December 20, 2009

happy birthday, Shoon!

山下翔央, Yamashita Shoon, Ya-Ya-yah
Dear Shoon,

Happy birthday! You turn 21 this year, and it's now 4 years since I became your fan, at the end of 2005. So many things have changed... and others haven't. My Japanese, for example, is still not as good as I wish it would be. But from what I see your English hasn't improved much either, so we're even. I won't give up though, and neither should you. Which reminds me you have one advantage I don't have: you can practice your English with Keito! I have nobody to practice my Japanese with. Anyway, ガンバリマスよ!

Other things haven't changed either: I'm still your number 1 fan and I still listen to Ya-Ya-yah songs on my mp3 player and indulge in nostalgia re-watching old Ya-Ya-yah shows and old Shounen Club episodes. I'm still afraid of insects too, and there are still so many things about me I want to improve! I suppose I'll jot those things down on my list of resolutions for the New Year.

But there are things that have changed indeed. I had to get "used" to Ya-Ya-yah not being around anymore, to Taiyô leaving, to you disappearing from Shounen Club one day, to the magazines publishing less pages of you... (I'm worried about Reon too; haven't seen him in quite a while, which makes me suspect he might have quit Johnny's) All this has been a test to me, and I've realized I'm not as strong a fan as I once may have seemed. Anger and indignation at JE's decision of making Ya-Ya-yah disappear made me feisty: I planned so many things to show the world that we, the Ya-Ya-yah fans, were not defeated, and I swore I wouldn't stop blogging and... I didn't realize then how hard it was going to be. The world simply goes on, ignoring your hurt, and you're not expected to ask for explanations. Just get up, keep on walking, and let the world roll on. That seems to be the rule for everything in life. It's a bit tiring sometimes, as if nothing mattered much, as if everyone and everything was dispensable. Or maybe I'm just too sensitive and get too attached to people and things.

After re-reading the paragraph above, though, I find myself thinking that if you read this you'd probably wonder why am I telling you this when you suffered it in the flesh. I know I've said this before, but you never cease to amaze me, because I imagine it must have been really hard for you, and yet you never lose your smile, no matter how tough things get, and seem content, waiting calmly at your post, and when you get the smallest chance, make the most of it. You make true the anonymous quotation I used for your birthday header: Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling. (幸福は終着駅ではなく、旅する方法である。)

You've been an inspiration to me from the start, but now more than ever. In this new year of your life that begins, I wish you the very best, which might or might not be what I want for you, because I'll always want so much more for you. Let it be then what you hope for. If it depended on me you'd have leading roles in dramas, stage plays, musicals, concerts, a debut... but maybe you don't worry as much about those things because you're busy enjoying the journey. I'm no fairy godmother, but if I could bestow even just one gift on you it would be good health. I'm sure you need no more help, so the rest is up to you. Meanwhile I'll continue keeping you in my thoughts and dreaming for you, and I'll always be your "puppeteer".

I was planning on making a virtual present for you, but work has kept me very busy in the last two months. I intend to do it all the same, and it will be a sort of... window, I suppose you could call it, a blog or site through which I'll share the things I like, or the things I think you might like, with you. It could be a picture, or a video, or a quotation... or a song like this. It's a song titled Dark Waltz by a New Zealand singer called Haley Westenra I discovered recently.

Dark Waltz lyrics:

We are the lucky ones / We shine like a thousand suns / When all of the colour runs together // I'll keep you company / In one glorious harmony / Waltzing with destiny forever // Dance me into the night / Underneath the moon shining so bright / Turning me into the light // Time dances whirling past / I gaze through the looking glass / And feel just beyond my grasp is heaven // Sacred geometry / Where movement is poetry / Visions of you and me forever // Dance me into the night / Underneath the moon shining so bright / Turning me into the light // Dance me into the night / Underneath the moon shining so bright / Let the dark waltz begin / Oh let me wheel - let me spin / Let it take me again / Turning me into the light


To readers: I have a birthday surprise for you, a Yamabu fic, which hopefully will be ready for tomorrow. x^.^x *crosses fingers* Have a little teaser, because I'm mean. XD

Yabu was not in the mood for partying. He was not in the mood for engaging in empty conversations, for laughing at jokes, thanking well-wishers for their congratulations on the performance, smiling at the flashing cameras, or answering the reporters’ questions.
He was not in the mood for anything, for that matter. It wasn’t fair. It was his twentieth birthday, an important moment in a boy’s man’s life and the last night they staged She loves me, the musical for which he had been entrusted, for the first time, with the leading role. It was his day, his day, but Shoon just had to go and spoil everything the night before with the most shocking and unexpected revelation.

December 04, 2009

happy (belated) birthday, Hikaru!

山下翔央, Yamashita Shoon, Ya-Ya-yah
why don't you like cats?I fail miserably at remembering Hikaru's birthday on time every year. =_=;;; For some reason my brain won't register the fact that it's on December 2nd; I always think it's later, and so, it always takes me by surprise. ¬_¬ Not nice!

An idea for a Hikaru fic had been going round and round my mind for some months, and I figured Hikaru's birthday would be a good occasion to write it and share it with you, and also a good way to go back to blogging because, once again, I've left this place unattended for too long, and now I'll have to start weeding, and I don't know where to start. Hope you are all doing well. Thanks for being there. ^3^

Why don’t you like cats?

