29 December 2009

Hidarime Tantei EYE cast update

With the drama's start date about a month away there are some little pieces of information that have been popping up. Some I haven't found confirmation from and official source of just yet, but the latest piece of information I've come across for the drama does have a source. It's also a piece of information that has me very, very happy.

It has been announced that J-pop/R&B singer Crystal Kay will be joining the cast of the series. Most Johnny's fans might just know her as the female artist that is friends with Akanishi Jin and have two songs with him, Wonder and Helpless Night. Her character will be a 'genius hacker living in confinement', who is named Akira Kokusho. So it seems a bit unknown whether this means she will be one of the villains or not.

Tokyograph article. (English)

I've been a fan of Crystal Kay for about five years now so I've been really happy to see her with these Johnny's connections. I really hope this means she'll be there for promotions, as I'm sure she'll bring interest to the drama, as this is her first time acting in a drama and her fanbase I'm sure is different than the ones Yamada and Yokoyama will be bringing to the drama.

And I can't find an article or official information about this, but there is a rumor going around that Nakayama Yuma will have a guest role in the first episode of the series. Honestly I would not be surprised to discover this to be true. I just hope they bring in another Hey! Say! JUMP member as a guest star for one of that later episodes though, as I want to see this group as active as possible in 2010 to make up for 2009.

Johnny's Countdown 2009-2010 TV broadcast information

Johnny's net has updated to list the broadcast information for this year's Countdown concert. Like usual it will be airing on Fuji TV and will at 1145PM of December 31st and end on 1245AM on January 1st.

Of course I believe this information has already been announced elsewhere, I know Fuji TV had at least released some kind of press release about it as they have already announced that once again Arashi will be the hosts for the concert.

I'm rather excited about this news as I actually have the chance to watch the broadcast, seeing as I won't be making it to the concert itself. And as the TV that the place I have is a nice HD one I can imagine it looking pretty amazing, instead of having to go off whatever the recorded version that will be shared with everyone will be.

So it seems like my plans for bringing in the New Year for me will be watching Japanese music programs, as I plan on watching Kouhaku as well.

28 December 2009

Upcoming Johnny's rock concerts

Well winter seems to be the months for rock when it comes to Johnny's. They have announced three different concerts, two for the Junior bands and one for Kondo Masahiko to celebrate his 30th anniversary.

The first concert is on the 1st of January in Tokyo for FiVe, Question? and an undefined 'others'. The title of the concert is Rock na Nakama-tachi Hatsuhi no de LIVE. What stands out about this concert is that it will be from 230AM to 5AM, which hatsuhi no de (first dawn of the New Year) alludes to.

Then it's on January 5th FiVe get a concert in Osaka titled, FiVe LIVE 2010 Osaka Kinga Shinnen (Happy New Year). And looking at the current information for it on Johnny's net it looks like they've added another show for that day.

And then Matchy's concerts won't be until February. He'll be doing only a couple of concerts in Tokyo before doing a couple more down in Osaka according to the schedule that is currently up.

27 December 2009

21st poll results

Still sick but I'm feeling pretty bad for doing so little for this blog for this month. I'm not sure if January will be much better with finals coming up that month, but I will try to update more.

Since I want to move on to the next poll topic, here's the results for that last poll: Which group(s) do you want to see more of in 2010?

Hey! Say! JUMP 119



Juniors 52

Arashi 43

Tackey & Tsubasa / Kanjani8 28

Tokio 21

SMAP / Kinki Kids / V6 / Kansai Jrs. 19

I can't say I'm surprised by the winner of this poll. I think the HSJ fandom is quite united in the desire to see more of the group this upcoming year than we did in 2009, which actually wouldn't take that much to do. But at least things already seem to be on track to do just that with the group reportedly doing the theme song for Yamada's upcoming drama.

I am a bit surprised to see KAT-TUN so high. I guess because even though they did a lot at the beginning of the year they didn't do much for the second half, expect for Jin who is getting near impossible to escape with all the BANDAGE promotion.

But now onto the next end of year/new year question. Which Junior group(s) do you want to see more of? Like the last poll you can vote for more than one group.

24 December 2009

Ninomiya to star in Ooku movie

It has been announced that Ninomiya Kazunari will be starring in the film adaption of the Ooku manga series. He will play the lead character of the first volume, which will be the only one adapted for this film, Mizuno Hiroyuki.

The manga the movie is based on is by the multi-award winning mangaka Yoshinaga Fumi and has five volumes published so far. It's story is based in medieval Japan where a strange unknown plague has struck that only affects men, severely reducing the male population, which has made women the dominate gender of the nation.

Anime News Network. (English)

I'm rather interested in this film. I don't know a lot about the manga itself, just bits and pieces here and there. Though I do know that the second volume of the manga switches over to a new cast of characters, which is probably why they're doing only the first for this movie. Of course being set in the time period it is it means a good chance Nino is going to have to have the hairstyle for it, which you can see in the ANN link. I have the feeling he'll just wear a wig like most actors do (think Tegoshi and Takaki from Shabake) but I think it'll just look so strange to see him like that.

23 December 2009

New TOKIO release and Kouhaku setlist for the Johnny's groups

Still sick but thankfully I'm feeling better little by little. I guess going to the Kis-My-Ft2 concerts over the weekend was just a bit too much stress for my body after it had just about recovered from being sick a couple of days before. But I can't say I regret it, as the concerts were great. I'll probably try to do some kind of write up for them at some point over the winter break.

Until then there are a couple pieces of news out. First TOKIO has had their next single announced. Like their past two under the J-Storm label this will be a double A-side and will come in three versions, two LEs and one RE. The title of the single is advance/Mata Asa ga Kuru and it will be released on February 2nd.

As a fan of the group I'm hoping that with all these double A-sides it means we'll be getting a new album from the group next. I mean after this single they have six songs that they will have on the album, unless for some reason they decide not to put all the A-sides on, which I doubt will happen.

Also something probably worth mentioning is that Johnny's is already on February releases. There are four Wednesday's in that month and I'm sure that the other three weeks will be full of other Johnny's singles. As KAT-TUN has announced a new song for docomo and I'm sure they'll be singing the theme song for Kame's drama as well, Arashi has a new drama theme song for Sakurai's upcoming drama and it seems like Hey! Say! JUMP has a new song for Yamada's drama. Or at least that's what I hope will happen. I don't want to wait until March for Hey! Say! JUMP to finally release a new single, especially since I won't be in Japan anymore by then.

But enough about that. NHK has released the song list for Kouhaku, so here are the Johnny's.

Arashi - Arashi x Kouhaku Special Medley
NYC Boys - Kouhaku 60th Anniversary NYC Special
SMAP - Sotto Kyutto ~ Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana
TOKIO - Taiyou to Sabaku no Bara

I have to admit I'm actually looking forward to the NYC Boys performance now. Maybe because it's thankfully not NYC again, though I'm afraid they'll work the song into the medley. I'm just too burned out on that song to care much for it at the moment. Not much different from how burned out from Ultra Music Power a couple of months after Hey! Say! JUMP debuted. I still like the songs and have no trouble listening to UMP again, but I think I need some time away from NYC now before I can go back and enjoy listening to it again.

21 December 2009

Music Station Super Live song list

Sorry for the lack of updates and responses recently. I've been busy and sick (still am sick) so I haven't had much time to update this blog. But winter break begins for me tomorrow, so I'll have much more free time then.

