Denny Sinnoh's "Akihabara Starlight"

Archive for the ‘Pop Music’ Category

Meet my new sweetie!

NGT48 Yuka Ogino Last Flower on WPB Magazine 004

Click if you want to zoom in to the mole*

Meet my new sweetie!  Almost all of my favorite members of AKB48 have graduated. Pretty much the whole team from the “golden era” are long gone. I still like the group, but it is hard for a casual fan to keep up with all the new faces.  AKS Management makes it hard to be an overseas fan at all, but that is another story for another day. I have a new favorite now! Her name is Yuka.

Yuka Ogino (Ogina Yuka 荻野由佳  ). She is sometimes called “Ogiyuka” as a fan nickname, or even “Ogi” by those who love her. Yuka-chan is a rising star in the AKB48 Family. She is the favorite of about a million fans, ranking at or near the top of most lists of favorite Idols.  Technically, she is in NGT48, but is also an AKB48 family member.

Let me share a few photos from the past couple of years, and tell you a little about her story.  It was not always so easy for her. Miss Ogino Yuka had a rocky road as an aspiring Idol. She had auditioned for several Idol groups for years, including AKB, but never passed any of them. After failing two recent AKB48 auditions, she was chosen as a “Baito” or temporary member in 2014, and was eventually drafted for NGT48 in 2015. How did she rank in the Senbatsu election you ask? During the 2016 AKB48 General Election, Ogino ranked 95th . In 2017, she rocketed to 5th!  She ranked 4th in 2018!!! Many fans believe that she might be elected to #1 in next year’s election.

I know what you are thinking. She does not have that typical “fashion model” look. She is unique looking – I think that is why she is so popular. The young lady is everything an Idol should be.

(Denny mutters under his breath): Maybe everything a girl should be …

OgiYuka is PURE IDOL MAGIC — and she is riding a rocket right now.

There is a very interesting Music/Story video from NGT48 where Yuka plays a young girl who aspires to be an Idol. It is a nice story video, although the song itself is only about average-to-OK. I mainly like it for the acting. Fortunately, it has ENGLISH SUBTITLES. There is great scene with AKB48 members Yuki Kashiwagi and Rie Kitahara. Yuka meets the two older, experienced  idols, who warn the young lady that she would have to give up her youth to become an idol.

Ogiyuka acts SO CUTE in this … Oh … Oh … give me a minute will you … oh … I am so happy for her that she has become so popular. There is another YouTube story video from NGT48, which tells the story of a young Russian woman who aspires to become an idol. I like the song a lot more in this one, but the dialog is in Russian, and there are no English subtitles.

* I was a fan for a while when I noticed that Yuka-chan has a mole. I’m just glad that it is not Russian. Ha. There is a little bit of Slavic-Nippon hugging in the video though.

You know that you are in love with an Idol when you look for her in group performances. A good example is here in The AKB48 single “11gatsu no Anklet” (linked here) which is a Mayu Watanabe centered song, and one of the best recent AKB48 singles. (sighs) I have eyes mainly for Yuka’s dance though. Mayu who?

There she is … Oh … (Denny waves his light-sticks) … my sweetie … my sweetie pie … There she is … Oh … Oh … give me another minute OK?

What will 2019 have in store for the this rising star?  I hope AKB/NGT uses her in a variety of singing roles. There are going to be a lot more magazine covers and articles in the next few years. I hope she can handle it. I’m sure she can.

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Readers: Would you like to see more galleries of Yuka-chan in 2019?

Bye for now — wish all the nice people a “Merry Christmas” sweetie!

Starlight: Wait, do the math … will January 14, 2019 be Yuka-chan’s Seijin no Hi ?

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Hanako Oku and how it is so difficult to shop for some people.

Merry Christmas! Hey everyone – I have not posted in weeks due to being sunk in a swampland.  However, I want to pull myself up from the disgusting mire long enough to wish all my readers and WP friends a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

“Ya got all your Christmas shopping done yet?” Ha Ha. Kindly old people who are trying to make conversation often say that to me. Ahem … but perhaps I can provide a little shopping inspiration today. Here is The Little Great One’s Christmas Video released last month:

I think it is a very nice music video. I sometimes joke that “nothing really happens” in most Hanako Oku music videos. That may be what I like about them. She usually just walks around, in most of her music videos. It makes the listener concentrate on the music perhaps.

Great also songs inspire great covers. Here is one just released by the lovely and talented Hitomi Sano.

This got me into the shopping spirit alright! I wanted to send her something nice. Oh! — Her new song is the background music in this new commercial for SNOW.

