Unofficial English clammbon fansite

Dramatickers 4

Welcome to Dramatickers version 4.0! It’s been nearly 20 years since I started translating lyrics and sharing info to evangelize this band. It has passed through lives as a custom Perl contraption in 2003; a Movable Type site in 2006; a WordPress site in 2010, and now enters its life as a Hugo site in 2023.

But in the past 3 years there has only been one post; I think I’d believed that the site was something I shouldn’t invest in anymore. What excites me about it now, though, is the opportunity to treat this as a primarily creative project, rather than “just” a fan project.

Translation as a distinct art form remains important to me, and some of the most powerful and indelible Japanese language learning I’ve done has been in the process of researching for this site. When I learn a word or a turn of phrase from a clammbon song, I really deeply learn it. As I plan for my move to Japan later this year (at long last!), continuing to translate songs stands out as a powerful way to practice the langauge.

I’ll be revisiting songs that I first translated long ago, with an aim to make them more poetic, more evocative, more able to stand on their own as works of creative writing in their own right; while of course still treating the original lyrics with the deepest respect and gratitude. The first in this revamp process is imagination.

Expect some stuff to be broken as the new site comes online, but I am proud of how well it works already!


Hello friends — here’s hoping you are all staying safe and listening to cozy music at home. I’m updating this site only infrequently as I get busier and as the associated Facebook group gets more active and easier to casually share news on. But this news seems to deserve a proper update!

First check out the band’s new monastic promo photo~

The new song “Yamibitoshirazu” is up on subscription services! Here’s some more detail from Mito about the new song that may help you appreciate what the band is doing here.

This is the first song in a new series meant to complement the “Moment” series. If “Moment” was all about distributing to fans directly at shows and having the fans distribute directly to each other at their own businesses, then this new series “Element” is about online-only releases and happens to be especially suited to the world’s current situation. This song was made in Mito’s home studio, with the band collaborating largely remotely. Because of the nature of the collaboration, in this series we’ll be hearing a new sound that differs from the live “band sound” we’re used to.

The official English title is “Fluttering”, and Mito posted on Instagram that he’s pleased to see it getting attention from overseas! It feels excellent indeed to know that the band is thinking of us and appreciates our support.

Columbia era music videos posted; more LPs coming!

The band must have gotten the rights cleared with Columbia, finally, to post their remaining sixteen videos from imagination onward! And if you missed it, the Warner-era videos were posted a while back. It’s a great time to be a Clammbon evangelist. Thanks to Crawford Blair for being the first to notice.

Update: apparently the Columbia albums are coming to vinyl as well, starting with _imagination _released today, on Christmas! Thanks to Scott R. White for catching that one.


JP signed!

It’s been about a year since I met Ms. Ikuko at Kichimu, and I still think back on it as a symbol of the sort of experiences I want to have in life, especially as I’ve settled back into the ordinary day-to-day on the other side of the planet. One of the friends I made at the art exhibition contacted me to say that he’d attended a signing on the JP JumP JaPan tour, where the band played their first album in its entirety to celebrate the 20th anniversary. Well, he had them sign a copy of the JP vinyl reissue for me, and apparently Ikuko remembered me! She dedicated it to me by name and added a little “Hello!” beside her usual doodle. Twenty years ago, stomping around my college campus listening repeatedly to my MiniDisc of this strange band from a strange land, I never would have imagined that such a thing could ever happen. Thank you, dear friend!

Moment l.p.

Whoa!! “Moment l.p.” is a selection of ten songs from the Moment e.p. releases, available on various streaming services, including outside of Japan! Plus it adds a new song, “Prosit!”, which the band did as a theme to the anime Isekai Izakaya Nobu. I’ve found it on Google Play, Spotify, and Apple Music here in the U.S.

Convert your friends!

Announcement post

Warner-era albums reissued on vinyl; JP anniversary tour

Clammbon fandom has officially entered the nostalgic era! It has been announced that following on the lineup of 7-inch singles that were reissued on vinyl, the first five albums will also be reissued, starting with JP today!

Also, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the release of JP, the band has announced three shows in October at which they’ll play the album in its entirety. That sounds fantastically fun, and of course I’ll be nowhere near Japan at that time…

Warner-era videos posted on YouTube!

Today eleven clammbon videos, from their first four albums released between 1999 and 2002, were posted to YouTube. After evangelizing this band as the most important inspiration in my life for twenty years, it seems ludicrous that now I can just plug people an URL for a glimpse at why!

Here’s a playlist that collects them. Go convert all of your friends to lifelong fans!


and yet

  • I translated my first song in… four years? It’s yet, as part of an “intro to clammbon” YouTube curriculum I’m assembling.
  • Today I called my first local business to talk about carrying Moment EPs; this process is slow-going but happening!
  • The band did a charming little livestream for the 20th anniversary of the release of “Hanare Banare”, their first single.
  • Let’s talk about it on Facebook.

Trip Report — Tokyo, Winter 2018–2019

I spent late October 2018 to mid-January 2019 in Tokyo, my longest stay since studying there for ten months in 2002, and it ended up packed with events of Clammbon-related meaning. A lot happened and I have little time to write things up these days, so here’s my attempt to dash through it all.

First up was an event in Shibuya for Spoken Words Project, a textile and fashion designer who’s done clothing and album art for Ikuko. I’d made a number of pilgrimages to find SWP products before, and this time the venue was a hidden-away boutique in a house far from the station. I bought myself a garment right out of what looked like a museum exhibition. Later, SWP made the rare announcement of a new line of backpacks to be released during my stay, which I pounced on as soon as they were posted to the online store.

Detail of my new Spoken Words Project hoodie

Spoken Words Project exhibit

My new Spoken Words Project backpack

There weren’t any Clammbon shows during my stay, but among the many concerts I did get to attend, a collaboration between Aoba Ichiko and Detune at Harada Ikuko’s cafe Kichimu was the one I looked forward to the most. In addition to the two musical performers, the comic artist Nishijima Daisuke was also on the bill, though it wasn’t clear how he would participate until I arrived at the cafe. The place was decorated with his drawings, and the floor was papered with a huge sheet for him to draw on. He sprawled drawing in the center of the floor, Aoba and Detune performed in a circle around him, and the audience sat all around them. The show was whimsical, emotional, meditative, and one-of-a-kind, much like the Aoba Ichiko / Tenniscoats performance I’d seen on my last trip.

Kichimu entrance

Stairs down into Kichimu, with Nishijima illustration visible in the window

For one of the final songs, Ichiko encouraged the audience to sing along. But when it became apparent that most people didn’t have the words memorized, Harada Ikuko herself materialized to teach us on the fly, line by line! That was a special moment for any Clammbon fans in attendance, which given the close-knit scene was just about everyone. I’d been to Kichimu a number of times before, always with the vague notion that Ikuko might be around at her own cafe, but this was my first time seeing her there. Of course it occurred to me that I could seek her out after the show and try to convey some semblance of the meaning she’d brought to my life over the last twenty years. But I was also highly aware that doing so could very well be a bother, that she was present as herself rather than as the person from Clammbon, and that she’d probably heard the same sentiments from countless people who’ve caught her in moments when she dared to venture out among the crowd. So I resolved not to approach her, and to just appreciate the close encounter of being in a tiny room with her and maybe eighty other people for such a rare event, when I’d only ever seen her onstage or at a formal signing.

As I hung around the shop area, looking for a chance to perhaps get a record signed, someone approached me and poked at my tote bag — it was Ikuko, declaring the name of the brand: “Spoken Words Project!” Of course she recognized the artist she’d worked with, and took it as a cue to start a conversation and help make a guest feel welcome. We talked for a few minutes, during which I think I kept my cool quite respectably, but I couldn’t help steering the topic toward what a big fan of her and of Clammbon I am. She was friendly, appreciative, and gracious, and after a while she called Ichiko over to sign the record of hers I’d just bought. I chatted with Ichiko a bit, too, and then headed home. Almost immediately I wished I’d kept the conversation with Ikuko away from a celebrity / fan relationship and simply stuck to topics we shared, like appreciation for the show we’d just seen or admiration of the SWP brand. But I knew I shouldn’t complain or obsess about it, and I did my best to just be grateful that it had happened at all.

A few weeks later, I attended another event at Kichimu: the closing party for an exhibit of the noren paintings that Yamauchi Masumi makes for display on Ikuko’s keyboard at each Clammbon performance; she’s made one for every show of theirs since the beginning and is thus the most consistent creative contributor to Clammbon outside of the three band members. I expected the place to be swarming with Clammbon fans, but when I showed up it was just a cluster of maybe ten friends drinking around a table, one of whom I quickly gathered was the artist herself. I wandered around the place and admired the artwork, wondering whether it would be best to try to politely join the group or to just wait and see if anyone approached me.

Pretty soon I could overhear that the group was discussing whether they should send someone over to talk to me, and wondering whether I spoke Japanese at all. Masumi came by and tentatively introduced herself as the artist; once the conversation got going and it was clear that there wouldn’t be a language barrier, we talked quite a bit and she got it out of me that I’m a huge Clammbon fan, that I’d learned a lot of my Japanese by translating their lyrics, and that I run this very website. She hauled me back over to the tables to sit with the group, and for a while my strange story was the main topic of conversation. I got to know everyone there, including two other ordinary Clammbon fans who’d also showed up alone. It was a rare occasion of making perfect strangers into genuine friends, in a second language, via a shared interest.

Masumi checked her phone and casually informed me that Ikuko was a bit delayed but on her way over! (I’ll never be sure, but it certainly seemed like Masumi had texted Ikuko something to the effect of “are you still planning on coming to the party? there’s someone here you should meet.”) Having just heard all about the extent of my Clammbon fandom, everyone turned to see my excitement and nervousness. One person joked that they’d have her sit right next to me. The scheduled time for the event was nearly over, but it seemed that the night was just beginning. I sheepishly canceled the dinner I’d planned with a friend in Shibuya so that I could stick around.

Ikuko arrived and Masumi gave her the whole background — it was sort of a perfect way to communicate how much Clammbon has meant to me and how much I’ve done to evangelize them to the world, without having to corner one of the band members and explain it all myself. Soon enough I was telling the story of my first trip to Japan, discovering Kimi wa Boku no Mono and hunting it down at the record store even though I barely knew a word of Japanese. The night went on with a friendly vibe, everyone drifting around between the tables and the art displays, a dozen or so people just hanging out with Harada Ikuko of Clammbon and this oddly devoted foreign fan, talking and joking as one big group, no big deal.

At one point I mentioned to Ikuko that I’d finally managed to buy Moment e.p. 3 that night, having had to wait until I came to Japan to get ahold of it. This led to a conversation about how the band’s new “farm-to-table” business model made it almost impossible for foreign fans to buy Clammbon’s music anymore. She immediately encouraged me to apply to be the first reseller outside of Japan! (I’m currently looking for a local shop in the Bay Area that would be willing to act as the storefront; watch this space for news.)

Yamauchi Masumi noren exhibition

(As much as I’d love to share it as proof, I’m keeping the photo we all took together private!)

I exchanged contact info with the other two fans. Masumi and Ikuko offered to take a photo with us. Ikuko handed me a flyer for an upcoming “night market” at Kichimu, and invited me to come back then and say hello. One of the other fans and I rode together on the train, as somehow within Tokyo’s colossal transit system we lived only one stop away from each other.

Of course, I came back a few weeks later for the night market; I wasn’t about to turn down a personal invitation from Harada Ikuko. It was a sort of miniature flea market, with tables of clothes, books, housewares, tchotchkes, even someone’s vintage synthesizer collection. I weaved my way around the crowded space, admiring the truly random assortment of stuff that occurs when friends of Kichimu get together to empty out their storage, until Ikuko found me.

She greeted me like an old friend: “Ah! You made it!” and gave me a little welcome and explanation of what was for sale. One thing she made sure to point out was a box of seat cushions left over from Clammbon’s performance at Ryougoku Kokugikan. She proudly explained how they were specially designed to complement the sumō arena venue, pointed out the phonetically-contrived traditional kanji Clammbon logo and the nuances of the ōiri sign, and demonstrated how it also becomes a tote bag or a makeshift umbrella. A steal at five hundred yen. When I looped back around to buy one, Ikuko introduced me to her manager as a Clammbon evangelist to the English-speaking world. I happily accepted her personalization of the cushion, stopped by a kids’ clothes table to get some outfits for my kiddo, and headed home.

