Singer songwriter Shiina Ringo finished off a series of concerts to commemorate the tenth anniversary of her career at the Saitama Super Arena last night. The three shows were her first as a solo artist in five years, during which time she has been performing as the vocalist of the band Tokyo Jihen. Yesterday’s concert featured a 26-song set, including “Kabukicho no Jo” and “Koko de Kisushite,” and a personal slide show narrated by her 7-year-old son. One of the most innovative artists in Japanese music, she also tends toward the eccentric. She went through several costume changes such as the bizarre one shown in the photo. She was supported by 69 musicians – a backing band and full orchestra – and given Shiina’s tendency towards sexual innuendo, there may have been some significance to the number of people on stage.
• Bots (30), the DJ member of rock band Dragon Ash (profile), tied the knot with his high school sweetheart on Saturday. The two were friends at Aoyama Gakuin High School, where Bots also met the band’s front man Furuya Kenji (29), and started dating about ten years ago. They held a wedding ceremony and reception for about 100 people at the Imperial Hotel in central Tokyo. At the reception, Dragon Ash performed an acoustic version of their upcoming single “Tsunagari Sunset,” which is due for release this week. A second party, held in the upscale Ginza district, was attended by 200 people including many from the rock and hip hop world, such as long-time collaborators Rip Slyme and Sukebo Kings. Also there was talento Megumi (27), Furuya’s wife and currently eight months pregnant.
• A sequel has been announced to the big screen hospital drama “Chimu Batisuta no Eikou” (The Glorious Team Batista) The movie was a hit earlier this year and the TBS drama version has also been popular, so producers are obviously keen to ride the wave with the quick release of a second film. It again features the pairing of Abe Hiroshi and Takeuchi Yuko, and they will be tackling the very real issue of Japan’s emergency room crisis. Titled “Jeneraru Ruuji no Gaisen” (The Triumphal Return of General Rouge), it started filming in mid-November and is due for release on March 7, 2009. This year alone has seen several cases where patients have died after being turned away time and again by hospitals due to lack of emergency staff. “Batista” was based on the award-winning medical mystery novel of the same name by Kaido Takeru, who still works as a doctor. The sequel is based on the third novel in the series, described as his crowning work.