“Forget blogging.” That is what I tell myself. I am in so much trouble at work for being such a deadwood employee, that I feel guilty even posting a few photos. I had been wanting to write a review of Iwasa Misaki’s first solo concert DVD last year, but never could. Then she released another solo concert earlier this year. Both are great concerts. There is this inner scream inside me that just wants to tell someone about them …
If I cannot write about them, perhaps some of my readers would be interested in coming over to my house, and we can watch them together. Then I can tell you all about them. I will have some cupcakes we can share, while I give my commentary … We can make an afternoon out of it!
Failing that, I can at least share some of the photo cards and insert pamphlet art which came with the DVDs. Of course, Misaki-san wears beautiful kimonos through most of it.
Next time, I would like to write about my Iwasa Misaki CDs. Each CD came with a unique photo card included … and … oh.
Starlight: If only I could write “Akihabara Starlight” for a living …
It seems light years since I made a post to my “Kimonos on Monday” series. It has also been a long time since I posted anything about the lovely and talented Miss Iwasa Misaki. It’s been a long time since I rock-and-rolled. Ahem. Excuse me …
Unlike me, the ex-AKB48 Idol turned Enka-singer has kept busy performing concerts, releasing new singles, albums and concert Blu-Rays. Yes I own both concert disks!
Wasamin posts a lot of her glamorous kimono photos on her Instagram page (linked here) and her Twitter site (linked here). I thought that this photo was particularly interesting. Is it a kimono or a costume? Ms. Misaki contributed to a show at the Shin-Kabukiza Theater in Osaka last month. Even though Misaki-san usually wears a stunning kimono for her Enka-music concerts, I would have to classify this kimono as a “costume” for the show.
Wasamin is wearing a WIG in case you could not tell. I wonder if she would ever style her real hair in that traditional way for a special concert.
Wasamin next to a promotion for her latest record release.
“Say Hello to my little friend!”
(Denny’s Readers groan …)
I love both the traditional and popular culture of Japan. Despite that, I could never really get too interested in Kabuki. I’ve seen some Kabuki Theater on YT videos, but I have to admit, I can’t watch for very long. The art and costumes are great of course … but I can’t really understand it. I would certainly enjoy a show if it featured Wasamin though!
The official website for the Osaka’s Shin-Kabukiza Theater is linked here: https://www.osakastation.com/osaka-shin-kabukiza-theater/
Although I do not have video of Wasamin at the SK Theater, here are some recent TV performances: How long will YT leave then up?
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.
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.
Silly me, I thought Ms. Junko Akimoto was an “Enka” singer. Music experts say that she is actually a “Kayōkyoku”singer. Enka is based on a pre-war Japanese traditional singing style called “Ryukoka”, while Kayokyoku is a much more modern pop music by instrumentation and singing style. Enka has been likened to tango, Kayokyoku is likened to jazz. I’m not sure I could explain the distinction. I can remember back in 1979 when I could tell you the difference between Punk and New Wave music. But I digress …
Call it what you will, I think that Junko-san is grand. She’s beautiful.
I’ve grown to appreciate these genres — mostly because I can’t stand what is popular in America. These songs are all about secret longings, broken hearts, guilt and atonement. It is a lot like country music actually.
I first found out about Ms. Akimoto-san from an Iwasa Misaki music video.
You will hurt my feelings if you do not watch this. You all know that I am a big fan of Iwasa Misaki, and that Wasamin has launched a successful Enka singing career. It was mostly through Misaki-san that I have grown to appreciate the traditional Enka Japanese singing style.
In Miss Iwasa’s video cover of “Ai no Mama de (The Way Love Was?) it was widely quoted that Wasamin is “tutored by Japanese Enka singer Junko Akimoto”. This particular song, lyrics linked here — was Ms. Akimoto-san’s most famous single. “Ai no Mama de ..” reached the top of the Oricon weekly single charts in January 2009. She became the oldest singer (at age 61) to top the charts in Japan. Well … this still makes her a spring chicken in comparison to any of The Rolling Stones.
Starlight: Oh what time is it? I think that Hee-Haw is on.
I bought all the ingredients for our dinner at a “blue light” special.
You may find it hard to believe that I have never before bought an idol photo book before!
I recently ordered Iwasa Misaki’s first photo book from CD-Japan. It is now shipped and in the air. I hope I get it soon (at least before my wife checks the mail). Don’t worry, I don’t think it will be a “gravure” photo book. Wasamin was never big on cheesecake photos when she was with AKB48. It was known that “showing skin” was really not her thing. I do expect there to be some photos of her great kimono outfits however. There may be one swimsuit photo, but I don’t know, I will wait and see. I also bought her latest records, but I will blog about those at another time.