Until then here is the full list of Johnny's performing at the Music Station Super Live in a couple of days and the songs they will be singing.

Everything/Believe - Arashi
Rescue/One Drop - KAT-TUN
Kyu Jyu Show!! - Kanjani8
Swan Song - Kinki Kids
Super Star/Sotto Kyutto - SMAP
Taiyou to Sabaku no Bara - TOKIO
Koi no ABO - NEWS
Guilty/Spirit - V6
Christmas Medley - Hey! Say! JUMP

So it's pretty much whatever singles the groups have released this year, except for HSJ, who haven't released anything. I just hope it's a brand new Christmas Medley they will be singing and not just the one off the Snow Prince single. But of course my biggest hope is that next year they will have songs to pick from to perform on this program.

16 December 2009

2010 Winter Drama brief thoughts

I was looking through the latest issue of TV Life, which is one of the weekly TV guide magazines, and noticed they had cast diagrams up for most of the upcoming winter dramas.

Hidarime Tantei EYE has new additions to the cast, but most of the new cast are listed as undetermined. There doesn't seem to be a spot for a classmate for Yamada's character, which makes me sad, though there is a character that has an unknown age, but I have the feeling it will be for another adult character. But seeing as it won't air until January 23rd, there's still quite a bit of time for things to be announced. Also with that start date if we are getting a new Hey! Say! JUMP single tied in to the drama then it probably won't be released until sometime in February.

Now the series that caught my eye the most is actually Tokujo Gabachi!!, which stars Arashi's Sakurai Sho. Even though I do like Sho it's not him I'm excited over being in this drama. Instead it's one of my favorite Juniors, Question?'s Igo Akun. It looks like his role will be minor but at least reoccurring in the drama. I'm just really happy for him, as I think Question? gets over looked a lot so it's nice to see one of the group's members get a break like this. I hope I can see him in the premier episode which will air January 17th.

I didn't watch the first season of Code Blue so I can't really say anything about the second season, other than I'm glad Yamapi has ditched the perm. In fact I rather like his hair in the picture they have of him so I hope it's the style he's keeping for the drama. And this drama will begin on January 11th.

And of the other drama starring Johnny's is listed as well, Yamato Nadesico Shichi Henge. I don't think there's much to say as there isn't much information presented that hasn't already been announced. Which I believe even includes that the series will begin January 15th.

I want to give everything a try, minus Code Blue because I don't want to get into a series without seeing it from the start. But Hidarime Tantei EYE and Tokujo Gabachi!! are at the top of my list and Yamato Nadesico Shichi Henge will be a drama I'll get around to viewing when I have the time to do so.

15 December 2009

Snow Prince movie thoughts

Well I did go see the movie this past Saturday, and I can honestly say I enjoyed it. I don't think it's going to be one of those movies that will be a big favorite of mine, but I still think it was worth seeing it in theaters and would not mind picking up a DVD of it, whenever that comes out. Though I can't imagine not needing to make sure that I have some tissues at hand when I do watch it.

I have to say I am impressed by Morimoto Shintarou's acting. Usually when I watch dramas or movies with Johnny's I tend to see them as themselves and not so much their character, but I didn't have that issue so much with this movie. MoriShin did well as Souta and I think Johnny's has really found a good lead with him, though they're going to have to wait some time before he can start starring regularly in anything, as young lead roles are harder to come by compared to lead roles for adults. Which is probably why Yamada Ryosuke has only been getting a few roles a year as he can't quite pull off high school senior yet, which is the bulk of dramas and movies set in high schools call for.

Since I do want to talk about the movie, but also don't want to spoil it for those who want to avoid spoilers, I am going to white text the spoilers. So if you want to read them then highlight the area under the spoiler mark, while the rest can just ignore the big white space.


I was a bit surprised to see the opening scenes set in the modern day but as the story unfolded it made sense to have the modern day storyline, as it gave the reasoning for the telling of the story of Souta and Chibi. The modern day storyline follows an elderly Sayo, who has her grand daughter living with her. Sayo gets a larger envelope hand delivered by an elderly man one day, her grand daughter was the only one at home at the time though. Sayo finds a story written on very old paper and it's the story of Souta, her childhood friend. The old man later in the movie shows up again and it's discovered that he is Souta's younger half-brother, as they share the same father but had different mothers. He found Sayo as the story his father wrote stops before it says what happened to Souta and he wants to learn what happened to this older brother he has never known. Sayo does tell him the end of the story which leads to much weeping from the audience as this is the final part of the movie. But I think the ending is a bit brighter with this storyline, as it shows that Souta is still affecting people with his story long after he's gone.

For the story set in the 1930's it goes along as little episodes/adventures at first loosely strung together. But as the story progresses things that happened earlier come back in their consequences later on, so in a way it's rather slice of life. But Souta and Sayo's friendship is sweet even though it's not easy for them to maintain with outside pressures, like Sayo's classmates and father, coming in to try to keep them apart. By the end of the film those 'foes' have come around, though it's unfortunately a little to late in the case of Sayo's father. Though the man wasn't completely heartless, just one of those cases where 'father thinks he knows best but really doesn't'. In fact he even asked Souta if he was okay when he last say him, and I'm sure if Souta didn't brush things off and mentioned he could use some help Sayo's father would have done something for him. Perhaps not much, but at least something.

Of course there is definitely some elements of childhood crush in Souta and Sayo's relationship. Souta seems to get jealous a couple of times when he sees Sayo with boys from her class, even though she never looks happy to be with them, as it's her father that requested them to be there, not her. But Souta doesn't seem to be the type to voice his unhappiness so he doesn't say anything about it. The first time after a bit of pouting and trying to ignore her, Souta forgets easily about it when she tells him about going on an adventure together. The second time there's unfortunately no chance for them to make up so easily.

I really enjoyed the parts with Souta and his father, even though they were quite brief and sadly Souta never did learn the clown he thought was 'God' was really just his dad. It's a pity Souta's grandfather was so against him, or perhaps Souta would have had someone there for him after his grandfather's death.

And I know I've alluded to it pretty heavily already, but yes, Souta does die, with Chibi by his side. They ended up getting stuck out in the cold during a winter storm and are found frozen and dead together. Though I am amazed that for someone who froze to death Souta didn't look like he was touched by frostbite at all. But maybe you can chalk up that little inconsistency to think that you were seeing it all through Sayo's memory so maybe she forgot that while he looked like he was just sleeping he should have looked more pale and a bit blue.

The saddest thing about the death is that it seems like it could have been avoided if just the smallest difference was made. Like I mentioned before that exchange with Souta and Sayo's father happened not long beforehand, and perhaps if Souta was more willing to make a plea to see Sayo or even just simply say that he was having trouble living on his own this could have turned out quite differently. But I think with seeing that Sayo was with her classmates again at her house probably had a part of why he didn't say anything. As before he more or less reacted the same and chose to keep a distance from her, maybe thinking that since he was poor he couldn't measure up to her classmates. But perhaps that's just speculation from my part, but it's how I read the scenes where he saw Sayo with his classmates.

But I guess Souta's death is what really drives the message of being kind to others and how important it is to give people a chance home. Which I think is a good message to remember during this season that to many is a season of giving and sharing to not only loved ones but also to those that are in need.


I feel a bit sorry for the movie having to open up the same weekend as the new One Piece movie. Especially since that movie has received an incredible amount of hype and publicity that Snow Prince had no chance of matching. I don't think I've seen the numbers for Snow Prince but from the media reports about One Piece: Strong World it wasn't the number one movie of the weekend, and most likely won't be for the week unless it starts breaking Japanese box office records as well. But the official site for Snow Prince is calling it a 'big hit', so it must being doing well regardless. And I hope it continues to do well.

11 December 2009

Music Station 11DEC2009 thoughts

Just finished watching tonight's episode. As I have to use a shared TV I ended up missing the first five or so minutes of the program but thankfully Matchy's and Snow Prince Gasshoudan's performances were closer to the end of the program.

As I expected when it was Matchy's turn to have his talk with the hosts they had Morimoto Shintarou there with him. Which was a nice touch as they both were quite comfortable around each other from having worked together in the Akuma Koishite drama.

For the performance, I have to wonder what state of mind Matchy was in while performing. I mean the song sounds good but the performance ended up being weird as Matchy just kept roaming around everywhere, making studio staff members have to duck out of the way as he left the stage area a few times. But I guess at his age and after being in the industry as long as he has you might as well just go all out even if it means being a pain to the staff.

Snow Prince Gasshoudan was the last act to perform. I really don't like the dance they do at the start at all. I prefer them not moving around so much while singing this song as all the moving just seems to be distracting and unnecessary. We do get a flock of more young Juniors as back dancers for this performance, and I think it would have been better if maybe they just did the dance while the actual group just stuck to the hand movements. What I did think was a nice touch for it though was that they had clips of the movie playing in the background, so good cross promotion and I think the song and the movie do go hand in hand very well.

Of course the most exciting part of this show is that they announced the official line-up for the Music Station super live program that will air on December 25th. The Johnny's acts that will be performing are SMAP, Tokio, Kinki Kids, V6, Arashi, NEWS, Kanjani8, KAT-TUN and Hey! Say! JUMP. That's right, it's Hey! Say! JUMP, not NYC Boys, that will performing on this program and it makes me so excited to see that. I thought we were going to have to wait until next year to see them performing as a group again so it was a pleasant surprise to see that I was wrong with that assumption. Though I do wonder what they are going to sing as they didn't have any cds released in 2009. I guess they could do Mayonaka no Shadow Boy again, but I am honestly and sincerely hoping it will be a different song. Like maybe one they haven't released yet.

10 December 2009

20th poll results

As I'm feeling rather productive today I feel it's about time to start up a new poll, which of course means posting the results of the last one.

Which upcoming special release single are you most interested in?

Yamashita Tomohisa - Loveless 56
LANDS (Akanishi Jin) - BANDAGE 29
None. 25
Snow Prince Gasshoudan - Snow Prince 21

I know after listening to all the singles, or in the case for the LANDS single watched the PV, I think for me Yamapi's single was my favorite of the three. Snow Prince Gasshoudan's single though is rather nice for a Junior group, especially the title track. I really hope the movie gets people to buy this single so it can stay in the charts for a while. And I found myself not being too impressed with BANDAGE. It's nice that it's different from what normally Johnny's releases, but I couldn't get myself to like it after a few listens. In fact the more I listened to it the less I liked it. And I'm not really a Jin fan so that doesn't endear me to try to like it either.

And as the end of the year is coming up I have a few ideas for end of year polls, starting with this one, Which group(s) do you want to see more of in 2010? You can vote for multiple groups in this one.

08 December 2009

Murakami's If or... butai returns and Fujigaya & Fuma on Tensai wo Tsukuru!

A couple of updates thanks to updates on Johnny's net.

First off Kanjani8's Murakami Shingo will be doing a butai next year during the month of February and it looks like it will be some kind of continuation of his earlier If or ... butai as this new one is called, If or ... F~M. The butai begins its run in Osaka before it heads over to Tokyo to finish its run ending on March 3rd.

Then the most recent update is in relation to Kis-My-Ft2's Fujigaya Taisuke as well as B.I.Shadow's Kikuchi Fuma. Information about attending filming for an episode of Tensai wo Tsukuru! Galileo has been put up and Fujigaya and Fuma is listed for being present for the filming of that episode, which will be on December 12th.

So with Nakajima Kento and Nakamura Yuichi being guests for the first episode then I think it's safe to assume anyone from Johnny's has a chance of being a guest on this program.

05 December 2009

Playing catch up

Since it's been a while since my last update I'm just going to lump all the various news tidbits I have to talk about in one post.

First off this upcoming Friday Music Station will have two Johnny's acts performing. Snow Prince Gasshoudan of course is one of them and the other is Kondo Masahiko, aka Matchy. I expect that they will make a big deal about the age differences and time in the agency between the two and that Morimoto Shintarou will do almost all the talking for his group.

I kinda hope they don't make Chino say something outside of his rehearsed lines, as he doesn't seem to have a clue about what he's doing and I find watching him look completely awkward makes me feel awkward too. Though I'm sure he'll get better if he stays in Johnny's but right now I think he needs a bit more experience so he will at least know if someone is talking to him he needs to respond with something.

The Tegomass concert DVD has finally been given a street date and is up for pre-order at the usual stores. The only difference between the two versions is the booklet, all the contents on the DVD is completely the same. And from looking at the listing for what is included on the DVD it looks like the concert is there in its entirety from what I remember when I was at the concert the day they filmed it. So I know I'm really excited about this release.

Also from reports from Tsubasa's current concert tour Tsubasa has said something about the future of the Tackey & Tsubasa unit. According to him he has talked to Tackey about doing something together again, so there is still hope for the unit despite the two mainly doing solo work for some time now.

And I think that was it. If not then I guess I'll have to make another post after all.

01 December 2009

Boys in snow.

And for another quick update, this time before I go to bed. I ended up picking up the LE version of the Snow Prince Gasshoudan cd that is officially released tomorrow but could be found on shelves today. Kinda wanted to get both versions of the cd, but I don't have much spending money until the end of the week. I could afford one version and picked this one, as I had the feeling that like with Nakayama Yuma w/ B.I.Shadow the DVD contents weren't going to be readily available for sharing. Of course like that time I'm only going to stream on this blog, for downloads you'll have to check another site in the morning to find the rest.

So without further ado here is the PV for Snow Prince which is a simple mix of boys (mainly Morimoto Shintarou with others) in fake snow and clips from the movie the song is the theme for, Snow Prince.

Link: SPG - Snow Prince

30 November 2009

LANDS mini-album

Just doing a quick update before I head off to school. But a mini-album for LANDS (Akanishi Jin) has been announced to be released on January 13th, 2010 and will have eight tracks, which includes the track of the recently released single BANDAGE. The mini-album is titled Olympus and no other information is available at this time. The usual online stores have it up for pre-order already and it looks to be only one version of the album, but there is a first press item, which is a 24 page booklet.

So it looks like Jin fans still have a lot to look forward to in the next couple of months.

29 November 2009

Yamato Nadesico Shichi Henge drama cast revealed

TBS has announced the cast of the drama adaption of the Yamato Nadesico Shichi Henge manga and it's quite Johnny's filled. Kamenashi Kazuya will have the lead and joining him from Johnny's to fill in two of the other four main male roles are Tegoshi Yuya and Uchi Hiroki.

