【MMN Interview】Interview with J-POP SUMMIT Performing Artist May’n
—Your activity overseas has also become remarkable since 2010. Has this impacted you in any way?
I’ve been able to overturn preconceived ideas. I can think that it’s okay to break them. I have a song called “Diamond Crevasse” that I often perform live, but it’s themed around separation, so I sing it in a serious manner, and the audience also listen seriously. But when I sang it overseas one time, I got the message that people were wondering why everyone was singing their favourite song with a sad expression. I was taken aback.
—I see! That’s a profound experience.
I want to express the feeling of the lyrics so I won’t sing it with a huge smile on my face, but in my heart, I still feel happiness in being able to deliver this song to them, and I’m still happy that everyone was waiting for me. Ah—I just realized that it’s okay to feel that way. That even if it’s a sad song, it’s still fine even if the smiles are flowing from people at that moment. Since I’ve received that message from people, I’ll be upfront with those kinds of feelings and ride with them when singing.
—So are people’s reactions during your performances really different overseas?
They are. In Europe and America, people begin cheering during the outro of songs. In Japan, the culture goes that people wait until the song finishes before clapping, but that doesn’t happen overseas. It’s easier to feel the passion from people expressing their emotions at that time. People even scream “you’re a diva!” in broken Japanese (laughs). Asia is a bit like Europe and America too, people act more freely. Japan has things good about it; overseas has its own ways of getting excited. I like experiencing both differences.
—You’re releasing an album in October. What sort of thoughts and feelings have you put into this album?
It’s my first album in 4 years. It’s one I wanted to have fun with, which is something that I can think about genuinely now having reached my turning point. I made it not with my own perception of May’n in mind, only the live shows and the messages I want to deliver to all the fans that come to them.
—Even your album has undergone such changes!
I feel that letting out my true self has enabled me to become more natural as well as put out a more straight and frank record. Everyone who comes to my shows is a club member, and I will lead everyone as the club leader!
I’ve continued yearning to become a ‘singer,’ but what I really wanted to do was just have fun singing. And I’ve realized that’s what I’ve been doing alongside everyone. Having come to see that, I’ve even come to express myself so much more naturally on the visual side of things. This might be my first record that has linked the artist May’n with my true self.
Miyako Hotel Kyoto Hachijo Launches Sento Bath Hotel Plan
29.July.2021 | SPOT
Miyako Hotel Kyoto Hachijo launched a new hotel plan on July 26 which includes a ticket to bathhouses around Kyoto, a bath amenity set, a hotel-original sento t-shirt, and more.
Available until March 30, 2022, the plan was conceived as a way for tourists to enjoy the ordinary, everyday Kyoto in a way that’s different from people’s usual tourist and sightseeing experiences in the city. Kyoto continues to be a hub for sento bath culture.
Hinode-yu, a bathhouse in Minami Ward, Kyoto
Hotel-original tees are available as part of the plan
Receive a bath amenity set and bathhouse ticket
Kyoto is home to around 100 unique sento bathhouses where people can enjoy a relaxing soak in a giant public bath while chatting. It’s a huge part of Kyoto culture and one which is seeing a steady increase in popularity again with the younger generation.
If you’re staying in Kyoto this year or planning a trip early next year, don’t miss out on this limited-time hotel plan.
Kyoto Sento x Hotel Stay
Purchasing Window: July 26, 2021 – March 30, 2022
Validity Period: August 6, 2021 – March 31, 2022
Kyoto Sento: https://1010.kyoto/
Miyako Hotels Official Website: https://www.miyakohotels.ne.jp/kyoto-hachijo/index.html
First Official Chiikawa Shops Open at KIDDYLAND Harajuku and Osaka Umeda
KIDDYLAND has announced the opening of the first official shops themed on the popular character Chiikawa. Named Chiikawa Land, the two stores will open at the Harajuku and Osaka Umeda branches of KIDDYLAND on August 7.
Chiikawa is a popular character first revealed by Japanese illustrator Nagano on Twitter. In December 2020, the official online store Chiikawa Market opened, and Nagano released a book compiling the manga panels they drew and posted on Twitter. With over 550,000 follows on Twitter, Chiikawa has become extremely popular, with even themed cafes and an exhibition, Chiikawa’s Forest, having taken place.
