I thought about my yearly rankings and some past contests and decided that this time I want to come back to my old format (as presented HERE). As a teacher I know that everybody deserve some kind of a award (even if I have to try really hard to make them up).
I followed H!P this year without much enthusiasm for the music. There were a couple of nice surprises but overall nothing too spectacular. But I’ll try my best to show some appreciation.
The “I don’t hate it” Song Award goes to “Taiki Bansei” by ANGRYGERMS
Taiki Bansei has earned it’s award with a very catchy TAIKI BANSEI WOOO that Juice=Juice’s Senobi just couldn’t imitate. I think I didn’t hate it from the start. I might even say that I kinda liked it from time to time.
The “I’m not ashamed of your songs anymore” Song Award goes to “Tsugi No Kado Wo Magare” by Kyuuto
When was the last time that I could show a non-wota a C-ute song without any regrets?I tried with I Miss You because of the innovative nature of the MV but the song itself wasn’t so spectacular. With Tsugi no Kado C-ute went fierce and beautiful. You’ve earned the award.
The “Sounds the same *shrugs*” Song Award goes to the whole Morning Musume’15 discography
It’s a pity that H!P flag group didn’t provide much this year in terms of songs. When I think about the songs I see the white/pale blue background and hear the heavy EDM sounds. Mostly. And I don’t like it.
The “Nearly naked enough” MV award goes to “Tsudzuiteiku STORY” by JUSU IS JUSU
Fanservice galore. Do you hate it when H!P songs give you close ups and dance versions against a green screen? Why not have the same minus the dance shot but plus the nearly nakedness? Count me in.
The “Almost as pink as “Ookina Aide Motenashite” MV award goes to “Koi Doroubou” by Momoko Girls
I miss the cute level of “Ookina Aide Motenashite”. It’s the ultimate cuteness of the cutesy cuties. But Country Girls appeared with their retro cuteness and reclaimed colour pink. I love it!
There are still many more awards to give but let’s not be too lenient. Not everybody can get a trophy.
I might seem dissatisfied with H!P this year which is partially true but I’m still a fan. I still suport and adore all of them. I’m happy with new some of the additions and not really impressed with others.
But I will enjoy seeing them all grow. Sayumi started as a mildly annoying troll and suddenly she became a goddess.
I’m curious about 2016.
Happy New Year everybody!
I haven’t been blogging recently mostly because I was busy with my life as a respective teacher. It’s not my first year at teaching but my first year at a school that could offer me some stability and I really need that. It’s been tough but there’s a goal in 2016 that keeps me happy.
I will go to Japan.
The more I say it the more I start to grasp the full meaning behind the words.
I (not my friends, not the people whose reports I’ve been reading, not my sister AGAIN – it’s ME)
will (not maybe, not probably)
go (not read about, not watch the vids on Youtube)
to Japan (after waiting for so long)
I remember seeing my first H!P concert video on YouTube and thinking: Wow, seeing them live must be a blast! Look at all those people having fun. I can’t tell which concert was it. It was just a random search after discovering Morning Musume’s “Sakura Mankai”.
The number of girls was huge. They swarmed the stage, running around and smiling so radiantly. THEY had fun.
The costumes were wacky, colourful and simply perfect. It was pure eye candy.
The crowd was chanting in unison with such strenght. I had no idea what it all meant. But it looked so coordinated and fun. I wanted to learn the words and scream with them. They carried penlights with different colours which seemed to change when a girl was singing a long solo line.
It was an amazing spectacle. A festival of bright colours and energy.
I was always a fan of watching many people dance the same choreography at the same time. It was very eye catching. I admired the rhythm and it all seemed perfect.
I especially enjoyed the scenes when the girls ran around the stage and got to be close to their fans. You could feel the level of worship in the air.
I watched it transfixed. Everything appealed to me. I set up my dream to attend such a concert. This is going to happen. I went to the Berikyuu concert in Paris in 2014 and it was a perfect prelude. There’s still a need in me to see a H!P live. To see ALL of them. It may sound ignorant of me because Japan is a beautiful country that I’d love to explore but as far as I’m concerned I choose to focus on H!P related events my whole stay. Heck, I’d love to attend the same show for three weeks straight. It’s like a drug. I’ll see the Tokyo tower/other importart Japanese landmarks some other time, amirite?