Sanspo article.

I'm definitely happy to see Tegoshi in a drama again. He's not my favorite actor but just seeing the members of NEWS actively doing something is enough for me to be happy. And I've read some of the manga before and I really like he's a good fit for it.

With Kame in the lead it makes me wonder if KAT-TUN will be getting a group single early in 2010, as doing the theme song for this drama is the usual kind of tie-in the group gets.

I'm not sure about how I feel about Uchi being in the drama. I think it's mainly because I think the role could have easily gone to one of the older Hey! Say! JUMP members instead of him so I feel a bit bitter about that. I mean this is a series set in high school and I really do believe it's time for Hey! Say! BEST to start getting the high school roles over the older groups, but I guess that still might be some time coming for that change to take place.

24 November 2009

Johnny's at 2009's Kouhaku

Well midterms are still sucking most of my free time away but I'll try to finish my report in the next day or two as I will have a bit more free time. But until then to keep up with the news...

The official list for the Kouhaku program, which is a New Year's Countdown music program, has been announced recently. Like usual SMAP and TOKIO, who have been on the program for over ten years are of course returning but there are two other Johnny's groups joining the line up this year, Arashi and NYC Boys all for the white team. And for those not familiar with the program all the acts are devided into two teams, the female artists are the red team and the male are the white team and whoever gets the highest ratings collectively are the winners of the program. And I honestly can't remember the last time the red team won.

Official Kouhaku list. (Japanese only)

As many I was quite shocked to see NYC Boys on the list, as they are meant to be just a temporary unit but the more I thought about it the choice did not seem so strange. Kouhaku picks some of the top selling acts of the year to perform, so Arashi seems to be a no brainer there, and NYC Boys did sell over 200K copies of their single, which even some of the big acts in Japan don't do anymore these days. Unlike Hey! Say! JUMP, who have released nothing this year. Because I'm sure Johnny's would have had them there instead of NYC Boys if they were eligible but even if they were to release a new single in December it would be too late to have them invited. So they had to go with the closest thing, NYC Boys, IMHO.

Also this year has been a good year for Juniors, especially the younger ones and I think this is also a continuation of this. Especially in one of the articles it mentions that Juniors will be joining the group for there performance and hinted it would be the younger ones that won't be able to participate in Johnny's Countdown, so I would not be surprised at all to see Morimoto Shintarou get some screen time for this.

And then looking at the program itself, there's no denying the fact it is no longer the popular program it once was. For years the viewer numbers have been declining and less and less of the younger generation are watching, so groups that are hits with Japan's youth like Arashi, who's a hit with everyone these days, and NYC Boys who are targetted for the younger generation of the population are good choices for the program to pick to try again to reverse the declining ratings trend.

And that's about all I've come up with about this decision. I think keeping these factors in mind the decision makes more sense, but personally I think I'll be looking more forward to seeing Hey! Say! BEST all together on the Johnny's Countdown stage for the first time this year. And I hope they have a bit more of a presence at this year's Countdown than they did at the last one.

22 November 2009

Yamapi Short But Sweet concert report 21NOV2009

Because I am in the middle of mid-terms I've had to dedicate most of today to study so I just haven't had the time to write a full report. But I feel bad about making people wait (I know I need to respond to comments as well, but I have read them all and appreciate every one of them) so I've decided to do what I've done in the past and write a report in parts, updating the one post every time I finish the next piece of it. Hopefully I'll finish before I go to bed tonight.

As I ended up with standing tickets I didn't get into the venue until about 20-15 minutes before the concert began. But I did find a good spot behind all the seats on the 1st floor of seats (the arena section for Yokohama Arena) that gave me a view of the stage with the big stage area for the band the farthest away from me being on the direct other side of where I was. And as this was right next to the cameras at the arena there was no hope of taking a quick photo of the stage with my cell phone.

I think I did a pretty job with describing the stage with the highlights report, but as there are a couple things I want to add I'm going to copy and paste it and just add those things in to it.

First off, the staging for the concert had the arena full all 360 degrees in the arena (1st floor) and 2nd floor levels and then the center area around the actual stage had seats in four sections with stage tracks dividing them. So the stage was more or less cross shaped, with a big circle stage area in the middle and one of the sides had an another stage where the band (FiVe) and back singers were. On the ceiling there were four large disco balls with some kind of cone-ish looking decoration piece above them and around the rope/chord the balls were hanging from. Each was above a section of the center seating area. There was a huge piece that sat on the middle stage section that could be moved up and down. It had a large screen on each of its four sides, though at one point you could see into it, as the center was hollow. Lots of other moving set pieces on the stage, usually a floor panel that went up or down. And then there were two carts, one for each side, that were used to go around and through the crowd in the center area. Also there were four big screens near the ceiling that for the most part were reserved for the live footage of the concert for those, like me, who couldn't see Yamapi close up. And of course those also has the song lyrics as well.

When the concert started up there was an intro music piece and pretty much a mini laser light show. That center piece that was sitting in the center stage was raised up and so did a ring of the middle stage. Out from that ring came Yamapi going up on the center floor piece that was risen. Then Yamapi began his first number, Gomen ne, Juliet, and I believe the Juniors back dancing for him came out for this song as they were there for the first few songs. During the song he rode the carts in the center area once each. The song was followed by Yubiwa which I actually don't remember much about other than I began to recognize that it was Mis Snow Man back dancing for him at this point.

For MOLA the Juniors went off stage as the non-Johnny's dancers came on. On the screens of the center piece the PV from the NEWS DVD for the song played on it and the performance on stage pretty much mirrored the dance moves of the PV. It also kicked off the run of dance songs that didn't stop until his short MC.

The next song was I love you baby, which I didn't recognize and it didn't help that it was the only song that did not have subtitles on the screen for it. But at least I could tell he was singing in English for the song, though I couldn't understand all of the words.

Run From You had a part where he was dancing on the middle stage and what looked like colored flames (green for the most part) came out from around the stage. I say looked like because I didn't feel any heat, though later when it was definitely fire coming out around the stage I could feel the heat from those. So I'm not sure if it was a different kind of flame or some other effect but it looked great.

Also by this song I began to notice he was sweating, which wasn't too surprising as it was a surprisingly warm day that day compared to the colder weather it has been. (It was about 16C that day but most days recently it's been 8C.) I also happened to glance up on the screens with the lyric subtitles (different songs had different colored subtitles, BTW) and noticed a misspelling with 'finding' as 'fiending' so I payed a bit more attention and of course noticed the 'Its the way you still infect' and couldn't help but think the one writing the subtitles must have messed up the words. But I checked the lyric booklet when I got home and those mistakes are in there, which makes this song rather unintentionally humorous for me to think that Yamapi is singing a song about being obsessed with a girl that is giving him diseases. Though it definitely gives him a good reason to be running from her. XD

He also decided to skip a couple lines of the song, and since there was no voice when he did so I believe it's safe to assume he wasn't lip synching this song at least.

Crush on you rounded out the final dance heavy songs for this part of the concert. I don't think much about it stood out from the other songs he performed though it came off as another solid performance from him like all the songs had been so far. Though I want to say that a couple members of FiVe walked down to the center stage for this song, though it could have been Run From You instead, but either case it happened during either one of these songs.

