The Far East Wedding Cocktail Hour

This DJ had the fortunate experience to live and work in Japan during the 1990s.  The following cocktail hour playlist is inspired by my time spent in the Far East, reflecting the complex fabric of life in Japan that combines traditional and modern elements.  The playlist is deliberately heavy on ambient electronica, but takes on a more pop feel later in the set.  While the selections are focused on Japan, the list includes a delightful R&B track from the Thai artist “Groove Rider” – you don’t need to speak Thai to feel the good vibes.

For a signature drink, we’ve selected a glass of Suntory whiskey on the rocks.  This is a salute to actor Bill Murray who promoted Suntory in the movie “Lost in Translation” set in Japan.

Following the track list below is a link to a Spotify playlist.  Since not all songs were available on Spotify, we’ve included YouTube videos for the missing selections. Finally – enjoy a one hour continuous dance mix inspired by my time in Japan in the early 90s titled “The Osaka Mix Sessions” – it includes many of the songs from the playlist, as well as early 90s R&B.

The Far East Wedding Cocktail Hour – by DJ Gregg Ambient

  1.  Sakura, Sakura – Aiko Shimada (traditional song about cherry blossoms)
  2. Elegy – Mio Isayama
  3. Space Maker – Air
  4. Astral Projection – Tom Middleton
  5. Shinkansen – David Arkenstone
  6. Kyoto – Ferry Corsten
  7. Sukiyaki – A Taste of Honey
  8. Laserman – Ryuichi Sakamoto (see YouTube video below)
  9. Stop – Groove Riders (Thai artist) (see YouTube video below)
  10. Beautiful Life – Hikaru Utada (see YouTube video below)
  11. Say That You Love Me (AK Remix) – Francois K. and Eric Kupper (see YouTube video below)
  12. Harajuku Girls – Gwen Stefani
  13. Big in Japan – Alphaville
  14. Turning Japanese – The Vapors
  15. One Night in Bangkok (from “Chess” soundtrack) – Murray Head
  16. China Girl – David Bowie
  17. Mr. Roboto – Styx
  18. Nick and Masa (from “Black Rain” soundtrack) – Hans Zimmer
  19. Sayonara – Ryuichi Sakamoto

Spotify Playlist

YouTube Videos

Japan Dance Mix – The Osaka Mix Sessions

About Ambient DJ Service

Ambient DJ Service is mobile DJ entertainment company based in Central NJ and specializing in weddings.  To learn more about our services or for booking info, visit us at

The A List B-Side Wedding Cocktail Hour

For this episode of the wedding cocktail hour series, we’re excited to welcome guest blogger Darrell Gartrell.  Darrell is an author, entrepreneur, teacher and music lover.  Born in 1958 in Los Angeles, he was raised in a gang-ridden neighborhood.  Darrell re-invented himself in Japan where he launched an English language academy named Wisdom21.  At its pinnacle, Wisdom21 was a stunning success with over 800 students and multiple locations across Japan.  Darrell later owned and operated one of Japan’s only rhythm & blues clubs, “The Savannah Bar & Grill.”  You can read all about Darrell’s business and cultural adventures – as well as his musical influences in his 2016 memoir “21 Years of Wisdom – One Man’s Extraordinary Triumph in Osaka Japan“.

As per Darrell, “There are times when top 40 R&B just won’t do. For the true spinmaster with the discerning ear, feast your headphones on this sampling of some of the hottest B-side tracks in rotation over the past several years. Give yourself high marks if you can identify half of these tracks.  Your guests will thank you. And your score for being a top performer will elevate just like the unheralded tunes you discover here. “

For an accompanying signature cocktail, Darrell has selected his special recipe for a Black Russian – Kahlua, Milk and Hennessy.  Cheers!

For more information about Darrell and his book, visit

The A List B-Side Cocktail Hour – Compiled by Darrell Gartrell

  1. You Got Me Looking for Your Love – Adriana Evans
  2. It’s Your Body – Johnny Gill
  3. Lie About Us – Avant
  4. Tell Me – Bobby Valentino
  5. Love Me Back – Kenny Lattimore
  6. The Best of You – Andrea Martin
  7. Fiend – Jaheim
  8. Let Me Love You – Mario
  9. Lake By the Ocean – Maxwell
  10. Beautiful Girl – Kenny Lattimore
  11. Better Days – Joe
  12. Beautiful Surprise – Tamia
  13. Will He Ever Love Me Back – Nodesha
  14. Imagine Me – Kirk Franklin
  15. I’ll Make Love to You – The Braxton Brothers

The Spotify Set

note: we used a substitution for Adriana Evans as Darrell’s original pick was unavailable.

Bonus Content

Enjoy a visit back to Japan with this Osaka Sessions set mixed by DJ Gregg Ambient.  Gregg was an exchange student in Osaka during the early 1990s.  The Osaka connection was how he and Darrell became acquainted.