___It had been a bad idea to stop by Taiyô’s house without calling beforehand. When he rang the bell, it was his sister who opened the door. Taiyô was not home yet, she informed him. And then, when she invited him to step in and wait for him, Hikaru wanted to make up some excuse and refuse. Instead, he stepped out of his shoes and followed her like a meek lamb... or an unwise little boy charmed by the notes of the pied piper’s flute.
___Apparently her parents were not home yet either, he noted as they seated in the living room. The house was dead silent. The idea of being there alone with her made him so nervous that he almost knocked a vase of flowers off the table when she asked if he’d like some tea.
___When he was a child, Hikaru had enjoyed the sleepovers at Taiyô’s, but being under the same roof as his friend’s sister had always made him a bit uneasy. There was something about Ayukawa Tsuki that unnerved him.

(read more)

August 15, 2009

05.02.27 Ya-Ya-yah in Music Station

I'm spending my Summer vacation at the countryside with my family, and for a few days I was without an Internet connection, but not anymore! ^0^ I got myself a pay-as-you-go USB modem and I can't download or upload big stuff, but I can check my mail and surf the Net and update my blog, so it's a huge relief. I suppose it's rather pathetic, but I admit that not having an Internet connection drives me insane. XD;;;

I brought my external hard-drive here as well, with lots of things to watch, like Hyakushiki, Shokura, and the episodes that have been subbed so far of Yabu's and Hikaru's dramas, Nynkyo Helper and Orthros no inu. I've decided I'll be patient and wait for the subbed versions of each episode because it's much more enjoyable to watch when you can understand all that's being said, and the subbing-teams of these two dramas are really fast too. The generosity of fansubbers and fan-translators never ceases to amaze me. I'm a translator myself, and I know how much time and effort it takes to translate something, so devoting your time to do it for free for the enjoyment of others is just downright awesome.

I haven't yet started watching Orthros no Inu -will do so later-, but I did start watching some of Ninkyo Helper, so my next post will be about that. =) This was going to be a rant against stupid JE, who fails to realize again and again that Shoon deserves more. The spark this time was the fact that in the September mags, Shoon is only featured in Duet. ;____; (hence the header - thanks to Enshinge for the lovely scan! ^3^) It worried the hell out of me because... well, Tôshin ended up disappearing from the mags after a while, and I don't want that to happen to Shoon. It would be highly unfair. Doesn't he show, week after week in Hyakushiki what a great entertainer he is? I'm on the brink of starting a campaign, to encourage Shoon fans to send letters or postcards to Potato and Wink Up -maybe even Myojo- to let them know that we want them to continue featuring Shoon. Don't know if it would be of any use, but I just feel the need to do something. It's particularly unfair towards us, foreign fans, as mags are one of the very few legal ways we have of keeping up with our JE idols.

Anyway, I don't want to be a harbinger of doom, so I'm trying to convince myself that perhaps Shoon was just busy with his University exams as Japanese fans suggest. *crosses fingers* That's why I decided that, instead of using this entry to fume and moan, I'd rescue an entry draft I made some time ago and never posted. It featured one of Ya-Ya-yah's appearances in Music Station, together with KAT-TUN, in which they sang Start!, She Said, and Kizuna. Ya-Ya-yah wore their Power Rangers outfits for the occasion. I'll never understand how Shoon managed to look sexy in that, but he did. XD *aside to Hydee* It's weird that Hikaru had yellow instead of blue, and Shoon's outfit looks bluish more than green. *end of aside*

Start! was the first Ya-Ya-yah song I listened to, so it's one of my faves, and it's so energetic and happy it makes me feel energetic and happy too. =) I love the cute/buffonish interaction between Ya-Ya-yah and KAT-TUN and this particular version of Kizuna is awesomely beautiful, especially the end, and Jin's vocal qualities always impress me when I watch this.

2005.05.27 [MS].mpeg Ya-Ya-yah & KAT-TUN ~ Start! + She Said + Kizuna

[DOWNLOAD VIDEO (197MB) .001 .002] - [DOWNLOAD MP3]

For more Ya-Ya-yah performances in Music Station, please visit my site Be Ambitious. =)

August 04, 2009

I'm not a hippie

山下翔央, Yamashita Shoon, Ya-Ya-yah
"Share the fun; spread the love". I think we all agree that's what fandom is about. However, as far as I know, we're not a hippie community, are we? If I pay for something, and then I want to share it, I think I have every right to share it in any way I please.

When I post scans, or a Hyakushiki episode at the Shoon LiveJournal community, and I request (not order) people to "please, wait a week before re-posting" or "please, do not re-post" and then say "thank you" in advance, I am not claiming a monopoly.

As the community maintainer, I'm just claiming an exclusive that will become an added bonus for people to remain members, and for more people to join the community.

I'm not so naive as to think that what I share will not be shared again by somebody else later on. I have no control over it anyway. I just ask people not to re-post it. If they do, all I can do is ban them from the community.

Also, I don't make any profit from sharing what I share. Much on the contrary; it costs me time and money. By saying this I don't intend to pass for a martir or a Jeanne d'Arc.

I spend money on fandom because I want to. I "waste" my time because I enjoy blogging and making fansites. And if I waste my time googling for alternate ways to watch and record a show when nobody will upload or share it, I do it because I myself want to watch it.