Now Chiikawa get its own official shops at KIDDYLAND with merchandise featuring new and exclusive artwork drawn by Nagano and more.
Get your paws on exclusive merch at Chiikawa Land
Smartphone Stickers | 3 Designs | ¥385 Each (Tax Included)
Acrylic Stands | 3 Designs | ¥770 Each (Tax Included)
Pins | 3 Designs | ¥330 Each (Tax Included)
Acrylic Keyrings | 3 Designs | ¥660 Each (Tax Included)
Large Hand Towels | 2 Designs | ¥770 Each (Tax Included)
Mug | ¥1,650 (Tax Included)
T-Shirts | 3 Designs | ¥3,080 Each (Tax Included)
Positively adorable frames for pre-order
Chiikawa Art Frame – Clouds | ¥16,500 (Tax Included)
Chiikawa Art Frame – Faces | ¥16,500 (Tax Included)
Chiikawa Art Frame – Ramen | ¥16,500 (Tax Included)
For every ¥1,100 spent in a single transaction, receive one of three possible Umaibo corn sticks.
For every ¥3,300-¥5,499 spent in a single transaction, receive an exclusive hologram pin.
Spend over ¥5,500 to receive a random special gift: one of four possible lunch boxes or one of five plush pins.
Chiikawa Land shopping bag
Snap a photo at one of the photo spots
Get a stamp at both KIDDYLAND branches
Naruto and Boruto Summer Event Begins at Nijigen no Mori
Nijigen no Mori, an amusement park located on Awaji Island in Hyogo, began a summer event at its Naruto and Boruto-themed zone on July 22 which is set to run until September 30.
The event includes a huge water gun event where 25 litres of water will be sprayed to cool down guests during the hot summer event. With themed character panels displayed around the park, join Naruto and the gang, including Zabuza and Haku, for some summer fun. All guests receive a free original sticker too.
© 岸本斉史 スコット／集英社・テレビ東京・ぴえろ
Running: July 22, 2021 – September 30, 2021
Location: Nijigen no Mori
Opening Hours: 10:00-18:00
Price: Free (But park entry payment required)
Official Website: https://nijigennomori.com/naruto_shinobizato/
Art For Social Change Project Launches in Japan Using Waste to Create Art
29.July.2021 | FASHION
Innovation Design launched its new ‘Art For Social Change’ project at haishop in Shibuya Scramble Square on July 21 which sees artwork made from waste.
According to Japan’s Ministry of the Environment, 42.74 million tonnes of garbage has been thrown out since 2019. That’s the equivalent of around 115 Tokyo Domes, or 918g of waste per person everyday. The waste cannot be exported, and so real action is required to reduce the amount of waste create on the island country of Japan, especially when thinking 20 years down the road.
That’s where haishop comes in. Using caps from detergent, which are actually no longer sold, as well as plastic caps and other materials resulting from waste, it will create a new identity for waste together with consumers in the form of art. Art For Social Change aims to send a message to society to make real transformations in the world through the medium of art.
It’s easy to imagine what happens when creating a product up to its completion, but considering what happens to it after it’s been used is a lot more difficult. Every year, the available capacity at final disposal sites decreases more and more. The important topic at hand is getting everyone in Japan to really treasure the products they buy, to conceive ideas on how to prolong longevity of the things that people purchase, and construct a new society centred on recycling and reusing. And this isn’t just a Japan problem – it’s a global one. That’s the message which Art For Social Change carries.
The only conditions on participating with the project is that you agree with its goal and that you use materials on sale at haishop. Everyone is invited regardless of age or gender.
The artworks in action
4th year students from Nitobe Bunka Elementary & Junior High School used waste materials to create ‘souvenir’ theme products which the children are helping to sell at the shop. The proceeds go back to the school itself while helping teach children about new ways of reusing and recycling.