2016 here I come!
There are some everyday annoyances that can ruin a good day. Forgetting an umbrella during a downpour, getting stuck in the traffic, listening to Koharu’s ‘Konnichi pa’ sober. But there’s just that one thing that always ruins your day. Getting stuck in the closet. No matter how loud you scream for help, there’s rarely anybody to hear you. You end up living there for a week until the postman comes with your latest e-lineup haul (consisting mostly of the trainees’ photos because you’re such a lollicon). So what can you do to make your flatmates slash family slash imaginary friends notice your absence? Luckily, you always carry a full set of speakers and your mp3 player with the 2015 songs by Hello!Project. Some of them are perfect for the occasion.
5. Kimi no Kawari wa Iyashinai by Morning Musume
To let the people know that you’re there you need a fast-paced song with some chanting and great vocals. This one is great for you. Oda and
Atsuko Maeda Riho are the vocal powerhouses that keep this song going. Suddenly you’re rooting for NIPPON NIPPON NIPPON NIPPON NIPPON. THEORY? IRONY? It doesn’t have to make sense, right? It’s loud, it’s strong, it’s enough to gain the attention.
4. The Future by C-ute
C-ute these days provides us with many powerful songs (that usually include either hip thrusting or butt groping. Not that I’m complaining.) In 2015, one of those had a particular hook that brings the boys to the yard, or in this situation to the closet. I’m talking about DE FIUUUUTCHEEEEEER *the sounds of a strangled kitten*. Your windows won’t stand the chance. Neither will the ears of the people within the 20 km radius. Somebody is bound to come the rescue for the sake of your FIUUUUTCHEEEEEER.
3. Mystery Night by S/mileage
How can you lure somebody to help you? How about with a group of girls promising them a Mystery Night (it already sounds like a condom brand, doesn’t it?)? Bingo. There are a couple of useful bits in this song. One most prominent is the ‘Come on, come on, come on, come on’ part which sounds exactly like a person banging on the door. I can easily imagine myself pounding on the relentless wood of my closet and screaming “Come on!”. On the other hand, you can always switch back to seducing if you finish the phrase differently e.g. Come on my (any body part would do *shrugs*). I bet somebody would actually come to rescue you if you yell that one with enough ‘Sayu from It’s you’ type of charm.
2. Oheso no Kuni Kara Konnichiwa
GREETINGS FROM BELLYBUTTON LAND GREETINGS FROM BELLYBUTTON LAND GREETINGS FROM BELLYBUTTON LAND GREETINGS FROM BELLYBUTTON LAND GREETINGS FROM BELLYBUTTON LAND GREETINGS FROM BELLYBUTTON LAND GREETINGS FROM BELLYBUTTON LAND GREETINGS FROM BELLYBUTTON LAND GREETINGS FROM BELLYBUTTON LAND GREETINGS FROM BELLYBUTTON LAND
You just can’t play this song without your rabid flatmates barging through the door to suffocate you and annihilate the source of this ear-raping music. If they want to do it, they would have to free you from the closet first. That’s a win-win situation right there.
1. Eli, Eli Lema Sabachtani from the Lilium musical
That’s the blast you’ve been looking for. It starts quite innocently but then the pure power of the girls voices, the magnificence of the instruments worthy being the soundtrack of some epic battle (orcs vs elves, Riho vs Ayumi dance off, Kanon vs food) can break the doors of your closet. Nobody can stay immune to the glory of this song. Your whole neighbourhood would flood your flat searching the source of this epic vocal performance. (some of them to perform exorcisms I presume) Perhaps the power if this song lies in pure numbers of the vocalists. Nevertheless, the song would definitely do the trick.
