Music

JAPAN: Japanese Sub-Cultures (Yankii)

Every country has a population of disgruntled youth who rebel against society and Japan is no exception.  But from a country who brought you such colorful trends as Dekotora, Gyaru, Lolita and Visual Kei, it only makes sense that their sub-culture of rebellious youth are just as colorful and trendy.

Japan’s largest and most well-known sub-culture consisting primarily of working class kids is called Yankii (ヤンキー).  Yankii also represents a whole genre of comics, movies and music in Japan. The word Yankii, came into existence in the 1950s and is said to have originated from the term “Yankee,” which refers to people from the United States. Perhaps influenced by the early post-war motorcycle gangs formed by former Kamikaze pilots known as Kaminari zoku (雷族), the Yankii lifestyle revolves around motorcycles and cars and is perhaps one of the most tradition-bound segments of the Japanese populace today.

Most kids begin their life-style as a Yankii around age 14 and are known for their pranks, bullying and petty crimes. They try to maintain a yakuza-like image but they are not as dangerous as their highly organized, older icons. They highlight their working class roots by wearing clothing associated with Japanese construction workers, such as oversized baggy pants known as Tobi trousers. Yankii boys and girls also tend to have shaved off eyebrows, permed hair (punch perm/ パンチパーマ/  panchi pamaa), dyed hair, pompadours, flamboyant, oversized clothes and customized school uniforms. Younger Yankii are expected to speak to the older members of their clan (senpai) in Keigo (reverent speech) at all times and run their errands. Members also observe a code of honor specific to their particular clan. The three pillars of Yankii behavior are said to be guts (konjyo), sincerity (seii) and dedication of the soul (nyukon).  Most Yankii tend to drop out of school by age 17 and get married. This early marriage is referred to as sokon.

Some Yankii eventually do get recruited by the Yakuza (Japanese organized crime) but many simply blend into Japanese society, join the workforce and live regular, productive lives after lashing out at society and enjoying their youth.

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England:Derby (Download Festival)

The 12th annual Download Festival took place at Donington Park where the three counties of Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire meet in the east Midlands of England on June 13-15, 2014. It is one of two major rock and heavy metal events in Britain and has featured such acts as Black Sabbath, Metallica, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Kiss, Journey and Motley Crue in the past.

The festival was conceived by Stuart Galbraith and Andy Copping as a follow up to the Monsters of Rock events which took place between 1980 and 1996. The festival originally started as a two-day event back in 2003 and was expanded to a three-day event in 2005. The 2003 tickets featured a code which enabled fans to download songs from the bands performing at the festival. This feature was eliminated the following year, unfortunately.

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The event utilizes five stages to showcase various bands. The Main Stage, the Zippo Encore Stage, the Pepsi Max Stage, the Red Bull Studios Live Stage and the Jägermeister Acoustic Stage. There is a comedy tent called the Side Splitter Tent, featuring various standup comedians. Countless attractions such as the Download Cinema are also very popular during the festival. To satisfy hungry festival goers, Download features numerous onsite caterers offering everything from pizza to burgers and everything in between.

Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy

Aerosmith

Aerosmith

Rob Zombie

Rob Zombie

Vamps

Vamps

Hyde (Vamps)

Hyde (Vamps)

A campsite is established at the grounds where festival goers can pitch their tent and enjoy the festivities. Away from the rowdy main camp site there is a family campsite which caters specifically to families and provides a quieter atmosphere. Please note that children under 5 years old are not permitted at the festival. Festival tickets can be packaged with camping options for 3-5 days. The arena only ticket costs £190 where the 3-day camping option will up the charge to £215 and a 5-day camping option will increase pricing to £225. Children aged 12 and under will get in at a discounted price. There is a car parking charge of £25. Lastly, day time only tickets to the festival can be purchased for £87.50.

Download festival even has its own mascot called Download Dog who is featured on tickets, banners and merchandise related to festival.

If you missed the US Festivals of the 1980s or are too young to remember the Woodstock or the Monterey International Pop Music Festival of the 1960s, don’t worry, the Download Festival and other rock festivals around the world are still going strong and are begging for you to partake in the festivities!

Web page:       http://downloadfestival.co.uk/

Ohio: Columbus ( Rock on the Range)

Having debuted on May 19, 2007, Rock on the Range is an annual rock festival featuring mainstream rock bands such as ZZ Top, Slipknot, Judas Priest, Linkin Park, Ministry and even Marilyn Manson . The festival originated in Columbus, Ohio at what was then called Crew Stadium. The stadium is now called MAPFRE Stadium and last year it was host to 120,000 music fans from all over the country.

