“The original soundtrack of “Toki o Kakeru Shojo (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time)” an animated feature film released in 2006 by Kadokawa Pictures, is now available on analog record for the first time! The full version of the theme song “Garnet” sung by Hanako Oku will be included. 2 discs, 16 songs in total.”
So, today I want to send out “Happy Birthday” greetings out to Ms. Hanako Oku, born March 20, 1978.
Still searching for Oku Hanako in 2021!
Starlight: Will there be another record or performnce this year?
Storming — Ha. I bet you thought that I was another American “fake news” writer! No, I don’t allow such things here. Actually, I do want to share these photos from those SKE48 members in the “sturm generation”. (Yes, that is how they wrote it in this reference.)
The poor 20-year olds had to celebrate their Seijin no Hi (coming of age day) 2021 separately from the main AKB48 family due to the COVID Crisis. Masking up, distancing during the ceremony, etc. SKE was up first on January 8.
The SKE48 “now adult” members are Takeuchi Nanami, Ikeda Kaede, Tanabe Mizuki, Ota Ayaka, Aoumi Hinano, Kitagawa Yoshino, Nakano Airi and Nishii Mio. Enjoy, this slide show (click for larger).
Starlight: Do you remember that time that I fell off of the top of Kushida Shrine? (Remember Denny saying “Doh” as he fell and hit each one of the bridge and road turns.)
I will try to snag some more kimono photos when the other AKB sister groups have their ceremonies! You may want to visit www.akb48.at for more Idol information, they seem to be an honest source. Thanks to them for these photos!
It is with great sadness that I need to report about the passing this week of American actress Dawn Wells. Ms. Wells is most famous for playing “Mary Ann Summers” on the legendary 1960s TV comedy program Gilligan’s Island.
Boxers or Briefs? Football or Baseball? Mary Ann or Ginger? These were questions posed to men in my generation used to gage what kind of a guy you are. I am definitely in the “Mary Ann” choice (that is, if I can’t have both). The late Ms. Wells played the pretty “girl-next-door” persona perfectly. A generation of adolescent boys grew up in love with the Mary Ann from Kansas. Millions of us were in love with her. Her “short shorts” were a good point of discussion for teenage boys. Sure, we teenage wannabes wanted to have our fun with the Gingers, but we wanted to marry a Mary Ann.
Years later, while listening to Marshall Crenshaw’s Mary Ann song, I was reminded of the youthful beauty of Ms. Wells, and I would always slip into a reverie …
I know the song lyrics do not describe the Gilligan’s situation, but I could stretch my fantasy a little. What if Mary Ann(e) was my girlfriend? I know that there is the extra “e”, in Crenshaw’s fantasy-girl, but I think what the song captures the impossible, unrequited longing of a young boy in love with this everyday-encountered-but-impossible-to-reach girl next door. Also, thinkin’ about those “short shorts” is part of the nostalgic mood of the song.
Here are the guitar chords if you want to learn the song.
July 15th —>Happy Birthday Yukirin! (Japan is 12 hours ahead of my zone, so I wanted my favorite neice to receive my birthday wishes on time.)
There is an American expression for when someone turns 29 years old. Since 30 is considered the start of “being older” — at least to young people. Many Americans say that “they stopped celebrating birthdays” usually meaning the last one is at age 29.
Miss Kashiwagi created her own YouTube channel which can link to here:
There has not been a lot to celebrate this year (because of the bio-weapon plague sent to us from China), but I hope to see one more good music video from Yuki before her graduation. Of special note will be the upcoming celebration going out LIVESTREAM on Youtube on July 15:
I was very surprised to hear that you have retired from show business. Not just retiring from singing and idoling … but retired from acting, commercials and endorsements too? As of this writing I have only seen a few news reports:
They all say the same thing (in fact they all appear to be written/copied from the same person). There is little detail. It concerns me that you had to retire for “health” reasons. To me, you look at the pique of health for a 26-year old! You sure look good … er … and I mean that in a complimentary way. If your concern for your health is the reason you have to step away from the entertainment industry, I will respect that. I will not pay attention to rumors.
Mayuyu – if I may be so familiar to call you that – I wish you all the best in your retirement from show business. You definitely deserve a break from entertaining. Perhaps you will return creatively some other year.
You have always been one of my favorite AKB members … no, favorite entertainers … no, favorite people. You are one of the world’s most beautiful women. Much has been written in the fandom about your … um … assets, but I sincerely do not mean that it in a snarky way. You were and still are lovely.
We can be honest with each other here. I know, that you know, that I know that you know.
The early-era of AKB48 is one of the best things in all of popular culture – Japanese or otherwise. You were a big part of it. I don’t think that AKB would have been the same without you. For that matter … I would not be the same if not for you.
Original Kami 7
There was nothing like the original AKB team memberss. No one was ever better than you girls at your peak. I have worn many musical suits in my lifetime. Hard rocker, Heavy Metalist, Punk Rocker, New Wave, Nude Wave, No Wave, Nick & Dave. I have experienced them all. I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I once shot a man in Reno just to watch him die … and yes … I see that I have digressed, my dear girl.
You were a good singer, actress, comedian, model, spokesperson, etc. I would say that you are still at the top of your game. Your solo work is a primer for anyone in the idol-anime culture. More than a decade later, your early material still holds up well! Your work with Watariroka Hashiritai was among the best in pop music history. It was Power Pop that just exploded off the record. It is what idol music is all about!
You girls were better than the Beatles! (I know the Beatles had a lot more records, but you girls at your best were better than the Beatles at their best).
Mayu, you added a lot of beauty and good humor to this world. Know that you will be missed. Have a good life. I hope you raise a big family of little idols someday!
Starlight: Mayu … I love you kid … I wish you all the happiness in this world and any of the multiverses.
Update 2021 — her graduation song MV is finally on Youtube! See it here:
Readers: This is the last single which Mayu centered. Notice that she is wearing my red sweater that I lent her!
Hanako Oku and What is the answer to Six times Seven?
I wanted to wish Hanako Oku a HAPPY BIRTHDAY today! It is the 20th … I think in Japan. It is still the 19th here in the USA. I guess I am a little time-trippy today, even more than usual. It might be all the fumes from my hand sanitizer.
You do the math! What is Six times Seven?
Starlight: Ms. Hanako Oku, born March 20, 1978.
Although it is a Happy Day we hope there is one sad note. The Fan Club linked on the Oku Hanako web page will cease operations on March 29. Also, her radio show also is ending.
From NGT48: Homma Hinata, Yamada Noe, and Mashimo Kaho.
From STU48: Imamura Mitsuki, Oki Yuka, Taniguchi Mahina, Nakamura Mai, Yano Honoka.
I am still a fan, but I have to admit, I really do not know most of the girls in the AKB Family anymore. I recognize some of the faces from the music videos, but it seems I would need to start over again, and learn who is who. It is a lot more difficult in 2020, than in 2012. Where are the AKB Trading Cards? AKBingo is now off the air. I can’t learn the girls personalities if I cannot watch the skits anymore. Also the AKB Cafe is closing. One graduation after another .. Huh. It makes me wonder if Mr. Akimoto-san is planning to disband the groups during some type of announcement at the 2020 Olympics. … er … but I digress …
Starlight: Hopefully some better photographs will be up on social media by now. Most of the girls have Instagram and Twitter accounts, so a lot of cute images should be posted there.
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).
Likes: Pop Culture, Humor, Japanese Culture, Iwasa Misaki, Hanako Oku, AKB48 History, Kurosawa films, Kimonos, Anime, Lolita fashion, Buddhist philosophy, and finding the perfect nicknames for my Pokemon.
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