You don’t have to be in Japan long before you get exposure to J-Pop, it is blaring at full blast from just about everywhere. J-Pop has become an integral part of popular Japanese culture, it is used everywhere, from radio, TV, commercials and video games to name a few.
You will hear this sugary disco/techno based pop music in Shopping centres, fashion shops, restaurants or cars, and flat out is usually the only volume.
J-pop is even used to try and deaden the sound of the Pachinko balls in the Pachinko gaming parlours.
Many of the large cities have video displays on buildings blasting the latest catchy J-Pop tune. There is a massive culture around the music, fashion, animation and of course beautiful young models. The music and images are usually of a rapid and frantic pace and often switch between English and Japanese, it’s not for the faint hearted.
At weekends it is quite common to see some of the latest J-Pop stars or at least people posing as them attracting enormous crowds in the main shopping districts and entertainment zones. The audience is usually in a frenzy, young girls crying with joy and teenage boys in love with the latest stars.
You can walk into a shopping centre, and every store may be playing a J-Pop song all at full bore, after a while you get used to it and the catchy tunes play with your mind even when there is no song playing. It is impossible to escape. In quite a few cases you might even recognise some of the songs. Many songs are ’J-Popped’ versions of western songs, sometimes with half translated lyrics. Country and western tunes are quite common too, but often with a fast techno beat added.
Many of the J-Pop stars are girl or boy bands, made up of 4 or 5 beautiful models with bleached or abstract hair and the latest street wear. Japan also has a thriving rock scene called J-Rock where many of the bands are extremely grungy or punk.