Ryōgoku cushion

Ryōgoku cushion inside, personalized

It took almost twenty years, but I couldn’t have asked for a better series of events to become acquainted with a Clammbon member. Somehow I got to have a number of conversations with Ikuko, tell the story of how I came to discover Clammbon and what I’ve done to share their music with the world, take a photo together, receive a signed item dedicated to me, and be invited to sell their records — everything a fan could want — and all without approaching her myself, requesting anything, or otherwise acting like a fan. Instead, her friendliness and openness, and the enthusiasm of the little community around her, allowed it all to happen naturally.

After that, there was one more Clammbon-adjacent event in store for me. Before this trip to Japan, I’d decided that it was finally time to own a piece by ka na ta, a fashion designer who has done Clammbon’s wardrobe for a few tours and has been otherwise closely affiliated with the band in a variety of ways. His style fit precisely with what I wanted in a coat, and the Clammbon connection would make it that much more meaningful to own. I made the 30-minute walk from Shibuya Station to the residential area where an unmarked basement door leads to the ka na ta showroom. A kind staff member helped me try on some coats and made friendly conversation about our shared tastes in music. In fact, I spotted that Saya from Tenniscoats had scrawled the band name on the concrete wall of the shop when they had played a tiny show there — another link in the close-knit community around Clammbon and associated artists. One coat would be about three months’ discretionary spending, so I promised to think about it and come back soon to choose one.

“Tenniscoats” scrawled on the wall at the ka na ta shop

Near New Year’s Eve, the ka na ta Instagram account announced that the designer himself would be running the shop for a few days, to allow the staff to have the holidays off. It seemed like a rare chance to meet the designer and finally choose my coat. I journeyed back to the shop and ended up spending a long time there with him indeed, sipping tea, talking about bands and travel and such, and ultimately choosing the mods denim coat!

That’s as short as I can make this story. The trip was overall one of the most meaningful and memorable chapters in my life, and the Clammbon thread was a special highlight. Thanks for reading!

Let’s talk about it on Facebook

Back from a momentous trip

Something I should have done a really, really long time ago is to set up a space for clammbon fans to talk to each other! It’s a bit ridiculous that these conversations have been almost entirely limited to people finding my email address on the site and contacting me directly. Please do come visit the Dramatickers group on Facebook and perhaps we can get to know each other a bit better.

I just came back from a three-month trip to Japan, which was packed with clammbon-related events. Like, the most significant clammbon-related events I’ve experienced since discovering the band 19 years ago. Look for a writeup here soon!

Moment 3 newses

The first song sample from Moment 3, Lush Life! is available for listening on YouTube!

Another sample will be posted every three days!

Moment 3’s official release date is June 6!

Moment 3’s track list is as follows!

  1. Lush Life!
  2. Wewiwen, Karen
  3. WARP
  4. Gradation
  5. Ranunculus

You can get Moment CDs, for a pretty penny, via White Rabbit Express! Thanks to Gavin Oakman for being the first to try it out.


Clammbon has announced another tour for this year and a third direct-sale release, Moment e.p. 3! These “farm-to-table” albums are hard to get ahold of for anyone outside of Japan; personally I’ve had to call in favors and wait for people to have time to mail them out, but they’re some of the best music the band has ever made.

(Hello! I haven’t posted a thing since moving to California for my new job after the 2016 Japan trip, and having a brand new kiddo in my life! But the last two nights I’ve stayed up late watching the new crowdfunded Yaon concert film and the livestreamed mini-concert for backers, and reconnected with just how important this band has been to me over the last 18 years. I’m back on the job! At least, as much as work and tiny child will allow me to be.)

Trip Report: Clammbon 2016

It was certain that I wouldn’t get to Japan this year, and that I’d miss Clammbon’s tour, the one where they were selling the new album that couldn’t be bought in stores. And the signings they were holding at certain shows. And, uh, my brother-in-law’s wedding. But at just about the last moment, several events unexpectedly lined up and a trip actually made sense. We went for it.

Normally for such a tour, I’d try to get a ticket for a show in Tokyo, my home base. But by the time I knew I was traveling, The Club Quattro Shibuya show was sold out. So, plan for a long train ride. Shizuoka? Nagano? The best option ended up being the city of Mito, in Ibaraki prefecture. (It helped, in my meaning-seeking brain, that the city’s name is a homophone for the name of a Clammbon member.) And unlike the Tokyo show, it included a signing! A quick video call to Tokyo; my father-in-law stepped out to the convenience store and came back with a ticket all while while the Skype line was open.


Harada Ikuko owns a cafe in Kichijôji, Tokyo, called Kichimu. Somehow I’d never made a pilgrimage to this place, sure to be special for a true Dramaticker. This time I was determined to do so.



When I sat down in the cafe to await my lunch, I opened my notebook and wrote, “Every surface in this place exudes the playful, peaceful Clammbon spirit.” After my meal, I continued, “That soborodon was one of the best things I ever ate. The piping hot rice, crunchy stuff, peanuts, lime, spicy sauce that they warned me about and then I used it all… I could eat that every day.” Indeed, weeks later, I still find myself craving it.

It was my first full day in Tokyo on this trip, and the last day of the Haruka Nakamura photo exhibit. They were playing his album Ongaku no Aru Fuukei throughout the space, and an area of the cafe was sectioned off with black curtains for the installation.

音楽のある風景 - haruka nakamura PIANO ENSEMBLE (Official MV) from KITCHEN. LABEL on Vimeo.

The exhibit was titled ∞. It featured 88 photos, printed on fabric, suspended in a figure-eight that you duck into and view from the inside. One photo at a time was also projected onto a wall of diaphanous fabric strips. The combination of the translucent photos, ever-changing projected light, and viewers moving through the space made for an ethereal, ever-shifting experience befitting Nakamura’s music.


A the front of the cafe is a tiny shop area with a selection of art, jewelry, books, CDs, and so on, all related to or curated by Ms. Ikuko. After carefully scrutinizing every last item, I chose a book collecting the Yamauchi Masumi paintings that Ms. Ikuko has hung from her keyboard over the years, and a set of postcards by Kitamura Norichika.



Kichimu Again

I couldn’t stay away. On a free afternoon the following week, with that delicious soborodon still hovering in my mind, I headed back to Kichijôji. The Chûô Rapid Line train took me a stop too far, to Mitaka, but walking one station back seemed like a fun idea. It was — the area between these two stations is just lovely. Tree-lined residential streets, boutiques, galleries, the huge Inokashira Park, and even the Ghibli Museum. It all has a more artsy and cheerful feel to it than other upscale neighborhoods like, say, Daikanyama.



Kichimu is a small operation focused on inventive dishes with fresh, local ingredients, much like hip cafes on the American west coast. The menu is small and always changing. So on my second visit I learned that they only offer the soborodon on weekends, and instead all they had was a clam chowder. That was lovely, too, served with salad, potatoes, bread, and a rich spread. (By the time I realized that the spread was not a dish of its own, I had already eaten the bread. I ate it with the potatoes instead and it was great that way, too.)

This time, on my way out I discovered the little library table. It’s populated by books from Ms. Ikuko’s personal collection, which patrons are encouraged to pick up and read while they are in the cafe. Magazines, novels, nonfiction, art, and so on. I stood and read a Mito interview, about how he got into progressive rock and Five Star Stories, in a special Clammbon issue of Eureka. (His reason was the same as mine: used prog-rock LPs were cheap when he was a kid!)

On this second visit, the music selection was raw, rootsy folk standards. I discovered from a sign on the wall that for the entirety of 2016, apart from special events like the Nakamura exhibition, music in the cafe was selected by the band Tenniscoats. This about knocked me over because just a few days earlier I’d discovered (and met) Tenniscoats at their very intimate collaboration concert with Aoba Ichiko. That show was a very special experience indeed, and a story for another time.




When in Shibuya to meet up with a friend, I did make my regular trip to Desperado to see if there was any Spoken Words Project. The excellently-attired fellow there advised me that all they had was one dress, and that they were expecting new pieces soon. He was curious how I knew of the label, so I explained the connection to Clammbon and to Harada Ikuko.

Clammbon at Light House Mito, March 4 2016

The cushy, 100-minute Hitachi-gou express train took me from Tokyo to Mito, the capital city of Ibaraki prefecture, on the day of the concert. I had most of the day to explore the city, and I came to love its micro-Tokyo charm. (You can wander Mito with me on Instagram.) The merchandise tables opened at 17:00, outside the venue — an important detail on this particular tour. Clammbon is experimenting with an increasingly self-contained and self-sustaining business, to the point that their latest CD, Moment, is available at concert merchandise tables but not at record stores nor on the internet.

I withdrew some extra cash at the 7-11 on the corner, a comically simple process compared to the ordeal it used to be to get cash from a foreign account in Japan. The staff confirmed that I could buy as many copies of the CD as I liked, so I picked up one for myself and three for friends. Plus a T-shirt designed by Ka na ta, a brand that the band has been wearing on stage lately and that has a showroom at Kichimu.

Audients waited outside in the cold, around one of the city’s several statues of the legendary feudal lord Mito Kômon, and were let into the standing-only venue one by one according to the letter and number on our tickets. The staff person called out A1, A2… up to A150, then B1, B2, et cetera. My ticket was… C117. Quite close to the end of the 350-person capacity. But a lot of people had gone up to the balcony, and near the back of the floor was still quite close to the stage indeed.


hallzumen Floor plan from Light House Mito official site

We were really crammed in there. Several times the staff asked us to all take a step forward, when we were all already closer together than if we’d been on a rush hour Yamanote Line train. Within minutes it was sweaty hot. Once the lights went down and Clammbon took the stage, Mito high-fiving Mito, of course nobody cared.

Set List

  • Surround
  • Re-Mellotron
  • (First chat)
  • Kisetsu
  • Filament
  • Flight!
  • yet
  • Chicago
  • Re-Aru Kodou
  • (Encore break, second chat)
  • Musubi no Uta
  • Slight Slight

CcwL_9PUEAAFcL-.jpg-large Official photo from Tropical. I’m visible on the right!

For a few favorites — “Surround”, “GOOD TIME MUSIC”, “Chicago”, and “Re-Aru Kodou”, I believe — the audience was lit so that the band could see and interact with them, just inches away. The first words that Clammbon had to say to us were from Ikuko: 近い。どこ見ればいい?慣れよう。 — “So close! Where am I supposed to look? I have to get used to this.” Several times it felt like Mito or Ikuko was smiling directly at me, absorbing my enthusiasm. Were they really…?

“Re-Mellotron” was a first for this tour, and the one unusual choice considering its theme of January snow. “Yet” was the sole song from triology, though I’d been hoping to hear “Agitator”. “KANADE DANCE” served its usual role as a sort of centerpiece. And the set included the entirety of the new EP, Moment.

In the spirit of getting closer to their fans, The band spent a lot of time chatting with the audience. After some banter about the intonation of Mito the musician versus Mito the city, the first chat session was largely about their experience in the music business and their experiments with opting out of the normal way of doing things.

Mito gave a breakdown of where the retail price of a major-label CD goes — recording, marketing, manufacturing, distribution, sales, &c.… In the end the artist gets 5%. But after 20 years of building their business, Clammbon can do a lot of that themselves. They can record at their own studio. They already have dedicated fans, and their side projects get their names in articles and on TV, so there’s no need for the big marketing budget. (Mito does a lot of anime music, Daisuke is teaching, and Ikuko does commercials.) And instead of selling in record stores, why not bring the CDs along and sell them at the shows, if they’re touring across the country anyway?

Ikuko likened the model to farm-bought produce. She loves lotus root (Mito: “Last time it was carrots!") and she found that she could get it fresher and cheaper by buying it at the farm. Plus the bonus of seeing the place it came from and meeting the people who grew it. A big part of the idea is for people to come to the show, hear the fresh new songs, and if they liked them, buy the new CD.

The model seems to be working — the farm-direct Moment has made as much profit as if it had hit (I believe) #4 on the Oricon chart! In contrast, triology reached #13, and Clammbon’s highest chart position ever was #11, for 2010. Where does all that money go? Mainly back into the music: high-end equipment, studio space, &c.

The second chat session was about finding more places to sell the CDs. At first the idea was that they’d be for sale only at venues on the day of a concert. But over time local businesses — cafes, restaurants, clothing shops, galleries, and even a few record stores — have been carrying it too. There were survey forms at the show, with fans invited to submit ideas of eclectic places that might be willing to sell the CD. Lately the official Clammbon Twitter account has been overflowing with announcements of shops carrying the album. Mito joked that maybe they should have called this the “Where Shall We Sell” tour, in the spirit of their past “Where Shall We Play” tours.