It just can’t be helped. The time has come to finally clean those bricks. Your family glares at you every time they catch a glimpse of the sticky dirt covering your brick collection. It’s true, you hid it well in the oven but you just have to face the fact that it needs to be cleaned. Not really happy with the idea, you put the bricks in the washing machine. There’s still the problem of that repetitive thudding noise that will inevitably alarm your neighbours. You really don’t want to deal with their questions so you decide to find some Hello!Project songs to mask the pesky sounds. You’re quite lucky because Tsunku was quite generous in 2014 to provide you with some appropriate choices.
5. Berryz Koubou ‘Ai wa Itsumo Kimi no Naka ni’
You love this song so much. You can probably sing it by heart right now. Every time that brick hits the metal there’s one “Ai’ in the lyrics. Everybody knows that love never makes love above love. Like seriously. Have you ever seen love that makes love above love? Me neither. The only drawback is that this song with it’s steady rhythm can’t mask the spinning program very well.
4. Morning Musume’14 ‘TIKI BUN’Do you want to mix the sexiness with the brick washing? No problem at all. We’ve got the cheeky buns that repeat themselves often enough to match the noise of your washing. You can even sit on the machine and enjoy the vibrations while singing along: ‘cheeky bun, cheeky bun’. Oh yeah…. Who’s your cheeky bun? Who’s your cheeky bun?!
3. Morning Musume ‘Password is 0’
Well, you could probably play the whole Message album by Morning Musume, right? It’s full of electro bashing that blends well with the dull thuds of your washing machine. But you can’t just play it at random. What about Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe? Just imagine going through a rinsing program when this song starts playing. ‘Password is 0’ is so much better. The ‘ZERO’s are repeated often enough to do their job. There’s a rumour that with every repeated ZERO one child is given a bun. Go on, feed the world.
2. Juice=Juice ‘Senobi’Breathe, breathe. I know it’s gonna be hard but you have to bear it with me. Yes, I know that you absolutely hate this song but look on the bright side, neighbours will probably hate it even more. No, I have no idea how many ‘WOAH’s can cause a mental illness, go ask Momoko, she’s been through a few. But the steady rhythm of woahs repeated bazillion times can easily muffle those bricks! It’s a sacrifice you should be willing to make.
1. Berryz Koubou ‘1-Oku 3-Senman Sou Diet Oukoku’
This is exactly how washing bricks in a washing machine sounds with autotune! This is THE song, believe me. Now you can simply relax while Berryz Koubou will do their best to cover all possible brick sounds with their WOWs, ONEGAIs, NENGARANENJUUs and basically every word that is on constant loop in this song. Let the neighbours know that the last night’s buffet dinner was too much on your stomach. You’re an honest person. Let them know that you can just run it off later and eat some more afterwards. It’s somehow connected to the fact that you want to be in love, you’re dead and you want to do good things for the world because of reasons. Yep. That’s the perfect choice.
Yes, finally another countdown. I really like those. Everybody’s busy making their Top of 2014 lists but I thought I’d do something a bit different (and probably do my Top of 2014 list later ==).
Hello!Project has many amazing songs that are rather too old or need a bit more time on one’s mp3 player to gain more acknowledgement among fans. I hope that you’ll find something nice for yourself or relive some good oldies you might have once listened to *sniff*.
The order is completely random.
Smile Bijin by S/mileage
It’s not so old but still there’s nearly not enough buzz around this great song. Lyrics are pretty random. The usual broken-hearted teenage angst. So what’s so ear-catching about it? The beginning. It makes you think of Yume miru 15, which was an EPIC song on its own. I highly recommend it!
subbed by amazing StillCrypticShadow8
I know by Matuura Aya
I’m not a huge Aya fan although I appreciate her amazing vocals and pure idol perfection. She’s just not my favourite. A bit too cheesy with earlier singles and a bit too mature with later ones. However, I know is so catchy that you just can’t help yourself with those Oh yeahs. I’d love to dance with her during a live performance.
Dekoboko Seventeen by W(double u)
Sighs. Aibon, my sweet Aibon. Lyrics combined with the very serious beat do not match at all but so what. I just love this seriousness. Very rare in idol songs. Their voices blend so well together. I’m always happy to watch any newer renditions of this song.