Souvenirs created by the students of Nitobe Bunka Elementary & Junior High School
Mascara bottles made using caps from detergent bottles
Art For Social Change
Project Launch Date: July 21, 202
Official Website: https://www.innovationdesign.co.jp/
Miffy x studio CLIP Merchandise Collection Revealed
Lifestyle brand ‘studio CLIP’ is collaborating with children’s author Dick Bruna’s popular character Miff with a cute merchandise collection that’s set to drop at all studio CLIP branches in Japan and the online webstore .st on August 1.
Limited-edition shopping bags
Fruit Soda & Soft Serve Ice Cream Parfait
studio CLIP collaborates with Miffy every year, and this year is no different, with a special line-up of character goods themed on friends and family. Boris makes an appearance this time too. Items include hand gel holders, vinyl umbrellas, tote bags, and more. There’s also exclusive shopping bags for Miffy fans who buy any of the collab merch, as well as themed drinks and desserts at studio CLIP CAFE.
studio CLIP x Miffy
Release Date: August 1, 2021
Locations: studio CLIP / studio CLIP Webstore
Running: August 1, 2021 until sold out
Location: 3 studio CLIP CAFE branches (Grand Tree Musashikosugi/Yume Town Hiroshima/Yume Town Hikarinomori)
Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club x Oedo Onsen Monogatari Event Announced
The Tokyo-based bathhouse Oedo Onsen Monogatari is set to collaborate with the anime series Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club with a special event titled ‘Tokimeki Onsen Monogatari’ from July 30 to September 5. This will mark the site’s final collaboration with an anime series as the bathhouse is closing on September 5.
For the collaboration, panels and decorations featuring original artwork of the Nijigaku members is featured around the bathhouse. There’s also a special photospot featuring a backdrop of a scene taken the anime’s second episode.
A lottery draw will take place where you can pay ¥550 for a chance to win a cushion, illustrated print, or bromide. There are also 10 collab drinks as well as three pasta dishes to pick from. Fans can also get their hands on exclusive merch such as keyrings, tees, tapestries, and more.
Tokimeki Onsen Monogatari
Running: July 30, 2021 – September 5, 2021
Location: Tokyo Odaiba Oedo Onsen Monogatari
Official Website: https://corporate.ooedoonsen.jp/
Sumikko Gurashi Bubble Tea Released by XIE XIE PEARL
29.July.2021 | FOOD
Bubble tea shop XIE XIE PEARL is collaborating with San-X and their popular corner-dwelling characters Sumikko Gurashi with a line-up of drinks and merch until August 23.
Fruit is the theme of the collaboration which arrives in a line-up of colourful beverages served in limited-time cups. Each character’s drink is loaded with toppings.
Shirokuma’s Peach Milk | ¥756 (Tax Included)
Neko’s Jewel Berry Lemonade | ¥756 (Tax Included)
Tonkatsu’s Caramel Banana Milk | ¥756 (Tax Included)
Penguin’s Jewel Mint Lemonade | ¥756 (Tax Included)
Original collab goods
Large Stickers | 4 Designs | ¥330 (Tax Included)
Mini Tote Bag | ¥990(Tax Included)
Mirrors | 5 Designs | ¥550 (Tax Included)
Re-release of previous collab merch
Free novelty stickers and pouch
If you order one of the collab drinks you’ll receive a free sticker, and if you order all four drinks, you get an original Sumikko Gurashi pouch. All you need is your receipt to show at the register.
©︎2021 San-X Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
XIE XIE PEARL x Sumikko Gurashi
Running: July 22, 2021 – August 23, 2021
Official Website: https://www.krg-inc.com
Pokémon Postboxes Arrive in Yokohama For a Whole Year
Japan Post Service has teamed up with Pokémon to set up three postboxes with Pikachu, Eevee, and Piplup designs in Yokohama. They first opened on July 7, 2021 and will be available until June 30, 2022.
Yokohama is no stranger to Pokémon as it is the city that hosts the annual Pikachu Outbreak event, one which is set to return this year from August 7-13. It is also one of the cities taking part in the Poké Lid project to place Pokémon manhole covers across Japan.
And if you post your letter in the postbox pictured below, located in Yokohama Port Post Office, your envelope will be stamped with a special Pokémon stamp.
