嵐 5 x 18

Sep. 15th, 2017 02:25 pm
8_bit_magic: (Default)

N.B. This post was uploaded to my Live Journal page on the actual day of the 18th anniversary (15 September 2017) but I completely forgot to cross-post it onto my Dreamwidth page here so, here it is. A whole month later but as they say, "better late than never" haha

I couldn't let this special day pass by without at least posting something in relation to my love for Arashi. While Arashians all around the world are observing in their own unique ways, I'm sitting here basking in a collective sea of intense love and intense feels. Words seem totally inadequate on days such as this. I want to express my love and gratitude for Aiba Masaki, Matsumoto Jun, Ninomiya Kazunari, Ohno Satoshi and Sakurai Sho ~ for coming into my life at the very lowest point and lifting me up towards joyfulness and solace.

It hasn't been an easy road for me personally these past three years. I even came close to ending my life; by the end of 2014 I was desperate and on the edge. Then one day I turned on my television and that funny Japanese game show was on SBS again and I started smiling. Before I knew it I was tuning in to it every afternoon and a smile slowly changed into laughter. I still vividly recall the day my precious daughter walked in to the living room and told me she'd been researching them online, and did I know they were idols, changed my life forever. We began watching their PVs and listening to their songs and I fell head over heels deeply in love and haven't looked back since.

Thank you Arashi; thank you Aiba, thank you MatsuJun, thank you Nino, thank you Riida, thank you Sho ~ without you in my life, my heart would still be locked up, cold and hard as stone [It sounds completely corny I know, but it's true. I had locked up my heart for good but Arashi re-opened it and I am forever grateful]. Thanks to you, I'm learning a new language and (beautiful) culture, singing songs of hope, inspiration and optimism, and because of each of you I'm much more alive today than I think I've ever been before. I'm passionate again !

Before I get totally soppy and sentimental, and use up all the remaining tissues in the house, I just want to add that without Arashi I would not have met some truly amazing friends. I've had a few altercations and lost some friends along the way but overall I am truly thankful for all my Arashian friends, past and present *I must make special mention to Bawuk, Erin, Patricia, Sandy, Uri, Karla, Anna, Ayesha, Mary, Ginger, Flo, Din, Arabella, Alice, Jan, and so many others who I only know by their usernames* If I've forgotten to mention you here, please forgive my foolish oversight. You all mean the absolute world to me and I am thankful for you all.

A to the R A S H I !

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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
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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! :)
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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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Those who know me well from Twitter would probably (insert sarcasm) know that I have a weakness for shop photos. It all started back in early 2015 when I first learned about their existence with the release of Sakura. My Twitter timeline began to fill with images of the Arashi boys in all their glory; posing as a group, as a pairing, and individually. I was a trembling mess. I was new to the fandom even though I had been a fan since the year before. Out of shyness and sheer embarrassment, I dare not ask anyone how to actually go about buying them so I missed out. The pain my heart endured has never again seen the light of day because I was so devastated for missing out on Sakura shop photos, I vowed to never do it again. Eventually, I had to bite the bullet and ask people. Most were kind enough to point me in the direction I needed but that wasn't until the release of Ai wo Sakebe that I took my first giant leap into the shop-photo-buying frenzy. Why not AoKimi? I wasn't overly impressed with those shop photos I have to confess, except for a few group photos I just wasn't all that fussed with them. Ai wo Sakebe shop photos were different, and I had to have them at all costs. My obsession began in earnest.

I have found a few Sakura shop photos since my early fandom days but they are few and far between. Most are snapped up by other eager buyers and the few that show up in sales or auctions I already have in my collection. It wasn't until recently that a dear Twitter friend went for a trip to Japan and found six Sakura photos for me. I was ecstatic and she will never know just how forever grateful I am that she went out of her way to seek them out for me (you know who you are THANK YOUUU!).

As you can see from the photo above, I have several photo albums now. The three on the top right are filled with only Nino individual shop photos, as is the pink Johnny's album you can see underneath them. These contain photos from Nino's Johnny's Junior days as well as his early debut years. The two Arashi albums on the top left hold group photos and pairings. The album you see which has Nino's Are You Happy? papa photographs is an album dedicated to stage/concert photos. The album below it contains a mix of individual photos of Aiba, MatsuJun, Ohno and Sakurai and, as you can see from the photo, some early group shop photos and also some more recent group papa photographs.

Shop photos I am still fervently DESPERATELY collecting include:
All ~ Sakura
All ~ Truth
All ~ Zero G
Nino ~ Monster
Nino ~ Bittersweet
(I have only two left to complete the set! haha)

Of course my collection is not restricted to any one single/album/concert release. If I like what I see, I want! If the price is right, and I am keen for it I will buy it. Yes, I know my collection is 90% Nino (What can I say, I just can't resist him) but I do also collect many group and pairings shop photos too. Honest! :)

Obsessed?? Who, me?? *LOL LOL LOL*
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)

Here ends my three-part list of favourites from each studio album. I am contemplating a favourite b-sides post but do I really want to put myself through that much pain having to decide on a mere few in number? Probably. I will consider it a little further.

