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 actsSO 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.
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 ?
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 …
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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”.
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!!!
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.
Kyuu.Haruka Shimizaki. Paruru will rise to meet any challenge. If the haters get to you, I’m here for you sweetie.
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 …
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?
Ms. Berry is the greatest idol blogger on WordPress. Some of my readers also follow her, but if you are reading this right now, and you like idol music and/or Japanese pop culture — you owe it to yourself to subscribe to her blog. Someday, if I am ever able to get “Sinnoh University*” built, I will absolutely hire her, grant her tenure and a full professorship.
Her Berryness is not just an AKB expert, she is a true SCHOLAR of Idol history**.
Have a wonderful time viewing the sample images she shares from the AKB 43rd single: “Kimi wa melody”. Also included in her post are reviews of the “B”-side tracks of the single. … well, just have a look at her post already.
A recent hire is Arria Cross (linked here) , also an expert on Anime and General Japan Pop Culture studies Studies. Like a lot of young, idealistic Assistant Professors, she does have a lot of crackpot theories.
February is a short month. It kind of creeps up on you, right?
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.)
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.
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.