Locations: 2 at Yokohama City Hall / 1 at Yokohama Sakuragi Post Office
Running: July 7, 2021 – June 30, 2022
Pokémon Stamp Post Service
Location: Yokohama Port Post Office
Running: July 7, 2021 – June 30, 2022
Kansai Yamamoto’s Nippon Genki Project 2021’s Mount Fuji Runway to be Featured On YouTube
28.July.2021 | FASHION
The Nippon Genki Project will be held again this year and it will be available to watch on the event’s official website and on YouTube. The event was created by the late Japanese fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto as a way to get people energised and motivated to realise their dreams.
Past Nippon Genki Project events
Nippon Genki Project 2015 Super Energy!! at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
Nippon Genki Project 2016 Super Energy!! at Yoyogi National Stadium
Nippon Genki Project 2017 Super Energy!! at Roppongi Hills Arena
Nippon Genki Project 2018 Super Energy!! at Roppongi Hills Arena
Nippon Genki Project 2019 Super Energy!! at Roppongi Hills Arena
Nippon Genki Project 2020 Super Energy!! Online
The theme of this year’s event is ‘World Heritage Runway.’ The event will be recorded in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi, at the foot of the World Heritage Site of Mt. Fuji. The footage will be released as a fashion film on August 21. Designers from across Japan have created a variety of looks for the event, and pieces by fashion schools, fashion universities both in Japan and overseas, and more will also be showcased.
Nippon Genki Project 2021 World Heritage Runway at Mt. Fuji
Online Release Dates
Fashion Movie: August 21, 2021 @ 20:00 (JST)
Documentary: August 28, 2021 @ 20:00 (JST)
Available: Nippon Genki Project Website / YouTube
Official Website: www.kansai-inc.co.jp/ngp2021/
*More details to be released in mid-August
LINE FRIENDS Collaborates With Minions For 10th Anniversary
As part of the LINE FRIENDS 10th anniversary celebrations, Illumination Entertainment and Universal Brand Development released the MINIONS X BROWN & FRIENDS collection at the LINE FRIENDS Harajuku store and the online store on July 22. A collection of digital accessories, camping items, and golf goods will also roll out in August. This includes a release at 17 branches of KIDDYLAND on August 7 as part of PLAY LINE FRIENDS.
BROWN & FRIENDS began as a stamp series on the Japanese messaging app LINE. The characters are now featured just about everywhere including as merchandise. See Brown and Sally meet Kevin, Bob, and Stuart from the hit animated films Despicable Me and Minions in the form of digital accessories aimed at tech lovers such as AirPods cases and smartphone clips as well as eco bags, golfing equipment, camping necessities, and more.
As part of the collaboration, Brown & Friends and Minions LINE stickers and Instagram filters will also be released in August. Check out the official LINE FRIENDS social media pages for related promotional videos too.
And for Japanese fans of both franchises, they get some Japan-exclusive merchandise too including a mini towel, hand towel, face towel, bath towel, denim tote bag, denim pouch, eco bag, hat, stationery, bottle, mug, neck pillow, and more.
New Cocktail Menu Gets Served at KYOTO YURA HOTEL MGallery
KYOTO YURA HOTEL MGallery is now serving a new cocktail and afternoon tea menu in collaboration with Perrier Promotion.
KYOTO YURA HOTEL MGallery is a hotel group based in Paris, France which operates over 5,000 hotels and resorts in 110 countries worldwide. Together with the mineral water brand Perrier, the two companies launched the ‘Perrier Promotion with KYOTO YURA HOTEL MGallery’ on July 21 which includes a special cocktail and afternoon tea line-up being served up at Lounge & Bar 1867.
Perrier x MURAKAMI Tote Bag
Perrier Cacao & Orange Asian Fizz Mocktail | ¥1,300 (Tax Included)
Perrier Umami & Ryokucha Green Tea Sour Mocktail | ¥1,300 (Tax Included)
Perrier Citrus Iced Tea Mocktail | ¥1,300 (Tax Included)
Perrier Evening Iced Coffee Cocktail | ¥1,700 (Tax Included)
Perrier Flower & Fruit Afternoon Cocktail | ¥1,700 (Tax Included)
Perrier Promotion with KYOTO YURA HOTEL MGallery is an all-day special event taking place at the hotel. At both the hotel entrance, as well as Lounge & Bar 1867, an artwork collaboration by Takashi Murakami and Perrier is being displayed for the duration of the event, adding a colourful vibe to the spaces.
