Apple Music Japan Updates “For You” Section

The Apple Music ‘For You’ section that was updated in the USA store on April 15, finally arrived on the Japan store today. The update offers much more customized content than the previous ‘For You’ for which I am glad, the old one had too much weekly repeats to keep my interest.

After listening to the Ramones, Apple Music immediately offered Punk bands galore, Monkees, Rolling Stones and many other interesting offbeat content. I look forward to playing with it. One thing I like right off is that disliking something immediately removes it from suggestion lists. Goodbye U2, may you never pollute my suggestion lists again. The real test will be how much good Japanese rock ‘n roll listening Apple Music offers up in addition to the standard western stuff.

It’s very strange that HomePod is still missing from the Japan market. There are lots of audiophiles with money here, with the right marketing approach HomePod could do well. Unfortunately Japanese artist kana sorting tags on Apple Music are still such a mess that kana sorting is remains broken since iCloud Music Library appeared. Every Japanese artist from Yumin to Utada ends up at the very bottom in the under # in iCloud Music Library no matter what you add to the Japanese kana sorting fields in iTunes. And if Japanese kana sorting is broken, Siri on HomePod is broken too. And if iTunes is going away in macOS 10.15, Japanese kana sorting for iCloud Music Library may be broken forever.

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Reiwa Era Support in iOS 12.3

It’s nice to know that Apple is going to provide Japanese users with Reiwa Era support in iOS 12.3. It would have been extra nice if that support could have been in place for the actual start of Reiwa on May 1, but iOS 12.3 should be arriving in a few weeks. If this had been the China market instead of Japan, I’m sure Apple would rushed out a special update beforehand, but I’ll settle for a nice stable iOS 12.3 update. I have not tested macOS Mojave 10.14.5 beta for Reiwa era support, but assume that it’s there as well.

UPDATE
iOS 12.3 is out and recommended for Japanese iPhone users and Apple Pay Suica users, macOS 10.14.5 also supports Reiwa era

Martin Luther King Day

My mother was never one to tell stories, especially her own. But there was one she had that was special to her. My mother attended the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston where she studied voice. Shortly after getting engaged she went into the ladies room at school and saw a fellow voice student admiring an engagement ring in the mirror. They compared and admired engagement rings and talked about their future husbands. My mother was going to marry a Naval Academy grad on his first year of duty, her fellow student Coretta Scott was going to marry Martin Luther King.

Coretta Scott King and my mother were married in the same year 1953, and died of cancer in the same year, 2006. As far as I know the New England Conservatory ladies room mirror was their only point of contact but I like to imagine the scene my mother described: two talented and beautiful young women excitedly talking about the future paths they were embarking on, and congratulating each other.

The paths were very different but I know they were each very proud of their families. I never knew Coretta Scott King but when I hear her sing, I immediately recognize the same beautifully trained voice I heard when my mother sang hymns at church. I also recognize that great lives are always around us, sometimes very close, but only visible if we take the time to truly observe them.

More is less: iOS 12.1 new Emoji

The new emoji coming with iOS 12.1 will make some people happy but to me are more joyless skin tone, hair color and culturally correct western think. I liked emoji when they were more ‘Manga’ and not Unicode Consortium committee product blah but the Unicode Consortium know they have good thing going and will run it into the ground. Emoji are supposed to be fun, remember? Not tiny anatomically correct versions of reality.

Emoji were way more fun when everybody was a manga princess not a Tim Cook Memoji. Let’s face it do you want anatomically correct culturally Barbie with skin tones and hair textures? Of course not, we all want the fabulous Cher Barbie with the Bob Mackie outfit. It’s all Cosplay anyway.

Yumi Matsutoya Arrives on Apple Music

Talk about finally. Yumi Matsutoya, one of the biggest Japanese artists and J-Pop stars of the last 50 years, and one of the longest holdouts, landed with her complete catalog on Apple Music Japan this Friday. Her profile is listed on the Apple Music US site (Yumi Matsutouya). The catalog isn’t up yet but looks like it should be coming soon.

Japanese metadata tags are the usual Apple mess: the artist name in English instead of Japanese on iTunes downloads but proper Japanese on Apple Music downloads. The once proud iTunes Music Store is such a vestigial appendage to Apple Music, Apple clearly wants to kill it off.

Nevertheless this is great news for longtime fans. I know exactly what’s going to be playing the rest of the day.