My Firsts

Jun. 6th, 2017 12:00 pm
8_bit_magic: (Default)
I am thoroughly at a loss for something to occupy my current worrying mind and as I'm still waiting for my Arashi con DVDs to be delivered, I thought I would write a blog post using a series of questions posed by [personal profile] tabunhappy on Twitter recently. I meant to answer her tweet that day but then had the idea to use it for a future post here instead. I hope she doesn't mind ;)


Q1. First Arashi song you listened to
The first song my daughter fully introduced me to was Wild At Heart but then she played Bittersweet and I was drawn in to the world of Arashi from that song onwards. It remains my number one Arashi song to this day. It will forever have a special place in my heart.

Q2. First drama you watched
I was immediately drawn to Ninomiya's acting. I had seen him many years prior in Letters From Iwo Jima but he didn't register to me then as being anything beyond an Asian in a Hollywood movie (no offence meant). I did not associate him with being Saigo when I watched him a few years later in GANTZ, nor did I even know then that he was a Japanese idol. That wasn't until 2014 when my daughter told me about Arashi - the idol group. Then I strode into the world of jdramas and the first I watched was Ryusei no Kizuna.

Q3. First con (that you watched, if you have attended any you can also include it)
I wish I could say I have attended a con but only in my dreams and in my daydreaming mind. I am saving up hard to go to Japan one day and if that includes a con, my life will be made all the more richer for the experience. However, until then, I content myself with my DVD collection. The first con I watched was LOVE. I have already written a post here about that life-changing experience.

Q4. First album that you listened to
The first album I bought was The Digitalian because it included Bittersweet. Ahhh, my first listen of that album will forever be a beacon that leads me back to Arashi, when I am feeling down or disheartened for any reason.

Q5. First tv regular show you watched
Easy answer! Vs Arashi because it airs here on SBS2 Television (now known as SBS VICELAND). I first saw this program in 2012 but I didn't even register for two whole years that they were popular idols in Japan. I must've been in my kpop zone then until my daughter put me straight! haha

Q6. First PV you watched
This relates to my answer for question one. The first song and PV that my daughter showed me was Wild At Heart but I gulped and drooled heavily upon seeing the Bittersweet PV. "You have my attention Rose!" (quote from Titanic, the movie)

Q7. First movie you watched
Aside from the three movies I had previously seen Ninomiya in? Once again I have to credit my daughter for this answer. We watched the first two Pikanchi movies together (which on first viewing I have to admit I didn't enjoy them at all - that "uninitiated" opinion has since changed, trust me) and then we later watched Saigo no Yakusoku together which shows each of them in an entirely different light altogether. I was most impressed with this movie and have since watched it several times.

Q8. First impressions of the guys
💚Aiba ~
The very first impression I had of him was happy, always enthusiastic and optimistic in any situation, and never one to be serious or downhearted. Somebody who can instantly liven up a room filled with serious people.
💜MatsuJun ~ When I first saw him on Vs Arashi I thought he was passionate, extremely earnest and didn't suffer fools very well. When I first watched him in concert mode, I thought he was showing off too much!
💛Ninomiya ~ I knew this guy would steal my heart from the get-go; funny, cheeky, spirited, charming, and passionate with his gorgeous eyes and smile. Who can resist him? He's a Gemini!
💙Ohno ~ The very first impression I had of him was serious but with just the perfect injected dose of humour that he can easily throw you off guard. I also thought (at first) that he was everybody's (the other members) lapdog.
❤️Sakurai ~ I honestly thought he was the group's Leader and was quite shocked to discover that Ohno is. He has the ability to emcee without fault and he can command an audience just with his voice. I was not at all surprised to learn he is a University graduate and a journalist.

And that, dear readers (are there any? haha) is my answer. Thanks Emi! :)
8_bit_magic: (arashi)

Yes, the very first dorama I watched featuring Sakurai Sho was actually Yamada Taro Monogatori which also stars my ichiban, Ninomiya Kazunari. To be totally honest, it was not a favourable introduction to Sakurai's acting abilities. I was new to the whole Japanese dorama experience though and my expectations might have been set a little too high at the time but I was disappointed with Sakurai's role. All he seemed to do was walk around, lurking in Taro's shadow, and smiling on camera alot. Later, this rather embarrassing opinion was turned on its head but I will explain how that happened as I go along.

When I look at Sakurai's acting work on the DramaWiki and AsianWiki websites, I realise that I still have a long way to go when it comes to watching his doramas and movies (my list therefore will be small, but I definitely plan to rectify this in the coming year). The second dorama I watched was Kazoku Game and Sakurai's role as Koya Yoshimoto was two parts mesmerizing and four parts freaky. Sometimes he made me laugh so hard and other times I was cringing behind a pillow because he is so good at being sadistic. But the compilation of his "iine" lines on YouTube really is one of my favourites of all time. I've shown it to all of my English friends and they all laugh heartily.

