Another of the weird not-English people you'll see popping up on my scrobble list from time to time is Miyavi. Miyavi -- also credited under such typographical variations as Miyabi and MYV and 雅-MIYAVI- and Miyavi Ishihara, and probably others I've forgotten -- started out as the guitarist for a visual kei band called Dué le Quartz. When the group broke up somewhere around 2002ish, he wandered off to start what's become a rather successful solo career involving something like seven or eight studio albums plus other stuff, multiple world tours, and right now, the adventure of getting two very small children out of bed, into their clothes, and off to day care in a timely manner.

Miyavi is a cheerful personification of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Chelsea boots. I mention the boots primarily because they accentuate the fact that he's rather pigeon-toed. He knows this, which impresses me. One, he doesn't care. He is in fact convinced (correctly, IMO) that it totally works for him, and has adopted the habit of posing for photos in this oddly adorable knock-kneed stance with his heels kicked out. And two, I know he knows this because he's mentioned it in English, which means that not only did he have to learn the very idiomatic phrase 'pigeon-toed', he had to have realized that English had a phrase for that in the first place -- the Japanese is just 「足が家へ」, ashi ga uchi e, "turned-in feet".

Much of his English is like this. He's crested fluent at this point and has headed down the slope on the far side, well into the right mess that native speakers use. It probably helps that his wife, a J-pop artist named Melody., is American by birth and grew up in Hawaii, but he was like this well before he married her -- the reason his English is sometimes baffling is that his Japanese is sometimes baffling, and he sounds exactly the same in both. (I can't speak to his Chinese, but I really can't imagine he'd be any different in a language whose grammar can best be described as 'telegraphic'.) He's one of those people who has a chronic gear-ratio mismatch between his brain and his mouth, plus he has the smart-kid problem that not everybody can always follow some of his more catercorner logic. Judging by a lot of his (intentionally) creatively phonetic typing, he learned a lot of it loitering around on the internet.

The ADHD part, you would have to be blind to miss. He's incapable of sitting still. He does vlog things from time to time, and one especially memorable segment started with Miyavi sitting in a chair, behind a table, with a list of what he wanted to cover in front of him, and ended with Miyavi sitting on the front of the table, having forgotten the chair and lost the paper somewhere on the floor, and probably having failed to hit half of his bullet points despite talking for about four solid minutes almost without stopping to breathe. He can't even stick to one genre of music. All of the following are his compositions, and obviously his performances:

"GigPig Boogie"

"自分革命" / "Self-Revolution"

"僕は知ってる" / "I Know"

"結婚式の唄" / "Wedding Song"

"雨に唄えば~ピチピチチャプランランブルース~" / "If I Sang In The Rain ~Splish-Splish Splash-Splash Run-On Blues~"

"恋はプシフォーン" / "Love's A Touch-Tone Phone"

Please note that he is taking exactly zero of these things seriously. There is also much linguistic screwballery afoot that would double the length of this post if I included the crash-course in Japanese required to explain it. Some of it has to do with kanji, most of which have two or more potential pronunciations when read aloud; some of it has to do with the conventions of using the three different writing systems in Japanese (kanji, hiragana and katakana) and him totally ignoring them if he thinks he'd like to spell it another way. A lot of it has to do with the weird things that happen when converting between an alphabetic language like English and a syllabary like Japanese, including his stage name. There is no V sound in Japanese, and when English words requiring one are written in their phonetic system, it's usually rendered as B. Hence the syllables mi-ya-bi, stripped of context, could ambiguously represent either the reading of the kanji 「雅」 (it's an adjective, meaning "elegant" or "graceful") or the Japanese interpretation of the alphabetic string "Miyavi", of which he has decided that the latter looks cooler in print.

You may have gathered from that last video that Miyavi is also kind of a friendly octopus where his friends are concerned. Adam Lambert is not the first person to have stumbled onto the fact that randomly making out with one or more persons in the backing band causes the audience to scream. Such shenanigans are fairly common among visual kei acts, where it's considered part of the fanservice, but suffice it to say, Miyavi is unusually touchy-feely even by their standards.

Also, most of them will pick one funny color to dye their hair, not all of them at once. He keeps trying to grow it out, discovering he lacks the patience to deal with having hair in his face all the time, and hacking it all off again. His fans think this is hilarious, which is probably why he never learns his lesson for very long.


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