Thursday, December 30, 2010

S/mileage wins "Best New Artist" award!!


*sniffle* oh happy days! My babies won the Japan Records award :D SQUEE!!

Following in C-ute's footsteps from three years ago, S/mileage follows up their kick-ass debut with the much-coveted Best New Artist award. They had some really tough competition from SNSD, so I'm super stoked that they won the award. The girls have had a great year--four singles, a fantastic (I do say so, thanx!) debut album, and all kinds of promotion through anime, Oha Girl, Bijou Gaku....the list goes on.

I'm so stoked for them. I hope they keep being awesome, because they are the future of Hello! Project. Like, for reals. Anyway, here's the announcement and their performance of "Yumemiru 15sai." Kanon's reaction is SO CUTE!! And it looks like Ayaka might just grow into this whole leader business after all :P

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

So how about that new year?

How old will you be in 2011?
24. Damn, I feel old.

If you could pick one famous person to be emulate in 2011, who would it be?
Takahashi Ai. She always has genuine kindness in her heart for all people, and she's incredibly beautiful and talented. I need more of that.


What's something you're not so great at that you'd like to work on this year?
Baking. I love making breads and cookies, but I always seem to wander off, do something else and forget about it. Maybe I can learn focus this year. I wouldn't mind improving my drawing skills, either...dammit I wanna draw a turian!

(Namely THIS turian.)

Biggest goal?
To finally move out of Laramie. I hope I can accomplish that, and all the things it entails.

What's something you'd like to learn how to do?
I really wanna learn quilting. I want to make quilts, even though I know quilting is a VERY expensive hobby.

What's one bad habit you'd like to break this year?
Biting my nails and being a scrappy bitch on the internet.


What was the most significant thing that happened to you in 2010?
Realizing I needed to go back for my second bachelor's degree. That changed a lot of things.

What's one thing you could have done better this past year?
Worked on my fear of asking people for things.

What's one big thing you'd like to save up for this year that has nothing to do with necessity?
A trip to Japan. And photobooks.

What was your most visible deadly sin in 2011?
Pride. Oh god.

The least?
Eh, I was a fan of all seven, but I think lust, sadly, takes the cake. Booooooo.

What was your most visible heavenly virtue?
Chastity. I think it was the only one I exhibited.

The least?
Patience.

What was your favorite video game of 2010?
Mass Effect 2, OFC!!! Fallout: New Vegas came in a moderate second.

Favorite song of 2010?
"moonlight" by moumoon. I wish I could also think of one stateside, but I don't really keep up with it.


moumoon - moonlight (PV)
Uploaded by masa37610. - See the latest featured music videos.

Favorite movie of 2010?
Megamind. It was cute :P

Favorite cool celebrity happening of 2010?
S/mileage's major debut. And Natalie Portman being preggo is another one. Oh, those genes won't go to waste after all *heart*


What are you looking forward to most this year?
Getting my second useless humanities degree, getting out of Laramie, Captain's photobook :P

What's one fun thing you're going to do in 2011?
Being the maid of honor in my best friend's wedding. I don't really think I deserve to be, but it's super-awesome anyway =^_^=

What's one thing you used to enjoy, but haven't been doing lately, that you would like to pick up again this year?
Piano. God do I miss that. I wanna be as good as this girl here.



Play a song for one person you'll miss in 2011.
This song helps me not miss you. Peace be with you always.



Play a song for one person you're glad entered your life in 2010.
Mehehehe.....

Sometimes you gotta get personal. Let's talk about ME!!


Sometimes, it's gotta be all about me. So screw all you people...it's all about ME today!! (I kid, I kid :P Kinda. ;) )

I've been doing a lot of thinking about new year's resolutions and such. Yeah, new year's resolutions are kind of an outdated and stupid concept--we never can seem to keep them, and they don't usually have a lot of thought behind them. They've come to be a cultural platitude perpetuated by magazines and religion. The phrase doesn't mean anything anymore...

So we should change it.

The word "resolution" is a noun--something that is immutable, unchanging and complete. It doesn't move, create, or destroy. It just kinda....sits there.

But what about the verb form, "resolve?"

To resolve to do something means to make a commitment, to take action, and ultimately, to change one's current circumstances. When one is resolved, they aren't sitting on their couch waiting for good fortune to come to them. They're out and doing it, even when it's hard. That's been my biggest struggle over the past year--the going has been extremely tough, and there have been many times when I've surrendered to the depression that comes with economic-recession-induced failure.

People sometimes need to surrender to it for a bit just to get all the drama and irrationality out of their system. This is a good thing!! It's also something I've been getting much better with. The drama kind of comes and goes now, and I hope I can keep this up. The key is not to hang on to it and let it affect the rest of one's mojo. And that's what has brought me down.

On one hand, it's extremely ignorant of people to say things like "Buck up" or "Well, just get out there and change your life!" to people who have experienced several setbacks and still feel depressed about them. This feeling is natural, and needs to be expressed. But on the other hand, we need to move on eventually, and there are many ways to do this.

And this is where my resolve/resolving comes in. I don't want to allow myself to feel more drama and depression than I need to. And there are a few things I have in mind to bring in positivity for the new year.

#1: More yoga!!!!

This year, I've finally been introduced to the joy of yoga, and I don't want to give it up. A very generous soul gave me the opportunity to attend a yoga class she teaches--for the low, low price of FREE (+ community service)!!!!

I'm so thankful this happened to me--it's helping me to get out of the house and move more--which is good, because I need to lose weight. I know keeping a healthy attitude about one's body also helps people lose weight, but I won't lie--I absolutely LOATHE my body. HATE it. I miss my pre-college pre-rent pre-roommate-scuffle pre-WOW pre-family-drama pre-yadda yadda body. It was great. However, so is yoga :P Hopefully the brain-shift will come with more yoga.

#2: More dancing!!!!

I have been slacking off on my booty shaking this year (in more ways than one, but that's another discussion for...never :P ). If it weren't for "Dance de BaCOON!" coming out, I'm not sure I would have learned many dances at all this year. But fear not, my beloved idols--I will not forsake you and your super-fun choreography again!! I think I'll venture into the world of Kpop dances too...though it might kill me. Namely THIS one:



#3: Less Facebook!!!!

Facebook--great way for me to connect with friends, but right now, for me and my life, the shininess stops there. Facebook brings out the scrappy bitch in me, particularly when something stupid happens in politics and I break out the four-letter-words to describe my feelings on the subject. I don't want that anymore. It's caused a lot of my family to think (wrongly so) that I'm nothing but negative, and I'm sick of that. So, no more political posts for me. I like science news better anyway.

The other thing over-use of Facebook has made me realize about myself is that I make too many comparisons between my life and that of others. I have a lot of awesome friends who are out and doing it, politically active, smart and successful, no matter whether they're in college or out. Seeing how awesome they are really makes me feel, well, NOT awesome at all. I don't do many of the things they do, and not nearly as well. But I have other things. Other skills. Hopefully this year, I can use them to my advantage, and learn to stop comparing myself to other people. Cutting back on Facebook time, as silly as it seems, will be good for my soul.

#4: More money!!!!

This year, for me, has been fraught with failed interviews and dead applications. The last job I applied for, I spent hours polishing my resume and working on the perfect cover letter. I even had my mom help me with interview questions...and I STILL didn't get the job. I'd really been hoping for this job--it was in my field, and I'd had an entire summer of flipping burgers and volunteering at SAFE to get the skills I needed. I was qualified, but I still didn't get it.

But I have to keep looking. I have bills to pay, and I don't have the luxury of having a family who can help me when I need it. And I DESPERATELY want to get out of Laramie. It's suffocating me. However, I'm going to have to settle for something, and any way this works out, it will help. I just hope I don't have to go back to flipping burgers again. So, it's night classes and a day job for me (I hope).

