【MMN Interview】Interview with J-POP SUMMIT Performing Artist May’n
“I want to sing songs that will become everybody’s main theme.” May’n began her activity as a singer back in 2004 based on this very desire. Since then, she has gone on to leave her mark on the world stage, having embarked on an Asia tour, a world tour, a tour around all 47 prefectures in Japan, not to mention a solo concert at the world-renowned Nippon Budokan.
Autumn this year marks 13 years since May’n made her debut. Her appearance at J-POP SUMMIT is imminent, as is the release of her new album in October. It will be her first appearance at J-POP SUMMIT in 3 years and her first album in 4 years. Looking back over her career, we spoke with May’n about how she has changed over the years and her outlook for the future.
—Your appearance at J-POP SUMMIT is drawing close, isn’t it?
It’s been 3 years since I’ve performed there, so I want to give it my all like I really have been away for 3 years. Back then it was held outdoors, but this time it’ll be indoors. It also seems like I will have more stage time, so I want to deliver the full package of something much closer to my regular live shows.
—Is there anything that has held a place in your heart these past 3 years?
The last time I was given the opportunity to perform at J-POP SUMMIT. I was on my 10-year anniversary world tour. Experiencing it was like I had reached a plateau, like all of the scary things had disappeared, in a good way… It was as if I had started from the very beginning again.
—So, you’ve gone through changes these past 3 years?
When I reached my 10th year, I started thinking deeply about the kind of image I want perceive for myself as May’n, what kind of figure I want to become for everyone else – those kinds of ideals. But I settled on believing in my own feelings and in my fans to do the things I love. When I look back at photos on stage, I think how happy my face looks (laughs).
—Do you think you have become free in expressing yourself in recent years?
I’ve wanted to be an artist since I was 3 years old, so I think I’ve always been pursuing that ideal. Especially during the time when I did the singing voice for Sheryl Nome, the Galactic Fairy from “Macross Frontier.” I was desperate in trying to become like her.
—From 3 years old!
That’s correct. Thinking about it now, it started back when my teacher praised me at Parent’s Day (laughs). My mother saw that I loved songs and let me go to a concert at 3 years old. From there it was set in stone – I loved songs. Even now, my kindergarten teacher from back then comes to my concerts.
—That’s a wonderful story.
My true self, which my mother and teacher know about, does have its relatively idle moments, but when I look back, I think I might have stifled my true nature until the moment of my 10th anniversary. I’m concentrating on looking after my throat, and it seems taking a break has been a huge turning point for me.
Japanese singer-songwriter Mosawo released the music video for his new song Sakurako on Monday (February 22). The song was created by Mosawo together with users of the music streaming service LINE MUSIC.
LINE MUSIC is Japan’s biggest music streaming platform for both Japanese and Western music with over 73 million songs spanning all genres.
Mosawo’s new song Sakurako was written as part of LINE MUSIC’s campaign to create a song about unfulfilled love after graduating school. The song was made based off romantic episodes, photos, and videos submitted by users. It’s written from a female perspective and imagines the girl having been unable to confess her love before graduation.
Speaking about the song and music video, Mosawo said: “I have created something wonderful with people. The song is written and composed based off photos featuring various different facial expressions and backgrounds, and of which there exists only a single of each in the world, as well as romantic stories submitted by people. Thank you all so much.”
In a conversation with LINE MUSIC, he also explained: “I read all of the stories and conversations with the people of LINE MUSIC, but the one that came up the most was that of unfulfilled love. Working with that, I had the idea of cherry blossoms, something tied to spring. The individual petals falling to the ground are reminiscent of falling tears, plus this is a song about separation from the one you love, and that’s how I came up with the song title ‘Sakurako.’ I made it a ballad so it draws out that feeling of unfulfilled love even more.”
