Denny Sinnoh's "Akihabara Starlight"

It is with some sadness That I have to report the HKT48/AKB48 graduation of Miss Haruka Kodama. Haruppi (her nickname) was always one of my favorite members of the AKB family. She was a fan favorite, and had ranked as high as 9th in the last AKB election she participated in. Together with Sakura Miyawaki, they were HKT48’s power duo!

I am not usually sad about a members graduation, as I always wish them well in their new careers. However, in the case of Kodama-san, she had to graduate because of a medical illness. Her official graduation date is June 9, but there will be no HKT graduation performance or ceremony due to her illness. Haruka has not been performing with HKT48 for about a year now, and there has been a lot of fan speculation about what happened to her. “Was there a scandal?” “Is she pregnant and in hiding?” A lot of rumors were flying around until management announced that she would take a hiatus due to illness. Then more time gone from HKT. She never came back from the extended hiatus.

Some fans thought that Haruka was depressed because Sakura was assigned to go to Korea to be a K-Pop star — and not her too. There was some discussion that she had developed an eating disorder, bulimia and self-image problem. I found this troubling. This was the most common speculation. It may have been leaked by people in the know. My friend Derek and the others on the video-blog 48Talk had also discussed this possibility. But what do I know anyway?

If that is the case, then it really makes me very sad. Haruppi is (I don’t want to say “was”) one of the most beautiful members of the AKB Family – which is another way of saying — she was among the most beautiful women in the world. It tears me up a little to think that this lovely young woman could look in the mirror and see someone unattractive. How could she think that she was not good enough? How could the self-esteem of such a lovely woman fall so much, so fast? But what do I know?

She may have had a low self-image, but there was no reason to feel that way. It is true, she was not among the top singers in AKB, but there is much more to being an Idol than just the singing. She was fine within the larger group of singers of course, but I don’t think that she would have had a solo music career. What do I know — I’ve been out of the Idol loop.

Her main claim to fame was modeling and acting. There was no better fashion model than Haruka Kodama, as some of my past blog posts suggest.

Officially she is graduating to become an actress, and has already landed a major role in a Japanese stage play. She is scheduled to star in the stage play ‘Watashi ni Ai ni Kite‘, which will be performed in Tokyo this September. Read more on this link. That is encouraging.

Some fans speculated about her weight gain and “puffy” face. Everyone knew that something was going on in her most recent performances. I hope it was not bulimia, and my guess it was something else. She did not look like someone gaining weight slowly. She had the look of someone who was prescribed steroids for a medical condition – with the side effects of bloating. I have seen this situation before, where these medicines will deal a harsh blow to a young lady’s looks. Sometimes a medicine saves your life, but then you balloon up.

Haruppi was said to be crying at handshake events when fans asked what happened to her. Which makes ME want to cry.

It pains me to do so, but if you look at one of the last PVs that she did with the group “11 Gatsu no Anklet” (linked here see time 1:57) she looks a lot different. There is the weight, plus she does not seem to have that Happy Haruppi sparkle.

This was when we all started to worry. They kind of have her in the back row of the performance too.

Even with her prolonged illness and appearance change, she is still a beautiful lady. She is still prettier than > 99.9% of all women in this world. Unfortunately, her self-image problems and/or health has ended her career as an idol. I wonder if Sakura had not been reassigned to the K-Pop groups, if that might have made a difference.

If I could tell her … I sure would, but we live on opposite sides of the world, speak different languages, are of a different generation (and may even be different species). I would say …

“We love you Haruppi. You have given us a lot of happiness over the years. You will not be forgotten. You ARE beautiful – and always will be.”

There are more Haruka memories on my old Pinterest account here:

If anyone has an HKT48 playlist, or anything to share, please leave it in the comments below.

Let me choke back my tears and get back to the silly butt jokes I always make … (Denny slaps head, tries to make one of his lame jokes … ) here goes … 

Did you know that Haruka and I were once in a commercialHaruka is not on the thumbnail, but she features prominently in this clip. This was one of my favorite AKB songs, and you will not find it on YouTube. Haruppi plays this beautiful young lady who interacts with her friends on social media. The full video really shows the beauty and innocence of the younger members. Haruppi texts this story of how she met this handsome boy at a bus stop. She sits there at the bus stop shelter — and you can literally see her creaming over this surfer-dude. Thinking about this surfer, and stewing in her own juices — even though she barely moves and does not much to him. This MV was Haruka at her yummiest.