#5: No more political blogs!!!!

Pick one: sociopolitical shenanigans and bullshit with a side of high blood pressure, or news and pictures about your favorite Jpop idols. Yeah, that's what I thought :P

I've been a big fan of most of the STFU blogs on Tumblr for quite some time now. There is a lot of utility in knowing about the injustices going on the world, but anymore, there is no room for civility in political discussions, even on the STFU blogs. I'm tired of being pissed off after exiting my reader, and I'm tired of being appalled at how no one, be they "conservative" or "liberal," "progressive," or "tebagfuckwit," "moderate" or just "on the fence," can compromise or get along. I'm tired of rabid Evangelicals spewing their hate, and I'm tired of rabid Dawkins/Hitchinsian atheists spewing their hostility toward all people who have some kind of spiritual belief in their life. I interact with both crowds, so I get my fill of all this BS without reading political blogs.

What would I rather read? Check out my blogroll. There's a lot of tea, jpop and food over there :P

#6: More of all things happy--my idols, my Burn Notice, my music, my cooking, my body back, my friends, my family.

C'mon. Best resolve ever, right? :P











Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010 in review: Kpop songs that kick serious butt


I'm not as big of a Kmusic fan as I am of Japanese stuff. There are some groups I just can't get enough of, while there are others that just need to disappear.

2010 was an extremely annoying year for Kpop. It seemed like 5,000,000,454,000,642illion groups debuted, and hardly any of them were worth a damn. But there were a couple that stood out, and a couple that got even better. I don't have as much to say about these groups--maybe I'll make that one of my New Years' resolutions.

Here's my top 10 songs for 2010:

#10: Bbiribbom Bberibbom-Coed School

These newcomers rock my world right now. It's nice to see a mixed group, and a talented one at that. This song is very eccentric, but still awesome.




#9: Lupin--KARA

Oh man, I though these girls would never come back! How pleasantly surprised I was! KARA is one of the few Kpop groups who consistently puts out good stuff--even album tracks. (Yeah, the last album wasn't perfect, but it was still pretty good.) KARA kicked off the "sexy in black" shtick, and I still think they did it best.



#8: Lucifer--SHINee

Oh, dear SHINee, please keep releasing tracks like this and stop with the crappy ballads. PLEEEEEEEEEEZE OH PLEASE!! Great release from a great dance group.



#7: I My Me Mine--4minute

Mmm...fierce and addictive. And epic dance soloage.



#6: Thrill Love--f(x)

I didn't even find out about this digital single until months after it came out, but I'm glad I did. I hope f(x) does more this coming year (we miss you, Amber!!), because they are so fresh and fantastic. I can't say there's a thing they've done so far that I don't like. Definitely my favorite Kpop group, and I hope they can do well if they release something in Japan.

Anyhoo, have a listen. I wish I could find an actual MV for this.



#5: Hurricane Venus--BoA

It's impossible not to include BoA's first Korean release in 5 years in this countdown. The queen of Kpop is back, and holy cow, is she still awesome. (Love all those ear piercings, too!) I played this song so much I think my partner wanted to punch me :P



#4: Run Devil Run--Girls' Generation

This is by far my favorite release the Soshis have ever put out. The choreography is great, as usual, and the song is addictive. The song itself is actually a Ke$ha creation, but someone at S.M. saw SNSD in the song, and purchased the rights from Ke$ha. The results were awesome.



#3: Bbi Ri Bba Bba--Narsha

Narsha of the Brown Eyed Girls gets all anti-nun and dark in this one...love it! This song really shows off Narsha's vocal ability, and the instrumental is very unique and unexpected. It always reminds me of Xenosaga now because I spammed this song while I was playing the first game for what must be the fifth time now.



#2: Breaka, Shaka--Kangta

*droool* maaaaaan cannnndddyyyy....hawt beats....maaaaaaaaannn caaaaaanddddyyy...



#1: Mr. Boogie--f(x)

Ok ok, I know this isn't a single, but...but...BUT IT SHOULD BE!!!! *rawr* This is the best track off their first album. It's impossible to get bored listening to it. Impossible. This song is proof that f(x) is one of the best things in the Kmusic world right now.





HONORABLE MENTIONS:

1 Bonamana-Super Junior
2 Breathe-Miss A
3 Oh!-Girls' Generation
4 HuH-4minute
5 Madonna-Secret
6 Clap your Hands-2NE1
7 Too Late-Coed School
8 Bang!-After School
9 Copy and Paste-BoA
10 Nu ABO-f(x)

2010 in review: J-pop singles that rocked my world


Now that the new year is almost upon us, it's time to look back at 2010--a great year for great singles everywhere (unless you're Berryz Kobo or Morning Musume, but hey, we all have crappy years). This year introduced me to a lot more great music, including AKB48, whom I'd never really gotten into before this year.

So, let's start the countdown!

#10: "Kirari☆" -- Tokyo Girls' Style

I am so excited for this group. They released 4 great singles this year, and are about to release yet another, which will be sure to put them over the top. Out of all their singles, "Kirari" was my favorite. Fun dance moves with a great message that I, for one, REALLY needed to hear this year.



#9: "Emerald"-- Becky♪♯

Newcomer Becky♪♯ is fantastic. She looks like Isabella Rosselini's twin sister from a parallel universe, and her music was always fresh and amazing all this year. She got so much attention that she was asked to appear on the soundtrack for the Japanese version of "How to Train Your Dragon" (one of my favorite movies EVARRRR). Love her, and I can't wait to see more.

Watch the video/listen to the song here.

#8: "Sakura no Shiori"--AKB48

Once in a while, musicians need to experiment. Sometimes those experiments pay off, as AKB48 found out this year. AKB48 experimented with many different styles and genres this year, and I personally loved the choral gorgeousness that was "Sakura no Shiori." As much as I dig most idol music, change is good sometimes.



#7: "Oshare my Dream"--Ogawa Mana

NICE GIRL Project...Tsunku's side-project...the stepchild of Hello! Project...surely there can't be anything goo....WHO THE HELL IS THAT GIRL?!?!?!

That was basically my reaction upon discovering NGP and Ogawa Mana earlier this year. Mana seems to blend into the background in Canary Club, but oh damn does she have an incredible set of pipes on her! Mana and Risako released a single together in October for the anime they both provide voices for, and Mana's song is just awesome...I could listen to her voice all day.

Check it out, and then run off to buy all of Mana's music and her photobook. DO IT!!



#6: "Dance de BacOON!"--C-ute


My leading ladies...back and kicking ass again! HOORAY! You'd be surprised at how easy this dance is to learn--it's just a bit of a workout. Love this song, and I hope they release more songs like this.



#5: "Otakebi Boy WAO!"--Berryz Kobo

I don't know why, but I am still crack addicted to this song. Best thing Berryz has put out all year. It's fun freaking my partner out when I do the dance moves while driving. :D



#4: "Beginner"--AKB48

This song is the most epic thing AKB48 has ever released. Ever. In the history of ever. I'm not a ginormous AKB48 fan, and I still have to check myself whenever I get peeved that they're selling more copies than pretty much anyone. But this song deserves it. Too bad we can't see the stupid PV. You suck, Akimoto. This is as close as we get.



#3: "Aozora Kataomoi"--SKE48

They may be AKB48 version 2.0, but I love this group. I'm not sure what it is, but I honestly like their music better. In light of all the 1! 2! 3! 4! Yoroshiku! fever, we might have forgotten about their awesome second single. I spammed this song for a good couple of weeks when it first came out. The video's not bad either, though you'd think SKE48's official channel could post a higher-quality version on their own damn site.