Denny’s goes into another Wasa-reverie:
Wasamin was so happy that an unknown American fan pre-ordered her book, that she invited me over to her apartment for Valentine’s Day soup! [Denny bites tongue, does not make soup joke.]
She sang me this great Enka song “Blue Light Yokohama” which was one of the songs from her great 2013 album “Request Covers”. I was thinking that she could have sung this acapella, but somehow there was musical accompaniment.
(You better watch this quick. Heck, it might already be deleted by the time you read this.)
God, I hope that Japanese cabbage does not make me gassy, because I am sitting on the floor. Ahem … Yes, I would love some sake, Miss Misaki …
What a lovely young lady. She has graduated AKB and is no longer constrained by the “no dating” rules. Likely, there is some young fellow she has her eye on. [Denny takes heart medication.]I think she was on the phone with him just before our soup. Still, I was happy just to keep her company.
Kimonos on Monday: Iwasa Misaki at the Japan Expo in Paris.
I sure wish I could have been at the Japan Expo in Paris this past week. Iwasa Misaki was there to sing some of her Enka (style) songs. I think that she dazzles in this red with floral pattern kimono. Also, check out this great yukata in dark purple with pink flowers:
You can see more of her kimono, and her accessories on her official Instagram page linked here.
Look it up in an encyclopedia under “What a man most wants to nuzzle.”
Kimonos on Monday: Wasa-hair! I was very pleased to find Iwasa Misaki’s Instagram post. She has shared some nice photos of her kimono. Her site also features a good number of kimono accessories such as shoes and hairpin ornaments. Of course I also love all those pictures of her with her tied hair up in various ways. Click any to begin the slideshow. Any of these would make great computer wallpapers.
I love it when a pretty lady ties her hair up, so that the nape of her neck is exposed. Do women always know how incredibly beautiful they make themselves? Ladies make themselves extremely desirable in subtle ways. The exposed neck is one such example. The neck is not like looking at breasts or other (ahem) zones – but darn it – the neck nape has serious appeal in a unique way. I like how the wisps of lady hair grow from out of the neck. The hair is like a beautiful flower, growing from a place which is source of all goodness, and then it diverges and matures into to a life-tree of extreme happiness. It looks so soft and EXTREMELY FEMININE. The visual is one phenom, but then there is the added dimensions of texture, aroma and taste of the nape.
I ramble of course … you girls have no idea how wonderful your bodies truly are — or maybe you do. Perhaps the neck nape is yet another example of female superiority. What? No one told you? I was hoping you wouldn’t find out because I didn’t want you to start acting stuck-up.
Ladies, find a way tonight — or make some type of excuse — to show the back of your neck to your fellow tonight (say “zip me up”, or “is my necklace crooked”, etc.). Act like you are not even trying to impress … then see what happens. … and yes, I see that I have digressed from the topic of kimono fashions.
Ahem … indeed Wasamin looks striking in this dark kimono with floral pattern. I will share just a few now, but you will find many more on her Instagram. There are also some stand-alone photos of hair ornament (“Kanzashi”) types as well. Kimono sandals – or “Zori” are also shown. Her site is a treasure trove of beautiful kimonos, accessories and hairstyles!
The Iwasa Misaki Instagram page is linked here. It will be interesting to see what kimono fashion she will add in the coming weeks.
In other Misaki-Kimono news, Wasamin will be bringing her enka-singing show to the Japan Expo in Paris, France on July 7-10, 2016. I hope she tweets, bookfaces and instagrams a lot of her photos from this event. She will also be participating in signings at the Expo, thus — one can meet Iwasa Misaki if you are in Paris this week.
Mon dieu — e pas être sorti de l’auberge … I really don’t think I can make it to Gay Paree next month however as I will be stuck down on the hog farm all summer.
Starlight: … Sorry my mind wandered again.
Yes, you might want to start keeping score, Miss Misaki. I have lost count of how many posts I have made about you.
I am not on Twitter, but If I had an account, I would tweet that I am excited about receiving my Iwasa Misaki concert Blu-ray.
I would probably Tweet something dumb like “Wasamin is Earth’s bestest human”.
Iwasa Misaki held her first solo live concert in Asakusa Public Hall, Tokyo on January 30, 2016. The event is now released as a concert film: Mujin Eki kara Aratanaru shuppatsu no Toki (無人駅から 新たなる出発の刻). That day was also her 21st birthday, and then at the end of the show she announces her graduation from AKB48. I pre-ordered this way back in May, and it has shipped from CD Japan today!
