March 25, 2010

life in the void

山下翔央, Yamashita Shoon, Ya-Ya-yah
More and more I feel as if I were living in a void inside the fandom. However, unlike in Lord of the Rings, there IS life in the void. It's slightly different and strange sometimes, but there is life. There's a kind of madness floating around in the void too, which is like a living entity, and it's hard to escape from it. It pervades everything and gets into your lungs and ends up flowing through your veins. Sometimes the void is a bit suffocating, other times it's so silent that all you can hear is your own thoughts, and there are other times when you find a strange fascination in watching life outside the void from the vantage point of a detached spectator.

There's madness in asking yourself questions to which you will never get an answer, questions that probably only matter to you and those living in their own voids too, those who visit you and whom you visit. There's madness in remembering, in all the things you find yourself missing, and in all the things you realize you'll never do again.

I still ask myself, for instance, when did Yabu, Hikaru, Shoon and Taiyô know that Ya-Ya-yah was doomed, when did they know the show was coming to an end. I find myself analyzing their facial expressions when I rewatch the last shows, when I look at their pictures in the last magazine photoshoots. It doesn't matter now, and it just feels like torturing myself, but somehow I can't help it. I don't know why I do it. I keep on trying to pinpoint the time when Shoon left the agency, I wonder how long has he been 'gone', perhaps without me noticing. My latest theory is that he might have left on the exact date of his 9th anniversary in Johnny's (January 21st of this year). It would make sense, wouldn't it? They might have a contract that is to be renewed yearly. Taiyô's anniversary was in October 6th, and he disappeared practically after HSJ's debut, in September of 2007.

It reminds me of a friend of mine who, after breaking up with her longtime boyfriend, right before they were about to marry, spent several months going through the same questions over and over in her head: why didn't things work, when did they start having problems, did he ever truly love her... It's madness that leads nowhere, but for some reason you can't escape it. Maybe it's part of the healing process; maybe it's necessary.

The madness in remembering... It's so amazing how the smallest things can remind you of a person! A few days ago I went out for a walk, and I was surprised to see the first signs of Spring already: the flowering plum trees are in bloom. They're not real plum trees because they don't bear fruits, but the flowers are just as beautiful: snowy white or soft pink. When I saw the flowers on their branches I thought of Shoon because it reminded me of the episode in which Hikaru, Shoon and Massu made bread and stuffed a few flower petals in each loaf. (2007.08.11 Ya-Ya-yah show) Shoon was the one who went to pick the flowers, and I always remember that when I first saw that episode I thought it was just fitting because flowers are pretty and Shoon is pretty and, um... I'm mushy, okay? XD;;;

So yes, it seems that every where I go there's something that reminds me of Shoon these days, be it flowers or the post office.

The madness in all the things you find yourself missing, and all the things you realize you'll never do again... There's such a long list of these! On Tuesdays, of course, the day on which Hyakushiki airs, there's always something missing. On the first couple of weeks after Shoon disappeared, out of habit, I'd automatically check J-Net to stare at the page blankly the next second, when I realized his name would never pop up there again. A few days ago I came across a Shokura report on my LiveJournal friends-page, and I felt the same sting of jealousy I feel everytime, remembering the times when I excitedly checked those reports even to just find out there would be a few seconds of Shoon in the closing medley. I feel sad when I think there will be no more new articles of Shoon to look forward to every month. Even creating the 100shikiTV community was so hard to do. Making choices, changes, saying goodbye to things you've been doing for 4 years... it's strangely difficult for this being just fandom. Sometimes I wish I wouldn't feel so strongly about every little thing, but then, if I didn't, I wouldn't be me.

I think I'm making progress though. I've started a series of posts about Shoon's history at the Shoon comm, and I plan on doing the same here with Ya-Ya-yah. I've also started -finally- a certain big, ambitious Ya-Ya-yah multi-chaptered fic project which I'll soon be sharing with you all, and I'm determined to leave behind the sadness. Just yesterday I changed the framed picture of Shoon I have at my 'office' at home. I still love the one I had before, because Shoon looks in it like the perfect knight (and resembles so much the mental image I have of the protagonist of my epic fantasy novel), but he is so serious in that picture. So I changed it to one in which he's smiling brightly and placed the frame on my desk so I can look at it whenever I feel down. It's working wonders!

I have this stubborn belief that I can turn the void into a livable place, that maybe I can push the madness outside of it or at least hone it into something different, something useful. You can make blackened silver shine again by polishing it, the stories in books come to life when you start reading, a tune can take you back to a past time while you listen to it. Then why shouldn't I be able to survive here, in the void?

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March 09, 2010

where to now?

山下翔央, Yamashita Shoon, Ya-Ya-yah
Where to now? - 今どこへ?翔央くんへ、
今どこへ? 翔央くんは今勉強に集中しますか。違うタレント事務所に入所しますか。今はおそらくあなたの夢の旅をしているでしょう。どんな事をしても、幸せな将来であるよう、願っています。あなたがいなくなると、とても寂しくなります。どうぞお元気で。輝きつづけて下さい。大好き。私はこれからもブログを書き続けるわ。このブログを通して、翔央くんとYa-Ya-yahが忘れられないように努めますよ。

[Dear Shoon: Where to now? Will you focus on your studies now? Will you join another talent agency? Perhaps now you will be able to go on that dream journey. Whatever you do, I wish you all the best in the future. I will miss you very much. Please take care and keep on shining. I love you. As for me, I will continue blogging, and through this blog I will try not to let you nor Ya-Ya-yah be forgotten. Yours, Irea]

'Where to now?' is a question that I too am asking myself right now. For 4 years Shoon has been the North to which the needle of my compass pointed, and now he's disappeared the needle has gone crazy, spinning around and around, not settling on one direction.