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When the festival first began, it ran from noon until 11:00 PM for one day and hosted 35,000 attendees. It featured 14 bands on two stages. The following year, it was decided to turn the festival into an annual event and on June 27, 2007 a second venue in Winnipeg, Manitoba was added (Canad Inns Stadium). The Columbus event takes place in mid-May and has gone from a one day event to a three day event featuring 60 bands on three stages. Rock on the Range has even added a standup comedy tent and managed to completely sell out the entire venue in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Ticket prices range from $50-$65 per day depending on whether or not the ticket holder wants field access.

Apocalyptica

Apocalyptica

Babymetal

Babymetal

Dorothy

Dorothy

Ernie Ball Stage

Ernie Ball Stage

Like A Storm

Like A Storm

Marilyn Manson

Marilyn Manson

Mark Tremonti

Mark Tremonti

Ministry

Ministry

Slash

Slash

Vamps

Vamps

Festivals are once again becoming popular all over the world, whether it is the Rock on the Range Festival in Columbus, the Download Festival in Derby, England, Lollapalooza in Chicago or the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan, fans gather from far and wide to enjoy several days of music, food and fun. In 2015, the Rock on the Range Festival even featured two Japanese acts, Babymetal and Vamps and it appears that the event is gaining momentum as the years go by.

If you have never attended a rock festival, make a point of seeing at least one in your lifetime. It is a fun and relatively inexpensive way to see a multitude of performers in a casual setting and a good way to keep the music alive.

Web Page: http://rockontherange.com/

Address: 1 Black and Gold Boulevard, Columbus, Ohio 43211-2091

Japan: Tokyo ( ECO EDO Nihonbashi Art Aquarium 2014)

After its debut in 2011, the spectacular Eco Edo Nihonbashi Art Aquarium is back at the Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall, Tokyo, certain to prove even more successful than its preceding exhibitions in 2012 and 2013! The art exhibit which employs nearly 5,000 kingyo (goldfish) displayed in decorative and vibrant displays attracted more than 300,000 visitors last year. This year the exhibition opened on July 11th and will continue until September 23rd. With admission prices of 1,000¥ for adults, 600¥ for elementary school students, the Art Aquarium exhibit attracts mostly couples on dates and families looking to entertain their children with eye candy.

Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall

Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall

The unique exhibits incorporate LED lights, projection mapping, music and scents, permitting visitors to experience “Japanese beauty” with all five senses and a “refreshing coolness” in this blistering heat wave that has engulfed Tokyo lately. This year’s exhibit was produced by Hidetomo Kimura who took his inspiration from the Edo Period. You should note that the exhibition takes a different turn in the evening. After 7:00 p.m., the lights and music change and the venue becomes a “Night Aquarium,” where visitors can enjoy the displays with a cocktail or two in a club-like atmosphere. On Saturdays and days prior to holidays, special live performances take place.

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For those concerned about the kingyo’s safety and well-being, Kimura has assured everyone that the fish are well fed and taken care of, adding that special staff keep an eye on them after exhibit hours.

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The exhibit hours are 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. for the Art Aquarium and 7:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. for the Night Aquarium. For more information, visit http://h-i-d.co.jp/art/.

Holidays in Southern California: Disneyland Resort Hotels

Having posted several recent articles about the Disneyland Resort, I thought it would be fitting to write something about the three hotels that are a part of the resort complex. I have had the good fortune to stay in all three hotels even though I lived locally in Anaheim, California and my experiences were very memorable and positive as Disney does everything a cut above the rest.

The Downtown Disney entrance to the hotel

The Downtown Disney entrance to the hotel

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My favorite hotel from the viewpoint of a Disney fan and an architecture student, is the 1019 room Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.  Designed by architect Peter Dominick as part of the 2001 expansion of the Disneyland Resort, the hotel’s design is based on the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 1900s. Despite the large scale of the hotel, its design still captures the key elements of the Craftsman style: Exposed rafter tails and beams under deep roof eaves, exaggerated braces, stone details and earthy colors that blend with nature.

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The lounge

The lounge

The reception hall is based on the interior of the Swedenborgian Church in San Francisco. The central lobby is more like a living room done in immense scale with a massive fireplace and vast arching beams overhead, and furnished with chairs and sofas arranged around small coffee tables giving it a very homey feel. Many of the items found throughout the hotel have been handcrafted by modern practitioners of the Arts and Crafts movement using traditional techniques. The hotel’s rooms and features are tributes to various Craftsman-era architects and designers. For instance, two of the guest suites, as well as the California Boardroom, pay homage to Frank Lloyd Wright. The Napa Rose restaurant features a rose motif in the glass design which was inspired by Charles Rennie MacKintosh. The Storytellers Cafe features a large tile mural that is a reproduction of an original design by the Gladding, McBean Company for a Robin Hood Room in the Wilmington, California, public library.