After he finished with Crush on you he took a quick MC break. Didn't say much but sounded winded as he made his way to the stage with the band. He introduced his next song, Aoi, and all the lights turned blue as he sung the song. Honestly I think he should have taken a bit more time with the MC as I thought he didn't sound so good vocally on this song. It wasn't horrid but it felt like he was struggling a bit through it, which I blame on being short of breath from all the dancing before.

I can't believe I didn't recognize Love Song, though I knew it was a familiar song, but I just don't like how it sounds on the Touch album so I don't listen to it much. That being said, even though he was still struggling a bit vocally (there was a high note he tried to slid up to but it didn't sound like he made it at one point) I enjoyed the live, solo version of the song better. Durning this song he went from one side of the band stage to the other, walking on the sides of the seating area there.

After that he introduced FiVe and left the stage as they sang their song. I used to have mp3s of a few of their songs from when they performed still on Shounen Club and the song was defintiely one of those songs, so while I don't know the name myself I believe I can safely say it was one of their older songs. But I thought it was really nice that they got to be featured a bit at the concert and even got some lighting effects for their number. The four screen center piece even had special visuals for them with the lyrics being shown and special font.

After the performance there is a long introduction for the next song SNOW EXPRESS, with the screens showing graphics of snowflakes. Those disco balls I was talking about were moving up and down during this intro and what looked like one huge disco ball (the lights weren't on the stage yet) descended. Then as the song started up the spotlight lit up that ball and Yamapi was seen standing in it. It kinda looked like a cage ball, but there was a camera inside that gave us shots of Yamapi in it from a top angle. During the song the outside of the ball began spinning, about the same time rainbow colored lights shown around it, and then a bit later the middle part Yamapi was descended on its own. All through this there was fake snow that fell from the ceiling onto the stage and at the end of the number Yamapi was back on the stage.

21 November 2009

Yamapi Short But Sweet concert goods

As I'm dead tired and want to get some sleep this will be my last entry for today. The full concert report is going to have to wait for tomorrow.

I ended up buying at least one of everything as I was buying items for other people. I personally only bought an uchiwa and the photo set. So the only thing I have opened to take pictures of is the photo set, as I'm not going to be opening other people's things. So with that in mind here are photos of all the goods.

I actually thought they all looked rather nice. Well except for the pen light, that to me looks lame and I'm glad I just used my general Johnny's penlight that I bought at the Johnny's Shop.

I think the way they did the uchiwa was just wonderful. As you can see it's actually a mosaic of Yamapi photos to make up his head. Though they did go the cheap way for getting the colors and shadows right by putting the photos through color filters, but I think that's partly because it looks like they only wanted to use the photos taken on Yamapi's NYC visit for everything.

While you can't always judge a book by its cover I think this pamphlet probably will look as nice as most of the other goods. It's hard cover and as you can see has a simple cover design, but at the merchandise booth they had a sample picture and it looks like they have some really nice photos in it.

The clear file is a bit plain, though I guess it does have a certain asthetic to it.

The T-shirt is rather interesting with Yamapi actually featured on it. It looked rather small to me at the goods booth and I wish Johnny's would sell T-shirts in different sizes, as one size does not fit all.

While the pen light does look a little better close up, I still think it looks like a glorified electric glow stick. It even only has one setting from what I saw at the concert. But at least they got the concert title in the see through part of the stick, as it doesn't look so cheap that way at least.

I'm rather happy with the photo set. You get serious Pi with some silly and he isn't pulling the dead emotionless face in all of them. In fact I think this is one of the better photo sets I've seen for Yamapi, IMHO.

Yamapi Short But Sweet concert highlight report

Ok, just walked in the door a few minutes ago and I figure I'll be making three posts about the concert. This first one will be just highlighting the things that really stood out to me about the concert, the next will be for the goods (I picked up goods for otherwise so I have pictures of everything sold though I only got a photo set so it's the only thing I could open to take a photo of.) and the final will be a full report, as I want to check and verify the set list as he sung a few songs I'm not familiar with.

First off, the staging for the concert had the arena full all 360 degrees in the arena and 2nd floor levels and then the center area around the actual stage had seats in four sections with stage tracks dividing them. So the stage was more or less cross shaped, with a big circle area in the middle and one of the sides had an actual stage were the band (FiVe) and back singers were. On the ceiling there were four large disco balls with some kind of cone-ish looking decoration piece above them and around the rope/chord the balls were hanging from. Each was above a section of the center seating area. There was a huge piece that sat on the middle stage section that could be moved up and down. It had a large screen on each side, though at one point you could see into it, as the center was hollow. Lots of other moving set pieces on the stage, usually a panel that went up or down. And then there were two carts, one for each side, that were used to go around and through the crowd in the center area.

The lighting and effects were amazing. They put a lot of money into these concerts but I would say it was money well spent as it looked amazing throughout the whole thing. Lots of lighting effects throughout the whole thing, even FiVe got some for the one song they performed during the concert. But that middle stage piece I was talking about was used a lot and had a special graphic pretty much for every song.

For back dancers they used a mix of Juniors and non-Johnny's dancers. The Juniors used were M.A.D. and Mis Snow Man and I recognized a few of the non-Johnny's as the dancers that Yamapi used for his Music Station performance last night.

The song that probably had the most effects for it probably was SNOW EXPRESS (which was the only NEWS song Yamapi sung). It started after a FiVe did their song so Yamapi wasn't seen on stage as it had a long intro, with the theme of winter and snow being shown on the screens. Those disco balls I was talking about were moving up and down during this intro and what looked like one huge disco ball (the lights weren't on the stage yet) descended. Then as the song started up the spotlight lit up that ball and Yamapi was seen standing in it. It kinda looked like a cage, but there was a camera inside that gave us shots of Yamapi in it. During the song the outside of the ball began spinning and then the middle part Yamapi was descended on its own. Really, I can't think of any other words to describe it than amazing and wonderful. Oh, and there was even fake snow for this song too.

Another performance that really stood out was for Moonlight. Mainly because Yamapi gave a fan an experience of a lifetime. Midway through the song Yamapi stops singing and a fan from the center section is brought on stage. The girl looked completely shocked and bewildered, and I don't blame her as I don't think anyone in the audience knew what exactly was going on. But she was led up onto the stage by one of the back dancers and got to sit on a chair at the end of one of the stage tracks and then Yamapi continued with the song, singing it to her. He made his way over to where she was while singing and at the end handed her a handkerchief from his pocket while thanking her. By then she just looked completely ecstatic, and I can't blame her. I mean she had Yamapi personally serenading her.

After a dance interlude where Yamapi changes off stage into an extremely shiny suit with red jacket and black pants, he appears on stage again but inside the movable screen thing. You can see him through the side panels and he has a gun that he just starts shooting off and the screens show 'bullet holes'. The device lifts up (at sometime he discards the gun) and he and his back dancers do a short routine and then Yamapi picks up a semi-automatic rifle that's been placed on the stage. He then mows down the back dancers with it and they all 'fall' off the stage areas that they were on. He then begins to walk to the stage were the band is and familiar music begins to play. The screens show the title of the song, which you could tell what it was by then anyway, as Thriller. The 'killed' back dancers climb back on stage as zombies and the performance starts in full. The entire stage is given a Halloween look for the song. There are ghosts that are pulled up from somewhere in the center section at various parts of the song and of course everyone is dancing the infamous zombie dance on the stage. It was it bit surreal to see Yamapi having a tribute like that to Micheal Jackson, but it was a fun performance and worth seeing.