#2: "Yume Miru 15sai"--S/mileage

S/mileage's major debut is still their best-selling single, and for good reason. This song rules. I think people like this more mature sound from the girls--I know I do. This song was super-spammable for me, and I hope they go in a similar direction with "Shortcut."



#1: "VOICE"--Perfume


"Nee" might be the big thing right now, but VOICE was so much more nuanced and awesome. (That and it wasn't primarily promoted through a commercial.) VOICE is the best thing Perfume has put out since "Secret Secret," and if they ever manage to top that, I'll probly pee myself in sparkly joy.






HONORABLE MENTIONS
1. Natural ni Koishite/Fushizen na Girl-Perfume
2. moonlight-moumoon
3. Onegai Dakara-Mano Erina
4. Seishun Collection (KISS MY BUTT, HATERZ!! :P )-Morning Musume
5. GAGAGA-SDN48
6. Jumping-KARA
7. Aitai Lonely Christmas-C-ute
8. Flower-BRIGHT
9. Himawari to Hoshikuzu-Tokyo Girls' Style
10. Ev'rybody Alright!-Dream

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Eri, Linlin and Junjun graduate...you will be missed.

Oh, how sad the times are. Yesterday, the moment we've all been putting off finally happened. Eri and the pandas said goodbye to Morning Musume and Hello! Project :(


I know I'm going to miss them tons. I watched some of what has been posted already on YouTube, and I got teary, as I'm sure many people did. BAWWWW SADNESS!!!

But, all sadness aside, it was great to see them in the Yokohama Arena again--that and the stadium was PACKED to the gills--that was amazing to see. The opening number was SOUDA! We're Alive--and it was FREAKING EPIC! Witness the awesomeness below!



Morning Musume + pyrotechnics = awesome. From what I've seen of the concert so far, it was amazing--one of their best in a while :P

On Bijo Gaku today, some of their graduation messages were shown. Everyone was very emotional--it really shows how close they have all gotten. The crowd was great, and the girls all spoke very well. (I really like that I can understand more and more of what they're saying, too.) Oh, and watch for super-cute BFF moment at 4:27. Ai-chan is sobbing so much she can't sing, so she puts her microphone down, so Gaki puts and arm around her and shares hers. When those two (and Sayumi, of course) eventually graduate, I want to be there.



I hope Eri recovers well, and I hope Junjun and Linlin have long and successful careers in China. It's sad to see them go, but I know they have bright futures ahead.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

3,000 views!!!!


I checked my stats today and died! Thank you guys for reading this silly thing!!! :P

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tokyo Girls' Style to cover SweetS!



Yay! I'm posting again! Had a few huge things to get done for classes and dealing with a fair amount of stress to boot.

I love getting good news--so much better than bad news/judgmental blogs (more on that later)!

Avex's new (ish) girl group, Tokyo Girls' Style is covering my favorite SweetS song, "Love like candyfloss" for their 5th single!!


Avex generally isn't known for its group acts, as its soloists are a bit more well known and, for the most part, better. Do as Infinity and GIRL NEXT DOOR are just terribad, srsly. And don't even get me started on SUPER☆GiRLS. So much badness.

But every once in a while, Avex surprises. For example, Dream, a girl group put together in 1999, has consistently put out great music despite their many hiatuses and lineup changes. Tokyo Girls' Style is turning out to be pretty awesome as well, but it will take them A LOT of work to equal the greatness that was SweetS.

From 2004-2006, the best girl group to grace the J-pop scene in the history of EVER took Japan (and the rest of the world) by storm. AND THEN THEY DISBANDED FUCK ALL RAWR but that's another rant for another day, methinks. Despite the girls' age, their voices were all incredibly mature and polished. Man, do I miss the days when vocalists had not only talent, but training!

Anyway, here's SweetS' original version of "Love like candyfloss."



...and TGS' latest single.



The SweetS song fits their style well. I'm looking forward to the release.

And speaking of SweetS and their awesomeness, their former lead singer, Yoshimura Ayaka, relesased a mini-album in March, and you should all support her! It's got a very unique, neat sound to it. She also has a lovely blog, which she updates regularly.

Toodles--I'm off to watch more Firefly!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

C-ute: Aitai Lonely OMG CHISATO!!!!!

C-ute's new PV has been released as of yesterday...AND OH MY GOD I LOVE IT!!!!! C-ute being my favorite group in the world aside, there is nothing about this PV that isn't totally loveable.

I was actually really hoping they would do a ballad-type song for their next single, seeing as C-ute doesn't really have any ballad singles under their belt.

Anyway, is it just me, or is Chisato getting closer to being a lead singer every day? OH HELLS YEAH!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Musical soup, boredom, and crappy computer microphones.

Here's my latest batch of music nerdery. Armed with nothing but a free editor I found on t3h int4rw3bz, a crappy microphone (a relic from my WoW days), I venture into the world of j-music covers once again!

I was inspired by the wonderful and talented velveetah to cover this awesome song from the 1997 animated thriller "Perfect Blue." (Disturbingly good movie...you should watch it.) Check out her version here! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xu4F4wOdvjc (She rocks, guys--do it.)

I love this movie, and this song.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Oh, you stupid, stupid girls...

Yesterday, I woke up, put on my pot of coffee, and pulled up Google Reader to check up on the latest news at home and abroad. The first thing pulled up was Tokyohive, because I didn't want to pay attention to all the BS surrounding the election stateside.

And everything was going well...until I saw this:

Umm...yeah, I'll just post the Tokyohive article...

"The photo (seen above) depict both Kamei Eri and Tanaka Reina [both from Morning Musume, for my buddies who read this shiz and don't know] with a Miley Cyrus-esque slanted eye pose, and the words written on their blog underneath the photo [also on Reina's blog] stated that they’re mimicking Koreans.

The girls have received a lot of heat from Japanese netizens, with comments such as: “This is not good,” “This is gonna cause problems,” and “Delete it soon.” The post has since been deleted from the blog, as they probably realized their mistake. " source: tokyohive

REALLY, GIRLS? REALLY?

I was so disappointed when I saw this, but at least Sayumi didn't take part in this fuckery party....riiiiight?!?

FFFFUUUUUUUCCCKKK!!!! (Took this pic from Shirow's blog, Wotaku Now!)

I was super bummed about this, and I was especially disappointed with Eri. Out of all the girls, she seems to be having the most fun with it, and that worries me. Eri and Sayumi are two of my favorite Momosu members, and they have both lost serious cool points, especially Eri. (Oh yeah, and whoever was behind the camera...you're on my naughty list too. Any theories, internets?)

I will admit, I don't know their intentions (I'm guessing it has something to do with the huge success the metric ASS TON of Korean groups in Japan are enjoying), so I'll lay off a lot of criticism. At least ,to their credit/salvation, when netizens (I really hate that word, I don't know why :P) both in Japan and abroad smacked the girls on the wrist and told them to knock it off, they did. For that, I've gotta give them props. Some people would have clung to their pride (like a lot of crazy stupid political bloggers here, for example).

However, as dumb as what the girls did was, what really pissed me off was Tokyohive's fucking *brilliant* response later in the article:

"It was an especially odd choice considering that most East Asians, including the Japanese, have similar eyes. "

Seriously? That's the best you can come up with? Because they look so almighty similar to stupid white people they can't be racist toward one another? Really? Tiffany Christ, you have got to use your brains before opening your mouths and doing something even more racist. Come on.

To be perfectly fair, Japan isn't exactly famous for its super-fab tolerance of other cultures, but that is changing A LOT these days. As it is everywhere.

I hope you girls will think twice, three times before you even entertain the possibility of doing this again. It's bigger than you, girls. You're better than this. I hope Gaki gives you a stern taking-to after this so you can learn from your mistake, grow up, and move on. I still LUV you guys to death, but you're so much better than this.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

J-music anonymous: Rose Noire

Love is like...