After a few more of his doramas were under my belt, I came to the conclusion that Sakurai is perfect for roles where the character is slightly unhinged and even ones with murderous intent. He has psychological drama roles down pat because he just plays them perfectly. A few months ago I re-watched Yamada Taro Monogatori and I found Sakurai's role to be much more pleasing and tolerable. To me I noticed how complimentary his role was to Taro's story. The quiet observer and silent partner, if you like. It was then that I understood why he spent so much of his time standing around smiling! haha

I have also seen the following Sakurai Sho doramas and movies - so far:

Kazoku Game
The After Dinner Mysteries
The After Dinner Mysteries SP
The Quiz Show 2
Yoiko no Mikata (not completed this yet)
Kisarazu Cat's Eye (not completed this yet)
Yatterman
His bit part in My Girl
Pika*nchi Life is Hard Dakedo Happy
Pik**nchi Life is Hard Dakara Happy
Pik***nchii Life is Hard Tabun Happy
Kiiroi Namida (Yellow Tears)
Saigo no Yakusoku (The Last Promise)

I am looking forward to seeing Sakurai in Kimi ni Sasageru Emblem very very soon! And I would like to see more of his acting, and thanks to a very nice Arashian I have come to know in recent months, I am very eager to see him in Honey and Clover.

Thank you reading this far and a very HAPPY NEW YEAR to all my readers! :)
8_bit_magic: (arashi)

The first Ohno dorama I watched was Maou, and so far this is my most re-watched Arashi members' drama. Ohno was mesmerizing to watch in this and I admit that it set a very high bar for any future dramas I've seen him in. When I watched Maou for the first time I watched it with a dear friend and fellow Arashian. We found a subbed version of Maou on YouTube so we set up an agreed viewing time and hit the play button at the same time (She in the Philippines and me in Australia)!

This was also my first introduction to Ikuta Toma, and I am very glad I saw him in this first. By the end of the series my friend and I were making in-jokes about his many running and screaming scenes but this was in no way to disrespect Ikuta as a person or as an actor. He is a very talented actor and I have purposely gone back through his filmography and watched many of his dramas and films. Anywayyyyy, back to Ohno...

I love Ohno's enigmatic acting style. He doesn't seem like he would take acting seriously but as soon as you put a camera to his face and give him a script he comes alive. I really loved watching his character transformations in Maou, but also episode four of Kaibutsu kun is forever imprinted in my memory. When he cried on-screen I was full-on sobbing right along with him, it was that believable. The second dorama I watched Ohno in was Shinigami Kun which I bought on DVD. This was my first introduction to the other side of his on-screen quirkiness (and my first introduction to other fabulous actors, Masaki Suda and Kiritani Mirei).

I have also seen the following Ohno doramas and movies - so far:

Maou
Kaibutsu-kun
Kaibutsu-kun SP
His bit part in Yamada Taro Monogatori
Shinigami-kun
The Locked Room Murders
The Locked Room Murders SP
Sekai Ichi Muzukashii Koi
Kyou no Hi wa Sayonara
Pika*nchi Life is Hard Dakedo Happy
Pik**nchi Life is Hard Dakara Happy
Pik***nchii Life is Hard Tabun Happy
Kiiroi Namida (Yellow Tears)
Saigo no Yakusoku (The Last Promise)

In the very near future I would still very much like to see Ohno in Uta no Onii-san. Next year we will see Ohno in the much anticipated movie, Shinobi no Kuni. Most of my Arashian friends and followers are more alight talking about this movie, more so than Narratage and The Last Recipe combined. Perhaps because we will get to see Ohno as a full-fledged NINJA! *kyaaaaaaaaaa*

Thanks for reading this far! :)
8_bit_magic: (arashi)

My first Ninomiya dorama was Freeter ie o Kau and it was a rollercoaster ride of emotions. I was totally new to Japanese doramas and this was the first one I watched out of all the Aashi members doramas. I laughed but mostly I cried, and Nino's acting ability sent me into a tailspin. From this moment onwards, I was hooked on Japanese dramas, Arashi and Nino (not necessarily in that order) haha.

The relationship between mother and son, as portrayed by Asano Atsuko and Nino was breath-taking. I really believed that I was watching their day-to-day, real-life unfold before my eyes. I was completely drawn in to the Take household, and the emotional realm of Seiji. I didn't want the drama to end to be honest so imagine how happy I was when I discovered there was an SP made!