But I won't keep quiet when people who try to make profit from fandom and have tried to make profit from noble, if naive, fan projects, criticize me. Yeah, it's a free world and you can place ads on your blog, and webgain links, but if we're talking about the true spirit of fandom, I don't think THAT is the true spirit.

I won't keep quiet when people accuse me of being selfish. I have never tried to make any profit from my blogging (I avoid ads as much as possible because they're annoying and bother me), I have never put a watermark on my scans (yet I respect people who do) or the videos I've shared, and I have organized contests and given away stuff (like clippings and so on), paying for the shipping costs myself, just for the fun of it and for making the fandom more active. Again, I don't intend to pass for a Jeanne d'Arc, and I have many faults, but selfishness is not one of them.

If it's a crime to create a community and keep certain files and scans exclusive to it as little bonuses because you want people to find it worthwhile to be a part of it, then yes, I declare myself guilty.

Why do people upload clips and shows and share them on their blogs? I don't think it's merely for "spreading the love". Try and blog without sharing ANYTHING: not even streaming videos, or news, or pictures. Much the Japanese way, except they do post news, but then they're privileged because they're living where it all happens. Just blog giving your views and opinions. Then we'd see how many people would still follow your blog after a few weeks. The true spirit of blogging is not posting a clip, a download link, saying "Man, this show was great!", and throwing in a couple of witty comments.

Months ago it became increasingly difficult to watch or download Hyakushiki. The clubbox from which we all downloaded it became password-protected, TVU stopped working, so did TVants, J-net closed its doors...

Shoon only appears in Hyakushiki Ou these days, so as a Shoon fan, I was a little desperate to find a way to watch the show; any way. I resorted to a sort of "pay-per-view" online service. Not that much; 3 dollars every once in a while, but it's something I paid for anyway.

Now, I shared it at the Shoon community, happy to have a little exclusive thing I could share and asked people to "please wait a week before re-posting". Not even "please do not re-post"; just "please wait a week". 1 WEEK! Is that too much to ask? Was that selfish of me? I think not.

But of course there's people for whom, you know, blogging is a 24/7 job, and they just HAVE to make a post when there's something worth posting. You have known them for years, and they could have asked: "hey, I know you asked to wait a week, but would you mind if I re-posted it?". I'm so soft I would most likely have said "yes, sure, go ahead".

Well, instead of that they converted the video I had recorded to a different format, and posted it the next day on their blog, not only not crediting me, but passing it as their own. How nice is that?

Me being the obsessive fan I am, I kept on searching for some place where somebody might be sharing the show in good quality, and had the immense luck of finding somebody who can record Japanese shows in HighDefinition (HD). I had nothing to lose, so I asked if they might record Hyakushiki for me every week, and they said yes. Each file is over 3 gygabites, and the quality is amazing.

Now, re-uploading 3GB files every week for other people would be suicide for my connection, and not many people would be interested in such huge files, so I resize and convert them, which takes my computer over an hour and a half, then edit the file to cut the commercials, because with them the files are still too big, then split it with HJSplit, then upload it to MediaFire, then sometimes also make a smaller file for those who cannot download HD files, and then I also upload the whole file to the FTP of a Chinese-speaking Shoon community. Is THAT being selfish?

The person who records the show for me never asked for anything, but I felt awkward and cheeky (especially because once I mentioned I liked Shounen Club and they started recording it in HD for me too, plus Shounen Club Premium), so I asked if maybe I could make a donation, or something. They said it would be appreciated, so every month I make a donation of 15 euros (21 dollars) to thank them for the trouble. No, I don't intend to pass for a Joanne d'Arc, but if I pay for something and want to share it, I think I have the right to ask people not to re-post it. All you need to do to get the show is join the community.

And, as I said, it's the only show Shoon is appearing in these days, so I think it's not selfish if I want to keep the files exclusive to the community. V6, HSJ, Kisumai, ABC and junior fans who might not be the least interested in Shoon but want the show in HD to see Inocchi, Tottsu, Keito, Fujigaya, Takada, or Sanada are more than welcome to join the community, and I've advertised the Shoon community on the HSJ, ABC and Kisumai communities, so they know about it.

So really, is it selfish to ask people not to re-post some of the things I share? Those who know me know what an obsessive a huge Shoon fan I am, what crazy things I do for him, and that all I want is to help in any way possible to make him more popular in the foreign fandom, as well as for him to know how much support he has. If that makes me selfish, so be it.

P.S.: Laughing at a non-English speaker for their English is rather unfeeling when they're making an effort to communicate in a language that's not their own and so different from their own.
P.S.2: Please don't idolize bloggers, it's bad for our health and bad for your self-esteem.

August 02, 2009

the b-day girl thank-you post

Nope, not closing down this place. ;) I think this has been my longest absence though, and for that I must apologize. The past 3 months were really tiring, and even though I'm officially on holidays now, I'm still trying to sort some things up. You could say I'm working on a master plan for my life. Well, not for my whole entire life, something for the short term rather.

I've always had lots of interests, which is a good thing I'd say, but I have a tendency to start a thousand things at a time and then it's so hard for me to drop any. But I do need to drop some to focus on things that really matter to me or that will take me somewhere.

I'm not planning on dropping this fandom as long as Shoon is around though, and I still have much to share, Ya-Ya-yah-wise. I want to turn this into a coherent and comprehensive Ya-Ya-yah shrine, like I'm doing for Shoon, little by little, with the Shoon LJ community, and that means going over the group profile, creating individual profiles, scanning the rest of the articles I have... Lots of stuff. This is a looong-term project.

