As a reward for sifting through my holiday snaps, I’d like to share a video of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu – or, to go by her full name, Caroline Charonplop Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. Despite highlighting Gangnam Style on this blog in early August, I’m not usually ahead of pop culture trends – and this video already has over 11 million views. But for those of you similarly without your finger on the pulse of contemporary music, you can still share this with the kidz and gain much-needed street credibility.
The morning before my flight, I went to Tenjin Core, a 10-storey fashion mall in downtown Fukuoka. It was billed as being the centre for youth fashion, which seemed accurate. Had I been less shy, I would’ve taken photos of the staff and shoppers in all their goth-warrior and punked-out glory. But Kyrary’s video suffices, first because she’s like a fancier version of what the civilian-shoppers wore, and second because I saw her video playing in a shop on the eighth floor, and was so taken by it I filmed a minute of the tv screen on my phone. It seemed inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and despite the kawaii-ness, stayed true to its original dark tone.
This posed a problem, because the identification was only in Japanese. When I got home I googled an English name that had flashed across the screen – UnBorde – which wasn’t Kyary and whose singing edged past cute to creepy. Instead I demonstrated the finely-tuned research acumen that seven years of grad school prepared me for and googled “music Alice in Wonderland”. I was pleased to discover that someone on wikipedia had also made the link to Kyary’s Alice-imagery. The music is okay – it’s a little too trebly for my tastes, plus it took me about 10 listens before I realized she was saying “Fashion monster” – but the video’s cramped, grotesque aesthetic is what makes it worthwhile. Enjoy:
Update: two days after I mention her and she gets a nod in The Guardian. I take back my prior qualification: this blog is the place to go for au courant youth culture references.