Uh. although I’m not really sure what the lovely young woman is selling. Ideas for smartphone apps? Maybe. I though maybe Ms. Oku-san might enjoy these pantaloon-type puffy pants. They might be something she could wear around the studio.  She might find these useful for yoga, or for lounging at home and  of course — songwriting. Of course, one could wear these, relax at home, eat yogurt, and watch one of the Star-Wars movies that features Yoda … but I digress.

I chose this “Royal Blue” color. Might you suggest a different color choice?  I know that they are not Christmas colors – but I was thinking the hue might brighten up January. It would take a while to ship the pants to Chiba, so I thought that this color might brighten up a dreary day sometime next month for her. Much as the same way that her records cheer me up whenever I have to commute back and forth from the swamp.

https://www.amazon.com/HOEREV-Super-Modal-Spandex-Pilates/dp/B00J6WDFSW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1545238940&sr=8-1&keywords=women%27s%2Bpuffy%2Bpants&th=1

I am also hoping that she will release a new album soon.

Ms. Oku-san will have one final singing engagement this year! There will be a free concert held on Sunday, December 23 at  4:00 in the afternoon at Yokohama Landmark Plaza 1st floor Sakata no Garden Square. Maybe a fan will film a little bit.

There will be CDs on sale of course, and there will even be a handshake opportunity!

(Denny choking up … yes, free open concert … to be able to shake those little hands … )

You can find more information more info on TLGO’s Twitter or her website

Starlight: I figure it would take me less than a day to get to Cleveland. Then from there it is a 16 hour direct flight to Yokohama. Assuming I am not going to stop in Hokkaido. Of course you waste half a day on both ends of the flight due to airport waiting, etc. Then I would need some time to check into a hotel.  Plus, Japan is “12 hours ahead” in the Japan time zone …Yep — I can be there by the 23rd!

Oh, wait — now I see what the app does.

 

My favorite Mr. Children song — “HANABI” — covered by my favorite children!

Mr. Children or “Misu-Chiru” is one of the most popular rock groups in Japanese pop music history. Today I wanted to share with you my FAVORITE Misutā Chirudoren song called HANABI.

There are a number of good live performances of the song on YouTube. It was hard to choose just one to share,  but I settled on this one from late 2017. It does beg the question, how is it Thanksgiving, when the performance is in Japan?

The song was written by Kazutoshi Sakurai. It is from their great 2008 album called Supermarket Fantasy* .

* … and I thought I was the only one who had this grocery store fantasy!

Mr. Children’s web site is linked here if you want to learn more about the band, the albums, upcoming tours and so on. My WordPress Jpop mentor, Morningberryz48, had written a great article about the band — linked here.  Another of her articles is linked here. Lyrics and English translation are linked here.

After I viewed a few of their live performances, I came across some interesting covers of the song. Some of the covers were by professional singers. Others are karaoke-like. Let me share some of the pretty ones. Each cover adds a little bit more to an appreciation of the song. I’m sure you will be drawn in the same way I was. Which one do you like best?

This is a very sweet and beautiful cover, by the very sweet and beautiful Minami Sakuma, from her YouTube Channel.

This next cover by the YouTube duo  kobasolo This cover includes the lyrics in Romanji and an English translation. Make sure to have your CC on!

Nice job kids!

More? “mou ikkai … mou ikkai!” …There are so many good, heartfelt covers of this wonderful song out there, but I think this next one is my favorite cover:

This is by Hitomi Sano. See and hear more of her on her YouTube Channel. I love how she sings it while playing solo piano. She sings it with the perfect blend of LOVE and URGENCY. Her hair, her lovely face, give the appearance of windswept emotions. Like the “Hanabi” or “Fireworks” which are ephemeral. They are a joy, but they are bittersweet because although they are a climax, they cannot last. We wonder about our own imperfect perceptions. Are we wrong for feeling this way? We deal, and we make our way … but I see that I have digressed.

There are too many to share here, but I think that this next one will be popular with anime fans.

Mari Channel, another YouTube user, has presented this interesting, amusing and passionate music video as Kashiko Mari. The playback works best if you enable your CC , as you get the sing-along Japanese lyrics, plus the English translation. True, you are watching an animated sprite, but the little cartoon lady really BRINGS IT! Note her very emotional face, mouth and hand gestures.

Thank You Kashiko! Of course you can find other covers through the suggested links on YT. If you need just “one more time — one more time –“

Just for you, Bob: The guitar chords for the song are linked here

Thank you YouTube user Ryuzo.

Starlight: It took nine years for “Hanabi” to reach my world. It bounced around in my atmosphere for a while, until I could perceive it.

HAPPY 40th BIRTHDAY — HANAKO OKU

She is a great musician who stands alone in her field!

