Denny Sinnoh's "Akihabara Starlight"

Archive for November, 2014

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“Kokoro no Placard”: I will not feel so all alone — only because of this Chibi version!

placard part

I LOVE THIS!

Until now, I never liked the AKB48 single “Kokoro no Placard” all that much, for reasons which I hope are understandable. (A fan posted the original AKB48 version on YouTube  linked here.)

Thing 1: I am not a fan of all this “hash tagging” these days.  Hash Tagging: It sounds like something from the movie “Midnight Express”.  I don’t get it.

Thing 2:  I was TRYING to follow the tune.  The more I tried to follow it, the more it started to sound like that Bob Dylan song about “Everybody Must Get Stoned” linked here.

Thing 3: Most importantly, I CANNOT READ THE SIGNS.  I cannot read Japanese, so it is all lost on me.  Everyone else is singing, dancing and having fun with those placards … EXCEPT ME.  It is such a happy song, but I feel so left out.  I cannot understand the words either, but I did catch something that sounded like “Cinco de Mayo” … Huh?  I feel just like the English translation of “Kokoro no Placard” … WHAT’S SO AMUSING???

My heart’s placard
I’ll try holding it up
With my true feelings
On display…
If I can’t put it into words
I can write it down instead
The thing I want to convey
The thing I want to say
Please notice my placard

Full lyrics are linked from Studio 48 here

http://stage48.net/studio48/kokoronoplacard.html

Although I was not hot for the original AKB48 video, I LOVE this Chibi version!  It is a lot of fun.  I love the adorable Chibi-versions of the AKB girls.  The Chibi-AKB girls are wearing some of their famous outfits from other music videos. I would also say that the Chibi-versions are still recognizable as the real idols! Acchan makes an appearance at the Tokyo Dome! … and did you see Sayaka Yamamoto on the guitar (Time 1:14)? Maybe that squeaky, quirky singing works better for cartoons (sorry girls).

Just kidding. You ladies go ahead and make great Jpop song and dance. I’m not Japanese.  You make your videos the way you want to, even if I cannot understand it.

I’m just an aging, burned-out American kung-fu retro new-wave hippie punk hipster wannabe poser.

Gonna just hang out with the “Rainy Day Women” today.

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My Pop Music History: What ever happened to CHAM ?

CHAM_by_MirrorQueen

Most anime fans are familiar with the late Satoshi Kon’s directorial debut  “Perfect Blue” (trailer linked here).  The all-girl Jpop Idol group “CHAM” were an important part of this compelling, and mind-bending drama. Despite the initial  popularity of CHAM, the group has now been relegated to the “Where are they now?” files of Pop Music History.

I LOVED their big hit single: “Ai no Tenshi”.  The video below captures Mima, Rei and Yukiko at the time just  before they would rocket to stardom. It is a fantastic peak inside the recording studio.  The girls are not wearing their stage outfits here —  but who cares – they look (and sound) AMAZING.

One of the greatest anime film songs ever IMHO.

Here is a brief snippet of how they appeared in the German (translation) version of the film. Sorry for the obscure video reference — original CHAM footage is very hard to find, and valuable these days.

They were an exciting Jpop trio to watch live.  CHAM paved the way for other Idol groups.  Without CHAM’s trailblazing, Jpop girl groups today would probably not be the same!

cham on stage

Classic CHAM moves. They did it first. They did it better!

The ladies also recorded an English language version of “Ai no Tenshi (Angel of Love)”.  The song has been covered and performed in stage concerts by American singers Madonna and Tiffany. (No, Denny is NOT making that up!)

The lyrics translated into English, although seemingly cute and innocent, recap the very creepy story that is “Perfect Blue”

“Angel of Love” translation:

And now you come and see it all just for yourself
See the angel’s wings, but something else is there
And all those magic hearts are all for you again

And then you come and listen to the sweet little voice
Singing there for you and only just for you
She is protecting you right now…

And if sometimes you feel for your love
Send a little heart for her
And she’ll be there with you with her love
Waiting only for you!

And when you love her, love her she will be
A little angel, angel in your heart
You’ve got to push it, push it for her love
And then forever, ever she will be
A sweet angel of your heart to be there together

And now you need a little faith in me and yourself
When you make your way to change the destiny
If you could only see what I could do for you

And even when you feel you have a difficult time
Listen to my heart who sings to make you shine
When you start to fall in love …

Another amazing moment was captured on this YouTube video. After years out of the limelight, CHAM makes a sudden guest appearance at an Anime convention. Here, the cameraman only captures part of their show.  I do not blame him however.  My jaw would have dropped in shock: OMG — IT’S CHAM!!! … grab the camera!!!  Pardon the quality, but can you imagine, being at an Anime Conference in Russia, when CHAM makes a surprise appearance after being gone for so long?

