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The golden rule is still the same...

So I posted a while ago that when my personal life gets shitty, i get more active online as if to make up for it.  And I gotta say, that's very true.   As I posted yesterday, being in a foreign country, isolated from friends and family really sucks monkey balls so I think you can expect to see a lot more of me for the next four months...

Anyway, posting on lj made me wonder about Arashi and I got on youtube and searched Arashi for the first time in over half a year *gasp! especially when I searched them multiple times a day, every day for about 2 years of my life.  Three thoughts:

Thought 1: OMG ARASHI I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU.  They are seriously a balm to my wounded (from RL and from the whole DBSK nightmare) heart.  And I feel like Arashi would not mind fans like me.  Fans who stray but always come back to them when they are feeling sad or lonely or distressed, knowing that Arashi can make it all better, at least for a while.  That's another reason why Arashi is more family to me than anything else.  Contrary to their name, they really are a safe harbor.

GAWD ENOUGH WITH THE SAP!!!!!  The loneliness of being abroad is making me lose my characteristic sharp tongue! BEGONE, YOU MUSHINESS!

Thought 2: Arashi is SOOOOOOOOO cute. (Yeah my attempt at banishing my sappiness went over REALLY well, didn't it?) The Wii commercials are too much.  So cute.  Especially the one where they look for the remotes that Nino hid.

Thought 3: BUT WHY IS IT THAT I CAN ONLY FIND WII COMMERCIALS ON YOUTUBE?  What happened to everything? I barely found any videos of their shoes.  Is JE cracking down or something?  (EDIT: when I was proof reading, I realized I wrote videos of their SHOES and not SHOWS but I will preserve it for posterity's sake because of it's high comedic value).

Reflections: I am such a bad fan.  I have not listened to any of their new songs since Monster *ducks flying garbage* Still haven't watched Kaibutsu kun.  Still haven't watched that special drama MJ was in (the one about some family).  Don't even have updated information on what they've been up to recently.  Egads, I fail.  What are they even up to these days?  Has Gantz or Ooku been released?  What is Ohno up to?  OMG I miss Ohno.  I just want to squish him.  If they sell Ohno plushies anywhere, I would SO buy them.

On a DBSK note, JYJ signed with some Hong Kong entertainment company? OMG DOES THAT MEAN THEY MIGHT COME HERE?  Even though I feel like throttling them, it would be cool to get to see them!  All the better for said throttling to actually happen, right? If anyone knows more about this, holler.


Shakes head

Hello~ everyone!  As you may or may not have noticed, I have been totally MIA from this journal for oh, about half a year.  Knowing full well that no one may be reading this anymore, I shall post anyway.  I talk to myself in real life, so why not on lj, right? Right.

So, first, personal life.  Let's see, where to start.  Let's start in the present and work our way backwards, shall we?

I am now in Hong Kong, studying at Hong Kong University.  I am in the Faculty of Law LL.B program, which makes me an undergrad at this age, much to my delight or chagrin, depending on my mood.  All in all, I would give my life here at 6 out of 10.  The pros are: food here is cheap and really good; being in a big city is nice; I have found people I can get along with; I am learning Chinese YAY!.  Cons are: having two roommates (not flatmates, mind you, but real ROOMmates) at age 26 is not splendid; when one of said roommates is inconsiderate and spoiled, that makes it even worse; a big city with really bad pollution is not so great; Hong Kong U is bureaucratic and inefficient as hell; I haven't found anyone I have REALLY clicked with.  All in all, I am enjoying myself, but I really do miss my good friends sorely.

