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You guys hear about this Arashi Land business?  It's got to be an April Fool's joke, right?  It would be too awesome for it to exist in reality. 

But seriously, it's got to be a joke.  The fact that they describe the location as an hour by BICYCLE from the nearest train station was the big red flag.  I mean who measures distance by BICYCLE???

And I don't think you could have snapper and bonito in a pond... they are salt water fish and it making a salt water pond has big environmental impact headaches.

If you want to check the news out yourself, go to http://hellojapan.bakufu.org/

Anyways, man, sorry for being MIA for so long.  I have had random thoughts but I didn't want to spam your friends lists with one sentence musings (not that I haven't but I wanted to keep it at a minimum)

What have I been up to these days?  I just had my spring break and did a whole bunch of things but personally the funnest day was when I went karaoke-ing with a Korean girlfriend who taught in Japan, which meant I could sing Japanese and Korean songs to my heart's content. When I go with my American friends, I stick to American songs just out of courtesy. 

I sang a bunch of DBSK songs and a whole load of Misia songs. Ah, Misia. My eternal goddess.  Her songs are so fun to sing, even if there are parts that I just flat out don't even attempt (like her whistle register).  The DBSK songs were hard because there are five of them and only one of me.  Arashi songs have a similar problem but they generally are a lot easier to sing than DBSK songs.  One thing I did notice was that DBSK sings in a higher register than Arashi.  When I sing Arashi songs, I am forcefully reminded of the fact that they are male because a lot of their songs are uncomfortably low for me.  Don't get me wrong, I am an alto so I love low notes, but a 5 minute song most consisting of low notes is rough even for me.  And dude! Kumori nochi kaisei is a rough song to sing.  It's quite the work out because you have so little time to breathe! Oh-chan really is amazing.

what else, what else.  Korean lessons are going well~! At this rate hopefully I can be super basic conversational by the summer?  It's hard to say because I still don't know how to do really basic things like express intent or desire or past tense but I can say things in honorific.  I don't really get why this book follows this order but oh wells.

but ack I only have one month or so left of school which means I only have one month or so left before finals. So screwed, I have two finals one right after another on the first two days of finals. Someone out there hates me.  So I was supposed to start outlining for one of them during spring break but of course I didn't do anything. Not only did I not study for finals, I even got behind on my reading.  Go me!

Oh, I just remembered that most of you don't care about my RL. Haha sorry, ignore the above.  Getting back on topic...

- hate the JJ blonde.  Ack such a bad color for him, and his hair looks ravaged.  It usually looks so smooth and silky even when it's been colored, but this blonde.. Aish. Bad!

- Why is Junsu's brother debuting in China.  And why is his name Zuno?  And who exactly is his target audience? With the hard as a rock bod but cute, doe-eyed face, I would say gay males would find him the most attractive. Am I right or am I right? So many mysteries surround this man.   I liked him so much better when he was Junsu's cute brother.  He had that innocent, legit aura about him that people in the entertainment industry don't have.   

- Speaking of those who have that celebrity aura, who do you guys think have it the most and the least in Arashi and DBSK?

I think for Arashi, my ranking would go (from most to least celebrity-like):
- MJ
A no-brainer, the camera loves him and he loves the camera.  they have an instinctive relationship

- Sho
I was watching his most recent Hanamaru cafe episode and I had this brief flash of irritation/disappointment in him because he was SO polished and SO smooth that he could totally pass as an American Senator.  (I don't say Japanese Diet member since they are not very polished IMO.)   It made me sad because it made me realize that the Sho we often see is the public appearances version and not the real Sho.  I have become more and more sensitive to this as Arashi becomes more and more popular and hence heavily produced.

- Aiba
For Aiba it's more that I can't see him doing anything else other than standing in front of a camera and making people smile/laugh.  He doesn't exude that typical celeb sliminess, but that doesn't mean he is no less meant for a public life.  He is very natural in front of the camera, and that is the ultimate goal of any public figure, so perhaps he should actually be ranked first in terms of most suited for being a celebrity.