Clammbon had recently written and recorded the ending theme for the new Shinkai Makoto anime She and Her Cat, which Mito explained that they couldn’t play live yet, because it was just airing for the first time later that night. One audient informed Ikuko that it wouldn’t actually air in Ibaraki until two days later, so we couldn’t go home and watch it just yet.

It was a little strange for the encore to consist of two new songs, and for there to be no “Vital Sign”, but it was important to the band to play us the entirety of their new CD so that we could judge for ourselves whether to buy it. Plus, time was limited as there was still a signing to do! The new songs were captivating, and covered a wide range of styles and instrumentation. The audience was just as enthusiastic for this new and unfamiliar material as we were for the old favorites.

CctSRFeUAAANLII.jpg-large A very special Mito Kômon noren for Ikuko’s keyboard, by Yamauchi Masumi. Photo by @tsubametachi.

For the signing, everyone was sent back outside. This was a perfect time to redeem the mandatory drink ticket you paid ¥500 for on the way in, but didn’t have time to redeem while rushing to get a good spot. A cold Yebisu under the statue of Mito Kômon was just the thing to cool down from that sweaty room. Anyone who bought merchandise and had a ticket to the show was given a card with a number on it; another number-calling ritual began.

CctRy00UEAEl1RU.jpg-large Photo of fans waiting for the signing (including me!) by @Ruby_S_Arms

My number — 92, I think — was called. I went. Just inside was a little table, and Clammbon was there. Sitting here in my bed in the USA now, typing this on my phone, my mind stumbles, trying to believe it. But I have the memories. I have the tweets. And of course I have the autographs.

First was Mito. He about fell over when he saw my Dramatickers shirt.

(The following exchanges all took place in Japanese, of course.)

“Your shirt! That’s amazing!” “Is it!?” “Dramatickers, huh? Wow!” “Yeah! It’s from 2002, Shinjuku, at Liquid Room.” “2002, wow. Liquid Room… it must have been with Toe?” “With Rovo, actually.” “Rovo! Right. Well, thank you very much for coming out.” “Thank you.”

Mito shook my hand briefly, then angled around for a strong homie handshake, while delivering another impassioned “thank you.”

Daisuke, as expected, was reserved. He signed, shook hands, and said a sincere “thank you.”

Ikuko greeted me with a huge, excited smile and wiggle, as if she’d been surprised at work by an old friend.

“Dramatickers!” “Haha, yep!” “That’s great. I was watching you.” She pointed to her eyes and then to me. “You were?” “I saw you singing.” She flapped her hand like a puppet. “I was.” As she drew the little character that serves as her autograph, I added, “That’s cute!” She gave me a smile and a handshake, and said, “Let’s meet again.”

That was it. My dumbfounded banter may have been weak, but the atmosphere was of gratitude and joy. The band made an effort to make everyone feel welcome and appreciated, and every face was smiling. And while I didn’t want to slow down the line by talking about this site, it was gratifying to have been seen and acknowledged, to know I’d made a small impression. Perhaps when I write in to request consideration for foreign fans as they develop their direct business model, I can mention that I was the foreign fan in the classic shirt at Mito, and they’ll remember. That would be nice.


Chûkasoba Suzuki

Mito’s love for noodles is well-known; he appears at various ramen establishments in the band documentaries and on social media, sampling each city’s best offerings over the course of a tour. When during a chat session he mentioned that he’d been to a place called Chûkasoba Suzuki that day, the crowd murmured approval. So the next day I hunted it down.


The place is barely labeled; just a fabric drape in front of the doors that says 中華そば — “Chinese noodles”. I gathered the courage to go inside, where a woman who very well could have been there since the place’s founding in 1960, said, ラーメンしかないけどそれでいい? — “All we have is ramen, you want some?” I agreed and sat at a tiny table, surrounded by patrons of advanced age slurping their noodles and saying nothing. A man gave me a nudge and quietly encouraged me to use the stool at his table to set down my bag. Eventually my ramen showed up: the most standard, classic bowl of it you can imagine.


It tasted perfectly ordinary. I brought the bowl to the lady when I was done, as I had seen others do. She accepted it and unceremoniously asked me for ¥250, about $2.25. I handed her the coins, which she took with one hand while stirring a pot with the other.

It was an experience to remember. But it was not especially filling. Ninety minutes later I had a big bowl of shio châshûmen at Ajihei.

Here I Go ✈️

Hello friends! Things have been tremendously hectic for me lately, so I have barely had a moment to think about the site. (And I am not ignoring your emails!) But there has been some news in the Clammbon world.

Right now the band is in the midst of the awkwardly-titled Venue-Sale-Only Mini-Album Tour! The five-song EP, titled Moment, can only be bought at a tour venue on the day of a concert. Some shows include a signing, at which anyone who has bought a qualifying merchandise item can meet the band and have it autographed!

I was pretty broken up about this whole thing, when I thought there was zero chance I could go. But a lot of circumstances aligned such that I’m taking off for Tokyo tomorrow, and on March 4 I’ll be making a one-night excursion to Mito city in Ibaraki prefecture for a Clammbon show, with signing!

There are some other Clammbon-related excursions planned for this trip, too. Stay tuned for updates!

Budôkan trailer & Warner remasters

Clammbon has released a lovely trailer leading up to their big tour finale at Nippon Budôkan. Really, really wish I could be there! And I hope all this high-quality footage suggests a third documentary film, or at least a concert video.

Also! I didn’t see this go by on the official band site, but apparently Warner is issuing remastered editions of the first five Clammbon albums. They come in deluxe paper sleeves, with some bonus tracks; either songs from maxi-singles or live tracks. There’s been some trouble with the production, though, so they’re delayed until further notice.

Goose House covers Rough & Laugh


“tour triology” trailer

ka na ta, who created the wardrobe and the t-shirt design for the triology tour, has also created this beautiful trailer featuring the song “agua”. Don’t miss it, especially if you’re a fiber arts fan!

Hello Hello Hello

This is the Dramatickers Dot Com soft open! The real grand opening is coming later this week [update: this turned out to be a lie], but if somehow found your way here early, you are welcome to follow along as we get everything in order.

Ikuko & Ellie on The Hangout

Clammbon has been appearing on the radio show The Hangout, one member at a time. The most recent episode features Mito, and Ikuko’s episode includes a performance including “Kawaru”, the song that they introduced on Ellie’s TV show Artist a couple of years back.

And don’t forget — triology comes out in just one week! It is totally sneaking up on me.




yet available!

Hi friends! Clammbon’s first new song in 2½ years is out now! This is an epic-sounding tune with strings arranged by none other than Yoko Kanno. You can get it at iTunes Japan, Ototoy, or on CD. The band will be playing some very special live shows around Japan this month, where folks who bought the single on CD will have a chance to get it signed!

I have been hard at work on Dramatickers dot com, which is why there has not been much activity around here. The idea is to launch the new site some time between the announcement and the release of Clammbon’s next album. It sounds like the band is really ramping up on announcements lately, so here’s hoping we will hear about it soon!

Tribute album artists revealed!

As announced on the Clammbon 20th anniversary site, the yet-untitled tribute album is coming on December 3rd! Here’s an incomplete artist listing:

  • Buffalo Daughter
  • downy
  • GREAT3
  • Mice Parade
  • Aoba Ichiko
  • Straightener
  • Shuta Hasunuma Philharmonic Orchestra

Ninth Album Recording Has Begun!!!

Everybody FREAK OUT

Clammbon Guide Book: Interviews!

Today I got my copy of Clammbon Guide Book, thanks to my friend Josiah (who you’re going to be hearing more from pretty soon). It’s superbly detailed, the quality is impressive, the included extras are fun… it even smells good.

But I wanted to hurry up and translate the short little interviews with each band member that appear at the beginning. Let’s see if I can get through them all here in bed before I go to sleep.

Harada Ikuko

  • When and how did you start playing?
  • I start learning classical piano at age 4. I give up at 14. At 16, I’m blown away by jazz piano. I start again. I go to Tokyo and meet the other two members. I arrive at the present.
  • Who are some musicians that influenced you?
  • Thelonious Monk. A pianist I’ve admired and adored since my teens. I still listen to him. The silence when he’s not playing, where the sheet music shows a rest, that’s there i learned the secrets and the richness of music.
  • Nina Simone. She and Monk were true punks. That unwavering groove. A marvelous performer.
  • What are some influential albums that you recommend?
  • Thelonious Monk: Solo Monk
  • Nina Simone: Nina Simone & Piano
  • What is it like to perform in Clammbon? What are you particular about? What is important? What is unique about it?
  • First, for most of our songs (other than the ones we write during sessions), Mito provides the melody, keyboard riffs, voicing for the harmonies, and so on, the phrases that make up the core of the song. We practice it over and over, making it a part of our bodies. The three of us practice it over and over as an ensemble and make a groove out of it. And as we play it over and over live, we nurture it. And it nurtures us.
  • What do you think as you touch your instrument now, and what do you want to do with it in the future?
  • I really do love touching an instrument. That’ll never change. And yet, I still have a long way to go. I’ve been practicing classical pieces from time to time, and it’s fun, like working muscles you don’t usually get to use. I want to keep taking the time to gradually study, or pursue it, on my own. This phenomenon known as sound.
  • What would you like to say to those who are holding this songbook?
  • With all these little notey things [lit. tadpoles!?] all over the place, you might get discouraged (laughs), so we also put some fun stuff like concert photos in the design. This book is faithful to the studio recordings (including overdubs), so there are songs that have changed quite a lot in being arranged for live performance as a three-piece. So it really is a guide book. When you’re playing, it’s okay to play it differently, or come up with a new song. To make discoveries, and to scream. On our path. Off you go…


  • When and how did you start playing?

  • As a fourth grader, I was handed a bass and told to play in the back-up band at my parents' concert.

Who are some musicians that influenced you?

  • Tom Jenkinson (Squarepusher)

Scott LaFaro (Bill Evans Trio)

What are some influential albums that you recommend?

  • Squarepusher: Ultravisitor
  • Bill Evans Trio: Waltz for Debby

Tetsuya Komuro: Digitalian is eating breakfast

What is it like to perform in Clammbon? What are you particular about? What is important? What is unique about it?

It’s hard because I have a lot to do apart from the bass.

What do you think as you touch your instrument now, and what do you want to do with it in the future?

I want to go back to music school. I want to properly study things like wind and strings harmonics, and start over on learning orchestration.

What would you like to say to those who are holding this songbook?

  • It’s not that hard♡

Itou Daisuke

  • When and how did you start playing?
  • Starting in fourth grade, taiko drums. Junior high, woodwinds. High school, woodwinds.
  • Who are some musicians that influenced you?
  • Max Roach
  • Steve Gadd
  • What are some influential albums that you recommend?
  • Steely Dan: Aja. The performance of the young Steve Gadd, Bernard Purdie, and the others is amazing.
  • Kinniku Shoujotai: Sister Strawberry. I listened to this pretty much every day in junior high.
  • What is it like to perform in Clammbon? What are you particular about? What is important? What is unique about it?
  • I just put my heart into making the best drum sound that I can.
  • What do you think as you touch your instrument now, and what do you want to do with it in the future?
  • No matter how much I try and try, I still have a long road ahead to get to the level I want to be at… so I’ll practice.
  • What would you like to say to those who are holding this songbook?
  • I’ll be happy if it serves as a reference for you. Have fun!

Something New Is Coming

We at Clamm-bon Eigo-ban are not going to let Clammbon’s 20th anniversary go by without doing something special of our own…

Clammbon Guide Book announced

Musicians rejoice: the next stage of the band’s 20th anniversary year is Clammbon Guide Book, a musical score collection. The book will include all of the parts for these songs:

  1. Hanare Banare
  2. Pan to Mitsu wo Meshiagare
  3. Doggie & Maggie
  4. Chicago
  5. Kimi wa Boku no Mono
  6. Surround
  7. Lullabye Sarabai
  8. Binsenka
  9. Contrast
  10. id
  11. Folklore
  12. Vital Sign
  13. Good Time Music
  14. Carnival
  15. Kanade Dance
  16. Now!!!

The release date is July 7, but it’s not yet clear exactly where it’ll be available.

Clammbon 20th Anniversary!!!¡

Sooo somehow the biggest Clammbon news of all time has managed to escape my attention for the past six weeks.

