In 2002, Japan’s Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF, Motto: “There are some people I want to protect”) sent a brigade of engineers to East Timor to aid in the rebuilding after the chaos of the secession movement. Since this was the first time in a while for the SDF to do anything at all, the dispatch was kicked of with great fanfare.
As part of that effort, JGSDF Engineer Katayama Yoshio of the first wave of troops composed the following songs, which the Japanese government was nice enough to make available for download. Allow me to share:
“The Winds of East Timor” — They messed up the links on the site so that both the first and second songs link to the second song. But with my “elite skills” I magically changed the filename from “timor2.mp3” to “timor1.mp3” and PRESTO! all their base belonged to me. The sound? Picture a Muzak version of Southern Allstars crossed with the wussy background music to those public service announcements on Japanese TV.
“The Other Side of East Timor” — OK, now we’re getting intense. You thought East Timor was gonna be some walk in the park? Fuck you then. Every corporate instructional video or infomercial that I’ve ever scene probably had this for opening music.
“The Independence of East Timor” — Final Fantasy ending theme, Karate Kid ending theme, the music for the unveiling of a new car model, take your pick. Never before has Muzak sounded so triumphant. It’s as if to say: “May the East Timorese have a generic and cheesy future full of last-minute soccer goals and defeated bosses.”
“East Timor Jubilee” — Let’s party! Remember the parade song in Final Fantasy VII? This sounds JUST like that. Nobuo Uematsu may have a juicy lawsuit opportunity here. Listening to this makes me think the first thing East Timor did when they gained independence was have a nationwide conga line.
“The Dunes of East Timor” — OK, now we’re back to anime themes. Nothing more to say about the song, really, but I have to admire this guy’s use of a MIDI keyboard.
Don’t believe me? Listen for yourself!
In all honesty, these lame songs make a pretty apt soundtrack to Japan’s efforts in East Timor. They ignored the problem there for decades, instead opting to trade with the Indonesian government out of economic self-interest and (maybe) a belief in macro-economic assistance to raise living standards in other countries. The afterthought of an SDF dispatch is about as uninspired as these songs are, and about as sincere-looking as the guys holding hands at the top of the site.