“The first and second verses,” he continues, “have a sad tinge to them, but there’s an air of happiness in the chorus too. As for the lyrics, there are parts of the song where they’re unchanged, written exactly as they were submitted, and there are places where they’re changed a little. It was my first time singing lyrics that aren’t my own. It was a challenge, but I think the result is lyrics that capture everyone’s thoughts and feelings in one song.”
Japanese Song Title: 桜恋
Released: February 22, 2021
LINE MUSIC: https://note.linemusic.jp/n/n6f4bb635e200
Japanese YouTuber Saaya Releases Oil Rich Tint Lipsticks From Her Brand Lillua
25.February.2021 | FASHION
The Japanese cosmetics brand Lillua launched a new collection of four “Oil Rich Tint” lipsticks on Monday (February 22). The brand is produced by Direct Tech in collaboration with the popular beauty YouTuber Saaya.
Saaya is a popular beauty guru and influencer from Japan. She has over 2.14 million followers across her social media pages including 1.23 million subscribers on YouTube (as of February 22, 2021). On her main YouTube channel, she posts how-to videos on hair and makeup as well as content related to fashion, videos with her siblings, and more.
Saaya launched Lillua to support people to become the person they want to be – someone who they love even more than they did yesterday. The brand released its teaser site on February 19 which blew up amongst her fans on social media. Now, the site has fully launched with its first collection of products.
Lillua’s “Oil Rich Tint” is a line-up of glossy lipsticks with a tint effect. The products take into account the reality of wearing face masks everyday by being super easy to apply. They are made using an oil gel which spreads across the lips effortlessly and leaves them feeling soft. They also contain squalane, olive oil, and jojoba oil to moisturise the lips, making them look plump and soft. The collection features four types: 01 Mellow Pink, 02 Gala Deep Red, 03 Lut Terracotta, and 04 Peach Pig.
Oil Rich Tint | ¥1,450 (Before Tax)
01 Melon Pink
Not just simply cute and sweet – but a romantic pink with a faint dullness to it.
02 Gala Deep Red
Peak with the ever-popular deep red which captivates and captures a gaze in an instant.
03 Lut Terracotta
The nuanced colour of the orange-brown terracotta gives your lips a refined look.
04 Peach Pig
A beautifully joyous natural coral colour you’ll find yourself wanting to use everyday.
Every purchase via Lillua’s official website will gift members a free original postcard. Additionally, the first 1,500 people to order two or more items will receive an original Lillua pouch.
Oil Rich Tint
Released: February 22, 2021
Lillua Official Website: https://www.lillua.com/
Japan’s Cafe Chain Bread, Espresso & to Open New Branch in Kamata
25.February.2021 | FOOD
Hitobito, the company behind Japan’s popular bakery cafe chain Bread, Espresso &, is set to open a new branch inside Makita General Hospital in Kamata on March 1. The cafe opened its doors for pre-openings earlier this month with shortened business hours.
Bread, Espresso & has 20 branches across Japan including the popular one located in Omotesando, Tokyo. Its frequented by people of all ages for its deliciously soft bread made from 100% Japanese wheat.
The cafe’s picture book-like interior design caters to children featuring bread-shaped tables and cute illustrations.
Customers are welcome to try out the free samples on display. Each sample has a little card detailing various information which customers can take to the register if they want to buy that item. Often in Japanese bakeries there are tongs and trays which customers are free to use, but this new style of service lessens contact with others for a safer trip during the pandemic.
The bakery serves Bread, Espresso & classics like French toast and their mu pastries, as well as alternatives like gluten-free breads, no-sugar treats, and more.
Pan, Espresso & Kamata
Address: 8-19-1 Nishi-Kamata, Ota-ku, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 9:00-21:00 (Until 18:00 during pre-opening)
Holidays: None (Except Sundays during pre-opening, after it will be open 7 days a week)
Pan, Espresso & Official Website: http://www.bread-espresso.jp/
Japanese Spring Cherry Blossom Desserts and Food Bloom Pink at Tokyo Solamachi This March
Spring is arriving early at Tokyo Solamachi where shops and restaurants will be serving up their own cherry blossom themed desserts and dishes from March 1.