Louie (vocals) and Jill (violin) are both graduates of the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and music, and have studied music in both Europe and the US. Their sound is very unique, addictive, and otherwise sublime. CHECK THEM OUT!!!




Awesome side note: a Chinese exchange student recognized my Linlin shirt today. She was a total sweetheart.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lovin the new SNSD and KARA!!! +plastic surgery rantage

Hooray! Making my first K-pop post! The big news of the day:

1) KARA has released their first ORIGINAL Japanese song, "jumping!" And I totally dig it! (This makes up for their last mini-album SUCKING aside from "Lupin" *sniffle*)



Kara is by far my favorite K-pop group, and they are doing an amazing job breaking into the Japanese music scene: not only has "Mister" topped the Oricon charts, but according to a recent poll on Recochoku, they rank as the #6 favorite idol/idol group (JUST behind Momosu)!

"Jumping" is set to be released on 11/10, and KARA's first Japanese album is to be released on 11/24 (which I am TOTALLY picking up after I snag S/mileage's latest (like a fucking month ago -_- ) and pre-order C-ute's new single).

2) SNSD/Girls' Generation (Shojo Jidai in Japan) released the Bond-esque single "Hoot" today!! It seems like it's been so long since they released "Run Devil Run," so I was pretty stoked. Aside from Hyoyeon's wig (seriously, wtf is up?!), the PV is awesome, and refreshingly different.



SNSD also ranks high on the Recochoku poll (they actually beat out Momosu by two spots), and that doesn't surprise me one bit. KARA and SNSD both fit so perfectly into the idol scene, unlike racier groups like 4minute and 2NE1 (who are totally awesome but just a bit sexy for Japan *insert feminist rant here*)


I will admit, I've always liked SNSD's music: it's catchy and well-performed, the dances are great...and, well, so far I haven't gotten sick of any of their music. (And the fact that Erika and Kanna are fans also rocks!) However, it took a little bit for the group to grow on me.

I first got into SNSD when the "Genie (Tell Me Your Wish)" PV came out last year, and I loved the song...until I read the comments on YouTube (that's enough to make anyone hate ANYTHING). I wasn't aware of the huge fan vs. anti-fan business, and all the squabbling made me want to kill babies. But a couple people brought up some odd conspiracies which I just had to look into.

The first conspiracy was the fact that Uzbekistani pop singer Dineyra released a song in April of that year which sounded...oddly...EXACTLY like "Genie." Oh yeah, and it was released BEFORE it. Seriously, check it:





I did some digging, and was rather outraged...until I did my research. I read several fan and anti-fan blogs, all except one of which were profoundly stupid. The only one which was not pants-on-head retarded came from allkpop.com:

"..news reports are stating that the song is supposed to be SM’s and SM’s only. They officially purchased the Universal Music Publishing Group on February 1st, 2009, with the song’s lyrics and K-pop-ification done by SM-hired Yoo Young Jin and Yoo Han Jin."

The post goes on to state that UMG was considering a class-action lawsuit against Dineyra for using a demo tape leak as her own song...blah blah blah. So far, nothing has happened, neither song has been recalled (as several SM songs have been infamously known to have been), so all must be well with the world. Big deal, moving on now...


The second big whoop was the whole plastic surgery issue, an issue with which fans and anti-fans alike are all too familiar. Looking at most of the girls' earlier pictures, it is OBVIOUS (to me) that almost ALL of the girls have had some form of plastic surgery. And for some reason, this is a BFD among the anti-fan crowd.


(Beautiful by nature or scalpel? You decide.)

At first, this was a big problem for me, and it still kind of is. But now, I have a problem with the fact that I have a problem with it. Being the strong feminist that I am, I have a problem with plastic surgery because it forces unrealistic standards of beauty on women in a male-dominated society. Nowhere is this more visible than in Asia, especially in Korea and Japan. It is SUCH a huge deal to be good-looking there, even more so than it is in America. (Check out this fantastic TIME article)

Yes, even though we here in the US of A have the highest rate of plastic surgery purchases in the world, we aren't subject to a culture where perfect aesthetics are paramount to godliness. I know we think we are, but we are SO not. This standard of perfection is one of several factors that contributes to the massive diagnosable level of depression and stress-related disorders in Korea and Japan (and increasingly, China), at just above 25% for WOMEN ALONE. (and it's only SLIGHTLY less for men...scary.)
THAT'S A QUARTER OF THE F*ING POPULATION!
Yeah, plastic surgery is usually a response to unrealistic beauty standards, and for that reason, it bothers me.

However, ALSO being the strong feminist that I am, I also feel that I SHOULD NOT have an issue with plastic surgery because, at its most basic level, it can be defined as one simple thing: body modification.

I myself have a few body modifications in the form of nine tattoos, seven ear piercings, a pierced nostril and...a couple other piercings which shall not be mentioned in polite company OMG I JUST DID, WUT WUT?!?!

Why did I get these done? Because (aside from the fact that getting modified is a very spiritual experience for me) I like the art form, because I enjoy having them, because they help me feel unique, because I just want to do it. For some people, that's the only reason they get their boobs, lips, eyes, whatever, done.

Exhibit A: Meet Masuimi Max, fetish model, mega-hottie, and overall, awesome person.





How om-nom-alicious is she?!?! Go ahead, stroke your ladyboners (and manboners), it's okay.

As you can clearly see, Ms. Max has several tattoos. Not quite as obvious (maybe), are her luscious boobies. Ms. Max appeared in the brilliant documentary "Modify" not to talk about her tattoos, but her other lovely modified parts. She did not speak about them as flaws that she wanted to change, but as things she already loved that she wanted to enhance. Ms. Max was absolutely matter-of-fact when she said "Want bigger lips? Get 'em done. Want big boobs? Get 'em done." That simple.

Masuimi Max is a great example of how plastic surgery can just be a simple form of self-expression. Though it rarely is, it can be incredibly positive.

So, back to SNSD.


In the case of SNSD...well, actually...almost ALL female Korean music groups (and Avex artists), they are pressured by their society and their agency to get procedures done because they are supposed to be prime examples of beauty, and nothing less.

Anti-fans, in general, DO NOT GET THIS, despite how much they may protest. They blame (and in the case of Taeyeon especially, publically ABUSE) the girls, instead of critiquing the society to which they are subject. That's nothing short of ignorance, and ignorance makes people stupid.

Knowing this is what helped me learn to support SNSD, rather than OMGing at their surgeries.

So, in conclusion: SOSHI FIGHTING FTW!!!




Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pad Thai sauce: Recipe of the Day

So yeah, I'm just too damn disorganized and busy to keep up with the weekly thing, so I'll just post awesome recipes on this here blog as I see fit. So now I give you....

PAD THAI SAUCE!!!

Let's face it: Pad Thai is awesome. But do you ever get that craving for Pad Thai, are low on money, and live in an area that doesn't sell the sauce by the bottle? Well, never fear--now you too can have a nearly endless supply of the sauce that makes angels weep at its very name. I was making spring rolls, and a thought crossed my mind: Rice paper and rice noodles are basically made out of the same stuff, right? So what if I used Pad Thai sauce in my spring rolls for awesome tasty fun time? Oh yes, oh yes, oh BABYGOD YES!!!

Most of the ingredients used can be kept around your kitchen for a very long time--this is especially great if you're obsessed with Asian/fusion food like I am.

The Fly's Sorta-Kinda Homemade Pad Thai sauce:
  • -1 12-ounce bottle of sweet and sour sauce (I recommend Kikkoman, because it has no artificial dyes and contains paprika--essential for Pad Thai.)
  • -1 1/2 tbsp. minced garlic (or about 3 cloves, finely minced)
  • -1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • -1 tbsp. fish sauce
  • -1 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
  • -2 tsp. sesame oil
  • -1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (or more, if you like spicy stuff--I used 1 tsp.)
  • -Pinch of salt.