So that's me now.  This summer, I was working at a New York law firm, splitting my summer between the New York office and the Tokyo office.  I worked in Tokyo for about a month and then just hung around Tokyo for another month after work ended.  It was my longest stay in Tokyo so far, and I really liked it.  I had only ever been to Tokyo during vacation, so it was nice having work since it gave me a routine.  The superhuge flat they put me up in was not bad either, although I am never living in that area of Tokyo since it's too ritzy.  Like, there are no supermarkets. Or any other shops, actually.  All just residences and nice restaurants.  The people who live in this area must never cook, and they must also not take the subway.  I like to cook and I like living like normal people live, so I will look elsewhere to live.  I actually really like Kagurazaka, which Nino fans will know as the setting of Haikei Chichi-ue sama.  I went there because of that drama and discovered that it is very cozy and has that nostalgic, Japan of yore feel but at the same time is super convenient and has access to pretty much everywhere you would want to go.  Problem is, it's an old town so there aren't many luxury high rise apartment buildings yet, but the real estate agent said that by the time I return to Tokyo for good (spring 2012), the buildings that are being planned now should be up and ready to take tenants.  So let's hope I get to live in Kagurazaka!  My office is in Roppongi Iccho-me, so I also looked at Azabu and Shirogane and Meguro, but these areas of town are so new money and filled with foreigners and Japanese people who come from the countryside all starry-eyed about living in Tokyo and I abhor it.  (No offense to anyone from these areas).  But it will be convenient for work, that's for sure, and it will increase my chances of running into one of the members of Arashi since they all work in this area and live in this area.  Nino lives in Naka-Meguro, according to Lydia.

Oh my goodness speaking of Lydia, I hung out with her and omg we are like sisters lost at birth or something.  Never has anyone I just "met" (not really true since we've been lj friends for like 2 years) seen me naked as the day I was born.  Or at least never have I been completely ok with it lol.  I wondered if it would be weird seeing her in RL for the first time after such a long online courtship lols but it was SO natural being with her.  In short, I love her. (GOD i hope she doesn't find this, but she will cuz she's a stalker like that ;-P).

So, what is going on with my fandom life?  Blunt truth is that I haven't followed Arashi all summer. *Ducks rotten tomatoes* Seriously, if you guys come to Japan, you will get what I mean about coming to Japan making you less of an Arashi fan.  They are SO everywhere and you feel SO not special being their fan and it's just ARGH.  Like my cousin was like "oooh i like Ohno-kun" and I was like "oh really?" and started talking about Uta no Oniisan and she was like "huh?" There are TONS of fans like that in Japan now and it annoys me when they are like "we are Arashi fans!" I mean now they have airplanes with their faces on them and I think the government has made them some kind of tourism representative?  I never thought of myself as an anarchistic or anything, but when your government endorses your fandom, you know it is officially (haha) lame lol.

OOOH but it was fun going to Aiba's restaurant in Chiba.  I saw Aiba mama yaaaaaaaaay!  Now we know where he gets his looks from.  She was very good looking.   Very slim with super long arms and legs.  Not to start any rumour mills or anything, but I would not be surprised if she is half Chinese or something.  You just don't get that kind of figure being full-blood Japanese.  I mean, why do you think most Japanese celebrities are either half or from Okinawa, Kyushu, or up north?  It's the mixed blood, really.  And just to be clear, I would have absolutely no issue if Aiba were to be quarter Chinese or something.  A lot of Japanese people do have an issue with other Asians in Japan, but I am not one of them. 
Anyway, I am waiting for this current storm to blow over.  Even if Arashi can never return to their indie roots (rolling eyes at myself for calling a Johnny's artist indie but you know what I mean), I think when this current craziness blows over, they will have a lot more freedom to do more varied work.  (Although judging from those clips of Ooku, Nino has a sex scene? IGADS!  That just bothers me since I have known Nino since he was like 15, and he doesn't look much different.  MJ can do his sexy thing and I don't really care, but Nino having sex kinda bothers me) Their age alone would do the trick, but right now they are under too intense a microscope.  I just hope none of them snaps from the pressure, seriously.  

Not to give myself excuses, but another reason why I am away from the fandom is because I have complete faith in Arashi.  I know they will be there when I get back, and I know that while the packaging might have changed, they haven't changed where it matters.  It's like how you can only travel and seek new things when you have something safe and secure to return to.  I don't feel like I need to be watching them constantly and making sure they are doing alright.  NOT the case with DBSK.

I don't even know where to begin with DBSK.  I haven't written in so long because DBSK is where my focus is now, and there are so many negative things I want to say and so few positive.  It's my journal so I should say what I want, I guess, but there is so much negativity flying around now that I didn't want to add to the hailstorm.  But here I go anyway!

