Our July 2011 Blogger of the Month is none other than Janakya Mottainai‘s AimxAim. I must admit, choosing AimxAim was a less calculated move than Langdimus Prime. I wasn’t thinking it out as much as I was going with a gut instinct. I knew I wanted to go in a different direction, to switch up the criteria from the first time, but still have a powerhouse blogger to deliver. The first name that came to mind was AimXAim – I wasn’t sure why exactly, but it just felt right, felt very much “of the moment”.
But thinking about it some more, I realized that AimxAim as Blogger of the Month works for many of the same reasons as it did for Langdimus. She is a veteran of the wotasphere, having debuted her blog in 2008, back when there was a boom of wota blogs. While many of the blogs from that time have fallen by the wayside, abandoned and forgotten, Janakya Mottainai has remained and become a fixture. Equally important, Aim has shown a clear growth, especially in recent months, which warrant calling extra attention to her blog – at this moment, of this moment – and all that it has to offer.
As a veteran, AimxAim has gone through just about everything a blogger in our community would go through. She’s taken part in community-wide activities with such things as Hello! Blog’s annual poll, noting her first write-up here at Intl Wota (courtesy of Brian, as it turns out), and participating in IW’s Wota Wonderings. She’s also had shifts in coverage: initially there was some Jrock in the mix, including the likes of Tommy and Miyavi, then it narrowed down to Hello! Project for a while, and then it re-expanded to a wider range of music again, most notably with Johnny’s Entertainment groups. She has tried branching out, with a personal blog and a Jrock-only blog. And like many H!P fans, she eventually gave in and found something to enjoy about AKB48, tracking her immersion in that fandom as well. (One great post early in that fandom had her use simple descriptions for each girl she knew, since she couldn’t pin names to faces just yet.) Aim’s even had times of quiet, where she didn’t blog as much simply because she didn’t feel inspired. However, a month has never been skipped, there is a strong sense of continuity and consistency throughout.
This consistency pays off in the depth of her writing. From the very start, AimxAim has been unafraid to express her opinions, whether they were popular or not, whether the reasoning behind her opinions were commonsense or quirkily personal. (And she has never been apologetic about her quirkier judgments, which I find admirable.) That’s not exactly unusual on the internet, but she also has an even temperament despite these strong opinions: there is rarely a sense of malice in her negative judgment, she doesn’t seem to fall prey to meanness for its own sake. (Something I can’t claim, as Takitty fans well know.) When she loves something, the glee is apparent. When she dislikes or disapproves of something, it doesn’t seem to come from a personal agenda more than a sense of an idol or work simply not living up to its promise or potential. Thus, what we have here is not simply honesty but, like Applejack from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, an honesty built on an idealism borne of optimism and hope.
Further, these years of blogging have given AimxAim a conceptual edifice to build upon, a structure which is now a tower of rhetorical authority. This is the beauty of blogging – being forced to express one’s opinions on a regular basis means you accumulate a body of ideas and premises that you can draw upon with increasing skill. As a result, AimxAim has stepped up her game in the past year or so, not only with the number of posts per month, but also a deeper engagement with idols and Japanese music and her own role as a fan.
Even more immediate, there are two posts in recent weeks that sealed the deal for me – reading them was akin to the movie Sabrina, where the rival brothers realize little Audrey Hepburn is all grown up and turned into quite the sophisticated looker. If I had to be honest, it was these posts which swayed my decision, which made me believe AimxAim was the one and only choice.
The first is her essay about the difficulties of being a fan. This would be a difficult post for most anyone to write, and is one of the best posts I’ve read so far this year. Did I agree with everything she said? No, and I’m on the record about that. But the force of her argument and the passion she brings to being a fan makes it an exquisite piece of writing, something that resonates for anyone whose fandom feels threatening to people around them. Aim’s usual even temperament probably came as close to breaking as it ever has with this essay, yet still she was able to maintain a steely resolve, a refusal to give in to negativity and a more poisonous emotionality. Her passion and sense of righteousness about this topic is always clear, is impossible to call into question, but she retains a sense of objectivity throughout. It is a bravura performance which we can all learn from.
The second watershed post is the one dealing with the recent Hey! Say! Jump smoking scandal for Morimoto Ryutaro. There are echoes of three other scandals in this one: Kago Ai’s fall from grace, as well as those of NEWS’ Uchi Hiroki and Kusano Hironori. Looking through the history of her blog, AimxAim has been keeping an eye out for all three fallen idols, posting on whatever they’ve veen up to and how they’re faring. I had not realized that until afterwards, when I began going through her archives, just how dedicated she had been, and how this helped inform her essay on the HSJ scandal. It is the authority of a beat reporter who suddenly finds herself caught in the middle of a huge news story right at the heart of her neighborhood. She knows the lay of the land, she knows the history as she’d been reporting it all along; she’s seen repercussions as they unfolded, and her opinions are bound by the weight of these experiences and slowly accumulated insights. In a weird way, it was kind of a Lois Lane moment. (Or a Lou Grant moment. But Lois is prettier and still recognizable to the young uns, so let’s go with that.)
Would I say AimxAim is a perfect blogger? Not at all – but who is, in out wotasphere? Her writing could be more polished, certainly, more carefully crafted. However, there is growth there as well, as one discovers when reading posts from the beginning, as well as the leap forward that came with the two major posts mentioned above. She’s only recently set new standards of excellence for herself, and it is only a matter of time and persistence and growing self-awareness (all of which she possesses in copious amounts) before she sets even higher standards to live up to, and in doing so set a standard for her readers and admirers as well.
In naming AimxAim our July Blogger of the Month, Intl Wota isn’t only acknowledging all she has done in the past, but also the breakthroughs she’s made in the present and the promise she shows for the future of the wotasphere. Janakya Mottainai is at a cusp, has faced moments of greatness and lived up to them. That should serve as an inspiration to others in the wotasphere, and encouragement to AimxAim as she continues to build her fandom legacy.