Denny Sinnoh's "Akihabara Starlight"

Posts tagged ‘AKB48 Family’

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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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 ?

Denny’s top ten digits: Favorite members of the AKB48 family (pre-Senbatsu election).

half sakura 8b80d1e4664beaade6681d457363273c

I’m just counting Sakuratan.

The AKB48 election is ongoing, and the votes are being counted. I would not even attempt to PREDICT the results …  however I want to make my top picks of who I think SHOULD be ranked.

Several of my favorites have recently graduated, or have announced graduation. My oshi – Iwasa Misaki – left AKB for a solo career. Former-Favorite Members such as Miyuki Watanabe or Haruka Nakagawa have not officially graduated yet (as of this writing), but they are not in the running, so I will not consider them for my top-ten.  Members I love like like Aika Ota have also announced that they will not run this year, in order to support her teammates. Also, I have been a little out-of-the-loop in my fandom. The AKB legal department has blocked my usual sources of music videos and  information. There are some members I still like, but I’m not sure about their status. Please excuse my ignorance, if I missed something obvious.

Coming up with ten digits should be as easy as counting toes. Here goes …

Slide1

Ichi. Yuki Kashiwagi. Yukirin has always done everything right. Perhaps this will be her year to reach #1. She certainly deserves it. I think that after her next big solo concert tour this year, she will announce her graduation. I would like to see her go out on top.

Slide2

Ni. Mayu Watanabe. I was very happy when she was elected #1 a couple of years ago. I have always liked her solo songs, and she was so great in the WH7, and well … IS so great at everything.

Slide3

San. Sayaka Yamamoto. She’s beautiful – she’s sexy. The dark-haired beauty is so much more than a pretty face. She is a good singer, and it is enjoyable seeing her develop as a musician. Sayanee is an adept guitarist in everything from punk to folk. Could she play any Todd Rundgren?

Slide4

Yon. Sakura Miyawaki. I might rank the young goddess higher – but for the problem of where to put her. She will, of course, take the #1 position someday. Sakuratan is adorable in all dimensions of the multi-verse. Although SHE is flawless, I am disappointed that the AKB/HKT48 have not let her perform more solo songs. The recent B-side duet with Haruppi was a good step in the right direction.

Slide5

Go. Haruka Kodama. OK, you have got me. The young lady is strikingly beautiful and she makes me wish I had majored in podiatry. I try to keep my lust for her in check … but her modeling work is very, very good. I feel guilty about ranking a member so highly based more on looks rather than singing.  I can’t really judge Haruppi on singing-talents alone, because when I see her sing, it is usually part of a group effort. She was amazing in “Sayonara Surfer” last year however. More please.

The next few might be the “Are you still here” category. ? Ha Ha. No …

These are still my old favorites, but are interchangeable to some extent. I love all of them, but I don’t think that these would crack my top-five.

Slide6

Roku. Yui Yokoyama. I always jump to attention when commanded to by Yuihan. If there were more bosses like her I would not mind so much being “called on the carpet”.

Slide7

Nana. Haruna Kojima. Or is it “Nyan Nyan Kamen”? I’m still not sure about this marketing scheme. Why does the world’s most beautiful woman need a secret identity? Kojiharu – I would still recognize you, even if you were in your underwear!!!

Slide8

Hachi. Minami Minegishi. I think that Miichan said that this is her last election. She has been one of my favorites, ever since I discovered and started following AKB48 way back in in 2011. She looked like a baby then. She still looks like a baby, but this baby can still deliver the goods.

Slide9

Kyuu. Haruka Shimizaki.  Paruru will rise to meet any challenge. If the haters get to you, I’m here for you sweetie.

Slide10

Ju. Rino Sashihara. I do not rank her as high as many fans will, but I still love this Irishwoman. I may disagree with her, but she still has the legs to win any debate. I concede to you Sasshi.

Well, those are my 100 reasons. Certainly, all ten of these are deserving of being the #1 in AKB48. Argue with me in the comments.

Starlilight: Hmmmm … It looks like I will need more digits in order to get Jurina Matsui and Mako Kojima on my list …

“Kiss me, darling — Kiss, Kiss me, baby — We can’t do it yet!”

