Mike Park has been playing indie punk and ska since he was a teenager, first with Skankin’ Pickle, then The Chinkees, Bruce Lee Band, and solo gigs under his own name. Along the way, he began releasing albums for not only his own bands but others such as Alkaline Trio, The Queers, Kevin Seconds, and Slapstick, as well as starting the excellent Plea for Peace benefit compilations and tours. Mike has always made music for all ages, but his latest release is literally for the kids. Smile features indie ska songs for children inspired by having two children. After I played a copy for Eloise (above, who especially liked “When The Light Turns Red You Stop” and “Paint With Me” and even came up with custom dance moves), I had to find out more more about the new project by an old friend.
“It wouldn’t be a Japanese toy show without its fair share of Anpanman, Disney, Hello Kitty and all the other character favorites with their own games, toys and digital fluffiness.” Sadly, the International Tokyo Toy Show, which was held last weekend, is over. Happily, we can bring you a couple of links which highlight some of the more interesting and innovative toys and gadgets featured at the show. One of the more nifty categories of toy-slash-gadget product is the iPhone/iPad pet app category. These are apps which are more than apps, because when you buy one and activate it, your virtual pet will complain of cold and discomfort until you wrap your iPhone or iPad in a warm, fuzzy app-specific accessory. And the accessories, of course, are additional purchases, so you can immediately see the clever yet predictable business model for this type of product. Another product we want to try (which is unfairly aimed only at kids, of course) is Takara Tomy’s foaming green bubble bath slime. It’s designed to turn your average Japanese kid’s bath tub into a big, foaming, slimy experiment, which will hopefully stimulate an interest in science as well as get all those human nooks and crannies clean. It will be interesting to see how long it takes some of these products to reach the U.S. and Europe, if they ever do. But we’re really hoping we can get the green bath slime at the local Long’s or Walgreens pretty soon (CNNGo – Best of Tokyo Toys) Japan Trends has a little more coverage and lists a few more product highlights – Japan Trends Toy Report.Continue reading