Although I was very much into the Kaiser Chiefs in the mid-late 2000’s my interest in them had sadly dwindled by the time their 4th album ‘The Future Is Medieval‘ came out. That is my only excuse for not having even heard of ‘Man On Mars‘ until one of my students replied to a comment on Facebook saying that this 2011 song was also set in Tokyo. It features their drummer on lead vocals which you would think is probably a bad idea but remember that it worked for Ringo Starr on a few songs! Initially I didn’t think too much of the tune but in the course of my research for this article I have listened to it a fair few times and indeed it has grown on me a lot. It’s actually a great catchy tune.
The video consists mostly of Kaiser Chiefs’ trip to Japan including footage of fans singing karaoke and some brief clips of their performance at the Fuji Rock Festival in 2011. This is all inter dispersed with footage following Atsushi Takata (below), a Japanese fan of the band, around Tokyo and then on his way to and from the festival via bus.
It starts with them arriving at Narita Airport Terminal 2 (0:22) which of course I have been to many, many times but I have usually got more important stuff to be doing than looking for these screenshot match-ups! Oh, ok I did have a quick look back in December but couldn’t quite find the same exit doors.
So after Narita Airport there are a compilation of scenes filmed primarily in the Shibuya-ku district and now what follows are some of those which I was able to recognise. The passover outside JR Shibuya stations south exit pops up in the video after 0:50 minutes
The giant Be@r Bricks (0:51) were on show outside the popular department store chain Parco at 15 -1 Udagawacho in Shibuya. The colourful figures are not on show any longer but by chance my friends Donald and Bing were in town (from China) around the same time (well certainly in the same year!) the video was shot in Tokyo and we grabbed the photo seen below on one night out.
Tokyu Hands at 12-18 Udagawa-cho in Shibuya-ku is seen on 1:01 minutes as the band members exit the department store which is famed for its hobby, home improvement and lifestyle products. The entrance seen is the one round the back of the store on the hill.
Harajuku station on the JR Yamanote Line opened over 100 years ago and appears on 1:06 minutes and its the exit at the southern end of the station rather than the Takeshita one which is on screen.
Next up is the ever-popular Yoyogi Park which is adjacent to Harajuku station and Meiji Shrine in Shibuya-ku. 1:13 is when we see the ball-juggling artist doing his thing
Super-fan Atsushi is seen singing this very song ‘Man On Mars‘ in a karaoke room on 1:55 minutes. The place is definitely Karaoke-kan and I am hazarding a guess that its actually the same one as Bill Murray’s character sang in in ‘Lost In Translation‘ (2003) as we see that its room 601 which was used in that film. Its address is 30-8 Utagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku.