October 19, 2008

the language barrier

山下翔央, Yamashita Shoon, Ya-Ya-yah
I love languages, and learning languages, but when you're not fluent in one and you want to understand what is being said, it's so.damn.frustrating! T___T I guess my problem is that I'm too impatient. It took me years of reading, writing, and listening practice to become fluent in English, but of course when you achieve your goal you never think of the long way you had to walk to get there. So in short I'm jealous of all the people who are fluent in Japanese.

Last week I finally decided to take up my Japanese again. For real, I mean. I started learning Japanese by myself several years ago, just for fun, and then decided to take a test at the Official School of Languages here in Madrid, passed it without a problem and entered 2nd grade of Japanese directly. I completed 2nd year as well, but then, because of work, I didn't start 3rd grade, and even though I always promised myself I'd take it up again... I never seemed to find the right moment.

I guess it would be easier if I took classes again, instead of learning by myself, but it annoys me to think that I might have to go through 2nd grade again. I've forgotten part of what I learned, but I'm convinced that that knowledge is just lying dormant in my brain, that as soon as I start brushing off the cobwebs I'll recover it. However I find myself wanting to speed up the process. I watch old Ya-Ya-yah shows, or Shounen Club, or Hyakushiki, or read an article, and I want to understand what I'm listening to or reading. I feel as frustrated as Tom Hanks in The Terminal.

I feel somewhat impaired as a blogger and as the moderator of the Shoon LiveJournal community not being fluent in Japanese. I could have so much better an understanding of Shoon, Hikaru, Taiyô, and Yabu if my Japanese wasn't so poor. Also, I scan all these old articles, but I'm fazed by the task of translating them and sometimes feel like I'm just throwing them at you like a copy machine and that what I offer here is of little value.

I try to keep up with the Shoon-related news reading Japanese blogs, but half of the time I'm not sure if I'm understanding correctly what I'm reading. Back in February it took a great deal of courage for me to post the news about Shoon's play. I couldn't stop thinking I might have misunderstood something and somebody was going to point it out and I'd feel horribly embarrassed.

For all these reasons I feel immensely thankful to people like Yui, Enshinge and others who have translated so many Ya-Ya-yah and Shoon-related articles, to 33_snowfish and arigatou313, who have started subbing bits of Hyakushiki, and to NEWSHFAN, who must be the most prolific subber I've ever known and to whom we owe so many subbed episodes of the Ya-Ya-yah show. You all have my most sincere admiration and gratitude. =)

All this came about because a couple of days ago NEWSHFAN posted 2 more Ya-Ya-yah episodes subbed by her: 2003.08.17 Comedy contest pt.1 & 2003.08.24 Comedy contest part 2. These two are among my favourite 2003 episodes, but it was so much more enjoyable to rewatch it this time, being able to understand what they were saying and to laugh, knowing why I was laughing.

Before, Hikaru's skit seemed cute to me, but after watching it subbed I understood why somebody decided he HAD to be part of Ya-Ya-yah. He's as adorable as my 3 year-old niece; I want to hug him and kidnap him. Plus he had a good voice and the ability to always come up with a wisecrack. I don't share nor understand some of the decisions JE makes, but Hikaru definitely brought something good to Ya-Ya-yah and to the Ya-Ya-yah show.

But maybe the biggest surprise when I rewatched these episodes in this subbed version was to realize how funny Taiyô and Hoshino's skit was. It made me laugh so much! It was the best of all in my opinion. Kudos to whoever scripted it and drew those pictures. =) And Taiyô was so cute, stumbling upon the words, and so cheeky when he said he had drawn those pictures! XD And Hoshino sure made a great job not cracking up at any moment. LOL

Subaru was utterly unfair with the skit Shoon, Akama, Inoo and Koyama did, in my opinion. It WAS funny. Well, maybe not all the time, like Taiyô and Hoshino's was, but it had some very funny moments, like Koyama and Akama harassing poor Inoo-chan, and Shoon and Akama's fighting coreography was pretty cool and so well coordinated with the swoosh and whack sounds! XD

Yabu's skit with Shige was... well, it was okay, but Yabu was far funnier in the karate episode of 2005. ^^

[subbed by NEWSHFAN]

And speaking of these episodes, I just remembered I had a HQ clip of Shoon's skit. It was posted long ago at the Ya-Ya-yah LJ community by a Japanese girl I never heard of again after that, but I thought some of you might not have it, so I've reuploaded it: 2003.08.24 [Ya3 show] Shoon skit.avi [73MB] Click here or here to see a couple of screencaps. She also posted a HQ clip of Hikaru's skit, but I don't know why I don't have it anymore! ;__; If anybody has it... would you reupload it for me? ^^

I've scanned a couple of 2002 articles, or rather, the same article, only one is from the Japanese edition and the other one from the Taiwanese edition, plus the photographs are different. =)

I myself hadn't seen scans of the Taiwanese edition before I bought the clippings from a Singapore fan.