The group had its ups and downs over the years. Mima graduated from the group to purse an acting career.  Although she was critically acclaimed, she never reached the commercial success and popularity of CHAM.

For a few years group member Mima tried to go solo as a singer, and made a number of convention appearances. Yet these never came close to matching the appeal of the three-member unit.  The video is very low quality … still any CHAM footage is valuable. Please forward to time 1:35 to see Mima’s solo.

The group would often appear at conventions, but mainly to sign autographs as they were without a record contract for over a decade.  The ladies appeared in various commercial ads, sometimes as solo models, and sometimes in pairs (Documented in this slideshow below.)

 

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Many years later the group surfaced at this Lisbon, Portugal fundraiser in support of Pancreatic Cancer research. This performance may actually be a little difficult for dedicated fans to watch.  The ladies are older, out of shape, and have a hard time performing their moves. Still, it is an interesting, and final note of CHAM history.

Although CHAM may have now faded into pop music history, they will be remembered as one of the most inspiring pioneers in the Idol genre.

perfectblue06 cham poster

CHAM is gone, however fans keep a Facebook page linked here.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/CHAM/278278312204229

 Enjoy the memories. It took 12 years for the light of “Perfect Blue” and CHAM to reach my world.

KIMONOS ON MONDAY (Week #27): The “eternal virgin” Setsuko Hara

legendary actress setsuko hara

I think I fell in love with Setsuko Hara through her character “Noriko” in the Yasujiro Ozu film Tokyo Story.  She played a beautiful, and traditional Japanese woman – a widowed daughter-in-law, still devoted to her in-laws. Especially in the Ozu films, she epitomized such beauty of modern Japanese women.  Such warmth. Although she was not mainly known for wearing kimonos in film, I was still able to find a few kimono images from the Internet. Please enjoy this gallery.  Then go rent one of her movies!

It is unfortunate that this endearing actress chose to cut her career short. She disappeared from movies to lead a solitary life at age 43. Satsuko Hara (real name Masae Aida) is 94 years young, and lives (in seclusion) in Kamakura Japan. She never married. There is much speculation as to why she abandoned her film career. She retied soon after Ozu passed away, fueling more mystery and speculation. Satsuko Hara is attributed to be the inspiration for the late Satoshi Kon’s anime film “Millennium Actress” (trailer here).

setsuko hara was in tokyo story

Dear lady, let us celebrate our birthday’s together next year!

You can see more of the great Setsuko Hara here on on my Pinterest board.

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MY MINAMI MINEGISHI TV PILOT PITCH

miichan photo1

I got to thinking since my last post about Miichan’s birthday. I like to fantasize while driving, so I composed a proposal/pitch to the FOX Network for my Minami Minegishi sitcom idea.

America loves a good “fish-out-of-water” story!

Miichan will play a Japanese college student who comes to America to study English at a major American University.

The show will be tentatively called “Learning Engrish” — or maybe something like “Please Speak Engrish!”. The network execs would probably want it to take place in California, but I think that there would be a bigger cultural contrast if the series took place in the American Midwest. (St. “Rouis” or somewhere like that). Besides, California already has a substantial Asian/Japanese population, so that would not be enough contrast.

Miichan’s TV character will also be called “Miichan”.  It is a great name, that sounds great when it will be yelled by the characters … MIIIIIIII – CHAN!!!!  Her last name will be different, and it has to be something that would sound funny to the American ear – something like “Fukyumama” could be the basis of a running  joke.

She will be an exchange student living with her Japanese-America aunt who is married to a (white, maybe Jewish) American.  I’m thinking someone like Billy Crystal as the uncle-in-law.

Every week, Miichan will innocently get into some type of trouble, due to a language or otherwise cultural misunderstanding.  This is where I will have to do some creative writing, but bear with me. Also, Miichan is a little troublemaker, and she has a sarcastic wit.  It would be great if Miichan could make fun of goofy aspects of American culture.  She would innocently point out how ILLOGICAL much of American culture is.  She could deconstruct various American “sacred cows” and tell us exactly how our Emperor is not wearing any clothes. (Ex. Why are US game shows so boring?)

Hilarious differences between traditional Japanese foods vs American cuisine could be jokes: “What are you eating Miichan?”  “Octopus tentacles … want some … I like how the little suction cups hold a little bit of the mollusk juice when you bite into them.”  Between the show’s segments and commercials there can be a real “Engrish” sign or image the audience can laugh at. Examples can be seen at this Engrish website linked here.  It must be kept in mind that such images are not making fun or East Asian language speakers, it is just that these things are often unintentionally hilarious.

