Friday, February 23, 2018

Thesis Defense: KJNG with JT

Join patron JT as he defends his dissertation by taking us on an excursion to an alternate world, a better world, where the radio airwaves are filled with the sounds of mahjong VGM. We proudly present you with KJNG (K-jong) radio. Through the magic and beauty of mahjong, KJNG mends broken hearts and heals wayward souls. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wish this was a real radio station. If JT can't convince you that mahjong VGM is the best music on the planet, then perhaps one of the many other personalities in his head will. Along the way you'll meet a lonely vampire who laughs at his own jokes, a wizened old sensei who follows the way of mahjong, and an excited Rastafarian who loves that 8-bit reggae sound. Plus, many of your favorite characters from the jukebox bar will be there, like Haju, Carrot Man, and even Hakama. Slap your tiles down on the table and get ready for a mahjong experience you'll never forget!

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This episode was made possible by:
Game Track Title Composer(s)
Delicious! Pretty Girls Mahjong Solitaire Title Screen Zoo Corporation
Saikousoku Shikou Shougi Mahjong Title Screen Varie Sound Team
Family Mahjong 2: Shanghai Heno Michi #24 Namco/Nichibutsu Sound Team
Mahjong Princess Go! Go! GG03 Hitoshi Sakimoto (?)
Kyodai Mahjongg Endless Miguel Samiez
Waku Waku Mahjong Panic! 2 B06 Kazumichi Moegi
Street Fighter 2 Start Battle Yoko Shimomura, Isao Abe, Syun Nishigaki
Ide Yousuke Meijin- Jissen Mahjong 2 Track 9 Norihiko Tagashi
Mahjong Fantasia BGM2 Yasuo Itou, Keishi Yanao
Mahjong Fantasia MF08 Yasuo Itou, Keishi Yanao
Mahjong Master Opening Demo Shuichro Ishii, Hideo Irimajiri
Simple DS Mahjong BGM05 Unknown
Shin 4 Nin Uchi Mahjong: Yakuman Tengoku Track 2 Shigero Miyamoto, Masahiro Tobita
Kou Rate Ura Mahjong Retsuden Mukoubuchi - Goburei, Shuuryou desu ne Track 0003 Pi Arts Sound Team
Honkaku Mahjong Tetsuman Mahjong Theme 2 Syscom Sound Team
Wai Wai Mahjong: Yukai no Jantomi-tachi BGM 02 Unknown
Gionbana Game 2 Kenji Yoshida
Nichibutsu Mahjong 3- Mahjong G Men Track 4 Nihon Bussan sound team
Mahjong on the Beach Track 10 Home Data sound team
Mahjong Gokuu Tenjiku Title Screen Chat Noir sound team
Mahjong Yuuenchi Boss BGM 2 Yui Isshiki
Superlite 2500: Custom Mahjong Track 05 Success sound team
Mahjong Clinic Zoukangou BGM 3 Yui Isshiki
Shodankurai Nintei Shodan Pro Mahjong Playing Mahjong Eurhythm, Kenichi Fujii
Mahjong Gokuu Tenjiku Mahjong Game (Neutral) Tomomi Hatakeyama
Zootto Mahjong! Big Four Kenji Okuda, Yuichi Ozaki
Honkaku 4 Pro Mahjong Tetsuman Special 9G_08 Chat Noir sound team
Yuujin Janjuu Gakuen Conversation Varie Sound Team
Minna No Mahjong BGM #05 MTO
Where Everybody Knows Your Name Cheers Theme (8-bit) Gary Portnoy, Judy Hart Angelo, Human Daikon (arr.)
Front Mission Bar Noriko Matsueda
Super Mahjong 2 Great!! First Rank! Masakatsu Maekawa
Deadly Premonition Life is Beautiful (Whistle Theme) Riyou Kinugasa, Takuya Kobayashi, Hiromi Mizutani

...and listeners like YOU.


  1. Holiest of guacamoles!

    This. is. AWESOME.

    I haven't listened to the whole thing, only 1 commute's worth (about 30 minutes), but I wanted to say that I am loving it. Wonderful work.

    P.S., my not-even-2-year-old daughter made me replay the track to Saikousoku Shikou Shougi Mahjong 3 times. She kept saying "more dance!" and dance we did.

    Once I finish the ep I'll drop some more thoughts.