I had seen Nino's acting for the first time in GANTZ so I already knew that he was an amazing actor. I know I might sound biased as he is my Arashi ichiban, but his acting has blown me away every single time I watch him, and more and more with each new dorama and movie role that he takes on. He gives his heart and soul to the whole craft of acting and I read an interview with him somewhere that the reason he does is because he does it for Arashi, but I also believe he does it for us. That and the fact that he is a natural on-screen.

Honestly, I could wax lyrical about Nino's acting. It would be a couple of volumes worth, novel sized. To be fair to the other members, and to my readers, I won't. I will say though, that of all the Arashi members Nino has moved me the most to heights of sheer joy to the low and pits of despair. His facial expressions, his body language, his tone of voice, and his ease of emotions on-screen make him a rare gem in the acting world. It is no small wonder he was pegged for Hollywood but I am sincerely glad he stayed with his feet firmly in Japan. I honour and respect him in every way for making that choice. Japan is very lucky indeed! And I will shut up now haha

I have also seen the following Ninomiya doramas and movies - so far:

Namida o Fuite
Stand Up!!
Yasashii Jikan
Ryusei no Kizuna
Minami-kun no Koibito
Yamada Taro Monogatori
Haikei, Chichiue-sama
Yowakutemo Katemasu
Ao no Honoo
Letters from Iwo Jima
Tekkonkinkreet
Heaven's Door
Ooku (The Lady Shogun and Her Men)
GANTZ
GANTZ Perfect Answer
Platinum Data
Assassination Classroom (1&2)
Door to Door
Kuruma Isu de Boku wa Sora wo Tobu
Murder on the Orient Express
Botchan
Aka Medaka
Haha to Kuraseba
Pika*nchi Life is Hard Dakedo Happy
Pik**nchi Life is Hard Dakara Happy
Pik***nchii Life is Hard Tabun Happy
Kiiroi Namida (Yellow Tears)
Saigo no Yakusoku (The Last Promise)

Oh, and not forgetting his small appearances in Maou and NijiHaji :)

In the very near future I would really like to see Nino in Akimahende, Abunai Hokago, Marathon, and I'm really looking forward to next year's release of The Last Recipe.

Thanks for reading this far! ^^
8_bit_magic: (arashi)
hidamari-no-kanojo.jpg

The first time I saw Matsumoto Jun's solo acting was when I watched Girl in the Sunny Place (Hidamari no Kanojo). I had many Arashian friends suggesting I start with Hana Yori Dango but I'm never one to go with popular demand, so I went with the less "mainstream" choice. Again, I bought the DVD so when it came I watched it within minutes of its arrival to my door.

To be honest, I am so glad I went with this movie as my first choice. I had seen MatsuJun acting in the Pikanchi movies, and I confess I was less enthusiastic about his acting than the other members (and I mean absolutely no disrespect to MatsuJun or his fans when I say that). I can't properly describe how I felt about his acting in the early days, but I can assure you my opinion has changed since then. To me MatsuJun is a show-man first and foremost, and I think he is an entertainer and concert organiser to a fault.

His role as Okuda in Hidamari no Kanojo was really beautiful, raw and honest. It was the perfect start for me to discern MatsuJun's solo acting ability. The next drama I watched him in was Shitsuren Chocolatier and his role as Sota Koyurugi was actually quite enjoyable despite the negative reactions I'd read. I also fell in love with Ishihara Satomi who I saw for the first time. It was great to see some actors I was starting to grow familiar with, such as Takenaka Naoto and Arimura Kasumi. Then along came Hana Yori Dango, or HanaDan as it is known in the Arashi fandom.

I will admit here and now that I loved this series, and I have since watched both series' and the special movie. MatsuJun was crazy perfect as Domyoji. He just suited the bratty role and I laughed and cried my way through it all. I can see why so many of my Arashi friends were "Jun baited" and/or have been Arashi fans since that era. He was amazing, I will admit. Yes, he made me angry and I rolled my eyes at his sulking, selfish ways but that was the whole point of the role, and MatsuJun certainly perfected it!

I have also seen the following MatsuJun doramas and movies - so far:

99.9 Criminal Lawyer
Natsu no Koi wa Nijiiro ni Kagayaki (NatsuNiji)
Boku wa Imouto ni Koi wo Suru (I Love My Sister)
Kimi wa Pet *haven't finished it yet though*
Pika*nchi Life is Hard Dakedo Happy
Pik**nchi Life is Hard Dakara Happy
Pik***nchii Life is Hard Tabun Happy
Kiiroi Namida (Yellow Tears)
Saigo no Yakusoku (The Last Promise)

In the very near future, I want to watch Lucky Seven, Toyko Tower and I'm also really looking forward to his new movie in 2017, Narratage.

