Previously, I discussed a little bit the importance of learning some of the language before you travel to a foreign country. YouTube proved to have several excellent resources for learning words both fair and foul. But visiting overseas requires more than just a working knowledge of how to find the bathroom and hit on members of the opposite sex.
One of the best ways to truly understand a culture different from your own is to listen to some of its music. Music, they say (whoever they are) is the universal language. If you can get in tune with the rhythms and melodies of another people, you can get closer to the heart of who they really are. Here are a few examples of some Far East musical numbers, courtesy of the YouTubes.
The first is a Chinese song as performed by the artistically inclined youth of the country:
It appears as if the poor boy almost had a seizure a couple of times there. At least this is proof that the younger generation in China appreciates the music of their elders, even if they choose to interpret it in their own, unique fashion.
No matter where you go, whether it be Europe, Africa or the Far East, the music of America has no doubt spread and taken hold among the populace of other countries. How other cultures perceive our music is important in knowing how they perceive us as a people. Karaoke is a major part of Japanese culture and they enjoy singing American songs for entertainment. Sometimes, however, they don’t quite come across how the original artist intended, as can be seen from the following rendition of Mariah Carey’s “Touch My Body.”
It’s a good thing they provided subtitles with this one, or I might not have known what that guy was saying at all.
One musical phenomenon that you should be aware of when traveling to the Far East is that of J-Pop (or Japanese pop music). Korea has its own version they call K-Pop, but the end result is the same. They take the most effeminate boys or cutest girls they can find, teach them how to carry a note (and sometimes dance) and then place them in a stylistic music video in an effort to sell records. What makes it worse is that they are often so catchy that you’ll find these songs haunting the recesses of your skull for weeks afterwards.
Here is a trilogy of videos from one J-Pop band, Perfume:
The J-Pop trend is spreading across the globe as well, threatening to take over our own culture. Soon enough, you may be listening to a band like Perfume while walking through your local department store.
I hope this little lesson in music helped my readers to understand a bit more about Far Eastern culture and further added to the helpful skills needed to navigate in some of these exotic foreign lands.