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Welcome to GLITTER-One’s first entry in 2013 – which actually should have been one of the final entries in 2012, but anyway… I guess you can’t have it all. So, with the new year already having advanced past its second week, I want to have a short look on the most important things that happened to Perfume – as well as myself in relation to Japan and its culture – in 2012. Let’s start with the happenings I’ve missed, due to only beginning to follow the group’s activities at the end of March last year:

At first: They did it! In order to finally acknowledge their existing fans outside of Japan, who they probably first became aware of when they were invited to the 「Cars 2」world premiere back in summer of 2011, A-chan, Nocchi and Kashiyuka changed record labels from Tokuma Japan Communications to Universal Japan, ultimately also founding their own sub-label Perfume Records. The first single release, 「Spring of Life」wasn’t one to wait for too long, hitting record stores and all the well-known online retailers a mere six weeks after its announcement, claiming another number two spot in the end. Furthermore, the title track was also released globally in fifty countries through iTunes, something that was to become a standard for Perfume’s upcoming releases, also extending to all tracks of future release being made available.
The promotion for the new single took place at a time, during which Perfume also held concert performances in various cities across Japan, labeled as 「3rd Tour JPN」, in order to promote their third studio album. Having already started back in January, additional dates at the famous 日本武道館 (Nippon Budoukan) as well as the tour final in Okinawa were announced at a later stage. Taking some time off afterwards, Kashiyuka, A-chan and Nocchi then prepared for their appearance at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards Japan, not only being hosts to the event, but also delivering an amazing performance and ultimately claiming both awards they were nominated for.

And that’s when this small space – known as 「GLITTER-One」 on the world wide web – came onto the scene, with me having already got more interested in Perfume, their members, their releases, etc. at the beginning of April and their MTV Video Music Awards Japan 2012 performance only being the decisive element in creating the site. Therefore, I’d like to share my favorite Perfume picture of 2012 – early visitors to the site may recognize it:

MTV-VMAJ-2012--PRFM-01

Not only is this the one picture I’d choose for describing Perfume’s 2012, but it also is the choice for my favorite live performance outfits of the group last year. The purple dresses from the second part of their 「3rd Tour JPN」’s main show ultimately end up really close at second position.

But wait, wasn’t there even more? Of course there was, and this even on the very same day the MTV Video Music Awards Japan 2012 took place, as Perfume announced the release of their second single with Universal Japan  – known to most people as 「Spending all my time」. However, there were also fans that were a bit disappointed by the general sound of the single’s lead track, being too similar to most western pop tunes at that time, while the other two tracks featured on the release, the long-awaited 「ポイント」as well as 「Hurly Burly」, were generally praised. Being the first release by Perfume with all the tracks – except for the instrumental edition of each song – available on iTunes, it claimed yet another number two spot on the Orion chart. Yet, it didn’t stop here…
… in preparation for their newly announced 「WORLD TOUR 1st」 – visiting four different venues in Asia over a period of one month – Perfume were to release the second compilation album of their career. Surprisingly being published by their former label Tokuma Japan Communications, it closely secured the group’s streak of number one albums, albeit facing tough challenge by folk-pop band Kobukuro and their 「ALL SINGLES BEST 2」. And the surprises in 2012 didn’t seem to come to an end…
… because overseas fans of Perfume were finally given the chance to be a part of the group’s fan club 「P.T.A.」. Announcing the so-called 「Perfume OFFICIAL WORLD FANCLUB」at the end of their first overseas concert in Taiwan, there was a pre-register period at first, mostly to determine the demand by fans outside of Japan, but also to give Perfume and their management some time to finalize important details like the membership fee, accepted payment methods or which contents and benefits of the original 「P.T.A.」are given to members of the 「Perfume OFFICIAL WORLD FANCLUB」.
Completing Perfume’s 「WORLD TOUR 1st」with the final concert in Singapore, Nocchi, Kashiyuka and A-chan announced their next single – the first to be released in 2013. Going by the name 「未来のミュージアム」, the title track features a tie-in with the latest movie by one of Japan’s most famous anime characters – ドラえもん.

MTV-VMAJ-2012--PRFM-02
Well, that was Perfume’s 2012, but how about the blog authors’ experiences during the last twelve months?
Aside from the fact, that my previous notebook computer, being exactly just one year of age, decided to leave its service and was also damaged beyond repair, resulting in the purchase of a new one at the beginning of April, 2012 was quite a successful year for myself – in real life as well as on the world wide web.
First of all, there were of course Perfume eventually taking over the place as my favorite group from モーニング娘。in April, after I already had gotten a bit more into their music back in July 2011. Yet, I finally did take a look at the whole package, including the group’s history dating back as far as to the year 2002 and, of course, the amazing personalities of Kashiyuka, Nocchi and A-chan. How could anyone not like them after having acquired all this knowledge, also being aware of all the things these three young, beautiful, humble and honest women have already gone through to finally achieve their dreams?
Furthermore, by creating an iTunes Store account, in order to also buy Perfume’s releases digitally, I encountered many other new artists for my music library, like capsule, PAX JAPONICA GROOVE, Hiroshi Watanabe or Chieko Kinbara. Therefore, a quarter of all the albums I purchased in 2012 accounted for digital releases. I think, it’s a nice way to support an artist without going through the trouble of having a physical copy shipped from Japan to your home, especially with the possibility of customs holding the desired package back for a longer period and even charging taxes. Though, there will always be artists from whom I’ll buy the physical releases no matter what.
2012 has also been the year when I got even more into Japanese culture, notably anime and manga. Having already seen 「サマーウォーズ」on DVD, I got myself the three-part manga series, an exact re-narration of the movie. July then saw me watching the “Rebuild” films of 「新世紀エヴァンゲリオン」on TV, probably more known outside of Japan as “Neon Genesis Evangelion”, one of Japan’s most successful media franchises with, of course, the famous anime series from 1995, but also manga, books, a radio drama as well as various music CD albums. Having already known about this series since 2007, it wasn’t until the “Rebuild” movies that I got more interested in it, ultimately resulting in acquiring all the manga volumes available in Germany. Lately, I also started to collect the DVD box sets featuring the original anime series, though it’s a pretty pricey venture. Though, I guess, this applies to many things related to Japan, just like…
… my first journey to the “Land of the Rising Sun” in April this year. After being interested in Japan since late 2006, I finally booked a flight in order to discover some of the countries’ cities like, of course, the capital Tokyo, but also Hiroshima or Kyoto. Not the mention my first ride with the world-famous 新幹線 (Shinkansen), which I’m really excited for, as well as meeting precious friends who I also got to know during last year.

MTV-VMAJ-2012--PRFM-03
So, already three weeks into the new year, I was finally able to sum up pretty much all the important happenings to Perfume and myself in 2012. Since lately, new things and precious people have stepped into my life and have become way more important than this blog. Therefore, I will retire this site and it’s Twitter account from now on and would like to thank everybody who got to know about my (more or less) small and insignificant opinion. For all the important news in the future, be sure to follow Perfume COMPLEX as well as Perfume City. Both sites are essentially all you need to not miss any important happenings about one of Japan’s most successful female electro-pop groups.Nevertheless, I would like to wish Perfume, but also A-chan, Kashiyuka and Nocchi as individuals, all the best and much success in 2013 and beyond. Finally, again to all the visitors to the site – thanks for coming around to – and staying with – GLITTER-One.

THE END

Perfume 「TRANSLATIooooooooooN!!!!!」 – JPN × 音楽と人 (のっち ver.)

They say, you shouldn’t promise things that you can’t keep, so my approach for this site has always been to not promise anything and keep it that way. Yet, I made the mistake about a week ago to promise four more blog entries by the end of the year. And now, there aren’t that much days left in 2012. Kashiyuka’s birthday post was actually the easiest entry, being obviously also the shortest yet a very important one. But there are also two more postings left for GLITTER-One’s 「JPNスペシャル」. Having already presented the solo interviews of Kashiyuka and A-chan in the December 2011 issue of “音楽と人”, it’s now up to Nocchi to express her views on Perfume’s third studio album, as well as how the group has evolved during the more than two years since the release of 「⊿」. Again, Perfume City’s scorpio6449 provides the translation, with a bit of rephrasing done by me:

I’m not interested, but I’ve heard of their name. There are more people saying things like that. Those people have various images of Perfume.

— First off, let me hear how you feel that you finally made the album.
Nocchi: Well anyway, I love Perfume very much, you know.
— Everybody knows. (laughs)
Nocchi: Ahahahaha. I really wanted to listen to our new album soon, and I myself feel like I can’t miss this! I see myself more as a fan, like “I’ve been looking forward to this sooooo much”, rather than “I feel sorry it took so long”. I sure have waited two years and four months! (laughs)
— What impressions do you have about this 「JPN」?
Nocchi: This seems like a small best album to me, as it has many single tracks. I may have different impressions if I listen to this again after the track order is fixed, though. Tracks like 「不自然なガール」 are rather old, so I somehow have various memories attached to each and every single. I lost myself in too many memories while listening, memories like Tokyo Dome and promotions for the singles! It feels kind of like fully loaded.
— Hahahahahaha! Feels loaded to you, right?
Nocchi: Right. I have too many memories, and that’s why new songs sound so sweet to me.
— That means two years and four months has been so long.
Nocchi: I feel kind of weird because this is a new album and yet reminds me about lots of things.