But it's my birthday today and I want to do something special. When I was a kid for me my birthday was all about getting presents and having fun. As you get older you realize that -even though it's always nice to get presents- you're so fortunate that you don't really need anything. It also gets a bit depressing when you go past your twenties because you feel you're not so young anymore and you start thinking of the things you've missed out on, the chances you let go...

But then you put your feet on the ground and you start appreciating the little things, and realize, as my brother J. says that turning a year older means you're alive and well, and there's a lot for you to celebrate and be thankful for.

Fandom-wise I'm thankful for all the nice people I have met, so this is a thank-you post for the friends I cherish in this fandom, in no particular order - you're all much loved by yours truly, and I always, always, always read your LJ entries and keep you in my mind, even if I'm a bit of a disaster and don't comment or e-mail you very often:

♥ Yui ♥ Hydee ♥ Tina ♥ Kelwy ♥ Oza ♥ Esther ♥ Mousie ♥ Mabel ♥ Miia ♥ Aki ♥ Sue ♥ Mandy ♥ Fahlyu ♥ K (mm_seeker) ♥ Geri ♥ Quin ♥ Bre ♥ Akgla ♥ Yuu ♥ Scribe ♥ Stevenica ♥ Enshinge ♥ Mei ♥ Hikaeru ♥ Seca ♥ Rachel ♥ Joanne ♥ blurryeyes19 ♥ Yuki ♥ Marz ♥ Xanderave ♥ Sohee ♥

Much love too to all the people who comment here and on my posts at the Shoon LJ comm. ^_____^

I'll be back... really soon, I promise. =)

April 12, 2009


山下翔央, Yamashita Shoon, Ya-Ya-yah
I'm slow, I know; sorry. This fandom moves too fast, and probably all of you have seen this already, or read about it already, but I just had to make a post about this because it made me so happy. I even got a little teary-eyed and then I couldn't believe my eyes and couldn't stop smiling. I'm talking about yesterday's Hi!Hey!Say!'s livestage, in which Yabu and Hikaru performed Himawari no Melody, one of my favourite Ya-Ya-yah songs.

2009.04.11 [HHS] Himawari no melody.avi (94MB) [1280x720]

It was beautiful, simply beautiful, and almost perfect (almost, because two people were missing), and moving, and... and now I feel awful for not watching HHS regularly. I'll try to do so from now on. I just needed to say: 薮くん、光くん・・・ありがとう (Yabu, Hikaru... Thank you).

I've wondered many times if Yabu, Hikaru, Taiyô and Shoon were conscious of the significance the four colours (red, blue, yellow/orange, and green) JE had assigned to each of them have for us, their fans. I mean, that combination doesn't seem to be unusual at all in Japan. I've seen it in commercials, manga and anime... and in other groups in JE, other than Ya-Ya-yah. Sometimes JE uses those colours for other occasions as well... like the pamphlet of Full House, the stage play Shoon took part in last year. I'm tempted to get into the subject of ranks according to colours and how this made me happy because of what it meant for Shoon, but it's unrelated to this, so I won't go into it. XD

What I'm trying to say is that, even though for us those colours stand for Yabu, Hikaru, Taiyô and Shoon individually, and for Ya-Ya-yah together, they're not exclusive of them. So sometimes I thought that perhaps they themselves were not so aware of the significance of those colours. In fact, in photoshoots several times two or all of them wore the wrong colour (i.e. Hikaru would wear green instead of blue, etc.). I suppose those days the photographer was a bit careless or felt like humouring Hikaru, whose fave colour, as we all know, is green.

Perhaps they became more aware of the significance of their colours in the last Shounen Club episodes, before uchiwas and signs were banned, when fans used their colours to show their support for them.

Whatever the case, now I'm fully convinced that Shoon wore Taiyô's Sgt. Pepper coat on purpose, and it has made me immensely happy to see that Yabu and Hikaru are so very aware of the colours significance, that they used them on this livestage to show that they haven't forgotten Ya-Ya-yah, and that when they sing Ya-Ya-yah songs, they think of Taiyô and Shoon. I think the song they chose on this occasion was very significant too: "himawari" means "SUNflower" in Japanese, and the lyrics (which you can find translated here by Atarashiiyoake, remind me of what they went through: "I looked back (...) I got the feeling that I couldn't go back (...) saying goodbye like adults (...) Withoug shedding any tears, we might say that we'll be able to meet again somewhere (...) But that time will already be different from now, that's what we both know (...) Today won't come back, it's become our past we both know that without fail". As she says it's at the same time a beautiful song and a sad one. It's the sadness that comes from the realization that things change and you can't turn back time, but you will always cherish the time when you were part of something special.

