Saturday, July 27, 2013

On "furusato:" 10 idol songs that make me feel at home

(Pictured: spring.  No, seriously.)

As I prepare to leave Laramie for Seattle for grad school in a little over a week, I have been thinking an awful lot about what the concept of "home" really means, and as always, these mental musings come with a soundtrack.  :P

A very, very dear friend of mine and I had a conversation when I picked him up from the airport a few months ago.  We were talking about where we grew up, our families and such, when the conversation drifted to the "what does it really mean to be 'home'" realm.  It had been on my mind a lot before this, especially after reading a wonderful article by Maki Itoh (of Just Bento fame) called "My furusato, myself."  (seriously, if you haven't read this, go read it NAO!!!)

“Furusato” is my favorite Japanese word.  On the surface, it means “hometown.”  Truly, it means the place that grew you, the place that helped you become who you are, the place that shaped you, the place that helped you become fully human.  Though I have lived many other places in my life, Laramie will always be that to me, and the many, many people who came into my life here will always be with me.

And you know what the funny, amazing, cosmic thing about all this is?  It was literally mere moments after I dropped him off, after we had that amazing conversation, that I learned I got accepted to grad school.

So here is a very special list of my top idol songs for home!

Top 10 idol songs for my hometown

10. "Furusato" Morning Musume

How could I start this list without including the "um, DUH" choice?  :P  Honestly, it wasn't until Kusumi Koharu graduated from Morning Musume that I really listened to this song.  I liked it so much for the translation that I recorded a cover of it--which stayed up for almost 3 years before The YouTube Popos found the OMG COPYRIGHT STUFF.  I relate to this song very much because I left for college two months after my 17th birthday and never looked back.  At times, I kind of was the epitome of "wagamama musume" when I lived at home, so I really related to that.

And sure, Laramie is SO NOT TOKYO.  But to me at that age, it might as well have been.

9. "Cha Cha SING" Berryz Kobo

This song was so perfect for the Berryz girls to cover.  I just fell in love with it the second the preview came out.  So much that I played it (and Bird Thongchai's original) on repeat for about two weeks while I ran the office by myself last summer.  Hey, when the boss is away, the idols WILL PLAY!

A lot.

8. "Jet Coaster Love" KARA

So, fun story with this one: I have a good friend here in Laramie who ran a radio show called Cognitive Dissonance for 4 years.  Last night was the last show because she, too is leaving for grad school at the same time I am.  I used to be a regular guest on the show, and even after I stopped doing segments, I would still go and hang out with people, and occasionally make requests.

Well, ONE FINE DAY, she needed me to help her out with getting her Adderall prescription filled.  Because being a broke college student is exactly and all it's cracked up to be.  In exchange, since it was very close to the time of the Tohoku tsunami (and all the proceeds from this song were going to the relief effort), I convinced her, the hip-hop, underground indie music lover that she is (COUGH HIPSTER LOLS J/K SORT OF), to play this song on her radio show.  In the middle of Wyoming.


7. "Dakishimete Dakishimete" Berryz Kobo

This is my favorite Berryz Kobo song, and it was the first idol dance I ever learned.  Awesome sweaty times were had by all.

6. "Onedari Dai Sakusen" BABYMETAL

Very recent addition to my awesomeness list.  I, like, just got my copy of Megitsune.  And the b-side is amazing.  This song is amazing.  I have been driving around with it cranked up to 11 all week.  And I looked in my rear-view the other day and saw the guy behind me grinning and bobbing his head to the song.


5. "Forever Remember" Idoling!!!

I love this song a lot.  It's just so nice and chill.

I first heard it a few years ago on my Ipod when I was coming back from a weekend field trip for one of my religious studies class.  The whole day was a pretty spiritual day for me (what with the nature and the meditation and the boonies and all that), and hearing this song somehow just made it all the easier to just sit and think about the universe on the ride back.

It happens sometimes.

4. "Sugar Rush" AKB48

My friends and I went to see "Wreck it Ralph" last year, and it was loved by all.  And my buddy Frank, who was a former roommate of mine, absolutely LOVED Sugar Rush.  Like, play-on-repeat-a-lot loved it.  I was so stoked that I got the chance too to point out all the girls to my friends and be all "OH MY GOD THAT'S MAYUYU AND THAT'S YUKO AND OMG TOMOCHIIIIIINNNNN!!!!" and things.

Yeah, they thought it was a little weird, but occasionally I'd like to think that's why they hang around me.  :P

And that's why I love them.  (LESS THAN THREE!!!!)

3. "Ookina Ai de Motenashite" C-ute

The song that, oddly enough, started my fiery tailspin into idol fan land!  You'd think that me, whose musical tastes usually land along the techno-metal-gothic-post-rock-epic instrumentals spectrum, that this would have turned me off quicker than immediately. got stuck on repeat somehow.  I blame Airi :P

2. "On the Way ~Yakusoku no basho e~" SweetS

Shortly after discovering C-ute, I discovered SweetS.  And I was super bummed when I found out that they had broken up almost three years prior.

One of the first songs on my now massive YouTube favorites playlist, and one of the first idol songs to find its way onto my Ipod, "On The Way" solidified my love for Haruna and Mai, and I had many lovely dancey walks to class to this song.  Which, during the year I discovered it, was massively important.

1. "UZA" AKB48

Okay, everyone loves this song.  How could you not?  I mean with the steampunk things and the phat beatzzz and the Jurina and the....

But this song kind of saved my ass.  No, literally.

Fun fact: driving in a blizzard in the dark along I-25 to Denver when you're already almost late for a crucial meeting with your mentor (one that got me a kick-ass recommendation letter for grad school) SUCKS MANY MEGA MOUNTAINS OF FIERY BALLS.  So, I turned off my audiobook I was listening to (Orientalism is fascinating, but really dry, let's be honest here...) and popped in UZA.

I then magically became too badass not to dodge all the ice-fucked semis in my way.  I am pretty sure I would have been road pizza were it not for this song.  Thanks, Jurina!!

That's all for now, everyone!  I will resume regular updates when I make landfall in Seattle!

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