Talking Food with Naoko (July 23, 2021)

There is no question that the members of Shonen Knife love food; this is obvious from their banter at live shows about food, their book Shonen Knife Land. I explored the band’s relationship with food in Shonen Knife’s Happy Hour: Food, Gender, Rock and Roll. For that book, I had a chance to interview Naoko about the 1998 album, its creation, and her insights about music. I feel honored to communicate with her again via email for part of this blog series. This time, the conversation focused on food. I’ve provided Naoko’s responses in English translation (any mistakes are shortcomings on my part). Many thanks to Naoko and Manager Shibata Atsushi for their help and kindness. 

Talking Tasty in Japan

In my previous post I outlined some of the ways food permeates Japanese food and popular culture. In this one, I dig a little deeper into the connections between food and the Japanese language itself. As I mention in my book Shonen Knife’s Happy Hour: Food, Gender, Rock and Roll, rice has historically been considered central to the Japanese diet and as a food it is loaded with cultural meaning. Indeed, the word for cooked rice, gohan (ご飯), is synonymous with meal. 

From the East Village to Shibuya: A Tale of Two Record Stores

Martin Roberts, author of Cornelius’s Fantasma, on the central role that record stores played in his life. Like so many other stories about pop music fandom, this one begins with a record store. In 1995, a tiny record store opened on West 4th Street in Manhattan, literally across the street from Tower Records’ flagship megastore. Issuing a warning to its giant neighbor, Other Music, as it was pointedly named, specialized in musical genres not available at Tower Records, from Krautrock to free jazz to noise music. By the time I…