— Don’t you feel people’s views on you have also changed a lot in these years?
Nocchi: I do. There’re people who are not really interested in us and still have heard of the name Perfume. I think there’re more such people now than in the days we were releasing 「⊿」, and those people have their own images of Perfume.
— You mean you’re reaching grayer zone audience.
Nocchi: Yes. Recently we had the Perfume dance contest, and watched videos of contestants like unexpected characters, beautiful girls and students. I was surprised to know that these people like or are interested in Perfume. They’re the type of people who are different from those we usually see in live concerts. Come to think of it, we’ve seen our fans only at live houses, so I was impressed that Perfume was known to such people.
— You’re saying you felt wider recognition.
Nocchi: Yup. We got an offer of commercials for “Cars 2” even though our song 「ポリリズム」 was used just a little in it. Also we got a chance to show up in the 「モテキ」 movie. I thought more people know our characters as well than before because of it.

Perfume×Hewlett-Packard - ねぇ

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— I think it’s a matter of course for a group having performed in a decent place like Tokyo Dome.
Nocchi: Really (like somebody else’s problem)? But I want more people to get to know us, or things like the atmosphere among the three of us. It’s a lot of fun with the three of us being all together. If we can share this atmosphere with the whole audience, then we’ll be able to party and have a private talk. (laughs)
— You’re saying, you wanna party and have a private talk with the audience. (laughs)
Nocchi: I think maybe we can create more fun, if we go that way.
— Well in Tokyo Dome, you three kept chatting about pigeons on the balcony of A-chan’s place.
Nocchi: Yeah, you’re right. I wanna spread that feel wider. I’m happy to have a bigger audience, but I’m gonna cherish that feel.
— I see. So, if you go that way, do you want any change in your songs?
Nocchi: Let’s see… for example, this album didn’t venture to have techno-ish hard songs like 「GAME」 on the album of the same name and 「edge」on 「⊿」. But if you listen to it carefully, it has some tracks done in a very strange way. Maybe we don’t need to stress our “We can be this hard too” side any more. I feel there’s something that’s hiding here and there under the J-pop label, something that’ll make you grin a little. (laughs)

— I guess those changes were done by Nakata-san, but do you have similar thoughts as well?
Nocchi: I do. Around the time we started to perform in both pop idol events and rock festivals, both were away places for Perfume and we could belong to nowhere, but we were rather enjoying that. Like, okay, we’ll go home getting at least one more fan! Now, we can belong to everywhere and are welcome in any place. We’re no core part for any category but still recognized. I think it’s a good timing for us to release an album like this, although we’re getting a bit too old as an idol group and sometimes I’m wondering if it’s kind of hard to stay in the category already. (laughs)

I’m wondering how we’ll be re-created next time rather than I feel we’ll have to change something. We need to think in a flexible way.

— You mean Perfume’s been getting wider recognition?
Nocchi: Right.
— Though you’re in a tricky situation as an idol group. (laughs)
Nocchi: No, no, we’re still an idol group! But if you see idol singers in TV shows like “Music Station,” they’re super idol-ish. (laughs)
— I know. (laughs)
Nocchi: They‘re surprisingly straightforward idols, like with their high pitch voices, and their atmosphere like little twittering birds, you know. I sometimes recall that we used to be exactly like them. So when I talk with them, I often feel maybe we’re no longer an idol group. When I happened to see the Momokuro (Momoiro Clover Z) members, they said, “We thought we might be able to see Perfume-san today!” and I was glad I could meet them too, as I hella like them, but I felt weird being called Perfume-san with “-san” attached. (laughs)
— Can’t complain because they showed their respect with it. (laughs)
Nocchi: Cause I’ve turned twenty-three years old already. (with feeling)

Perfume×Windows - FAKE IT (2012 ed.)

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— As a result of these changes, do you happen to think about your own future or how you’d like Perfume doing in the future?
Nocchi: Hmmm, nothing specific at all. I don’t know how people see us, but I feel Perfume is evolving really fast. We’ve got things we wanna do, and we can do a wider range of things than ever. I think we still can do a lot more things.
— How do you think the group is evolving particularly?
Nocchi: I thought about this when we released 「レーザービーム」too, but we can be more flexible than before, or we’re now free from our own biased or fixed views. I wanna see a much more different Perfume, really. I wanna see Perfume stirring up people’s curiosity a great deal. I wanna see even more diverse images of Perfume that people have.
— Specifically, what were your fixed “should be like this” views?
Nocchi: Like, making me look a little doll-like, or singing not very emotionally.
— You’ve been fueling people’s emotions most in recent live shows, Nocchi, so you seem most freed to me.
Nocchi: Fufufufu. (chuckling) Maybe you’re right. Before, I just wanted people to see and enjoy our performances, but now maybe I’ve become more aware of leading them and going like, guys let’s have fun! I guess Tokyo Dome may be the biggest cause for this change.
— Ah, you felt you’ve made it this far.
Nocchi: Yeah. I felt we could show our “This is Perfume” vision altogether with MIKIKO-sensei and our staff.

— As a result, you’re beginning to feel you’ll have to change yourself, and move on too?
Nocchi: I mean, it’s more like I’m wondering how Perfume will be re-created next time rather than I feel we’ll have to change something. That means, we also need to be flexible as a raw material and be ready for anything. I think that’s how we’ve gotta move on.
— In that sense, you strongly feel you’ll have to change yourself too, don’t you?
Nocchi: Exactly.
— Then you sometimes think how you’re doing in these one or two years from now?
Nocchi: It’s quite different if I compare two years ago and now, too… likewise, I guess people’s images of Perfume and mine will both have changed. I think it’ll be good, if we’ve got a bigger private circle.
— Going private again. (laughs)
Nocchi: Going private is fun, you know. (laughs)

— What do you need to make it happen?
Nocchi: I wonder about that… gotta stand in front of the audience in the first place, but also, I think I’ll be better off staying just the way I am rather than trying to make myself look better. We’re having so much fun while we’re chatting in our dressing room!
— You wanna show that, you mean. (laughs)
Nocchi: When you’re in a dressing room, you don’t have distracting thoughts like how you should make yourself look to others. I’m having fun in there, so I wish if I could stay the way I am more on TV too.
— You wanna enjoy the whole thing, don’t you?
Nocchi: Right. I wanna have more fun. Yes. I’ve been having real fun, but I feel we’ve been just showing, “This is what you’ve got!”, or things like it. I wanna get the audience more involved.
— I wonder what lies ahead.
Nocchi: Don’t know. I wanna know, but maybe I’ll feel better not knowing it. (laughs) But I’m not worried. Anyway, I always wish I’ll be loving Perfume forever, and I’ll be the best fan. Cause I am the No. 1 fan of A-chan and Kashiyuka. (laughs)

Perfume×Hewlett-Packard - JPN (音楽と人 - 3rd ver.)

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— But is there anything that’s been changing or not matching among the members?
Nocchi: Ummm, there’ve been a lot of changes… I wish we could play more often together! Teehee!
— Your message in the magazine. (laughs) You feel you’re not going out together as often as before?
Nocchi: Rather we’re going out more often.
— What! (laughs)
Nocchi: I mean, since around the beginning of this year, we haven’t set up dine-outs together. (laughs) Rather we’re like, “Let’s go have some after work” these days. I feel I’m a grown-up for doing it.
— Hahahahahahaha! Sure.
Nocchi: That was “Let’s go take Purikura” when I was a high schooler. I think I’ve learned that adults communicate this way. (laughs)
— Kukuku. (another Japanese expression for chuckling) Then do you think you’re now a grown-up after your twenty-third birthday?
Nocchi: In some parts I am, and in some parts I’m not.
— What’s the part you’re not?
Nocchi: The part I can’t be punctual…
— Change it!
Nocchi: Hahahaha, I’ve been trying for long. But I used to be shy with people and always wanted to change it too, then I’ve been able to change it a great deal now. I always hated it so much, you know. I could change it and I felt I grew up a little because of it. (laughs)

So, that’s everything for now… but probably not for today. It’s close to 2:00 AM in Germany and 10:00 AM in Japan, meaning there are less than two days left in 2012. Let’s make the best of it, with GLITTER-One featuring Perfume’s group interview from December 2011′s 「音楽と人」issue up next. Finally, there will be a very brief review on 2012, an outlook on 2013 and some general thoughts in the final blog entry following soon after. Until then, thanks for visiting – and staying – with GLITTER-One.

かしゆか バースデイ

Only 24 hours to go until December 24th, yet before Christmas Eve is going to happen, a kind and young woman in Japan is celebrating her 24th birthday today. Of course, it’s no other than Perfume’s member with one of the most distinctive hairstyles within the group – Kashiyuka. Interestingly, she’s sharing her birthday with some other famous Japanese people: First of all, there’s 天皇陛下 (His Imperial Majesty the Emperor), but also former Morning Musume. member Eri Kamei (coincidentally, also becoming 24 years young) as well as singer-songwriter Masayoshi Yamazaki. So, let’s give our best and warmest wishes to all of them, as I’ve composed a short birthday message for Kashiyuka:

かしゆかさん、お誕生日おめでとうございます!
たくさんの幸せが訪れますように。
これからの1年がかしゆかさんにとって健康と幸運に恵まれたものでありますように。
________________________________________

Happy birthday, Kashiyuka!
May all your wishes come true.
I hope this year will bring you lots of happiness and good health.Happy Birthday, Kashiyuka!

