Hello Japan! is swinging into 2010. January’s topic is ‘Music to my ears’. I found it really hard to decide what musical subject to concentrate on, so I am presenting a 5 part series of ‘Music Lessons’ on Fridays. Welcome to the final session, #5! And enjoy your weekend :)

Don’t you love to start your weekend with some ‘feelgood’ music? I know I do! :) But who would have expected me to do so with J-Rock??? Well, here’s a cover song that makes me happy each time I hear it: Can’t take my eyes of you (椎名林檎), by Sheena Ringo. So energetic!

There are several ways to write her name in romaji (using the Latin alphabet for Japanese text). It’s Shena on Nippop.com, Shiina in Wikipedia. Me, I’m writing Sheena, because that’s how I came to know her first.

Sheena Ringo is a singer-songwriter, guitarist, pianist, oh.. and ballerina ;) As an artist she chose her childhood nickname Ringo (apple) instead of her real name Yumiko, because she used to be a shy girl and blush a lot: turning her cheeks red like apples. But later she also declared that she gave herself the name of an object, following manga cartoonist Sensha Yoshida whom she likes (his first name Sensha meaning ‘battle tank’).

Sheena Ringo is a great all-round musician. Last year she wrote some songs for another Japanese band I enjoy listening to: Puffy (AmiYumi). And good news for a film fan like me: in 2006 she directed the music for the movie Sakuran. I read about it in chasing bawa’s blogpost and I’ve been on the lookout for the dvd ever since!

Of course I can’t just leave you with a cover of a 1967 hit performed by Sheena Ringo; she usually writes her own stuff. Here’s the fine song Shūkyō (宗教 ‘Religion‘) from the album Karuki Zamen Kuri no Hana (5’07”).

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