Of course she wears a great kimono for her performance. I must write a longer essay when I receive the disc, but I could not contain myself and just had to tell someone. I don’t have a lot to say (in length) but I have a lot to say (in excitement).
Perhaps a short post like this would have been better as a Tweet than a blog entry. Trouble is — I don’t Tweet. I have resisted creating a Twitter account, as the system is really not my style. The 140 character limit means that just when the ideas are flowing I would have to stop. So many things I see on Twitter are flaccid, and not very interesting. I know a lot of people that post Twitter and Facebook photos of their breakfast — or post they just bought a cup a coffee. I could do that, but it just would not be compelling — for me, let alone any of my readers. Furthermore, I don’t like all this political crap that goes out on Twitter, especially from all these brain-dead celebrities.
If I were on Twitter, I would probably end up making goofy, ill-informed political statements. For example: “Eisenhower – YOU GET OUT OF MY WOMB” . Then I would probably regret it later. Also, I fear that Twitter would give me serious writers block. Kinda the same way as if someone says to me “Say something funny” … then I can’t under the pressure. (This also sometimes happens at public urinals.)
If I do create a Twitter account, would you follow me? If not me — would you like to follow Misaki-san’s official Twitter?
Sometimes I have difficulty believing that a human being could possibly be this beautiful. (See HEARTS fluttering around Denny’s head). I feel fortunate just being able to walk the same Earth as she.
That doesn’t sound crazy does it? Most of my molecules are sane, and they can tell the difference between fantasy and crazy-person fantasy. Well, there is that one crazy molecule zipping around…
When the above video is removed, I will drink this bottle of sake (Denny points).
In other news, I already pre-orderedIwasa Misaki’s January 30th concert on BLU-RAY! This was her big solo concert on her Birthday, and she announced her graduation at the end. It does not release until June 29th, but I wanted to impulse-purchase it before I had second thoughts. Should I be spending $50 + another $15 shipping on entertainment when I should be ordering more elastic-waist pants from Blair mail order? There is already a plan for her to perform another show next year in the same venue. Miss Misaki-san is also going to appear in concert at the big JAPAN EXPO in Paris this July. I can’t think of a better representative of the Enka-singing genre than her! Perhaps she will introduce the Anime crowd to her adopted style of music.
(Denny pulls near to the reader, and talks in a lower tone.) I have to admit my fandom has been rather subdued lately however.
I created a fake Twitter account just so I could follow Iwasa Misaki’s official Twitter. It is fun to see all these images that she shares with her fans and friends. As you might expect … the 22 year old former-idol takes a lot of selfies and posts a lot of photos of her cute snacks. (Ahem … cough … I said SNACKS. That is, pictures of FOOD, Mr Byrne.)
Of course she takes a lot of selfies with her friends as you young people so often do. These are some fun photos I snagged from her Twitter. (Her official Twitter linked here.)
If I ever have an “out-of-body-experience” I don’t want to hover over my own body … I would rather hover over Iwasa Misaki!
Wasamin’s Chinese Take-Out Delivery Service!
I actually do not know what to say when Miss Iwasa comes out of the changing room, and asks “How do I look?”
(Gulp) er … huh huh … No, I should actually be thanking YOU, Ms. Misaki-san. (Not kidding: As opposed to most Idols, Iwasa Misaki never did any of that “Gravure” modeling … not that there would be anything wrong with that. It is OK for some Idols, but the scantily-clad stuff is just not her style.)
No … you may NOT play “Hully Podder” in the next film Wasamin! … You.
My favorite kind of afternoon: Drinking a Starbucks while listening to the Enka-stylings of Iwasa Misaki.
You seem skeptical about my theory regarding the physics of the elusive Boson particle , Dr. Misaki.
No joke: This is an image from Wasamin’s Twitter. We both played Pokemon Omega-Ruby, and we both chose MUDKIP as our starter, and we both played the game without letting Mudkip evolve as it leveled up. IS THERE ANY DOUBT THAT I AM COSMICALLY CONNECTED TO MISAKI-SAN?
You have no idea how impressed she was when I correctly identified this cloud bank as Altocumulus fractus.
You got that right … “resistance is futile” … for me Wasamin.