To start off, JYJ is now no longer going to be active in Japan, says Avex.  I am unfortunately not surprised.  Truthfully, JYJ have acted very poorly and are pretty radioactive now and it's no wonder a big, reputable company like Avex won't want to continue to associate with them.  I don't mean to say they as individuals have done anything wrong but their professional choices have been very poor.  Leaving aside the whole lawsuit, I don't understand how they decided to sign with CJes considering the conviction and mafia business.  And the thing that's been bothering me when I read comments on omona is that most of the commenters seem to believe that JYJ have done no wrong and that all of this shit is happening to them through no fault of their own.  I mean, come on.  These three are adults and have been in the entertainment industry for long enough.  To argue that they are innocent victims in this situation is not only inaccurate but also belittling of them because it suggests they are not smart enough or mature enough to be making their own decisions.  Barring the possibility that they are being blackmailed or otherwise coerced, I think they should be held responsible for their own decisions.  I don't mean they should be attacked (and I really am not trying to attack them), but people need to look at the situation with a bit more neutrality.

To continue with my ranting on JYJ, two small things that bother me.  JYJ have repeatedly stated in public that they are waiting for Yunho and Changmin to return and that they have forgiven them.  Excuse me?  Those should be Changmin and Yunho's words, since they are the ones who were left behind.  JYJ defenders might argue that Changmin and Yunho are the ones who deserted the other three but my take on the matter is that it's one thing to not join in on a rebellion (what JYJ did) and entirely another to leave behind those who didn't want to join in.  All five of them, for good or for worse, joined SME of their own free will.  If some want to breach their contract and leave, no one can stop them (except court injunction against them, I suppose) but those who don't want to breach their contract, then they should be free to do so as well.  All else being the same, those who breach a contract are more in the wrong than those who wish to stay on.  Yes, the contract might be voidable because it's unconscionable and I guess that is what the preliminary injunction said.  But that just makes the contract voidable, not void, and if Changmin and Yunho decide to stay on, that's their choice.  Unless the contract is so abhorrent that it is against public morals and the court annuls it, which the court hasn't as far as I know.  So if Changmin and Yunho decided to stay on, that is a perfectly legitimate choice and even though it's sad that the five couldn't agree, they didn't do anything that needs to be forgiven.  I feel like JYJ can express regret that the two didn't join in their decision to leave, but to say that they have forgiven them is arrogant in my opinion.  The other thing is Yoochun's tattoo issue.  For those who don't know, he got a new tattoo that says something like Junsu Jaejoong Yoochun forever and posted a picture of it on his public website.  Fans got all stressed out because Yunho and Changmin weren't included.  I think he is totally free to engrave whatever he feels like on his own skin.  But to post that on a site that he knows his fans are watching (it's for his fans in the first place) during a time when everyone is freaking out about DBSK's future was inconsiderate to say the least.  Sure, maybe he truly feels like DBSK was a thing of the past and now he hates Changmin and Yunho and he's been dying to say this publicly but has not been allowed to say so.  Yes, it sucks to not be able to say what you want whenever you want to the public.  But that comes with the territory in entertainment (and politics, and law, and business etc and so forth; I, for one, have knowledge that I am not allowed to reveal to the public) and if he's been told not to say anything, he should not say anything.  The fans deserve to know how the members truly feel, but he is not doing the fans any service by posting cryptic photos up without any explanation of his intent or his thoughts.  It only adds to the confusion and the pain.  Unclear, confusing information is not any better than silence.  It is, in my opinion, worse because it fosters speculation.  If the information wall that the agencies have been trying to put up had succeeded, and we really didn't know ANYTHING about what's been going on between the members, the DBSK fandom wouldn't be in the painful, confusing mess it is in now.  It's news like the screen between the members in their greenrooms at Japanese tv studios, the different flights they get on and stuff like this tattoo photograph that cause the fans to speculate and worry, and what's common amongst these is that they are incomplete, unexplained tidbits whose significance is likely blown way out of proportion.  If the members care at all about how the fans are feeling throughout this (and I am sure they do), then the last thing they should do is feed the misinformation frenzy.