The Line-Up: A Delectable Excerpt
Vibrant Cherry Blossom Desserts Welcome Spring
Hanami Soft | ¥800
Where: Gion Tsujiri (East Yard Floor 6F)
Serving: March 1, 2021 – April 30, 2021
Feel the warm breeze of Japanese hanami with a parfait serving of cherry blossom bavarian cream and jelly, Uji match soft serve ice cream, cherry blossom chocolate, white flour dango dumplings, high quality red bean paste, wafer, and other little assorted treats.
Sakura Mochi Flavoured Spring Pancakes | ¥935
Where: Coconoha (West Yard Floor 4F)
Serving: March 1, 2021 – April 11, 2021
Coconoha’s popular fluffy pancakes topped livingly with cherry blossom ice cream, chewy white flour dumplings, and sweet red bean paste.
Takeout Cherry Blossom Food
Sakura Sushi | Takeout ¥2,138, Eat-In ¥2,178
Where: Kirby Cafe Tokyo (East Yard 4F)
Serving: From March 19, 2021
A picnic serving of six springtime sushi rolls decorated with Kirby references which comes in a cute lunchbox.
Cherry Blossom Lassi | ¥520
Where: AMARI DELI (West Yard Floor 2F)
Serving: March 1, 2021 – April 11, 2021
A cherry blossom lassi in full bloom with fluffy whipped cream and finished with sprinkles of pink-coloured chocolate.
Cute Spring Cherry Blossom Snacks
Financier Sandwich Box – Sakura & Matcha | ¥1,500 (Contains 4)
Where: Afternoon Tea Room (East Yard Floor 3F)
Serving: February 25, 2021 – April 21, 2021
An assortment of two financier cakes: the Sakura Financier Sandwich which is cherry blossom flavoured and filled with white chocolate, roasted walnuts, and strawberry flakes, and the Matcha Financier Sandwich which is filled with milk chocolate, roasted walnuts, and pistachio. Available while supplies last.
Restaurant Menus Beckon Hanami
Spring Roast Beef Nigiri & Cherry Blossom Dashi Kishimen Noodles | ¥1,380
Where: Sugimoto (East Yard Floor 6F)
Serving: March 1, 2021 – April 11, 2021
Roast beef sushi rolls made with Nagoya Owari beef and served with slightly-salted flat kishimen noodles served in a cherry blossom flavoured broth. Limited to 10 servings per day.
This is just a sampled look at what’s to come at Tokyo Solamachi this spring – if you’re in Tokyo for the cherry blossom season, be sure to visit!
Cherry Blossom Desserts & Dishes
Where: Tokyo Solamachi
Address: 1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
Starting: March 1, 2021
TEL: 0570‐55‐0102 (11:00-19:00)
Tokyo Solamachi Official Website: http://www.tokyo-solamachi.jp/
Free Online Japanese Music Festival NEXT VISION JAPAN 2021 Heads Online With XR Technology
24.February.2021 | MUSIC
A collection of Japanese companies, such as IMAGICA GROUP, IMAGICA EEX, PICS, Robot Communications, IMAGICA Lab., Photron, IMAGICA IRIS, Cosmo Space, and more are coming together to host NEXT VISION JAPAN 2021 XR LIVE (NVJ2021 XR LIVE), an no-audience concert that will take place at the Geo-Cosmos stage at National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Odaiba, on Tokyo. It will be streamed live on YouTube for free on March 16, 2021 from 20:00 (JST).
NVJ2021 XR LIVE will incorporate the latest in XR technology to create an entirely new online live music and future entertainment experience.
The event has an incredible line-up of artists set to perform including singer-songwriter Sayuri, Cö shu Nie who is known for their themes for the Tokyo Ghoul anime series, ixR from AKB48, ballet dancer Mizuka Ueno, the New Japan Philharmonic orchestra, and more.