「レビュー・ディスコ」- JPN

November 30, 2011 – having kept their fans waiting for two years and four months, Perfume finally released their third studio album, going by the title 「JPN」. Consisting of fourteen songs, nine of them having already been released on one of the previous five singles, it offered little new material and was surprisingly missing the group’s most techno-inspired song since 「edge」as well as the favorite track of Perfume’s live performances in the summer of 2011 – 「FAKE IT」- making it the most mainstream-sounding album, Perfume had ever released. Many things had happened since their last album 「⊿」in July 2009. A-chan, Nocchi and Kashiyuka each graduated from university, the three young women fulfilled their dream of having a concert at the famous Tokyo Dome, celebrating the tenth anniversary of the group’s founding as well as the fifth anniversary since Perfume’s debut with major label “Tokuma Japan Communications”, and of course their regular appearances on various TV shows (in particular being hosts of NHK’s “Music Japan”) or Perfume’s (unusual for an idol-based group) live performances at summer festivals like “JOIN ALIVE”, “ROCK IN JAPAN FES” or “SUMMER SONIC”, with the latter taking place in Tokyo and Osaka. And lastly, there had been five singles, the most that have ever been released prior to an album in the group’s history, starting in April 2010 with 「不自然なガール/ナチュラルに恋して」and closing with 「スパイス」at the very beginning of November 2011, just four weeks ahead of the release of 「JPN」. Now, what makes this album so special in comparison to Perfume’s two previous studio efforts? Was it worth to wait more than two years for it? Does 「JPN」 actually qualify for being considered a ‘studio album’ or is it indeed more of a ‘single collection’ with some bonus tracks added here and there? And finally, did this album help A-chan, Nocchi and Kashiyuka in making an important step forward in their careers?

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「Take off」made the beginning on 「⊿」, so does even more obvious 「The Opening」with its mysterious sounds reminiscent of the 1980′s, also incorporating voices in the background which can’t be understood at all (or with a lot of imagination). It’s a calm beginning for an album, that is about to hold many surprises, albeit being considered by many people as a single collection with only a few new tracks rather than a studio album. 「JPN」’s Album-mix of 「レーザービーム」then sets the standards for all the songs to come, with a spiced up edit of the single version, especially distinguishing itself from the latter with the distorted voices during the middle part of the song, later connecting right to yet another Album-mix without even a noticeable break – sparkling and shining, that’s 「GLITTER」. And this actually is really what the song’s special edit is all about, although I have to admit, that it doesn’t fully replace the single version, yet the song does have its own unique moments. It already starts with the transition from 「レーザービーム」- being one of my favorite parts of the album. Listening to it for the first time, I really didn’t notice that a new song had already started. It seemed more like an interlude to me, with Yasutaka Nakata trying to already blow up the roof with 「JPN」’s first song. Of course, it rather turned out to be 「GLITTER」 with it’s amazing intro, ultimately leading to the first sung words being the song’s chorus. Yet, the Album-mix misses those special elements from the instrumental parts of the single’s version, but nevertheless still manages to create its own driving force, resulting in that I couldn’t ever decide on liking one of these two mixes more than the other. They are both at the very top of my list of my favorite songs by Perfume.
Now, after almost nine minutes of energetic, dance-inspiring music, it’s time to slow a bit down by “being naturally in love”. Obviously being one of the more mainstream-related tracks on the album, 「ナチュラルに恋して」appears at precisely the right time, giving the listeners the opportunity to cool down their ears as well as their feet. Being neither too much of an idol song nor heavily electronica-influenced, by just adding little bits of 8-bit sounds, it’s probably the best of both worlds, while still going by its own pace. Next up, it’s 「MY COLOR」, the first new song as well as the second-longest to be featured on the album. 「JPN」is gaining its momentum again and although being declared by A-chan, Nocchi and Kashiyuka themselves as being more mainstream than its predecessors, tracks like 「MY COLOR」still incorporate those electronica elements, that have been characteristic for Perfume since the groups’ early days, carrying it over to 2011 and making it accessible for everyone, who’s got some nice taste in music.

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JPN-03JPN-04____________________

I wonder, who’s responsible for the shortest song on the album. Not like, who produced this track since most people know the answer to that question, but rather who decided to make 「時の針」a part of 「JPN」’s tracklist. It sounds like a Japanese children’s song, yet it features deep and touching lyrics – not really surprising for those, who are capable of Japanese and this is also something, that can be applied to a lot of songs from Perfume’s discography. With “the hands of time” having come to an end after exactly a hundred and fifty seconds, the album picks up speed again, asking the listener “where to go today – or tomorrow” – 「ねぇ」. It’s without a doubt the song’s promotional video, that made Perfume grow up visually and get a first glimpse of the beautiful, young women they are considered today, yet also the track for itself is capable of producing an immense energy that’s looking for its equals on 「JPN」 as well as definitely being another powerful track since one had been listening to the final seconds of 「GLITTER」.
“Time passes so quickly when we’re together, and seems so long when I walk home alone”「微かなカオリ」is yet another slow-paced song on the album, that’s valued by many listeners for its lyrics as well as having received a promotional video giving A-chan, Kashiyuka and Nocchi the chance to walk around nature for the first time since 「マカロニ」in 2008. As already being implied by the promotional video itself, when it comes to Perfume’s discography nowadays, it’s not all the time about dancing along to their tunes. Although, in comparison with the groups’ previous effort 「⊿」, there aren’t that much more tracks on 「JPN」, which could be considered as being a bit more slow-paced, yet incorporating these songs really adds to the variety of this release. It’s always good for an album to offer a wide range of songs with their respective speeds, as to prepare the listener to expect the unexpected right at the start of the next track. And that’s where 「575」comes into play by featuring post-chorus rap lyrics as well as referencing Japanese poetry by introducing the classic “haiku” with the song’s lyrics split up in verses consisting of three phrases, each made up of 17 on (phonetic sounds) – or 「575」. It’s indeed the song differing the most from the usual style of Perfume’s tracks, and remember that this did take place two years before 「Spending all my time」, commonly also known as Yasutaka Nakata’s effort in going for a more global sound, despite the group’s current label, Universal J, stating beforehand to not adapt Perfume’s style to suit audiences’ tastes outside of Japan. Therefore, 「575」is one of those experimental songs, thrown on the track list of the group’s various singles – or even albums from time to time, just like it’s the case with 「JPN」.

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JPN-05JPN-06____________________

「VOICE」, the actual A side track to 「575」’s single release, is then helping the album to pick up some speed again, which won’t be reduced until the very end of 「JPN」. Granted, they could have also done that with a song like 「FAKE IT」, yet surprisingly, this is the only track from Perfume’s previous five singles, not making the cut for 「JPN」. Looking back at it after more than a year, one might wonder, if Kashiyuka, Nocchi and A-chan already had their plans for expanding to countries in overseas in mind, when they were in the process of creating the group’s third studio album, since now we all know that 「FAKE IT」was to receive its own promotional video at a later date, as well as serving for the promotion of Perfume’s second compilation album. After all, it’s a song made for being presented during Perfume’s live performances, releasing a lot of energy which is ultimately transferred to the audience. But enough of songs not being featured on 「JPN」 – let’s get back to 「VOICE」, which is definitely the song on the album that fits the most with Perfume’s overall style, featuring pretty much all the musical elements which made the group successful after all, while also demonstrating Perfume’s direction going for a more casual electropop sound. Something, that probably makes you forget, the group also had mind-blowing tracks like 「GAME」or 「edge」just three years ago.
The album’s songs rather being more pop tracks with synthpop influences don’t stop here. Instead you will get 「心のスポーツ」 and 「Have a Stroll」, continuing the route that 「VOICE」 had already taken, yet 「心のスポーツ」 can also be considered as one of the songs adding to the increasing number of the group’s tracks which place a focus on the voices of Nocchi, Kashiyuka and A-chan. 「Have a Stroll」then takes a simple melody, reminiscent of the days when Perfume were still selling CD’s in the lower four-digit range, clearly showing that Yasutaka Nakata hasn’t forgotten about the group’s original roots. As the album is getting closer to the end of its play time of about 55 minutes, 「不自然なガール」comes up as the penultimate song, making you wonder if this one was also released as a single during the last two years, dating back to April 2010. Again, it’s a song very similar to all those electropop songs by Perfume, where Yasutaka Nakata is trying to go for a more casual sound, therefore making tracks like this one pretty much replaceable with any song of the group also featuring this particular pattern, e. g. 「VOICE」. Furthermore, 「不自然なガール」has also seen a minor revision for the album, yet unlike the obvious Album-mixes of 「レーザービーム」and 「GLITTER」, it isn’t credited as such.
「スパイス」is then managing to surprise the listener one last time as the album’s closing track, taking him on a journey with a dreamy mid-tempo sound and hypnotic vocals that are unrivalled on 「JPN」, serving as a perfect ending for the album.

