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How to understand the Russian culture (or Soviet culture) via an Asian perspective

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Okay, I’m not an expert in Russia, or the Slavic culture in general, but there are things I have discovered as I re-learn the Russian culture and of course, some of its politics (well, I have to admit, aside from Japan, I also like Russia, all thanks to the late singer Origa, I do give credit to her; if not because of her, I would never ever appreciate Russian culture—tell me guys where her grave is).

If you are already familiar with Maria Sharapova, Anna Kournikova, and t.A.T.u., or Vitas, well—they might not be a good help if you’re going to learn and understand what RUSSIAN culture IS all about, in an Asian point of view.

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BREAKING NEWS: Origa passed away from lung cancer at 44

Origa’s concert in Russia, her homeland–but this time, in Moscow

It is a tragic day indeed on the 17th day of January 2015. I have never expected that one talent, one diva will be gone too soon.

Teenhood Hero, Teenhood Idol

Origa became well-known after her first big break ever: “Inner Universe,” a song that is the opening theme of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Well, sorry to say but I really never dared to listen to the original recording of the song because it’s pictured in my mind that when I hear that, I see the commercial of Animax about it… haha and the opening AV is just… too haunting.

According to Japanese-language sources, she died in Tokyo, Japan. That’s right. I bet, she has long been a Japanese citizen since she rarely comes back to Russia, or maybe she chose to remain a Russian citizen.

Sadly, whenever I listen to her songs, just like the rest of my idols in music, I never greeted her, “S dnyom rozhdeniya” at all (this also applies to Bjork, Yoko Kanno and Chick Corea, who are my constant idols in music). However, greeting your idol on FB is nothing really special or somehow corny since you only care about their music. But when you delve into their music, you’ll really admire them without questioning them at all.

In this case, I had a strong urge to learn Russian and even dreamt of studying in Russia. Origa’s the reason why I started to embrace everything Russian–even their military culture, actually. Despite the bad things that’s being shoved to us about Russia, I still never hated the country itself. I know that Russia is relatively conservative when it comes to their traditional beliefs, to think their mentality is European. Origa once said that when she went to Japan, she said that the Japanese people are conservative–at least, from a Russian’s point of view (Russia is quite more liberated than Japan, but still I find Russian culture conservative as compared to Western Europe).

I thought “Inner Universe” was Japanese, but when I read the lyrics, it was “weird” (was reading the Roman letters, not the original Cyrillic). When I “Googled” Origa on Yahoo! (wait, Google was not very popular during that time, it was only starting to become a household name while Yahoo! was still very popular (now, it’s a weak search engine), I have learned the fact that she’s Russian.

Indeed, Origa had a voice of an angel. No one can ever replicate that. No wonder, I was dreaming that she would sing one of the songs I would direct to my prospective musicians who will do the rest of the job. The movie lineup’s there–based on my own imagination. I cannot even spew it out, because I’m afraid that people surrounding me will call me crazy. After all, these people are dubious people, continuing to be dubious and will always be popular at the expense of other people.

No one can ever replace the diva. Never. Not even my other fave artists. She stood out, compared to the rest of the mainstream artists who are just… mainstream. Dunno, something’s really inside me, and I do have a feeling that Origa’s really part of my life, even though I have rarely heard of her ever since. It’s only saddening.

Sayounara, do svidanya, Origa-sama. Покойся с миром (Pokojsya s mirom). 安らかに眠る(yasuraka ni nemuru).

Origa’s Impressive Performance in Boston

Well, if you’re an anime fan, you might as well be familiar with Yoko Kanno–she’s anime’s top composer and of course, musician behind all these anime OST. She’s one of the reasons why I still love everything Japanese–but one of her singers captured my eye, and that is no other than Origa.

Yep, that’s right. Origa is one of Yoko Kanno’s partners in crime who has been contributing to anime for so many years and yet she is still EPIC!

First time hearing Origa speak in English! However… it’s a good thing she could still remember the songs that she popularized!

Another angle of the performance.

Her voice is still ethereal… and powerful at the same time! LOVE HURRRRR FOREVAH!

A rare music video of Origa’s Polyushko Polye

I cannot believe that Origa also has a music video of her songs… but yeah. It’s too rare after all.

STILL cannot believe that I’m still a fan of hers up to now. ;D

Move over, Pop Music! Welcome the underrated!

One of the things that I hate about “pop” music is that, they get too old, too fast! HAHAHA!

Accuse me for being “old-fashioned” and “0ut-of-this-world,” but if I were to choose Japan over America, you cannot blame me for that. Japan embraces weirdness and they really do LOVE BJORK and LADY GAGA at the same time. It’s NOT questionable after all.

Proud to be Different

Check out the tags if you wanna know my list of favorite artists… haha.

These favorite artists are usually on my iPod (but now they’re on my iPhone… the latest music that I have downloaded, actually). Of course, I am still undeniably the forever loyal Japanese music fan… and of course, that made me love Japan more since I used to be an anime fan. Don’t get me wrong, I am currently a member of a Japanese professional organization right now, and I attended the org for the very first time.

Explore Something

I really love listening to music with a different language, other than English and Filipino. If I am a so-so fan of Gloc 9’s music, that’s because he hires the prettiest voices. Alright, call this something very weird, but I am not alone. Maybe you might as well enjoy Origa’s music (except for Inner Universe because it will surely traumatize you!), or maybe the lightning moves of Chick Corea, who is me number one favorite jazz musician. Although there are some of his music that has redundant styles, some of his compositions are very far more decent than his Crystal Silence. Hmm… lemme name a few: Cappucino, Kuranda, No Mystery, Romantic Warrior… those are the songs of Chick that might be understandable to the Filipino audience.

If you want to appreciate German pop culture, I think Rammstein does it the best. Despite the sexual themes, extreme gore and some controversial themes it presents, it is like the Kamikazee of Germany, only that the latter is just simply “wild-crazy” and it does not project offensive themes, unlike the former.

Pop Music gets really old– trust me

If you’re talking about ’90’s pop, well, it IS the true example of classical pop (hardly getting old!). The pop music that you’re listening to nowadays do not make sense at all, and you might as well stick to British pop and Scandinavian pop rather than American pop music. HAHAHA, now what happened to Britney Spears!? Beyonce (she can’t be spared because a clean record doesn’t make you look as if you’re really “angelic” foa real, in fact, the NICU issue has been ruining her career!)!? Hmmm… it’s only Christina Aguilera who came back, untainted in terms of her worth, although she had personal fights with co-singers. The only singer that I could only appreciate would be Pink. Yeah, call Pink a bad example, but she’s a punk rocker whose songs are really oh-so like related towards reality. She rarely had any personal issues and besides, her life story’s really very sad (Taylor Momsen, you’d rather understand Pink’s real story, a’ryt!).

One of the things I like about the music of the ’90’s and the early 2000’s is that, they’re never the songs that would make your ears hurt.