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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 :)

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)

I have been thinking long and hard about what songs to include in this post, and I decided only yesterday to reduce my list down to twenty of my favourite b-side songs. My choices are based on which ones get the most frequent plays on my iPod and the songs which have me jumping around the room whenever I watch their concert DVDs.

Here is my top twenty (ones in bold are my most played):
1. Koi wa Burekki [Breakin]
2. Kimi ga Iinda
3. Gorimuchuu (this song performed live has me jumping madly)
4. Harukaze Sneaker
5. Kiss Kara Hajimeyou
6. Itsu Made Mo
7. Snowflake
8. How To Fly
9. Boku ga Boku no Subete (this song is extra special to me, and it was my first ever Arashi ringtone)
10.Tokei Jikake no Umbrella
11. Super Fresh
12. Boom Boom
13. Full of Love
14. Monokuro [Monochrome]
15. Sync
16. Love Wonderland
17. Onaji Sora no Shita de
18. It's Good To Be Bad
19. Bang Bang
20. Kono tenohira ni

Before I forget, I must make an extra special mention to Sketch which is only available on the Ura Ara Mania special four-disc CD (which I am so blessed and thankful to own a copy of). Sketch is another most played song, I can never get enough of listening to it. I know it has special significance to the Arashi members as a commemorative song but for me I love so many things about it. When they sang it live for AraFes (2012), I was so happy I was actually in floods of tears!

I have to say I am happily exhausted after thinking up only twenty songs for this post. There are so many Arashi songs which lift my mood and make the monotony of my daily life so much easier to deal with. I still surprise myself today that this Japanese band has changed my life so dramatically, even though I don't always understand what they are singing! *blush* I am still eagerly learning the language, watching as many Japanese dramas and Arashi variety shows as I can to grasp all the phrases and words. Every day I proudly tell my daughter that I have learnt a new word and she sweetly smiles back at me (I love how she humours me!).

Without Arashi in my life, I would just be a broken shell.... sad but true *clap your hands two times* [Sakurai Sho, Rock You]
8_bit_magic: (arashi)

Continuing on from my last post about my favourite songs from Arashi's discography to date, here is my choice from albums six to ten. This was a little easier to do than the last part, except for Boku no Miteiru Fuukei and Beautiful World which was more of a challenge for me to choose only two songs from because I have so many favourites. Nevertheless, here goes. Remembering my chosen option of two songs, one single and one solo (where applicable):

Arashic (2006)
I Want Somebody
Cool and Soul

Kitto Daijoubu

(but a special mention must go to Caramel Song of which Nino sang the bulk of the vocals)

Time (2007)
Cry For You

Aozora Pedal

Song For Me (Ohno Satoshi solo)

Dream "A" Live (2008)
Move Your Body
Niji no Kanata e

Step and Go

Gimmick Game (Ninomiya Kazunari solo)

Boku no Miteiru Fuukei (2010)
Made Ue o


T.A.B.O.O (Sakurai Sho solo)

Beautiful World (2011)
Rock This


Doko ni Demo Aru Uta (Ninomiya Kazunari solo)

I am really not looking forward to writing up part three of my favourites because the five remaining albums are really going to be hard to choose only two songs from, especially The Digitalian and Japonism.

Ganbarimasu, ne? ^^
8_bit_magic: (arashi)

This post (part one of three) was inspired by a recent chat on Twitter between two good friends and fellow Arashians. One asked the all important question: Which album is your favourite and why? The other made a list of her favourite songs from each album BUT with a nice little catch: only two songs from each album and one solo (where applicable). I'm going to try and do this list too but with a slight change. I will choose only two songs, one single and one solo (where applicable).

With fifteen studio albums under their belt, there's a lot to choose from in the Arashi discography to date. My first album was The Digitalian and from there I heard Love, Popcorn, Iza Now, How's It Going, Beautiful World and so on. Each new album they release is different and showcases a whole new facet of Arashi's talent. To pick a favourite album out of fifteen would be nigh on impossible but I will admit that I do have two soft spots: The Digitalian (because it was my first Arashi album) and Boku no Miteiru Fuutei.

And so, here are my choices from the first five studio albums. Just remember, CHOOSING ONLY TWO SONGS WAS AN ABSOLUTE TOTAL NIGHTMARE/HEART WRENCH!! LIKE, WATER TORTURE!! >////<

Arashi ni Ichigoo (2001)
On Sunday

Sunrise Nippon

Here We Go (2002)
**All or Nothing -Ver 1.02-
Kimi wa Sukoshi mo Warukunai

A Day in our Life

How's It Going? (2003)
***Crazy Ground No Osama
Donna Kotoba de


Iza Now (2004)
Right Back To You
Dear My Friend

Pika**nchi Double

One (2005)
Subarashiki Sekai
Yes? No?

Rain (Ohno Satoshi solo)

Sakura Sake was the only single on this album but it isn't a favourite of mine (I only like it when they perform it live). I guess I've just grown bored with it (minna, gomenasai *blushes*)........!

**Those who know me well by now, know that one of my all-time favourite Arashi songs is All or Nothing. It is MY JAM! I can't praise it enough, it has so many elements to it that I love. Sakurai Sho's rap, the overlapping vocals in the chorus, and the choreo in the live performances I've seen (over and over) are SAIKOU! Oh, and did I mention the Sakurap?
*** Those who follow me on Twitter may or may not have read the line "Crazy ground no osama ni nareru" in my bio and that's because it's another all-time favourite song. No matter what mood I'm in, if I hear that song come on my iPod I go crazy (even in public). I can't sit still. Again the Sakurap is precious and Ohno's vocal in the verses is perfection.
8_bit_magic: (arashi)

This Valentine's Day I am alone in the real life sense, and have been for a few years now. I don't especially buy into the whole commercialism surrounding Feburary 14 because love should be honoured, cherished and celebrated every day regardless. That may be an unrealistic, old-fashioned viewpoint but that's me. I have always been a hopeless romantic and at my age that isn't going to change. So it stands to reason that I am thankful for Arashi in my life, and especially thankful for my ichiban Ninomiya Kazunari, and I try to spend at least some moments each day honouring their existence in my life. I even made six Instagram posts this morning (including the one for Nino, above); one for each member and a group one!

To mark this glorious day of celebrating love I am honouring my love for Arashi, and in so doing, I've come up with a quick list of my top 15 romantic/lovey dovey Arashi songs. These are songs that really make me squeal or swoon with love and I'm so glad to have them in my life.

Yasei wo Shiritai
(I know it's not romantic but it's a song that celebrates their love for each other)
Dear My Friend
Kimi ga Iinda
Te Tsunagoo
Kiss Kara Hajimeyou
Tokei Jikake no Umbrella
Ai no Collection
Mr Lonely
Love Wonderland
Full of Love

And, not forgetting, these are my most favoured romantic solo songs:

A: Yozora e no Tegami
M: Naked
N: Sore wa yappari kimi de shita
O: two
S: sugar and salt

This is not my image; found on Yahoo! Japan


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