Archive for the 'Johnny’s' Category

Jun 20 2008

Fun With Surveys

Published by under Johnny's,Momusu,Personal

But first, Morning Musume’s Fall Concert tour has been announced. I plan to go to one of the Saturday Tokyo concerts (either November 1st or 8th), so would anyone be interested in coming with? It looks like I won’t be able to make the h!p Summer Concert due to conflicts with me meeting my supervisor and moving in to my new apartment for work (sigh), so this will be my first Morning Musume concert.

Now on with the surveys. First, Cutie Party’s.

1. What was the first Japanese song that you ever listened to? Okay, wait. I’m not sure about this one, but as far as I can remember, I think it was around when I was in Junior High. The internet was only just coming into wide-spread existence, so the only real access Westerners had to Japanese music was VIA anime theme songs. I had a friend who liked Magic Knights RayEarth, and she got me to watch a couple of episodes, so I think that theme song was the first Japanese song I ever listened to. I don’t even know what it was called. *looks up* Okay, it was called “Unyielding Wish” by Naomi Tamura.

2. Did it inspire you to like that group/singer, or did it turn you away? I liked the song, but I have no idea who Naomi Tamura is, and I didn’t even know her name until now, so it didn’t inspire me to like her, but it wasn’t exactly deterring either. Guess I just didn’t care much.

3. What is the one song that you have been listening to for the longest time? So by that I assume you mean a Jpop song that I still listen to? Probably that SMAP song, Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana. That would be the first Jpop song to make it onto my playlists. I heard it at Karaoke when I went to Japan after graduating from high school, it got stuck in my head, and I ended up liking it a lot.

4. What group/singer have you liked the longest? Morning Musume.

5. What is the song with the most plays on your itunes/media player? Uhm.. I’m stupid and I don’t know how to figure that out

6. Is that song your favorite? N/A

7. If not, what is? Depends on my mood, but probably “I Wish”

8. Is there any one group that you can listen to all/most of the songs by? If so, who? No way. I’m far too picky for that.

9. What is your favorite agency? Up Front and Johnny’s. I love them both in different ways!

10. What is your favorite group/singer? Morning Musume

Hmm. I think my answers turned out to be kind of boring. Sorry about that. Now the “survey” from Unchained. The challenge is to write about songs that you have the strongest emotional attachment to and explain why. I’ll start early and work my way up. Sorry if it’s cheating, but most of my choices are not Jpop, because most of them are associated with important times in my life, and thus far, the most important times in my life haven’t been strongly associated with Jpop.

You Are My Sunshine- Children’s Song
Yeah, we’re going waaaay back. When I was a baby/toddler, I absolutely could not go to sleep unless one of my parents sat with me in our rocking chair, read me the book “Good Night Moon” and then sang me this song. I must have been such a joy to raise, huh?

I Hope You Dance- Leanne Womak
Let me get one thing straight. I do not like country. At all. This song, however, is a special exception. I was on dance team in high school, and this was one of our competition songs in the fall of my Freshman year. It was a moving and lovely lyrical number, and it felt really really good to dance it (not to mention that we took 1st place!). This song made me fall in love with dancing, and the lyrics are beautiful and inspiring as well.

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat
But always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you’ll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance

Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da (Life Goes On)- The Beatles
The summer after my junior year of high school I went on a trip to Europe with a group from my school. Our bus driver REALLY loved this song, so he’d play it a lot, particularly when we had reached a destination after a long drive, everyone was asleep or mostly asleep, and we needed something to energize us again. By the end of the trip we were all singing along. That trip was a significant time in my life. I met my current boyfriend there, and it also sparked my interest in travel and seeing other cultures.

Ai Araba It’s All Right- Morning Musume
That this song made the list should probably come as no surprise. It’s the first Morning Musume song I ever heard, and the song that was to begin my obsession with them. To this day, it never fails to cheer me up.

