I've always had a difficult time getting into the Japanese music scene. If you have spent any time in Japan at all, you'll have realized that the Japanese public eye rips through musical acts at a frenzied and disconcerting pace. Each week a new artist appears with a hit single that gets played over and over on radio stations and late-night entertainment shows. And a scant few days later, the song and the artist are all but forgotten, like Dust in the Wind, to be replaced with a new flavor of the week. Persistent stars are all but theater productions built up by media conglomerates, with little or no hand in creating the content they act out on stage.

If you mention an act from last month or last year to Japanese colleagues (or students, if you're a teacher), you'll be met with cries of, "Oh, that's old!" But, honestly, it all sounds the same to me. Meaningless pop fluff repeated over and over in the same ridiculous formats (and so many, many more iterations of them than any country should ever need). Sometimes I'll happen across a song that's catchy, but I've rarely felt respect for the artist or his (or her) creation.

That is, until I stumbled across this gem:

JapaneseRockFFS is a blog that has been sitting in disuse for over a year. But, it still happens to provide 48 snippets that rejuvenate faith in the history of modern Japanese music.

These are edgy, earthy artists who aren't afraid to challenge their instruments or listeners, from Far East Family Band's 30-minute space odyssey "Parallel World," to the I-don't-give-a-damn drone dominating the Jacks' first album, which almost begs to be compared to Reed's voice in "Venus in Furs."

The point is, they show passion and consideration for their music, rather than a focus on walking through Paris in heels. So, the next time you turn on a TV and feel a little depressed at the state of music in modern Japan, remember there is a rich history of rock music here. It just doesn't often get the public nod.

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