According to a survey carried out on July 30, 2020 by CyberZ, OEN, and Digital InFact, it is predicted that the amount of money that will be earned from online live concerts in Japan will grow to 100 billion yen by 2024. It is fitting then that events such as NVJ2021 XR LIVE are working to create more immersive and innovative shows.
National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation | Comment
“Geo-Cosmos is an exhibit that was made to connect lots of people allowing them to see the everchanging Earth from space. It uses several different pieces of scientific data to project the real appearance of the earth and shows the possibilities of 3D visual representation created by scientists and creators. This concert will serve as a new challenge for Geo-Cosmos. We hope you look forward to seeing Geo-Cosmos ‘transform’ on the live stage in this fusion of the real and the virtual.”
NEXT VISION JAPAN 2021 XR LIVE
Date: March 16, 2021 @ 20:00 (JST)
Style: No-Audience Live Stream
Platform: YouTube and elsewhere
Official Website: https://eex.co.jp/bunka/
Laforet Harajuku Welcomes High-End Brands and Tokyo’s First Femtech Store For Spring 2021
24.February.2021 | Uncategorized
Starting this month, Laforet Harajuku is readying itself for Spring 2021 with the rollout of items by high-end brands and shops, all with an audience in mind who simply love culture regardless of their age or gender. This spring will see the opening of Lois CRAYON, a brand that emphasises individuality and will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year, as well as “circle in circle,” a new spot that will serve as a gathering place for a variety of clothing brands like l’atelier du savon, CHILD WOMAN, and more.
Laforest will also welcome LOVE PIECE CLUB to Tokyo for the first time, a shop which opened as Japan’s first centring on Femtech. It offers a variety of items to help support women’s health through technology.
AIR will offer a diverse wardrobe of unisex items from popular street brands such as REVENGE STORM, STARWALK, THEATER8, and more. CHOA ONNI is exhibiting South Korean culture like wearing K-pop idol clothes to take photos, and ovgo B.A.K.E.R is serving up vegan food and gluten-free cookies.
Public toilets will display photos by photography unit Toki to Yamikaya and Alexander Julian.
March 6 | New Store Opening
《Floor 1F》Lois CRAYON
4.23| New Store Opening
《Floor 3.5F》circle in circle
March 26 | New Store Opening
《Floor B0.5F》LOVE PIECE CLUB
February 11 | New Store Opening
《Floor 3F》『 』AIR
February 25 | New Store Opening
《Floor B0.5F》ME’VE the store
March 12 | New Store Opening
February 25 | New Store Opening
February 25 | New Store Opening
《Floor B1F》CHOA ONNI
March 6 – April 4 | New Store Opening
《Floor 2F》ovgo B.A.K.E.R
《Floor B1F》Women’s & Men’s Gallery Toilets
Toki with Alexander Julian
Yamikaya / FLOWER PUSHER
■Laforet Harajuku 2021 SS Promo Visual
Laforet Harajuku’s Spring/Summer 2021 promo visual was created by Japanese art director Uenishi Yuri. Following the Autumn/Winter 2020 theme, Uenishi has conceived a new concept: ‘CHARGE.’ This theme focuses on the roots of plants that spread underground, with the yellow colour used in the visual reminiscent of electricity or lightning flashes.
Laforet HARAJUKU 2021 S/S
Official Website: https://www.laforet.ne.jp/
teamLab Serves a Forest Sauna, Ruins Art, and Tea Experience at Mifuneyama Rakuen Hotel
If you visit Mifuneyama Rakuen Hotel in Saga Prefecture, you’ll discover teamLab’s permanent exhibition teamLab Ruins and Heritage: Rinkan Spa & Tea Ceremony. On Friday (February 19), the exhibition began serving EN TEA, a new brand of tea grown in Hizen.
