A Local Perspective on Life in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.


By Avi Landau

Starting way back in the mid- 2000`s, the Tsukuba based band The TenGooz (of which I am a founding member) began informing its fans – in song- both at live performances and later on its cd`s, of how traditional rights and freedoms were being eroded in the U.S. under the administration of President George W. Bush.

I told audiences (yes, I am the front-man of the band) of how on a visit to the U.S. I had been asked to show some form of I.D. before I was sold a ticket for the train from New York to Philadelphia. It was an incident which had truly bowled me over- especially since I didn`t HAVE any I.D. on me at the time and couldn`t get on the train ! – about the state of things. I mean, imagine being asked to show identification when you buy a train ticket in Japan (or any other developed country).

I had also read several article in the New York Review of Books which described how certain U.S. government agencies were working on improving computer systems which could go through all telelphone and internet communications in the world searching for certain words or patterns. One of these articles informed readers that all the communicating going on at a particular time is referred to (by these agencies) as CHATTER.

I worked all the details of what I had read about- and experienced myself- into the lyrics of a song that I composed together with our brilliant bass-player Hase G (nee Nodoka Hasegawa). I appropriately called it: CHATTER

The song went over very well at our live shows- I especially remember one great Halloween gig we did for Tsukuba University students where the song was a hit.

Over the years, lots of people have talked to me about the song- its funky groove- AND its lyrics.


And then came the year 2013 and the Snowden Affair. So many people seemed truly surprised to hear that U.S. government was running programs to listen in on and go through the CHATTER created not only by enemies, but by its allies- and its own citizens, as well (though the whole affair could, of course, just be a very elaborate ruse to spread some sort of misinformation).


The only thing that surprised me about Snowden`s revelations was how surprised everyone seemed to be.

Long-time TenGooz fans contacted me telling me how the song was prophetic, though what I had done was only to put into lyrics what I had been reading about and experiencing. There was nothing very original about it- except for the fact that the TenGooz went out and actually sang about these things.

And since the time I had written the song, the NSA (National Security Agency) has become MUCH more proficient at its job of listening in on phone calls, reading emails, studying credit card statements and travel patterns- and through the GPS systems in our cell-phones:  the very paths we follow in our daily lives. According to Wire Magazine (the issue of March 15, 2012) this tremendous mass of data, which grows every second, will be housed in a huge, soon to be completed facility in Bluffdale. Utah.

So, once again, what I`m trying to say is that Snowdens revelations are not revelations- they are all things which have been reported on extensively over the past ten years.


I guess that these reports (by journalists of the highest caliber and integrity- NOT conspiracy theory mongers) were not as widely read as they should have been- and more importantly, our song NOT AIRED ENOUGH!

If you have not heard it, I have posted a link to it below- just under the lyrics.


G-Strings: an album by the Tsukuba based band- The TenGooz

G-Strings: an album put out by the Tsukuba based band- The TenGooz. Its sixth track, a song called CHATTER, was an attempt to tell the world at large of programs runs by the NSA and other U.S. agencies which were trying to go through as much of our telephone and internet communication as possble- YEAR`S before the Snowden Affair!


Here are the words.



CHATTER (lyrics by Avi Landau, music by Hase G and Avi Landau)



They`re trying to go through all the chatter

plying and sifting through all the data

E-mails, phone-calls, bank records……..

they`re checking what I borrowed with my library card !


They`re trying to go through all the chatter

flying helicopters going pitter-patter

the real danger remains at large

while thousands are held without being charged



I`m no longer sold

these days when I`m told

that we`re living in the Land of the Free…………


They`re trying to go through all the chatter

mighty databases gathering the data

what was taboo is now fair game…….

we`ve got to show I.D just to get on the train


Trying to go through all the chatter

midnight helicopters going pitter-patter

interrogators wanting to use more force

fly their prisoners off to foreign shores


I`m no longer sold

these days when I`m told

that we`re living in the Home of the Brave



They`re trying to go though all the chatter

sacred rights no longer matter

the voice of reason now restrained

while hate and fear are used to reign


GWB`s been a constitution bender

used a tragedy just to push through his agenda

taking away funds from arts and education

and spending it on better tools of devastation


I`m no longer sold

these days when I`m told

that we`re the leader of the civilized world……………..


copyright 2008  TenGooz

You can download the song for free here:


or just listen here (its track number 6)


The recording features the sax of the great Michael Frei ( who had been researching in Tsukuba)

the magical guitars of local artist, musician, teacher and businessman Thomas Mayers

and local musos

Hase G and A-Chan

I`m the one singing.

The TenGooz - A-Chan (drums) Thomas Mayers (guitars) Hase G (bass) and Michael Frei (saxes) and me- behind the lens- before a gig in the dressing room at Andex in Tsuchiura

The TenGooz – A-Chan (drums) Thomas Mayers (guitars) Hase G (bass) and Michael Frei (saxes) and me- behind the lens- before a gig in the dressing room at Andex in Tsuchiura


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