Whisk all ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl, serve on whatever you want (it's good on salads too), and enjoy!

Optional ingredients:
  • -2 tsp white, brown or black sesame seeds
  • -2 green onions, green parts only (use the white for miso soup, stir frys, topping for fish, or salad garnishes)
  • -2 tsp crushed peanuts, peanut butter, or peanut satay. (For that authentic flavor!)

This recipe is really useful for those on a budget, because you can keep all the ingredients around except the sweet and sour sauce, which is about $2-$4 a bottle: $6-$8 if you're really feeling like a big spender.

To store the tomato paste, remove it from the can after you've opened it (if you use the stuff in a can), and transfer it to a small plastic/glass container or plastic baggie. DO NOT just put plastic wrap over a metal can of tomato ANYTHING and store it in the refrigerator. Since tomatoes are a high-acid food, they corrode metal quickly after they are opened, and that leaks into your food, and you don't want that. Be smart: use glass or plastic at all times with leftover tomatoes.

I'll post the recipe for spring rolls soon!!

In defense of Suzuki Airi: a cultural and musical analysis


Meet Suzuki Airi--the 16-year-old "shocking!" lead singer of C-ute, one of Tsunku's favorite H!P Kids, and one of the most popular Hello! Project members at this point in time. She is an atypical Aries, loves Harry Potter and Hayao Miyazaki movies, sushi, spaghetti, and her six dogs. She often says that her dad is the best dad in the world, plays the cornet, is scared of lightning, and wanted to be a singer since she was very young. This girl has loads of talent, good looks and an adorably awkward personality to round it all out.

...And people just love to hate her.

Why?

Well, let's take a look at what some dumbasses people in cyberspace have to say before we look at a) where it's coming from and b) why it's total ethnocentric bullshit.

I agree that the way SHOCK! was formulated was not conducive to fan happiness, much less to displaying the unique talents that all the C-uties have. I miss Erika and Kanna, too, and I think Chisato is WAY underrated. HOWEVER....

It isn't Airi's fault.

A few of the most common complaints against Airi:

  • 1) "I don't see the point of having Airi in °C-ute because pretty much of the solos are hers...It's not that I hate Airi but imo it's not fair to others" (Found on a SHOCK! posting on YouTube)
  • 2) "Start to hate Airi...She sings all the song!! I hate her! XD I think ºC-ute was better when Umeda was in there! Now It's Airi and the backdancers...T_T" (Found on a different SHOCK! video)
  • 3) "Tsunku needs to stop giving all the lines to Airi. Good voice, but it's not fair that she's so "special" in both buono and c-ute. it NEEDS to be evened out. love cute like i said, and buono, but tsunku needs to even out the solos. it's truly not c-ute anymore. it's airi." (Found on an iteration of Dance de BaCOON! on YouTube)
  • 4) "im so happy that Airi and The Background Dancers has stopped. i'm sick of her" (Found on a posting of Campus Life on YouTube).

Ok, so I pulled a fast one and implied that any of the comments were at all different. D'oh.

Less common, but still seen fucking everywhere, complaints include:

  • "Uhm… she already has four [photobooks]? Shouldn’t they be giving someone else a chance now? @________@" ~Commenter on Hello! SayuNii on the announcement of Airi's 5th photobook, released this summer.

All comments are from real commenters on the intertubes who will not be named. Four commenters were from the US, and one was from Mexico. Very seldom will you see otherwise, though it does happen. (I have, for example, seen a couple comments like this by someone from Germany, a few girls and a couple guys from the UK, and two girls from Australia, on the ones that pissed me off enough to look at their profiles.).

Seeing this crap everywhere since SHOCK! came out in January is really pissing me off. Yes, comments like these (against both Airi and Yajima Maimi) would show up occasionally before SHOCK! came out, but then all hell broke loose when Tsunku had a temporary lapse in good judgment and the angry mob fans got out their torches and pitchforks and charged the fort. I can understand some of this annoyance, but when it leads people to flat out LIE about the line distribution in Buono! (which has been 100% even throughout the existence of the group)...that's just plain not thinking.

The culture of the commenters and its follies and foibles:

The main demographic of the negative comment pool is vastly Western, and here is where we can start to find a major trend. Let's look at the commenters from the US, since that's my stomping ground and I'm most familiar with it. The comments with the most venom are almost ALWAYS from young, high-school and early college age kids from the United States. Now, I am not a confrontational person, and I don't like to generalize, because that often creates some nasty lies about innocent people who don't deserve it. But I am going to make some generalizations right here, right now, that are a) true and b) are going to piss people off. A Lot.

American public high schoolers and those of early college age in 2010 generally:
  • 1) Receive piss-poor social studies education. In some states (TEXAS), this has even meant changing or attempting to change the curriculum to exclude important civil rights leaders, famous women and some world history.
  • 2) Are often ill-prepared to learn about other cultures because our society and education reinforce some silly idea that America is the best country EVAR!...and the only people who think otherwise are liberty-hating pinko commie Soviet fascist nazi infiltrators from MarxLeninSocialismoStan. (Remember "Thank You For Smoking," when Nick Naylor's son had to write an essay about why American government is "the best government in the world?" That shit actually happens.)
  • 3) Are raised to believe that life is always fair, always should be fair, and everyone is special (even though I and people like me are more special), dammit.

(Now, if any public high school student who happens to be a H!P fan should stumble across this post, read the previous three points again VERY CAREFULLY until you understand these three things:
1) Never once are the words ALWAYS, NEVER or ALL used when referring to groups of people.

2) You yourself, or some of your peers, may not fit into those norms

3) Those statements are completely true of American child-rearing culture as a whole, though they may not have been true for you.)


Now, what do all those things have to do with Airi haters? Everything.

A lack of cultural understanding, or worse, a lack of willingness to understand other cultures, is what is behind all this negativity toward Airi.

Cross-Cultural Bias...and why it's retarded.

Japanese pop culture works very differently in Japan than it does here. For one, mediocrity is not celebrated there. (I'm sorry, but even Michishige Sayumi (whom I absolutely adore, but see her flaws) has more talent in her pinky than Miley Cyrus has in her whole body and tiny brain.) In our culture, we are growing more and more to coddle our kids, rather than teach them with kindness, to improve or even just to TRY HARDER. Even those who try harder are better off than those who are taught that half-ass is good enough.

Airi has a LOT of natural talent, but she has worked very hard to improve even more since she began her career at the ripe old age of eight. (It helps that she also happens to have perfect pitch. How do I know this, you might ask? Backstage at fan events when she's practicing, she ALWAYS sings in the right key with no piano or pitch pipe.) She got to be a lead singer because she is better, stronger lead. That's just the way it is. Later, I'll explain the musical reasons WHY she is better.

Secondly, idol culture works very differently than our music industry here. Unfortunately, most idols and singers have approximately ZERO creative control over their craft. They are shaped largely by their society and, get this, the MEN who dominate the industry's leaders, producers, you name it. (Seriously, if Tsunku one day gave the Hello! Project to a woman, like Yuko Nakazawa, I would LOVE to see how it changed.) Airi has no control over how many solo lines she gets, nor over what songs she performs on stage (remember when people got all mad that she sang "Natsu Doki Lipstick," a song written for Maimi, at a Buono! concert?).

She also has almost no control over the personality she portrays to the public, which is the meat of the real charm of idol culture. After watching her for a while, it's clear that the personality she portrays is very genuine, but she never has a choice. This is where the bulk of the bullshit in those comments lies. Instead of being annoyed (understandably) with Tsunku the Creepy Elf for not giving anyone else lines in SHOCK!, they direct their vitriol at Airi and occasionally mention Tsunku on the side. And that, kids, is just stupid.