For the main MC Yamapi did rather well on his own, IMHO. He mainly just rambled from story to story but not with a lot of pauses and while there wasn't any combined theme or true order in what he was saying it was actually interesting to just hear him talk. He spoke about his time as a Junior, mostly about performing at his first concert as a Junior (Kinki Kids) and of course Tackey. He complained about Jin and Tegoshi, but mainly Jin as he went into to talking about the new NEWS DVD when he brought Tegoshi up.

He then sung a song from what I'm assuming is from his Junior days as I didn't recognize it at all. I'm guessing it's called Koi wa Mystery as the phrase was rather prominent in the chorus. Then as that ended a figure came up from the moving stage section were FiVe was. I couldn't tell who it was from were I was, but didn't have to wonder long as Yamapi introduced his guest, Ikuta Toma. Lots of cheering at his introduction. He joined Yamapi and they sung a song together, which I've found is called Yokubou no rain. They both used the ramps down in the center area, and both have the crowd there a lot of love with reaching down to touch their hands. After they both met on the stage to switch ramps they hugged each other for a long hug. Toma left after three songs, though he only really sang the one.

For the encore the center screen device began playing clips from all the dramas Yamapi had a major role in. It began with Buzzer Beat and moved its way backwards from there. Then it began showed a clip of Yamapi with Tackey from their Junior days before continuing to play clips from his Junior days as Yamapi returned but not anywhere near the stage. He instead showed up on the 2nd floor on a moving ramp. He went all around the arena on that floor as he sung two songs. Half way through the second and final song of the concert (Seishun Amigo) he made his way to the main stage by going through sections of the audience.

Then after the song was done and it was time to end it he went to the end of each point of the stage to say arigatou (thank you) to the audience. He left the stage by using the moving piece that Toma came up on.

Honestly I'm not a big Yamapi fan. NEWS is my favorite group and I like all of the members but he's one of the members that I don't follow very much and didn't really interest me too much. But I am so glad I decided in the end to go to this concert even though I seriously thought about not going. I have so much respect for Yamapi now as without a doubt you could tell he really loves his fans. From the way the stage was set up so the most people could get a chance to have him come by, to having the stages that rise so the audience in the higher seats can see him a bit closer, to having the carts go through the audience so he can reach out and touch the audience reaching to him and to making sure when he sang he looked up at the audience members in the seats on the other levels rather than just the ones in the center. Really, I just have so much respect for a performer that does their best to make sure everybody is enjoying their performance no matter where they are seated, and Yamapi did that in spades at the concert.

Seriously, reflecting on the concert I can't help but feel like this is Yamapi celebrating his career with Johnny's and doing so by giving his fans who support him these amazing concerts as his gift to them. It was truly very moving for me to see him shower everyone with so much love. I wish there was a way every Yamapi fan could come and see one of these concerts, as if a more casual fan like me could be so moved by it then I can only imagine how wonderful it would be for a big fan to experience it. But since I don't think it's going to happen I'm seriously praying for a DVD. I mean if Tegomass will be getting one they might as well let Yamapi have one too, as this is a concert truly worth seeing, IMHO.

20 November 2009

Jin's solo concert, and various other Johnny's tidbits

Because Johnny's seems like it's willing to go all out for Akanishi Jin's promotion with his movie coming out soon he will be getting his own solo concert. Or something that will be concert like at least, as it's described as a concert yet it's under the butai section at Johnny's net. Either way Jin will be singing at some point, both new and old songs from what was said in the news reports.

The concerts will be held throughout February at a hefty 11000Yen (about 120USD) ticket price. So I think that kills my liklihood of going, as I definitely do not like Jin enough to pay that much to see him, even though he seems to be more enjoyable to watch solo than when he is with KAT-TUN.

Of course I watched Music Station like usual tonight. I think if Jin was around people he liked, like Yamapi, more often I might like him a bit more. He was actually a bit cute as Yamapi was picking on him and of course his flailing after Yamapi touched his sensitive spot was pretty epic. And Yamapi needs to let this cute, devilish side of him out more as I found him rather cute as well as he goofed off with his friend.

Also there was a commercial for the Snow Prince single which had what looked like a couple of clips from what is most likely the PV for the song. It's the boys singing as the sit in chairs on a winter themed set, so nothing too exciting and hopefully the full PV will have more going on in it than that.

Also Yamapi will be returning to Music Station next week. I would have though Jin would be the one back, as his single actually releases that week but I guess not.

And I went looking for the Hey! Say! JUMP photo book today and in the three bookshops I checked I didn't find a single copy. The closest I got to finding one was one of the stores had a sign saying they were taking pre-orders for it, so I guess today isn't the release date afterall.

And tomorrow I'll be heading down to Yokohama Arena for the first concert of Yamapi's solo concerts. So expect my twitter to be active tomorrow and at least photos of the concert goods, followed by a concert report at some point afterwards. And since I don't have a good seat (in fact no seat at all, as it's a standing ticket) I'll probably go ahead and take notes, so hopefully I'll get as much as I can down.

18 November 2009

Hidarime Tantei EYE weekly drama!

The rumors have proven true again and Hidarime Tantei EYE has been announced on NTV's official site for the drama that it will continue as a weekly drama for the winter season beginning in January. It will air on Saturdays at 9PM, and the main cast of Yamada Ryosuke, Ishihara Satomi and Yokoyama Yu will be returning to reprise their roles. This is also Yamada's first time starring in a drama as the solo lead.

I'm personally really excited about this news, especially as I've been waiting for the rumors to be confirmed. But I really felt when watching the SP that the story would work well as a weekly drama. Plus I love the Yamada and Yokoyama scenes (I will be calling them the Yama Kyoudai/Yama Brothers from now on when it comes to talking about this drama.) and can't wait to see more of those. *spoiler* Especially with the twist of the SP being that Yokoyama's character is very much alive and actually one of the villians of the series. *spoiler*

And of course I hope that like with the SP Hey! Say! JUMP will be doing the theme song for the weekly series so we can finally get a new single from the group. And they can announce it soon or at least at the winter concerts, or even perform the song at the concerts. *____* Oh please Johnny's, be kind and let this happen. I think you've made HSJ fans wait long enough and it's time another J-Storm group that isn't Arashi get a release with some promotion.

17 November 2009

Code Blue season 2 officially confirmed & buying cds in Japan before the release date

The Fuji TV website has updated its Code Blue page to announce that the series will indeed be getting a 2nd season that will air for the winter drama season. It also confirms that most of the cast will be returning, which includes Yamapi, and mentions that it will on Monday nights instead of Thursday nights like the first season did.

Fuji TV Code Blue website. (Japanese only)

Also as a quick note, Yamapi's solo concerts have been expanded to now include shows in Osaka on January 6th & 7th. Johnny's net has the information up.

Now onto the other not so Yamapi related topic of this post. I've seen it mentioned every now and again in various conversations when it comes to new releases and I figured I would weigh in about the actual day releases come out. Now this is only for cds and DVDs for what I've seen, other media like books and magazines from what I've seen come out on the day they are posted to come out.