    1. Not even 2 and she is already shouting out for a rewind! Hahaha! I love that. I'm glad you two are enjoying KJNG thus far. There is more dance to come! She'll even hear daddy in one of the comercials. ;)

    2. Just wanted to confirm awesomeness throughout. Just spectacular work. Use-all-the-superlatives type stuff.

      Also, my favorite joke was "miserable little tiles of secrets"

      I see what you did there.

    3. Thanks The Diad! You know I had to give a nod to the discerning Castelvania fan. Mwahahahahaaaa!

      My personal favorite joke is that at the end of the episode when Animite's internet craps out on him, he starts kazooing the KJNG anthem "You'll never be alone. You'll always have a friend by your side." while he is actually utterly alone and abandoned (by a KJNG DJ no less). It's such a sad and lonely ending, but Animite still has this pluckiness about him out there in his isolation in the desert.

      I actually had considered a different ending, where JT and all the KJNG DJs drive out to the rest stop to save him, only to find that the rest stop is surrounded by a seemingly impenetrable mist. They come to realize that the mist is a breakable mist, but only when they join together in a unified kazoo ensemble, thus enacting Animite's prophecy of the grand kazoo uprising. I think that is a fun alternate ending, but I felt KJNG was happy enough throughout that it didn't really need a happy ending, so I had some sadistic fun leaving Animite stranded in this windy, desolate place. I figure he is a resourceful enough guy to stay alive and keep himself entertained a little longer.

      Actually, it's a little weird that he hasn't mailed out a toilet paper letter asking for help at this point, or used his dial-up internet to call for a rescue. Maybe he likes it out there. This whole bit is sort of a meta-comment on my relationship with VGM podcasts, in that even when I am literally alone, they make me feel less so and I stay happy, even in my isolation. I also have been known to whistle along to VGM and to keep the podcast rolling while I'm on the toilet. hahaha. TMI?

    4. T'was a good ending. It made KJNG even more memorable. And just maybe it leaves the listener with something to contemplate.

    5. I think the ending was just great. We need KZOO next, I guess. I like your alternate version too, though. Maybe an extra release down the line.

      Animite is living the dream of being trapped in a truck stop bathroom. Who among us hasn't wanted the same?

    6. Yes, who hasn't? Except for anyone who has ever been in a truck stop bathroom. Or seen the "Sea Bass" scene from Dumb & Dumber.....

    7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ss_zRahMDX0

    8. Funny you should post that link to the Presidents of the United States. I am actually in one their music videos for the song Love Everybody. I am one of the clowns. There is a long and totally insane story behind how this all came to be, which I won't share here, but if you ever want to know, you could ask me in an email.

  2. Is this real?

    I was just going to listen to five or ten minutes tonight to give myself a taste; it's late and I have had a long day. I was going to save the rest for tomorrow.

    My jaw hit the floor.

    And here I am two hours later, enraptured. Everything is covered by a layer of heightened surreality. I feel like I just watched a professionally produced musical.

    JT, you all should be proud, because KJNG is amazing!

    1. I and I are all proud. haha. Thank you. I am sorry you lost sleep, but it makes me happy to know that you couldn't turn it off and go to bed. I wanted to make a show where people start off by asking "Why would somebody be so obsessed with mahjong music?" and end by asking "Why isn't everybody so obsessed with mahjong music?!"

  3. I've only listened to 20 minutes thus far.....

    Okay, this is the internet, and me, so we're prone to hyperbole. But I am being completely honest with you when I say I have NEVER smiled so broadly for such an extended period of time where VGM is concerned. My insides are bursting with happiness. This is going to be the best Friday ever.

    1. Well, Mr. Nemo, you and I are both super fans of VGMJB, and I packed this thing full of inside jokes and references that only super fans will fully appreciate, so I'm glad they are making you smile. I know I'm playing to a small audience with some of the material. This one is by fans for fans. Well, hopefully KJNG is for everybody, but I know some people won't know what banana candy nostalgia is, for example. But you most certainly will. Fist bump.

  4. Fist bump met. PPSSHHHHH! This isn't a dissertation, it's a magnum opus. Yeah, I was geeking out on all the inside homages/jokes going on. So much attention to detail...even the speech nuances of each character, behaving exactly as they would in their respective situations(i.e. the "live" conversations sounded unrehearsed and natural, and the adverts and DJ bits sounded polished and professional). I loved Jungle Tangelo, the reggae guy, and Jungle Turnip so much. But that beginning track with the opening DJ........I can't describe it. Every time I listen to it, I'm holding back tears and giddy laughter, a smile holds my face hostage and my heart races with joy. I'm in love, and it's disruptive.