Defying Gravity- Wicked
I love musicals, and this is my absolute favorite song to come from a musical. It’s just so powerful. I don’t have an emotional attachment to this song because of a specific emotional memory so much as it stirs strong emotions in me of it’s own right. If you haven’t listened to this song before, I advise you do so. It’s simply amazing. The real song starts about 1 minute in (there’s kind of an introduction)

Out Loud- Dispatch
This song is special to me because of my college sorority. Every winter at recruitment (or rush or whatever you want to call it) on one of the nights we’d have a slide show of pictures of us and the girls who were the best singers would sing a song a’cappella or with a guitar accompaniment. This was the song used both my Freshman and Senior year, and so it represents both the beginning and end of my collegiate sorority experience for me and all the memories and friendships that came along with that. Hearing it makes me want to cry, but in a good way. I don’t have a recording of our girls singing it, but here is the original version.

I don’t want this list to get out of control, so I’m going to cut myself off here. I’d encourage others to write their own answers though. I like to see what kind of music touches people.

Natsukashii ne,


3 responses so far

Jun 17 2008

Creative Input

Published by under Johnny's,Uncategorized

I shall warn you now, this post makes mention of Johnny’s, for comparison’s sake.

Being a fan of both h!p and Johnny’s, I can’t help but notice that the differences between the two organizations stretch waaay beyond gender and level of popularity.  One major difference is that the Johnny’s groups, especially the more established groups, have lots of creative input in their work, and as far as I can tell, the h!p girls have next to none. Of the two groups that I am fans of, the majority of the members routinely write their own solo songs, as well as other songs for their group on occasion. The group rappers write their own raps, even for their major singles. Some members choreograph some dances, and they all seem to have a big say in what goes on in their concerts, from ideas for effects, staging, and props to selecting their own set-list (which I know that at least Arashi does). Arashi also named their last album themselves, and I know that KT at least had input as to which songs made the final cut for their last album. H!p concert MCs are usually completely scripted. The only words of their own choosing that come out of the girls mouths are their self-introductions and goodbyes, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they have to run those by the management and get them approved ahead of time. Johnny’s MCs follow a much looser format. Often it’s just the members out there shooting the breeze, and if there are some specific topics or format that they’re supposed to use, it’s still usually nothing scripted.

I wonder why the management trusts the h!p girls so little. I think the fans would love to hear them making amusing conversation amongst themselves during the concert MCs instead of reciting jokes that sometimes fall flat. It’s much more personal that way, isn’t it? I’m sure some of them are capable of writing song lyrics. The Johnny’s  boys are no smarter than h!p’s girls, and I’d be really interested to see what they came up with. Even if it was just songs that were only performed in concert, it would be something. I’m also sure that all the groups have members who are capable of choreographing a simple dance routine for a concert performance, and I bet the more experienced members could come up with some good ideas for the concert set-up too. They’ve been doing this long enough. They should know what works and what doesn’t. Also, why shouldn’t they be allowed to pick their own set-list? They’re the ones who are going to be singing those songs, and I think that at least the group leader and sub-leader could be trusted with that responsibility. Maybe not for the younger groups, but certainly for Morning Musume and the Elder Club members. I think that maybe they’re sometimes allowed to select their own solo songs, but why not give them a chance to do more than that?

There are advantages and disadvantages to giving the members of h!p more creative input. There’s a possibility that they don’t even want it. Maybe they prefer just following instructions and not having to worry about being creative or coming up with ideas. It’s certainly easier for them, and if something doesn’t work, the blame will fall on their management, not on the girls themselves. Also, Tsunku seems to be very protective about no one else writing songs for his idols, so he might object to the competition even if it was from the idols themselves. On the other hand, maybe their work would be more fulfilling for them if they felt like they had a larger part in the decision making process. Also, they might just be able to be taken a tiny bit more seriously as artists rather than just as idols. I know that they will never in a million years escape the “idol” moniker, but if we could say that “Maimi Yanjima choreographed that dance!” or “Ai Takahashi wrote that song!”, then I think they would gain another level of credibility. Finally, I think that the fans would love to see even more of their favorite idol put into what they do, and even if something didn’t work quite as it should, they’d be a lot more forgiving if they knew that the girl they worship was in charge rather than some far off and faceless producer.