I confess I've been putting off writing up this post for two reasons. Firstly, having to choose only two tracks and one single is going to be like a dentist visit. It will be the most horrendous and possibly painful experience and one I am not willingly putting myself through! Secondly, I'm losing the enthusiasm to blog because of so little in the way of feedback. I have been a writer/blogger for many years in a different forum (family history) and I guess after having done it for so long where I receive instant written feedback, I've been somewhat indulged and spoiled. With this LJ blog I've barely had any incentive to keep it up. But as somebody recently said to me, write for yourself first and foremost. Wise words indeed, and somewhat true for me (I still prefer feedback, it's just who I am).

ANYWAY.... moving on. Here is part three (I can put it off no longer, I will stop whinging):

Popcorn (2012)
Waiting For You

Face Down

Sore wa Yappari Kimi de Shita (Ninomiya Kazunari solo)

Love (2013)
Sayonara no Ato de


Yozora e no Tegami (Aiba Masaki solo)

The Digitalian (2014)
Hope in the Darkness


Stay Gold (Matsumoto Jun solo)

Japonism (2015)
Miyabi Night


Akatsuki (Ohno Satoshi solo)

Are You Happy? (2016)
Ups and Downs


Mata kyo to onaji ashita ga kuru (Ninomiya Kazunari solo)

This was sooo hard! Please don't make me choose ever again!! The last three albums especially, as they are all so good and so precious and so amazing. All of their albums are in their own special way, but the last three are the most recent. Plus I became a fan when each one of them was released so I lived through all the up-to-the-minute hype with my Twitter friends and the Arashi fandom in general. It was really hard to choose but I went with the ones which make me the weakest when they come on my iPod shuffle. I tend not to skip them as many times and they have given me the widest smiles and inner pleasure.

Maybe I will try writing up a favourite b-sides post. If nothing else, it will be interesting for me to look back on in five years time hahaha

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
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! :)
This was my very first Ninomiya Kazunari post (8 January 2015)
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)
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:

Kaibutsu-kun SP
His bit part in Yamada Taro Monogatori
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
Heaven's Door
Ooku (The Lady Shogun and Her Men)
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
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)

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:

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!

8_bit_magic: (arashi)

Brace yourself for my ultimate fangirling squeal *kyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa*

What an amazing/incredible/fabulous/sumptuous/eye-opening/orgasmic experience this was for me. I think I actually stopped breathing, Time definitely stood still. My mouth drooped open so far and for so long I was drooling and I didn't even notice. Arashi know how to entertain and they know how to deliver every fangirls (or boys) needs. From start to finish, I was mesmerized/captivated/wetting myself.

I still remember the day I watched this, or any, Arashi concert DVD for the first time. I remember thinking "yeah...blah...live in concert...blah...standing around with microphones singing...blah blah...maybe a dance routine here and there...abit of fanservice in the right places..." HOW WRONG I WAS!! And the thing is, at that stage I hadn't made any Arashi friends on social media so I wasn't forewarned at all. I went in completely cold turkey to the whole Arashian experience. It was my first time and I was totally unprepared in every sense of the word!!

It started with the opening video package "What is LOVE?" and from that second onwards, I was a dribbling mess of feels and squeals. I sat calmly on a seat which turned out to be a rollercoaster ride. I laughed, I cried, I screamed, I drooled, I cried again, and I seem to recall that I moaned out loud quite a lot. *blush* Arashi danced NON-STOP and sang like angels, and their costumes!! OH! MY!! GODDDDD!!! They performed without stopping to take a breath - a total of 34 songs?!?! Of course, I didn't know any of the songs at all. I only had The Digitalian album as a reference point so when I heard and watched the LOVE songs for the first time I was a puddle. No, a lake. A really large scale lake.

The solo songs: Ninomiya on guitar (who doesn't love a man who can play guitar ughhh) and Sakurai's performance left me totally speechless but Ohno's choreo for Hit the Floor was PURELY MAGICAL. It was just so fluid and so effortless. As a former dance student in my youth, I was beyond impressed. I'm not even going to go there with P-A-R-A-D-O-X ........ Okay I will - HELLOOOO! My ovaries exploded, reformed, only to explode again. (I really should stop with these references, I might attract the wrong crowd). *double blush* Thanks to sunblades for making this awesome gif below (http://sunblades.tumblr.com/post/93326648156).

There was no turning back after watching the LOVE con. I couldn't...wouldn't...ever turn away. No word of a lie, something inside of me changed that day. Arashi changed my entire outlook on music, dance, entertainment, and my daily life hasn't been the same since. I deleted my old boring Twitter account and opened up a new one to make friends with fellow Arashians. Without that, I may not be where I am today. I have made such wonderful friends from all over the world and I am truly blessed.

Next time I will blog about my experience with learning a whole new language, and some funny/embarrassing/frustrating moments it has created along the way.