I think it keeps searching for him. Last night something odd happened. I had gotten into bed, turned off the light, and grabbed my alarm clock to check if the alarm was on. When I pressed the light button the clock face read "12:20", the date of Shoon's birthday (December 20th), and probably it's just a coincidence, except that my clock is never set on the 12 hour mode, but on the 24 hour mode, so it should have read "00:20". I suppose I accidentally changed the time setting the day before when I set the alarm, but it brought Shoon to my mind... like so many things do. And that's not a bad thing at all. It's pleasant to think of him and conjure up his smile on my mind.

I don't know if I'm on a rollercoaster mood or I'm doing better. Just a couple of days ago I was feeling down and googled up his name, trying to find some news about him -any news- and got a little frantic when I didn't find any, and today I feel calm, as though he was, somehow, here with me. Friends are also helping me so much to cope with this. Thank you all. I love you. Hopefully this current mood will hold. I don't want to go depressive again. I feel so lucky that Shoon passed through my life. He has had such an influence on me and has been such a huge inspiration too. I want to honour that.

Thing is that I know where the needle of my compass should point to, and probably the best way of honouring all Shoon has given me would be to focus on the course I set myself last year and continue sailing in that direction until I get there. In the past year I've made such big progress. Shoon's example made me want to keep on fighting, and when I was tired or down watching him on Hyakushiki would comfort me and make me forget about my worries for a while. Now I'm sad, but I know I can rely on myself to toughen up and look at things from another perspective, and I can still draw strength from the memory of Shoon. The other day I came across this quote: Immature love says 'I love you because I need you'. Mature love says 'I need you because I love you', and realization dawned on me. There was a time when I held onto certain people and things in my life because I needed them, like a child needs their mother, but now I've learned to cherish them without becoming dependent on them.

That's why for this post I've chosen the clip below, which is a song from the anime series Tenkuu no Escaflowne, which is one of my favourites (both the song and the series, actually). Shoon would have made such an awesome Van Fanel in a drama version of it. *sigh* I think it's the perfect parting song because it conveys the unavoidable pain but also reflects this idea of 'mature love' (which incidentally Shoon talked about in his last Duet article as well - such a beautiful interview).

PS: Thanks everyone for your comments! *hugs everybody and wanders off to reply them*
PS2: I've been thinking that I don't like the word 'quit' at all for Shoon. 'Quit' sounds like 'give up', and that clashes frontally with Shoon's motto: 諦めないで! (akiramenaide! - don't give up!). I'd rather say he decided to leave.
PS3: I just took this silly test called 'Are you a blogaholic?', and I'm glad I can say I only scored 40/100. This is the 'diagnosis' I got: You are a casual weblogger. You only blog when you have nothing better to do, which is not very often. There's nothing wrong with that. But if you'd post a little more often, you'd make your readers very happy. LOL I'd rather say I only blog when I have something worthwhile to say.

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March 05, 2010

no hiatus whatsoever

山下翔央, Yamashita Shoon, Ya-Ya-yah
This morning I received this comment from one of the readers of this blog and thought I should make a post to reply it because perhaps more of you were wondering too:

Is there a particular reason why you changed the header back to the Valentines Day header? I like this one too but the picture of the Ya-Ya-yah members smiling looking at pictures from the past was really sweet. By the way, I really love these headers you make, the pictures are very cute and the writing is deep and lovely. Is it possible for you to update your "previous header" section? (...) I'm just wondering it a possibility that this blog will go on hiatus some day soon? If you’re too busy I understand and that will be fine, and I am guessing that there’s going to be fewer things to write about, so well just wondering. -Kako

The reason I changed the header back to the one I made for Valentine's Day is that I have this maybe somewhat silly hope that Shoon might check this blog now and then, if only out of curiosity -he has the URL after all-, so I use the header to sort of 'send' him messages of encouragement, congratulations, worry... and love and admiration mostly. Right now I just want Shoon to know how much I love him, so that's why I'm using the Valentine's Day one again until I find the time to make a proper one that will convey the way I'm feeling right now. To those of you who are not members of the Shoon LJ community and haven't yet heard the 'news', Shoon's name was removed from the Hyakushiki site as well last week, he didn't appear in this week's Hyakushiki, and it doesn't look like he will be back, meaning, most likely, that he has truly left Johnny's Entertainment. I intend to make a long post about this, but first I need to sort some things out. However, I didn't want to worry any of you, so that's another reason why I'm making this post.

This has been a hard blow and I'm still feeling down, and in spite of my efforts, I still find myself crying at random moments like when I read the comments to my latest entry on the Shoon comm, the lovely, caring messages friends are sending me, and when I let my mind dwell on the events of the past days and on how empty the world seems right now and -ack, I'm starting to tear again. *wipes tears* BUT I'll be okay and I'm not going anywhere. No hiatus plans whatsoever. I've just said goodbye to Johnny's Entertainment, but I will continue blogging about Shoon and Ya-Ya-yah, continue working on the Shoon community, and sharing whatever I have to share. My biggest reason for staying, though are all the wonderful friends I've made, you, the people who follow this blog, and the members of the Shoon community. Talking to you all and keeping myself busy is helping me enormously to cope with this.

As for the headers you were asking for, Kako, I've uploaded the latest ones to the headers Flickr folder. Sorry I'm a bit slow on updating these things. Also, I only upload there the ones on which I've put some thought and work, so not all the headers I've used are there. In case you want the one you mentioned... there you go. I still need to add descriptions to some of them, but I will get to that when I'm feeling a bit better. Talk to you all in one or two days, I promise. *hugs*