Those women who work hard for creative control (like Goto Maki and Hamasaki Ayumi) have to work more than twice as hard as idols. (and infinitely harder than two-bit little girls in the US who are only famous because their daddy was famous and who sound good under an autotuner.) This is where the Japanese music scene makes me a bit sad. The girls in the industry are under immense pressure from their producers and from the society on the whole, to be perfect. To be idols. It is no coincidence that they are called that. Many, like Kago Ai, buckle under the pressure and are treated as criminals for minor things because they didn't meet the ultimate standard of the perfect Japanese wife and mother.

Airi is one of those next generation idols who is constantly on a pedestal built by her largely male fan base. The pressure on her, as a lead singer of C-ute, and as a young woman in general, is HUGE--NOTHING like what the little popsters in the US experience, purity rings and all. I don't believe this is healthy, but it's the way it is, and it needs to be understood so she can be treated like an actual human being by foreign H!P fans.

Music geekery: why Airi is a better singer than most of her peers.

Airi and the rest of the H!P Kids/Morning Musume are naturally gifted singers, but there are a few technical things that make her and a few others (Miyabi, Momoko, Kanon, Ai-chan, Maasa and Linlin, to name a few) stand out from the crowd. Here's a few:

  • 1) Airi has very few problems staying on pitch. Sure, every singer has those "few cents sharp/flat" moments, but the amount of those one has is directly proportional to how technically good a singer they are. This is a BFD, and the reason Sayumi doesn't get many lines in Morning Musume.
  • 2) Airi understands, and works well with, her passagio. Passagio, the Italian term for "passage," is the point in the voice where one must switch from your chest voice to your head voice (where most of the high notes need to be sung, unless you're an exceptional belter with buttloads of training). Airi is not a soprano, but she hits high notes very evenly, cleanly and easily, moving from head to chest voice with smoothness. An example of a H!P kid who does NOT work well with her passagio is Sugaya Risako. I adore Risako. She's got a great voice, and a very unique vibrato. BUT--if she keeps straining her passagio on high notes, shouting where she can't belt, she will ruin her voice. She hasn't gotten to know her alto range well enough, and it's going to mess her up if she doesn't stop straining her high notes.
  • 3) Her breath control is unmatched. This is one area where both Maimi and Chisato struggle, even though they otherwise sound awesome.
  • 4) She doesn't lean on her sparse vibrato. It's easy to tell when singers rely on their vibrato for quality (another thing Risako is VERY, VERY guilty of). Airi does not.
  • 5) Homegirl gets INTO IT!! While Airi may not be the best dancer in the group, she makes up for it with pure, unadulterated SOUL.

As far as singing goes, Airi is simply the best, technically speaking, even though the other C-uties have unique voices that are great to listen to as well. This is why she was given a lead role. This is why any singer is given a lead role, no matter which culture they come from. And she deserves it.

In closing...

Support C-ute, support Airi, and stop being assholes. Oh, and support Chisato's 1st photobook, WHICH IS COMING OUT IN DECEMBER OMG OMG OMG!!!! *gush!*








Monday, October 18, 2010

ATTENTION HIPSTER MUSIC SNOBS: J-MUSIC FOR YOUR ILK!!

I love my hipster buddies, and often I wish I were as savvy about the wonderful indie, underground, grunge-y, against-the-machine, subversive-of-the-dominant-paradigm music scene here in the good old US of A/Canada/the UK/yaddayaddaland. Alas, my wandering ears keep me abroad, in strange musical places most hipsters dare not tread.

But sometimes, you find a gem that transcends the bounds of snobbery (I MEAN THAT IN THE ABSOLUTE BEST SENSE OF THE WORD!!!).

I give you Kodama Nao. Prepare to be sexed by awesome.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hello! Project funness and philosophistry: one year later!

So, now that I'm mostly out of my H!P noobishness, I decided to revisit a post I did last year just to see how things have changed.

So let's get to it!

1. Hobbies that you think are interesting that someone from H!P has:
Ai-chan and Risako's epic video game nerdery, Airi's paintings and Maimi's love of sports.

2. Special skills that you think are actually special:
Ai-chan's ability to hit that high c-sharp in "Everyday, Everywhere." JESUS FREAKING BALLS!



(Seriously, guys. Check this shiz. Ai-chan needs to get a contract of her own outside of H!P so her awesomeness will be even more widely appreciated.)

3. Name 2 members that you DON'T like (or your least favorite). Why are they last?
The only member that I do not like is STILL Niigaki Risa. She was cute, adorable and quite smart when she was younger, but she's turned into a major beeyatch. I will admit, I have grown to like her more than I did last year, but I'm going to have to work at actually LIKING her. I dunno, maybe it's a cultural thing and I just don't get her (ENTIRELY possible), but still.

As for Sayumi, she's now one of my favorite members of Morning Musume, against all odds :P

One other member who is amazingly popular, and whom I still have not really gotten into, is Fukuda Kanon. She's a cutie, and she's got buttloads of talent, but she hasn't really gotten to me the way the other S/mileys have.

4. Now, say 3 good things about each of those members:
Risa is beautiful, a talented singer, and has a great smile.

5. Nickname(s) that you really like:
Ayaya, Ume-chan, Johnson (hahahahaaaaa)

6. H!P habits you seem to have developed:
Learning all the choreography I can (I've been slacking off lately, though), spending WAY too much money on merch, and flashing peace signs all the time.

7. Favorite singles cover looks:
Ok, I'm going to pick ones that I DIDN'T pick last year!
C-ute: Dance de Bakoon!
Berryz K.: Tsukiatteru no ni Kataomoi
MM: Seishun Collection (oh, bite me!)
Buono!: Our Songs

8. Favourite Member(s):
Current: All the C-uties and Buono girls, Ogawa Saki, Linlin (DAMMIT), Kamei Eri (DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT), Sudo Maasa, Shimizu Saki.
Past: Nono, Aibon, Yossy, Iida Kaori, Umeda Erika, Yaguchi Mari, Arihara Kanna.

9. Something you're afraid of happening to H!P:
9th generation MM sucking, no more Eggs getting major debuts :(

10. Favourite H!M/HM@/Radio/TV thing- episode:
There was this one show (hell if I can remember the name) where Yossy and Mikitty each led teams and they were supposed to test out their acting chops in situations where something happened that they didn't expect (e.g. a PILE of wasabi in their sushi while their "boyfriend" was proposing). Oh, hilarity!

Junjun's YS! week was also awesome.

11. Favourite photobook(s):
Maasa's, Airi's newest one, and Nakki's. AND SOON TO BE CHISATO'S!!!!

12. Favourite phrase a member says:
Gotta go with Sexy Beam :P A classic :D

13. You have 1.27 seconds to name any random H!P song GO!:
W: Robokiss

14. Favourite season of the concerts:
So far, everything from 2008 has impressed me.

15. Favorite food you've seen them eat (that maybe you want to try too):
Takaoyaki (still) and yakiniku. Man, why do I have to live in a landlocked state with no culture whatsoever?! ( ̄へ ̄)

16. Most disliked (or weird) food you watched them eat:
That cow diaphragm that the chef guy cooked during Momo's YS! week was....questionable.

17. If there was a H!P song you HAD to listen to every morning from now on, what would it be?:
W: Aa Ii Na! or Buono!: Ura Hara

18. Last H!P song you listened to?:
Buono!: OVER THE RAINBOW

19. How you think they spend their days off:
Going to school :P

21. What you want to buy the most right now:
Photobooks. I am sorely lacking in that department.

22. Favorite clothes/costume of theirs:
I really liked Buono!'s costumes in the second part of their summer concert this year.