In fact, one of the goals of the show would be to DISPEL MYTHS AND ASIAN STEREOTYPES!

The audience could also learn a little more about anime-manga-Idol culture from Japan as well, as Miichan would share her interests with her friends.  She might even have some fan service possiblities with her new American gal pals.  Again, completely innocent. There has not been an American show that features Japanese okatu culture yet, despite the growing popularity (Are you listening Hollywood?  I thought not. Originality is in short supply on American TV).

It would be great if the old Japanese grandmother character would have a catch-phrase running joke line. For example, whenever anything odd or bad would happen, the camera could zoom into the grandmother and she would mutter: “Damn Roosevelt…”. The joke being that anything bad have originated with the American president who ordered Japanese American citizens into internment camps.

Also, one of Miichan’s American wacky friends would clearly be a lesbian. Everyone knows it. Her family, the audience, the postman, etc. Everyone EXCEPT Miichan of course, who allows herself to get caught in racy situations with the American dyke. Her friend could give her backrubs, and just at the moment we think something will happen, Miichan is distracted in some hilarious way.  (Again, the writers will have to make the jokes.)

About FAN SERVICE: I know it might be a little derivative, but I think the uncle (Billy Crystal) could often catch a glimpse of the scantily-clad Minegishi-san.  Remember how in the old “King of the Hill” episodes, Hank Hill would walk in on Luanne in an undressed-sexy pose, and she would say “Hi Uncle Hank” much to Hanks consternation?

I’m thinking that in one episode, Miichan needs cash, and agrees to be a “nude model” at the University Art classroom.  Uncle Bill could find out about it,rush to the art department, only to see Miichan already on the pedestal. “Hi Uncle Billy-san”.  Then the uncle would look at the drawings made by the the (male) students, and they would all be just stick figures and the like.  They were just drawing her so they could look at her naked – get it?

Of course there would have to be a wacky neighbor.  Remember this is American television.

I’m thinking that each episode would end with Billy Crystal and Miichan sitting on a bench at a park or a mall.  They would be making fun of people as they walk by.  A lot of this would be ad-libbed.

So what do you think?  Would it be a good show?  Please comment and help me flesh out this pilot!

PS: Comedy is hard.  Failing that, maybe Miichan would be good in one of those crime CSI detective snoop shows!

miichan possible tv role

I love Miichan! HORRYWOOD HERE WE COME!!!

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Happy Birthday MIICHAN !!!

miichan in kimono c o a

Birthday wishes to Minami Minegishi  峯岸 みなみ, a.k.a. “Miichan” born November 15, 1992 in Tokyo. Japan is half a day ahead of me, so I want to be the first in my time zone to wish that little rascal a Happy Birthday. She has always been one of my favorites! She might not have her Uncle Denny’s eyes, but she has inherited my sharp, sarcastic sense of humor.  I could not be more proud of this effervescent young lady.

Remember her beautiful ballad from 2011? Please view “Watashi wa Watashi” in the optional HD.  It has an English translation.  It is very tender, and her gams are amazing. Miichan, don’t start crying, because then you will make me cry!

I know what y’all are thinking.  I never commented on that time that Miichan got in trouble in 2013.

MM broke the rules and spent the night with that dude that time.  Her mistake.  Her apology on the AKB Official Channel was worse than it needed to be.  She only had to say she was sorry for breaking the rules … shaving her head was her own idea. Look … I love Miichan. I will never post a photo of Miichan in that moment.  Instead please enjoy this slide show retrospective from better times.

The studio version of the song, with a montage of my young niece is linked here.

I think one of the reasons why she did it was because she has that acerbic – but funny – attitude of hers.  She has always been a “smarty pants” (American term), and sharply sarcastic wit. That she might “bite the hand that feeds her” (another American expression) would not be unexpected from Miichan. I think that is why she thought she could get away with it.

She was one of the founding members of AKB48, and I know that she is due to graduate soon.  She has the same sweet “baby face” today as she did in 2005.  Dynamite legs to boot.

Best Wishes Minegishi-san!  … because you can take it, I dedicate these sarcastic comments to you!

“Just because she spent the night at that guy’s apartment, does not mean that she had SEX with him… “

1.  “Maybe they just took turns taking tumble rides in the dryer.”

2.  “She’s a GIRL isn’t she? Maybe the man made her do a lot of ironing and it took longer than she thought.” 

3. “Two words:  Yahtzee Tournament!”

4.  “Maybe they spent the night going through catalogs looking for a birthday present for Mr. Akimoto!”