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Clammbon’s founding, the band has made a towering stack of fabulous announcements:

  1. The 9th studio album is coming at the beginning of 2015!! I love how they just kinda casually mentioned this huge fact in between a bunch of other announcements.
  2. “Clammbon Music V Shuu”, a music video collection, is coming April 2!! That’s like, soon! This is a huge deal. I have long lamented how half of the band’s videos are only available on the rare limited version of Best, and half aren’t available anywhere at all. Now, we’ll get super high quality versions of 38 videos on Blu-Ray and DVD. See the track list at the official page. Plus, it includes an entirely new video for “Binsenka”!!
  3. The first Clammbon tribute album is coming this autumn!! Start placing your bets on who will participate. Toe? Husking Bee!? Spangle call Lilli line!?!?
  4. A book of Clammbon sheet music is coming!! Some time!!
  5. A big fancy 20th anniversary site has gone up with details about all of this lovely stuff, a new official band photo with everyone looking all grown up, and a video in which the band reminisces about their history. A 20th anniversary Twitter account and Facebook page have also gone up.

V bd

Ms. Ikuko and her Melodica

This is a great little clip from a show called Yurunavi back in… wow, 2007! I happened to be in Tokyo at the time, so I tuned in to check it out when it first aired in the middle of the night. It was just a little five-minute thing, but it made a big impression on me. At the time, all I could do was write it up. But thanks to the magic of YouTube, here it is for everyone to enjoy!

This really encapsulates a lot of what we find charming about Ms. Ikuko, don’t you think? Particularly her ability to maintain a sort of childish sense of joy. She says in this clip that part of why she likes that old beat-up melodica so much is because it makes her feel connected to her childhood self.

Spoken Words Project

Oh, I forgot to link you to this story I wrote over at my own blog about an experience hunting down some Spoken Words Project merchandise. It may be somewhat interesting to Clammbon fans. Check it out!

(The SWP founder even came across it and said thanks!)

Ikuko news

Here’s some stuff that Ikuko has been up to lately.

New on the discography page is the soundtrack that Ikuko created for a stage adaptation of the comic book Cocoon by Kyou Machiko. The album is available on Ototoy along with your choice of one of four special illustrations. Many of the songs are arrangements of existing Harada Ikuko or Clammbon songs, or covers of other acts. This seems to be the first release on which Ikuko plays a significant amount of strings; she has guitar, bass, and cello credits on various tracks.

You can also watch some clips of Ikuko on the new TV show Artist with Ômiya Ellie. She performs “Ginga” with a jazzy middle section by herself, then Ellie and Ikuko perform a really sweet violin & piano piece that they wrote together called “Kawaru”.


Here is some fun news: Ikuko has collaborated with Thai comic book artist Wisut Ponnimit on an album of folky acoustic songs called Baan — that means “home”, according to some Thai-speaking friends of mine (who have also offered to help translate any songs that contain Thai for us).

Check out the promo video:

It looks like Ikuko has come a long way from the scene in En where she puts on a guitar for the very first time!

There is also a guest appearance by Pod, from a band called Moderndog which is apparently very popular in Thailand.

The release date is December 4, and it will be commemorated by a live performance at Ikuko’s cafe, Kichimu. The physical release looks to be a deluxe affair, with a CD and DVD, and a book of Ponnimit’s art. It’s not clear yet whether the album will be available on iTunes internationally, but it does look like Ototoy will have it.

You can see more, including the video for “Soft Cream” at

Update: Looks like it is on iTunes Japan but not iTunes USA. If you buy at Ototoy, you’ll get a huge PDF of the booklet with super-cute art and official English lyric translations.

Live Report: Clammbon at Kaminari 5656 Kaikan in Asakusa, August 29–30, 2013

So I’ve been a Clammbon fan for 13 years, ever since my serendipitous encounter with their music on my first-ever visit to Japan. At some point they became my favorite band, and I started maintaining this fan site to spread the word about them 10 years ago. But except for a fleeting half hour or so that barely counts, until recently I had never managed to see them in concert. Somehow my nearly-annual trips to Japan just never seemed to line up with a Clammbon show.

Afraid that that might remain the case forever, after viewing one of my collection of Clammbon concert deeveedees I marched into the next room to make a declaration to my wife: “I am gonna see Clammbon play live someday before I die.” She took it in stride, casually suggesting that we wait until they announce dates for their next tour and then buy plane tickets.

All right. That was easier than I’d expected.

After a tense wait, Tokyo dates came out for the “Where Shall We Play Tour 2013”. On these tours, the band solicits ideas from their fans for unique and intimate venues where you wouldn’t normally go see a rock & roll show. A 1900s drama theater, the school that inspired the anime K-On, a former hostess club… the more unusual, the better. The shows I was aiming for were a pair of nights in Asakusa at a traditional theater in a community center, capacity 325. This is a band that these days can draw several thousand fans to an outdoor venue like Yomiuri Land East or the Ryougoku Kokugikan. Seeing them in such close quarters would be a treat indeed. It was too late to go through the byzantine process to join the fan club and get early ticket access, so I took my chances with the similarly byzantine public ticket lotteries… and somehow secured a ticket for each night. Twitter was crowded with people disappointed that they’d failed to get even one ticket, so I felt miraculously lucky.

Hop forward several months and I am in Tokyo, my three-week stay nearly at an end. I forgot to charge the wi-max receiver, so I had to navigate to Asakusa and to the theater without Internet access. Of course I got wildly lost and was almost late for showtime.

Kaminari 5656 Kaikan:

Kaminari 5656 Kaikan

Not a lot of people in front of me:

Not a lot of people in front of me

Not a lot of people behind me either:

Not a lot of people behind me either

When the curtain rose, we saw not Clammbon but this woman sitting in the middle of the stage in kimono, among all the rock & roll gear. She quickly assured us, “don’t worry, this is a Clammbon concert. But to get you into the Asakusa spirit, I’ll be playing you a few songs first.” It was Hirayama Yoshiko, a shamisen player. (Photo from Mito’s tweet.)


After two lively shamisen songs, the band showed up on stage and I had my first really emotional moment. I was in the same room as Clammbon! It was real. I got a little misty.

**August 29th Setlist **

(Image from Mito’s tweet)


Intro by Hirayama Yoshiko

  1. Mizu no Fukasa
  2. Shinagawa Jinku

Main Set

  1. Hanasaku Iroha
  2. Good Time Music
  3. Lady Madonna
  4. Yobigoe
  5. U&I
  6. Odayaka na Kurashi
  7. Shiawase Negau Kanata kara
  8. Goldwrap
  9. Vital Sign
  10. Chicago
  11. Namiyosete
  12. KANADE Dance


  1. I’m Getting Ready
  2. Surround
  3. Re-Zansho

The banter started early, with Mito and Ikuko observing that Daisuke has been inserting unexpected drum breaks at dramatic moments in certain songs lately. But Daisuke clarified that usually it’s just because he dropped a stick.


On “Lady Madonna”, which has some incorrect lyrics on the album version (“feel” instead of “feet”, for instance), Ikuko sang the correct lyrics! She must have been clued in some time since the album was recorded.


Mito introduced “Goldwrap” as an exceptionally difficult song to play, especially on piano. Ikuko had to stand up from her seat to play it, and you could tell that it took all the fierce concentration she could summon. The song went very well, and at the end the audience applauded all the more for knowing what a challenge it was. She melodramatically basked in the response.


Much of first night’s set felt pretty mellow and straightforward, probably because of the gentle setlist flow, including a string of moderate-energy covers. People sat down for much of the first half. The people around me weren’t all that active, so I didn’t allow myself to get too carried away with dancing and singing along.


Once it came to “Vital Sign” and “Chicago”, though, the place seemed to really come alive. I found myself crying again now that I was witnessing such Clammbon classics in person. When Mito smashed his bass against the speaker cabinet at the climax of “Vital Sign”, I could see wood splintering off of it. The rest of the main set carried that energy onward and made me wish the whole show had been that way. For “Nami Yosete”, the band got everyone swaying and singing the chorus together.


After the break, the band members each came out in a differently-colored Clammbon shirt, drying off with a Clammbon towel. Ikuko completed the merchandise plug by pretending to answer a call on her phone, enrobed in a Clammbon iPhone case. I always knew it, but Mito imploring us to buy merch if we enjoyed the show and wishing that he could afford a really nice traditional Asakusa meal reminded me that that bands of this scale don’t make a ton of money.


For the encore, Mito gave us an extended lesson in gospel backup singing so that we could help out with “I’m Getting Ready”. He divided the audience into male and female singers, encouraging the males to “pretend to be about 20 kilograms heavier” in order to make up for the feminine bias of Clammbon fans. It felt a bit odd to be the one Westerner in the room, singing that English backup vocal with perfect pronunciation.


“Re-Zansho” was a special treat that the band broke out for the first time this tour, judging that it was about the right time to begin performing a song about lingering late-summer heat. And the emotional intensity of it was just right to finish off the show.


I made my way to the merch table for a shirt and iPhone case of my own. The prices (¥2500 and ¥3500) were of course kinda absurd, but I see it as more of a donation than a purchase. I’m quite willing to pay an extra pile of yens to a band that’s brought me this much happiness.

**August 30th Setlist **

(Image from Mito’s tweet)


Intro by Hirayama Yoshiko

  1. Kyou wa Ryougoku
  2. Shinagawa Jinku

Main Set

  1. The New Song
  2. Rough & Laugh
  3. Hanare Banare
  4. Desire -Jounetsu-
  5. U&I
  6. Shiawase Negau Kanata kara
  7. Tiny Pride
  8. Goldwrap
  9. Vital Sign
  10. KANADE Dance
  11. Surround
  12. Re-Zansho


  1. Chicago
  2. NOW!!!
  3. Summer Nude

On the second night it was just outrageously hot, and everyone was obviously feeling it. I got the sense that instead of trying to keep cool, the band and the audience both kinda just gave up and accepted that they’d be sweaty and gross anyway, and allowed themselves to rock out to the max.


Clammbon’s second night in Tokyo is a special moment of the tour. The band had gotten to sleep in their own homes for the first time in months. They could leave their equipment set up overnight, and didn’t have to worry so much about the sound setup or technical problems. So the feel of the show was more confident, more warmed-up, and more fun. The setlist had a more energetic and playful flow, too, with several pretty intense high points: “Tiny Pride”, “Re-Zansho”, and an ecstatic performance of “Summer Nude”.


I was in the very back row this time, allowing me to see the entire crowd and pick out all the most energetic people to relate to. The people around me, too, were more enthusiastic than my neighbors on the first night. This all made it easier for me to get really into the show. Two girls on my left were talking excitedly throughout the night, and spread out into the aisle so that everyone could dance. The guy on my right seemed like a typical suit-wearing salaryman on his own, reserved to the point that I wondered what he was even doing at a rock & roll show. But once the set started, he was as exuberant as anyone in the room, bouncing around and singing along and having the time of his life.


During her introduction, Hirayama Yoshiko apologized for playing one of the same songs from the previous night. She polled the audience for who had been there, and quite a few people responded. I had been worried that it might be frowned upon to get tickets to both nights and thus deprive somebody else, but apparently it’s not a big deal. (Besides, I’d waited 13 years for this!)


The most memorable banter was during “Desire”, when Ikuko encouraged the crowd to snap along with the beat. The song has a detached 80’s coolness to it, so she coached us in how to snap casually — turn to the side, put on a bored expression, and make your snaps just barely audible. I did my best, and the girls next to me took notice of my technique!


When it was done, I thought I might exchange some impressions with some of my neighbors, or at least a knowing, satisfied look. But the girls simply agreed to each other, “I’m full!” and disappeared, while the guy put on his jacket, transformed back into an ordinary salaryman, and scurried out. If I have one major regret about this whole concert experience, it’s that I didn’t get to make any personal connections to anyone. It could be partially because Japanese culture isn’t big on connecting to strangers. It could be partially because Clammbon fans in particular are kinda nerdy and shy. And it could be because I’m a foreigner and thus difficult to approach. In retrospect maybe I should have broken the ice by joining in with the fans who spontaneously started singing “Bass, Bass, Bass” in the merch line.


In any case, it was an experience that will stay with me forever, that permanently connects me to my favorite band in an even more meaningful way, and that was well worth the wait.

En subtitles drafted

Hi friends! This project went way faster than the tayu tau subtitling, fueled by my excitement about getting to go see Clammbon in Tokyo this summer. Every scene of En has been subtitled, with just a few difficult lines left unfinished. There are probably bugs and such, but if you are in a hurry to give it a try, here is the file! Let me know if you run into any problems.

En subtitles alpha version


En subtitling status report

I am about 50% done subtitling En, the second Clammbon documentary! It’s so very fun to watch the band interact, rehearse, and dream up new versions of our old favorite songs.