The exhibition is an art and sauna experience by teamLab and the Mifuneyama Rakuen Hotel Rakan Bath, the winner of SAUNACHELIN in 2019 and 2020. There, visitors can clear their minds, feel the ever-expanding space through their bodies, and immerse themselves in the art and the forest dotted with ruins. After their sauna experience, they can enjoy a cup of EN TEA to wind down.
EN TEA is a brand of tea made in collaboration with tea master Shunichi Matsuo and Maruwakaya, a brand that focuses on Japanese traditional culture and brings together artisans. It’s brewed at a low temperature for 15 minutes which lowers the amount of caffeine inside. After enjoying the sauna, visitors can visit the EN TEA HOUSE at Mifuneyama Rakuen Hotel for their cup.
Hatsune Miku Collaborates With Pusheen as Part of MikuWorldCollab
24.February.2021 | ANIME&GAME
Crypton Future Media unveiled an illustration on Friday (February 19) announcing Hatsune Miku’s collaboration with Pusheen as part of MikuWorldCollab, a project that launched to have the internationally-beloved virtual singer collaborated with famous overseas IP’s.
Pusheen is the instantly-recognisable cat character created in the U.S. by Claire Belton and Andrew Duff back in 2010. Originally featured as a comic strip, Pusheen went on to become a series of stamps on Facebook in 2013, and has seen countless collaborations, original merchandise, and more ever since.
The cute illustration of Miku and Pusheen was created by Japanese illustrator Choke. More illustrations by the Pusheen team are set to roll out this year along with a merchandise collection and other digital content, so stay tuned!
Hatsune Miku x Pusheen
Hatsune Miku Official Twitter (English): https://twitter.com/cfm_miku_en
Hatsune Miku Official Twitter (Japanese): https://twitter.com/cfm_miku
■Who is Hatsune Miku? https://piapro.net/
The Hatsune Miku voice synthesizer software was developed based on the voice of Japanese voice actress Saki Fujita, and first released on August 31st, 2007. Since her release, Hatsune Miku has evolved into a phenomenon of highly participatory cyber culture, with Miku-related content created and shared everyday around the globe.
■Who is Pusheen? https://pusheen.com/
Pusheen is a tubby tabby cat who brings smiles and laughter to people all around the world. She became famous through her animated comics and GIFs posted on Pusheen.com, as well as through her widely used animated stickers on Facebook, Instagram, iMessage, and other platforms.
Pusheen Twitter: https://twitter.com/Pusheen
Pusheen Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Pusheen/
Pusheen Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pusheen/
Pusheen YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/pusheenthecat
Daidō Moriyama x KAMU kanazawa x Fukumitsuya Collaborate On New Sake ‘Lip
Fukumitsuya Sake Brewery has collaborated with the Kanazawa-based art museum KAMU kanazawa, and prominent Japanese photographer Daidō Moriyama to release a new sake called “Lip <Junmai>” which dropped on Fukumitsuya’s online shop and three of their branches on February 22.
100 Bottles Signed by Daidō Moriyama
KAMU kanazawa is a modern art museum which centres on art expressing the culture of Kanazawa. On December 15 last year, the museum opened a new space called the “LIP BAR” which features prints of a close-up photo taken by Moriyama plastered on the walls, ceiling, and surfaces. Lip <Junmai> can be tasted at the LIP BAR from Monday to Saturday at 20:00-Midnight amongst a flurry of other cocktails.
The sake can also be bought online or in-store at Fukumitsuya, with a limited number of just 100 bottles signed by Moriyama himself.
The Sake at a Glance
The sake is an homage to Moriyama; a deep-flavoured junmaishu made with Yamada Nishiki and Kinmon-Nishiki rices.
The sleek and stylish bottle features a silver label layered with Moriyama’s famous lip shot. The regular edition bottles have English on the front and Japanese on the back. The signed edition bottles are signed by Moriyama on the front and have a unique serial number on the back. All the bottles are frosted and bear Fukimitsya’s logo. The box design was created by Kanazawa-based art director Katsura Matsuzawa.