Kuchibiru Kara Ai wo Choudai by v-u-den
Those times when we all thought that v-u-den is the stupidest group name ever. Well, Tsunku likes to prove us wrong. But to get back to the song, again music doesn’t match the lyrics at all. But if you firget about the stupid meaning it’s an epic, aggressive song in which I forget how horrible all three of the vocalists sound.
Sweets →→→live by C-ute
I was never Kanna’s fan (were there any?) and Chisato needed more time to grow on me. Back then, with the LOVE escalation album, she was just a tomboy with a strange face and strong voice. The song was an instant favourite for me not because of the girls but purely because of the catchy melody. It’s really non-explainable.
Renaitte Nani? by Kago Ai
Well, with this one it’s a bit tricky. Aibon is my all time favourite and this might have biased my choice a tiny bit. Would I claim it’s a great song? Yes *coughmaybecough*. Would I claim that the lyrics are meaningful? Kinda *coughNOTcough*. Oh, just give it a try! Isn’t she the most adorable thing ever?!
Da Di Du De Do Da Di by Morning Musume
Don’t look at me like that! I know the title is ridiculous. I know the lyrics are random at best but it’s a really warm song designed for many idols to sing together and just hug and kiss a lot. Solo version of this sing just don’t work well for me. Even Aibon’s version is not so appealing to me. It’s nice but not great.
Do Don Ga Don Ondo by C-ute Erika Umeda (mainly)
*hands up* Don’t shoot! It’s not my fault this song is so unbelievably catchy. It’s silly, it’s nonsensical, it’s Erika Umeda’s disastrous vocals but I LOVE it. We need more of this song live. I bet Chisato would pull it off so well.
Zettai Tokeru Mondai X = ❤ by Matsuura Aya
This song gives me so much good energy. Just imagine yourself jumping with the crowd and chanting GO ON! GOING TO GO! Sheesh, this song is just plain stupid. But it’s pure win. There’s something very infectious about it that makes me smile and want to run and I swear to God I hate running.
with a surprise appearance at the end…
Love da*yo Darling by Kusumi Koharu
Another silly, over the top, nonsensical song for little girls that I really enjoy. It’s the perfect example of the famous Koharu’s spazz. She might be a lousy singer, a mediocre dancer but as an entertainer she’s the one you’re looking for. This is the spazztastic anime-mode-on Koharu that you either love or begrudgingly admit that even Momo is less annoying.
Anything you’d like to add? 🙂
1. The first time I actually played a Morning Musume MV to my friends because I was so proud of the girls. (It was Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe and as much as the song is not my favourite single I can’t stop admiring the music video.)
2. The first time I bought official H!P goods. (I love you, my sweet pink muffler towel. I wanna have your babies.)
3. The first time I genuinely cried at a graduation concert. ( How could I not cry when Sayu broke down while fighting to keep the smile on her face? That was her big moment and the injury stopped her from giving her everything into the performance. That moment when the lights went out just before other members were supposed to congratulate her because she couldn’t stand on her own was too much. I even took part in a tribute vid https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUD4zo18UFI&feature=youtube_gdata_player)
4. The first time I cried from happiness countless time during one day. (There are no words. Japan Expo was the happiest experience of this year if not of my entire life.)
6. The first time I felt what it means to be a fan. (It’s one thing to like your idol’s music, but it’s another thing to cheer for them live.)
7. The first time I understood the pain of losing one’s oshi. (Neither Sayumi nor any member of Berryz Koubou is my oshi but only meeting fellow fans, seeing their love for their oshis and then hearing of their loss made my truly understand what it means. I will never speak lightly of this matter.)
9. The first time I attended an H!P concert. (I hope it’s not the last time because I had the blast of the lifetime.)
12. The first time I learnt the chants. ( I watched the tutorial videos and rocked those Ois and HAHAHAs.)
13. The first time I could feel absolutely free. (Is there anything more beautiful to take part in a strange ritual that includes specific clothes, lights, colours, arm movements, shouts and music? I don’t think so. Being able to scream, laugh, cry and dance with people who knew EXACTLY what you feel is freeing.)
