[Announcement] Happy Disco’s Facebook Page is now Open!

Happy Disco now has its very own Facebook page!

https://www.facebook.com/HappyDiscoIdols

I will be updating this page whenever I post something on Happy Disco, for convenience. I’ll also be using this page for Your Thoughts posts, connecting with readers in an easy format, and possibly doing some contests in the future.

So if you like what I do, please like the page. You can also follow me on twitter @writerserenyty, but that’s a lot of my ramblings about everything including idols, video games, tv shows, and general stuff like that. I once livetweeted being annoyed on the train. So that’s the level of my twitter.

For anyone that has went to Happy Media from my recommendation, first off thank you, and secondly I WILL be updating that eventually, I just need to figure out what I’m doing with that space.

Thank you everyone for the support! It’s been two months since I revamped Happy Disco, and I’m very happy with how things have been going!

Happy Disco 2.0 (or is it 3.0 at this point)

When Ray announced that Idolminded was going on hiatus, one of the things that popped in my head was “ok, I guess I’m not going to be getting views.” I don’t want to sound like I’m doing it for the views or reads, or anything like that, but it is something I pay attention to, and I know that the vast amount of my views come from Idolminded (though one time a Japanese music writer linked me, that was pretty cool).

That said, it got me to thinking about how I’m running my blog, especially since I’m at the point where I’m doing a retail job waiting for a real one. Early this year I described a new Happy Disco, one with regular content on a schedule. And I failed pretty miserably. To be absolutely fair, that was my fault for getting ambitious while working on my last semester of college and my final thesis. But I digress.

Here’s the plan for what I’m going to try to do from here on out.

1. New Banner – I’ve had this one for some time and it’s time for something fresh.

2. Smaller, more frequent posts. I think my biggest issue is my long-windedness, and while I think that’s something I do well (I cover things in-depth) it’s also a flaw that prevents me from being a better blogger. I’m going to work on this.

3. A schedule. Here’s what I have in mind so far.

Monday – Review Mondays – I review an album, release, whatever. It can be present, past, whatever I want.

Wednesday – Idol Thoughts. This is a new segment I’ve been thinking of for a while. Every week I’ll post a thought about the idol industry, a group, what have you, and I’ll write something about it. Throughout the week I’ll encourage people to write in and contribute their own ideas in the comments and on Facebook/twitter. Then, next Wednesday, I’ll make a post compiling common/interesting answers. Hopefully this will work out, because this is something I’m excited about!

Friday – TIFriday. I’m going to finish up my TIF posts, finally, profiling the groups. After I finish this I’ll come up with something else to fill up the timeslot.

If you have any suggestions, feel free to comment! I’m excited to see where this takes off!

On being an International Wota…

When I was a freshman in college, I lived with a roommate that I hadn’t met before. She was nice, and we got along very well, but we weren’t really close friends ever. One day, I got my first photobook in the mail. It was Tokunaga Chinami’s photobook, and I was very excited to get it. However, it prompted an awkward exchange, with my roommate asking me “How old is she?” and my mumbled “Seventeen…” as a response. I explained that she was a singer in Japan and that I was her fan, but it was still awkward.

The reason I mention this is because of a post HERE on New School Kaidan, where NSK’s Yoshi describes keeping his idol fandom a secret, to the point where it affects how he interacts with people. It’s an interesting read, and I’m sure  many can relate.

When I first saw this, at first I thought I couldn’t relate much at all. I’m fairly open about my interests with my family and close friends, and the people who know me well know about idols. I have idol-related things lying around my house, where I still live with my parents and sister, for example, and my room has idol posters up too.

However, the more I thought, the more I realized I could relate. One thing I’ve been glad about with my idol fandom is that I’m female. While male idol fans are the norm in Japan, the connotation is different in the US. While I think this is wholely unfair, and there’s nothing wrong about being an idol fan, regardless of your gender or age, it’s the truth.

Further, in a weird way a big part of why I blog and why I’ve done academics with idols is that it makes it easier to justify. Oh, I just spent a lot of money and time on idols? Don’t worry, I think about this stuff critically. I legitimately love blogging and I’m glad I spend my time on Happy Disco, Idolminded and now Pure Idol Heart, but I’d be lying to say it hasn’t helped me in this way. I also wonder, as I age, if this rationalization will become a bigger part of my explanation to people I meet. “I really like Japanese girl groups…. but it’s OK, I blog about them.”

Ideally, I want to say that people should like what they like. While being an idol fan has affected me in this way, I don’t regret loving idol singers, and I can’t see that changing any time soon, no matter what people think of my interests and my hobby. However, people do look at it differently, and so you might find yourself having to justify your hobby. It’s frustrating, but that’s the way it is, and I can’t see it changing any time soon.

Happy Birthday Idolminded!

Today is the 1st birthday of the incredible Idolminded. Or, if you will, Idolminded’s Hajimete no Happy Birthday.