Thank you for reading this far! :)

N.B. I am literally shaking whilst writing this post. THIS IS WHAT ARASHI DO TO MEEEE!
8_bit_magic: (arashi)

Last time I mentioned my introduction to the world of Arashi, when my daughter and I discovered those hilarious Japanese rogues were actually famous idols. It opened the floodgates for me and I quickly became obsessed with finding out everything I possibly could about them. The first CD I bought was actually a Christmas present for my daughter (she was seriously into Ohno then) and it was Your Eyes. But the very first song I heard all the way through was Bittersweet. This song holds a very special place in my heart, as it was the very first Arashi promo video (pv) I watched and oh boy, I fell hard. As it would turn out, a hell of a lot harder than my daughter who quickly turned her attentions elsewhere.

Funny story though, while I was watching the Bittersweet pv the first few times I kept staring at this one particular guy but it was really beginning to bug me who he was. As I watched it a few more times I kept whispering, "Who is that guy? I know him from somewhere". My daughter did a quick Google search and when she showed me the list of Ninomiya Kazunari's movies and television dramas, I couldn't believe my eyes when they locked onto the word GANTZ. I was stupified to say the very least! But why didn't I recognise him from VS Arashi, you ask? Well, for one thing he is a completely different person on the game show. As I began to take more notice of the Arashi members on VSA, I thought they were all pretty darn cute but yes, Nino had always stood out for me. Once I realised he was Kurono Kei though, I was instantly and totally in love. And yes, I'm still in love.

Following on from my first single purchase, along came my very first album purchase:The Digitalian. I could wax lyrical about my feelings when this album came in the post for me, unwrapping it from its packaging and turning it over and over in my hands. I was as smitten as a kitten. That album is responsible for turning me from a daily genealogy researcher/writer into a crazy, fully-fledged fangirl. The songs I had on my iPod were all removed and The Digitalian took its place. I played it over and over again and I still couldn't get enough. Then a buying frenzy began and I ordered the Love, Popcorn and Beautiful World albums as well as Lotus, Monster, and Face Down, all in very quick sucession. I had the best Christmas presents ever that year I can tell you! ^^

In the New Year of 2015, I had already ordered some of their live concert DVDs: Love and Beautiful World. When they arrived, one by one, I had absolutely no idea what would happen to me next. But that will be a tale for my next posting.

Thanks for reading this far! :)

Favourite Digitalian songs: Hope in the Darkness : Wonderful : One Step : Trap
8_bit_magic: (arashi)

Allow me to introduce myself! Hello, I am Debby and I am from Australia (but I was born in England). I have been a member of LJ since February this year but I've been super lazy and haven't posted anything until now.

I have been a full-time, hard-core Arashi fan since November 2014. I know this isn't long in the scheme of things but new fans are coming up all the time so I know I'm not alone in my "newbie" status. What drew me in to the fandom in the first place? Back in 2012 I stumbled across a Japanese game show on SBS television called VS Arashi. It was such a fun show I tuned in regularly and even watched all the repeats of repeats. Around this time I also watched the movie Gantz and took an instant liking to Ninomiya Kazunari BUT I didn't make the association! The years passed and I was into k-pop bands like U-Kiss and EXO and liked to watch SBS Pop Asia regularly.

Around October 2014 I was going through a difficult time in my personal life and wouldn't you know it, I stumbled across that Japanese game show again and I found it cheered me up. My daughter started watching it with me and she took a shine to Ohno who kept repeating "Maji?" and "Maji ka?" We were laughing so hard. She went away and did some research on her laptop and suddenly came out of her room shouting excitedly, "Did you know they're a famous Japanese idol band?" From that moment, we watched the promo videos for Bittersweet and Wild At Heart and for the rest of that day we Googled them. And so it goes I became a fan. So, I really have Ohno (and my daughter) to thank for introducing me to Arashi.

Imagine my shock when the world of Arashi opened up to me. It felt as though I had been given the key to the city by the mayor of Tokyo! I was overwhelmed with all the new knowledge each new day brought me: they had already been around for 15 years?? Albums, singles, variety shows, promo videos, as well as movies and dramas - for each member?!?! I was in Heaven! I had never known this world before but once I uncovered each new treasure of information, I was drawn in and quickly became obsessed. Ohno must have thrown me a line because I fell in hook, line and sinker. (Well, he is the Leader for a reason, right?)

Imagine my second shock when I finally made the association between Ninomiya Kazunari in Gantz and Ninomiya Kazunari in Vs Arashi! I was stunned beyond my wildest dreams to be honest because I never knew idols could be so versatile as to be proficient actors. Here in Australia, there are actors who are singers and vice versa but somehow the market is totally different. I can't explain it so I won't try. Needless to say, I was impressed with Nino both as an actor and as a singer/entertainer. And yes, he is my ichiban. That has never changed and it never will. I am devoted, yellow heart and soul.

In my next post, I will ramble on about my introduction to The Digitalian album, my first Arashi concert DVD experience, and how their versatile acting talents totally bowled me over... and my sometimes frustrating grip on the Japanese language!

Thanks for reading this far! :)


8_bit_magic: (Default)

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