Birthday wishes going out today to “The Little Great One” — Hanako Oku born this day March 20th 1978.

This might be a tough one for her … She turns FORTY!

Ha. Age is just a number though, … at least I tell myself that.

Oh, of course there has to be a song. The song I would like to share for this special day is “Panorama no Kaze”.  This was from a live performance in 2008. It is one of the Oku ballads that always takes me there. (gulp)

Of course, she is a great artist in any decade.

Starlight: Wanna see my collection?

How to write an anti-Japanese Idol article or blog post

In my continuing series of blogging posts of “How to write more gooder”, my topic today is a special one!

How to make an anti-Japanese Idol article or blog post, similar to the garbage in The Japan Times or RocketNews.*

Step #1 – Title your article something salacious such as “Japan’s Pervert Culture” or “Weird Japanese Music Fans and the Idols They Worship.”

Step #2 – Broach topics in the opening paragraphs, including elements about the Japanese pornography industry, prostitution, pedophilia, etc.

Step #3 – Important: Conflate these social ills with Japanese Idol singers. Make sure to mention AKB48 or other popular idol groups.

Step #4 – Be harshly critical of Idol music. Link an Idol music video, but not an artistic one. Chose one in which in your narrow mind, you think is the silliest. Then write:  “see how terrible it is…” Important: Make sure to not reveal your own vulgar musical tastes. This is especially true if you enjoy violent “thug” performances. If we heard what you actually like, no one would take you seriously.

Step #5 – Insert older photos of AKB48 throughout these steps– you may be able to confuse the readers. Include some of the members interacting with fans, and they will associate the group with pornography and prostitution.

Step #6 – Mention that Yashushi Akimoto is “literally Hitler”.  Otherwise dig up older scandals which have long since been debunked. If you repeat the lies enough, then you make them true.

Denny lisping just like a Social Justice Warrior: “Liturali Hitluur”.

Step #7 – Open the article to comments, but then make sure to delete all of Derek Vasconi’s well reasoned comments. If someone gives an alternative opinion– you might not be right!

================================================================

*RocketNews, now called SoraNews24 is the Gold Standard for ignorance about Idol culture. No one knows less about Idols than them, although there are some blogs on WordPress that come close.

Kimonos on Someday: Hanako Oku’s O-mikuji is read at her Hatsumode

It is a lovely kimono – and what a lovely smile!

This photo was posted on the official Oku Hanako website on January 7:

https://ameblo.jp/kokoroletter/entry-12342670278.html?frm_src=thumb_module

Ms. Oku-san is at a Shinto shrine, her first visit to a shrine this year.

The Japanese term “Hatsumōde” refers to a person’s first shrine visit of the New Year. Typically, it refers to a visit to a Shinto shrine, however a visit to a Buddhist temple is sometimes done. The translated page indicates that she admitted she has not visited a shrine in a long time. She also says it has been a long time since she wore a kimono! Oku-in-kimono photos are almost impossible to find.

She is doing that smirk, because that scroll she is reading is her O-mikuji.

An “O-mikuji” is a rolled or folded preprinted fortune which is purchased by making a small offering at the shrine.

I cannot tell from her post what the fortune reads, but she seems a bit amused — and maybe more than a bit skeptical about the prediction.

Perhaps the fortune predicts “at long last an unrequited love will be fulfilled”!

That would be great … but then she would be out of a job … Ha Ha … Oh.

Starlight: Missed this by only a month!

A song? Oh, OF COURSE you get a song!

 

Kimonos on Monday — My daughter Sakura is finally an ADULT!

Kimonos on Monday — Sakura-tan is an ADULT!

My lovely daughter* Sakura Miyawaki has had her “Coming of Age Day” on January 8, 2018. (Japan is 12 hours ahead of my time zone.) This means that the mega-talented and incredibly adorable twenty-year old is accepting the responsibilities of being an adult.

The Shinto ceremony was held at Kanda shrine in Tokyo.

According to the AKB Daily website (article linked here), a total of forty members of the AKB48 family participated in this year’s event. This is the largest number of participants in the group’s history.

This large number of participants is not surprising, as there has been a significant amount of expansion of the AKB Family in recent years.

Sakura with the other HKT48 members who have turned twenty this year.  Oh I can remember when this group was only knee high to a June bug.

I will try to post more COA day photos/links from the AKB groups as they become available. Also, you can see more of the lovely Miss Miyawaki on her Twitter page linked here.

Look at those sleeves — at first I thought Sakura’s kimono was a tie-dye.

My friends over at 48 Talk also mention the event in their podcast yesterday. I highly recommend their video blog for AKB fans!

*Starlight:  You probably figured out that Sakura-tan is NOT REALLY my daughter …

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