Back to the colours... there's no way it could be just a coincidence or meaningless. The four colours appear one after another in the lyrics on the screen: first RED (ignore the white), then GREEN, then BLUE, and then YELLOW. The first batch of backdancers is dressed in RED, the second in GREEN, the third in BLUE, and the fourth in YELLOW. Also, Yabu blows a bunch of RED petals from the palm of his hand, then he gets a GREEN cloth out of his jacket (*Yamabu fan squeal*), then we see Hikaru with a BLUE balloon, and then both Yabu and Hikaru hold YELLOW SUNflowers!!! And of course there's no mention of petals, a green cloth, a blue balloon or even sunflowers. *wink-wink, nudge-nudge* I loved the way Yabu opened the green cloth and showed it so close to the camera, and I loved how all the stage ended up filled with yellow. ^_______________^ You know what? Ya-Ya-yah lives~

For the sake of good old times and new fans, here are a couple of old Ya-Ya-yah performances of this song. =)

2005.11.13 Himawari no Melody on Shounen Club:

[VIDEO] [74 MB] (credits: Yungboy) - [MP3]
To watch and download other Ya-Ya-yah performances
on Shounen Club, please visit Never Stop the Music

2005.10.23 Start! + Himawari no Melody on the Ya-Ya-yah show:

][VIDEO] [74 MB] - [MP3]
To watch and download other Ya-Ya-yah performances
on the Ya-Ya-yah show, please visit Singin' For You

And because I love you guys for bearing with me till the end of each entry, here's a little present from me to you. ^__^

2004.08 Kindai - Ya-Ya-yah scans

2005.05 Wink Up - Ya-Ya-yah scans

March 26, 2009

I've got my glasses on

I think life is making me stoical. Last year this might have crushed me, might have made me cry, might have made me angsty. Right now, a couple of days after the storm, I feel... nothing.

Sometimes feelings are like a whirlwind of dust spinning around you, clouding your mind. When that happens, it's better to wait for the wind to die down and the dust to settle, rather than act in the heat of the moment and later regret it.

It's quite fascinating how, little by little, if you let time pass -even just a few hours- you start seeing things in their true dimension. I mean that you realize that something that seemed a mountain is just a grain of sand, that sometimes it's not worth the while feeling hurt or angry or worried about something.

This time hurt came first. On Wednesday morning I woke up in the Middle Ages and found myself being hauled to the public square, where an accusing finger pointed at me and an angry voice shouted: "Witch! We must burn her at the stake!". ... No, wait, it wasn't like that really, though in a way that's what it felt like. Others may need a little drama in their life -you know, Con onor muore, Morte di Butterfly and all that-, but drama is not my thing at all. I'm more into satirical comedy. Word-duelling is a lot more fun... but it must be done in style.

Thing is that, yes, in a figurative sense it was the enactment of a drama, and there were accusations, and the place was very public indeed. It's understandable of course, because to stage a drama you need an audience, don't you agree? Who cares if it's a private matter? We're in the Age of Reality Shows, in which all private matters become public. Also, naturally, the most sublime monologue would be pointless without an audience.

The Prima Donna clenched the hearts of the breathless audience with her singing barking more likely. I was rather shocked that the lyrics were about me, harsh and blunt words that made me feel as if my chest had turned into a bleak moor upon which a chilly wind was blowing. I knew some people in the audience, and I could sense them giving me confused looks, but the shock kept me nailed to the seat. My ears were ringing when the curtain fell, and some people still looked confused, but others clapped and cheered "stay strong!" -to the Prima Donna, not me-, and there was even an encore though we had been assured there wouldn't be any. Divas are like that. They make their audience suffer a little but can't deny them anything. So divine. Puccini would be have been proud.

If I ever happen to act like a diva, by the way, please slap me and remind me who I am: just a fan like any other. Bloggers are not fandom gurus, never worship them; they're just people who spend part of their free time doing something they like doing: writing. And no need to thank us for anything. Blogs are aimed to be read, so you, the readers are the ones that give meaning to what we bloggers do. Therefore, it's us who should be thanking you for being there.

Back to the drama of the century... The person sitting next to me was an old acquaintance. When I mentioned the lyrics and pointed out that I was actually the one that had been wronged, she didn't want to make any comments, would rather remain neutral, you know. Funnily enough though, when I was heading towards the exit I heard her praising the Prima Donna: "Stay strong!".

Some people cry or shout when somebody hurts them. I, however, am the type that clenches their fists, holds back the tears, and goes silent. I may seem okay on the outside, I may not make dramatic posts, but that doesn't mean things don't hurt me.

My acquaintance was still talking to the Prima Donna, and my surprise grew when I heard her comment on the lyrics with something that went like "it's okay; what happens happens". I frowned and then blinked repeatedly in bewilderment. What was that supposed to mean? "What happens, happens"?! So somebody punches you, and you tell a friend: "That guy punched me just now, can you believe it?", and all they do is shrug and reply: "Well, what happens happens". Hmmm... Perhaps I should adopt it as my motto now I'm going stoical. "What happens happens"; nice phrase.

I couldn't help overhearing somebody else's words as well. I'd never seen that person before, but they patted the Prima Donna's shoulder and said they understood what she was going through and oh, it was all so terrible, they were so sorry... I stood where I was, feeling like a squashed tomato, shaking inside, and wondered if that person had even considered that there are always two sides to a story and they had only heard one. Apparently not.

Those things I heard turned the hurt into sadness and disbelief. This is fandom and it's something trivial, but it's a reflection of the world out there. That's the way the world goes, with people who judge having heard just one side of the story, and other people who know both sides, and know the truth, and know what is right and what is wrong, but just don't care because it doesn't affect them.

However, there were also friends who were there, at the "theatre", who called to ask if I was okay, and those are the people that count for me. I knew the truth, knew there was no reason whatsoever for which I deserved to be verbally abused like that in public for something that concerned no one, and also... what the hell, it was just fandom! Those thoughts blew away the clouds of sadness and disbelief and let the sun through. I hadn't hurt anyone, I had done nothing wrong, all the ruckus would be forgotten in a few days, and why should I care what opinion people who know nothing about me -and still judge me- could have of me?