16. The first time I met my favourite bloggers in real life. (While planning my JE trip I read though my fellow bloggers’ acounts of previous Expos. I’ve came across a sweet story of love between two people, two fans of Hello Project. Would I imagine meeting those two in Paris? Nope. Would I think they would turn out to be the sweetest people ever? Would I imagine meeting another famous blogger who turned out to be a raging alcoholic just as I imagined him to be? :P)
17. The first time I did the Yurushite Nyan with Momoko. (It’s the guilty pleasure of 2014.)
19. The first time I used Twitter. (Now I know where the other fans dwell. And I thought H!O wa sthe only place out there.)
20. The first time I came out of an idol closet at a convention. (Another freeing moment for me. I wore that Berikyuu T-shirt with much pride.)
21. The first time I regretted an idol group to have changed its name from a mildly irritating one to complete WTF. (I’m just full of anger. And germs.)
22. The first time I felt the world is not such a big place after all. (If you meet people from around the world you feel that money plus an aeroplane can get you everywhere. It was my first flight as well so it was a new thought.)
24. The first time I was mentioned in an idol’s blog. (http://ameblo.jp/orange-port/image-11896789216-13008133807.html Dear Orange Port, I love you so much and hope you’ll gain more and more fans. You’ve got one in me already.)
26. The first time I spoke some basic Japanese and was praised for the quality of it. (Pooru dansu muzukashikatta desska? Damn, I was so proud of myself. )
27. The first time I saw my oshi live. (Again, no words to explain this feeling. She’s just a young adult doing her job. I’m older than her. She could have been my student! Yet, I felt timid, sheepish and utterly blessed while interacting with her. It wasn’t the everyday Suzuki Airi, a girl from a different country. It was a true idol.)
28. The first time I felt like moving to France. (You French people are so lucky to have the Japan Expo! I want to move there! Why not Japan? Tempting, but I think the cultural differences are too strong.)
29. The first time I felt good with the way I look. (Have you seen me in the wig? Fab.)
30. The first time I was interviewed. (I still can’t believe it. The girls have seen the DVD as well. I’m right before the very end so even if they fast forwarded to their own interview they might have seen me :D)
Happy New Year!
Some time ago I tweeted about me making a panel about Hello!Project at a Polish Manga/Anime/Fantasy convention. I was excited but at the same time quite anxious. There aren’t many Polish fans out there and it isn’t considered “cool” or “trendy” to listen to Japanese idols in general. I bet it’s similar in your country, isn’t it? It’s silly but even people who are considered by majority (the so called mainstream) to be childish and weird (like Manga&Anime lovers, or fantasy readers) think that YOU are stupid for listening to jpop. I just don’t get it. When you’re a fan of something or somebody, especially of something that isn’t mainstream, you’re supposed to be a little but more understanding of other fans.
From where I stand it must be something in our human condition (woah, it’s getting deep guys) to enjoy one thing and hate people who enjoy something else. How can you explain that a girl squealing at a naked chest of another Korean boysband member is belittling a fan squealing at a nearly naked chest of Kikkawa Yuu in her new photobook?
Move along ppl, there’s nothing here to see.
I don’t think I will ever truly understand it. But that’s how it is. And this particular convention already has some tensions between its own members that is the Manga&Anime fans and the fantasy fans. Both groups think they are by far superior. With the hatred and misunderstandings in the air I thought it was the perfect place to share the love for kawaii idols bouncing around in frilly skirts and singing about love, dreams and the fact that earth is a fucking dangerous planet (thanks EcoMoni!). You can imagine how scared I was but knew I at least have to try to make them understand the appeal. After long conversations with Morningtime I felt a bit more equipped with arguments against such statements as:
– idols are just products manufactured by greedy managers
– they don’t have a talent and many of them (if not all) can’t sing
– their songs are stupid and weird
– fans of idols are morons
I’ll tell you how it went in a moment. There were many aspects of the panel I needed to settle. Firstly, the main topic of my panel. Talking just about Hello!Project (although tempting) was out of the question since there are so many fascinating aspects of Japanese idols I would have to omit. I decided to have two panels. The first one would be about Japanese idols in general and the second one specifically about Morning Musume as the flag group of Hello!Project.
