June 08, 2012

Kina Grannis Release Party in Osaka

Last night I was lucky enough to attend Kina Grannis's 'Stairwells: Japan Edition' release party in Osaka, at Music Club Janus in Shinsaibashi. Kina, a half-Japanese American singer-songwriter, is one of my favourite artists. If you haven't heard of her, go on YouTube right now and look her up. Kina is YouTube superstar, and holds the title of the 2011 MTV O Music Awards Best Web-Born Artist. Her most famous video, the music video for 'In Your Arms', was made using 288,000 jelly beans. A girl after my own heart.

Kina is currently in Japan promoting the Japan edition of her album 'Stairwells', and will return to Tokyo and Osaka in August to perform four shows. Her show dates begin on August 4th, which is ONE DAY after I leave Japan to return to New Zealand. Major sad face. But then, she posted on her Twitter account the chance to win an invite to her release party in Osaka! I entered, and received an email from Kina saying me and a guest could come! やった!
Kina's poster outside the Music Club Janus!
It was a small, private concert, with maybe around 60 or 70 people there. A radio announcer from FM802, DJ Shirley (a Japanese-American woman, I think?) was the MC, and gave an introduction to Kina in Japanese. The 'In Your Arms' video was then played on a screen set up in front of the stage. Finally Kina came onstage - barefoot, it should be noted, she prefers to perform without shoes - and with a shy smile, launched into 'World In Front of Me'. I think that Kina has one of those rare voices where it sounds even better live than it does on the album. Such a beautiful, powerful voice. Just her and her guitar, rocking out. She played 7 acoustic songs, including a special song from the Japan edition of her album, an English translation of 歩いて帰ろう. After her set, she was joined onstage by DJ Shirley and a translator, and was interviewed in front of us for FM802. She was asked questions about her music, LA, her fashion style... and of course, the obligatory 'What do you think of Japan?' and 'What Japanese food do you like?' (She loves sushi, by the way.)

After the interview those of us who had bought CDs were able to meet Kina and get her signature. What was really cool was that she had read all of our emails personally, and when an English and American girl and guy in front of us went up to her, she got excited and said 'oh, are you the Kiwis?', and they were like, 'no, they're behind us.' It turns out when Kina was at university, she did an exchange to New Zealand - more specifically, University of Otago, which is our university! She even studied Japanese there, and was taught by our wonderful, crazy, funny sensei. So when it was our turn to get the CD signed we chatted about that for a little bit, and she said it was 'great to hear the Kiwi accent again'. Yay!
Us with Kina... Kiwi thumbs up!
At the end of the signings the guests invited from Twitter were able to meet Kina again, and even though she was clearly pressed for time (her organisers said she had another interview to get to), she was lovely enough to take photos with us. It was a magical night, and if you're around Tokyo or Osaka in August, you definitely should go and see Kina perform. She's great.


  1. Very lucky, very cool. It sounds like an excellent night.

  2. So cool! It's awesome when things come together so perfectly like that. Somehow I didn't think that your time in Japan would ever end, and I could continue to look forward to your blog updates for a while longer.

  3. You have also failed to supply a satisfactory number of blog updates focused on Japanese toilets.

    1. Haha, thank you! I'm so sad that it has to end, but hopefully I can come back again really soon!

      As for the toilets... I know, right? I think it's because I've been living in an apartment with a normal toilet. Not that interesting. But will have to do something about that...

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