You hate Avril’s Japanese?

Avril Lavigne’s video “Hello Kitty” isn’t my thing. Many foreigners here hate it, but I bet most of them will end up singing it at the karaoke anyway. The Japanese here idolise her either way.

I tend to like Kyary Pamyu Pamyu more with the electronic music by Yasutaka Nakata of Capsule rather than yet another track done by just two chords, but that’s my preference. Okay, maybe it’s more than two chords, but some artists seem to refuse the existence of anything other than the electric guitar and a set of drums.

You hate them because it’s the same thing over again, and you hate it even more when you see it sells.

You don’t like how Avril is forcing Japanese words into her lyrics? You don’t like the typical dance where she spins then pops her waist for the camera? You don’t like having yet another scene of foreign people eating sushi?

Me neither. But, wait…

How many lyrics of Japanese songs have English words forced into them? How many Japanese videos features groups of 6 girls or more dancing together in fluffy skirts? More girls wearing variations of school uniforms? Wow! How original!

At least Avril actually went in Japan to film the video – you can even see the train of the Yamanote line swooshing once behind her.

Canadian pop and Japanese pop can be both bad. It’s not Avril you hate: it’s the clichés and the stereotypes.

Crossing Shikahama

Late at night, back after a solitary dinner out, I entered the gates of a nearby station.

The platform was deserted. Waiting for the train, I looked up the timetable. That’s when I realised I missed my ride.

As I couldn’t exit the gates, and no one was around to serve, I turned to the intercom behind me. Soon after I pushed the call button, I heard the voice of a young man:

– Yes, this is the station clerk.

– Excuse me. I entered the gates without realising the last train already left, so I’d like to get out.

– Understood, sir. Please turn around and walk to the nearest fare adjustment counter.

– Oh, sure.

As I looked for the sort of ticket dispenser he was referring to, he was undoubtedly watching me through the cameras hanging off the ceiling. When I was lost, he added:

– This way, sir.

Looking towards where the voice came from, a light lit up just above the fare adjustment counter. He proceeded further:

– Please insert your commuter card to cancel your entry, and I will dispense a ticket for you to use to exit the gate.

Like he discribed, a second after I inserted my plastic card, a tiny orange ticket came out.

I thanked him as I went on my way out, for a long walk home, past midnight, crossing Shikahama…