En preview 2

Excitement about going to two concerts this August is propelling me forward. There was actually another Tokyo show announced, at this bizare-looking joint, but it’s for the day after I leave! Oh well, I certainly can’t complain that I only get to see two shows.

Asakusa ticket GET!!

Update: Even more against all odds, I also won the Hot Stuff Promotion lottery via Pia for the Friday show, so I am going to see Clammbon at Asakusa two nights in a row!! My heart and my brain just about can’t take it.

Somehow, against all odds, I secured a ticket to the August 29 show at Kaminari 5656 Kaikan in Asakusa, Tokyo. It’s a tiny, cozy 325-seat venue, and I’ll be sitting in the 7th row, right about where this photo was taken:

5 6F

My first real Clammbon show, after 13 years of being a fan, and 10 years of running this site. I’m about as happy as I’ve ever been about anything. It’s making me want to finally write down how I got into the band and what it’s been like to follow them from afar for all this time.

In between work and finishing grad school, I have started funneling some of that excitement into subtitling En. There is quite a lot of casual mumbling between longtime friends, captured from just outside easy earshot, so it will be a challenge. Many scenes seem to be meant not to expose the content of conversations, but simply to portray relationships. I am committed to translating and timing as much of it as I can make out!

En preview

Livestream report and new release impressions

Tuesday at 20:00 Japan time (4:00 Pacific time), Clammbon appeared on Nico Video for their live performance and interview. I dragged myself out of bed, of course, to join in the audience of 40,000. After an hour of classic Clammbon music videos, the band appeared and the performance began. It was tremendous fun to be a part of the enthusiastic crowd scrolling their messages across the screen about everything from their own Clammbon memories to what kind of beverages they were enjoying.

The band played three songs, interspersed with interview segments: U&I by Houkago Teatime, Shiawase Negau Kanata Kara by Izumi Kanata, and… a third song that I can’t remember because it was five in the dang morning! The video for Shiawase Negau Kanata Kara was also shown. (Prepare to weep if you haven’t seen it yet.)

The interview discussed how the band decided to do another cover album, how they chose the songs, and the story behind the new documentary En. It was pretty excellent to watch the band react to the flood of comments, especially the “8888888888"s that represent applause on Nico Video.

Particularly interesting were the conversations with guests related to Shiawase Negau Kanata Kara, the lead song for Lover Album 2. Yukisada Isao, the director of the video, met Mito via Facebook when they both realized they were big fans of each other. Kousaki Satoru, a well-regarded anime composer responsible for the Lucky Star music, discussed how he and Mito geek out together about anime and comics (including my own beloved Five Star Stories!)



I’ve had a couple of days to listen to Lover Album 2, and it is shaping up to be just as charming and genuine a love letter to music as the first. I particularly appreciate the energy of Lady Madonna and Desire.

Tonight I got a chance to watch En, and it’s a marvelously joyful document of the band’s adventures putting together two very special shows. The film interweaves footage from rehearsals at the studio in Kobuchizawa, where they dreamt up unique new arrangements for songs, and the two-night acoustic and electric sets at Yomiuri Land. The finale is one of the happiest, most gratifying scenes of Clammbon footage ever shot. Subtitling all the mumbly studio talk is going to be a huge challenge, but I intend to give it my best just like I did for Tayu Tau.

Meanwhile, I am doing my best to secure tickets to one of the two Clammbon shows at the tiny, 325-seat 5656 Kaikan in Asakusa, Tokyo this August. The lottery system used for ticket sales is stressful and frustrating, especially when you are trying to plan international travel around concerts! My father-in-law has been calling around to try to find me some tickets, and the folks at Hot Stuff told him it shouldn’t be too hard to get ahold of some via the lotteries — I find that hard to believe considering there are only 650 seats to go around for the entire Clammbon fandom of Tokyo. I am now signed up for several different mailing lists in order to try as many lotteries as I can. If those all fail, there’s always rushing to click faster than everyone else in the general sale, and then there’s always Yahoo Auctions. What a Byzantine system.

Niconico Events; Lover Album 2 previews

Another big update at the official Clammbon site today. There are to be two special Clammbon events on the video site Niconico Douga!

On May 18, 21:00-25:00 Japan time (got to love that Japanese time notation) will be the Yomiuri Land concert from 2010 and the Kokugikan show from 2011, followed by the debut of the music video for “Shiawase Negau Kanata kara”, directed by Yukisada Isao.

On May 21, 20:00-23:00 will be a live performance and talk show! It sounds like it is going to be a pretty special program so if you can make it, be sure to tune in! The whole live show system seems quite complex, though, with reserved “seating” and priority given to premium members. I will probably buy a premium account so I can re-watch the event for a week and hopefully find a way to record it, but posting it for you would be very much against the rules. Perhaps Clammbon will decide to sell the video in some other form, like other musicians have done with their Niconico shows.

Lastly, 44-second previews of every song on Lover Album 2 are now available in two archaic formats at the Columbia Clammbon page. The Windows Media samples do seem to work fine if you paste their addresses into VLC’s “Open Network” command.

Columbia page updated!

Columbia has updated their Clammbon page with info on Lover Album 2 and En, including cover art. Yes, the art for Lover Album 2 is just as brilliant as its predecessor, sure to make your friends do a double-take at its artistry. The page also includes a video of the acoustic version of “tiny pride” with a string section, certain to give you chills. You can also check out a randomly-selected segment of “Shiawase Negau Kanata kara”. Huzzah!!

Lover Album 2 tracklist; En trailer!!

If you want to be happy enough to weep all day, watch the En trailer:

The Lover Album 2 track list is out. If you like the band’s Soft Machine cover, there’s a version of “O Caroline” by Matching Mole, Robert Wyatt’s post-Softs project. There’s a song from Kako to Katsumi, a duo comprised of Mito’s parents. And there’s even a cover of a song by Houkago Teatime, the fictional band in the anime K-On.

New cover album and documentary film!

Aha, the record that Clammbon recently finished recording is LOVER ALBUM 2, another cover album in the tradition of their first in 2006. The track list has yet to be released. Not an album of brand-new Clammbon songs, but after the charm of the first Lover Album it’s hard to complain!

The other major announcement is of En, a documentary film about the band’s two big shows at Yomiuri Land last year. It includes footage from the studio in Kobuchizawa, rehearsals, and of course both the acoustic and electric sets. Perhaps I’ll provide subtitles like I did for tayu tau.

Both items go on sale May 22.

(Also, concert dates for this year’s tour are going up; fingers crossed that I’ll be able to make it to one!)

Keep up with Mito during 9th album recording

I believe this is the first Clammbon album to be recorded since the band joined Twitter. Mito has been posting some lovely photos from Kobuchizawa and none to cat studio.



Clammbon in the studio for their next album!!

Wooooooooo!! Confirmed by Mito on Twitter:

"Where Shall We Play?" 2013

As has become their tradition, Clammbon announced their “Where Shall We Play?” Tour for 2013. Fans are invited to suggest venues that the band should consider, and anything goes: “even your own house, as long as it’ll hold 200-300 people!”

I’m tempted to ask them to come to Seattle, but it seems like I should be able to take on the burden of organizing the logistics of such a thing myself before casually suggesting it!

Harada Ikuko’s personal site opens

Everyone celebrate: Harada Ikuko now has her own site. Everything about it is infused with her quiet, soulful style. There’s quite a lot to see and do, with photos, videos, and links to projects she’s involved with.

And if you haven’t yet, check out the site for her cafe/shop/restaurant/live-space in Tokyo, called Kichimu. Has anyone visited yet? It seems like the perfect place for a little Clammbon fan pilgrimage.

Foreign fans represented on Ryougoku DVD!

I’ve been so busy that I didn’t even get a chance to watch the Ryougoku Kokugikan concert until this week. It was exciting to see that after the encore break, Mito and Ikuko asked if anyone in the audience had come from very far away. They heard from some of the most distant parts of Japan, like Fukuoka and Hokkaidou. But then, someone from Taiwan chimed in! Mito asked if anyone came from farther than Taiwan, and this fellow turned out to be from the UK!

IMG 0344

What a happy thing it is to have a native English-speaking fan acknowledged on an official Clammbon recording. Thanks to the band for giving him such a warm welcome, and thanks to you, Super Tall British Guy, for representing us foreign fans!

The whole concert is a purely joyful celebration of the sort you’ve probably come to expect from the band by now. One of these years my Japan trip will match up with a big Clammbon show! It must!

Again & Again

Sounds like the Again & Again concerts at Yomiuri Land went well. Clammbon did one acoustic show and one normal show. Mito has been posting photos, and retweeting famous folks who were in attendance (such as Shinohara Tomoe!).

Here are some photos from Mito’s Twitter feed. Somedaw I will see Clammbon at one of these outdoor shows!



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Rough & Laugh

As just announced at the Tower Records site, clammbon is releasing a new Tower-exclusive single on November 21! The title is Rough & Laugh, and the song will serve as the new opening theme for the surreal comedy anime Polar Bear Cafe. The disc is expected to have four tracks, and there will be a limited edition with a DVD of the anime opening sequence sans titles.

3peace2 and Ryougoku Kokugikan live DVD!

Today clammbon announced two new live recordings. 3peace2 is a 2-disc live album recorded on last year’s “Where Shall We Go?” tour, to be released on March 21. The other is a two-disc super-premium limited-edition live DVD box set, from their show at Ryoukoku Kokugikan on November 3, 2011.

Also! I picked up a few clammbon items of varying rarity on my trip to Tokyo last month, which I will be adding to the site. The Aru Kodou and Hana Saku Iroha singles, the limited-edition Aru Kodou DVD, three issues of Hibiku, the official clammbon magazine, and three clammbon t-shirts! I need to figure out the best way to add the magazines; maybe some brief reviews and a previews of a few pages would be appropriate. Not sure I have the endurance to translate whole articles any time soon!

warner best and columbia best on sale at CD Japan

These are the limited editions with the excellent live DVDs included. Now is your chance to get them at 20% off.

no one really cares

The first video from Mito’s new album is up:;=ClammbonChannel≷=US

Also, I didn’t know this, but the new best compilations come with awesome posters, one with a photo from 1996 and one from 2011:

Best albums, new official site, Mito albums, Twitter, comments

Hi! Just a few things.

The two new best compilations are out as of April 20th. Both have limited editions that come with live DVDs. And if you buy both, you can send away the included slips to get a bonus CD with the songs Eiketsu no Asa Shou and Tasogare. But you’ll probably need to provide a Japanese address, and you’ll have to postmark it by May 31st.

The official clammbon site has been totally refreshed! It is more modern, more fun, and more clammbon. Check it out!

Mito is coming out with a fourth solo project album. The title is DAWNS and will be released under the name Mito, unlike his previous efforts which each had unique artist names. Also, there will be a two-disc set of songs from various musicians that Mito has written, produced, remixed, or otherwise worked on over the years: Mito archive 1999-2010. Watch for both of these May 18th.

Miss Ikuko has started using Twitter, and almost every tweet is like a little poem. She’s @ooo195ooo. Also, if you haven’t been following Mito, he’s @micromicrophone.

One last thing: I dug up my old Akismet key and deleted the 2,000 spam comments in the queue, and now comments are back on. We’ll see how it goes!

Thanks for your support.


Hello, everyone. I have some news items.

First, it sounds like the Clammbon band and staff are all okay in the aftermath of the disaster that hit Japan this month. We can be thankful for that.

It sounds like the two new best albums have been delayed, though, as the production line has been affected. Columbia Best is now due April 20, and there doesn’t seem to be a date for Warner Best.

Clammbon’s song “Vital Sign” appears on the impressively quickly-compiled Play For Japan series at Ototoy. All of the proceeds go to disaster relief, so you might want to buy a few of them, or the whole pack, and get exposed to some new music in the process.

Mito personally composed a little song for the earthquake victims, titled 312. Again, you can pick that up at Ototoy. Proceeds from that go to relief, too. You can watch its original performance on YouTube.

Miss Ikuko appeared on the track “I’ll” by the band L.E.D.; thanks to Hear Japan for the note on my page.

Lastly, as spam has gotten out of control and the free use of Akismet is discouraged anymore, I have turned off comments. They weren’t that commonly used anyway, and I am still happy to receive email.

Thanks for your continuing support. Be well.

Vital Sign live video posted

Hi! Clammbon has posted a performance of Vital Sign from the live bonus DVD that comes with the limited edition of their columbia best album. Both best albums are due out March 30. Check out the video; it’s pretty thrilling!

