Denny Sinnoh's "Akihabara Starlight"

Posts tagged ‘Japanese women’

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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Hanako Oku and her HAPPY BIRTHDAY memes.

Happy 41st Birthday to “The Little Great One” Hanako Oku, born March 20, 1978.

Japan is twelve hours ahead of my time zone, so I am sending this tonight!

Mr. Penguin, I hope you have a sense of humor! It was Snivy’s idea.

… and now for a little bit of Oku-HISTORY!

Thank you, YouTube user 曽我部幸太郎

Starlight: Been a Hanako Oku fan for eight point eight light years!

PS: Dear friends. I do not have Twitter or Facebook. If you like Hanako Oku, would you mind sharing my post on your social media?

 

 

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 …

Can you guess which Iwasa Misaki Twitter photo gave Denny a heart attack this morning?

Guess which photo from Iwasa Misaki’s official Twitter account made me spill my coffee and landed me on the floor this morning:

WasaPicture1

Wasa Photo A

WasaPicture4

Wasa Photo B

WasaPicture3

Wasa Photo C

WasaPicture2

Wasa Photo D

Come on … It is MULTIPLE CHOICE … please take my Wasa-poll:

If you want to see more Wasamin selfies, her lunch, her friends and puppy videos, see Iwasa Misaki’s official Twitter linked here.

https://twitter.com/wasaminnn

Starlight: I only look at the Sun at Night.

Sometimes I can hardly believe that a person can be so beautiful.

bucketofwasashrimp

“Look Me”???  Well, OK, if you say so Wasamin  : )

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-ordered Iwasa 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.)

myoutofbodyexperience

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! 

wasaminchinesedeliveryservice2015

Wasamin’s Chinese Take-Out Delivery Service!

prettydressmisaki

I actually do not know what to say when Miss Iwasa comes out of the changing room, and asks “How do I look?”

no I should THANK YOU Wasamin

(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.)

harrypotterwasamin

No … you may NOT play “Hully Podder” in the next film Wasamin! … You.

wasaminatstarbucks

My favorite kind of afternoon: Drinking a Starbucks while listening to the Enka-stylings of Iwasa Misaki.

wasamincoffeebreak

You seem skeptical about my theory regarding the physics of the elusive Boson particle , Dr. Misaki.

wasaminsmudkip

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?

wasamincloudclassification

You have no idea how impressed she was when I correctly identified this cloud bank as Altocumulus fractus.

you cannot wasa resist

You got that right … “resistance is futile” … for me Wasamin.

wasaminsoftselfiemarch212016

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? 

Sing it Wasamin (link here).

Starlight: Iwasa Misaki graduated AKB48 and held her last handshake event on March 21st, 2016.

DENNY RE-BLOGS: ~Of Sakura, Nostalgic Melodies, Cryptic Messages, “Sperm” Balloons* & Reunions~♡ (*´∀`*) ♪~♪。

ACCHAN akb48-kimi-wa-melody-jacket-booklet-scans-71

“Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.”

It is with extreme happiness that I will re-blog this March 23 post from MorningBerryz48 linked here.

https://morningberryz48.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/%EF%BD%9Eof-sakura-nostalgic-melodies-cryptic-messages-sperm-balloons-reunions%EF%BD%9E%E2%99%A1-%EF%BD%80-%E2%99%AA%EF%BD%9E%E2%99%AA%E3%80%82/

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.

If this post does not do it for you — Jack you dead.

———————————————————————————-

Gorgeous isn’t it! Released on March 9th, “Kimi wa melody” is AKB48’s 43rd single which has already reached over 1.2 million in sales over its first week! And while scrolling through all five…

Source: ~Of Sakura, Nostalgic Melodies, Cryptic Messages, “Sperm” Balloons* & Reunions~♡ (*´∀`*) ♪~♪。

———————————————————————————-

* Yes, come to Sinnoh University. Who else is on the faculty, you ask?

Genki Jason (linked here) is professor and chair of Japan Cinema Studies.

https://genkinahito.wordpress.com/

The Otaku Judge (linked here) teaches both Anime Literature and Video Game Theory (Playstation degree paths mostly).

http://theotakujudge.com/

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.

http://fujinsei.com/

The WP blogger Matt-In-The-Hat (linked here) is my young graduate assistant (meaning, I will make him do much of my work).

https://matthew903.wordpress.com/

What is new at Sinnoh University? We are conducting a search for committed faculty for our recently created programs in Lolita Fashion, Yuri Science and The Gravure Arts.

** Idol History is a growing field. I will warn those seeking a BA in Idol History that right now, that this degree is only about as marketable as a degree in Environmental Science.

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