    This sits up on the top shelf of my heart with WSXY, where the very special things go.

    Speaking of non-sequitirs, was the laffy taffy Zangief bit inspired by an old stand-up routine? I saw a comedian do something very similar in the late 80's/early 90's, and thought it was hilarious. I tried to find it on YouTube but I can't remember the guy's name. Anyway, well done JT.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Also that Jungle Tiramisu bit totally reminded me of the inverse of Flight of the Conchords' "Business Time" song. Love it!

    3. I'm glad that the detail about speech nuances was noticeable. I made sure that Darryl and JT were unscripted except for a line or two I needed to hit. I wanted to make Darryl seem more real, and I wanted JT to just be me, which includes a lot more ummms, verbal trip-ups, and meandering. The opening DJ is also my favorite. His name is hype-man Jungle Tuber.

      Being next to WSXY in the heartspace is an honor. <3

      The Laffy Taffy thing is sort of stolen from my younger brother, who once did an open mic comedy night where his whole routine was eating Laffy Taffys and laughing at the jokes on stage, while also letting his mouth get so full of taffy that he became unintelligible. I had Zangief laugh instead because I love Zangief's laugh and I liked the idea that he enjoys stupid jokes... unless they are about Russia.

    4. That's a nice bit of serendipity that Yukiko was the name of your lost love. That's pretty special, actually. I had no idea though, and I had merely named Yukiko and Yosuke after characters from Persona 4. Inaba is also a fictional rural Japanese village in Persona 4.

      I hadn't seen that Flight of the Conchords thing until just now. That's pretty funny too. I wanted to do a Barry White impression where everything sexy about him had nothing to do with sex, so it was kind of more an instruction on how to be a better partner outside of the bedroom. I was actually going for a PG version of Key & Peele's sketch, Cunnilingus Class.

  5. I've been having a rather hard and emotional day today. But when I started playing KJNG, my day was changed.

    JT, I salute you.

    1. Glad we could help. :)

      As Randall Aluminums says, "We give you the tiles that bring on your smiles."

  6. Hey everybody, after you listen to the episode, make sure you check out Jungle Tobasco's new hit single at the karaoke lounge, "Nobody's Gettin' Me Down!"


    More to come later...

  7. ....And that outtro with all the DJs, singing “You’ll never be alone, you’ll always have a friend by your side” reminded me of the best parts of the Muppets.

    1. I actually was thinking it sounded like the Muppets as I was recording it, which was a happy thought. I'm glad someone else felt the same about it. I also felt like the anchorman character (Jungle Tomato) sounded sort of like a Frank Oz character. Actually, to do his voice I just add a subtle Swedish Chef flavor. I tighten up my vocal tract in the same way as I would if trying to impersonate the Swedish Chef, I just don't use the same silly accent and I enunciate my words. Try to do Swedish Chef, then dial it back 20 notches, and you have Jungle Tomato.

  8. JT...that was absolutely amazing!
    -The Messenger

  9. JT, where did you draw the line when deciding whether a track was mahjong enough? For example, there is a game or two on your playlist that is mahjong themed, but not necessarily an actual mahjong game. On the other hand, I don’t see any Shanghai games, which are similar but not mahjong(although not knowing how to play either, I can’t tell the difference).

    I’m asking for my own dissertation purposes, and also because there is a RIDICULOUS quantity of mahjong games out there. I don’t know how you narrowed it down to “just” the 30+ tracks you chose!

    So I found this really good OST called Shi Kin Jou from Sunsoft for the Mega Drive. It’s a Shove It-esque puzzler that uses mahjong tiles. The music is great. Observe:

    Track 4 is particularly hot; it reminds me of New Order’s Blue Monday.

    1. I don't think I drew any lines. If the game had "mahjong" in the title or appeared on some online list of mahjong games, it was viable. I was actually quite surprised to find out how many of these games were rather pornographic. Mahjong seems so innocent! I was flabbergasted. So patrons beware, if you look for info on the non-console games from my episode, there is some naughty NSFW stuff in there. Sorry. Perhaps the most ridiculous mahjong porn I found was this weird game with a Batman ripoff antihero who plays strip poker and steals jewelry. Abandon all hope, ye who follows this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pi5PiKwV6F4

      Nice find on Shi Kin Jou! I hadn't encountered that one yet and there are some great tunes there! Isn't mahjong vgm amazing? There's just so much great stuff out there.

  10. And now for something completely different...

    A VGM doctorate defense by JT.