Two new best albums for 2011

Hello folks,

You may have already heard, but clammbon will be releasing two more best-of albums in 2011, one from their time on Warner Records and one from their time on Columbia Records. Each will come in a limited edition with a DVD, containing footage from 2000’s Machiwabi Machisabi tour at Akasaka BLITZ and from 2010’s SUPER STAR performance at Yomiuri Land Open Air Theater, respectively. The release date is March 30.

You can see a video message from the band, and vote on your favorite songs to be included, at the official site:

Happy 2011!

tayu tau subtitles: second chance

Hello! Thanks to some help from my friend Tom, who has lots of anime subtitling experience, I think I may have got the tayu tau subtitles into a reliable format. I had to update to the latest version of VLC for it to work properly; that software may have been updated in some way that makes SSA files work better. If you tried to use the subtitles before and it didn’t work, please give it another try and let me know how it goes. Thanks!

Mito's anime album picks

Mito-san Select

Mito has a special display up at Tower Records Shinjuku to show off his favorite anime music.

That’s even my Tower Records, from when I lived in that area and whenever I go back to Tokyo. If I were standing in the store right now, I’d probably be tempted to drop the ¥35000 to get them all at once.

My more anime-aware friends have helped me figure them all out:

  1. Patlabor the Movie OST Album INQUEST
  2. Macross Frontier Vocal Collection Nyantama
  3. Zegapain OST 2
  4. Lucky Star Character Song Album Vol. 11: Kanata and Soujirou
  5. Aso Natsuko - Programming for Non-Fiction
  6. Hakuyoku no Seiyaku ~Pure Engagement~/Onnaji Kimochi
  7. Kobato OST 2
  8. Hidama~buru
  9. Toyosaki Aki - Boku wo Sagashite

Related selections:

  1. Aso Natsuko - Movement of Magic
  2. marble - Senritsu no Yukue, Sora no Kanata
  3. Sphere - Now loading…SKY!!
  4. Fate/stay night UNLIMITED BLADE WORKS OST

Hareru to Madjika short movie

Until the night of July 23, you can watch the 22-minute film for the song Hareru to Madjika at the Columbia Music clammbon site. I’m halfway through it, and it’s… really, really sad. ;_;

Welcome to clamm-bon eigo-ban 3.0!

Movable Type was a fun experiment, and definitely superior to the totally manually-maintained site it superseded. But I have come to like WordPress too much to carry on with c-b e-b the way it was. So I spent a few evenings moving everything over, manually recreating all the cross-references, adopting a new style, and refreshing a lot of the content.

Some stuff is bound to be broken, though I have done my best to make sure that at least syndication feeds are automatically redirected. If you come across anything amiss, please let me know of it.

And lastly, the new site is commemmorated with a new translation: JAPANESE MANNER, requested by Gavin Oakman. Enjoy!

2010 quick notes

“2010” is here! Just a couple of quick things, then back to listening to it for the krillionth time. :D In addition to the ototoy version I mentioned earlier, the album is also available on iTunes. (Use that link to support this site!) I found it on the USA store; you may find it in your country too. The video for NOW!!! is up at YouTube; check it out!

Special version of 2010 album available for preorder at ototoy

Howdy friends. The new album is almost upon us, and I’ve just learned that ototoy is accepting pre-orders. The album is presented in their higher-than-CD-quality HQD format. In the ototoy version, the track “4hands_cp_waves” is four times longer than on the CD, and you’ll receive a special “web booklet”. I’m off to reserve my copy now! Vive le international online distribution!

Clammbon YouTube channel open! "tiny pride" video up!

ClammbonChannel is open on YouTube! Go check out the video for “tiny pride”. Mito posted some footage from the making of this video on his own YouTube channel a while back. Also! Check out the video for “Ka-Ka-KaLMa!” and some comments from the band on New Audiogram. (Don’t miss seeing Miss Ikuko in… spectacles!!)

JAPANESE MANNER now available on iTunes

Happily, the JAPANESE MANNER EP made it to iTunes USA! Use that link if you’d like to support c-b e-b; I truly appreciate it. I’ve also added this release to the ever-lengthening albums page. Have a lovely new music day! Update: Zounds, I just realized that this 5-track “EP”, at over 43 minutes, is longer than a lot of albums! That’s value!

Rest in peace Nujabes

Many clammbon fans have come to know Nujabes, and vice versa, via his remix of “Folklore”. Nujabes was recently killed in a car accident, and several musicians have offered messages of farewell. Here is what Mito had to say. (Thanks to Bob Ross, who pointed it out.)

“Hey Mito-kun. How have you been? Find any good music lately?”
“Let’s make something together soon. All right?”

Whenever we talked on the phone, those were the words he always started and finished with

Then, I took it all for granted,

Like I thought it would last forever

I always believed we’d be able to make wonderful music

And now, I didn’t recognize the peace those exchanges signified,

Until he was gone I still haven’t found the words to say goodbye

It was such a sudden thing, I still need time


While he may be gone,

his music,

is still here and connecting us to him

I will continue to listen to this music for a long… long time,

And so that I might be able to create even a single drop of the sound we made together during that time,

I want to keep making music

The finest of artists, the finest of friends

Now, just be at peace

2010 3/19 am 4:08  clammbon mito

SUPER☆STAR free download; JAPANESE MANNER e.p.; music videos on the way

There’s a lot of news in clammbon-land right now…

First, the free, high-quality download of SUPER☆STAR is available! At least, it is supposed to be, but the Ototoy site seems to be down at the moment. Check it out some time within the next week to get your copy.

The JAPANESE MANNER e.p. will be available exclusively on iTunes starting April 28. No word yet whether it’ll be available on international iTunes stores, or just the Japan one, but recent clammbon and Harada Ikuko releases have been pretty widely available. Once a cover is available, I’ll add it to the releases page; until then, here’s the track list:

  2. Joutai no Highway (2006 @ Yaon feat. BIKKE)
  3. Eiketsu no Asa Shou (2009 @ Matsumoto Piccadilly Hall)
  4. Re-Ame -Amestub Remix-
  5. Re-Ahoj! (2009 @ Tokyo NHK Hall)

Mito-san has posted two more clips to his YouTube account, this time documenting the filming of a music video on top of a snowy mountain. On the topic of music videos, the band just announced that they will be making videos for every song on the new album!

Wowowowow, clammbon fans~

8th album title and date revealed; free single download

Hi! Clammbon’s eighth album is titled 2010, and will be released May 19. I have posted up the track list on the discography page. The “tiny pride” single is available for free on Ototoy for a limited time; get it while you can! It’s a great time to be a Clammbon fan~

Eighth album coming in May

The new album has finally been officially recognized on the Clammbon web site. It will be released some time in May. And, great news, a song from the album will be released early as a free download! Starting March 1, ototoy (formerly Recommuni, the site that released the “NOW!!!” single) will offer “tiny pride” in greater-than-CD-quality 24bit/48KHz WAV format. Party!

I Knew It! 8th Album Almost Done!!

Clammbon has a habit of making announcements at the beginning of the year, so I was anticipating some news about a new album for 2010. But the official site was silent on New Year’s Day, and hasn’t had much band news of note all month.

But! Someone on the BBS pointed out that Mito himself has been posting YouTube videos lately. I went to check them out, and not only are they videos of the mixing process of the new album, but you can even hear bits of the new songs!

Go ahead and check out micromicrophone on YouTube for yourself. If the album was already in the mixing stage on January 11, the album should be complete soon! Perhaps we will see a Spring release.

Happy Clammbon new year to the world!

Today only: Akari from HERE ~NO MUSIC, NO LIFE~

The collaboration between Clammbon and hip-hop group THA BLUE HERB, “Akari from HERE ~NO MUSIC, NO LIFE~” is available for listening at Columbia Records’ Clammbon site today only. Make sure to go check it out before midnight Japan time! The single is to go on sale at Tower Records on November 11.

It's Now!

August has come to Japan, and that means the new single “NOW!!!” is available at Recommuni. I’m downloading my copy this very minute.

NOW!!! preorders

Recommuni, which seems like a pretty excellent music site to me, now has a short preview of the new single for you to listen to. Check it out on the left side of the NOW!!! preorder page. From there you can also order the song for 300 yen; ordering early will get you a voice message from the band, over ten minutes long. I had no trouble signing up and preordering with a United States credit card. I just might explore around the site and buy some other music too.

id complete!

I finished translating id, the album that came out during my 10-month stay in Japan, back in 2002. It may not be too long before we’re caught up!


The first new clammbon song in two years, “NOW!!!”, is coming August 1! It will be an exclusive release at the high-quality music download service Recommuni. I’m not sure yet whether it’ll be easy for those of us in foreign countries to buy the single, but I’ll keep you updated!

Check out the announcement and photo at Recommuni.

Fixed version of Re-Re-Surround is on iTunes

Go ahead and buy, if you were waiting!

tayu tau subtitles are GO!

Well, we’ve beta-tested the subtitles and made a couple of versions available. Neither is as convenient to use as I’d like, but hopefully some subtitle-savvy folks out there can eventually help me make them more usable. Check it out, and please let me know what you think! Vive le clammbon!

Don't buy Re-clammbon e.p. on iTunes yet!

Wow, Mito-san himself just posted on the official clammbon site (at 3 in the morning!) about a problem with the iTunes version of the Re-clammbon e.p. Re-Re-Surround is supposed to be about 7 minutes long, but for some reason the iTunes version stops at 4 minutes and 15 seconds. Folks at clammbon and Apple are looking into the problem, and they hope to have it fixed soon.

Until you see a track time of 6:59 or 7:00 on the iTunes store listing, Mito has asked that you refrain from buying. If you have already bought, they will try to find a way to get the correct version of the song to you.

Thanks clammbon, and particularly Mito, for taking action so promptly! I’ve already bought my copy, but I hope some folks can be spared the inconvenience. I trust that clammbon’s dedication to their fans will get this sorted out soon.

Re-clammbon e.p. is out!

Update: There is a problem with “Re-Re-Surround” on iTunes; please see the next news post for details!

I just absent-mindedly checked the official clammbon site and realized that the new Re-clammbon EP is out! And, great news: it’s available on iTunes USA! Click the iTunes button at the bottom of the page to help support the site, if you like. :D

If you do get it from iTunes, watch out: the tags are inaccurate. My downloaded tracks have the same title and year as the old Re-clammbon album from 2002, so the two albums got mixed together in my library. The Czech title “Ahoj!” got re-Romanized as “Ahoi!”. And “Re-Re-Surround” is listed as “Re-Surround”.

tayu tau subtitles: preview version

If you’re really itching to watch tayu tau with English subtitles, I’ve posted a preliminary version. All of the text is there, except for the rôkyoku that Harada Ikuko’s grandfather sings; I’m waiting on a coworker to help translate the classical Japanese in that. There may be some positioning or timing problems in the subtitles, because I haven’t gone through the whole thing looking for mistakes yet.

If you own tayu tau, and know how to load subtitle files while watching a video, please give it a try and let me know what you think! I’ll post the final version in a more prominent and accessible way soon. Thanks for your support on this project, everyone. tayu

Re-clammbon 2 track list!

Get ready: Re-clammbon 2 will be released June 3! Here’s the full track list from the official clammbon site:

  1. Re-Re-Chicago
  3. Re-Bass, Bass, Bass
  4. Re-Imi wa Nai
  5. Re-Re-Hanakaoru Aru Hi
  6. Re-090
  7. Re-Folklore
  8. Re-Ame
  9. Re-Re-Surround
  10. Re-Mellotron
  11. Re-Ahoj! (full version) Plus!! Preorders received before April 20 come with a DVD of in-studio footage and different audio for the entire album! This will be clammbon’s first release on their own Tropical label. It seems that not only are they getting used to working together in the studio again with this project, they’ll be able to release their next album on a fresh new label of their own making!

Re-clammbon e.p. and Re-clammbon 2 release dates!

Whoa! I thought I was going to sleep, but I checked clammbon’s site and there’s release info for their upcoming Re- projects! First is Re-clammbon e.p., to be released on April 8. Here’s the track list:

  1. Re-Ahoj! -radio edit-
  2. Re-Re-Surround
  3. Re-Ripple Song
  4. Re-Namida to Hohoemu
  5. Re-Kahlua Milk
  6. Re-Folklore

I am tremendously excited for that, but there’s also a full Re-clammbon 2 album coming in June! This is going to be a good year, clammbon fans.

tayu tau subtitling project first draft complete!

