Perhaps one of the best media resources for non-Japanese language speakers is NHK World which is available as website and a standalone app for the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. Recently they added playlists from their On Demand collection and there’s one for Okinawa!
The playlist (“Okinawa: Hope through Hard Times” link) currently has 5 episodes and the one I want to bring your attention to for its pop culture theme is called “The Sounds of Okinawa: Joy and Prayers for Shuri Castle”. The 45-minute episode features HY, Miyazawa Kazufumi (The Boom), Chuning Candy, i-dushi, Kiiyama Shoten, and KARIYUSHI 58. (I’ll have posts up of a few of the artists who are new to this blog.)
The episodes won’t be available forever so please don’t miss them — especially the music one for fans of Okinawan pop culture.
Modern technology is reaching every corner of the globe, and leaving no industry untouched, as now a local company has come up with an Awamori Large-Scale Dictionary for the smart phone iPhone.
The software application produced by Rakuen-Keikaku, a company that deals with the restaurant and publishing industries, works with the Apple iPhone, listing all 365 brands of awamori from the beverage’s 48 distilleries on Okinawa. The software lets customers sort for different awamori brands, taste, fragrance, percentage of alcohol, by distiller and by awamori name.
Billing itself as a combination of beautiful Okinawan girls and Okinawan dialect, out of curiosity I installed the free (with ads) iOkinawa! app (link opens iTunes US Store) on my iPhone 4. Developed by Sayobs (Ray Matayoshi) from Tokyo, it looks like it’s their first iOS app made for the iPhone. Released November 10, 2010, it’s currently at version 1.0 and the description on iTunes reads: “Tons of useful Okinawan dialect phrases with beautiful Okinawan girls.”
Crimson Technology’s Sanshin app is currently at version 1.1 and sells for U.S. $1.99. (iTunes Link) It’s nearest (or only at the moment) competitor is Pawana LLC’s iSanshin app which also happens to be at version 1.1 and is on sale for the same price of U.S. $1.99. But is it really a competition between the two apps or do both compliment each other? Read on to find out.
We’re big Mac fans here and there’s always an iPhone within reach but we don’t always carry a sanshin with us. (Duh?) Well, anyhoo, if you own an iPhone or iPod touch you’re in luck with two apps to keep you entertained for those times when you’re without sanshin. Both apps are U.S. $1.99 and are virtual instruments.
The first app we’ll look at is called (simply) Sanshin (iTunes Link: http://j.mp/4vYmMY) and is from Crimson Technology. Unfortunately, the developers don’t have a video preview of the app and, based on App Store reviews, Sanshin has been rated 2 out of 5 stars by customers.
[Update 1: Kazushige, developer of the Sanshin app provided a link to two YouTube clips featuring his app being played by none other than the beautiful Keiko Higa of Deigo Musume.
The second app, iSanshin from Pawana LLC (iTunes Link: http://j.mp/79oZoX) has a YouTube video up (embedded down below) showcasing a few of the app’s features.
I hope to do reviews of both apps in a future entry.
[Update 2: I’m working on reviews of both apps and hope to have it up soon. So stay tuned!]
Wow, this is pretty cool. KunKun4 Editor is a Flash-based Web app that lets you create your own kunkunshi to be saved to your PC or emailed to a friend. I played around with it a little and it seems to work very well.
Testing the recently released WordPress for iPhone app version 2.0. So far, I like it a whole lot better than version 1.x where I’ll actually make more use of this. Wish it had a Dashboard like the Web version but I guess this is more of an on-the-go type of software rather than a replacement.
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.
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).