That is the point on which I respect Yunho and Changmin so much.  Since I am a Junsu fan, I initially took the JYJ side in this whole debacle.  I wondered why Yunho and Changmin didn't leave with the other three since what information we knew about their contract with SME did make it seem rather unconscionable.  But then as more information about JYJ's parents' cosmetic venture became apparent, I started to look at the JYJ side with a bit more of a critical eye, and as the two sides (how I hate saying these words) made their various appearances and statements, I have come to think that Yunho and Changmin are handling this situation a lot better.  For one, they have kept their silence despite having more to complain about.  The hateful comments that Yunho was getting make me especially respect his ability to hold his tongue.  Changmin and Yunho have not said or done anything to my knowledge that fed the rumor mill. I don't know how people felt about Yunho calling himself and Changmin DBSK, but it warmed my heart to hear it since at least they don't seem to want to make DBSK a bygone thing.   I guess one can be cynical and just argue that that is SME loudly proclaiming that they still have the rights to DBSK and they are the ones who can legally use DBSK's name.  Even if that were the case, at least it doesn't create any speculation.  People might not like to hear Yunho call himself and Changmin that, but at least it doesn't make a messy situation even messier.  Perhaps Changmin/Yunho have been holding their tongues just because SME really has an iron grip on them and they aren't free to do otherwise.  Not to sound consequentialist, but even if that were the case, they seem to be doing less damage than JYJ, and I think that is worth something.

And since this post is already guaranteed to get a bunch of hateful comments for my JYJ bashing, I will just spill all of my guts in one fell swoop.

I honestly think part of the reason why Avex decided to axe JYJ is because JYJ just does not have that magic spark that I DBSK did.  JYJ was making them a lot of money in Japan, but I think an overwhelming part of the sales falls into one of the following categories: 1) DBSK fans who just want to make sure DBSK doesn't fade into obscurity, and they think that supporting JYJ will send a message to those who matter that DBSK should not be disregarded; 2) Hard core JYJ fans who are supporting JYJ almost out of spite towards Changmin/Yunho; 3) those who don't really care but know about DBSK now that they are so controversial and thought why not buy something.  I read a ton of Japanese blogs on DBSK and I see a lot of the first two category and a lot of mentions of how DBSK is more well-known now in Japan than during they heyday.  If the above three really do comprise a majority of the sales of JYJ stuff/concert tickets, than that won't last long.  Avex has run out of recycled DBSK stuff to sell and JYJ is showing its limitations as a unit, and that combined with the bad PR of having artists on your label who have reneged on their contract (much more significant in the Japanese psyche than elsewhere) is more than enough reason to make Avex want to drop JYJ.  I honestly don't know what the possibility is of Avex's contract with JYJ being affected by any legal actions taken in Korea since Korea's courts don't have any jurisdiction in Japan, but if SME comes to Japan and sues Avex in Japanese court, that would be even more bad PR for Avex.  In a country where corporate image is everything, I am amazed that Avex didn't drop all five of them as soon as the lawsuit began.  I think the fact that they stuck with them in the beginning is because the public sentiment was so against SME and sympathetic to JYJ, and the fact that they are dropping them now might be a reflection of changing sympathies in Japan.  The blogs are now pretty unanimous in taking a sort of scolding, 'They are such silly kids' attitude towards JYJ and taking a respectful, awed tone towards Changmin and Yunho.  Initially, they were almost unanimously covering for JYJ so the tide really has turned. 

In the end, I just wish none of this had happened and the five were still together as before.  I like each of them a lot but I miss the chemistry between them.  If their relationship had really changed and it really was time for them to move on, then so be it.  As long as it's on their own terms.  Maybe one day we will find out what really happened.  As for me, I have pretty much given up on the idea of the five of them reuniting.  Idols have short expiration dates to begin with (pardon my expression) and they are honestly old meat now.  There is already all this talk of who will take the place of DBSK, and there are plenty who are lining up to do just that. 

I wish I could just not care and move on, but I can't.  For all of the seemingly cold, level-headed commentary above, what I really want to do is just deny reality and pretend everything is swell.  Maybe if I have my head in the sand long enough, some miracle will happen.  You never know, right?


Japan's Jaejoong bias

I am listening to )and watching more than I am supposed to) TVXQ's Secret Code final in Tokyo Dome as I outline for Securities Regulation and I noticed an example of Japan's Jaejoong bias and felt compelled to post since it affects my dear Junsu. 

So during the latter half of Begin (which by the way was amazing, despite my following complaint about it), Junsu is doing these fakes and from the looks of it belting his heart out.  But from the audio, you would have no clue.  They pretty much tuned him right out, and all you hear is Jaejoong.  Oh, excuse me, was this a Jaejoong concert? Sorry, had no clue. Exit's that way? mmmkay thanks!!! *makes ugly face*

Ok, I get it that Junsu can have a pretty overwhelming voice (not necessarily because of volume but because of it's sharp, focused quality) and therefore they need to adjust the volume a bit so it doesn't turn into a Xiah Junsu with 4 other guys kind of concert. But need they tune him out to this extent?  You can barely hear him!  And I get it that Jaejoong is singing the main part and the main part is what makes the song recognizable, but if I just wanted to hear what the song sounds like, I would be better off listening to the CD version. 