As most can figure out by looking at release dates officially Japanese cds & DVDs come out on Wednesday unless it's a special release of some sort. But if you follow the Oricon chart you see that the first day of sales that's counted is Tuesday. These sales numbers come from two things, pre-orders and people buying the cd/DVD that day. Because even though the official release date is on a Wednesday most stores will have the new releases out on Tuesday. And in the case of holidays they can be put out much sooner than that. In fact the releases for the week long holidays in Japan tend to get put out on store shelves almost a week before their release date.

So some of the 'early' leaks that you find on the internet sometimes are just from people who had picked up the cd/DVD the day the stores put it out to sell. And in that sense I have a bit of an early look at a release that doesn't officially come out until tomorrow...

I was able to pick up Yamapi's new single (just the LE cd with photo for now) today. I took a quick photo of one of my favorite pictures from the booklet, the photo that was included and the cd itself with obi. And I haven't gotten around to listening to it all, but I find myself liking the title track now that I've heard the full version with cd quality sound so I'm looking forward to listening to the other tracks.

16 November 2009

Kanjani8 New Year's concert & Christmas singles release, also the return of Code Blue?

It has been announced that this year Kanjani8 will be at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka for three nights, December 30-January 1st, and so will be having their countdown concert there this year. It looks like they will be doing the same thing they did last year with Kinki Kids for Johnny's Countdown, where they will try to splice the two concerts together.

Also over a three day span, December 23rd-25th, they will be releasing three singles, Gift ~Shiro~, Gift ~Aka~ and Gift ~Midori~. (I kinda like how each represents one of the traditional Christmas colors, with shiro = white, aka = red and midori = green.)

Sanspo.com article. (Japanese only)

I'm kinda sad that this means that NEWS won't be able to perform as a group, as whenever it comes to NEWS and Kanjani8 having conflicting schedules Ryo almost always is with Kanjani8. But at the same time I think I can understand why they are dividing the venues for Countdown, with so many groups participating, some with rather big fan clubs, it makes sense to ease the demand a bit by having one of the groups perform elsewhere. It kinda makes me wonder if eventually Countdown will end up split up between Tokyo and Osaka with multiple groups at each dome. Though it may not need to come to that if some of the groups start breaking up, though I don't see that happening for any of them, outside of Tackey & Tsubasa, but it looks like they'll just become solo artists afterall.

Also some news I don't want to claim as 100% official, though from where it was leaked it looks like it's most likely true, but Code Blue is said to be returning for another season. Of course with no official announcement there isn't much else known at this point other than it will of course be on Fuji TV once more and Yamapi will be a part of the cast.

I guess Yamapi is on a roll right now, with Buzzer Beat being a hit, his solo single and concert and now another drama lined up for him to star in. Hopefully this means that there will be some good news for NEWS soon. Though from the looks of things it'll probably have to wait until 2010 when Kanjani8 has finished doing their activity blitz.

And of course one other thing that has me rather anxious about is that this second season of Code Blue was on a rumor list for winter dramas, and also on that list was Hidarime Tantei EYE. So if the Code Blue prediction was right I'm praying HTEYE's prediction is correct too.

14 November 2009

Kanjani8 Tokyo Christmas Tree

I ended up going to Harajuku today to hang out and found that while Kanjani8 may not have a billboard at Shibuya (though I did spot one at the Takanobaba train station) they have something probably just as impressive, if not more so, in Harajuku. At one of the major road intersections (Meiji Street and Jingumae) there is a huge Christmas tree decorated in the Kanjani8 colors with the group's name in lights. The stand portion of it plays Kyu☆Jo☆Show!! at intervals I am assuming as it wasn't always playing the song when I passed by it. Of course I took a couple of pictures.

This is of course the bottom part of the tree which as you can see has a tree with each members' color used for a star for each one. This is where I'm guessing the speaker(s) must be to play the song.

I didn't take a picture of the tree itself until the sun had gone down so it would much more impressive at night. The four lines around Kanjani8's name change colors to match each member, except for Yokoyama Yu, as black really can't be done with lights. But there is a sequence where all the lines all switch from one color to the next and inbetween the change they go dark, so maybe that's supposed to be black. Otherwise when the lines are all different colors there is a white line, which I'm assuming is supposed to be for Yoko for that part.

I was far from the only one that stopped to take photos of the tree also. So I think this is a great idea to advertise the group as it stands out much more than yet another billboard. Also they'll have an excuse to keep it up until the holidays are over as well.

13 November 2009

Johnny's Fan Appreciation Day

Well Johnny's has announced to the fan club members of their various fan clubs that they will be having a Fan Appreciation Day on December 13th. They will be holding a baseball game, with the Johnny's boys being the players of this game, at the Tokyo Dome and are of course letting all fan club members apply to watch the game. They haven't announced any of the participants yet and balloting ends on Monday November 16th.

They're being pretty strict with the application process as well. As a fan club member can bring only one other person with them, but only if they are a member of a fan club as well or if a Hey! Say! JUMP underage fan club member needs a guardian to come with them. If they are taking some one the information for that person must be submitted in the ballot. Also they cannot then turn around and have that other fan club member submit an application with them bringing them as their guest.

So there's little doubt that they are trying to make sure those applying will be the ones attending and not have tickets sold off to be resold for a profit. I would also think this is why they are asking not to let any of the press find out about it yet so it's kept a bit on the down low to try to avoid people finding ways around the restrictions. Though somehow I have the feeling that if they're being so strict with application they may actually make sure to check for proof of membership or the like at the venue when seating for the event.

Honestly I'm glad they're being this strict. Yes it does seem rather unfair for non-fan club members, but considering that this is for all the fans of any of the groups, with some fan clubs having more than 500,000 members while the Tokyo Dome sits 70,000 max, I'm pretty sure that they will easily fill all those seats with the fan club members themselves. Also there are always people that just use their membership to get tickets to turn around and sell off, and this system seems to be trying to deter that, so those that ballot are the ones that really do want to see the event.

Also I have decided to try my luck and balloted myself for the event. I figured I should try as I got the You & J membership in hopes of balloting for a NEWS concert with it, but I'm not sure if that will actually happen now as I only have until about the end of February here in Japan and they haven't announced a group concert yet. So I figure I might as well use it for something, and I really feel this event is more than worth while to do so.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that you have to pay for the ticket as well. It's only 3500Yen each, with then a 500Yen charge added on for handling and the like, but considering how much a concert ticket tends to cost I don't think it's a bad price. Also they have a schedule up for when to expect things to happen, like the balloting announcement (Nov. 20th), the payment deadline and when they will send out the tickets. So by the end of this upcoming week I will either be lost in joy or slightly depressed.

12 November 2009

Arashi in drama special and Kusanagi in a movie

Catching up in news now that I have a little free time, there have a couple of announcements over the past couple of days.

The first is that all five members of Arashi will be in a drama special. An air date hasn't been given other than near the beginning of 2010 and it will air on Fuji TV. The title of the drama will be Saigo no Yakusoku which translates into English as, Last Promise.

Daily Sports article. (Japanese only)

The other announcement is for SMAP's Kusanagi Tsuyoshi, who will starring in an upcoming movie. His co-star is Takeuchi Yoko and the film is titled Boku to Tsuma no 1778 Monotagari, which simply translates to 1778 Stories of Me and My Wife.

The film is based off a true story about a sci-fi author who writes a short story everyday for his wife, who is dying from cancer, after taking a doctor's advice that laughter can help the immune system.