So I was asked to do this foot cream commercial, one thing led to another, then I ended up in an AKB video. I’m the big fat guy in case you can’t tell.

See the video time 2:14 to 2:20 minutes. There is this scene where Haruka is sitting on the couch. Off camera, to the right, there is a shadow which is me saying my lines. It went like this:

WHAT? — DANG IT — THEY CUT MY PART OUT OF THE FULL VIDEO!

Well, all the better because Haruka and the other girls get more time then. As you can see, the movie “BirdMan” stole their final scene from our video. But what do I know?

Starlight: Haruka Kodama (兒玉 遥 Kodama Haruka, born 19 September 1996), joined HKT48 in 2011.

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Aplologies if I have been holding you up with the fire and grass starters —

Let us now transition to our Sword and Shield water type starter: Sobble

Sobble is going to be a lizard/chameleon Pokémon. The trailer shows that it becomes invisible or blends in with its surroundings like a chameleon.

I like the name “PonceDeLeon” after Juan Ponce de Leon, the Spanish explorer who famously searched Florida for the “Fountain of Youth”. (We all know that’s not real history kids. He was a Conquistador.)  How about “Three Coins” after “Three Coins in the Fountain”.

A water-squirting lizard/chameleon? I might be able to recycle names I have already used for Squirtle – such as “Wet Willie”, “I.P.Nightly” or “I.P.Freely”. Perhaps I could recycle Kecleon names – such as “Zelig”.

I may use “Sorbét” – after the frozen dessert made from sweetened, flavored water. Americans know it as “Sherbert”.

I noticed that a lot of the cosplayers show Sobble with a sad face or crying. Could that be some type of power in the game? There is no need to cry my little julep. “Julep” or “Mint Julep” might fit this bluish water-type.

Blue Bayou” is after the Linda Ronstant song and the water park.

The name “Mystique” could be in honor of the X-Men character.

Watersport” might be a fun name … if you like watersports. Ha.

I think I will name him “Spitball” since it is a tricky and wet baseball pitch, designed to deceive – Just like a water chameleon. Sobble is shown using a “water gun” like move in the S/S preview trailer (MAY NOT BE ACTUAL GAMEPLAY – HELLO?). Maybe the name “Gaylord” as in Gaylord Perry master of the spitball pitch … but perhaps I digress.

Here is an interesting one to consider: “Buys Ballot”.  Indeed it would be sneaky to use another person’s vote, however that is not what the name means. It is pronounced boos beylo after the Dutch meteorologist CHD Buys Ballot. The concept is useful when determining wind direction at sea … and yes, I digress once again.

It makes me feel like a kid … but I can’t wait for this game!

I hope you will check back to my blog this November 15, when I will have more nicknames for you to evaluate.

Yesterday I posted suggested nicknames for Grookey. Today I wll pick up with my “Pokémon Nicknames: Sword and Shield starters” series with the fire-type starter  — Scorbunny.

No doubt – Scorbunny will be my starter Pokémon! A bunny rabbit that runs so fast that it scorches the ground.  He appears to wear a “nose strip”, perhaps to gain more oxygen while running?

Ready Rarebit?

My gut reaction is to call him “Welsh”, or “Welsh D Red” or “WelshRarebit”, perhaps just “Rarebit”. The “Welsh” part goes with the British Isles theme of Pokémon S/S. Welsh is the language of Wales in Britain, and “Welsh Rabbit” (Welsh Rarebit) is a psychedelic, dream-inducing food.

Trixie” would be great name for a female Scorbunny. This is in honor of the old “Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids” cereal commercial.

Also, Trixie (alternative spelling “Trixi” or “Trixy“) is a great stripper’s name (especially if she is a firey redhead. See a list of films the redheaded bunny starred in linked here … and yes, I see that I have digressed once again.

Lagomorpha” would be good for females, and it should still fit whatever the evolved for of Scorbunny looks like.

Flambé” is another cooking related name, and “Frier Tuck” might be another British literature tye Robin Hood reference! I thought maybe “Flaming Moe” after that episode of The Simpsons.

