“Disney Fan”: April, 2012

Look what I found in my genkan yesterday!

The latest issue of Disney Fan!

As it says on the fancy pink and white plastic it comes in, Disney Fan is a monthly magazine about Disney animation, theme parks, and goods. As far as I can tell it’s only sold in Japan. I think I first learned of this magazine when I was visiting Japan in 2009; after that I did manage to find a few back issues in the Book Off in Vancouver, but now that I’m living in Japan for a while it’s pretty sweet to have a subscription – 130-or-so pages of Disney goodness delivered to my house every month!

This issue’s cover story is about the events that will be held at the Tokyo Disney Resort this spring. While there is way too much in the magazine to share every part of it with you, below the cut you’ll find a little bit about the pages that I found the most interesting when I flipped through it last night.

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Phil Collin’s Multilingual Work on “Tarzan”

You may have known that Phil Collins composed the songs used in Disney’s 1999 animated movie Tarzan. You may have known that he played percussion in the songs and several pieces of the score. You probably knew that he provided the vocals to the songs (with the exclusion of “Trashin’ the Camp”) for the English language release of the film. But did you know that he recorded those songs in multiple languages? Here’s an officially released multilanguage reel that shows off his work on the song “Strangers Like Me”:

(Direct link to the above video.)

Collins recorded the Tarzan songs in French, Spanish, Italian and German. In a brief clip at the beginning of the above video, he only hints at how this was decided. I’d love to know more about how this came about and why those particular languages were selected, but so far the only article I’ve seen that discusses this is this review that compares the movie’s German soundtrack to its English one, in which Collins is quoted as saying: “Singing in German was easier than I thought. I was wrong thinking that French would be the easiest language and German the most difficult. I learned the lyrics phonetically. I do not speak Germany [sic], but I think this language always sounds very good, very elegant. Of course there were one or two problems with the pronunciation. In any case it was very interesting for me to sing in the various languages.”

By the by, does anyone know if Collins’ recordings were used in both French dubs (Canadian French and, uh, not!Canadian French) and both Spanish dubs (Latin American Spanish and European Spanish)? I am under the impression that they were, but please leave a comment if you can clarify!

Let’s end this brief post with a look at Collins’ multilingual singing through my favourite song from Tarzan, “Son of Man.”

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Local Disney: Iwate Stitch

One thing I really like about Disney in Japan is the way almost every new region I visit has its own little Disney souvenirs. These usually come in the way of a cell phone strap, a small snack, or maybe a set of coasters featuring one or two of the most famous Disney characters posing with a local landmark or specialty. Most of the local Disney souvenirs I’ve seen have been in train station convenience stores, but I’ve seen a couple in Disney stores and even in one of the shops in Universal CityWalk, outside of Universal Studios Japan – that’s where I saw a particularly awesome cell phone strap featuring Stitch taking a big bite out of Osaka Castle, and I will forever regret not buying it. I’ve never seen or heard of this kind of local Disney souvenir existing in any other country, which leads me to wonder why they are produced here. Perhaps because every region of Japan has a landmark or a specialty for which it is considered famous? Perhaps because of the custom of omiyage? Perhaps just because Disney items can be found almost anywhere in this country? Seriously, it some ways it would be weirder if these local Disney souvenirs didn’t exist.

Iwate cell phone straps

Anyway. The first ones that I would like to show you are from Iwate, the prefecture in which I am living. It’s a fairly rural prefecture located in the north of Japan – south only of Aomori and Hokkaido, and boasting the country’s second lowest population density – and so I admit I was surprised when I came across these cell phone straps in a convenience store in Morioka Station, in the prefecture’s capital of Morioka.

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