Beautiful photos of Okinawa on your iPhone? There’s an app for that.

We’re big fans of Apple Inc. here so of course, we love the iPhone. For USD $0.99, you can buy an app of beautiful photos of Okinawa shot by none other than Mr. O-pop himself, Rinken Teruya (founder of all things Rinken). The app, simply called “Okinawa,” features the song “Takouyama” sung by Tomoko Uehara, vocalist of Rinken Band and can be found here (iTunes link). Information about the app can be found here.

Bassist Yo Yasuda’s BeatMaster iPhone/iPod touch app

Currently based in Okinawa, professional bass player Yo Yasuda has played with a number of artists like Syakari, Siori, and Namiko. Although that should be enough to be of interest to our pop culture blog, he’s gone and done something to really excite us: introducing the BeatMaster app for iPhone and iPod touch. According to his blog entry, Yo created the app as a way to help musicians build a strong sense of rhythm in a fun, and very portable way. The video above showcases the app in a very familiar setting: Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. Sounds interesting? Check out the product’s website or at the iTunes App Store (link opens iTunes).

(Via しゃかりデジカメ日記.)

Rinken Teruya’s latest solo album “Pause 2” now on iTunes (and more)

Rinken Teruya (leader of the O-pop band Rinken Band) has been one of the most tech-savvy of his peers—as evidenced by the rinken.gr.jp website which has been around for several years as well as his willingness to release his music digitally. Although he’s had numerous projects in the past (like Tink Tink, Mihanagumi, Tomoko Uehara’s solo works, among others), he released his first solo instrumental album last year titled “Pause” and this year released the follow-up album, “Pause 2” (link opens iTunes). Both albums are available in the US iTunes Store.

Unfortunately, many of his other projects (like Tink Tink’s music) are only available at the Japan iTunes store. While we’re on that subject (i.e. of what those of us who live outside of Japan can’t get), I’ll share two iMixes[1] worth checking out. Please be aware that these links will open iTunes and log you off of the US store as it’ll open the Japan store. For an exhaustive look at artists with music available for sale at the US store, check out my special page: Listing of Artists on iTunes.

iMixes found at the Japan iTunes store:

  • Ryukyu Utahime Shu – an iMix of female singers from Okinawa.
  • Ryukyu Geinou Catalog – although I usually think of performing arts when I hear the word “geinou,” this iMix is just a collection of rock and pop artists from Okinawa.
  • Shimauta – an interesting iMix of artists covering THE BOOM’s “Shimauta.”

And although I haven’t done any in awhile, here’s a link to my iMixes (link will open the US iTunes store).

Back to post1 These are customer-created mixes that include links to the artists’ album. Both of the iMixes consist mainly of songs that are currently available only at the Japan iTunes store. Hopefully, this gives us a look at what may one day reach the US store too—especially the Parsha cluB stuff FTW!

Beni Arashiro drops last name for new single – Tokyograph

Singer Beni Arashiro is reinventing herself under a new name: BENI. She will once again be focusing on her music career, after months of silence, starting with a new single next month.

Arashiro left her previous management agency, Oscar Promotion, at the end of August, and her contract with Avex expired at the end of September. She has now signed with Universal Music, and her first single as BENI will be released on December 10.

Titled ‘Mou Nidoto…,’ the ballad is a follow-up to DOHZI-T’s ‘Mou Ichido… feat. BENI’ that was released in June. While Arashiro was a guest artist on that song, she hasn’t released a single of her own since February 2007.

‘Mou Nidoto’ will start selling as a chaku-uta on November 12.

(Link: Beni Arashiro drops last name for new single – Tokyograph.)

Wow, I had to read the part about “a single of her own since February 2007″ twice. I have to admit that I wasn’t much a fan of her music (her singing, I like) but that changed after listening to her sing “Koibumi,” a track off of her 2007 album “GEM.” This sentiment was further cemented after her stint on DOHZI-T’s superb J-R&B ballad “Mou Ichido…” released on June of this year. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that her first single release under her new record label (Universal) should be titled “Mou Nidoto…” which is set to be released on December 10, 2008. I think she’ll do rather well if she follows along with music of a similar vibe to these songs so we’re wishing her the best. The iTunes Store (link opens iTunes) has a pretty good collection of her material so check it out!

iPhone app: Cosmovox

No, I’m not cross-posting things from my personal blog here, this really is related to Okinawan pop culture. 😛 That said, I think a picture tells a thousand words so check it out below.

cosmovox.png

Yup, you’ve read it right. Just under “Hirajoshi” is “Okinawa (Ryukyu Onkai [scale])” so what the heck is Cosmovox? It’s a music instrument application made for Apple’s iPhone (via Leisuresonic):

Cosmovox is a unique and innovative musical instrument for the iPhone and iPod touch. Cosmovox allows you to make music simply by moving your iPhone! Cosmovox is compelling and fun regardless of your musical skills — young children, curious professionals and trained musicians alike enjoy Cosmovox tremendously. It is a brand new instrument to explore with amazing expressive possibilities!

So yeah, I had to buy it ($1.99 at the App Store). Maybe I’ll make a video of my Cosmovox-composed song one of these days. 🙂

(Via The Unofficial Apple Weblog.)