When I first started exploring the world of kayo kyoku in the 1980s, I already had a few avenues to traverse although it was nothing like the access all of us fans have now. There were the annual Kohaku Utagassen broadcasts, the weekly "Sounds of Japan" radiocasts and then later on, my discovery of Japanese LPs and tapes at Wah Yueh.
Also, when my family got its first VCR (thanks, Panasonic) in 1983, visits to Nippon Video on Danforth and Coxwell in Toronto got us access to all sorts of dramas, variety shows and of course the music programs like "The Best 10" and "The Top 10". However, a surprise treat would also greet me at the small rental video shop. Among the shelves of VHS tapes of Japanese programming, there was a small magazine rack which held just one product. Titled "Eye-Ai", I was delighted to discover that the magazine contained information on the very topic that I had only recently gone crazy about....in English, and apparently, it had only been in business just a little while before that fateful visit to Japan in 1981.
|Got some good insight about the|
magic behind Yuming's songwriting
in that article.
Eventually when I finally did get to go to Japan to work at the very end of the decade, I was now within proximity of sources of Japanese music but I was still a pretty faithful reader of "Eye-Ai", and whenever I took the Bullet down to Tokyo from Gunma, I would stop off at Kinokuniya Bookstore and try to pick up an issue. In fact, returning to Canada in 1991 didn't stop my enjoyment of the magazine. I simply became a monthly subscriber for a couple of years. And I upped the ante by often taking advantage of the magazine's mail order shopping service. In retrospect, it was a whole lot more trouble heading to the bank to have the teller whip up a money order and filling out the order form when compared to Net shopping and PayPal now, but being able to buy several discs a shot back in Japan spoiled me. It may have taken that protracted visit to the bank and 4-6 weeks of waiting for the CDs to come in, but at the time I was more than happy to get my music even that way.
Getting back to the country in 1994 for my far longer 17-year-stay once again had me within grabbing distance of my music, but this time around my loyalty to "Eye-Ai" started fading. It was probably because my puppy love for kayo kyoku/J-Pop had become more discriminating and specific, and my comprehension of the Japanese language through TV and magazines had gotten better. But I think it was also the fact that the magazine was changing direction to a certain extent as well. I haven't bought an issue in a number of years now but I have kept my back issues and I'm still very grateful to "Eye-Ai" for the early link it provided me with the music and the rest of Japanese pop culture way back when.
(aka Chisato Moritaka's husband)