When Apple Music Trolls You

We were pleasantly surprised to see Apple Music’s recommendation for “Essential Okinawa Albums”. Who knew that they were even keeping track and the recommendations are legit with BEGIN, Yonaha Toru, Nenes, Hajime Chitose, and not pictured: Aragaki Mutsumi, Oshima Yasukatsu, Ara Yukito, Natsukawa Rimi, and Oshiro Misako. It’s a mix of deep cut albums and popular ones and the interestingly cool thing is that Amami-Oshima artists are represented too.

And the above was recommended after listening to the China Sadao Den Kyo album and actually tweeting about its lack of Apple Music Sing. We already had all 3 albums in our catalog but seeing Hajime’s “Uta nu Itu” made us feel like listening to it again. So yay, Apple Music.

In all of our years with Apple Music/iTunes (and our love/hate relationship with it), it’s nice to see they’re finally noticing us. 😊

A Look at Apple Music’s Top Songs of 2020: Japan Playlist

So how did music artists from Okinawa (or Okinawan) fair in Apple Music’s Top Songs of 2020: Japan playlist? Let’s take a look…

And, it’s 0 (zero). Yep, pretty sad. Looking at 2019’s playlist, we see Da Pump’s U.S.A. and Mongol800’s Chiisana Koi no Uta (note that this song is originally from their 2001 album MESSAGE). (Link to the 2019 playlist.) Let’s hope we’ll see more artists in 2021!

Link to Top Songs of 2020: Japan (Apple Music Playlist)

NHK World’s Okinawa Playlist

Perhaps one of the best media resources for non-Japanese language speakers is NHK World which is available as website and a standalone app for the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. Recently they added playlists from their On Demand collection and there’s one for Okinawa!

NHK World’s website showcasing the Okinawa playlist

The playlist (“Okinawa: Hope through Hard Times” link) currently has 5 episodes and the one I want to bring your attention to for its pop culture theme is called “The Sounds of Okinawa: Joy and Prayers for Shuri Castle”. The 45-minute episode features HY, Miyazawa Kazufumi (The Boom), Chuning Candy, i-dushi, Kiiyama Shoten, and KARIYUSHI 58. (I’ll have posts up of a few of the artists who are new to this blog.)

The episodes won’t be available forever so please don’t miss them — especially the music one for fans of Okinawan pop culture.

Learn about awamori? There’s an app for that.

Modern technology is reaching every corner of the globe, and leaving no industry untouched, as now a local company has come up with an Awamori Large-Scale Dictionary for the smart phone iPhone.

The software application produced by Rakuen-Keikaku, a company that deals with the restaurant and publishing industries, works with the Apple iPhone, listing all 365 brands of awamori from the beverage’s 48 distilleries on Okinawa. The software lets customers sort for different awamori brands, taste, fragrance, percentage of alcohol, by distiller and by awamori name.


(Via Japan Update.)

Set for a mid-December release for ¥600. I’m hoping it’ll be released for the US too and if it is, we’ll have a review up as soon as we can get our hands on it.

iOS app: iOkinawa!


Billing itself as a combination of beautiful Okinawan girls and Okinawan dialect, out of curiosity I installed the free (with ads) iOkinawa! app (link opens iTunes US Store) on my iPhone 4. Developed by Sayobs (Ray Matayoshi) from Tokyo, it looks like it’s their first iOS app made for the iPhone. Released November 10, 2010, it’s currently at version 1.0 and the description on iTunes reads: “Tons of useful Okinawan dialect phrases with beautiful Okinawan girls.”

Continue reading “iOS app: iOkinawa!”

App Review: Sanshin (三線) for iPhone and iPod touch

Following our introduction of two virtual sanshin iPhone/iPod touch apps on the 20th and our review of the iSanshin app from Pawana LLC earlier today, we continue with Sanshin (三線) from Crimson Technology.

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Crimson Technology’s Sanshin app is currently at version 1.1 and sells for U.S. $1.99. (iTunes Link) It’s nearest (or only at the moment) competitor is Pawana LLC’s iSanshin app which also happens to be at version 1.1 and is on sale for the same price of U.S. $1.99. But is it really a competition between the two apps or do both compliment each other? Read on to find out.

Continue reading “App Review: Sanshin (三線) for iPhone and iPod touch”

App Review: iSanshin (i三線) for iPhone & iPod touch

We introduced two iPhone/iPod touch apps on December 20, 2009, and both developers were kind enough to provide us with a demo of their app.

The first app we’re going to look at is called iSanshin (i三線) from Pawana LLC. iSanshin sells for U.S. $1.99 and is currently at version 1.1. (iTunes Link)

Upon launching iSanshin, you’re greeted with the splash screen (三線 = sanshin).


Continue reading “App Review: iSanshin (i三線) for iPhone & iPod touch”

[Updated] Introducing two sanshin apps for your iPhone or iPod touch

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We’re big Mac fans here and there’s always an iPhone within reach but we don’t always carry a sanshin with us. (Duh?) Well, anyhoo, if you own an iPhone or iPod touch you’re in luck with two apps to keep you entertained for those times when you’re without sanshin. Both apps are U.S. $1.99 and are virtual instruments.

The first app we’ll look at is called (simply) Sanshin (iTunes Link: http://j.mp/4vYmMY) and is from Crimson Technology. Unfortunately, the developers don’t have a video preview of the app and, based on App Store reviews, Sanshin has been rated 2 out of 5 stars by customers.

[Update 1: Kazushige, developer of the Sanshin app provided a link to two YouTube clips featuring his app being played by none other than the beautiful Keiko Higa of Deigo Musume.

The second app, iSanshin from Pawana LLC (iTunes Link: http://j.mp/79oZoX) has a YouTube video up (embedded down below) showcasing a few of the app’s features.

I hope to do reviews of both apps in a future entry.

[Update 2: I’m working on reviews of both apps and hope to have it up soon. So stay tuned!]