Book Review: Japrocksampler by Julian Cope

Over the last few years I’ve been becoming more and more fascinated by the strange world of J-Pop and J-Rock. Unfortunately without being able to read Japanese I’ve found it a frustratingly difficult area to start exploring as there’s a serious lack of decent books written in English on the subject. It seems totally bizarre to me that while there’s no end of books on the history of British and American rock music no one has yet written a comprehensive and accessible history of the worlds second largest music market, one which seems to have ever increasing cultural influence.

The closest thing we have so far is Japrocksampler by Julian Cope. It’s an enjoyable read but one I feel I’m only able to recommend it with a lot of caveats.

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Why you should be listening to more Japanese Music

There’s a school of thought that says the story of rock music is one of a conversation between Britain and the US. Where ideas and movements emerge in one and a few short years later have been adopted, improved and advanced by those on the other side of the pond. Looking over the canon of rock it’s easy to see this pattern occurring again and again. The British Invasion was inspired by American Rock’n’Roll. The roots of punk were in the US, it then took full form in the UK before growing into Hardcore back in America. Even as rock music progressed and the lines of influence became increasingly blurred, the general pattern of Trans-Atlantic to-ing and fro-ing remained.

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How I planned my Trans-Siberian journey

Planning a Trans-Siberian journey can be a nightmare if you don’t know what you’re doing. The sheer number of different options available and bureaucratic loops you’ll have to jump through are mind boggling. If you plan in advance it’s definitely possible though and you’ll be rewarded with an adventure you’ll never forget. Here’s my step by step guide to planning your route and booking your tickets.

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The Big Tech Match-Up: Android Vs iOS

As Google and Apple continue to become more and more adversarial both sides seem desperate to prove that they can do anything better than the other. The latest figures put Android significantly ahead of iOS in terms of popularity with a 52% share of the market, ahead of Apple’s 33% (It’s probably not best to look if you’re a fan of Blackberry, Symbian or Windows Phone) but does that really make them the better system? Which offers the best value? Which is the best designed? And which one will be able to do everything you need it to?

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