Fricassee” would work for male or female I think. Here is a recipe.

Hold on to your welsh wabbit until tomorrow, and we will consider nicknames for the water-type starter Sobble …

Pokémon Nicknames: Sword and Shield starters — Grookey

I will call her “Plantain Jane”

It looks like I am going to have to buy a Nintendo Switch. My son owns one already, but I want both of us to be able to play our own copies of the upcoming Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield games due this fall. It is already common knowledge in Nintendo world that most S/S players will play in “handheld mode.” I have also heard rumors about a “Switch Mini” which may be even more portable (?) than the current hardware. Perhaps this will be a hardware and software release like when Nintendo released the 2DS at the same time as Pokémon X and Y. I am out of the loop, so maybe you gamer’s gamers can let me know if you think that a Switch Mini will be released along with the Pokémon Sword and Shield on November 15 (?) this year. Smells like a bundle.

Here Nintendo – take my money: I will need a Switch, something to protect the Switch when I carry it around, and I will need two copies of the Pokémon game. for my son and I. Then I will need something like a t-shirt or a hat which identifies me as belonging to the Pokémon secret society … probably will need to update the online Pokébank … then purchase whatever downloadable content packs, subscriptions, etc.

I know everyone has already seen the first teaser trailer, but here then …

It used to be that I would not give my starter Pokémon a nickname, as the starters are unique in the game. Later however, especially after trading, then breeding new starters Pokémon from eggs, I would give the starter forms a nickname. I also like to keep my starter Pokémon in “baby” form, up until I finish the main story (become Champion, etc.).  I make my other Pokémon evolve, but I think it is cute when you battle the regional champ with a cute Pokémon, raised up to a near level 100.  I always let my starter evolve for the after-story however.

You know what would be a hoot? If the Pokémon developers could have different after stories and side missions available as downloadable content. (Cough, Cough … there’s another cash cow for you Nintendo!)

Sword/Shield will take place in the Galar Region, which is based on the island of Britain (similar to how Unova was New York, or Sinnoh was Hokkaido flipped upside-down). “Galar” seems to resonate like the word “gallant” as in a gallant English knight.

I sincerely hope that Nintendo accurately portrays the spirit of the Celtic/Gaelic cultures of the British Isles correctly.

Well you are here to hear my suggested nicknames. Let us assume there will still be the 12-letter limit, and other naming rules enforced, or at least censoring which makes sense.

Grookey: Hmmm … a grass-type monkey Pokémon? There are not a lot of monkeys in Britain …

My first choice of a name for female Grookey is “PlantainJane”. Plantains are a banana-like fruit, and monkeys like bananas of course. This is also a play on the phrase “Plain Jane” which is an archaic way of describing a drab or unattractive young woman. One who usually eschews makeup and/or sexy clothing. There is nothing plain about these plantains however!

“Plain Jane” like “Mary Jane” is also a word sometimes used as a euphemism for marijuana.

Jain” might be good, in honor of the Indian religion Jainism. This dharmic religion has strict views on vegetarianism and respect for all living beings. Life is venerated so much that the local monkeys are allowed to have their run at certain temples in India.

Grookey has that stick held at the top of its head. If you really want a marijuana joke as a name I might suggest naming a male “Blunt”, or “Bluntz”, “Mr. Bluntz”, etc.

Grass-type and all that. Just calling it “Sticks” might be good, as the name is sometimes used for drummers.

Other names: “Rhythm Stick”, as in “hit-me-with-your-rhythm stick”.  These stay with the drumming theme: “Mook”, “Da Mook”, “Mookie”, “Melodius”, “The Mooch”. “Weed Wanker” might be a playful grass-type name, based on the “Weed Wacker” lawn cutting tool. There is nothing whacky about ths cosplay though …

Sherwood” after “Sherwood Forrest” home to the British legend Robin Hood! I might suggest other forest or jungle type names. “The Coolest” for example, or perhaps “Coco-Nutz“.

Another variation would be “Glockey” or “Nime mm” or “Glock 9”  after the 9mm handgun Grookey possessed in the fake meme which made its way into a Mexican newspaper announcement for Sword and Shield. Link here.