 So, wha’da you think?


18 responses so far

Jun 02 2008

Oh Noes, Miyabi Scandal

Published by under berryz,Johnny's

With recent images and video of Miyabi and a boy who she appears to be dating circulating around the internet, the outcry against H!P’s “unjust” boyfriend policy has started anew. I don’t think I’ve ever weighed in on that particular issue here, so here are my thoughts on the matter.

1st- Man. I was so betting the first serious Berryz scandal would go to Risako.

2nd- As a sidenote, if any of you are HeySayJump fans and are concerned about the rumors that the boy with Miyabi is Inoo Kei, please take a deep breath and relax. Johnny’s boys do not get kicked out of their groups for dating girls, okay? As far as I know, it’s never happened. They get interviewed about their dating habits almost every month “where do you like to take girls on dates? how do you confess? how long are your relationships usually? etc.”. There are new tabloid photos of a Johnny’s member with a girl almost every week. I could show you clear pictures of Masaki Aiba of Arashi with a girl, on a bed, both topless and kissing. If he didn’t get kicked out of Johnny’s for that, Kei is not going anywhere for a little public hugging. A slap on the wrist probably, maybe even getting passed up for a drama roll, but not expelled.

3rd- And now to Miya. I’ll have to admit. I am concerned. I can echo the popular sentiments of “a girl her age should be allowed to date!” and “they were just hugging!” but you’ve heard that all before, and it doesn’t get any truer. What it comes down to is whether or not Miyabi’s going to be “leaving h!p to focus on her studies”, and the ball is entirely in UFA’s court. There are 3 ways that the can choose to react to this, and no doubt there are currently many frantic behind closed doors meetings going on at UFA to decide on a strategy. They could: A- Apologize profusely for the photos, make Miyabi apologize profusely for the photos and then either expel her or put her on probation, B- Either claim that they are “just friends” or ignore it completely, take Miyabi a bit out of the spotlight for a while and wait for things to blow over, or C- Deny the fuck out of it. That girl is not Miyabi, she’s never met Inoo Kei, and Miyabi will confirm this. Cross their fingers and hope people believe them.

At this point, I’d say that B is out. It’s pretty clear that they are not “just friends” and I think there’s too much evidence for this just to be ignored. Strategy B works well for minor scandals by trivializing the issue. By refusing to acknowledge, scandals can be run out of steam quite quickly, and there is very little lasting damage to the idol, but I’m afraid that this might be too big a deal for that.

That leaves A and C. UFA would probably prefer C since Miyabi is currently a major player in H!P as both a lead in Berryz and a member of Buono. On the other hand… that girl really really looks like Miya. I don’t know if the pictures are blurry enough for them to believably claim it’s not her. Then there’s A. Nobody wants that, but it’s seeming like the most likely option at this point, at least to me. Now it’s time for us to all cross our fingers and anxiously wait for the verdict.

As a final note, does anyone know what the Japanese fans reactions to this have been. The English-speaking community seems to be largely of the opinion that h!p rules are highly unfair and extremely concerned about what is going to happen to Miyabi. Are the Japanese fan’s reactions really radically different? Are they all angry not at UFA, but at Miyabi? Are they demanding that she be expelled? Can they really turn on their idol so quickly?



4 responses so far

May 09 2008

Not Quite Love at First Sight

Another cross-over post. You have been warned. There’s more h!p so it goes here.