I am listening to the concert version primarily because I love that adrenaline-laced energy you get in live recordings that  you can just never get in studio recordings but also so I can hear the spontaneous fakes, the mistakes, the times a member just let his voice get the better of him, the lyric slips, etc. and so forth.  I love live performance because it is something that happens only once and it is a shared experience with the audience.  Lives would not be lives without their mistakes and idiosyncracies so it makes me sad when they edit out all mistakes or discrepancies for the DVD.  

Oh, and I noticed that Begin was performed on a moving stage.  Has that become industry standard at this point? Did JE get a patent for it and are licensing it out to other performers?  Or did JE not claim it as their own and everybody just started doing it to? 

And thank you JE for lighting your concerts really well.  TVXQ's is not well lit and they don't really make use of the big monitors to show close-ups of the members. I feel bad for those standing anywhere other than in the pit-area in the middle, since I can safely assume that they didn't make much use of their eye-sight in enjoying this concert.  Did Avex do this on purpose to de-emphasize the visual appeal of these guys and perpetuate their image as serious singers and not idols?  Or was it just bad concert planning?  Hard to say....

Ugh okay back to securities regulation. 

Xiah Junsu Intoxication

So just watched Junsu's new pv. 

Before I get into my commentary, a question: so I know one of the two songs in this single was written by Junsu (the ballad) but is this Intoxication song also written by him?  I remember the whole thing about how he is producing this single, but did he, say do the choreography for this PV? did he decide the concept for the PV?

I have the above question because if this is an accurate reflection of what Junsu wants to portray himself as, then I say: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

Okay, so positive points first:
- the choreo had some cool moves in it:
    - the rond de jambe at 1:14 and 1:17
    - body roll at 1:25 (as someone who fails utterly at body rolls, my respect, sir)
    - the turn at 1:30 with the arms raised
    - the upper body isolation at 1:46 (they do a slower version of this in are you a good girl, and i like the slower version better,  but this is cool too!)
    - The look over shoulder move at 1:48
    - The shift body weight, arch neck move at 1:55
    - the move at 2:50
    - the kneeling kick at 2:54
    - the snake move at 2:56

and the inevitable negative:
- what is up with the make-up? he looks either like he's sick (deathly pale with no color in his lips) or he's either too tan or too oily or too gold or I dunno what he was supposed to be
- the bad parts of the choreo - too much overt sexuality.  I dig sensuality but not sexuality, if you will.  I like understatement more than overstatement.  And i like the abstract over the literal.  So moves like:
    - pulling your jacket back to reveal your armpit (0:44)
    - the hip thrust at 2:55 (even though i generally like hip thrusts, something about this one was too literal for me)
    - the stand in fifth position, arms raised above move at 3:15 (i personally get kind of squeamish when i see guys stand in fifth - i guess i worry about where their equipment goes lol.  and the arm raising thing makes it look very preposterous to me)
    - gratuitous touching of neck and lips
    - ratuitous close ups of fingers

CONCLUSION: I do not like sexy-on-purpose Junsu.  I like cute Junsu who doesn't intend to be sexy but he is anyways Junsu.  Like when he sings a song with so much emotion - that's sexy.  And I guess even full on sex mode Junsu was okay until now since he only got 1/5 of the screen time.  But now that the camera is capturing his every move, the sexiness is no longer that little spice that adds to the overall goodness that is Junsu but is now an overwhelming, unpleasant overdose.  

And i have noticed a couple of things about my own feelings towards Junsu:
- i usually only find him attractive when he's moving (aka not in pictures)
- i usually am only attracted by him when he smiles
- junsu used to be a hell of a lot cuter - his face has changed a bit (completely normal part of growth, don't get me wrong).  his jaw is bigger, his eyes look smaller and his nose looks bigger.  So he has lost a lot of his boyish looks. SOBS.  I don't like manly men! Revert back to barely post-pubescent face, now!