I’ve greatly enjoyed working on and with the lovely people at Idolminded. Thanks to the efforts of Ray, Thennary Nak and Chiima, the long-term contributors who have kept this going. Even before I joined the staff of Intl Wota I’ve enjoyed the Rec Reading posts, because they’re honestly a really helpful resource. Keeping up something daily like this is no small task, and it’s become a fantastic resource. Adding in fun things like the Haikucandy and daily idol thoughts, Idolminded has really become an excellent resource for idol bloggers and idol fans alike. This is something I’m really grateful and lucky to be a part of, because I’m so proud of the quality of Idolminded.

If you haven’t seen yet, Idolminded is doing hourly posts (as opposed to the standard daily posts) in honor of its first birthday, so check it out!

Idols vs Artists?

One of the hardest things I have to explain to people who’ve never heard about idols is the difference between an idol and an artist, or rather what separates idols as its own genre. One thing I’ve realized (and I’m sure many others have as well) is that it’s a really tough thing to define for the uninitiated. So I’m going to try to break it down and hopefully figure it out, first starting with what I think doesn’t define it.

A genre of music

Idols do have a stereotypical form of music, sure, and there’s definitely something to this. However, with the advent of groups like Babymetal, Rhymeberry, Passpo, BiS and Alice No. 10, idols are able to do metal, rap, rock, and almost any genre imaginable. So while there may be something that’s “stereotypical idol,” the cutesy upbeat fast-paced music, it’s not necessarily what defines idoldom.

Someone who doesn’t write their own music

This is a big part of being an idol, I think; I am having a hard time of thinking of idols that contribute to the writing of the music other than occasionally helping with lyrics. However, this isn’t something exclusive to idols; for example, I would have a hard time classifying modern day Hamasaki Ayumi as being what we think of as an idol, but she (for the most part) doesn’t contribute to her music. Similarly, while I enjoy Perfume and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, neither really contributes to the music and neither are really classified as idols.

A pure/virginal young female performer

The dating rule definitely springs to mind; however, what do we think of AV/gravure group Ebisu Muscats? I realize they’re almost an exception to the rule, with many AV members, but they’re still a reasonably popular idol group. Similarly, SDN48 (while not AV) had no qualms with being sexy/adult, as are other idol groups. While the dating rule is still in place, its existence is not necessary to be an idol.

An unskilled music performer

While skill in performance is not necessarily a requirement for idols (Indeed, more often than not idols are unskilled) there are really skilled performers among idols. While I think that Matsuura Aya eventually transitioned into being an artist rather than an idol, she was an incredible singer. There are other very talented female idols; Iwasa Misaki, for example, has been doing very well for herself with enka, and other AKB girls are very strong singers.

A part of an idol group/collective/company

While idol groups definitely are more popular than solo singers nowadays, this isn’t necessarily the case. For example, Kikkawa Yuu is no longer under Hello!Project and is a soloist, and is definitely an idol. Aso Natsuko is also the same; she was never in an idol group, but is definitely an idol.

After doing this thinking and making a small list, I’ve come up with two main criteria:

1. The idol doesn’t concentrate on one area of of herself to present. Basically, music artists focus a lot more on music than any other aspect of performing (dancing, variety, acting, etc.); an artist may dabble, but they are firmly focusing on one thing. Idols are supposed to be a jack-of-all-trades, specializing in personality if anything.

2. An idol defines herself as such, and is defined as such by others. For example, as I said before, Perfume and Kyary Pamyu Payu aren’t idols almost simply because they aren’t, though Perfume was once an idol group. Likewise, Morning Musume started off mainly as a vocal group, with producers telling the girls they weren’t idols; however, at some point that was out the window and they were flat out idols.

What do you think? Does anyone have a tried and true method of identifying an idol?

State of the Wota Address

Hey all,

So. I’ve been bad. And haven’t posted. Basically, I’ve been really busy, having the time of my life in London! And while I haven’t forgotten about idols and I’m still crazy into them like always, updating Happy Disco comes after my goings on here in London.

So, here’s a quick update before I start posting more regularly again!

-In London, I found a store, Japan Centre, that sells Japanese magazines, though it mostly sells food/general goods. So now I have a giant poster on my wall of SKE48.

-I recently had my first major encounter discussing my wotadom with someone who’s Japanese/Indonesian; I’m staying with a host family, and another student is staying with us. She’s both Japanese and Indonesian, and while she lives in Indonesia she follows a lot of Japanese stuff. And, so, when she saw my SKE48 poster, it was kind of interesting, haha. She says she likes JKT48 because they’re Indonesian, but she was impressed by Momoiro Clover. Which made me so proud.

– I’m kind of back into Hello!Project now? S/Mileage is my jam. 2nd Gen S/Mileage in particular; Meimi, Akari, Rina and Kana are all fantastic girls. I might write about this soon.

-Biggest for me…. I’m seeing my first idol live soon! I was waiting for the tube one day and I saw a poster for a convention here. I didn’t think much of it, until I realized “…wait, is that Nacchan?” Yes, I’m seeing the lovely Aso Natsuko! I haven’t mentioned her much, but she does a lot of anime openings, most of them written by Hyadain, who’s my favorite idol music writer at the moment. And she’s going to be here! So I’m definitely going to be writing a blog about my experience, but I’m totally pumped to see a performance of Perfect Area Complete!!