Wearing my Berikyuu concert T-shirt from Japan Expo, I entered the room bearing the merchandise I now happily own, a pendrive with lots of PVs, concert clips and a Power Point presentation. I was relieved to see that there were people waiting for me. About 16 of them. It might seem like a small number but compared to the size of the whole convention that was BIG for me. It turned out that only two people there had no idea what idols in Japan looked like. The rest at least saw an idol once and some of them even considered themselves to be fans so YAY for me 🙂 One of them was actually a freshly made Morning Musume fan so double YAY for me. Unfortunately there were also two (totally convinced of their greatness) fans of AKB48 as well. Don’t get me wrong, I just think that those two weren’t the best representatives of an idol fan. I’m at least tolerant against different fans. Let’s just say that at the end of the panel they were deeply disappointed and angry with me 😀
I talked for nearly an hour so let me summarise some points I made (which are my own opinions and I don’t see myself as an expert on the matter):
– idols are products manufactured by greedy managers and their fans are fully aware of it. It’s the matter of embracing is as an idea. In Western countries we value individuality, indie records and independence in public but at the same time listen to singer/bands being the very opposite of that. Sometimes, we try to defend them by saying : Well, yea she does sing about her ass but she’s a very intelligent and artistic soul that writes her own music so GTFO. Japanese idols aren’t pretending to be something that they’re not. So why not enjoy the perfect product?
I think that was a ground-breaking idea for ppl in the crowd at the panel. The deflation of arguments was almost tangible 😀 They all went : oooh when I said it.
– idols are supposed to be cute, pure and entertaining. It seems obvious to us but non-fans tend to forget the fact that idols are about entertainment. Not as much about music. It’s quite shocking isn’t it? It doesn’t mean that music isn’t important but many idol songs (most of them) are made as crowd pleasers. They have silly lyrics, strong hook and easy to follow chants and arm movements. You don’t go to an idol concert to enjoy the brilliant notes. You go there to have fun and boy what fun it is.
– idol groups have many members specifically to appeal to as many people as possible. An idol will adopt an “idol chara” to make herself different from her fellow idols. Nobody in the right brain will think that they are like that everyday in their free time. It’s just a role they take for entertainment of their fans. It doesn’t mean that this role has to be completely different from their own personality. On the contrary, they just emphasise they’re own charms. Sometimes it can get a tiny bit annoying …..
…. but after meeting her live I get to say she’s just freaking great at being an idol. When some other girls where sitting there and smiling she took the initiative to interact with us and that was the best thing ever. Respect helium princess. Respect.
It leads me to the next point
– idols are supposed to make their fans happy because the industry understood that the “I’m too good for you” attitude won’t give them moneyz. Okay, we’ll complain that the companies are just too good at taking our money but at the same time they give us plenty opportunities to meet/touch/talk/shout at/interact with them. Can you do that with Beyonce? When was the last time Beyonce stood at the table and let her fans give her a handshake and speak to her? I love it about idols and I think my audience was pretty impressed by it. Well handshakes are great for fans. Not so sure about the idols’ true feelings…
It’s just a summary of the things I mentioned but it’s the most important stuff we established there. And they understood. They really did and it was amazing. You might want to argue that it’s a generalization because: not all idols are like that, many songs are just amazing and I listen to them constantly so fuck you etc. And I agree but at the same time the very bottom of idol industry (IMO) consists of those points I mentioned. It was important to establish that so we can appreciate the variety, the music, the talents of individual girls without false assumptions about them. That’s how I feel and that’s what I’ll stand for. It’s merely a tip of an iceberg in an idol industry discussion (there are many great articles out there ppl and I recommend reading them) so this was my small input in it.
There’s not much I can say about the other panel because it was late and my audience consisted of non-fans that were really reluctant to attend my panel. They weren’t the people from my previous panel so I didn’t have the time or energy to explain my idol theories once again. I focused on Morning Musume/Hello!Project trivia to keep them interested plus I tried to appeal to them with modern Momusu electro sound (which wasn’t so successful ==”). It was a fun panel but nothing more and nothing less.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with myself and can’t wait for more possibilities to spread the love.
Next time, I’ll bring more idol nudity.