As for the Prima Donna... All I'll say is she seems a bit confused about the meaning of the word "mistake". The Webster's dictionary defines "mistake" as: "A wrong action attributable to bad judgement or ignorance or inattention". I wouldn't say something done purposely and with the intention of deceiving can be called "bad judgement", "ignorance", or "inattention". Maybe I'm wrong. Also, my concept of "friend" does not include things like lying, deceiving, or cheating. Actually that's what bothers me the most, that she always seems to think she can deceive me. After so many years she should know better than that. A piece of advice on the subject of friendship: Be careful who you call your friends. Flatterers look like friends, as wolves like dogs. Or, quoting one of my favourite films, Swing Kids:
Arvid: 'Quiz time: Got your glasses on?'
Thomas: 'What?'
Arvid: 'It means you don't know who your friends are.'

Mira lo que te has perdío (See what you've lost)

March 20, 2009

no requiem for me yet

I felt sooo guilty when I logged in today and saw the date of my last post was January 18th. =_= LeBacque (hey! ^^/), an old friend from the JDorama forums, sent me a message a few days ago asking "Is it time for a final requiem? No updates in months now." Yeah, I know, and I want to apologize for that. m(_ _)m

So please excuse the long absence. I have a life, of course, and being busy is the main reason why I haven't updated in 2 months. I just finished my internship at the publishing company, and now I have more free time, so I intend to show up here more often. =)

Anyway. Let's recap because there are several important events I missed - which doesn't mean I forgot about them, but I didn't have the time to post about them, so... ^^

Yabu turned 19 on January 31st, and I did make a header for that day, but I didn't have the time to type a birthday post. Then Taiyô and Hikaru graduated from high school last month. Belated congratulations to you two!!! =D We were actually lucky enough to get two clips of Hikaru speaking to the press on that day. I wonder what's JE's policy on this. Perhaps they leave it up to the boys? I mean that there was no interview to Shoon when he graduated, and the same happened with Yabu. ?_? The two clips below were subbed by NEWSHFAN. =) Hikaru was really great: confident, calm, and charming. <3

Sadly Taiyô is not an idol anymore, so even though I had not so very secret hopes that we'd get to see at least a picture of him with Hikaru in some mag or maybe even see them together in one of these TV clips, it didn't happen. ._. Hikaru at the moment doesn't have plans to go to university, but I imagine Taiyô does, because from the accounts we've heard he's a good student. I wonder what degree course he'll choose. The best of luck, Sun, whatever path you take! I suppose it's unlikely we'll hear from you again now you're out of Horikoshi, but we'll always have a warm memory of you. =)

What else happened? The Romeo & Juliet stage play, in which Shoon plays the part of Mercutio, started... and here I am, stuck in Madrid. =_= Well, actually I couldn't have afforded the flight fares and accommodation expenses anyway because right now my economy is not at its best. However, I've comforted myself with the hope of a DVD of the play and also with the fact that I don't feel ready just yet. I want to improve my Japanese in case I ever get to talk to Shoon. I wouldn't want to make a fool of myself. Ganbarimasu! ^.^o

Also... It's not so bad that I stayed, because after I finished my internship I got a job offer from the publishing company! =D Yes! I'll be doing 2 free-lance jobs for them: translate a novel and proofread a translation of a book. ^_____^ Yay!! Hopefully this will lead to more free-lance jobs with them. I'm really excited. =)

Back to Romeo and Juliet, the media coverage of the play has been rather disappointing. I mean that I expected Shoon and Hasejun to promote the play together with Ueda and Kobayashi Ryoko (who plays Juliet) on 2 or 3 TV shows, but in the end Ueda's done it all on his own. =( Oh, well, at least we got to see glimpses of Shoon at the press conference, the rehearsals (like in the clip below, taking fencing lessons with Ueda) and also in small bits of the play shown in the news entertainment shows.

From the accounts of fan friends who have seen the play it seems Shoon's doing really well. =) JE just announced that Ueda will soon be starring in his first TV drama; I hope they have something good in store for Shoon too. ^^

He hasn't been in Shokura for 2 months now, and I want to believe it's just because he's busy with the play, but Ueda was there as a guest, and he has been in many other shows, so that excuse seems too feeble. ;___; Toma, Kazama, and Hasejun disappeared from Shokura one year after 4TOPS was disbanded (and NEWS was formed), so Shoon's been really lucky to have stayed in the show longer than that.

And at least his still a regular in Hyakushiki, which airs every week. With my poor Japanese I don't understand everything, but it's fun to watch, and every week the cast surprises us with some crazy thing, like this: (this episode was about Yokohama and the Hyakushiki boys performed a medley of songs by a popular Japanese group from the 70s called Yokohama Ginbae. =))

For all things Shoon, please join us at the Shoon LiveJournal community... which has reached 1000 members this month!!! =D

And, to finish this entry, a little reflection. A friend wondered in an LJ post, a few weeks ago, if "the few old bitter Ya-Ya-yah fans that are left will have turned into HSJ fans in a year or so". She was -and is- a big Ya-Ya-yah fan and I know she just means to tease =p , but I'd like to share with you all my thoughts and feelings on this matter.