23. Your greatest H!P treasure:
Uh...crap it's hard to pick. I'm extremely protective of my photo collection and my Airi mirror.

24. What you would do if you had a chance to spend 1 day with a H!P member and who would it be:
Momoko Tsugunaga. We'd eat good food and talk about the future, and she'd teach me some bitchin' dance moves...and it might be weird because I'm literally a foot taller than she is O_O

25. The best overall looking girl in H!P, GO!
I like them all :) Not changing this answer.

26. Which H!P song relieves your stress:
Anything by Buono!, W or S/mileage.

27. A moving H!P scene:
The Elder Club graduation last year when everyone sang "All For One." I got teary.

28. Actually, I...:
Like munching on crunchy things I DON'T KNOW!!!!?!? :D

30. What would you want to scream to the members if you knew no one could hear you:
Thank you for your music!

31. The thing that's made you most happy (being a Hello Project fan):
The music and fun personalities of the girls.

32. The thing that's made you most sad (being a Hello Project fan):
Watching the graduations and learning about what happened to Kago Ai and Iida Kaori.

33. What do you want H!P to do in the future?
Make better music for Morning Musume and GIVE CAPTAIN A DAMN PHOTOBOOK!!!

34. Most respected member(s):
Yossy and Kaorin. Yossy because she's a badass, and Kaori because of her incredible inner strength. I can't imagine what it would be like to lose a child and come back and perform on stage 4 months later.

35. Somewhere you'd like the next H!P member to travel to for a PB
Africa! Go on safari. Or Alaska--just because it would be funny :P

36. Favorite song:
C-ute: EVERYDAY Zekkouchou (still)
All of Buono!'s stuff
Berryz K.: Anata Nashide wa Ikite Yukenai
S/mileage: Smile Bijin
DEF. DIVA: Sukisugite Baka Mitai
W: Shiroi Iro wa Koibito No Iro
MM: Mr. Moonlight ~Ai no Big Band~
MM Otomegumi: Ai no Sono ~touch My Heart!~

I'm totally indecisive. Also, can you tell I've totally been digging into the earlier stuff?!

39. The most memorable concert:
Elder Club graduation, Erika's graduation.

40. What you'd be doing if you weren't a fan:
Having no happy music to keep me going. That would make me a sad panda indeed.

41. The most fun part of being a fan:
Evarthangz!

42. The hardest part of being a fan:
I neeeeeed moar monayz! I hate being a poor almost-grad student with a humanities degree and a half sometimes.

44. Do you think you will still be a fan 5 years from now?
I hope so!

45. A member you miss:
All my old favorite members.

46. Do you actually understand all of the lyrics to the songs?
I'm understanding more and more of them every day :P

47. Do you actually know another fan in person?
HA no.

48. A message for Tsunku:
The pandas will haunt you.

49. A message for your favorite member(s):
I support you, and someday I'll come to Japan and see you in concert! And maybe I'll be able to say hello!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

J/K-music Confessions (Totally ripping off Jin's idea here)

Jin over at Sora to Kujira did this fantastic thing a few weeks back, and because I thought my comment was getting too damn long, I decided to post the unabridged version of my confessions over here at my 2-bit blog :P

Confessions of a H!P junkie and closet-ish k-pop lover.

  1. Airi-bashing internet trolls need to STFU. Like, now-ish. She has ZERO creative control in H!P, and, well, she's damn talented and she deserves everything she gets. Deal with it.
  2. Niigaki Risa is a bitch.
  3. Kpop groups don't "make a comeback" every time they release new singles, PopSEOUL!. o_O
  4. I wish I'd become a H!P fan years earlier--the older Momosu was so much better.
  5. Linlin is one of the best singers H!P has ever seen. *sniffle* *fuckofftsunku*
  6. AKB48 is a snorefest, and Heavy Rotation wasn't a huge deal.
  7. Sweet Vacation needs more attention.
  8. I support Kago Ai 100%.
  9. Dawa is adorable, and her "racist" comment was poorly translated. (Though I do think Yuuka would be a better leader for S/mileage.)
  10. Oh yeah, and Ogawa Saki is also adorable.
  11. umm....ithinkmisonoisunderrated *dodges truckloads of rotten tomatoes*
  12. Miss A is the only good new group to come out in the Kpop world this year.
  13. Yeah, Orange Caramel totally did rip off C-ute's "Hare no Platinum Toori."
  14. SNSD super-fans and super anti-fans need to get dropped on a deserted island and kill each other off. For science, sanity, and fun times.
  15. Takahashi Ai needs to move on with her career. It's time, hun. You're lovely, your voice is incredible, but for reals.
  16. I like Matsuura Aya's mature sound better--her rendition of "Heya to Y shirts to Watashi" was SUBLIME. WTB moar Aya, plz.
  17. I think Sayumi is misunderstood because of her public image. Though I still have to wonder about her...
  18. Chisato needs to be a lead singer in C-ute. BUT AT LEAST SHE'S GETTING A PHOTOBOOK YAAAAAAAAYYY!!!!!
  19. If Akari Saho doesn't have a major debut in SOMETHING, I'm going to go on a murderous rampage.
  20. I hope Momoko goes to university like she wants to. She's wicked smart, very perceptive, and a wonderful budding feminist. We should hang out, Momo!
  21. Big Bang annoys me. Not entirely sure why.
  22. I would go 100% gay for Ga-In.
  23. Tsunku gives me nightmares.
  24. American morons need to quit insulting Asian male pop groups as being "gay" or even "gay-looking" and the girls' groups as being "pedo-bait." It's immature, bigoted, and just plain STUPID.
  25. Gackt is incredible.
  26. Kangta got me more interested in Chinese music than any other artist ever has. And he's not even Chinese. *omnomnom*
  27. Nao Kodama needs your support! She not well known (at least as far as I know), but she is absolutely wonderful (YouTube her song "Maker.").
  28. Itunes needs to get f(x)'s digital singles up for sale :(
  29. I love Idoling!!! despite the fact that they are absolutely TERRIBLE live.
  30. I will always prefer j-pop to Korean music because of the fun, spiritual, honest and deeper content of most of the lyrics.
  31. It is very sad that Korean singers are expected to be perfect in every way. To be required to change yourself for people you will never know is tragic to say the very least.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Little Things: Gnu jokes!



So, my partner and I were sitting around being nerds last night...and we randomly started making up gnu jokes. No reason...we're just dorks. And gnus are cool animals...eh?



What do you call an annoying antelope?
A GNUisance!

What did the antelope eat at the Greek restaurant?
Baba GNUsh!

What did the antelopes do on their camping trip?
They went canGNUing!

What do you call an antelope who's bad at video games?
A GNUb!! (gaaaaaaah...)

How do you punish very bad antelope criminals?
With a GNUse!

When do antelope outlaws hold their shootouts?
At high GNUn!!

What do antelopes eat to cure colds?
Chicken GNUdle soup!!

What did the reporter on the Serengeti plain say to the cameraman?
No GNUS is good GNUS!!!!!



GAAAAHAHAHAAAAA...ok I'm so done :P

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

J-pop anonymous: 10 optimistic songs to get through the day

Finally back from a school/AmeriCorps induced hiatus!! The year's off to a great start, but unfortunately that meant I had no time for my poor little blog :( Boooo. So hopefully I'll post more often now that the really crazy part of the year is over!

I've been feeling rather good about the future lately, and I have a few tunes in my j-music library that I've been listening to a lot lately because of that! If you need some more j-poppy optimism in your life, I've got 10 (ish) great songs that will help you get more of just that!:

In no particular order, but I'll start with my favorite:

#1. Buono! ...pretty much everything.