Well, I really pushed myself over the past few days and I got through subtitling the entire tayu tau DVD! There are still some lines I can’t figure out, and there are probably some timing mistakes and other little problems. But the work is pretty much done.

Very soon I’ll ask a native speaker for help with the bits I couldn’t decipher, and then I’ll do a run through to double-check the technical aspects. Then I’ll release the subtitles! (This is all assuming that I get the OK from clammbon staff.) Is there a particular format that is useful to you? I’ve never created a subtitle file that needs to be separate from the video it’s intended for.

screenshot 1

screenshot 3

screenshot 2

tayu tau subtitle project 50% complete!

Hi everyone. I just wanted to let you know that I’m still working on the tayu tau subtitling project, and that today I passed the halfway mark! It actually took a totally different ambitious translation project to prod me into working on finishing this one. I figured that I should fulfill the promise I made to the readers of this site before getting too deep in another. That’s all for now; I’ll let you know when it’s done!

Re-clammbon 2!

I’m back from Japan, where I procured the second Lotus Guitar album, along with a special Itou Daisuke single only available at Tower Records! Checking up on the clammbon site, I found details on their 2009 tour and an announcement that they’re currently in the studio recording a second volume of Re-clammbon! If the first one was any indication, this will be a collection of clammbon favorites, Re-imagined and Re-arranged along with lots of guest musicians. This is probably a good way for the band to come back together and get used to working as a band after so long away on personal projects. The album is scheduled for release in spring. Let’s look forward to which post-2001 material they’ll choose, and how they’ll Re-interpret it!

Another JOMO commercial

The band did a new commercial for JOMO, the gas station. It’s an extended version of the song that Harada Ikuko did a while back. You can check out the 30-second and one-minute versions (and Ikuko’s older versions) at the JOMO commercials site. Of course, I’m already setting up Audio Hijack Pro to grab this song and the new year’s version of Bass, Bass, Bass. :D

New year's message; clammbon is recording!

The band has posted its traditional new year’s greeting on the official site. Here’s a translation: To Everyone Happy New Year! In 2009 we are going to be really clammbon As the year starts, we are beginning recording with a bang Each of us bringing our own 2008 Yes! clammbon is restarting, hehe Everyone, please look forward to it!!!!!!!!! And This year too!!!!! Please keep supporting us!!!!!!!!! 2009 New year’s day, clammbon: Ikuko Harada, Mito, Itou Daisuke Also, after the message there’s a little audio player with a special version of Bass, Bass, Bass! Don’t miss it!

Lotus Guitar "second tide" and Harada Ikuko iTunes Exclusive

The second album from Itou Daisuke’s side-project Lotus Guitar has been released; iTunes USA seems to have an artist listing for Lotus Guitar but it doesn’t actually contain any music. Let’s keep an eye on it to see if the album shows up. Meanwhile, the recording of Harada Ikuko’s recent Apple Store appearance has been made available on iTunes Exclusive. Five tracks are available for $1 each, or for $4 all together.

Harada Ikuko is on iTunes Store USA!

It was a long shot, but since Musical was available on the USA iTunes Store, I just thought to check if Miss Ikuko’s music was there. Sure enough, it’s all there, from Piano through Ginga! If you don’t have her albums yet, and you live in the USA, here’s your chance!

Dramatic is complete!

I’ve been hard at work subtitling tayu tau and also translating songs. Posting three songs over the past two days brings the album Dramatic to completion! All but the two instrumentals now have transcriptions and translations. I’m up to about 45 minutes of tayu tau, nearly half of the whole film. Some of the conversations in concert venues and bars are really hard to hear, but I’m doing my best, and I have the assistance of a native Japanese speaker. Thanks for your support!

New Harada Ikuko album: Galaxy

Miss Ikuko is about to release another solo album! After Kehai to Yoin in March, and Kemono to Mahou in June, this will complete her series of three releases for 2008. This album is called Ginga, meaning Galaxy. It has nine songs, including new versions of her previous album’s song “Aoi Yami wo Massakasama ni Ochiteyuku Nagareboshi wo Shitteiru” and of clammbon’s “charm point”. The release date is November 5, and there is a limited edition that comes with a book.

tayu tau subtitling progress

Hello friends! Well, I’m on vacation in my home town of Chicago, just lounging around my parents' house trying not to think about work. I have been posting translations for songs that appear in tayu tau, and so far I have about six and a half minutes of the movie subtitled. I had some frustrations with Miyu, the subtitling software, but it seems to be the best choice for the Mac right now, and I think I have a pretty good workflow going. I hope I can present the final product to you soon. :D

tayu tau is here

Hello, I managed to put together some funds and pick up the DVD of tayu tau. I have played it three times now, on my MacBook while I was working. Of course, it’s a charming and sentimental document of the band’s journeys around Japan, and the emotional connection they have with their fans. It occurred to me that I could provide subtitles for people to apply to their own legitimate copy of the film. There is a pretty nice subtitling software for the Mac called Miyu, which could use some UI work but which does its job well. I’m drafting an email to the clammbon staff asking if it would be all right to distribute just the English subtitle file. Please let me know if you would like to see this happen!

Clammbon on iTunes!!

I just clicked the little arrow next to Morning Musume in my iTunes party shuffle mode; I used to have this set up to go to the artist in my library, but I recently installed a new system, so instead it went to that artist on the iTunes Store. The crazy thing is that they actually have a ton of Morning Musume for sale on the USA version of the store! So of course I scrolled through the ordinarily pretty anemic J-Pop category to see what else they might have added; sure enough, there was clammbon!! At the moment they only have Musical for sale, but that’s still pretty spectacular: clammbon music available outside of Japan for instant download, for only $10! Update: Apparently the Canadian iTunes has even more clammbon music! Check your country’s iTunes store!

YesAsia affiliate link

Hello again, clammbon fans. I’ve got my YesAsia affiliate link set up now, so if you’re going to buy clammbon products (or any other Asian entertainment products), you can support this site in the process at no extra cost. This program could be a huge help to me, so if you’re going to buy something there anyway, please consider going through my affiliate link here at the site. Thanks very much! And of course, any money that comes in through the affiliate program will go straight to more clammbon products for me to document on the site! I’m currently trying to get ahold of the new tour documentary DVD, tayu tau. As an example, you were to click that link and then buy a copy of the DVD for yourself, I’d be 1/10th of the way to my own copy! But anything you buy after clicking through will help a lot. Thanks very much for your support!

If you please

Hello clammbon fans. Honestly, it is hard to justify importing expensive CDs and DVDs from Japan when my wife says that we’re supposed to be saving money. But what about the web site? Surely I should have these new products when they come out, and I should document them on the site and help more people understand and enjoy them. So, I have just signed up for an Amazon Honor System account. If you would like to help me buy the new tour documentary DVD tayu tau, please consider giving a few dollars. If I manage to get it, I will do my best to post material on the site to make the film as accessible as possible for English-speaking fans: I’ll give summaries (or maybe even full translations) of any spoken scenes, and I’ll give priority to translating songs that appear in the movie. When the goal is reached, I’ll remove the donation link until another important product is released; I don’t want to profit from this site. I have also started the process of signing up for the YesAsia affiliate program. Once it’s ready, you’ll be able to support this site, at no extra cost, whenever you order clammbon stuff (or any other Asian entertainment products)! Of course, there is no obligation at all to donate. If you enjoy this site, and if I have helped you to appreciate clammbon’s music, then you have already given me the greatest gift I could have hoped for. Thank you.

tayu tau

The tour documentary tayu tau: -GOOD TIME MUSIC of clammbon- is still being shown in theaters, and it’s also going to be available on DVD on May 21. Certain stores and online shops have an extra DVD with six more songs from the Musical tour that didn’t fit into the movie; if you preorder you may be able to get a copy of that. YouTube has the trailer; of course, it looks great. They named this film after my favorite song from Musical! The emotional quotations from the band members are:

  • Mito: “We’re all crying during our concert!”
  • Daisuke: “Wonderful! Thank you!”
  • Ikuko: “I’m so glad I stayed with the band!”

Machiwabi Machisabi complete!

Hi!! I went on a translating spree today and finished up the three songs remaining on the second album: 246, EPIC, and 090. So now JP and MM are both completely translated for your enjoyment, yeah! Here’s what remains:

  • 3 songs on Kujirammbon
  • 3 songs on Dramatic
  • 7 songs on id
  • 6 songs on imagination
  • 6 songs on ten,
  • 9 songs on Musical For a total of 34 songs left. I have 42 songs translated on the main original clammbon albums. That’s 55% complete!!

Movable Type 4.1

Hi everyone! I just upgraded this site to Movable Type 4.1. I’m quite impressed with how easily everything transfered over to the new version; it was about as seamless as it could be. Last night I translated Nagareboshi, so go check it out some time.

Today in clammbon: YouTube and lyrics updates

New on YouTube:

  • Merry Go Round!, live at the Shibuya Apple store. An excellent performance, excellently recorded.
  • Bass, Bass, Bass music video. When I posted compliments of this song on the official clammbon BBS, the staff replied that I should look out for some news about it. I guess that news was the release of this video! Witness the band playing golf, very badly!

New at c-b e-b:


In anticipation of the new album, I’ve been blogging over at Vox about my memories of each clammbon album; if you would care to read those posts, here they are: Posts tagged ‘clammbon’ Musical is a treat; I’ll post about it soon. :D

2 New Translations

Two new translations are up this week: Futari and Folklore. Enjoy! Update: make that three. Here’s Romantic.

clammbon at Apple

Well, today may be the day I most regret leaving Japan. On Monday, clammbon will be playing a free concert at the Apple Store in Shibuya. Could the sum of all coolness result in the spontaneous creation of a supermassive black hole? Stay tuned.

Musical is available for preorder

At Amazon: Musical


Yyyyyeeeeeaaaaahhh!! Clammbon’s seventh all-original album “Musical” is set to be released May 23!! The official site even has a track list for us already. With a new clammbon and a new RUSH coming out in the same month, will my mind explode? Stay tuned!!


I just watched a feature about Harada Ikuko on the NHK show Yurunavi. The theme was her relationship with the piano-harmonica thingy she’s had since she was 18, but there was plenty of substance for clammbon fans:

  • An old photo of the band from when they were still at art school.
  • Footage of the band cooking dinner at their studio, then jamming.
  • Visual confirmation that Miss Ikuko and Mito use MacBooks! Daisuke has a PC…
  • A bit of the video for THE NEW SONG; you can see a low-qual version on YouTube. The band is all dressed up, no one’s nose bleeds, and at the end you can see Mito’s little daughter.


Hi! I just wanted to brag that I somehow found Kujirammbon, clammbon’s old old EP, brand new at the Tower Records at Shinjuku station south exit. I also picked up THE NEW SONG single, with clammbon’s newest original material. Kujirammbon is kind of weird. The songs are classic early-clammbon excellence, though the rougher version of “Pan to Mitsu wo Meshiagare” caught me off-guard. The packaging has young clammbon looking strange and calling themselves names like “Hatching Haachiko-sensei” (Miss Ikuko) and “Daisuke Number 110”. Now I have 99 distinct clammbon songs (including different arrangements, but not including live versions or instrumental versions), and as far as I know there are only six recorded clammbon songs I don’t own, from various singles and a compilation: “Mitsubachi”, “OR→”, “←ON”, “Uruwashi no Kiss Scene”, “Doredakedemo”, and “Moriwatari”. And I guess, the original versions of “Time Limit” and “Our Songs”.

Yo La Clammbo!?

Holy smokes, I think clammbon is about to get a lot more attention in the English-speaking world… The secret third act at clammbon’s “sound circle” event has been revealed to be none other than indie-rock legends Yo La Tengo! Uh… I admit I’ve never heard a Yo La Tengo song in my life, but hip-seeming people mention them relentlessly!


I got my five clammbon-related ceedees, and they’re gloriously good. Dot i/o is a crash between clammbon and Squarepusher; micromicrophone is a mumbling trance; Lotus Guitar is solid straightforward rockingtimes; The Sun Calls Stars is 77 minutes of ecstatic drumming; 3peace is intimate live clammbon at its best. The performance of Summer Nude is some of the greatest music I’ve ever heard recorded; I’m afraid to listen to it too often lest I inadvertently cause the rapture. Over the past 2 days I’ve translated 3 songs: id, Lullabye Sullabye, and imagination. Two were requests by my good friend Chris; the other was requested by etcrisis who found me at

mito solo project site

Now there’s an official site for mito’s solo trilogy… Available in Japanese and English! Check it out today:


Wowz, clammbon was featured on the max-hip UK blog NonStuff’s always-happening Friday Podcast! This is a favorite podcast of one of my music-savvy coworker-friends, so it was cool to see the band praised there. Spread the clammbon word in the English-speaking world, yeah!

