Chronic Illness, Writing

Lesson 9: Whatever it Takes

When I fully recover from what ails me, I will credit at least 10% of my recovery to Japanese pop music.

J-pop is the aggressively upbeat artificial sweetener of the music world. I was in college the first time I heard it, and there was something about it that stuck with me.

You know, like candy.

My love of J-pop resurfaced this winter as I slogged through a particularly rough period of illness. That’s when I first heard Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.

kpp dance

I’m not a music critic and won’t try to describe her sound, but here’s a taste:

“Kyary is like listening to cotton candy, and watching rainbows explode; your ears can taste the sugary goodness of the bubblegum pop queen.”


On my best days, I would listen to her music while cooking, driving, or doing chores. It was like a little boost of happiness and a reminder that life is good.

On my worst days, listening to Kyary Pamyu Pamyu would bring me just above the edge of despair. At the very least, it would help me develop a sense of total cosmic absurdity.

Absurdity is still better than despair.

I feel no shame at listening to this weird, artificial pop music. It’s not the only thing I listen too, and my dog and husband thank me for that.

It has gotten me through some pretty bad times, and I’m grateful for it.


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