3 of my favoritefavoritefavorite girls in the j-music WORLD, right here. Airi, Momo and Miyabi have been singing together in Buono! for three years now, and in that time, they have made some of the best music Hello! Project has ever put out.

Buono! was put together to make the ending music for the anime Shugo Chara! (which I would also recommend if you need a cute, pink pick-me-up!), so in accordance with "anime ending rules," they have a bit of a rock sound. The lyrics of their songs are all great and uplifting, which is why I couldn't pick just one song of theirs. I recommend absolutely every song they've ever put out, but here are my top three optimistic favorites, all with subtitles so we can all appreciate the wonderful lyrics:

Goal



Blue-Sky-Blue



Honto no Jibun



Honorable mentions: Kokoro no Tamago! One Way = My Way

#2. capsule: Dreamin Dreamin

capsule is an addicting group, especially if you're a fan of electronic music. (Cue the shudder of a thousand techno-haters--no, it's not THAT kind of electronic music.)

"Dreamin Dreamin" hails from the group's seventh album, FRUITS CLiPPER, which in my musical opinion is one of their best, second only to Sugarless Girl. I have two other songs from this album on my "optimism" playlist, but this one is my favorite because you hardly need to speak Japanese to understand the lyrics in the chorus and appreciate the song for what it is about (though the translation is really nice).



Honorable Mention: Happy Life Generator

#3. Morning Musume: Seishun Collection 青春コレクション and its c/w, 友 ("tomo" or "friend")

Now, I know what you die-hard H!P fans must be thinking: "This single sucks because Tsunku has been using almost the EXACT same instrumental motif for at least 4 other songs over the past nearly two years!!!" And you know what? I almost agree with you.

The older Morning Musume put out much better quality music, and hearing the same-ish kind of instrumental for Naichau Kamo, Nanchatte Renai, SYO and Onna ga blah blah blah did get vomitaciously old.

BUT...I was absolutely compelled to buy Seishun Collection, and it is now one of the three MM singles I own (the other two being Egao YES Nude and Mr. Moonlight ~Ai no Big Band~). Why? Because of the lyrics, the fun colors (sue me, I actually kind of LIKE the outfits :P), and the awesome, emotional, Linlin-can-be-heard b-side, 友.

Seishun Collection is simple, upbeat and bright, and I think we can all stand to be reminded of our inner child once in a while.



#4. Kago Ai: no hesitAtIon



I really hate those capital letters... :P

No longer a little girl in Hello! Project, Kago Ai is all grown up and doing her own thing! This girl fascinates me--she got into so much trouble for dating boys and smoking underage, and the way she was portrayed in the couple of years following her H!P departure, you'd think she was a terrible criminal or something. No, not so much. She was just a somewhat troubled youth, like so many of the rest of us.

Aibon's debut single, released in June of last year, is all about her beginning life anew, being a new and better person, as we should all strive to be everyday. This song is a must listen for those days when you feel out-of-place and out of touch with your future. Incredible sound, great lyrics, wonderful girl!







#5. Mano Erina: Genkimono de Ikou! 元気者で行こう! (Let's go cheerfully!)


Manoeri's 8th single is incredible. It's hard to believe the Casio-playing H!P soloist has come so far from her bubblegummy, less-than-stellar origins to...THIS!!

Tsunku spared no expense on her PV for this song--it was directed by renowned Japanese director Yukihiko Tsutsumi, and it shows. The PV tells the story of an overworked and underpaid dad with two kids and an equally overworked spouse, a situation many of us in this crappy economy can relate to well.

The lyrics to the song are what will help the poor guy get through the day, and it will be a great listen for you too! I included a translation for the lyrics below, since it seems no one has gotten around to subtitling the PV yet.



You're worried, huh - your shoulders are drooping
At today's meeting that didn't go well
You forced a laugh; that kindness
Today, rest just a bit
That's right, I am on your side
No matter when, I'm your ally
Get your spirits up, if you let them up, then you'll cheer up !
Coming up throughout Japan !
Send those conflicted sighs
Flying with a punch !
Get your spirits up, if you let them up, then you'll cheer up !
Coming up throughout the world !
Take the stress of being proper
And clear it all away with a kick !
No matter where you are in the world, you can feel it
Tomorrow, let's take one step forward !

Endless overtime continues on
If you go home, no~one is there
Like in a frantic sprint, on the verge of losing your breath
You email one word "Goodnight"
There must be someone who
Has kindly always watched over you
Get your spirits up, if you let them up, then you'll cheer up !
Coming up across all the smiling faces !
Send those absurd constraints
Flying with a punch !
Get your spirits up, if you let them up, then you'll cheer up !
Coming up for her and for him
Take those rude lectures
And clear it all away with a kick !
Bury everything in the world in love
Let your ways become a storm ! *

Your spirits, get your spirits up, if you let them up, then you'll cheer up !
Coming up throughout Japan !
Send those conflicted sighs
Flying with a punch !
Get your spirits up, if you let them up, then you'll cheer up !
Coming up throughout the world !
Take the stress of being proper
And clear it all away with a kick !
No matter where you are in the world, you can feel it
Tomorrow, let's take one step forward !

#6. Sweet Vacation: I feel so good



This song always makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside, even if I don't feel that way right at the moment. A nice electropop beat in a nice, warm key is enough to bring up your spirits any time. Singer May's voice is sweet and inviting, and fits the optimistic mood perfectly.

"VERY GOOD DAY!" awaits your ears =^_^= (I love me my Engrish)






#7. Hamasaki Ayumi: INSPIRE

One of my favorite j-music songs of all time, and one of the first ones that really got me into Japanese music in the first place. Ayu is an incredible performer and songwriter, and she got that way through lots of hard work and sacrifice. When she first said she wanted to be a singer, people laughed at her and told her she would never make it. But one producer believed in her, got her to vocal coaching, and turned her into the undisputed queen of j-pop.

The song is about never making excuses, never giving up on your dreams, and never pretending to be someone else. That is how Ayu got where she is, and she wanted to share that with the world.



(Short video is due to avex being notorious for hunting down their content on YouTube and slapping people for even thinking about using it >_< )

Honorable mention:
RAINBOW

#8. C-ute: EVERYDAY Zekkouchou!! (EVERYDAY 絶好調!!--"everyday in perfect form")



My favorite song by my favorite group IN TEH WROLDS!! I've gushed about this song before, but I think it is worth gushing about s'more.

This song is a fun, summery pop song about waking up in the morning and not letting everyday things get you down. And making takaoyaki. :D

For those of you who need a little more "genki" in your lives...and that's all of you :P




#9. Hatsune Miku: Strobo Nights

Ah, VOCALOID. Such an interesting genre of music. Vocaloid songs are entirely computer-made, except for a voice sample given by a real person to create the voice of a Vocaloid singer. Usually, if videos are made of these songs, they will be largely based around pretty tough dance routines that some intrepid people dare to learn.

(<--Meet the real Miku) It can be tough to find good Vocaloid music, but there are some gems out there, like Hatsune Miku's "Strobo Nights." This song is just lovely, as any song about shining stars should be! The girl in the video is the lovely LunaCherry2, from Sweden. She recently got back from what I'd imagine was an awesome 4-month stay in Japan, and she shot this dance cover video somewhere in Tokyo :P


#10. Perfume: love the world

Perfume is an awesome electropop group hailing from Hiroshima, and they have this crazy habit of putting out awesome and fun music.

"love the world" is one of my favorite songs. Like most Perfume songs, the lyrics are quite meaningful. The song is mostly about finding peace in introspection and lovey things--something I believe the world is sorely lacking :)








Honorable mentions:
Vitamin Drop
VOICE

And now I leave...my cat is begging for her chair back :P