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!
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.
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 commercial? Haruka 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.
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.
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 …
Oh … she turned 20 this past year. Will Harrupi just keep getting more and more beautiful every year?
It was “Coming of Age Day” in Japan on Monday, January 9th. Several members of the AKB48 family were in attendance at Kanda Myojin shrine. I would like to share photos of all of them, but have been too busy to make blog posts. I thought I would at least share a few photos of one of my favorite HKT48 members — Haruka Kodama. “Harrupi” looks happy, and she STUNS as per usual in her blue and floral pattern furisode. The hairpins were homemade by the delicious young idol herself.
Holy Happy Homemade Hawkstown Harrupi Hairpins!!!
I am still in the process of collecting images from Google, Tumblr, and various websites which have covered the event. Several other of my favorites also were at the event. I will need to find photos of the glorious face of Nao Furuhata, the intimidating Jurina Matsui (who colored her famous jet-black hair for the event!), and that peppy little Ririka Sotou … just to name a few.
“… same to you buddy!”
Of course I could not be there to give a shout to my favorite young idols. The day was cold wet and nasty …
… kind of like what it is like at my employer’s … but I digress. I will try to find and post some more photos and photographer’s photo links of the big day — as long as I don’t get hit with a frying pan.
You know how “arty farty” professional photographers can get …
You got that right Haruppi! Too much thinking can cause yourself a lot of stress!
Something has been bothering me lately. I feel that I should not write any more blog posts, because I need to dedicate more time to writing and publication in my professional life. My job “processing agricultural chemical orders” has not been going very well. I have not been making the kind of accomplishments that I really need to make. I didn’t keep up with technology. I get poor reviews. I am not in line for raises.
Yes, that is how I felt, Miss Kodama … like a big “F” -ing hat.
A couple of months ago, I told myself that I would not spend any more time on social media until I made a major accomplishment at work. Either complete a major project … publish an industry article … or actually help one of my colleagues. Well, I stopped posting (only two posts in two months), but I STILL did not get anything done at work. All I accomplished was that I was just making myself very unhappy because I could not write about topics I like … animes I have seen, Pokémon nicknames, kimono styles, or JPop music I love.
Well, I’m just happy that you are happy Haruka.
I really hated not writing on WP because when the Pokémon Go mobile game launched, my Pokémon Nicknames posts started getting hundreds of views every day! I would really like to create more posts. (Note: My “Pokémon Nicknames” is often not really about Pokemon nicknames. It is often just a jumping off point for some other rant on popular culture or my old man stories. The Sunflora example linked here.)
It is frustrating because I have the OPPOSITE problem of writers block. I have many ideas for blog posts, but I feel guilty if I use my time to write them. I feel that I should not waste time on pop culture and entertainment social media … when I know I should be developing myself professionally.
Ideas for writing about pop culture keep popping up, just like you Haruka!
It does not help, that I genuinely despise my work. I try to look on the humorous side when possible. I don’t like the field, and I can’t understand why any young person would ever want to go into it. Why stay? Oh yeah, it is easy — and I have pretty good job security. (On a bad day, I can just close my office door, put on a Hanako Oku concert DVD, listen to headphones and be instantly transported.) I know I could not find another job that pays as well for someone my age. … but it is like living a lie. If I could write my blogs for a living … I sure would.
Oh… you were so sweet. Your suggestions for “tropical fertilization” were a nice gesture, Kodama-san.
You kids should have seen me in my younger days though. All full of piss and vinegar — writing articles in the industry … traveling to conferences … educating the young interns. (Cut to scene of young Denny in business suit – jingling his pocket change: “I’ve got you’re your fertilizer right here”. I was cashing in, moving up, blazing new trails … and … and all … “put it on my tab.” Now I’m deadwood.
Yes, I appreciate your ability to “handle old wood” Haruppi, but I need to do this for my own good.
I need to rededicate myself to professional life – and that means no blogging. I need to redeem myself.
Allways contemplating in lonely solitude. I know the feeling Haruppi.
I will still check in with some of my blogging friends once in a while. It is also frustrating not being able to read all of YOUR posts. Just today, I was scrolling down through all of these WP articles I would like to read and comment on, but I feel like I would be letting my family down if I use up time when I should be chasing a raise.
Sorry Haruka, I can’t see the entire message … but I would still not be able to ANYTHING you out — until I get some real work done!
I am going to take a solemn vow. I am not going to post anything on WordPress until I actually make an accomplishment in my professional life.
I will still check in on your posts and make comments, but I will post no new articles. I can’t live without MorningBerryz48 idols blog, and I depend on The Otaku Judge to advise me on which anime to choose. I should be a better role model for young Matthew. All of you who routinely read and “like” my posts …. I will see you down there at the “likes” area … and I will be checking in. The next time you see Pokemon nicknames, Kimonos on Monday, or a list of risqué jokes about Japanese idols, that means that I have turned it around.
It does inspire me that you will wait for me Miss Kodama.
Japan is 12 hours ahead of me, so I want to be the first in my time zone to wish my daughter Sakura Miyawaki, a HAPPY 18TH BIRTHDAY!
SOMEONE sure had a big growth spurt this year! What happened to that bony, monkey-eared little elf? It seems like only yesterday I was fixing her bicycle and bandaging her skinned knees.
“Sakura, you may be 18 now, but if you are going to live in my house — you are going to have to follow my rules …”
(Denny’s reverie ends)… Aye — I would be a great father for this other-worldly talented young Idol — not that she needs my help, or could be improved upon.
Sakura makes shopping for greens so much more enjoyable!
