet!"

"When you shi shi, it goes "shi pa pa"

Second dialogue:
Kid tiger" "My butt's going muzu muzu"
Tiger Dad: "And when it goes muzu muzu, what does it mean?"
Kid tiger: "Doo doo! I gotta toilet!"

Talking toilet: "Okay, let's try making doo doo"

"When you unchi (Japanese for "doo doo"), it goes "un pa pa""

Tiger dad: "Wipe your butt"
(smiling turds go down toilet)
Kid Tiger: "Bye bye doo doo!"

Kid Tiger: Daddy, I did a doo doo.
Tiger Dad: You did a good job. So from today, you can wear underwear! (Instead of diapers).

Enjoy the live action afterwards!

Monday, September 04, 2006

More Korea --> Japan meme rap!

DJ Ozma is at it again. Scene from "Junjou," his cover of Koyote's "Sunjon"

I am still dreading the prospect of choosing from the 1,000 pictures or so I took in China (the other thousand were destroyed by a botched CD transfer in China). I spent the past few hours going over the final proofs of my book - it's way past the deadline, and already been advertised online. Right now, I don`t know how to start working on my China blog.

Shin Ji from the Korean group Koyote

So to procrastinate, I`d like to introduce you to a super-catchy song that has wormed its way into my brain this summer. DJ Ozma was at it again, once again doing a cover of a Korean pop song. This time, it`s from the hip-hop and dance group Koyote.

1) Koyote version
First take a look at the original song, "Sunjong" (written as 純情 in Chinese characters, 순정 in the Korean Hangul writing system) which came out in 1998. I was dancing on a tabletop in a restaurant to this song in Beijing of all places! (amazing what Chinese whisky and a little coaxing from sexy belly dancers will do to you):

Click here or on the picture above to see and hear Koyote.

2) DJ Ozma version
Now look at DJ Ozma`s cover of this song, which they use the Japanse reading of "Junjou" (純情 in Chinese characters, スンジョンin Japanese katakana writing). Same Chinese characters as in Korean, but different pronunciation . Note how he plays the disco kistchy aspect in his video. I love how he reinforced the "It`s disco time baby!" by appearing in disco clothing.

Click here or on the picture of DJ Ozma above to see and hear the video..

Now that`s what I consider pan-Asian music. Korean beats with a little bit of Japanese tongue in cheek humor added on.

3) Spread of the meme

Crowd at a baseball stadium chanting the tune from Junjou/Sunjong

And like a virus, the chant "wo-oh-oh...wo-oh-oh" started spreading throughout Japan! For example, check out this clip from a baseball game between the Yomiuri Giants (the Yankees of Japan) and the Chiba Lotte Marines (last year's Japan Series champion). Listen to the crowd chant in the back, and then notice how they start waving their white towels like in the DJ Ozma video. Click here or on the picture of the baseball stadium above to see this video. Of course, all this makes sense since the Lotte company is a Korean-Japanese conglomerate founded by Shin Kyuk-Ho a.k.a. Shigemitsu Takeo, a South Korean national who also lives in Japan half the year.

4) Need your help
What song is Sunjong originally based on? The background sounds quite familiar. Donna Summer's "I Feel Love" perhaps? Arpeggio's 1976 hit, "Love and Desire"? Any ideas?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Bitter Asian men?

Picture from the Bitter Asian Men website

Well, I stumbled across this website and felt very sorry for the authors, especially when I saw that crying panda in a pool of blood.

Yes, I too, decades ago, when I moved from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland, experienced the shock that comes with becoming an Asian man. First, I was put into a nebulous, catch-all category of "Asian," meaning that I now had something in common with Pakistanis, Indonesians, Uighurs, Iranians, and Arudou Debito. (Believe it or not, people of all backgrounds commonly use the word "Oriental" over here in Hawaii).

Next, I realized that I had become a member of a minority group doomed to media stereotyping as the eternal geek. Now I did my fair share of BBS posting on the topic of Asian men and dating, but now that I'm older and married, and back in Hawaii, I have moved onto other concerns. (Yes, Hawaii readers, interracial dating is a controversial topic on the U.S. mainland!)

Still, seeing this site did bring back some memories. So, I'd like to contribue a few words of wisdom to my fellow Asian brothers on the mainland who are experiencing dating difficulties:

1)Move to Hawaii. You can't use the "nobody wants to date Asian guys" excuse anymore, not when the majority of the men on the island look like you. Of course, you'll pay more for everything and have a lower salary than on the mainland, but hey, you can't have it all...

2)Move to Asia. If you still can't meet women, then something else truly must be the problem.

3)For those of you who cannot or refuse to move, in the spirit of my post on anal constriction, I offer you this book, ranked #279,058 at