This week over on my Facebook page, I have been highlighting some musicians around the world and bringing up some pop culture from other countries. To coincide with these posts, I wanted to talk about what made me get into Asian pop culture.
I love cultures and languages. The reason I choose to get into other cultures besides my own is the feeling of wanting to connect with others and to learn more about what it means to be human. At the end of the day we have so much more in common than we do that is different. However, the little difference make life so interesting and makes humans a rare and unique force in the universe.
In Nature, you have patterns and behavior – a lasting organization and disorganization within the world that we know. Humans do similar things in abundance.
I fell head over heals for Asian pop culture because of several things: Joe Bob Briggs, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Ghost in the Shell, and Akira.
Joe Bob Briggs is a syndicated American film critic, writer and comic performer. In 1986, as a result of his stage show, Joe Bob was asked to be a guest host on Drive-In Theater, a late- night B-movie show on The Movie Channel (TMC), sister network of Showtime. Briggs went over so well that he was eventually signed to a long-term contract. Joe Bob’s Drive-In Theater became the network’s highest-rated show and ran for almost ten years, and was twice nominated for the industry’s Cable ACE Award. Joe Bob’s Drive-In Theater ended when TMC changed its format in early 1996. He was off the air for only four months before joining the TNT network, where he hosted MonsterVision for four years. That show ended in July 2000, when TNT likewise changed format.
I want to say that it was on Joe Bob’s Drive-In Theater that I saw some of my first Jackie Chan flicks and Heroic Trio with Maggie Cheung, Anita Mui, and Michelle Yeoh.
Once I discovered Jackie Chan, I was bitten with a bug to go explore other Wushu films. Wushu is the Chinese word that refers to Chinese Martial Arts. Not long after I discovered The Heroic Trio, I was getting into films by Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao, Donnie Yen, and a personal favorite – Jet Li’s Fist of Legend.
Eventually, Asian film led me to Japanese Animation or Anime. My first anime was Ghost in The Shell. Vivid imagery and futuristic violence. It was not only beautifully animated but it had a compelling story. Next, I would discover Akira.
When I got into Anime, I delved into the musical side of it. I was fascinated with Yoko Kanno, Akino Arai, Maaya Sakamoto, and Megumi Hayashibara. The music was often bouncy and playful. It led me to check out what Japanese Pop music had to offer. Once I heard of Ayumi Hamasaki, Utada Hikaru, Chemistry, and others – I was sold. My biggest Japanese musical love is a rock band named Dir en grey. Listening to Japanese Pop made me curious about Korean Pop and Chinese Pop.
I would then start watching lots of non-wushu Chinese films, Korean films, and Japanese films.
Eventually, I was delving into Japanese and Korean dramas then into history, food, etc.