The drinks line-up includes three mocktails which are available on the free flow drinks menu when ordering the hotel’s popular afternoon tea. The afternoon tea set was conceived by pastry chef Jennie Chiu and is packed full of summer fruits like passion fruit and mango.
During the collaboration, the first 200 people to order either the afternoon tea set or high tea set will also receive a free novelty tote bag featuring the Takashi Murakami’s characters Kaikai and Kiki.
In the evenings, the Perrier Pop-Up Bar are serving two alcoholic cocktails alongside the mocktails.
Perrier Promotion with KYOTO YURA HOTEL MGallery
Running: July 21, 2021 – August 31, 2021
Location: KYOTO YURA HOTEL MGallery – Lounge & Bar 1867
Address: 84 Ōhashichō, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0009, Japan
WE League’s New Uniform to be Designed by X-girl
28.July.2021 | FASHION
The Women’s Empowerment League, or WE League, will be the first professional women’s football league in Japan. Set to begin this year on September 12, BEAMS International’s women’s streetwear brand X-girl is designing the uniform for seven of the 11 participating clubs including Mynavi Sendai, Omiya Ardija Ventus, Chifure AS Elfen Saitama, JEF United Chiba, Nojima Stella Kanagawa Sagamihara, AC Nagano Parceiro, and Albirex Niigata.
‘Wear the Hope’ is the design concept behind the uniforms. Hoping to offer women courage, the uniforms embody the potential of women, with each club and its members’ personalities expressed through colour and distinct design. It’s a combination of soccer and street styles that screams ‘this is definitely by X-girl.’
JEF United Chiba
Using a nanohana yellow as its base, the JEF United Chiba Uniform incorporates a classic camouflage design in the shape of Chiba that elicits a feeling of walking through the prefecture where the team are from.
Albirex Niigata’s uniform colour is derived from Albireo, the double star in the head of the constellation of Cygnus which the team’s name originates from. It’s a combination of orange and blue, which makes one think of the gorgeous setting sun of Niigata above the Sea of Japan, and white, which is a reference to the swans returning home as well as the snow during winter.
Nojima Stella Kanagawa Sagamihara
The corporate colours of Nojima blue and Nojima red are used for this uniform as a nod to Nojima, the electronics stores and parent body of the club located in the centre of Sagamihara. It has a futuristic design inspired by the digital world and electronics.
AC Nagano Parceiro
‘Parceiro’ is Portuguese for ‘partner’ and refers to the partnership between the club and the region. The uniform uses triangles as its design base to represent three entities: the club, its sponsors, and its supporters. It also takes inspiration from Nagano’s gorgeous mountains while the stripes represent oneness and speed.
Mynavi Sendai Ladies
The city of Sendai where Mynavi Sendai Ladies hails from is famous for the Sendai Tanabata Festival. The club’s antecedents, Vegalta Sendai, gets its name from Vega and Altair from the Tanabata story. Together with Deneb, Vega and Altair make up what’s known as the Summer Triangle, an astronomical asterism. Mynavi Sendai Ladies’ uniform is blue and features Deneb on the clubs’ emblem for both the field players and goalkeeper.
Chifure AS Elfen Saitama
Chifure AS Elfen Saitama formed in 1985 with a focus on women in soccer. Their new uniform, too, was made with women wearing it in mind in terms of both the design and colours. The blue is different from the club’s iconic elfen blue colour and instead uses a special indigo dyeing technique. It pays respect to both the potential of female athletes while weaving in traditional Japanese design.
Omiya Ardija Ventus
Omiya Ardija Ventus’ uniform uses the same design as Omiya Ardija for their 2021 season. It incorporates bonsai motifs as a nod to the bonsai industry in Saitama.
X-girl x WE League
Official Website: https://x-girl.jp/