Last Thursday night I had the pleasure of attending Shonen Knife's Melbourne performance. May I just say they were so much fun and reminded me why I was allured by their bizarre and 'happy' ways when I was just a young and confused teen.
I first saw this all girl, Japanese, 3 piece, Ramones inspired, punk-pop band on RAGE when I was 13 or 14. I was at a 'slumber party', and as I so often did in those days, I would challenge myself to see if I could stay awake all night - (nearly always on my own as one by one my adolescent comrades would crash out in their sleeping bags around me). RAGE assisted me in my feat as I have always had a passion for music.
It must have been around 2 or 3am when a rocket launched on the TV screen transporting three cute Japanese girls in matching love-heart mini-dresses, singing in English with thick Japanese accents about riding the rocket. I thought it was the coolest thing I had seen in ages!
I was delighted when I first heard they were touring Australia. I had tried to find out if they were still performing when I was living in Osaka, Japan - their hometown - but like most things, getting legible information for those not so apt at reading, or fluently speaking, Japanese was always an almost impossible task. My broken Jap-English served me well enough to remain a vegetarian and find an art supplies store whilst over there but that was about it.
Despite Naoko Yamano being the only remaining original, (and founding), member of the band, the girls did not disappoint, and at 48 years young, Naoko is still as kawaii and youthful as ever.
It was just another reminder for me that Japan, and many things Japanese, have been major influences of mine since a very young age and although I am experimenting with other ideas in my art at the moment, I have a feeling the underlying Eastern influence will always play a large part.
The night also made me miss Japan somewhat and was made more enjoyable by a pre-show bowl of Udon at a very cute and authentic Japanese eatery with my dear friend Ayls - also a self confessed Nipponophile. For a minute, we both thought we were back in Japan... or perhaps it was just wishful thinking.