I’ve got to admit, I’m kind of brutal with music. When I get a new album or single or whatever, the first thing I do is listen to all of the songs once or twice through and sort them into two categories. Either they go into the NEW section of the “My Music” folder or to the “Other” folder, which is a dumping ground for things I’m not sure I want to get rid of, but I’m not sure I want to keep either. The “My Music” songs in the new folder get listened to regularly until I’m no longer being obsessive about them at which point they are moved to the appropriate permanent folder, sorted by group, where they will still be listened to, but not as often. Songs that go to the “Other” folder are largely forgotten about until something prompts me to dig them up again. When I say I’m brutal about my sorting, I mean it. It’s not uncommon for entire albums to end up in the “other” folder, and even with my favorite groups, it’s rare that more than 3 or so songs on an album make the cut.

That’s not to say that I never change my mind. I will occasionally go back and give albums or songs another chance, just in case, and I usually find some songs that didn’t impress me much on the first listen, but are great on the second. Also, watching a good live performance of a song is often all it takes to change my mind about it. So, out of my more recent diggings through my reject folder, here are some of my “New” discoveries.

Koi Uranai Toori ni wa Naranaiwa- Ongaku Gatas Album
I’m ashamed to admit that I kind of blew off the entire 1st Goodsal album when it came out. Something about Gatas and their music style just doesn’t sit right with me. It might have been Mutou Mika, I dunno, but interestingly enough, she’s the one who inspired me to give this song another listen. I noticed that it is the only song on the entire album where she has any sort of solo line (for a grand total of 5 words), and I wanted to hear what her voice sounded like. Not surprisingly, she’s no Ayaya, but surprisingly, I found myself liking the song. Not the best singing (it’s all the eggs), but it’s got a nice melody.

Fight All Night, KT
I was resisting this song for a very long time for a very dumb reason; I think the title is stupid. There are several songs I have excluded from my files over the years because I’m embarrassed to listen to something with such a lame English title (MM’s ‘Nature is Good’ comes to mind). However, on reassessment, I’m forced to admit that the part in the beginning where they kind of computerize a few words of Jin and Kame’s voices is rather cool, and they don’t say “Fight all Night” that often, so I have begrudgingly promoted it to the My Music folder.

Dekiru Onna, MM (c/w to Ai Araba)-
B-sides are always at a big disadvantage when it comes to making the list, especially when they are the coupling for a single that I really like. I love Ai Araba so much that almost any coupling track would pale in comparison. So, I brushed off Dekiru Onna as being too slow and kind of strange and forgot about it….until the Sexy8Beat concert. The girls were all sweaty and lethargic, and somehow it was the sexiest performance of a concert with the word “sexy” right in the title! The last line where Rika (Aika in the concert) gets cut off is awesome. This isn’t standard MM, but it’s certainly worth more than one listen. 45 second performance clip! Short for easy viewing.

Online Videos by

Rock You- Arashi, TIME album
What a deceptive title. There’s nothing “Rock” about this song at all. Without a doubt, it was the live performance from the TIME concert DVD that made me like it. Turns out that while I don’t care for the chorus much, I LOVE the verses. The song starts with the chorus, so I probably stopped paying atention at that point when I first heard it. I really hope that this is an Arashi album track that they’ll be bringing back sometime. Also, I like the little Ohmiya moment in this song. You can see better in the larger version, but I swear, Nino has a certain way of smiling that you only see around Oh-chan. Doesn’t he look downright proud? Anyway, this part of the song is really nice, isn’t it? 30 second clip!

Online Videos by

Sayonara Hageshiki Koi, Berryz-
It is a mystery to me why this song didn’t make it through the first time around. Did I accidentally skip it or something? I watched the “Welcome Berryz Kyuuden” concert and was like, “What is this song?? It rocks!” You know, it might even be my favorite Berryz album song now. I’ll have to think about that though…

I suppose the lesson here is that it might be worth your time to give songs a second chance. Something that didn’t really grab you at first may end up becoming one of your favorite songs!


Keep on Rockin’,


One response so far

Apr 09 2008

A handy dandy chart for you

Published by under Johnny's

Second comparison post! This one pokes fun at some of the differences between my two favorite idol franchises. Link is HERE

One response so far