Storytellers

Storytellers Cafe

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The hotel has its own entrance to Disney California Adventure Park  and one of the hotel entrances can be accessed through Downtown Disney.

I was staying at the hotel on December 28, 2005, when the Christmas tree in the main lobby caught fire after electric maintenance workers had replaced the lights on the tree. Fortunately, the fire was contained by the hotel’s sprinkler system and by the Anaheim Fire Department. I still remember the lingering smoke smell in our rooms and in the hallways.

On September 18, 2007 an expansion of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa was announced.  The project  would increase accommodations by more than 30 percent and include the first Disney Vacation Club villas in Anaheim. The expansion on the hotel’s south side added more than 200 new hotel rooms and 50 two-bedroom equivalent vacation villas and marked the West Coast debut of Disney Vacation Club, Disney’s vacation-ownership program. During this expansion and renovation, a new swimming pool was added as well as a 300 space underground parking garage. Peter Dominick, the architect for the original Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa designed the ambitious expansion to compliment his existing hotel. The project was completed in September 2009.

Standard Room

Standard Room

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The 990 room Disneyland Hotel originally opened on October 5, 1955 as a motel owned and operated by Jack Wrather under an agreement with Walt Disney.  The hotel was the first to officially bear the Disney name and underwent several expansions and renovations over the years before being acquired by Disney in 1988. The hotel was downsized to its present capacity in 1999 as part of the Disneyland Resort expansion.

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As part of the expansion program, a significant portion of the hotel was demolished to make way for Downtown Disney and parking areas. Today none of the original hotel buildings from 1955 remain standing. Very little of the hotel other than parking areas and service facilities sit outside of the perimeter created by the three remaining guest room towers. Original signs and other artifacts from several of the stores and restaurants demolished are on display in the hotel’s employee cafeteria.

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The hotel employs the Mickey Mouse theme throughout its furnishings and interior details. In 2007 the Marina, Sierra, and Bonita Towers were renamed Magic, Dreams, and Wonder, respectively. Other buildings in the sprawling hotel complex house restaurants, stores, offices, recreational facilities and convention & banquet facilities. The complex also features a gazebo and a garden with white rose bushes where Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings are staged.

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My favorite restaurant at the Disneyland Hotel is Steakhouse 55 where martinis and filet mignons reign supreme!  The restaurant also offers a world-class selection of prime steaks, chops and seafood and has an extensive in-house wine cellar.  Bring a hearty appetite with you as the portions sizes can be enormous!

Steakhouse 55

Steakhouse 55

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On May of 2011, two new dining locations opened replacing the former Hook’s Pointe, Croc’s Bites, The Wine Cellar, and The Lost Bar. I used to visit The Wine Cellar quite often as an annual pass holder to the theme park, sampling the various wines and the accompanying cheese, fruit and cracker trays.  Unfortunately, the Wine Cellar was never really filled to capacity even in those days, which I am sure prompted its closure.

Tangaroa Terrace

Tangaroa Terrace

Tangaroa Terrace, an island themed casual dining restaurant, is one of the new locations.  It gets its name from the magical god of the Enchanted Tiki Room.  Here, guests can enjoy a Polynesian style menu while listening to live Hawaiian music.  Adjacent to Tangaroa Terrace is Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar, based on the Jungle Cruise’s head salesman, Trader Sam. These two new locations are rather small inside, but there is plenty of outdoor seating, including seating by a giant fireplace by the pool entrance.

Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar

Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar

 Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel  is the third hotel at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. The hotel was originally built and owned by the Japanese-based Tokyu Group, and opened in 1984 as the Emerald of Anaheim. Disney purchased the hotel from Tokyu in 1995 and renamed it the Disneyland Pacific Hotel. When the Disney California Adventure park was opened in 2000, the hotel was renamed Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel after the waterfront land within DCA that the hotel tower overlooks.

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The seashore themed hotel complex consists of a high-rise guest room tower with 489 rooms, which includes 29 suites. At the base of the tower is the lobby, restaurants, a gift shop, recreational facilities including a video arcade, over 30,000 square feet of meeting space, and a 7,250-square-foot ballroom. There is an outdoor swimming pool and waterslide located on the third floor.

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The hotel has one sit down restaurant, Disney’s PCH Grill (PCH stands for Pacific Coast Highway) and a lounge area called, Surfside Lounge.  PCH Grill serves an American menu and offers character Breakfasts  starting at 7:00 AM.  Guests can relax with a cocktail or glass of wine at the Surfside Lounge.  Breakfast pastries, coffee and a selection of sandwiches, burgers and salads can be ordered at the lounge from the nearby Disney’s PCH Grill.

PCG Grill

PCG Grill

Gift shop in the lobby

Gift shop in the lobby