____________________

JPN-07JPN-08____________________

「JPN」concluded one of the most amazing and eventful chapter’s in the history of Perfume. One could argue, that a lot of things regarding this album should have been done different. Yet, if you overlook the fact that more than half of 「JPN」’s tracks had already been previously released on one its five singles and the group’s management should probably have skipped on the release of 「スパイス」only four weeks prior to the album’s release, while also acknowledging Yasutaka Nakata’s effort to rearrange two more recent songs, you get an overall really well-balanced album. Though it misses those aggressive tunes similar to 「GAME」or 「edge」, therefore also indicating Perfume’s future direction for a more casual, pop-inspired sound, 「JPN」never denies the roots of the group at any time. Furthermore, it’s a really nice change that some songs even focus on the voices of A-chan, Nocchi and Kashiyuka rather than Yasutaka Nakata’s musical skills in producing catchy tunes. Lastly, it’s a pretty brave decision to name your album after your home nation, but this only adds to the fact of Perfume being the perfect ambassadors for Japan, being capable of surprising not only their fans but also the group’s harshest critics with every new release. And ultimately, it’s of course Perfume’s visual style addressing different tastes, at the same time separating them from other idol-oriented groups. 「JPN」doesn’t reinvent the wheel – it never wanted to – but it’s still a nice and recognizable progress in the careers of Nocchi, Kashiyuka and A-chan. I’ve been listening to 「GAME」as well as to 「⊿」many times, but in the end I find myself looping 「JPN」just a little bit more. After all, it’s 55 minutes that are worth spent for Perfume’s signature album. It clearly shows the group’s future sound – while still keeping all options open for unusual tracks similar to 「575」or 「時の針」to appear from time to time. Having been on the scene for more than ten years now, experiencing all the ups and downs, Perfume had finally reached the top with their third studio album going by the name 「JPN」- and I would even go as far as calling it… their best album.

Perfume 「TRANSLATIooooooooooN!!!!!」 – JPN × 音楽と人 (あ~ちゃん ver.)

Looking back at 2012, many exciting and unexpected things had happened for Perfume. At first, they announced their label change to Universal Music Japan and made their first single, as well as their latest studio album, also digitally available on iTunes. But it didn’t stop right here. Finally departing from Tokuma Japan Communications, A-chan, Nocchi and Kashiyuka released their second compilation album, which was also used for promoting the group’s first tour outside of Japan, visiting four different countries within East Asia. One might have already found a hint for all these occurrences in the December 2011 issue of “音楽と人, with Perfume as a group, as well as each member separately, being interviewed by Kanemitsu Hirofumi. With the first part being translated by Perfume City‘s ojisan and the interview’s further sections by scorpio6449 again, this time, it’s up to Perfume’s unofficial leader and youngest member, A-chan, to give her impressions about how people view the group nowadays and how far they’ve come after originally starting out eleven years ago as friends that were united by sharing one common goal:

I’m pretty sure that we have many things we should do. We need to find them by ourselves. Now, I feel like fewer people really understand us than ever.

— Now, what do you think the people around you have a standpoint of Perfume?
A-chan: I have been asked questions like this a lot.
— I think it has changed a lot because almost two and a half years passed since 「⊿」.
A-chan: People say Perfume has been funny since the early days (smiles). We are not an idol, artist, rock and techno group. But fortunately we are categorized as J-pop because we are Japanese (smiles).
— J-pop is a very big category (smiles).
A-chan: People say Perfume is something different from existing categories. Therefore, I am very happy to know that people expect what we do next.
— You understand people have expectations for you.
A-chan: I really appreciate it and that makes me feel so worried.
— You can say that again (smiles).
A-chan: It was the hardest time in our early days. Considering the situation, I was wondering when I would be told “You are fired. Go back to Hiroshima”. I was scared all that time. Whenever staff told us “Perfume is on the edge of disbanding” or “You could have done much better. Why didn’t you do your best?”, we did anything clamping our teeth shut. And so when I was praised, I did not know what reaction to take or what I should say. I was confused at that time.
— The situation has changed now.
A-chan: I remembered many things I had been praised. Nowadays more people say sweet things to me and fewer people say bitter ones. There are many things for Perfume to do. I want to improve Perfume as a group.
— You improve constantly.
A-chan: So, we by ourselves must find things we should take care of. I feel it strongly in the release of 「JPN」. Of course some people give me advice, however, this might be not to the point. I feel limited people around us understand Perfume essentially.
— So you’re saying, you feel you have fewer people who really understand you as you go mainstream.
A-chan: Hmm, but I think it’s good for us as well. We really appreciate that everyone has their own Perfume in their minds, and gives us their ideas about how we can do better and everything. Take our pictures for example. It’s very interesting to see each photographer makes us look totally different. I’m sure many fans are looking forward to seeing those pictures as our impressions can be quite different even in the same outfits, in each and every magazine. We’re having fun with it too.
— But you were having random thoughts and actually felt that you didn’t have so many people who shared your image of Perfume, correct?
A-chan: Hmm, not sure about that… but, probably it’s just our members, MIKIKO-sensei and Seki-kantoku (Seki Kazuaki, their art director; kantoku means “director.”) who fully share my feelings now. It’s partly because we haven’t sat and talked about Perfume once again recently, I guess.
— If that’s the case, then you may feel worried about it.
A-chan: I know we’ve been through things like this many times but still, I feel very anxious now.

Perfume×Hewlett-Packard - レーザービーム (Another ver.)____________________

— Around the time you were told “Maybe you’ll get fired!” and were wondering when you’d be sent back to Hiroshima, you were desperately struggling to survive just today and didn’t have many in the same boat. But now, you can fill the Tokyo Dome with audience and try for no. 1 on the charts, and that’s why you feel you’re responsible for the team, don’t you?
A-chan: In those days we were told that way, we could never talk about our Perfume vision as we had achieved nothing, and we simply appreciated job offers. Still, we were sharing this vision as an unspoken agreement just within the three of us. But lately…Yeah, I’m a little scared. I feel I can’t talk very well like before about my feelings or things I wanna talk, in these one or two years.
— Do you mean that more often you feel like you shouldn’t say something, or like you’ll be misunderstood by saying something?
A-chan: I wonder. When I have something I shouldn’t tell, I get distracted so much and can’t even remember what I really wanted to say. Or, when I’m afraid people may misunderstand my words, then I can’t say a word any more… yeah.

Even if I’m worried and not sure about where to go from here, I can see who I am if I see the two of them. I’m happy now that I know it.

— The bigger your presence grows, the more constraints you’ve got, I guess.
A-chan: I know we should live with such constraints, and I also know we can’t even try unless we prove we deserve a chance. That means we still need to build much better credibility on our side. But I’m only human too and sometimes get hurt and feel depressed and cannot stay motivated. Even then, I try hard like hell to turn on work mode.
— I wonder if you feel more strongly than ever that you’ve gotta do right as Perfume’s A-chan.
A-chan: Don’t know either. But that’s me too, isn’t it? I’ve got more activities while I’m Perfume’s A-chan rather than Nishiwaki Ayaka. I’m experiencing many things, many happy, fun and sad things. Naturally, sometimes I get into a good mood, sometimes bad, but people are watching us so I need to stay aware of them. No wonder, I act somewhat differently from when I’m Nishiwaki Ayaka.
— Aaah, I got it. Perhaps you feel fewer people understand your Nishiwaki Ayaka personality as you’re getting more popular.
A-chan: You think so?… I’m always positive-minded when I talk about anything that may help people enjoy Perfume more. It’s just an idea or casual proposal, and I never think it’s a must, not even a little. But sometimes people don’t understand why I think it’ll be interesting if we try, and I get worried about too many things and I feel I can hardly say anything after all. That bothers me a lot.

— Then how do you like Perfume doing in one or two years from now?
A-chan: What I hope now is, I wanna see them drawing attentions from overseas. I wanna see them having made firm steps, or even a step, onto the foreign soil.
— Going on tours, maybe?
A-chan: Tours too. Or how about we’ll sing songs written by Nakata-san in collaboration with foreign creators, for example? I’ll be happy if people overseas get to know us, to begin with. I wanna perform abroad in a way Nakata-san can also enjoy, and exactly in the same style we’re doing right now in Japan.
— Do you feel you’ve achieved your goals in Japan?
A-chan: No no, there’s always someone we should respect up there, and of course I’ve never thought we’ve conquered Japan or anything at all.
— Hahahahaha.
A-chan: I’ve never thought we’re satisfied. But, we’ve done a live concert at Tokyo Dome and that’s one huge venue in Japan. We were really happy for that, and after we finished the concert in success, I couldn’t imagine anything as our next step but going international.

Perfume×Windows - 微かなカオリ____________________

— That is, maybe you can not take a step forward unless you set a new goal to keep on going as Perfume’s A-chan.
A-chan: Maybe. I write a slogan and stick it up on the wall of my room when I decide something to do.
— A slogan!
A-chan: Like “I’m a lucky girl.”
— That’s one hell of a room. (laughs)
A-chan: Like “The happiness follows the effort,” and “Let’s deliver more comfortable beams out of our hearts!”, you see many slogans posted in the room. Of course I wrote, “Tokyo Dome” for the concert too!
— Then it must be “Go international!” right now. (laughs) Well, it seems like it’s important for you to have something that fuels your enthusiasm.
A-chan: You’re right. I wanna get excited!

