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Do As Tokyo Does Street Bands
(Entered Nov. 20, 2006)
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If you're a wannabe musician living in Japan hoping to make it big, unfortunately you were born in the wrong country. In the West, there are a fair number of indie and startup bands, but it's nothing like the competition you get over here where it seems like everyone is a musician. Slight exageration maybe but when you're walking through any crowded area in downtown Tokyo you'll always find at least a few bands out on the street busking, even in the winter! It doesn't matter if they're good or bad, you gotta give them credit for having the guts to do their thing right out in public, especially the musicians that play and sing all by themselves. Street bands come in all genres and descriptions range from normal to comical, to downright bizarre. Check out the clip below of various bands I've filmed, gotta love the guy in the green top hat!

Unhappily for all of these guys hoping for success, these days in Japan new bands aren't discovered, they're made. Just grab a bunch of cute girls, dress them up in indentical clothes, write a catchy song for them and voila. Or if you're making a boy band, find a group of prepubescent guys, make them look as feminine as possibe without changing their sex, and you're in business. The new sound in Japan these days isn't a sound at all, it's just image. Boring....

street bands

To get the full street band experience, head to the Yoyogi park area on Saturday or Sunday where you'll be able to find these bands lining the streets. Some of the more famous acts include the dancing Elvis impersonators and the drumming group both of which can be found in Yoyogi park itself. Sometimes bands will have a large crowd of fans watching them. This is especially true of the cute, girl musicians who will often have a bunch of camera wielding, older men surrounding them. But others are playing all alone which is kind of sad. They seem undaunted by their lack of success though and just keep on playing. Long live street musicians!



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