World Sign
Vol. 51: The Rock Music Boom in Moscow

Although foreign travel is now commonplace, there are still relatively organized tours to Russia and the Baltic countries. The people accompanying me on this tour were all seasoned travelers, and I was surprised to see how many young men were taking part. Many were on their second or third trips. I asked one person what attracted him so much about Russia and he replied that the rock music was the main attraction. I was surprised to hear one young man say that the point of his visit was to get hold of compact discs that it was difficult to acquire in Japan. Despite the cold winds of recession blowing on Japan’s shores, there seem to be plenty of young people with no restrictions on their purse strings.

Indeed, the rock music boom in Russia appears to have really taken hold. On the day we arrived in Moscow, we got caught up in a rock concert being held in Manezh Square facing the Kremlin. As the drizzle pattered down, a group of young people blocked our path. A large music shop was decorated with unusual flashing neon sign as shown in the design of the compact disc in the center of the photograph.

The day we left Moscow, we heard news of the Russian financial collapse and the devaluation of the rouble. Our local guide looked most perturbed, wondering whether there was any future for her in this country. The enthusiasm for rock among young people would seem to provide an outlet for their frustration at this financial situation, which seems to offer no avenue of escape. Although Japan is in recession, we seem to be far more fortunate in comparison.

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