The Japanese article is one of my favourites because it has one of Shoon's coolest photographs. How could he be so cool at 13? >^-^<

But my very, very favourite is the photograph on the contents page, the one I've used for the new header.

Shoon looks so, so, so lovely with his short, shiny, puppet hair, his arm around Hoshino's shoulders and his head tipped towards Yabu. X3 And the red-soled runners make him stand out too~

2002.08 Wink Up (Japanese and Taiwanese editions)

PS: Almost forgot... I'm organizing a little fan project for Shoon's 20th birthday (December 20th), so if you're interested and would like to take part in it, please go here for more information.

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October 12, 2008

Rain of Desire

山下翔央, Yamashita Shoon, Ya-Ya-yah
Shoon had a tiny weeny bit more screentime on today's SC. When Nakamaru and Koyama introduced the SC theme, 秘密 - Himitsu (secret), Nakamaru read a postcard sent by a Shoon fan - weee! =D - and Shoon did a short skit called "Real Face no shitauchi, otona version" (Real Faceの舌打ち・大人バージョン), which means "Real Face tongue clicking, adult version". And if somebody could explain to me what that was about I'd be very thankful, because it seems funny. XD


And then came his short solo bit in the theme medley, which was Kinki Kids' Yokubou no rain (欲望のレイン - Rain of Desire). To be honest, I don't like the song, but it was so wonderful to hear Shoon's voice without any backsingers. =) And maybe I'm biased, but I think he was great. ^3^ I only have one stupid complaint: why did he button up the jacket? It looks much better when he leaves it unbuttoned. X3


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October 07, 2008

Autumn is here

山下翔央, Yamashita Shoon, Ya-Ya-yah
Man, I sigh every time I look at this picture. *-* The October mags have some really nice pics of Shoon. This post has 2 parts. The first is about last Sunday's SC, and the second is a little surprise, some 2003 rare Ya-Ya-yah scans - an article about Autumn-, and a translation by me. =)

Okay, Shounen Club first then. ^^

Shoon's presence in this one was minimal, and I'm starting to show Shoon-withdrawal symptoms after 2 weeks without Hyakushiki (they're taking a little yet much deserved holiday), but... what can I say?, even these 3 seconds of Shoon can bring a smile to my lips every time I remember THAT look he gave to the camera. ^_~

This was during the song that closed the show, but if you notice, these days he never fails to wave at the camera or even blow a kiss to it during the opening song. ^3^ That's so sweet of him~ I guess that the abstract idea of the anonymous fan is to an idol what an idol is to us fans. =)

The anonymous fan is a reason for them to give their best, while an idol's waves and smiles give us fans wings to daydream. And who doesn't like indulging in daydreams? You can always imagine it's you and only you he's waving and smiling at, and in a way it's true, because for him, whatever your name is or wherever you are, you're the anonymous fan.

So yeah, hopefully more Shoon in the next SC. ^^v What we did get this time was one solo performance by Yabu and another by Hikaru that I was expecting eagerly... and they didn't disappoint me at all. =)

I wonder why they chose to "revive" Angel come to me and Akogare no egoist at this point. ^^ Watching Yabu and Hikaru sing these songs made me a little melancholic, but at the same time I realized how much both of them have grown as performers and it makes me glad to have seen them go from their very first steps to where they are now.

I've cut the juggling part before Hikaru's actual performance because it made the clip a bit too long. It's so nice to finally hear the full version of this song. I hope one of these days he'll sing Kuroi asa, shiroi yoru, because that's my favourite Hikaru solo. ^-^

Yabu sang a bit of My Everything (Yabucchi, you still need to work a little on this one ^^) and then Angel Come to Me. I want to remember when was the last time he sang this one, because I'm positive he sang it recently (apart from the 2005 performances, I mean), but for the life of me I can't! D: Anyway. I have some issues with this song - like the lyrics XD -, but I liked the coreography a lot better - less robotic than the old one - ...except for the hand movements in the "come to me" line. *facepalm* =_=;;; And there were some subtle differences in the way Yabu sang it that made it better too. =)

And now let's take a dive in the waters of the past, shall we? ^__^ I've scanned a 2003 article from a magazine called 小学六年生 (Shougaku rokunensei), which, as the title says, is aimed at elementary schoolers. Ya-Ya-yah appeared regularly on this magazine for several months, and they even had a manga (comic) there! I've scanned a few pages of the manga, but before scanning the whole thing I was wondering if somebody might want to help translate it and make an scanlation of it. ^^ It's a triumph for me to translate such short texts as the one in this article. ^^;;; I need to improve my Japanese. Corrections are most welcome, by the way.