But Junsu has long been trying to shed his cute look and gain a sexier, manlier, more rugged persona.  And maybe that is really how his personality has become (or always was).  But he could also just be going through a period of needing to feel like people see him as a man, not a boy.  (He's what, 22 or something? I can understand why he would feel that way).  But if that's the case, I hope he gets over it quickly and learns to be more confident in his masculinity.  Like the Arashi guys are mature enough and self-assured enough to do things that challenge their masculinity or attractiveness.  But no one thinks they are any less attractive or manly because of it.  I just hope Junsu (and all the guys in DBSK) get to this stage soon.  But this could also be a cultural difference between Japan and Korea.  Koreans tend to have a much more rugged, in-your-face notion of masculinity than the Japanese.  I mean, this is what got me into DBSK to begin with - their overt masculinity.  But I guess I am Japanese after all and don't like it when guys are SOOO manly.  

oookay i gotta go to bed! i have a final tomorrow. wish me luck!


EDIT: this had a frightening number of typos/mistakes even by my standards so I went back and fixed the mistakes. 

EDIT 2: i went back and watched the clip and youtube and read the comments (99% in Japanese since it's a Japanese uploader).  And people are waxing poetic about how amazing Arashi are as singers and dancers.  It was SOOOOOOOOOO tempting to be like "gar har har you fools what the fucking hell are you talking about?" (dunno why I am in such a mean mood right now).  I like Arashi but to say they are good singers/dancers is an insult to those who really are good... Ohchan is good. But the rest... have these guys never seen K-pop or American pop?  Like are they serious? They don't say "for a JE group they are good" or anything like that.  Just flat out, unconditioned praise.  Oooooooh boy.

Okay, thanks for letting me get that out of my system.   If I were to write that in a youtube comment, no matter how much I preceded it with "i really, honestly love Arashi and have loved them for a long time", I would still get death threats XD

arashi hype is still going stroooooong.  Can't wait to see yet another show where people kiss their ass in hopes that their popularity wears off on them!!! *maniacal grin* *coughShimadacoughShinsukecough*

just watched the HD version of their performance and felt compelled to write! (*Gasp*)

Check out the video:

now, onto my commentary.

First off, I like the lyrics.  They are straightforward.  They make sense.  They are in proper grammar.   Hey it's a good situation all over.   Because it is written from the pov of a supernatural person, they can pull off fantastical and poetic terms without it sounding odd.  Like "koyoi no yami e kimi wo izanau" (I lead you into this night's darkness" and "mangetsu no yoru kimi wo mitsuketa" (I found you on a night of the full-moon").  And because it's a story about the monster's humanity, it has some really touching lines.

The chorus line "boku no kioku ga subete kietemo/ umarekawattara mata kimi wo sagasu"
This line really touched me.  It means "even if all my memory disappears, if/when I am reborn I will look for you."
I like how it uses the term "kioku" (memory).  It's a really simple word, a simple concept: even if I forget EVERYTHING, I will still look for you. It's more poignant than a line like "even if my memories of  you fade" or something.  And I like that it's not "I will find you" but "I will look for you".  It's an unassuming and undemanding kind of love.  It's doesn't purport to be able to be with you  - all he wants is to be near you again. I think it's very touching.

"kimi no sakebi de boku wa mezameru" :  This was another one of those supernatural lines that actually work here.  It means "I am awaken by your scream".  Something about your existence being so dependent on another is touching to me.  And again, it's so unassuming.  He knows he's this disgusting monster, so it's her scream, not her kiss or smile or voice or anything like that that awakens him. 

"yo ga akeru made chikaku ni iyou" This is also so sad. It means "I will be near you until dawn".  It's only during the night that he can with be with the person he loves.  Very sad.

Now, I don't know the plot of the drama or the characters from the original anime, so I might be misreading some things.  And there are some pretty aggressive lines in there too, but I think those show the dual nature of a monster: frightening and powerful yet lonely and vulnerable at the same time.

Onto the dance analysis.  Okay, I have to admit, I was kind of snickering the whole time.  But it doesn't mean I didn't like it.  It's very interesting choreography, and I might not like some moments of it, but I like how it's DIFFERENT. It's not your usual, unconvincingly executed lock dance (no one in Arashi, including Ohno, can lock well. He's a good popper though)  I was able to count ballet, tango, jazz, modern ballet, break dance, popping and locking in there.  WOW kitchen sink anyone? lol.  But hey, it's different, and in Johnny's, uniqueness counts for far more than it should.