Micromicrophone delay, JP translation complete!

The bad news: the final part in Mito’s solo-project trilogy, micromicrophone, has been delayed by a week until December 13. That’s extra bad news for me, because I ordered 3 Peace, the LOTUS GUITAR album, the Sun Calls Stars album, and Mito’s second and third solo albums, all at once. So I won’t get to hear any of them until micromicrophone is ready. There’s a nice apology at the official clammbon site, though, explaining that they took some more time to get the sound just right. The good news: My translation of the lyrics to JP is finally complete! I had meant to start by translating JP in its entirety (as mentioned in the first news post ever, uh, three years ago), but I somehow missed one song, and then I started choosing from all of the various albums as the fancy found me, so I never got around to finishing that one. So, this is the first clammbon album to be fully translated. I count 38 more clammbon songs to translate, not to mention all of the side projects. So far 28 have been translated, so that puts me at 42.4% of the way there! Wooop! I have kind of been holding off on trying to get any attention from clammbon themselves until the translations are complete, but maybe I need to work faster if I ever want to reach that point.

Itou Daisuke Projects

Whoa, I neglected to put Mr. Itou’s latest projects up on the discography page. See his new stuff from LOTUS GUITAR and The Sun Calls Stars, both of which I still need to pick up. Lots of CD shopping to do…

More Solo Mito and 3 Peace

The cover art, track lists, and release dates have been posted for Mito’s second and third solo albums! You’ll remember the first one, which came out under the band name FOSSA MAGNA, and was a free jazz adventure. Declaration of the Independence of the imagination and the Rights of Man to His Own Madness II, by dot i/o, is to come out on December 2. It’s more of the type of free jazz we saw in part I, and we had a preview of it in the PARCO department store commercial a while back. For this album, Mito has collaborated with Irmin Schmidt of the influential German avant-garde band Can. Declaration of the Independence of the imagination and the Rights of Man to His Own Madness III by micromicrophone, is a fully solo project, with Mito himself playing all of the instruments and singing all of the (English!) vocals. If, like me, you wish you could have heard more of Mito’s singing on clammbon albums, this may be the CD for you. Also, the cover for 3 peace has been posted, so I’m adding it to the listing for that album here at c-b e-b. Good day!

3 peace

Great news!! “Clammbon’s greatest appeal has got to be its live performances! Clammbon, who has given us so many unforgettable shows, is finally releasing their first live album!”

  • “3 peace ~live at hyakunengura~” (2 discs)
  • On sale: Nov 22, 2006
  • Price: ¥3150 with tax
  • Label: Triad
  • Number: COCP-50962~3 The recording was made at the July 10-11 shows of the 2006 June-July all-Japan “cover, lover and tour”. Check out the official announcement and the album info here at c-b e-b.

Quick Translation

I was going to sit down and play some PS2, but Ze Frank encouraged us to “bust that cycle” today and I thought I’d do something else instead. I had “Binsenka” from Dramatic in my head, so I sat down and transcribed, transliterated, and translated it all in one go. I am getting spookily efficient at this; I only had to pop over to the dictionary a couple of times, and I even got “gakkyuu iinchou” on the first try! Why not put the song on and sing along today?

best on sale at Play-Asia

Now’s your chance: clammbon’s best album is on sale for less than 18 ameribux. It’s not the limited edition with the DVD, of course, but it’s a fine introduction to clammbon fandom, for yourself or as a gift. :D


Barcelona, Lisbon, Paris… Two traveling like one. Tourismo Harada Ikuko has a travel book out. The words were written by Miss Ikuko; the photos were taken by her younger sister Nana, who has done official photography for clammbon and some other popular bands. Check out the official site, with a mini gallery. I posted some details about some recent clammbon-related releases in the discography section: LOVER ALBUM, ohana, and FOSSA MAGNA. I need to pick up that LOTUS GUITAR album soon…

Summer Nude

The song Summer Nude on the new LOVER ALBUM has a production style seen on a couple of clammbon tracks in the past: you can hear people talking and various ambient noises from the studio, for an intimate feel. A ways into the song, some guy suddenly makes a confused noise in the left channel. Every time I’ve listened to this song on my headphones at work, I’ve looked over my shoulder, thinking someone had snuck up on me. So when listening to this new CD, beware!! All in all I think it’s a fine album, in the tradition of Re-clammbon; a satisfying collection of music, even if it’s not new clammbon material. :D


The track list for LOVER ALBUM has been posted at the official clammbon site.

side projects

From the official clammbon site: besides playing in FOSSA MAGNA with Mito, Mr. Itou Daisuke has another side project with guitarist ASH. Their drums-and-acoustic-guitar band is called LOTUS GUITAR, and their album first trip is due out June 7. You can follow the link on the clammbon site to ASH ON WEB, then visit the video room for a clip of their song “dobby dick”. It sounds like nice energetic stuff. I have been listening to the ohana and FOSSA MAGNA albums; they couldn’t be much more different. ohana is absurdly upbeat reggae-pop, while FM is pretty avant-garde jazz. Both are quite worth a listen.

clamm-news roundup

Here are a few things going on in the clammbon world:

  • ohana is going on tour in May; I just might get to see them! :D
  • clammbon is going on tour in July; I just won’t get to see them. :(
  • Capitalism update: Miss Ikuko has sung for some JOMO commercials.
  • Great news: clammbon is releasing a new album on May 31!!
  • Caveat: the new album is a covers album, which means no original clamm-material. If their version of Night Cruising is anything to go by, though, then they’re capable of some dang fine covers. Update: actually, the May 6 ohana show in Tokyo is already sold out. I guess I’m not going to see them after all. ;_;

Vital Sign video

The promotional video for Vital Sign is up on YouTube. I hope it stays up, because promotional videos are a great way for people to discover a band and start buying their music. Indeed, I received an e-mail this morning from a Rick Meyer, who discovered clammbon by their PVs on YouTube and wanted to know where he could buy the CDs. By the way, I recommend YesAsia for all of your Asian CD and DVD importing needs. They have fair prices, offer free shipping in the USA, and often include little gifts in your order. They’re also the only place I could find the limited edition clammbon best with the DVD inside, even after checking many Japanese stores. Anyway, check the Vital Sign video. Mito and Daisuke do a superb job; I think you’ll be pleased.


Miss Ikuko has written and sung a song for the latest Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial in Japan. It’s actually quite good, and I used Audio Hijack to grab it for my own iPod. “I finally understood The secret of your name You’ve got sesame, Japanese pepper, and soy sauce Just like the words say You really say something great/tasty Kentucky~” Mito’s side project dot i/o has a song in a commercial for Parco department stores. My copies of the ohana album (with Miss Ikuko) and the FOSSA MAGNA album (with Mito and Mr. Daisuke) are on their way to me now. Maybe if I put those two albums together it’ll be like having a new clammbon CD. :D

Kurayami no Iro

Miss Ikuko is narrating a new podcast… for a… planetarium. They are having some kind of light-and-music program; I just see it as a chance to hear her voice regularly. :D The second installment was just posted; check it out!


Mito’s got his new solo project underway, and it looks to be some pretty far-out proggy stuff. It seems to be a set of three albums, each released under a different band name: FOSSA MAGNA, dot i/o, and micromicrophone. The albums are called “Declaration of the Independence of the imagination and the Rights of Man to His Own Madness” parts 1-3. Part 1 comes out February 22, and the others are set for release later in the year. If you collect all 3 and send in the proof of purchase from the CD’s “obi”, you can win a carrying case or a CD of outtakes. As always, see the official site for details. :D

not news

Zomg I’m not news

Movable Type

This entire site is being migrated to the startlingly useful Movable Type blog system. It will make the site a lot easier and a lot more fun for me to update, and it’ll encourage fans to communicate through the comments system. :D

Discography update

Today’s a very clammbon day. I just updated the albums section with several items that aren’t normal full albums. :D

NPR Story

Miss Harada Ikuko has been mentioned on NPR! A music reviewer who went to Japan somehow came across Piano and has recommended it. They even offer downloadable samples of “Tori no Hane Tori no Kage” and “Twinkle”, albeit in crappy proprietary media formats. It’s odd that her solo project would get major recognition in the USA before clammbon itself did. Maybe this will create some more English-speaking fans. Thanks to Lee Richardson for finding the story. :D

Ohana Means Family

Miss Ikuko has another side project in the works, this time with her long-time friends Nagadzumi Takashi (Hanaregumi) and Ooya Yuusuke (a member of Polaris). The band is called Ohana, the Hawai’ian word for “family” popularized by the fine film Lilo & Stich. They have an official site, and are working on an album and playing shows.


The group had a great set at the Fuji Rock Festival this year. They played to about 9000(!) people for 20 minutes, and were received well enough to do an unplanned encore. Congratulations to the band. :D See some lovely photos. Sadly they did not get to play at Yaon (Hibiya Yagai Ongakudou) this summer like they had in years past, but we always have the magnificent Yaon deeveedee to remind us of great times.

no sleep till clammbon

Hi! There’s a new song for you today, Anthem from the latest album. I was in Japan a few weeks ago, during clammbon’s tour! But seeing them would have required taking a trip down to Kyouto, which just wouldn’t have worked out. So I watched the Yaon deeveedee to make up for it. That just might be the greatest deeveedee ever made.


I’ve been talking with the very nice people at the official clammbon BBS; what a pleasant place to make new friends. :D Meanwhile, more lyrics! I give you… “charm point”!

official site renewal

Holy cow!! The official clammbon site has seen a complete renewal. Go look now! :D


When I can’t sleep, you get more lyric translations. I just put up “Surround”, everyone’s favorite tune. By the way, it doesn’t make any sense. :D Update: Still couldn’t sleep, so translated “Rainbow” as well. In other news, I went and plugged this site on clammbon’s official BBS (where Mr. Daisuke himself has been spotted lately); two humans replied, including a staff member! Actual clammbon people agree: is “subarashii”. :D :D :D

ten, ten, ten...

Well, I guess my local Kinokuniya was lying, because now I can’t get the new album there without special ordering it and waiting for several weeks. Instead I’ve got my old roommate-buddy bringing it to me straight from Japan when he visits next week. Unfortunately, I have to sit tight until then… I went and put up the lyrics for “George” from Dramatic, which I apparently translated a long time ago and never bothered to post.


I went and cleaned up a lot of the HTML and CSS that was getting on my nerves. Some things look nicer now. There’s still a ton to do, concerning both design and content. I want to automate the news and discography/lyrics pages with Python or something. I want to add information about clammbon DVDs. Of course, I want to translate the rest of the lyrics. Most of all, I want to listen to “ten,”! My local Kinokuniya claims they’ll have “ten,” on or near its release date. I hope to get it as soon as possible, and post my impressions here. The world is incredibly fortunate to have a sixth clammbon album on the way…


Amazon Japan has some more info on “ten,” including the distinctively-clammbon super-simple cover art, while Yes Asia has a track listing. As it turns out, the second disc is just a re-mix of the first disc. Of course, that’s not as cool as two whole discs of original songs, but it’s certainly better than just one disc. This album was produced by clammbon member Mito himself! I have a feeling this is going to be a great one. Mark your calendars for March 2!

band page update

Two updates in one day; can you believe it? I posted some more pictures of each member; they are taken from the best DVD and the live in shibuya DVD.


Well… only about fourteen months since my last update. The announcement of a brand new two-disc album coming March 2nd was enough to get me to update, though. The new album is called “ten,” and is apparently already finished recording, according to the band in their new year’s greeting at the official site. One imagination song, “tourist on the mirai’n”, has been translated.

imagination track listing

Amazon Japan now has a track listing for imagination. Check out the transcription on the discography page. I’ve added a lot of lyric translations to the discography page and little bits of more info around the site.


I was researching some clammbon facts at Amazon Japan and came across an entry for clammbon’s next album! Slated for a November 19 release, its title is imagination. No further details are listed, but whoa, exciting!


All right, I’m actually starting to get some stuff in place around here. Now we’re only missing two sections; yay. Watch for lyrics to appear little by little as I transcribe, translate, and practically extract and report them into sensible shapes.


Well, this site is somewhat open. I’m simultaneously trying to put together a design that I won’t tear apart later for its failure to meet standards and trying to gather all of the clammbon info I have to actually fill the site. My first priority is getting all of the first album translated into English and set up for easy reading here in the albums section. Until then, welcome to the site.