Anyway. The manga on this issue is really funny and cute, as Shoon and Akama accidentally "exchange" bodies. It's hilarious to see Shoon portrayed as a tea lover, surrounded by roses, and as an excellent cook. LOL For some reason I like indulging in the fantasy that he's a good cook, and I say "fantasy" because the only time we saw him cook in the Ya-Ya-yah show he was lousy. XD Admittedly he was very young, so maybe he has improved?

Below you can find previews of the article and a couple of the manga pages, the link to the album set, and my loose translation of the article, which has all the innocence of childhood. My favourite bit is Shoon's complaint about a certain prop they gave him for the photoshoot. ;-) Poor Shoonie, he hadn't realized yet exactly how pretty he was is. ^-^

2003.11 shougaku rokunensei - Ya-Ya-yah article and a few manga pages

2003.11 shougaku rokunensei - yayayah8.blogspot.com 2003.11 shougaku rokunensei - yayayah8.blogspot.com
2003.11 shougaku rokunensei - yayayah8.blogspot.com 2003.11 shougaku rokunensei - yayayah8.blogspot.com

Naughty boys - Ya-Ya-yah's check-it-out-yo!
Aiming at our Autumn.

[speech ballons]
Shoon: Why am I the only one with a rose? It's not that I have a problem with it, but... *laughs*
Yabu: Autumn arts. For the school's arts festival I played the role of Iwa (?).
Akama: Autumn has this typical image of red and orange hues, doesn't it?
Hoshino: I turn 16 on October 10th! Please wish me a happy birthday!
Taiyô: In Autumn you can get out in nature with your bike.

Eating something delicious? Having fun? Doing something that's a little dangerous? These five talk about what they associate the word "Autumn" with!

Yabu: I think Autumn is a heart-warming season because of the leaves turning red...

Taiyô: Yes, Autumn has the typical image of the gingko tree. And when you have to sweep the fallen leaves (on your backyard) there's so many of them, right?

Hoshino: But when you make piles with them you can have a "fallen leaves fight" with your friends.

Yabu: I love lying down on the piles; they're so fluffy.

Shoon: Autumn is the season when people roast sweet potatoes too. It's the "sports season", and of course roasting sweet potatoes is a sport too. *laughs*

Akama: True, you can make a fire with the dead leaves too.

Yabu: And Autumn is a season for being outdoors as well, isn't it?, a season in which everybody wants to have fun doing things outdoors. Mountaineering? [I think this is suggested by some of the mag staff] What do you mean?, not going up a mountain trail but actual rock climbing? *laughs*

Taiyô: You can also go fishing on a river, and grill and eat the fish you catch.

Akama: Eeh? I'm not much of an outdoors person. I'd rather go to a covered swimming pool. *laughs*

Shoon: I'd like to do something reckless, like go somewhere without a plan. Not here in Japan; I'd go to a foreign country. *laughs*

Hoshino: In other words, anywhere in the world! And speaking of Autumn... my birthday is in October! So now all of you must congratulate me. *laughs*

Yabu: That day we'll slip into your house.

Shoon: Are you planning on doing something?

Taiyô: We'll slip into his house and we'll go: "Waaah!".

Akama: Yeah, we'll be like: "Surprise!".

Hoshino: No way; even if you did that without telling me, I'd still be embarrassed. *laughs*

Yabu: Anyway. There are lots of things to do in Autumn, so (whatever we do) we'll have fun, right?

1. Apparently in Japan Autumn is considered the season for sports, though I'm not completely sure if Shoon is just being ironical when he says roasting sweet potatoes is a sport too, or if he means it's like the national sport. ?__?
2. Anybody knows what Yabu means by "Iwa"? (literally that means "rock/stone", but I doubt he played the role of a stone in a school festival. XD)
3. This article reminded me that Hoshino's birthday is coming up... as will Hikaru's and Shoon's in a couple of months! D: And then Taiyô's and Yabu's!

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