    Yeah, I'm not sure about the rest of you, but with all the jokes, skits, unpredictable transitions, and numerous false endings, I couldn't help but feel I was listening some forgotten episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus. JT has managed to capture a delightful combination of humor and soul into this long dissertation, exploring the question of why it is we pursue after these oftentimes old and forgotten pieces of music.

    You, sir, with this recording, have launched a veritable Tesla Roadster into orbit, complete with warp drive, on course to intercept "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe" in a matter of hours. That's how high this bar has been set.

    And now that I've said my piece, I can get around to using this Internet things for resc---..............(Internet Buzzing)

    1. Thanks Animite! To be compared to Monty Python, Douglas Adams, and Elon Musk all in one compliment is just... wow. I'm floored.

      Truth be told, I'm just happy you weren't pissed off about the ending.

  11. On vacation in Jamaica, listening to the Jamaican Dj bit... priceless. Great Work on the thesis defence. I really apreciate all the hard labor that was put into it. The jams are awesome and the skits are really interesting and funny. BigUp!

    1. Hahaha. I love that my white guy impression of Rastafarian patois is now part of your Jamaica vacation experience. Sorry? (Not sorry). I hope you got some actual Jamaican culture out there and not just my appropriation of it.

      I was a little ambivalent about doing a Jamaican accent because I didn't want it to come across as condescending, because I truly love Jamaican music culture. Actually, my moniker "Jungle Toad" comes from my days in the ragga jungle scene in the early 200X's. I made reference to a few of my favorite tracks in the things I had DJ Tamarind say.

      When he says "This station... Rules the nation... Inna mahjong situation..." that is a mix of Brent Weinbach speak from LMH and this classic reggae track from U Roy:

      Also, when J.Tamarind says "Boom Wha Dis" that is a reference to Burro Banton, though I had the Psychofreud mix in mind:

      And when he says "Who Dem" that is a nod to Capleton's "Who Dem/Slew Dem", and I specifically had the Chase & Status mix in mind:

  12. This truly is a work of art. This is certainly the best episode of any podcast I've ever listened to. I am completely blown away by all the attention to detail with the various style throwbacks.

    Personally I loved the Wolfman Jack bit in the beginning, and I found myself actually getting emotional during the NPR biography, but what really made my heart skip a beat was the dedication section at the end where you gave a shout out to all the patrons. I had to work to keep myself together because I was driving at the time, but rest assured that I was crying on the inside. :')

    --Chi Guy

    1. Thanks Chi Guy! I feel like the title of "best episode of any podcast" is more responsibility than I can manage, but I'm glad you liked it. I'm happy you caught that Jungle Tuber was an homage to Wolfman Jack. I wasn't sure anybody knew who he was anymore. And knowing that my episode brought real tears, real laughs, and a bit of contemplation makes me feel like I accomplished what I set out to do. Thanks for sharing!

  13. I can only imagine how much time and thought and energy went into all of this! Super Kudos!

    Also: Wai Wai Mahjong!!! I really like that soundtrack! I featured track 4 from the game on an episode of my own podcast last fall (episode 16, to be exact). I'm sorry you weren't able to find a composer either - but am also glad that I wasn't the only one who couldn't!! ;-) :-D

    Cheers, JT!

    -St. J f DM!

    1. Thanks St. J! It was a fair amount of time/thought/energy, but I had so much fun putting it all together, it didn't feel like a lot.

      Wai Wai Mahjong is a fun soundtrack. The instruments often have a weird whine to them and it is sometimes discordant, but the compositions are so quirky and silly that they make the discord work. Track 4 is a good one with more of regal flavor. What's your podcast called?

    2. So, I am the host of Nerd Noise Radio. I hope it's okay if I "blah blah blah" about it a little. :-)

      I've been at the podcast for right around a year and a quarter (and have had it as a social media thing since 2013) I do 20 episodes a year plus an April Fool's one on my main program (Channel 1), and then just whatever on my bonuses and extras program (Channel F).

      Episode 25, which is a "Best of 2017" episode (and entitely listener picks) comes out this coming Wednesday.

      In general I try to keep episodes in that 40-80 minute range, but they can fluctuate, and four times a year, I do one really long episode a month instead of the customary two regular length ones. I call those longer ones "Super-Sized Episodes", and 25 is one of them, clocking in at a whopping 02:00:40.