PROLOGUE: I am a lot happier now. I was a little bummed that all the AKB48 Family videos  — which includes those by the JKT48 sister group — have been banned from being seen or shared  America. I wanted to see more Haruka Nakagawa performances, especially leading up to her graduation later this year.  Ding-dang it — I am not allowed to view JKT48 Official Channeleven though I subscribed!  Fortunately, some YourTube users in Indonesia posted some great LIVE performances from the past couple of years.

There is a great series from this user and others which feature the girls performing in their home theater in Jakarta! It is like you are right there in the front row. Several hour-long shows have been posted — however I wanted to at least share this Yasushi Akimoto song: Tanjoubi No Yoru”.  JKT48 sing it in an Indonesian dialect, which translates the song as “Malam Ulang Tahun”.  There is even a little English thrown in as you will hear. Full lyrics are available linked here.

It would be a cute and fun Idol show to watch. Image standing in the from row and seeing Harugon and Melody and all the others so close up.

I have not seen so much tender thigh meat since I was on that tour of the Tyson factory!!!

(Denny imitating Dr. McCoy’s famous “I’m just an old country doctor …” quote):

I’m just a big fat fanboy, but these stage shows are great to watch and listen to at work. I can re-size a window, work around it, then imagine that I am right there in the JKT theater, while I spend several hours processing requests for agricultural fertilizers.

These shows may not be as elaborate as the stage show of a big American rock band, but I love watching them. The girls wear a variety of great Idol outfits. Some songs are cute, some are sweet, and some are pretty sexy. (Well, they are all pretty at something.)

I love the individual beauty of each of the ladies. The JKT48 girls have an amazing array of attractive faces. Each one is more lovely than the next. No, they do not look like supermodels. Arguably, they look like “just your average pretty girl” — if you know what I mean.  You know, like that really unique-looking, but also very pretty girl who works the checkout at the supermarket? You know, like that super-stylish pretty girl you always see in the coffee shop? You know, that really pretty friend-of-a-friend’s friend? You know, like that quiet, but very pretty girl you see on the bus all the time? You know, that real girl you would rather have a million times over any Hollywood actress?

These videos show that the JKT48 team are real girls. Sure, each has talent to varying degrees, and it has been fun to watch their talents grow. There is nothing phony about the JKT48 girls. These girls are not just models. Better! — they have natural beauty. All are Indonesian (except Haruka), but there is a great diversity of faces in the group … those magnificent faces .. those uniquely beautiful, … wonderful … life affirming faces. Each one is its own universe …

… Its own lifetime. Really, any one of them would be a dream girlfriend. If I were a young man, I would share my life with any of them. You can see why a guy would be willing to get up and go to work every day. Did you see those faces? Those heavenly thighs? You can see why a guy would dedicate his life to making his dream girl happy.  I’d even talk to an insurance salesman.

Have fun re-sizing your windows, but get back to work on those data forms …

Is it just me — or are this world’s women getting more and more beautiful? Maybe I have that perspective, because I am just so old, well past the midpoint of life. I can even see the abyss from my vantage point.  We should appreciate and celebrate beauty and fun more often. We are here on this Earth to love each other, not to make trouble, create pain or hurt each other because we buy a different brand of socks. I know now what is truly important now: Find a pretty girl, then get your face between her thighs. Make babies … then love them. This is what I want to be on my tombstone*: Denny’s advice: “Worry less about stupid stuff  … and eat more pussy.”

I would rather watch the JKT48 girls sing and dance more than any of the edgy, progressive, supposedly significant singer songwriters I grew up with. I know what you are going to say Bob: “Denny, when you were a young new-wave-arty-punk-rocker  you listened to those deep, dark artists, who you thought were so earthshakeingly profound. You used to write about INJUSTICES! … about all the SHIT in society! …  art that was about all the PUKE!!! …”. 

Well, I don’t want to see the shit and the puke anymore.

I want to see my sweet JKT48 girls wearing pretty dresses – singing about love, being loved and giving love.

jkt48 group shot

Starlight: *Actually, cremate my body, and mix my ashes into the fertile Indonesian soil.  The dark, rich, moist, volcanic soil. Mash me deep into Melody’s furrows – er, .. I mean … uh … deep into the agricultural field, that is wet with anticipation.

Kimonos on Monday: Haruka Nakagawa and her JKT48 graduation announcement.

harugon haruka was february

February is a short month. It kind of creeps up on you, right?

haruka was february

Wallpaper size image for your desktop. Too bad the month is over.