What she adds to HKT48 is one thing, but she is also a good role model, and is a person of good moral character*. I have noticed (even with the delays via starlight), that she has matured in height and stability this past year. Sakura-tan is easily one of my favorite idols. She is a great team player in HKT48, but I would also love to see more solo singing from her.
Enough Fan-boying you say? Please enjoy this Sakura-Slide-Sequence. Click on the first one to start the show in full-size.
Happy Birthday Sakura!
Starlight: Sakura Miyawaki, born March 19th, 1998, turns 18 years old today.
(Denny sits down, takes off cap, sighs:) Whew …
Guess who is hiding in the cake!
See more Sakura on my Pinterest board for her linked here.
*as opposed to American celebrities her age, who will remain nameless.
Good Grief … I miss the girls. That being said, I still want to share another 16-member “dream team” of my favorite idols. Of course I am going to make lame jokes in the captions. Some of my references are decades old. If you can think of better captions, I look forward to your comments.
Now that Minami Takahasi is about to graduate, there are new additions, and some shake-ups in my lineup. Also, this time, I want to share some moving pictures … Enjoy! .. and please comment — I get lonely fan-boying all by myself.
# Sixteen: Haruka Shimazaki – AKB48
Cooking Challenges? Paruru says that there is NO KIND OF MEAT that she cannot handle!
# Fifteen: Mako Kojima – AKB48
Ha! Young Kojima-san still cannot beat me in “Mario Kart”. HA!!! I hit her with a green shell, just as she was about to cross the finish line!
# Fourteen: Kei Jonishi – NMB48
Denny: Oh, no! … Don’t say that routine AGAIN Kei …
Kei: “Jonshi??? Well, my name is Kei Keicchi Jonishi … you can call me RAY, you can call me KEI, you can call me KEICCHI, you can call me K-CHI, you can call me J-SHI, you can call me SUNNY, you can call me KJ … but yas doesn’t have to call me Jonshi.”
# Thirteen: Haruka Nakagawa – JKT48
If you just got up five minutes earlier, Harugon, you would not be late for practice!!!
# Twelve: Miyuki Watanabe – NMB48
It does not look like it is ANYONE’S secret anymore Milky-chan!
# Eleven: Jurina Matsui – SKE48
Jurina, take it from AL BUNDY: Graduate with a degree. You do not want to wind up selling ladies’ shoes!
# Ten: Yui Yokoyama – AKB48
The last thing TakaMina saw, the moment before she graduated!
# Nine: Haruna Kojima – AKB48
Far be it for me to criticize anyone’s religion KojiHaru … You go ahead and say your nightly prayers the way that you want to.
# Eight: Sayaka Yamamoto – NMB48
Your hair? … No Sayanee, I do not think anyone noticed that your HAIR was slightly out of place.
# Seven: Minami Minegishi – AKB48
No Miichan!!! … Darn it, I am going to SMACK that guy who told Miichan that this was the proper way that American women greet each other at formal U.S. embassy meetings.
# Six: Aika Ota – HKT48
Lovetan — Jim Morrison called, he says NOT to sing it like that if you want to sound “deep”. That is heavy, Love-tan … heavy.
# Five: Mayu Wantanabe – AKB48
… Well Miss Watanabe, as we will be sitting next to each other for more than nine hours on this car drive … you go right ahead and tell me everything I need to know about Scientology.
# Four: Sakura Miyawaki – HKT48
What went wrong when Sakura-tan auditioned for “The Karate Kid 5” …
# Three: Haruka Kodama – HKT48
Harrupi looked like she COULD NOT BELIEVE IT — when I showed her how “Nestles’ Quick” works!
# Two: Yuki Kashiwagi – NGT48
NO! … What is WRONG with you people? Don’t you know that ground up tororo root is a traditional Japanese food. NO! I was NOT thinking that … I wouldn’t … I like Yukirin, … oh God, NO … I never …
# One: Iwasa Misaki – AKB48!!! … as if you would have any doubt!
Sorry that I got carried away with that confetti snow Wasamin!
Starlight: Four decades of Pop Cultural references!
I think that Sakura Miyawaki is the “bestest” daughter than anyone could ever wish for.
This charismatic young Idol has grown to be a multi-talented young lady. Sometimes when she is on stage and does a typical Sakura-pose with a goofy face, I have to wonder if she is really TRYING to be that cute, or is that just the way she is.
Sakura-tan is cute AND wholesome. I do get a little protective of her sometimes. I know she is popular with all the boys in high school. These magazine covers and photo shoots she does – well, it can make a Dad worry.
… continuing from last week’s post. Is it even possible to get enough of Sakura Miyawaki?
Excuse me — would you like a free sample of Sakura-tan today?
Samples? Now I need an entire Hawks Town meal. Please enjoy Sakura-tan and her HKT friends here in colorful yukata!
Starlight: If you read last weeks post, where in the universe will the images I shared be seen? … how far have they traveled?
Well, light travels at 299,792,458 meters per second (or about 670,616,629 mph American). Since last week’s post, Sakura in Orange Yukata, the images from my blog traveled about 112.66 billion miles. Or to express it another way 1,212 AU (the average distance from the Earth to the Sun is defined as one AU – or astronomical units).
Thus, my images of Sakura are now reaching the Oort Cloud which surrounds the outer part of our solar system. (By way of comparison, Pluto is only 40 AU from the Sun.) I hope my readers in this theoretical boundary of our solar system are enjoying the post!
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.
A fansite; for old and new fans of AKB48 and all their domestic and international sister groups: (SKE48, NMB48, HKT48, NGT48, STU48, JKT48, BNK48, MNL48, AKB48 Team SH, SGO48, AKB48 Team TP, and CGM48)
I HEAR YOU!