      But I really love how 25 turned out, so I hope others will feel the length is okay this once too. :-)

      The format is like a radio music block program, like Hearts of Space or the old Jazz after Hours, etc, where it's a brief intro, an uninterrupted music block, and then a housekeeping outro.I give the tracklist in the outro, and also give it (with time stamps) in the show notes, instructing listeners in the intro to "choose your own adventure" in terms of whether they avail themselves of it or not.I don't include the tracklist in the intro because I want to "get off the stage" quicker than that.

      Anyway,that's my podcast. I have future programs in the wings that will be totally different formats (Channel 1 is called Channel 1 because I anticipate their being a Channel 2, and so on), but I have no idea yet when they will launch.

      In any case, I know how much work and thought and effort and energy goes into producing something even as comparably simple as a Channel 1 episode. So again, I'm just blown away by how much you would've had to put into all this! I can't even imagine! Or, more accurate is that I can imagine, and am just blown away.

      And you did all the voices too, no? They were all pretty credible. Do you do acting outside of this? If not, then maybe look into it, man, because it seems to me like there's something there! :-)


  14. A little late to the party on this one, but I just wanted to say this was amazing! You clearly put so much work and love into this, I was smiling the whole time. This made me see that Mahjazz is up there with Golfjazz in terms of under appreciated genres of VGM. The only problem, of course, is the number of unknown composers. Though it doesn't surprise me due to the nsfw nature of many mahjong games. At least we can still listen to the tunes. Thank you for curating this list of super deep cuts, man!

    1. Thanks Goemonsama! Glad you liked it. Finding composers was a chore. I usually had to resort to saying the developer company name and ascribing credit to their sound team. I wish I had my own Electric Boogaloo.

    2. Oh, you can! Get on down to Pixelated Audio’s Discord server, and you’ll find him waiting on mouse and keyboard, ready to answer questions, suggest tracks, or respond to tracks with multiple tracks, nearly 24/7.

  15. Currently listening to this episode for probably the eighth or perhaps ninth time! Although, this time...I am playing Microsoft Mahjong! I have been playing Microsoft Solitaire Collection on Windows 10 whilst listening to the podcast more than a couple of times and I happened to see that Microsoft Mahjong was available for free download! Now, just like Yukiko and Yosuke, I now, have to started to play Mahjong like life, instead of just winning, I wish to enjoy the company of Mahjong.

    1. Wow! I'm glad to know I got so many repeat plays from someone besides myself. Welcome to the wonderful, sometimes smutty, but usually musically brilliant, world of mahjong!

  16. Over a year on, KJNG still reaches into my core and stirs up the feels. Like I said back then, it’s disruptive.

    I actually skipped over KJNG in my quest to re-listen to all the episodes of VGMJB. I’ve listened to it so many times, and it’s such a monumental work, that I figured I’d save it for later. But all the discourse on KJNG in subsequent episodes got me rethinking that decision. Then I read the comments on episode 101, where I included Jungle Tuber’s playing of “Delicious Pretty Girls Mahjong Solitaire” in my list of VGM that produces involuntary physical reactions.....I had to listen again, to see if the beauty of Mahjong Music still reached my old, stony heart.

    Of course it did. As soon as Jungle Tuber’s opening song comes on, my normally straight face broke into a wide, uncontrolled smile. Giddiness erupted from my guts like it has every time, and my eyes began to water from being so happy.

    But there is SO MUCH here to love. Like when he explains that through her unwavering support through JT’s training, Dr. Glyph had been more than a mentor, but also a friend. I heard that shortly after I listened to Keyglyph mention in a subsequent episode that she had been talking to JT throughout the creation of KJNG.

    Or at 1:33, when the audience chuckles at JT’s pun, which in turn, elicits an additional nervous chuckle from JT. Or when Jungle Tuber reacts to the name of the opening track by saying, “That’s kinda creepy; don’t be creepy, mahjong, alright....”

    Or the many little VGM-produced interstitial jingles. Or JT referencing banana-candy nostalgia with a news piece. Or the understated voices he used for the public radio personalities.

    KJNG is a beautiful feedback loop of VGMJB in the way that it distills and resounds all the best parts of the 100+ episodes of the show: The wonderful music and the sense of discovery from it; the quirky, creative fiction; the obsession over minutia; the sense of community built up over many episodes; and the nostalgia and memories created not only by the Patrons’ testimonials, and not only by the show, but by the Patrons responding to the Hosts responding to the Patrons.

    Having finished the episode again, one thing seems to be so blatantly obvious, that I can’t believe I missed it: JT, was it your intent all along to create KJNG as a metaphor for VGMJB?