Speaking for myself, I don't think I'll turn into a HSJ fan no matter how many years pass. Actually, it's been more than a year already, and instead of getting used to it all I seem to be going backwards. At first I wanted to overcome my feelings of rejection towards HSJ for Yabu and Hikaru, but just seeing them perform together or seeing pictures of them in the mags brings back all the hurt and anger inside of me. I know I'm not being fair, I know what happened was not their fault, but nobody will ever convince me that it didn't most likely make Taiyô and Shoon feel bitterly disappointed and hurt. For that I'll never forgive JE. I'm also sure that many of the current HSJ members had mixed feelings when their debut was announced. I don't like the way it works, and knowing it's "just business" doesn't help any. Sometimes reality is a hard pill to swallow.

I'll never get used to HSJ singing Ya-Ya-yah songs either, but Stevenica left a comment on one of the previous entries that made me reconcile with the idea in a way: (Thank you so much for this, Stevenica! <3)

About (...) Yabu and Hikaru (...) performing Itoshi no Play Girl (with the rest of HSJ in the HSJ Winter concert), I would like to clarify this because I feel it's something we should appreciate instead of complain about. (...) This winter concert was organized by Yabu & Hikaru. They discussed & prepared about the song list, rundown etc etc. Therefore, to perform Itoshi no Play Girl, and putting Yuuki 100% in the concert song list, was an act for Yabu and Hikaru to show they haven't forgotten their former group, Ya-Ya-yah, and will not forget it. (...) Actually, in the Winter Concert pamphlet, on Yabu’s page, when talking about how he and Hikaru planned and organized the concert, he says: The two of us had discussed performing songs from the past this time. There were many really good songs we had performed before we joined JUMP. Moreover, for both of us, those actually represent many of our memories. (scan of this)"

That's truly thoughtful and sweet of Yabu and Hikaru, isn't it? Yes, I do appreciate it. *hugs the two of them* I feel much better now knowing it was your idea =) ...even if I'll never ever get used to seeing you performing those songs with the rest of HSJ or at the HHS show, without Taiyô and Shoon. m(_ _)m

So no, I'm afraid I won't be turning into a HSJ fan any time soon. XD Maybe I'll tolerate their existence when things start to really look up for Shoon. =p Like... when he gets the same chances as Toma ^^v or at least as the other juniors, instead of being (literally) pushed into a corner in the profile page of the junior calendar with a picture smaller than Shintarô's, getting just 1 page and one pic (on a page with the rest of the Hyakushiki cast), and being left out of all the inter-group pictures, as if he had the plague. ¬¬ *fumes* see offending profile page)

PS: Oh, and... we're not sulking quietly now; just in a cozy, private place. =p Thanks, 'Dee-chan for giving us a home. <3

January 18, 2009

happy b-day, Taiyô!

山下翔央, Yamashita Shoon, Ya-Ya-yah
Dear Taiyô,

please excuse the slightly rushed header. m(_ _)m The fact that the middle finger of my right hand has been swollen for 3 days doesn't help either. =_= It's hard to type without using that finger too!

It wasn't hard at all to choose the pictures, though. Taiyô doesn't have a bad photo! Okay, maybe he has a few, but the total percentage would be a very small one. I think it might be because has always been comfortable with himself and has never tried to be anything else. Or at least that's the impression I get. =) Also... well, Taiyô is very good looking, but even if he were ugly his features would still be beautiful.

Does that sound like a contradiction? Well, probably it does, but it isn't really . I know people who are ugly, but have such a good heart and are so endearing that when you get to know them they don't seem ugly to you anymore. That would be the case with Taiyô if he were ugly... which he isn't!

He's such a good person that I'm sure he'll never be lacking in friends who love him. I'm sure those friends, and among them Yabu, Hikaru, and Shoon, have helped him get through this year.

It's great to see you doing well, Taiyô, and I can't do much other than repeat the wishes I expressed last year: I hope you'll be happy whatever path you chose. You've turned 18 and soon you and Hikaru will graduate from high school. We're hoping to get at least a little glimpse of the two of you together holding your diplomas. ;) May all of your days be sunny, and may you keep on shining and making happy all those around you.

Love and hugs,

PS: Thanks a million everyone for your comments. I'll try to reply them later. =)

January 11, 2009

saved by your smile

山下翔央, Yamashita Shoon, Ya-Ya-yah
I really need to update this blog more often because things I want to blog about keep piling up. -_-;;; Sorry this will be a bit of a mish-mash post.

First a little something that made me happy. The Horikoshi Highschool site has a piece of news featuring Taiyô. ^___^ ( It's nothing too exciting really, and the picture that accompanies the article is rather small, but it's good to hear about Taiyô. He's still wearing his hair short, and he looks even taller next to that man. XD Good to know you're doing well, Taiyô-kun! =D

A rough translation (corrections are most welcome): On December 8th of last year, the president and vice-president of the student council, Ayukawa Taiyô and Okamoto Kengo, paid a visit to Tanaka Daisuke, ward headman of the Nakano Ward Office. They donated 100,000 yen, raised during the Horikoshi festival through the sales of refreshment booths and others. They expressed their wish that this money be used for social welfare in the Nakano ward. On January 7th of this year, they received a letter of thanks from the Nakano Ward Office.

