Denny Sinnoh's "Akihabara Starlight"

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Haruka Kodama and Denny’s broken heart.

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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Pokémon Nicknames: Sword and Shield starters — Grookey

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!

r/okuhanako Now Up on Reddit!

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…

View original post 482 more words

The smallest and the most defenseless are always the ones most vulnerable to the powerful, random forces of nature.

While I was cleaning up some of the devastation that was 2018 Atlantic Hurricane #F today, I found this bird’s nest.

They lived in a tree in my front yard. It is a dogwood tree, and I think I am actually allergic to the pollen of that species. I would have liked to cut it down, but it makes a pretty good shade tree over the driveway. A couple of days ago, Hurricane #F blew away some of the smaller branches.

The storm did what I should have done — which was trim away some of the lateral branches that were starting to extend too far over the driveway. Also, these birds were building nests on higher branches, so if I ever parked my car under the shade, the birds would usually crap on my car.

“Dang it birds” I thought …  “Always crapping on my car, and oh no … not down the passenger window … again”. Who is going to get into the passenger seat with a big stream of bird doo doo running down the window? Stupid birds.

The long branch that was growing and extending over the driveway is no longer a problem. I have to feel sorry for the bird and its nest of eggs that were destroyed. They couldn’t have possibly understood what was happening to them.

32 humans.

 

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.

Denny watches a pretty girl pee.

Readers: This very cool and funky song is merely my suggested music track for you to listen to as you read this post. I mean no disrespect to Mariya. Click and enjoy. Which reminds me …

Whoa. I have not posted on WP for a long time. I am in SO MUCH trouble at work. I need to get caught up on all these agricultural fertilizer reports. Yup, I gave up blogging for a while. I have been  a good employee — keeping my nose to the Moonstone. Look, I am even bringing work home where I can do company work on my own PC!

The work is very boring. and I get distracted so easily by these pop ups. Wait — this looks interesting.  An ad for “KornHub”? Well it must be agricultural then, so I will just click over there and … OH MY GOD!!!

Wait — this is interesting. I don’t usually look at video sites like these (Denny coughs). Besides, there is probably something agricultural in here. Ok … typing “nitrogen” into the search box … and …  Hello.

It says if I click there, I can watch a sexy Asian lady urinate. Oh, no no. I could NOT do that. Really. Not my thing. Look I am not a prude, but I draw the line at bodily functions. I could never watch that. That would be perverted. True, I know that it is only “Number 1” … but still.  I am NOT a pervert. These videos are not for me. I don’t have any fetishes.

Besides, although men’s bodies are disgusting, ladies are perfect. Women’s bodies are beautiful, fragrant works of art.  (Denny momentarily loses touch with reality). Pretty girls don’t PEE! Their little hoo-hoos don’t really make that bad stuff  do they? (Denny in denial) How could this video even exist?

I’m NOT going to watch this!!!

Uh … maybe … unless … maybe YOU want to look, my dear Readers … er .… I mean … this one time would not hurt could it? If you say that it is OK … watching a pretty girl take a pee, I will do it. That does not make me a bad person, right? Right? 

OK then (Denny exhales), here goes. CLICK.

Huh …you know, these urinal-on-the-floor-toilets always seemed weird to me. Japan is otherwise so highly technological – so why is it that some basins look like a hole in the floor? … and OH! … There she is. 

I think she likes me, she looked right at me and smiled. So pretty. Whoa … the panties are down … uh … hoo-boy … well, that answers the “hairy or shaved” question. Mystery solved!.

Wow — she IS vert cute.  Hmmmm … so beautiful in there ... so interesting … she seems like she has good balance. I wonder what led her to film this?

OK, this event should start any minute. (Denny watching, waiting).

It is always entertaining to see up a nice lady’s hoo hoo. There are all these wonderful grooves and folds. Fluids reflecting and refracting.  So Interesting … so very interesting.

Alright … gunna happen soon … (Denny glances at watch).

You know, you can find a lot of meaning, and answers to the big questions in the universe looking in there … I know you will think it strange … but you know what? I think I just saw the answer to a quadratic equation problem that I never finished back in 7th grade math …

… Hmmmm  … still waiting here. It is a nice view and everything, but nothing is happening.

Ha. Penny for your thoughts, dear girl. She is smiling, but she should be thinking about running water. It’s gotta start any second now …

Uh … still waiting. (Denny’s mind wanders) Gee, I wonder how many miles I put on the Volkswagen last week. Darn it — I should go check … I think I am due for an oil change … and OH MY there it goes!!!

So …

Uh huh … OK … right … OK … so … so that is what it looks like. Ahem.

Starlight: I really do need to get back to work.

This is a photo of the famous Kegon Falls in Japan. What?

川の流れのように The greatest song of all time?

What is the greatest popular music song of all time?

