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Nino performing Regress of Progress (image found on nino-daily.livejournal.com)

I recently marathoned the Bokura no Yuuki drama from 1997 after all the hype on Twitter surrounding Aiba and MatsuJun for the 2017 SP. I have to confess I've not really had a lot of interest in KinKi Kids before then but after watching the 1997 drama, that all changed and I even downloaded a few of their songs (including Aisareru yori Aishitai) for my iPod. That said, I did know one of their songs well before watching the drama and that was Zenbu Dakishimete (but that was only because of Nino's cover of it for Mago Mago Arashi).

I was also aware that Nino had co-written a song with Tsuyoshi Domoto but I didn't really sit up and take notice of that piece of incidental trivia until I saw Tsuyoshi in Bokura no Yuuki. When he played guitar and sang in episode 6 I was totally mesmerized. His vocals just spoke soulful volumes of pain and torment to me and naturally, it captured my full attention. It was not much later that I realized he co-wrote Regress of Progress with Nino.

Regress of Progress is such a beautiful song, the lyrics are powerful yet harrowing and the guitar is sensational, both by Nino in his live performance and Tsuyoshi who I believe is in the VTR playing behind Nino (correct me if I'm wrong). I've been given permission to reproduce the lyrics here for my post but I will only use an extract {My heartfelt thanks to yarukizero for her kind permission}:

Boku no kokoro no kakera wo atsumete tsunageta
Sono saki ni wa Ittai nani ga mieru
Nee, oshiete kurenai ka

Muda ni sugoshi Jibun wo gamakashiteru
Karada ni wa mou daku koto wa dekinai no kana
Kagayaita toki ga kasunderu

Kimi wo motomesugita sei de Mou hitori de utaenai
Aishiteru to mune utsu tabi Kimi mo machi mo yagande mieta

You gathered the pieces of my heart and put them together
Just what is it that you can see from them
Come on, can't you tell me?

Passing my time idly, trying to fool myself
I wonder if my body won't be able to hold you anymore
The time that used to shine is growing hazy

Because I wanted you so much, I can't sing alone anymore
Every time I was moved by your "I love you's", both you and the city appeared distorted

Nino performing Regress of Progress (image found on youtube.com)

The lyrics are just so tormenting but only Nino can sing them. Out of all the Arashi members, he is the only one who can pull off those "broken heart, unrequited love" vocals and lyrics, let's be honest. His vocal style has a haunting edge to it that sounds like his very soul is breaking out of his chest. Like Tsuyoshi, Nino has a way of sounding soulfully tormented when he wants to.

I was extremely happy when I finally found a decent mp3 version of Regress of Progress which is now on my iPod, and I also recently found the live performance which I have watched several thousands of times. I only wish that a polished-up, studio recording of it actually existed (and if it does, please share it with us *onegaishimasu*). A studio co-production by Nino and Tsuyoshi would be on the very top of my Johnny's collaboration wish-list.

As a footnote, I was actually wanting to write this post back in early July but I got distracted with real life issues, a two-week holiday, and some more real life. But it wasn't ever forgotten so I hope I made it sound the way I had envisioned it back then when it was still fresh in my mind.

Thanks for reading :)
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Last time I mentioned that I had only two Nino Bittersweet shop photos left to get to complete the set. Imagine my total surprise when less than a week later, I found the two I was missing! The first was within four days of my post and the other, the last one, was three days later. The last one in the collection arrived in the post just today, so I am posting an update.




In another stroke of good fortune, I was able to find ten Nino Monster shop photos, and six Face Down shop photos at the same location. It was an expensive visit but one I will never regret as it now means that I only have nine Monster photos left to complete the set. I still find it hard to believe that there were 30 individual shop photos, per member, for Monster. Why would it have to be my number one favourite PV? haha


These are the ten Monster shop photos I recently acquired for my collection. I have ten inside the photo album above and one inside a photo frame. I only have nine left to get to complete the set.

 


These are the six Face Down shop photos I recently acquired for my collection. I now have all the ones I wanted for this collection but if I do happen to find any more I will no doubt purchase them. My priority is to complete the Monster set.
 
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8_bit_magic: (arashi)

This was my very first Arashi post (8 January 2015)

I had occasionally used Instagram but up until the end of 2014, it was only for my own private use. That changed in the new year and on the 8th of January 2015, I posted a photo of Arashi (see above). This was the first time that I openly expressed my love for my favourie Japanese idols to my real life friends. Some of those RL friends humoured me and liked my post, some were even curious to know more about them and why I had started posting about them. After a few more weeks I deleted my old Twitter account and opened up a new account. After all, it became pretty clear to me that I was going to get more of a positive reaction from fellow Arashians. I got to know one fan in particular, a girl from the Philippines, and we got along so well she nicknamed me "Debby chan". I felt so easily accepted, I began posting more photos of Arashi on my Instagram account. I even changed the name of my account to @yellow_neenbeens!

That account lasted for some time, and even though a lot of my real life friends were still following my Instagram account they weren't asking about Arashi any more and most stopped liking my posts. Then, after a particularly emotional day (which I am often prone to), I deleted my Instagram account. It wasn't long before the regret kicked in but thankfully I had saved most all of my posts into a folder on my laptop so I didn't lose everything. What I regretted most was losing the account forever, because I couldn't get it back again. After a few weeks or maybe even months, I can't recall now, I opened a new one. This time I called it @kazu_neenbeens and I kept this name for a while until I decided it was too similar to @kazuneen who I have been following ever since I became a full-fledged Arashian (Their posts are always in black and white, and they are almost always posts of Ninomiya). So I dropped the "kazu" from my username and just became @neenbeens and that name has stuck ever since.

I like to use different apps to edit my posts. I have used FotoRus for the longest amount of time, and more recently LINE Camera. Some days I get lazy and just post photos without any extra frills and edits, and some days I feel guilty because I haven't posted so I quickly put something up. More recently, I have had problems with my laptop which gave me so much trouble I thought I had a virus. Turns out I needed a whole new laptop for various reasons but bascially because my hard-drive had become corrupted. I hope I can retrieve my Arashi files because there is a lot of folders filled with photos still on my old hard-drive that I hadn't been able to back up.

Please pray for me! Onegaishimasu! :)
I
This was my very first Ninomiya Kazunari post (8 January 2015)
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! ^^

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