— And you’re gonna turn twenty-three years old next year.
A-chan: You talk about my age!
— Sorry. (laughs) But how do you feel about growing mature?
A-chan: I’m very happy. I’ve always wanted to grow up soon. I have a lot to worry about as I said before, but I have a lot of fun things as well. I’m afraid we have fewer understanding people, and for this reason I can’t stop crying when I feel touched even a little by our fan’s words and feelings. I thought I knew the fan’s feelings and everything before, but now I know I didn’t. As I was going to college, I couldn’t have any personal time or relaxing time at all. I didn’t have time to think over their feelings so deeply either.
— I see.
A-chan: Now I have a relaxed time and can look back the passing day. That helps to keep me well-balanced. Or new ideas come to my mind at times. Now graduating from college and thinking back in this relaxed time, I feel maybe I was pushing myself too hard. I’ve found I was trying a bit too hard.

— Well you’re very strict to yourself, aren’t you?
A-chan: No no, not at all.
— Things like you should be like so and so as an idol, or like you have to accept certain feelings.
A-chan: No no, not doing well enough yet. I’m not so squat to myself…
— What? Is it stoic? (“stoic” is used as an imported word to mean “strict to oneself.”)
A-chan: Oops, I mean stoic!
— Hahahahahaha!
A-chan: Ahahahaha! There are many stoic people around us. I’m really affected by those people when I see them. The members of Kara are my friends and they often come to my house, but they’re dieting very strictly, and doing regular exercises too. It may be a cultural difference, but I’m impressed and now doing “One, two! One, two!” at a gym. (laughs)
— Recently, we have many other young idol groups debuting as well, right? I guess they remind you of your own debuts, but how do they look to A-chan?
A-chan: They’re all so cute! Also sophisticated. They’re young but really down-to-earth, highly motivated and aspiring. They’re so inspiring to me.
— But you wouldn’t say you’ll lose to them.
A-chan: We don’t have youth on our side, though. (laughs) Each time I watch our DVD, I feel sure once again that nobody can beat our strong ties. That’s most wonderful, and touching to me. I’m just one of our fans myself too. (laughs) Our ties help me a lot. Even when I’m really depressed, the two of them are always sweet and support me full-heartedly. When one of us almost falls down, we stick together and laugh at each other saying, “That was close.” I don’t know any other group like us and I think we can be like this because we’ve been together for eleven years. Some of our dreams came true, and now I’m worried and not sure about where to go from here. But I can see our ties stay unchanged whenever I look back. I can see who I am if I see them, and I’m happy now that I know it. Yeah, I really appreciate it.

Perfume×Hewlett-Packard - JPN (音楽と人 - 2nd ver.)____________________

— Having been going mainstream, you feel like fewer people really understand you, and you feel anxious when you’re alone. But, that’s why you believe the ties among the three of you are so precious.
A-chan: Right. The three of us always relate to each other, and also I will trust our staff to understand us. I wish to make more dreams come true from here on, too.

Now, isn’t this an amazing friendship we’re able to witness right here? There are thousands of quotes about friendship to be found on the internet, yet I believe no one could ever put the friendship of A-chan, Kashiyuka and Nocchi roughly into the right words. They have definitely restored my faith in the meaning of the word ‘friendship’ – and it’s always great to see the girls’ interactions ‘behind the scenes’ or on television – I really doubt you could ever fake something like this.
Well, this brings us to the end of today’s edition of GLITTER-One’s 「JPNスペシャル」. Nocchi will finally be the last one to individually express her thoughts as we’re approaching the first anniversary of Perfume’s third studio album 「JPN」 on Friday. Until then, thank you for visiting – and staying – with GLITTER-One.

The E.N.D.

Having already visited Taiwan’s NEO STUDIO, Hong Kong’s Rotunda 3 as well as Korea’s AX-KOREA, Perfume successfully finished their “WORLD TOUR 1st” on Saturday with their fourth and final concert within 32 days – this time at Singapore’s famous *SCAPE Warehouse. Additionally, this concert had been broadcast in 70 movie theaters around Japan and Taiwan, adding up to just about 30,000 people having watched Perfume’s performance. Now, that the tour is over, I think we can finally have a look at the set list:

- Opening (Dance Theme from Perfume’s Global Site)
1. NIGHT FLIGHT
2. コンピューターシティ
3. エレクトロ・ワールド
- MC
4. レーザービーム
5. Spending all my time
6. love the world
7. Butterfly
8. edge (⊿-mix)
9. シークレット シークレット
- MC
10. Dream Fighter

- 「P.T.A.」のコーナー (featuring “We Will Rock You” among other songs)

11. FAKE IT
12. ねぇ
13. チョコレイト・ディスコ (Original Mix and 2012-Mix)
14. ポリリズム

- Encore
15. Spring of Life
16. 心のスポーツ
17. MY COLOR

As you can see, the concert’s set list is just as diverse as the Global Compilation album’s track list. Throw in Perfume’s singles of 2012 and you have got a set list that should please pretty much every fan, whether he or she had been present at one of Perfume’s four “WORLD TOUR 1st” concerts or not. Too bad, there’s no “GLITTER”, but I guess you can’t have it all and now that I think of it (that is to say ‘currently listening to it’) – “SEVENTH HEAVEN” is also missing.

During the MC sessions, A-chan commented on the reason for Perfume’s decision to have a world tour. Obviously, during the group’s visit to Los Angeles for the world premiere of Disney’s “Cars 2″, a woman asked them to come to the U.S.A. again and have a concert. A-chan, Kashiyuka and Nocchi were then ultimately pretty much surprised at the fact that people outside of Japan knew about them.
Arriving at Singapore’s Changi airport at 5 o’clock in the morning, a lot of fans waited for Perfume, yet the girls were told not to accept any presents in order to not cause any trouble. Still, A-chan felt very happy to see Perfume’s fans and therefore received all their presents with joy.
All in all, a “WORLD TOUR 2nd” is a safe guess and Perfume were pretty much satisfied with everything, but still pointed out there could have been improvements. Of course, they aim to come back, but next time they would like to perform at a bigger venue.

Judging from various reports, the concert ended with the fans being present at *SCAPE’s Warehouse singing “ポリリズム”. Yet, just before this happened (and Perfume performed their final song “MY COLOR”), an announcement was made which included one of Japan’s most famous anime characters. But at first, here are some impressions from the concert:

PRFM-SINGAPORE-17

PRFM-SINGAPORE-16

PRFM-SINGAPORE-14

PRFM-SINGAPORE-15

PRFM-SINGAPORE-18

PRFM-SINGAPORE-13

And I was guessing right after their concert in Korea, which colour Perfume might choose for their dresses in Singapore – well, since white’s not a colour unfortunately, and after having changed their costumes during “Butterfly” (which, I would like to assume, didn’t happen in the first three concerts), its ultimately multi-colour, I really have to admit, that I just didn’t see this coming. Perfume’s still full of surprises, you think you have seen it all and suddenly… anyway, here’s everyone’s most favourite robotic cat travelling back in time since 1969 – Doraemon. He obviously got himself a “WORLD TOUR 1st” t-shirt and flew all the way to Singapore in order to announce Perfume’s next single together with Kashiyuka, Nocchi and A-chan. Set for release in spring 2013, 「未来ミュージアム」, will be the theme song for the upcoming Doraemon movie 「映画ドラえもん のび太のひみつ道具博物館(ミュージアム)」, hitting movie theaters across Japan on March 9.

Now, this announcement leaves room for many questions, which I won’t ask right here, since they will probably be answered sooner or later in the future once new information is going to be released. Until then, let’s just acknowledge the fact, that Perfume’s first world tour around four Asian countries was an overall success, yet one shouldn’t expect them to add concert venues outside of Asia in the near future. A lot of people seem to forget that, starting from their very first single, it took Perfume five years to finally become successful in their own country. Therefore, it might also take some years for Kashiyuka, Nocchi and A-chan to make it big outside of Japan and Asia, if at all. It’s easy for us fans to only see the bright sides and how Perfume would add a lot more diversity to the music market in the western parts of the world, yet in the end success will most likely be counted in records sold as well as people having visited their concerts. And no one knows or is even able to predict the exact figures for these. It’s one thing to make a release digitally available on iTunes, but it’s completely another one putting physical copies in stores around the world. As for myself, I really wish for Nocchi, A-chan and Kashiyuka to get some rest. Aside from their commitments on their radio show “LOCKS!”, NHK’s “MUSIC JAPAN” program and the already announced live performances in December, let’s just call it quits for the rest of the year – you really deserved it, girls!

PRFM-SINGAPORE-11____________________

(Seems like Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands Hotel knew about Perfume’s tie-in with Doraemon before anyone else.)

Well, that’s everything for now. The 「JPNスペシャル」will soon be continued with the promised translation of A-chan’s interview from the December 2011 issue of 「音楽と人」. Until then, thank you for visiting – and staying – with GLITTER-One.

