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Selective Hearing on Sakuracon Day One

Sakura-con Day 1

Hot off the presses – that is, if the interweb had presses – Greg shares his first impressions on the pilgrimage to Seattle and how it’s going so far. Plenty of pics, so look carefully for familiar faces!

Delicious Cake Project Has Early Notes On Berryz At Sakuracon

Rough Draft: Notes From Berryz Koubou’s Q&A panel IN AMERICA Seattle

Straight from Pata, information from the QA panel with Berryz. I liked Chinami’s answers best, though it’s nice to also see some love for Amuro Namie expressed.

Kitahara Sayaka Goes Solo

Kitahara Sayaka- First Solo Single Titled “Yappa Seishun” (Hello! SayuNii)
Official Kitahara Sayaka Website Opened (Hello! SayuNii)

So the KKK Of Hello! Project – also known as Milky Way – have all moved on to solo careers now, and I for one am looking forward to Sayaka’s work in particular! Which of course, translates to: please please PLEASE give her a bikini photobook!

AKB48 Joining a-nation Tenth Anniversary Tour

10th a-nation tour includes AKB48 alongside top Avex artists (Tokyograph)

The DiVA connection seems to be the impetus for this, though I’m sure it doesn’t help that AKB are one of the hottest acts in Japan right now. Hopefully, an announcement will clarify which members of AKB will be on the tour line-up.

On a different note, it would be great if two more Avex acts – After School and Amuro Namie – were also added to the schedule. They could do “Make It Happen” together live!

JYP U.S.A. Audition Tour Announced

Gear up for the ‘2011 JYP U.S.A Audition Tour’! (allkpop)

Think you have what it takes to be the next Kpop sensation? Well, here’s your chance to put your money where your mouth is!

B’z Announce Short North American Tour

B’z announces first North American tour in 8 years (Tokyograph)

Still going strong with yet another number one single at home, the veteran rockers are focusing on the West Coast for their three stops on our side of the hemisphere.

DiVA To Audition For Six New Members Before Capitalizing the I

DiVA to hold auditions for 6 more members (Melos no Michi)
AKB48′s DiVA to recruit new members through audition (Tokyograph)
DiVA, you were too good to be true… (SaeYaka Paradise)
DiVA, you were too good to be true… Sayaka and Sae blog comments (SaeYaka Paradise)

Contrasting to the natural-ness of the Acchan announcement, this one is more of a WTF moment. The group has barely started out and Aki-P has now declared that auditions for six new members will be held – molding the group into a female EXILE, so to speak. When the new members are added, the small-i in DiVA will become a capital-I because then the group will be complete. Which does make it sound like it was planned all along, and the idea of a female EXILE seems like something SOMEBODY should be doing (why not Avex?), considering how popular the group has been in recent years… Nevertheless, it certainly stings for fans of the four current members of the group, and SaeYaka Paradise certainly doesn’t hold back the emotions in their write-up.

Personally, I’m not sure what to make of this. I have to admire Aki-P’s business savvy in trying to recreate a tried-and-true formula… That said, alienating the built-in dedicated fan base of the group isn’t very savvy at all, now is it? And what if the current line-up proves more popular than the 10-nin version? Will the band be re-shrunk and de-capitalized or something? I get the feeling this group’s story has only just begun…

Atsuko Maeda’s First Solo Single Announced [Update: Rumor From Chinese Site]

Maeda Atsuko’s Solo Single Debut Announced (New School Kaidan)
Maeda Atsuko Solo Single Debut! (Kira Kira Anni)

Even casual AKB fans like myself may be asking what took them so long, but it’s at last upon us. And Dae of New School Kaidan has a thoughtful, well-measured assessment of what Acchan can bring to her solo work and why we shold be optimistic about it. So who’s next to solo, then? Perhaps Shinoda Mariko, as a parting present before she graduates?

UPDATE: Melos of Melos no Michi was kind enough to tweet us that the source of the Acchan solo information is a Chinese entertainment site, as cited at IXA Ready. So what we’re looking at is a rumor, and a highly suspicious one, given that it’s not coming from Japanese media, who’ve remained silent on the matter.

Goto Maki Announces New Mini-Album

Goto Maki Releasing A New Mini-Album Titled “LOVE” (Hello! SayuNii)

I feel like I haven’t given the post-H!P Goto Maki a fair shake, and this album may be a good chance to finally set things right. Besides, she looks especially gorgeous in the promotional photos for this release! Love, indeed!

First Three Dates of X Japan World Tour Announced

X Japan announces first three dates of world tour: London, Paris, Berlin (Updated) (Tokyograph)
X JAPAN Announces European Concert Dates Plus Slot at “Summer Sonic” Festival (Selective Hearing)

With many more dates promised, Tokyograph has an update on moved venues in the UK and Berlin to accommodate the high interest in the shows, while Greg gives useful background on Japan’s Summer Sonic Festival and the honor of X Japan appearing in that venue as well.

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