©Daido Moriyama Photo Foundation Courtesy of Akio Nagasawa Gallery
Daidō Moriyama x KAMU kanazawa x Fukumitsuya: Lip <Junmai>
Regular Edition: ¥3,500
Signed Edition: ¥25,000 (100 Bottles)
Released: February 22, 2021
Where: Fukumitsuya Online Shop / Fukimitsuya Kanazawa / Fukumitsuya Tokyo Midtown / Fukumitsuya Higashi
Official Website: https://www.fukumitsuya.com/ext/special/lip_junmai/
Sanrio Design Face Masks by Maison de FLEUR Keep You Stylish and Safe
24.February.2021 | FASHION
Maison de FLEUR has revealed a new collection of face masks created in collaboration with Sanrio which will be released in Japan on February 23.
Sanrio Character Collab Masks | ¥2,200 Each (Tax Included)
Little Twin Stars
The masks are designed from the popular Sanrio characters My Melody, Cinnamoroll, Little Twin Stars, Pompompurin, and Kuromi. The parts that hook over your ears are fitted with a big, cute satin ribbon, and the front of the masks feature a gold leaf print matte design.
The masks can be used both as a fashion item and for protection against COVID-19.
Milky Strawberry Sandwich Biscuits by Sugar Butter Tree Arrive Ahead of Spring
24.February.2021 | FOOD
Sugar Butter Tree, a shop by Grapestone that specialises in cereal sweets, released its new Strawberry Chocolate Sandwich at all branches of Sugar Butter Tree on February 15.
A Limited-Time Treat Made With Seasonal Japanese Strawberries
This strawberry-loaded biscuit is sold by Sugar Butter Tree every year. It’s made with only the best picked springtime strawberries to create a delicious chocolatey snack. If you love strawberries, then this is a treat for you.
Sugar Butter Tree Strawberry Chocolate Sandwich: Pack of 5 – ¥648 / Pack of 8 – ¥1,080 / Pack of 12 – ¥1,620 (Tax Included)
Milky, melt-in-the-mouth strawberry goodness
The chocolate ‘sandwich’ contains crunchy milk cream with a delicious sugar butter scent. This is wrapped in a strawberry chocolate coating, making for a mix of sweet and tangy.
Looks cute on the table served with tea
The design theme for the biscuit is “strawberry teatime.” Its pastel colour makes for a cute serving snack served with a cup of tea.
Sugar Butter Tree’s Strawberry Chocolate Sandwich
Available: February 15, 2021 – Mid May 2021 (While supplies last)
Where: Sugar Butter Tree (Tokyo/JR Nagoya Takashimaya/Hankyu Umeda/Hakata Hankyu) + Gin no Budou (Daimaru Tokyo/Seibu Ikebukuro/Lazona Kawasaki)
Also Available Online: https://www.paqtomog.com
Sugar Butter Tree Official Website: https://www.sugarbuttertree.jp/
Succulent Strawberry Tarts Get Baked Up at Andrew’s Eggtart This Spring
23.February.2021 | FOOD
Japan’s egg tart chain Andrew’s Eggtart is baking up some special handmade strawberry tarts this spring made with fresh strawberries farmed in Japan.
Spring Strawberry | ¥380 (Before Tax)
The tarts are triple-layered with a strawberry compote, strawberry cream, and an in-house original custard cream. Each tart is finished with fresh cuts of succulent strawberry to finish, adding a fruity flavour to the sweet treat.
Order Window: March 3, 2021 – May 31, 2021
Participating Branches: Dotonbori / Osaka Namba Station / JR Tsuruhashi / AEON Mall Osaka Dome City / Nagoya Meitetsu / Kagoshima Tenmonkan
*Available while supplies last
Andrew’s Eggtart Official Website: https://www.eggtart.jp