Thanks for reading this far! :)
8_bit_magic: (arashi)

The first Aiba Masaki dorama experience for me was The Last Hope. I really wanted to see this more than any other Aiba dorama I had heard of at that time so when my DVD arrived in the post I was so excited, I ripped off the packaging and started watching it immediately.

I thoroughly enjoyed each episode, the way he acts is mesmerizing. He has a charisma on camera and with other cast members that makes him absolutely shine on-screen. Aiba as Takumi Hatano was a wonderful introduction into his solo acting capabilities (as up until then I had only seen him as Shun in the Pikanchi movies). Aiba as Takumi displayed warmth and empathy in spades. Watching him pull out sweet treats at the staff room table or in meetings, wondering what he would bring out next, was a nice touch to his character too. The Last Hope also introduced me to other Japanese actors such as Seiichi Tanabe, Fumiyo Kohinata, and Eiko Koike.

I have also seen the following Aiba doramas and movies - so far:

Bartender
My Girl
Mikeneko Holmes no Suiri
His bit part in Freeter, ie o Kau
Miracle: Devil Claus' Love and Magic
Pika*nchi Life is Hard Dakedo Happy
Pik**nchi Life is Hard Dakara Happy
Pik***nchii Life is Hard Tabun Happy
Kiiroi Namida (Yellow Tears)
Saigo no Yakusoku (The Last Promise)

In the very near future, I really truly hope to be able to watch Aiba in Yokoso, Wagaya e (Your Story).

Thanks for reading this far! :)
8_bit_magic: (arashi)

As Ninomiya said on Vs Arashi back in March of this year, "Nihongo Wakarimasen". And this was to be my first hurdle in becoming a full-time, fangirling, Arashian. I didn't understand Japanese!

When I started watching Vs Arashi on SBS Television, I had subtitles to help me. It's hard to explain but back then I just took it for granted that I understood what they were saying because watching subtitles was second nature to me. I am a lover of foreign films from France, Germany, Spain, Japan, and Korea. But when I branched out and started watching and listening to Arashi's music/pvs and live concert DVDs, I came undone. Suddenly I had no subtitles to help me! Why did I stick with it and become obsessed anyway? That's a good question. I will get to that in a minute (I hope).

When I was a teenager my cousin of the same age was learning Japanese at school. I had a long background with French and a year of Italian so when she kept speaking to me in Japanese, I was actually jealous she knew such a pretty language. Later in life, two of my most significant partners were both interested in all things Japanese. The first grew up learning Karate and Taekwondo and when we were together we slept on a futon mattress. The second grew up learning Jujutsu and was obsessed with Japanese anime and manga. So when you think about it, it's really no accident that I fell into the Arashi fandom. I had already been well trained and well prepared haha

In all seriousness though, I have honed, crafted and nurtured my very own deep and special love of Japan and the Japanese language through watching doramas and movies. As I have had fifteen plus years of Arashi to catch up on, I have had a mighty long list of shows to watch - for each member! I still have a long way to go but so far I have watched Aiba, MatsuJun, Ninomiya, Ohno and Sakurai shine beguilingly on my television screen (All thanks to lovely people who are kind and patient enough to subtitle them all). My growing love and interest has even expanded to non-Arashi Japanese actors, and subsequently it's been months since I watched an English-speaking movie! I can't fully explain it but my all-consuming love for Japan and the Japanese culture really blossomed out of watching Arashi members' doramas and movies.

Learning Japanese hasn't come easy to me, and as far as fluent conversational Japanese goes I am still very much lost. I have picked up many keywords and phrases this past two years though. Some however have been quite funny and I have had many silly laughs with one of my Arashian friends. Take for example this little anecdote: The song Troublemaker. When I first heard Arashi sing "sweet" in the chorus, to me it sounded like "sui-suicide" so that has become an in-joke between us which has stuck. The other word is "saikou" which means the best. To my English speaking mind, I thought they were saying psycho hahahaha

My daughter is currently in her third year of learning Japanese at school and she is incredibly astute at it. In her year and her class she is the top student for hiragana and katakana, and this year she even took on Kanji which is the hardest writing system to learn. But will she teach me basic Japanese? No way! I have even tried to bribe her with gifts of her favourite anime characters but she still won't budge. She's funny though, she quickly corrects me if I pronounce anything wrong hahaha

In the meantime, I will continue my journey of watching Japanese doramas and movies. Next time I will write an individual post for each Arashi member's doramas and movies that I've watched so far. I will do it in AMNOS order to be fair because the temptation will be to write reams and reams about Nino's accomplishments, and really...who would want that? ;)

Thanks for reading this far!

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