And speaking of Taiyô... Does anybody know who this junior is, the one in the background in the white jacket and the blue t-shirt? Tina pointed it out to me and we were both wondering if Taiyô might have a cousin because that boy looks like a younger version of him! ^_^ For a moment I thought Taiyô had come back.

Also, these are strange days for the Ya-Ya-yah fans. It seems HSJ is going to record a new version of Yuuki 100%. I don't know how I feel about it. Numb, I guess. Tired too. But mostly sad when I see that to some it means nothing. Certain songs are not just songs, the same way certain words are not just words. Some entail an emotional attachment you cannot get rid of, and I can't ignore the memories songs like Yuuki 100% bring when I listen to them. Old episodes of Nintama Rantarou, the anime series of which Yuuki 100% is the opening song, are being aired again in Spain, and a couple of weeks ago, the TV was on in the sitting room when I was tidying up the bedroom, and all of a sudden I started hearing the song in the background, the original Hikaru Genji recorded, and it brought a smile to my lips. HSJ singing it doesn't bring a smile to my lips though; it arises sad memories instead. It's hard for me to explain it to some friends who liked Ya-Ya-yah and are into HSJ now (which doesn't mean they don't still like Ya-Ya-yah of course), but that's the reason why I can't make myself watch HSJ videos and why I wince when I see HSJ pictures.

In the New Year episode of Hi!Hey!Say!, once again, Yabu and Hikaru sang another Ya-Ya-yah song, HaruNatsuAkiFuyu. (Thanks, Sue for letting me know!) And, as usual, there was no mention of the taboo word in the credits: Ya-Ya-yah. It was a pretty cool version, and so was the coreography, but of course it made me miss seeing Taiyô and Shoon with them. Actually, I have nothing against Yabu and Hikaru singing Ya-Ya-yah songs, because they are their songs as much as they are Taiyô's and Shoon's, though it makes me wonder why can't Shoon sing them too, on Shounen Club, for example, or his old solo, BadxNice. I mean, if for JE songs are just songs, why can't he sing Ya-Ya-yah songs too? ^^ He still wears his old Ya-Ya-yah outfits, so he should have every right to sing Ya-Ya-yah songs too, but that probably will never happen either.

2009.01.01 HHS LS HaruNatsuAkiFuyu.avi [credits: SayBest]

And, oh, the irony of Yabu and Hikaru wearing their old pink and silver Ya-Ya-yah outfits in the Winter HSJ concert, where HSJ performed Itoshii no Playgirl! Can you imagine them performing it on Shounen Club? What if Shoon was wearing the pink and silver outfit too that day? O_O That would be the most awkward thing for the three of them, but I doubt that will ever happen. I hope it won't happen, that is. It seems that with JE you can never know.

And since we're on the subject of Ya-Ya-yah let us turn to more pleasant things... Tinuviel sent me scans she's made of the 2004.03 issue of Myojo. Thanks again! ^__^ (and sorry about posting them this late m(_ _)m

2004.03 Myojo Ya-Ya-yah scans (courtesy of Tinuviel)

And now let us take another turn to talk about Shoon in last week's Shounen Club. Not much screentime this time around either, but at least we got to hear him wish us a happy New Year in the opening song, Hatsu no uta...

...and he was absolutely amazing in the theme medley, in which he sang solo a bit of Kirameki no kanata e with Taiga and Uekusa doing chorus for him. ^____^ Did I say Hasshi sang better than him? I don't care if there's a hundred people with a better voice than Shoon's. I'd rather listen to Shoon singing than anybody else in the world! =D And I suppose NEWS fans won't agree, but I think he sounded better than all of NEWS together. Actually I never liked that song much, and I've been listening to it a hundred times on my mp3 since last Sunday. And that lovely smile in mid-song... *dies*

2009.01.04 [SC] kirameki no kanata e.avi (23MB)
2009.01.04 [SC] kirameki no kanata e.mp3

Speaking of Shoon... He had mentioned in some article that he had been to a SMAP concert recently (the Super Modern Artistic Performance Tour), but he didn't mention Yabu and Hikaru were there too!! O_O Thanks a mil again to Tinuviel for this clip. *hugs* Shoon appears just a few milliseconds as she says, but I took a few screencaps and edited the clip, making it slow motion so you can see him more clearly. It's all kinds of awesome to see the three of them together, but it's somewhat bittersweet because he had to sit behind them with the chibis, and that he didn't get to ride on the cart with Yabu, Hikaru, Inoo and Keito, but had to walk behind it, with the chibis again. He looked a bit sad as well. <=( These things must be hard for him.

2008 Super Modern Artistic Performance Tour bit.avi

Actually I was getting a little worried and depressed after watching today's SC, because he seemed very serious on the short seconds he appeared, but then I discovered the beginning of a smile on his lips during the opening, right before he got cut off from camera. That beginning of a smile blew the clouds of worry away. Don't lose your smile, Shoon. =)

He was wearing my fave outfit today, and the SC staff added a sort of skirt to make it look a bit different. Nice touch! =) And today he sang with so much feeling! *_* Thumbs up, Shoon. ^0^ It's a damn shame they don't let you sing more. ;__;

PS: Thanks for reading, everyone, and please bear with me for being so slow in replying comments. m(_ _)m

PS2: You need to friend this blog's LJ extension to leave a comment or read comments on this entry. Click here to friend Ya3 Obse-shoon's LJ; you'll get updates on your f-page too. =)