She was demoted, but why Miichan was not kicked out of the group, I do not know.  Maybe it is time to move on in her career. I would follow her solo career.

I always thought that she would be a good sitcom actor — maybe in America.  I would love to write a pilot for Miichan to star in an American sitcom.  I have this idea about a Japanese English-major exchange student who gets in all kinds of trouble due to hilarious cultural misunderstandings.  She would basically just play herself — sweet, funny and sarcastic. The audience would also be able to learn about many the fun and strange (to Americans) aspects of Japanese culture.  I will title it “Learning Engrish”.  Who should the American actors be?

Happy Birthday.  I bow respectfully to you, dear young lady.

Of Sweets, Frills and Tea Parties: A Look at Japanese Lolita Fashion

I want to share this article on “Lolita” style fashion with my readers. Many of you are already aware of the style. I have intended to write a post about Lolita fashion for several weeks, but I have not been able to find the correct words to express my admiration for this fun and unique aspect of Japanese fashion.
Kei Cheung Photography has concisely said in her five sentences most of what I have been wanting to say!
http://keicheungphotography.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/lolita-fashion-styles/

There are other bloggers who I follow – and admire, who also write about Lolita fashion. I encourage my readers to check them out.

1. “Everything about Lolita Fashion: Lolita Tutorials, Tips and Clothing Shows”
https://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/68650992/

2. “Elegant Poupée”
https://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/56094198/

3. “Kawaii street fashion”
https://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/49081798/

4. “liemzie”
https://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/31016585/

… “Check them out” … Dear me, What a “vulgar” way to express my thoughts on this beautiful and elegant style. It seems I still have a lot to learn!

Kei Cheung Photography

A unique shoot with an equally unique (and diverse) form of
Japanese fashion called Lolita.  Originally inspired by rococo and Victorian-era styled dresses and attire, Lolita has become an
immensely popular youth fashion further accentuated by other
Japanese fashion influences, such as Visual Kei and Harajuku punk styles.  Although the fashion does follow some basic attire
guidelines, there is lots of liberty to how the style can be worn and accessorized.

Note, the fashion has no relation to the book written by Vladimir Nabokov or the general concept of Lolita in Western culture and Loli-con in Japanese culture. 

View original post 203 more words

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Anthony Burgess reviews my new Watarirouka Hashiritai Farewell Concert DVD

“What’s it going to be then, eh?”

“This must be a real horrorshow film if you're so keen on my viddying it."

“This must be a real horrorshow film if you’re so keen on my viddying it.”

What are you spinning your warbles to these days droogies?  Johnny Zhivago? Heaven Seventeen? Well come with UNCLE! … Come and hear all PROPER!

My droog Denny lent me Watarirouka Hashiritai final concert DVD.  Oh, my brothers, it was gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh. I viddied that American thinking is for the gloopy ones and that the oomny ones use like inspiration and what Bog sends. For now it was lovely Watarirouka Hashiritai music that came to my aid.  Oh, it was wonder of wonders.

“It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you watch them on a screen.”

“It’s funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you watch them on a screen.”

Haruka Nagagawa crunched redgold under my bed, and behind my gulliver the sounds of Ayaka Kikuchi, Aika Oota and Mika Komori trumpeed three-wise silverflamed, and there by the door Kazumi Urano rolling through my guts and out again crunched like candy thunder.

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Glazzies on Haruka only here: Viddy well brother … VIDDY WELL!

Mika Komori bored deep, like worms of like platinum, into the thick thick toffee gold and silver. I was in such bliss, my brothers.And then, a bird of like rarest spun heavenmetal, or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now, came the Mayu Wananabe solo above all the other watarirouka strings, and those strings were like a cage of silk round my bed.

Mayus lips were like red, red kroovy ...

The lips of Mayu were like red, red kroovy …

Then, brothers, it came. Oh, bliss, bliss and heaven.  Like a GREAT BIRD – the solo by  Iwasa Misaki.

Oh, Bog in heaven what pretty pictures I dreamed

O, Bog in heaven what pretty pictures I imagined

I lay all nagoy to the ceiling, my gulliver on my rookers on the pillow, glazzies closed, rot open in bliss, slooshying the sluice of lovely sounds. Oh, it made me dream such pretty pictures, my brothers.

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IT’S A SIN! The Watarirouka Hashiritai 7 to be disbanded? IT’S A SIN!!!!!!

But where I itty now, O my brothers, is all on my oddy knocky, where you cannot go. Tomorrow is all like sweet flowers and the turning vonny earth and the stars and the old Luna up there. … and all that cal.

Something organic that Bog tugs away free will?  Real horrorshow.

Cured?  I was cured alright.

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