「レビュー・ディスコ」- ねぇ

Let’s resume GLITTER-One’s series of blog entries dedicated to Perfume’s third studio album 「JPN」- this time I’m going to start this blog post by asking all of you not one but two questions: Where are you going today? Where are you going tomorrow? Well, I guess most readers now already should know what’s going to be the topic this time. Of course, it’s going to be a review of Perfume’s final single of 2010 – 「ねぇ」, which celebrated its second anniversary more than a week ago.
Having already been performed as the second to last song at the group’s famous concert at Tokyo Dome on the 3rd of November 2010, 「ねぇ」saw its physical release exactly one week later. Just as Perfume’s previous singles in 2010, 「不自然なガール/ナチュラルに恋して」and 「VOICE」, it achieved the second spot on the Oricon chart, yet with regard to its first week sales, 「ねぇ」 beat 「VOICE」by a mere 250 units, making it the groups’ most successful single in its first release week of 2010.

The song itself starts right out with the chorus, and let’s be honest about this, it kind of has a tendency of going on your nerves with Perfume’s high-pitched voices repeating the song’s title four times in a row before going over to the lyrics standing out for me the most: 「今日はどこに行こうかな」- “Where are you going today?” being modified to “Where are you ging tomorrow?” later in the song. And what comes to everyone’s mind thinking about the instrumental parts of 「ねぇ」? Of course, it’s the amazing dance by Nocchi, A-chan and Kashiyuka in the promotional video with a defined footwork that makes you only watch and be astonished. Just as in 「ナチュラルに恋して」, Japanese fashion label 「NATURAL BEAUTY BASIC」is present again with some pieces of clothing at times being featured not only once but thrice. I actually wonder how they did that, yet this special technique wasn’t mention at all in the “making of” video, featured in the third volume of Perfume’s official fan club DVD. Anyway, what else is there to say? Right, the final seconds of the song with its hard techno-like beats as well as the promotional video with Perfume flawlessly walking towards the camera before finally turning into a… cat! And being the animal lover that she is, I guess it’s no wonder Kashiyuka was the one being featured with the cat in some solo (or should I say triple) shots. Now, I think it’s finally time to have a look at the video:


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Having its tie-in with 「NATURAL BEAUTY BASIC」, as already mentioned before, the promotional video 「ねぇ」has been directed by “tie-in related video” specialist Yuichi Kodama, also having been directed Perfume’s videos for 「ナチュラルに恋して」 and 「シークレットシークレット」before. Released only three months after Perfume’s previous single 「VOICE」, 「ねぇ」was introducing a lot of new things: First of all, there was Nocchi’s new haircut, leaving her forehead exposed and named “Shakespearian” style by some fans for its more or less obvious similarity with the famous English poet. Furthermore, A-chan also kind of changed her hair, with her latest style considerably exceeding her previous shoulder-length hair for the first time in a long while – I could be wrong and just seeing things, though. Lastly, there’s the promotional video itself, going into a different direction in comparison to Perfume’s previous efforts, finally depicting Kashiyuka, Nocchi and A-chan as the young and mature women they’ve become, all of them having turned at least 21 years old by the time of the release of 「ねぇ」.

“The dazzling day I woke up to feels a little bit good.
I’m sleepy, but I’ve been waiting for it, too. Are you already awake yet?”

So much for the title song, but let’s not forget about the single’s famous B side, its dance having been kept as a secret for a long time – at least for those people who didn’t have a chance to visit Perfume’s performances at such festivals as the “SUMMER SONIC” or “ROCK IN JAPAN” in 2010. Recently, this song has come back into prominence being featured as one of the main tracks of Perfume’s latest compilation album released back in September this year, also receiving its very own promotional video in the process. Of course, it’s no other song than “FAKE IT”, a track probably made with Perfume’s live performances and their interaction with the fans in mind, as seen in the promotional video itself. Closing 「ねぇ」with the already mentioned hard techno-like beats, there pretty much couldn’t be any better follow-up song on the single than “FAKE IT”. And the lyrics, well… you wouldn’t imagine a song producing so much energy like “FAKE IT” to have such sad and somehow depressing lyrics. It’s definitely something one should have in mind while listening to the song or watching one of its live performances.

All in all, pretty much everything had been made new for Perfume in November 2010. Having finally achieved their goal of performing at the prestigious Tokyo Dome at the beginning of that month, they didn’t reinvent the wheel with 「ねぇ」, and of course they never wanted to, yet they introduced new things here and there and I would also like to say, that they finally got rid of the image of being an idol group, thanks to the promotional video being the first in a series of showing them as the mature artists they’ve become after being in the business for already ten years.

“Like you’re the one I love the most in the world… like you’re all I need… like I’m alive just for you,
I absolutely can’t say any of those things to you right now, so… FAKE IT!

Nee-02

Nee-07

Nee-04

Nee-06

Nee-03

Nee-08

Nee-09

Nee-01______________________________

Now, that wraps up today’s edition of GLITTER-One’s 「JPNスペシャル」and I hope you had a good time reading my review of 「ねぇ」. Next up will be the translation of A-chan’s solo interview from the December 2011 issue of 「音楽と人」, so please look forward to it. And of course, thanks for visiting – and staying – with GLITTER-One.

Perfume 「TRANSLATIooooooooooN!!!!!」 – JPN × 音楽と人 (かしゆか ver.)

The “JPNスペシャル” is back again, this time with the first part of Perfume’s famous interview from the December 2011 issue of “音楽と人”. A long time has passed since the release of the group’s second studio album “⊿” and a lot of things have happened – A-chan, Kashiyuka and Nocchi finally achieved their goal of performing at the prestigious Tokyo Dome at the beginning of November 2010, they started promoting for KIRIN’s CHU-HI 氷結 drinks in 2011 and released as many as five singles within 19 months. Being interviewed by Kanemitsu Hirofumi, each girl gave her personal views on the release of Perfume’s third studio album, their activities during the last two years, as well as the group’s future goals. Translated by Perfume City’s scorpio6449, and rephrasing done by me, Kashiyuka is the first one to express her thoughts:

I didn’t feel scared any more, though I was still anxious a little. I felt I got over myself rather than I grew confident.

— You’re gonna release the album for the first time in a while.
Kashiyuka: That’s right. In two years and four months.
— Your impressions about that?
Kashiyuka: It’s late!
— Hahahahaha, you’re so honest!
Kashiyuka: I feel sorry to keep our fans waiting too long… I myself have been waiting quite a long time. I’ve been always thinking that our new album should be out there already!
— And your impressions on the album?
Kashiyuka: This album has a lot of songs I could enjoy singing. When I read the lyrics, I found many of them were sweet, so I was thinking I would try girlish singing or something.

— It sure has many sweet songs. It doesn’t have that hard techno-ish feel very much, although the arrangement for “GLITTER” gives that feel a little.
Kashiyuka: I feel like people around us will think, “Perfume-san has got a greater variety.” (laughs) We’ve been repeating album-then-live cycles until this album, but after we finished the Tokyo Dome performance, we had the “Cars 2” tie-in and the “氷結” commercials have been aired a lot (with Perfume themselves appearing in them) too, and we showed up even in the movie “モテキ”. I think some people are pleased with these activities, but on the other hand, I’m worried some people may think we’ve finally done such things. (laughs)
— What do you think yourselves?
Kashiyuka: I think all of those suit Perfume now. When we were talking all together how we’d be doing after the Tokyo Dome performance, I thought we were getting more flexible.
— Which means?
Kashiyuka: Until now, we’ve usually set our own frames, stayed within them, and showed “This is Perfume!” to the people. But we could perform live in a huge venue like the Tokyo Dome, and I thought the so-this-is-Perfume images have been established among people through the event. So now, I feel like we’d be better off forgetting about those frames and trying different things.
— I see. That’s why you can respond to a variety of things, you mean.
Kashiyuka: The “スパイス” sleeve is hardly Perfume-like, isn’t it? When we shoot photos for the sleeve, for example, we usually have some codes like we dress in the same colors. But this time, we were asked to dress in different colors just for a little trick. And we shot the sleeve photos before the “スパイス” track was up. I feel we’re now more flexible so we can even say it also works just fine even though we have to go forward before fully prepared.

Perfume×Hewlett-Packard - スパイス (Another ver.)____________________

— Is it because of your confidence based on the Tokyo Dome experience, too?
Kashiyuka: Dome is not the only trigger, but I’m pretty sure we all have been changing little by little as we experienced it. Since graduating college, I’ve been able to have some time to spend for things I wanna do, and each of us has seen various worlds and learned new things and gotten wider views. I think this should be another trigger for the flexibility, too. We’ve grown mature, or rather we’ve become tolerant. (laughs)
— You’re saying, now you can afford to follow and enjoy more things.
Kashiyuka: Right. I’ve been overly determined before. Like, I’d never change my hairdo in sleeve pictures, or something. I had some unspoken rules, but it doesn’t matter anymore. I didn’t even talk about changes and could quietly change it.
— Um hum.
Kashiyuka: I didn’t feel scared anymore. I was still anxious a little, though. But in doing so, I got more varieties to widen people’s view to me.
— Have you grown confident and thought you might be able to do those things as well?
Kashiyuka: I felt I got over myself rather than I grew confident. I have my own ideals, and I’ve been always thinking to attain them, but now I can accept the way I am without pushing myself, and I can think I’ll be okay like that, too. Now I feel like I’m hardly scared for anything.
— Oh, what’s happened to a girl always filled with dread!?
Kashiyuka: I’m changing, right? Teehee. I feel what’s wrong with me. (laughs) But, I kind of feel I’m vacant inside.
— Vacant?
Kashiyuka: I’m not unhappy at all, but not satisfied either. I’ve been feeling empty inside, though I don’t know what to do to remove this feeling… I feel myself like a chrysalis right now. (laughs)

A string that’s very soft but never snaps. It’s inside Perfume. It just stays strong anytime like nothing else.