I hope that these nicknames sound logical — Please come back tomorrow night when I suggest nicknames for the next Sword and Shield starter!

Happy 41st Birthday to “The Little Great One” Hanako Oku, born March 20, 1978.

Japan is twelve hours ahead of my time zone, so I am sending this tonight!

Mr. Penguin, I hope you have a sense of humor! It was Snivy’s idea.

… and now for a little bit of Oku-HISTORY!

Thank you, YouTube user 曽我部幸太郎

Starlight: Been a Hanako Oku fan for eight point eight light years!

PS: Dear friends. I do not have Twitter or Facebook. If you like Hanako Oku, would you mind sharing my post on your social media?

 

 

I was very happy to see this Hanako Oku music video in my YouTube today!  I’m still trying to figure it all out. This is a song from her new album, her 10th album — “KASUMISOU”. Of course I have already pre-ordered it, silly. It is a very simple process: 1) Hanako Oku publishes a new record — 2) I buy … then wait a while.

I was watching the video this morning with my first coffee of the day. This is my favorite time of the day. The time of day, when I am at my most creative, and not beaten down quite yet by the ugliness I live in.

Yes, it is more Oku-magic! I don’t know what she is singing, I don’t know the language.  How does she DO it? The song draws me in, breaks my heart and gives me happiness … all at the same time.

Like almost all of her music videos — nothing really happens.

I’m not sure where this is, who these people are, and what the deal is with the diamond-like crystals. There are drawn anime people and objects inserted on top of actual photography. So, it is a  type of “augmented reality” that seems to be popular these days. (Note: I put the YouTube “auto-translate” setting on, and it seems to work well enough for a while.)

 

I like this reality better than my reality. I love the family of course. I like my coffee. I respect YOU my dear readers. I wish I didn’t live in a world of ugliness and ignorance. Driving to work, I will play this CD. Driving through the ugliness, on my way to encounter more ugliness, arrogance and ignorance. However, with Oku-san’s music overlaid above my field of vision, I will be able to augment the reality. I will have to park my car near ugliness … but at that point, I can switch to headphones.

I will need some time to figure out what those crystals are for though. I am not sure if they are really part of the song’s meaning, or if this is just part of the music video. Perhaps Miss Oku is overlaying some reality over her own life (or the life of the protagonist in the song). Wishing for something that is not there … or might have been there.

Hanako Oku holds her “Baby’s Breath”.

Hanako Oku’s music is very emotional. Complex emotions at that.  I may have to speculate a little about this photo, and the new album title. “Baby’s Breath” is a type of small flower that is often in a supporting arrangement of larger flowers. They are also used in bunches to decorate special occasions — often to decorate weddings. By holding this flower — is she saying subconsciously that she wishes that she has a child? Miss Oku-san is now forty years old. If she is going to have a children this is her last opportunity. I mean no disrespect in my speculation. She is a single, forty-year old woman who posts photos of her cat on social media. (“Just saying.”) A flower used to decorate weddings and is named after a life giving reality (a baby). If that is what she wants, I sincerely hope that she gets that. On the other hand, holding the flowers in this way is her perhaps thinking that she is accepting that it is not going to happen.

Yeah, like that. Thank you PONYCANYON record company for allowing this music video to be seen and enjoyed by fans. That’s ACTUAL reality!

Starlight: Less than one Earth rotation (not revolution).

Please join us on Reddit.

Thoughts on Oku Hanako

There’s a new place to get your Oku Hanako news and content! Here’s to announce the r/okuhanako subreddit, a community on Reddit where you can discuss and share any and all things Oku Hanako.

Don’t worry, though, this blog isn’t going anywhere.

Special thanks go to Edward, Daniel and Denny for helping me get this project started!

A screenshot of r/okuhanako on 2019-02-03 ~04:00 UTC r/okuhanako as of 2019-02-03 ~04:00 UTC

Motivation

Why did I decide to create a subreddit when I already have this blog? Judging by my posting frequency here and especially on my other blogs, I don’t really have the time to properly maintain this blog like I used to.

In addition to posting songs, I also post news items like upcoming albums (and I’m clearly behind because I haven’t posted about her upcoming March 20 album, KASUMISOU). So, to help lighten the load, I decided to help enable all of you, the…

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