Is it “She Loves You (Yeah,Yeah,Yeah)” by the Beatles? Could it be “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin? Is your choice “YMCA” by the Village People? Well, all of those are valid choices to be sure …

However, please allow me to make a case for “Kawa no Nagare no Yō ni”, which translates from Japanese as “Like the Waters of a River”.

The music was composed by Akrika Mitake with lyrics by Yasushi Akimoto. They composed this ballad for the famous Japanese enka singer Hibari Misora. The song was to be her last single, and she died shortly after it was released in 1989.

From Wikipedia:  “… was voted the greatest song of all time during a national poll in 1997 by NHK, with more than 10 million votes. It is often the song of choice for artists  performing live tributes to Misora.” According to linguistics blogger Larry Kenny “it is learned routinely by high school students in Japan.” and “The song embodies the very essence of enka, if not the very essence of the Japanese people.”  I would be able to agree with that, as it is a very moving song. Mr. Kenny has provided a great English translation, and has written a wonderful article about the song linked here.

Several famous singers have recorded the song. I am including a little YouTube playlist here.

As performed by Hibari Misora:

This recording is by Cantonese singer Teresa Teng.

Here is a version with American “soul” singer Diana Ross and opera singers Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras. Dam!

How about this version by Mexican singer Mariachi Vargas?

You can probably find many others through various YuteTube links. If I was not tearing-up so much, I could probably practice the song with this karaoke:

Mr. Kenny also has created this version that [his singer Evan Ross] sings in English. Now the singing is not as “enka” as some others, I will admit, but [they have] created a very respectable, heartwarming rendition.  (Much better than I ever could.)

[Evan Ross] sings his beautiful translation of the lyrics in English. [Mr. Kenny] actually provides two English translations of the song in the article. One is a “literal” translation of the words from Japanese, and then he created another “non-literal”  descriptive version. Wow. Just wow. Mr. Akimoto’s original lyrics are so meaningful, so filled with eternal truths … that they may transcend language barriers and even create new meanings. The following is Mr. Kenny’s non-literal interpretation.

Like a dream, like a dream, passing day after day
down this long, narrow road I’ve been walking
If I turn, looking back I can see far away
the old town that I loved long ago.

Roads that wind and twist in every way,
Bumpy roads that have seen too many days
With no map to guide us, every path we cross in our lives,

Ah, just like the waters of a river, countless bygone days,
one by one how gently, how slowly they go,
Ah, just like the waters of a river, on unendingly,
into the sky painted colors of evening flow.

In our journeys and lives, though they start and they end,
still the road never stops, on forever,
as we reach toward a dream, making memories and friends,
we draw near the people who we love.

As the rain beats down upon our heads
and the mud covers all the road ahead
on we walk because soon a bright new day will come again

Ah, just like the waters of a river, slow and gracefully,
lay this body down, let them take me away,
Ah, just like the waters of a river, like the seasons flow,
as we wait for April sunshine to melt the winter grey.

Ah, just like the waters of a river, slow and gracefully,
lay this body down, let them take me away,
Ah, just like the waters of a river, on eternally
as we hear the rushing current flow out to the bay.

http://www.larrykenny.com/enka/kawa.php

I think the lyrics are especially poignant as Hibari Misora passed on soon after the song was released. The lyrics introduce imagery about the philosophy of life — by analogy — flowing like a river. It is nostalgic in that the singer/listener is looking back over their life, not with regrets but with the appreciation of a life that was lived. I have to wonder if she knew she was near the end of her life when she made those live performances. If she had no regrets, and had nothing but love at the end … well — it shows.

I hope you can find your own fluid meaning there.

Finally, “Kawa no Nagare no Yō ni” was also recorded by my favorite enka singer Iwasa Misaki. There are no [legit] music videos of Misaki-san’s recording on YourTube. There are even a few non-Misaki fakes out there! However, let me share this SoundCloud link to Miss Misaki’s great interpretation of the song.

Are you ready? Sitting down? Clasping the armrests? Tissue box nearby?

Wasamin’s version always turns me into a big, blubbering sack of protoplasm. If you enjoy it even half as much as I do, you can order the CD single from CD-Japan linked here. The song 川の流れのように is the third song (a second B-side?) of her three-track CD-Single of Gomen ne Tokyo. Note: Only the REGULAR edition CD-single has the song!

If you want one, I will buy you a copy!

Why not listen to some Enka music? … What feelings do the lyrics pull out of you, or what pictures from your life can you imagine?  … Try to observe nature as if it were a beautiful sound of a song … think of someone you loved … Think of your favorite memories of places you enjoyed … 

Find again what you love about your life. Enka.

Starlight: It took 28 lightyears for 川の流れのように to reach my world.

PS: What is your favorite all time song? You can list your choice in the comments below. If there is a YouFlube link for your favorite please provide that too.

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