Ayano Tsuji and her ukulele.
The Japanese music industry, dominated by J-pop and girl rock, can be fairly stifling. But there are alternatives, and one of them is a singer, songwriter and ukulele player named Ayano Tsuji. In high school, she loved folk music, but found her hands were too small to play guitar. So she turned to the ukulele.
Producer Robert Rand has a profile of a young artist who is bucking many trends, from her choice of instrument to her insistence on keeping Americanisms and Western influences out of her lyrics.
"If my songs were a motion picture, they would not be an action film," she says. "They would be a slow, typical love story, in which there is some happiness, and much pain. This reflects everyday life, and that's what I want."