— Like one step before emergence.
Kashiyuka: Yes. I’m like, I was a caterpillar trying hard at life and now I’ve developed into a chrysalis, but I’m wondering like, how can I become a beautiful butterfly?… Nah, it’s okay because I’m still just a chrysalis.
— You’ve gotta become a butterfly and move on to a new road.
Kashiyuka: I think we’ve got plenty of them. I’m sure we can do anything in the Perfume style. It’s a new step that “ポリリズム” is heard in “Cars 2” worldwide, also we’re invited to a festival held at a stadium in Korea next week. (2011 Asia Song Festival, performing with artists such as Girls’ Generation, SUPER JUNIOR, etc.) When we performed overseas before, it was just a part of an award ceremony, and we could sing only two songs, but we have a ten-minute slot this time so we’ll pack our performances as many as we can within the time frame. We should be able to communicate much better by showing our performances than making a speech. I can hardly wait to gooooo! (wriggling in frustration and expectation)

Perfume×Windows - GLITTER (KIRIN CHU-HI 氷結 ver.)____________________

— That means, right now you’re really into overseas performances. (laughs)
Kashiyuka: Yeah, I’ve been thinking about it for long.
— Is it since the “Cars 2” deal or something was confirmed?
Kashiyuka: Nope, I’ve been thinking about going abroad since… ”Linear Motor Girl”. (laughs)
— Since that long ago?
Kashiyuka: Around the time we found out about YouTube, someone told us like, there are copy bands of Perfume overseas, or some foreign kids are dancing to Perfume songs. I thought, “there are people who know Perfume even in foreign countries,” and that was the first time to think about the world. Besides, now I expect ourselves to get renewed by going international.
— You mean you feel like getting renewed?
Kashiyuka: Well, I rather won’t wanna stay at stable positions. I always wanna be inspired, try new things and get nervous and thrilled. It’s not fun at all trying things you can see or imagine. Of course doing live shows and photo shootings and the three of us being together are all fun, but if you ask me if those are awfully inspiring, they’re not. We’re not exactly repeating the same things, but I feel something that I felt before after all. I’m dying for inspirations that are the first and new to me now.
— What if you go and try new inspirations, and get shocked and worried?
Kashiyuka: I wanna have a chance to be worried like, “are we gonna be okay?”,or something. Otherwise I feel like I’m gonna get spoiled. (laughs)
— H-hahahaha!
Kashiyuka: Don’t stay stable and peaceful, I think. (laughs) I always do.

— Right now, Kashiyuka, you don’t talk much about your concerns and you seem somewhat stable, and that means, good or bad, Perfume itself is stable in a sense, right?
Kashiyuka: I think you’re right. We’re happy about that, but…I think we definitely need inspirations. Maybe I’m asking for the world. But on the other hand, it’s very hard to manage yourself if you’ll be always alright whatever you try. You must not try things at random even if you can. You should become cautious and deliberate rather because you’ll be okay doing anything, yet you‘re not satisfied making only safe bets. But again, even though you’re free to do anything, I wonder, isn’t freedom without a sense of self-discipline just a wrong idea?
— You mean you know the boundary yourself, don’t you?
Kashiyuka: I guess all three of us know it. That’s why none of us goes too far and does things like, “she dyed her hair all of sudden!” (laughs)
— Do you have anything big like, Perfume should be like this?
Kashiyuka: We do, and I think it hasn’t changed. We each view ourselves as a member of Perfume quite objectively, and find overall balances like, then I should be like this, or it’s not right for all of us doing like this, or if she does this now then I’ll do that, or things like that. We are surprisingly mature after all. (laughs)

— Are you conscious of going on twenty-three years old?
Kashiyuka: Hmm…I’m not bound by ages in particular, but still my thoughts has changed as I gain more experience year by year, and I sometimes think, ah this is how I get mature. On the other hand, I have this downside making me think about useless things like, I wanna stay immature. I often wonder if I could accept my age innocently and gratefully and just be happy. (Laugh)
— You’re saying, you think in such a way more often.
Kashiyuka: Yeah. It’s been eleven years since we formed Perfume, but that makes me think that artists who’ve been around for years are really great. Over ten years, probably with a lot of inner conflicts, yet able to keep doing what they’ve been doing, those artists are really great.
— Great because they stay motivated?
Kashiyuka: Right. It’s because the size of venue is limited, right? B’z-san for example, they went all the way up to the top both in size and sales, and they still keep going. I guess they’re motivated by something other than the sense of achievement, and if I think of what their drive could be, it should be their enduring passions to respond to their audience with their best shots. That’s what I’ve found out recently from where I’m standing now. And I’m actually feeling how hard right now. (laughs)

Perfume×Hewlett-Packard - JPN (音楽と人 - 1st ver.)____________________

— Are you finding something that you think, this must be it, something that can be the core of your thoughts?
Kashiyuka: I think I am. I can’t explain well, but there’s this string right in front of you, and it’s very soft but it never snaps. This one string is inside Perfume. Even if many colors are added around it, and however it twists and bends, it never snaps. Like, “no matter how hard you pull it, it stays strong and is never worn out!”, or something.
— Have you ever thought it’s breaking?
Kashiyuka: Sometimes I can’t tell what color the strings is painted, rather than I think it’s snapping. Maybe right now as well. I know the string is there, I believe its strength, and three of us are alright, but it seems like, we can’t tell which way we’re heading. Anytime when we’re getting lost, we get together like, “We need to watch out,” and are like, let’s talk all together with all our staff, too. For this reason, I have more meetings with our staff recently. I feel strongly like, if we’ve got anything we can improve, let’s do it fast. Like, we can’t just let things follow their course, can we? (laughs) Because I think, we’re not doing this just for our fun.
— The string may break if you leave it.
Kashiyuka: Well, yes. I feel everybody has to go through this stage to go any further. And I wanna improve anything we should. We’ve got more staff and more of them don’t know our feelings when we were nobody at all. And I don’t expect those new staff can actually feel what we’ve been through. So we need to sit and talk it over, with care. We’ve been always doing so.

Have you enjoyed the interview with Kashiyuka? Make sure to look forward for the continuation of the “音楽と人” interview with A-chan and Nocchi, as well as more blog entries leading up to the first anniversary of “JPN” on November 30. And of course, thank you for visiting – and staying – with “GLITTER-One”.

「JPNスペシャル」・スタート・!

It’s finally here – GLITTER-One’s tribute to Perfume’s fourth album ‘JPN’ – named after the amazing visual and technically flawless performance interlude from the group’s third nationwide tour, also going by the very same name as the album. Yet, this won’t be the only entry on this blog related to ‘JPN’. Therefore, prepare for two months full of posts from various categories like ‘Perfume 「TRANSLATIooooooooooN!!!!!」’, ‘Perfumeのギャラリーハウス’ or the popular ‘Perfume WORKS!’. The latter will feature exclusive wallpapers related to ‘JPN’ and its singles, while the former is going to present you the very interesting interview from the December 2011 issue of ‘音楽と人’. Furthermore, I will try to review some of the releases related to this era – after all, five singles, one album and a wonderful concert tour, that had just been released on DVD at the beginning of August this year. Now, are you ready? Let’s start!