In terms of execution... I mean it's Arashi. We can't expect too much of them. BUT i have to yell at two individuals: Nino and Aiba. At 2:30, they sing the chorus at a slowed down tempo.  They stand in a circle and (I assume) improvise.  Now, Ohno and Jun and Sho get it.  It's supposed to be this surreal, liquidy, quiet atmosphere.  The background drops to a minimum and there is even some vocal "woo" ing going on. So their moves are slow and lazy (right answer).  Aiba on the other hand is flailing those long arms of him around the whole time.  He can flail, but just flail SLOWLY.  And Nino does well until the "koyoi no YAMI de" part. That is the high note in the line and he has a habit of quickly contracting his upper body when he has to hit a high note.  It's fine in more upbeat songs, but here, it's kind of alarming.  

Personally, I laughed my ass off when Sho and Jun did the tango slide at 2'07 because it's a GIRL MOVE. ( I think - tango dancers, correct me if I am wrong.) Of course Sho's is jerky and not that good and Jun's is as smooth as butter.  Oh that mollusk.

Anyway, to sum up: yay for different choreo and cookies to Arashi for memorizing such an out there routine.  My personal highlight was Ohno's solo at 0:36.  That quick duck to his left on "IZAnau." My most WTF moment was Jun's scissor kicks at 0:51.  Is that even necessary? What does it add other than discomfort for MJ?

Singing-wise, it was typical Arashi fare. No uncomfortable MJ solos this time, though, yay! And Aiba's low voice at 1:01 was pretty sexy. 

oh! time for grocery shopping. see y'alls later!






can't think right now. 

back later.



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!

random thought of the day

jaejoong reminds me so much of gackt.  same unearthly beauty and seeming coldness but inner warmness.  kinda similar voices, especially during JJ's solo maze.  but really, the same unearthly, ice-queen type beauty.  considering the age difference, JJ might grow to look a lot more like gackt than he already does now. 

so random...bear with me

so i think i mentioned this in passing once, but I really need to talk about this more and get it out of my system. 

there is a guy at my school who is yoochun's doppleganger. he looks like him, acts like him, talks like him, laughs like him... it's really kind of freaky.  i had a crush on this guy (i mean he looks exactly like yoochun - how could one not? the whole class had a crush on him at one point lol) but he turns into a real arse when drunk and that kinda killed it for me.

but anyway, yeah, this guy. he's korean (duh), his name is Chang-sik and MY GOD he looks like yoochun. He's taller than Yoochun - I'd say about185 cm? So U-know or Changmin's height? and he doesn't have yoochun's body type. (his body type is more like... changmin?) but it's
really his facial expressions and his smile/laugh. that way he sort of ducks his head when he laughs and how his eyebrows slope down and his eyes crinkle and how the distance between his nose and upper lip is kinda long...exactly like yoochun. he sounds like him too, their voices are very similar.  yoochun is more outgoing though, chang is shy and tends to mumble and not talk much.  okay i am starting to realize how pointless this is since i don't have a pic or a movie of chang but anyway, it's really distracting to watch clips of Yoochun on youtube and have flashes of chang come across and vice versa.  i have never known anyone who has such an uncanny resemblance to a celeb and i kinda want to ask him if he's ever heard anyone tell him that. 

as an aside i have had many people tell me I look like Takeshi Kaneshiro, the Japanese/Chinese actor. People say I can claim to be his sister haha.

oh and there is a guy at my school who looks freakishly like Kasuga from Audrey.  Same hair and SAME EXACT FACE. I did a double-take when i saw him.  maybe i can one day work up the courage to ask him to take a pic with me and i can post it here. ... maybe with enough alcohol lol.

wow that was pointless.

how could i forget!

i went to a korean supermarket today and found sor-re-im (sorry don't know how to romanize) and got all excited and bought it. if you don't know know why then you won't care to know anyway, so ignore me~.

it was really good, actually, i'd get it even if it weren't you yoochun. gonna go watch the CF again.

hmmm i am starting to use lj a bit like twitter, aren't i? this is what twitter's like, right? short, pointless posts.  uh oh i am probably going to get hated for spamming people's friend lists.  ... oh well!