Hmmm … (Denny settles back into quiet contemplation) … Why is my Japan Pop Culture fandom subdued? Well, of course the recent blocking of YourTube Jpop in the USA did not help. Also, all these damn graduations of my favorites has diminished my idol fandom . My lack of Japanese language skills has limited what I can appreciate in the genre. I don’t know anyone in my daily life who likes Jpop. I see/hear all this wonderful stuff, but I have no one to share it with. (Well, yes … you gentle reader, you are OK.) My wife does not like Japanese music, so I don’t get to play it around the house very often. Whenever I try to talk to people I know about Japan Pop Culture or Idol music, they react: “Get away from me man“. I’m subdued alright.
Other blogging sites have fans much more knowledgeable than I. Stage48.net is a good example. I feel like an ignoramus in comparison to subscribers to AKB48Daily. It is also a little frustrating because I can’t read Wasamin’s Twitter tweets, which are in Japanese. What is everyone LOL-ing about? I want to look, but I feel left out. I’m even a little jealous of the fans who get to interact with her on Twitter. Hoo boy .. I am embarrassed that I could have a twinge of jealous feelings. (Denny smacks own head.) Why on Earth should I be? She is the star, I’m just a fan …
There is this other website blogger I follow who is also a big Wasamin fan. He is American and travels to Japan a lot for business. He has even met Misaki-san several times. He also converses with her (in Japanese) on her website — the lucky duck. On this other blog-site these guys post photos of their meet-and-greets with Misaki-san, and talk about having conversations they had with her. Good for them of course. I guess-maybe-sorta I feel a little jealous of these other fans because I know now I will never get to see a live Iwasa Misaki show — or even go to Japan for that matter. When I first started blogging, that situation did not bother me … somehow now … I think it was Misaki-san’s graduation from AKB48 … that I know I will never get to see her sing live … or shake her hand … it made me sad. What’s wrong with me?
A special isotope formed from one of the carbon atoms in my body. Suddenly I don’t feel like cracking-wise, or making jokes or suggestive comments about AKB48, Anime or other Japanese Pop Culture. I can’t compete with those fans with the time and the money to BE real fans. (Denny kicks a tin can.) I feel this troubling way I guess … but I will deny it. I just like her as a singer … really … I don’t think anything else ..
Look, I am already married with children. I live in a different country. I am 80 years older than her, and about 300 pounds heavier than her. I still think I have a chance. There is a tiny gravitational wave in my subconscious that thinks that I am still young, and that someday Iwasa Misaki will be my girlfriend. It does not make much sense. Maybe it would make sense at the quantum level — all the rules of everyday experience do not work down there. If you thought the Higgins-Boson particle was elusive, then what should we make of the sub-atomic particle physics which make old men think they have a chance with beautiful 22-year old singers? Does Quantum Theory have an equation for that?
Ladies, please don’t think that I am a bad person. I would never leave my family. I would never trade Mrs. Sinnoh in for a younger model… but, you know how guys minds work. We males always think that “the chicks still dig me” … or could still … somehow … especially when we drink three beers. Yes, I know the thought is illogical and irrational, it is just a part of the male ego and psychology. Really, it is harmless. Nonetheless, if we did not believe it, then our “Mr. Happy” will start to decline, wither and die. Even Mrs. Sinnoh would not want that.
Iwasa Misaki is a famous singer who gets to travel the world, make TV appearances and give concerts. She is reshaping the modern Enka genre single-handed. She has thousands of fans. Me? I am stuck at a desk everyday processing orders for agricultural chemicals … for a political administration that hates me. Somehow I think it is possible. There is a sub-atomic particle on one of my atoms which still clings to the idea of meeting and being friends with Wasamin.
Look, I have thinning hair, protruding stomach fat, flat feet, arthritis of the joints, and I wheeze when I walk up just three steps. Yet I still think I have a shot at Wasamin. One molecule does anyway. That irrational isotope can still find me and remind me when I see Wasamin perform.
If I were at her concert in Paris this summer, and she told the audience, “I want to introduce the very special man in my life … my fiancé … Mr. Suzuki Kawasaki”. The audience would cheer. I would smile, applaud, and say out loud “Good for you Wasamin”… but inside the sub-atomic particle would be zipping up and down, exchanging electron levels with every atom in my brain and tearing me up. I would not be able to tell if I were a wave or a particle … for a few minutes anyway.
Look, I have bad breath, smelly athlete’s foot, adult acne, bad eyesight, uncontrollable flatulence and irritable bowel syndrome. I still think I have a shot. There is this fantasy stored as electromagnetic impulse data within my brain — where I am 26, a famous comedy-film director, and Iwasa Misaki is my girlfriend. Does that make me crazy?
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.