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the scene

I, ROBOT PREMIERE

WILL SMITH HEADLINES THE MOVIE DEBUT AND A SPECIAL MTV PARTY AT VELFARRE

 

 
Clockwise from left: Mika Kano, Will Smith with MTV VJ Teppei, ex-Pink Lady Mie, Smith flanked by rapper Zeebra and pop idol Yumiko Shaku, and a performing robot
Photos by Sachie Kanda and Courtesy of MTV

 


star struck

Wise guy

DJ Guy Perryman stays in tune with the world on InterFM

By Chris Betros

Few people rely on their voice as much as Guy Perryman, the 39-year-old DJ at 76.1 InterFM. Besides his six-hour show from 10am-4pm each weekday, Perryman pre-records programs for Virgin Megastores' cable radio channel, hosts the inflight J-Pop channel for Virgin Atlantic Airways, does voice narrations and a little bit of party and club DJing.

"I do say no to some jobs because I only want to do things I enjoy. Radio is my main love," says Perryman, who was born in the UK but grew up in Australia. He got his start in radio in Sydney, before moving to Virgin Megastores, where he stayed for seven years. When Virgin opened its store in Tokyo in 1990, Perryman's boss in Sydney was appointed manager, and brought Perryman with him. "I think I'll remain here for the foreseeable future," he says, "although ideally I'd like to spend 80 percent of my time in Japan and 20 percent in Australia."

Perryman's six-hour show is long by anyone's standards. It's all in English and features mostly music and interviews. "It's sometimes hard to stay focused for that long. You can't walk away and have a cup of coffee for ten minutes because you are on every three minutes. I graze on snacks all day," he says. "We have a good audience among the foreign community as well as many Japanese. There are a lot of people in offices listening to us, too. We get emails all day and faxes. Some of the emails come from listeners on trains."

Perryman has interviewed lots of high-profile guests, including the Chemical Brothers, Sting ("a real gentleman") and Nile Rogers, who was "tons of fun," he recalls. "A few guests I know nothing about, but there are a lot of listeners out there who know a lot more about the artists than I do, so I have to make sure I can get to something in the interview that hardcore fans will appreciate."

While he covers all genres on his show, Perryman's own tastes run more to new cutting-edge sounds from the jazz and club scenes. "I come from a UK punk-new-wave background. When house music was created in the early '80s, I was starting to do club DJing and these two fused at the right time. I tend to keep getting into new music styles and I can't throw music away. I've still got every record I bought when I was a kid. I've probably got 10,000 CDs."

As the industry goes through technological changes, Perryman believes there will always be a demand for local radio. "Internet radio is extremely interesting, but it's impersonal. It's just about finding music. Old-fashioned FM will always be needed for people to tune in for today's weather, what's happening this weekend, to listen to other people they like."

Photo credit: Chris Betros

 

 


q&a

Byung-Hun Park

"More than ever, Japanese are studying Korean," says Byung-Hun Park. And that's good news for the 39-year-old owner of Tokyo's largest Korean bookstore. Starting out as an academic wholesaler providing textbooks and dictionaries to Japanese universities, Koma Book Co. in Chiyoda-ku (www.komabook.co.jp) has ridden the recent mania for all things Korean-as has Park himself. In addition to stocking his shop with novels, cookbooks and idoru accessories, the boyish book dealer hosts a weekly K-pop radio show with the Korean actress Mayu Sonoda, which can be heard on BS TV channel 300 every Tuesday from 8:40-9:25pm.

How do you enjoy your radio show?
Actually, I enjoy that more than the bookstore.

What do you think of K-pop?
Korean musicians sing very, very well, they dance well, they look really good. They have all those elements combined, so I think Korean music is by far the best in Asia and very competitive with American music.

Have you had Boa on your show?
Not yet.

Do you have a favorite Korean restaurant in Tokyo?
Too many to tell! After recording the radio show, I always go to a restaurant in Shin-Okubo, Tae Han Min Gu (03-5292-4448). What's good there? Sam gyup sal, a kind of grilled pork.

What misconceptions do Japanese have about Korea?
There's a big difference between the older and younger generation now. The older generation still thinks Korea is a backward country, and the first thing that comes to mind is the Japanese occupation. Deep inside their hearts they still degrade Koreans. The younger generation-because of this rage of Korean TV shows and everything-have a very positive image of Korea.

I see a lot of Bae Yong-Jun goods here.
Seventy-year-old women come and change into his T-shirt and walk out the door! Even Koreans have a hard time figuring out why he's so popular-there are better and better-looking actors.

How long will the Korea boom last?
As long as there are famous Korean stars, I think this rage will continue for a long time. But since Japanese people are sometimes weird, they all of a sudden turn back and suddenly start to like another actor or something. ST


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