Two stories to start 2017…first, for Ethiopian Airlines in-flight magazine, I wrote about some of the best traditional Japanese hotels in Tokyo. Read that here, unless you find yourself on one of their flights sometime soon.

I also talked with a few of the artists in Japan who had big years in 2016, and asked them what they expected from 2017, for Metropolis.

Overall, Japanese music had a pretty good 2016. Heavy-metal-meets-cutesy-pop trio Babymetal continued charming listeners both at home and abroad, while fans of the golden age of J-Pop rejoiced when Hikaru Utada returned to the spotlight after a six-year hiatus. And perhaps you heard about Pikotaro? He had a pen, he had an apple…uh, something something.

But now the new year has arrived, and it’s time to look forward to 2017. We asked a handful of folks in the Japanese music scene who had a very good 2016 what they hoped to achieve in the coming 12 months…and what larger trends people should keep an eye out for (or, at least what artists are worth taking a listen to).

Read the rest here.