So, for the first entry of this series, I’m going to begin with a review of the release that’s celebrating its first anniversary today – ‘スパイス’. First of all, I would like to say, that I totally missed out on this single. I was definitely aware of ‘JPN’ being released exactly four weeks later, yet I had never heard anything about ‘スパイス’ before, making this track, as well as the single’s B side ‘GLITTER’ (even though in its new ‘album-mix’), seem to me like two completely new songs on the album.
As far as I had noticed, the release of ‘スパイス’ wasn’t that much anticipated by most fans, knowing that Perfume’s new album would soon follow, therefore making this single probably an unnecessary purchase. Well, we all know that it would turn out differently, with the promotional video for ‘GLITTER’ being featured only on the DVD included with the single’s limited edition, as well as the song itself being edited for its appearance on ‘JPN’. Talking about ‘GLITTER’ – (obviously) being an important inspiration for the creation of the site, this song will get its very own entry at the end of the ‘JPNスペシャル’ series. Therefore, I guess you could call today’s post an incomplete review. Anyway, let’s move on with a listen to ‘スパイス’ combined with a look at the promotional video:


______________________________

Pretty nice song, right? Well, when I first heard this track on ‘JPN’, I had absolutely no doubt about it being a very good closing song for the album. After listening to all the variety that is the fourth album by Perfume, ‘スパイス’ creates an amazing atmosphere being neither too fast nor too slow. You definitely need to listen to the instrumental version to finally be aware of all the details that Yasutaka Nakata has put into this song. At first, I really thought of the compositional technique of a canon with the voices of Nocchi, Kashiyuka and A-chan repeating each others words over and over, at least in some specific parts of the song.
And this becomes even more evident, while watching the promotional video for ‘スパイス’, this time directed by Daisuke Shimada. Well, to be quite honest, I actually like the choreography for the song very much. Don’t want to go too much into details right here, but the dance moves from A-chan, Nocchi and Kashiyuka actually take a lot of reference to the lyrics, yet I only did notice this aspect once I looked up the translation. All in all, their moves during ‘巡り巡り’ (’round and round’) have to be one of my most favourite dance moves by Perfume ever.
However, keeping a very monotone setting for the beginning, the overall image of ‘スパイス’ doesn’t change until the song as well as the video reaches its climax with Nocchi’s ‘だけど’, just seconds after the girls tried out those mysterious sweets colouring not only their clothes, but also leading them to a completely new experience. Going by the lyrics, I would like to say, that Perfume were pretty much set with their activities in Japan and obviously not knowing they had supporters outside of their native country was fine after all. But they put out their ‘antennas’ and by visiting the world premiere of ‘Cars 2′, straining their ears and focusing their eyes, Kashiyuka, Nocchi and A-chan finally became aware of their fans outside of Japan. And that’s when the door opened for their next goal – to be acknowledged as artists around the world. They don’t have to change their musical style to achieve this, instead their music will even get more colourful with every step they take on their road to their latest dream.

‘スパイス’ was Perfume’s final single with their former record label ‘Tokuma Japan Communications’ and looking at every aspect of this release – the songs, the videos and the lyrics – they just had to make the change to ‘Universal J’ a short time afterwards, because otherwise it just would have meant pure stagnation. There’s no doubt about the high quality of this single, yet by having achieved pretty much everything in their home country, A-chan, Nocchi and Kashiyuka were finally more or less ready to take on their next goal. And who would have known they would be able to get that far at the beginning of their careers?

“Maybe not knowing is fine, I’m so in love that my heart is beating fast;
even if I touch you in the same room, I feel the distance between us from where I am, far away…”

Spice-05

Spice-06

Spice-08

Spice-01

Spice-07

Spice-04

Spice-03

Spice-02______________________________

Well, that’s it for the first entry of GLITTER-One’s ‘JPNスペシャル’. I hope you enjoyed it and look forward to more posts celebrating the first anniversary of Perfume’s third studio album ‘JPN’. Until then, thanks for visiting – and staying – with ‘GLITTER-One’.

Perfume 「TRANSLATIooooooooooN!!!!!」 – 「WORLD TOUR 1st」 in Taiwan

The memories from last weekend are still fresh, as Perfume started their first world tour around Asia on Friday with a reportedly amazing performance in Taiwan’s Neo Studio. This was followed by the announcement of Perfume’s official fan club ‘P.T.A.’ being made available for fans from overseas, with a registration period starting on the very same day and ending on November 30 (coincidentally the first anniversary of the group’s fourth album ‘JPN’). Initial reactions about the length of this time frame were varied, and one may also wonder what the special benefit could be, if you have registered with the pre-site. As for me, I have little to no idea what kind of benefit one might receive (surely a special gift (i. e. some kind of card) or a discount off the membership fee). Furthermore, thinking about how probably most fans already did find out about Perfume’s official fan club opening up for members residing outside Japan and the majority instantly signing up for membership, I consider the registration period actually kind of long. Not to mention there are still two and a half months to go after the end of that particular time span until the fan club finally opens on February 14 next year, but I guess Perfume’s staff just needs the time to successfully plan all the details. All in all, I’m really looking forward to everything related to ‘P.T.A.’ and its global expansion, as well as all the other benefits you’ll probably get just by being a member of Perfume’s official fan club.
Moreover, ASMART, the well-known supplier for official Perfume-related items, announced a partnership with Tenso.com on Friday, the latter being mostly familiar with all fans from overseas having already acquired membership with the original version of ‘P.T.A.’, limited to residents in Japan (and therefore Japanese addresses). Thinking about the fact that current ‘P.T.A.’ members receive various fan club-only goods for free through postal services, ASMART’s partnership with Tenso.com can be considered an important step for the international version of ‘P.T.A.’ to become successful.

Furthermore on Saturday, the Japanese entertainment news site ‘Natalie.mu‘ published an article about Perfume’s first concert in Taiwan with more impressions from the show as well as short comments from A-chan, Kashiyuka and Nocchi. This time, Perfume-City‘s very own ‘taka02′ was kind enough to translate the article, with some rephrasing done by me:

The first day of Perfume’s overseas tour ends with great success. “Taiwan, you’re the best!”

For the first-day concert of their first overseas tour “Perfume WORLD TOUR 1st”, (yesterday) on October 26th, Perfume carried out a live show at Neo Studio in Taiwan. They performed for local fans in the full-packed venue.

Perfume have an experience of performing live at places with a capacity of fifty-thousand people in Japan, but on this tour a live house was selected as a venue, which can be said to be a starting point of Perfume who have always valued live performances since their debut. On this day, since they were close to the audience, the three members on the stage were assimilated with the heat in the venue and, although the stage effects were minimal, it was a high-quality live concert. The content and effects of the concert were prepared specially for this overseas tour. The songs on the set list were selected mainly from the album ‘Perfume Global Compilation “LOVE THE WORLD”‘ which was released in Asian countries, ranging from their debut song to the latest one, and their stage performance was something like their visiting card for going overseas. Every time a song started, a big cheer roared up from the floor and, while the audience were excitedly jumping, Perfume told them during their MC that they visited tourist sites in Taipei the day before like the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. They talked, gesturing like playing a skit, about ‘how cute Taiwan motorcycles look when they are waiting at a red light’, ‘the difference between Japanese traffic lights and Taiwan traffic lights’, and so on, getting a big laugh from the local fans.

One of the attractions of their live concert, their communication with the audience, could be seen at this Taiwan concert, too. Although it was their first overseas one-man concert, feeling a sense of unity with the audience who waved their hands together with them, A-chan got overcome with emotion and shouted repeatedly, “台湾、很讃! (Taiwan, you’re the best!)”

As the live concert came to the end, A-chan told the audience the long way from Perfume’s debut to this day’s stage and how she felt about their overseas tour. She described her feelings after finishing their live concert saying, ‘I thought it was a dream too big and impossible to realize, but now it has changed to my confidence.’ Also, at the end of the concert, Nocchi commented, ‘I’m glad that I was able to make invaluable friends.’ Kashiyuka told her feelings saying, ‘I didn’t expect that everyone would sing together in Japanese and I really enjoyed myself.’ After that, A-chan announced they will start a fan club for overseas fans. She expressed her enthusiasm saying, ‘I really can not believe that we could perform at such a big venue, although this is our first visit today! But I am not satisfied with just this! The tour is only our “1st”!’

After the concert, the lights were turned on over the audience seats, background music was played, and there was a scene where the audience started singing “Dream Fighter” in chorus and the (Perfume) members expressed their gratitude saying ‘Everyone, thank you!’ from the stage wing through their microphones and the venue was full of applaud. Shouts of encore didn’t stop until after a long while.

Three concerts in Hong Kong, South Korea, and Singapore remain on their Asia tour. It has been decided that the Singapore concert will be broadcast live at movie theaters in Japan, so you can cheer on Perfume on a movie screen in Japan real-time, who will be tackling new challenges in their first-visiting places. And, receiving great responses, four live-viewing theaters were newly added, Odaiba Cinema Mediage in Tokyo, T-Joy Oizumi in Tokyo, T-Joy Soga in Chiba, and T-Joy Riverwalk Kitakyushu in Fukuoka, totaling 66 theaters to broadcast the concert. Furthermore, there were many requests of a live broadcast of the final concert from Taiwan, where they have just finished a concert, and it has been decided that there will be a broadcast at Vie Show Hsin Yi in Taipei City.

LOVE THE WORLD - WORLD TOUR 1st______________________________

There you have it – ‘success’ is pretty much the best word to describe the first concert of Perfume’s Asia tour. Actually, I’m not sure if this is going to happen, but I really would like to see a release of the concert on DVD, as I recently quite enjoyed a performance of Nocchi, Kashiyuka and A-chan featuring a similar stage like the one in Taiwan – that is to say, the footage from their first tour ‘GAME’. Yet, I’m afraid this might be a fan club-exclusive release – well, no problem with that, if it’s going to hit my letterbox after Valentine’s Day next year.

Next up, I’ve planned the start of my special tribute to the first anniversary of Perfume’s album ‘JPN’, featuring reviews, photos and scanned magazine pages, as well as my popular self-made wallpapers. The first entry of GLITTER-One’s ‘JPNスペシャル’ is set to be published on November 2, the first anniversary of the release of ‘スパイス’, so please look forward to it. Until then, thanks for visiting – and staying – with ‘GLITTER-One’.

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