- Nino
He's lower than Aiba precisely because his TV persona is much more obviously constructed.  We know and he knows we know that he acts out the "Nino the tsukkomi brat" character when he is on TV and we all love him for it but know that he is not like that in real life.  I also put him lower because I can imagine him doing work behind the camera and not in front of it.

- Ohchan
He's lowest because he definitely acts the most like a normal human being when on camera.  He very rarely acts "on" and that has become his trademark.  Obviously it only works when those around him can support him, so I can't see him ever hosting a show on his own.  His radio show doesn't really count since it's so short and his appearances are just recorded segments and not him actually hosting.

In terms of DBSK, the order would go:
1. Jaejoong
2. Yoochun
3. Junsu
4. Yunho
5. Changmin

Jaejoong is like MJ. Camera loves him, he loves the camera.  I think these two thrive in being the center of attention and that is when they are at their best. Like MJ, I simply cannot imagine Jaejoong doing anything else. 

Yoochun is up there for the same reason as Aiba. They are both very natural in front of the camera and are able to close the distance between themselves and the viewer.  They are the ones that beckon to us and invite us to join them, allowing us to feel a connection despite the fact that we do not exist in the same time and place. 

Junsu is third because he obviously loves being an entertainer but doesn't have quite the natural talent that Jaejoong and Yoochun do.  Junsu is the consummate artist.  He is a singer and when he is in his element, he far outstrips anyone else in DBSK in terms of power, intensity and aura.  In that sense he is like Oh-chan.  But unlike Oh-chan, Junsu actually puts in an effort to be interesting when he is on camera, but because he is not that adept at it, he looks like he is trying too hard. (This is why I think Oh-chan's strategy is better, but Junsu can't afford to do that because the DBSK can't pick up his slack the way Arashi can for Oh-chan.  Perhaps we will see this dynamic shift as DBSK matures as a group. Arashi's current dynamic wasn't established till pretty recently, if you come to think of it).  

Yunho is fourth because he tries hard but boy does this boy just not get it sometimes.  He spins and spins his wheels and doesn't go anywhere.  He is KY to the max and it's sometimes hilarious and sometimes really irritating.  When he's funny, it's on accident or because he is so pushy that you are kinda tricked into thinking he is actually funny lol.  (Don't get me wrong I love Yunho to death).  When he performs, he is amazing, but better leave the talking to people like Jaejoong and Yoochun (which he thankfully does).

Finally, Changmin. He ranks last because I don't sense the kind of "this is it, do or die" feeling from him.  He was recruited into the entertainment industry and never thought about singing or dancing before that.  His life now is not what he envisaged but he is finding joy in it all the same.   If DBSK falls apart, I don't think he will have too hard a time adjusting to a non-celebrity lifestyle.  On tv, you see that Changmin is detached and always level-headed, taking a step back to observe things more from a distance.   Maybe it helps that he is the youngest and so he more than the others really grew up in front of the camera. I think this distance is what allows him to be as witty and funny as he is, and it's the big difference between Arashi and DBSK.  In Arashi, everyone has this ability to step back and assess (Nino and Sho more so than Aiba or Jun), whereas in DBSK, only Changmin has this ability.  Whether this difference is from age, experience or temperament is hard to say (actually it's probably all three) but it's an area that DBSK really needs to work on if they are to succeed in Japan.  Korean TV shows are more forgiving of lackluster comic timing or instinct because the TV shows are much more heavily produced and structured, but Japanese shows usually have a lighter guiding hand and therefore leave more to the individual performer.  DBSK has survived so far on the novelty factor of non-Japanese people trying to communicate in Japanese (something that is so entertaining for the Japanese for some odd reason) but the Japanese bore easily.  If they want to be more than just musicians but more general entertainers in Japan (which seems to be the plan, seeing how they are branching JJ out into acting), then they not only have to work on their Japanese but they also have to work on being able to pull back a bit be a bit more detached when they are talking.  

Few, okay that was a lot to write and a lot to read for you all!  Better call it a day!


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Apr. 3rd, 2010 05:35 pm (UTC)
I really want to express my opinion about this topic but now I become so numb from Tohoshinki's news. I would try to light up my mood and get back.

*Give you a big hug and bow*

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )