I think I was only in Japan for a few weeks before I found myself venturing out to media stores alone, trying to figure out what was all around me. So much of what we in America know of Japan isn’t contemporary Japan. Most books present Japan at various stages of its history, and seem to always have a geisha featured in them. Same with movies, except for Lost in Translation, which I watched last night when I wanted to ‘visit’ Tokyo again for a couple of hours. This trend is also one that we follow with Japanese music. Before I went to Japan, I thought it was all bamboo flutes and three-stringed bone harps (or some other fantastically old instruments). What I found when I got there, though, was a music scene (and many other kinds of scenes) that felt much more global and diverse than what we have here (or at least what we have making itself to a wide audience). I was absolutely floored to hear, for example, this group, The Nitro Microphone Underground, rapping in Japanese.