anime music

An Otaku's Guide to Buying Japanese Pop Culture Merchandise

A sampling of places otaku can buy apparel, Jpop, Jrock, geta, bento boxes, plushies, anime figures and other Japanese entertainment merchandise. Some places are on my wish list, while others, I have frequented.

The Anime Music on Melodica Project

My latest otaku learning project - playing video game and anime theme songs on the melodica.

Levelling Up My Japanese

When I first sang a Japanese song at karaoke, I read off a sheet that I printed with the lyrics in Romaji. It was truly a magical moment last year, when I cracked open my Inuyasha music book and could actually read the lyrics to one of my fave songs: I did the happy dance when I realized that I could read the Japanese characters to one of my favourite songs in real time (that is, in time to the music). Photo by R-M Arca.

What a difference a year makes! Now that I'm in Level 2, I have truly levelled up. These are the chords and lyrics to a song that I will be performing in the near future:

This year's challenge: Can I read the kana fast enough to sing the lyrics AND play the music in tempo? Photo by R-M Arca.

Now I could bring the Romaji and keep it close by. However, that defeats the purpose of being able to perform music in Japanese. Go big or go home.

The next challenge of course will be comprehension [Must work on vocabulary!].

Game Sheet Music

After a hectic school year, it's nice to stop and catch my breath. One of the ways I've been relaxing is to play some video game music transcriptions. Yes, I know I really should be practicing for Piano Camp (and I have) but even music teachers need to play some fun stuff and yesterday, "fun stuff" for me meant playing Tetris Theme (Korobeiniki) and the theme from Zelda until my fingers gave out.

Hunting for game sheet music can be an adventure. Your local music retailer will tell you that it's cheaper to find it online. Oh yes, you'll find all sorts of sheet music online.

A few otakus have sat down transcribed their favorite themes and share them with other fans. You have to commend those with the patience and determination to listen to their mp3 player ad nauseum until they've picked out all the notes. And as far as I know, the transcriber can share their rendition with others.

On the other hand, one would like to smack those who have bought sheet music and have uploaded copies to the Internet for people to take for free.

Enough of that, here are a few places with video game music to explore:

  • Animenation - music from the Japanese anime and game Bleach to Final Fantasy (and everywhere in between). I bought the Inuyasha sheet music from them a while back when some of my students were on an Inuyasha kick. It looks like I'll be placing an order soon since there are a few good collections available.
  • Ichigos - otaku who have transcribed their favourite themes and share their arrangements as well as their own compositions
  • Josh's Anime Sheet Music Collection -Josh Agarrado shares his own arrangements/transcriptions of anime and games on this site.
  • - Game and anime pianist Michael Gluck performs at anime cons, game cons and charity fundraisers. He has published some of his arrangements here.
  • Risembool Rangers -A fan site dedicated to voice actor Vic Mignogna, best known for his portrayal of Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist in the English dub. Vic plays an active role on this site and even shares his own sheet music. He's great with his fans. I um, er asked him to transcribe two songs from his Metafiction CD that I like. Still waiting but I know, he's a busy guy.

Happy exploring!

PS: Since it's summertime, I won't be posting as often as I strive to during the school year. Must go enjoy the sun!

(c) 2008 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada.

Fun Music Ideas

Around this time, it's a big push to keep students focussed and motivated to practice. Several of my students are exploring other genres to keep their interest or to simply give them a break from their main pieces. Here are just a few, which may serve as ideas for other musicians:

Check out the links, or your local music store. Happy exploring!

(c) 2006 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.