Why You (Yes, you!) Should Become an Idol Blogger!

Recently, I’ve heard one thing over and over about the online idol community, that honestly makes me a bit sad and disappointed.

That one thing is that there were more idol blogs a few years ago, but now it’s somewhat died out.

I love reading idol blogs. I think that the best of idol blogs can make you think about something a different way, or make you think “oh, I never realized that!” There are all sorts of different ones: Review based blogs, news based blogs, and then there’s commentary type blogs (like mine!). All of them have worth and have their place, and I think that if you have enough time you should start doing idol blogs!

Here are some reasons to do them.

1. Your blog is your own space to say WHATEVER you want. Granted, you can get negative feedback, if that’s what you dislike. I know that recently a Momoko fan lashed out because I called her my least favorite idol. However, if you have a thick skin, it’s really great to have this one place where you can get out all your thoughts about idols.

2. It makes you think about what you watch/do more. I know it’s easy to just go “I love idols, yayayayay” or “I hate almost everything about idols!” and view what you do that way. However, I think it’s more fun to think more critically about things. I don’t mean critically in a negative sense, I mean using analysis and just thinking things through. Maybe it’s my academic background (I study film/media at my university, so analyzing media comes naturally to me), but I have kind of a switch where I can enjoy things mindlessly, but I can also think through what I’m viewing, ask why I like some things and why I dislike other things, and come to conclusions. This, I think, ends up giving me a deeper experience in the idol fandom. Which leads to my biggest point..

3. It makes me feel more connected to my idol fandom and idols in general. I love idols. Love love love idols. As critical as I can be on Happy Disco, just ask my friend Dani how much I’ve been rambling and raving about how much I love NMB48 on Skype. However, I am not the biggest spender of the fandom. I have spent my fair share of money on idol merchandise, believe me. However, I am a college student with a limited budget, so I really can’t afford to spend $20 to get every single that every group releases. I regret not spending the $30-$40 it would cost to get Everyday Kachuusha here on time so I could support Oota Aika, but that really wasn’t in my budget at all. Despite not being able to purchase everything idol related that I’d like to, the fact that I put effort into this blog of mine makes me personally feel further invested in being an idol fan.

4. The community’s amazing. I love the idol fan community. Even though I definitely don’t agree with everything that idol fans do and there are some fan communities I try to avoid, in general I really like the people a lot.

5. Idols are amazing!! This is just a given. Who doesn’t want to spend time writing about Morning Musume, AKB48, Momoiro Clover and the like?

As much as I love blogging, it has its bad points, too, that really should be considered before you make a blog or decide about doing one.

1. You will not become famous and/or make money. I watch a lot of various YouTube channels that feature one person making silly videos and making their living off of YouTube money. I think a lot of people go into blogging and video making because they think “Oh, I can make money off of this.” Even if you were making a generic blog or a movie blog, your chances of becoming famous and making any kind of money is slim at best. These chances worsen if you’re an idol blogger, because honestly the community’s really small. I’m very lucky to get some good praise from IntlWota as well as some OK traffic. I do get some readership, and I greatly appreciate it, but this will never pay any bills.

2. It takes time. I spend a good… hour or so a day writing posts for Happy Disco. This varies a lot, obviously, and I definitely take a break from blogging when I have to focus on school work. My writing time is also not everyone else’s; sometimes I see people’s reviews for concerts with one sentence per performance and I feel envious, because I know that I have to take paragraphs to get out my opinions.

3. You can’t write about EVERYTHING. I know that I personally have way more ideas for posts than ever get written about. There are posts I wish I had the time to do; I know that I have a few really long posts in the works but that I just have not found the time to write.

Essentially, I have one thing to say about this. Do idol blogging if that’s what you love to do, not for any ulterior reason. If you do it because you want comments, you’ll be disappointed. If you do it because you want money, fame or any kind of recognition, you’ll be disappointed. However, if you have a lot of thoughts about idols and want to share them, I’d encourage anyone to give idol blogging a shot.

I’m so sorry you guys

Just typing this in between studying to say I’ve missed Happy Disco.

Tbqh my idol fandom isn’t the same when I’m not writing this; I can watch a PV and be like “Oh that’s nice” without analyzing it deeply. But where’s the fun in that?

My idol fandom is in a weird place right now. I’m going to compare it to a marriage and say that we’ve just gotten past the giddy honeymoon phase. It’s at the point where if I’m not super interested in idols I’d quit; it’s way past the “ooh, this is new and shiny!” phase. I still love idols, don’t worry. It’s just less new and sparkly.

The real reason I haven’t posted in fff two months is because school is evil. I’m aiming to work in TV production in my future and my school doesn’t offer that as an option for classes. So I’m trying to figure out my future. In the meantime I was planning on studying abroad in Tokyo… and now there’s an abundance of natural disasters. At this point I’m 99% that those plans are cancelled so I’m trying to figure out some new plans so that I can see the world like I want to.

I’m planning on trying and posting more here, but it can’t be all the time until summer. Even then I’m hoping to have a job and an internship.

MAN REAL LIFE. It always screws up my internet fandoms.