The movie is set to finish filming at the end of December and looks like it will be strongly promoted overseas as a Cannes showing has already been planned for it.

Nippon Cinema article. (English)

After reading the article for this movie it really makes me want to see it, even though I'll probably end up in tears. But this is the kind of tear jerker movie that I'm really weak against so I hope I get a chance to see it.

11 November 2009

Tokyo Dome City Illumination event

So today was the Tokyo Dome City Illumination event today, which was the beginning of Tokyo Dome City's holiday light displays being lit during the evenings. As I didn't go there as one of the Hey! Say! JUMP fanclub members that were selected to come, I wasn't actually sure when this would begin today. So I decided to just come by after school and stay if the event hadn't happened yet. I ended up being lucky that I ended up at Tokyo Dome City about fifteen minutes before 6 PM. But as I was walking towards the stage area at Tokyo Dome City I passed by the Dome itself and saw the lines the girls selected to be near the stage were lining up to get in order to begin heading over.

It was rainy all day, and while it let up quite a bit near the start of the event it began coming down pretty bad near the end, so I ended up getting rather wet as I didn't want to block the view of anyone behind me I didn't pull out my umbrella and had to rely on my hoodie to keep me dry.

I first just found a place on the second floor of the Tokyo City Dome mall area and found a place that I could see a bit of the stage. I stayed there until the first part was over, which was just some MC talking for a bit. There was a break and during this break I took the chance and went down to the ground floor and actually found a spot along the railing separating the selected fans and the other viewers there. I had a good view of the stage and I took a picture real quick before they began the main event.

Arioka Daiki, Yamada Ryosuke and Chinen Yuri were introduced and they came out singing NYC. They had four Juniors back dancing for them, but I only recognized Otsuka Yuya amoung them. I couldn't hear much of what was said because the fangirl screams were so loud. They all had really nice winter coats on, with Yamada in red, Chinen in green and Daiki in blue. But I was happy to notice that Arioka talked quite a bit. In fact he and Yamada easily talked the most of the three. They had the crowd eventually yell out 'Hey! Say! JUMP' and lit up the lights. The lights are all a part of these really huge structures. I took a picture of one of them as I was leaving to show you kinda what I mean.

But after the lights were turned on I did catch what they were saying right after, which was just saying how 'awesome' and 'pretty' the lights were. They then performed Yuuki 100%, which the Juniors left after performing. The HSJ trio stayed on stage as the lady doing the MC led them in showing some of the other lights around the Tokyo Dome City area that couldn't be seen from the area the stage was in. Then they brought the news photographers on stage and took photos of the three with the crowd as the background. After that it was an interview with the trio getting asked questions about what they thought about the lights and various topics about Christmas.

At the end the three huddled together to decide on what to yell out together to the crowd. They messed up the first time and had to do it a second time. Then they left the stage and that was pretty much the end of the event. I headed home soon after as I have homework to do and I was starving.

10 November 2009

Sakurai Sho to star in winter 2010 drama

It's been announced that Sakurai Sho will be starring in a new drama that will air in the winter quarter that will be an adaption of the Tokujo Kabachi!! Kabachitari!! 2 manga series. This series has been adapted into a drama once before back in 2001 and had good ratings with the average being 19.3%

The series is a workplace series that focuses on the characters in a legal document firm. It will begin airing sometime in January on TBS.

Anime News Network article. (English)

I know I'm not surprised to see an Arashi member get a drama, as it seems now that they are the 'it' group one of them will star in a drama every drama season. I will also fail to be surprised if the group will sing the theme song to the drama and it will be released as a single, as that also seems to becoming the norm.

I just hope other Johnny's will get attached to dramas for this upcoming season pleaselethidaremetanteieyebecomearenzokudramaplease as well.

08 November 2009

Professor Morimoto, the younger

Well it looks like Morimoto Shintarou is going to continue to be busier than his older brother as it has been announced that he will be a regular in a new variety program, Ocha no Mizu Hakase. The program will air on TBS starting on November 17th at 7:55PM and will air every Tuesday after. And while it is a variety program it promises to have an educational slant by having its regulars act as professors as they go on location to learn about new things.

In the Mainichi article it mentions that one of the adult regulars mentions he has a son about MoriShin's age and that he hopes to ask Johnny if they could get Morimoto Ryutarou on the program as well as a guest.

Mainichi article.
(Japanese only)

I'm actually rather happy to know that they sound like they will try to get Ryutarou on the program as well, even if it's only as a guest. But as he really has done so little lately I think it would be nice if he could do something like this ever once and a while.

07 November 2009

KAT-TUN Break the Records DVD & Kansai Jrs. concert

As expected KAT-TUN will have a DVD for their Break the Records concerts. It is set to be released on December 12th, so if you need to figure out what to get for the KAT-TUN fan in your life then you now have an answer. It comes in two editions, LE and RE, with the difference being that the LE has an extra DVD with documentary footage and interviews and of course being more expensive. Pre-orders are up for the DVD in the usual places, though as a note the cdjapan listing is incorrect in regards to the date of the show that the footage is taken from. KAT-TUN of course did not have a show in the Tokyo Dome on the 15th of July but they had one for the 15th of June, so that's probably the actual concert that will be on the DVD.

Honestly I think I'm more excited at the idea that Johnny's is on to releasing a concert from the summer so hopefully we won't have to wait much longer for a release date for the Tegomass concert DVD, which is the one I'm really looking forward to getting now that I have the latest NEWS concert DVD.

Also in other news, the Kansai Juniors will be having a string of concerts in December in of course Osaka. The concerts are divided up over the dates by Kansai Junior groups. This means from Decemeber 1-6 Veteran will be featured, then December 8-13 will be B.A.D., December 15-20 is BOYS and ending things December 21-25 will be Nakayama Yuma w/7 West.

05 November 2009

Kinki Kids new album and Koichi's 2010 Endless Shock

Johnny's net has updated for another December release, the new Kinki Kids album. And in keeping with their album name tradition this one is simply titled J album. It will have their last three singles, Secret Code, Yakusoku and Swan Song and eight new songs (nine for the RE version). The LE will come with a DVD with the PVs for the singles and their TV ads. The LE will also have special packaging and both LE and RE will come with a 28 page booklet.

Johnny's net listing. (Japanese only.)

It's already up on cdjapan for pre-order, and the Snow Prince single is up on that site as well finally.

And I guess it makes sense for them to release a new album now that they have a tour this winter. I wish all groups touring this winter also had an album for it. *coughhsjcough*

It does make me wonder what happens if Kinki Kids ever gets through the full alphabet for their albums. Though I guess by the time they would probably manage that it would be time for them to retire.

Also Domoto Koichi's schedule for his Endless Shock butai is up for 2010. It will be split in two, the first run being in February and March while the second run will be in July. It will all take place in the same venue in Tokyo.

19th poll results

Guess it's time for me to keep things moving for my polls now that this is finished.

Should Jounetsu JUMP have been released as a single?

Yes. 63
No. 20

I'm not surprised that the majority agreed with me, that Jounetsu Jump should have been a single. Though I think a lot of Hey! Say! JUMP fans would love to have had just about anything released as a single for the group this year. Hopefully Johnny's has something great in store for the group next year or will be really kind and give us a cd release for December. I guess until then there is the photo book that will be released this month to look forward to.

Next question, Which upcoming special release single are you most interested in?