At least I can celebrate Leap Year February 29th, with Miss Haruka Nakagawa of JKT48. The big news is that “Harugon” has just announced her graduation from JKT48 and the AKB organization. Other bloggers have also announced this on February 27th. (See announcement photos and video links there.)

http://akb48-daily.blogspot.com/2016/02/nakagawa-haruka-announce-graduation.html#.VtMFrfkrKUk

JKT48’s Haruka Nakagawa To Graduate

https://en48center.wordpress.com/2016/02/28/haruka-nakagawa-announced-her-graduation/

I wish her well, she was always one of my favorites, and always made my “Top 16” lists. I loved her in the Watariroka Hashiritai unit, and she was a big reason why they were my favorite AKB subgroup. Remember the time in the WH “Gyu” music video (see Jpopsuki link here time 2:40), when she actually KISSED that fat, unsightly blob? What a sweet moment … and …

… IT GAVE HOPE TO ALL OF US HIGH SCHOOL BLOBS!!!

The story is that Harugon will remain in Indonesia after she graduates. Ahem, for those of you that are not big, fat fanboys like me — Haruka was originally sent to Indonesia to be a team leader when JKT48 was first created. She was the only full-Japanese member of the group. She had her work cut out for her, as she had to learn to sing all those Yasushi Akimoto songs translated into the Indonesian dialect. She was great in JKT48, and made a great “double team” with Melody Nurramdhani Laksani. (See my JKT48 Pinterest page linked here.) Of course she nailed it, and became one of their most popular members.

The above photo was from her “coming of age” event in 2015. She has an absolutely beautiful face. Harugon radiates warmth, intelligence and pure fun. I’m inspired each time I look at her. (Was that too much?)

It was not announced WHY she is not returning to Japan, but Indonesia is lucky to have her. Well, any country would be lucky to have her. I feel good just knowing that I WALK THE SAME EARTH as she! (… too much?)

Haruka Nakagawa, you are one of the good ones.

See more of Miss Harugon wearing amazingly pretty dresses on my Pinterest board for her linked here.

Kimonos on Monday: Six months away from Reika Sakurai!

Reika Sakurai 72eaaa3f51a0d4fdb93c13cafdab77c3

Global warming be damned … again! I am going to continue my “Endless Summer of Kimonos” and share some Summer 2015 photo cards of Reika Sakurai of the Nogizaka46.

Reika Sakurai c9eadd347d7c0faf9d8026cc7d44e2d0

Reika Sakurai looks lovely in summer Yukata!

Reika Sakurai 93bb321009f78070961374fc42fc5b9e Reika Sakurai 2e79066fcbbbeeceba56e57018a360ff

Reika Sakurai (桜井 玲香 Sakurai Reika), was born born May 16, 1994 in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. I know what you are thinking: “Denny, what do you and this 21-year old idol have in common?” Well, we both like kimonos, and … uh … let me do some calculations to see if somehow we could be age-appropriate cohorts.  Hmm…

Reika Sakurai 955f7939bf417dc4780259fc6cbbce11

Starlight: August 2015 to January 2016? Six months.

If  I were to travel in outer space at say (Denny thinking a moment) 50% the speed of light, traveling for 6 months away from Earth … then turned around and traveled back to Earth for 6 months, how much time would have passed for Reika remaining on Earth? Would we be the same age?

I aged one year, but she has aged about 30 years. She still has not exactly caught up to me yet, and is slightly younger by a couple-three years.

If we are the same age now, then why can’t she follow my 1970s pop culture references? (Denny smacks head.)

KIMONOS ON MONDAY: SKE48 Trading Cards.

jurina f7c2eef0e78cc67ae17f064c393bc108

Fan me off Jurina Matsui!

It still feels like July where I live, so I am going to try and cool down with a photo card collection of SKE48 members wearing lovely yukata.

Please enjoy this photo gallery of SKE48 Trading Cards, 2015. OK, everyone get your fans ready …

Notice that every time this page loads, the the mosaic changes.

Remember Rena?

Rena Matsui.

Rena graduated SKE48 and the AKB48 Family in August, 2015. Is this the end of the Matsui-to-Matsui axis? Who will step up — to team up — with Jurina and become the new “dynamic duo” within SKE?

rena and jurina matsui of ske48

Matsui squared — Rena and Jurina (no relation).

Starlight: I may have to travel to the planet of the Cold Turkeys for some time …

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