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?

02 November 2009

Snow Prince Gasshoudan single release

I knew this was coming since I saw that Snow Prince Gasshoudan was singing the theme song to the Snow Prince movie. The group is getting a cd debut, though it is a temporary unit like the original Hey! Say! 7 was.

The single is set to release December 2nd, which is about two weeks before the movie opens in theaters in Japan and will have two editions. The LE will be the usual LE with a DVD of the PV and making of segment. It does has a different B-side tracks though, one which is simply titled Snow Prince Gasshoudan, the karaoke track for the title track and the muscial accompaniment of Snow Prince Gasshoudan. The RE also has the title track but the other tracks are different. One is a Chistmas song medley with a karaoke track version of it and the other is Bitter Moon, the song the group has been singing on Shounen Club together.

I think the most interesting thing to note is the line up for the group, as it is different than what has been given in the past few months. Of course Morimoto Shintarou is a part of the group, though oddly Tanaka Juri isn't even though he's been performing with the group since it was put together. I guess Johnny's must of decided that he's more a part of Hip Hop Jump than this unit. But then again Yoshino Shota isn't included either and he doesn't have a group. So maybe they were just deemed too old. The ten other Juniors that will be in the group with MoriShin are, Kishimoto Shintarou, Nakamura Reia, Kurita Kei, Otsuka Yuya, Horinouchi Tatsuya, Okada Sousei, Haba Yuki, Hashimoto Ryo, Inoue Mizuki and Chino Aoi. Apparently Chino Aoi is only eight years old and with the oldest being 13 the average group age is 10.5 years old, blasting all previous young groups Johnny's has had release a cd record. Hence why Juri and Yoshino could have been 'too old' for the group as they probably would have brough that age average up.

Johnny's net listing, w/cd covers.
(Japanese only)

Daily Sports article. (Japanese only)

I really hope this is the end of 'the youngest group to debut' phase from Johnny's. I don't see how they can put together a younger group, I mean they have an eight year old, which I didn't think they even could have.

Though I guess it does make more sense that the age restriction is the 'old enough to commute on the trains' and not a definite age that I read from an article about Johnny's. And I know I've seen some really young kids along on the trains while here in Japan. But really, I think I'm ready for some older boys to make a debut now. Especially since that debut would have a greater chance of being a full debut and not a temporary one.

01 November 2009

2/3 of NEWS to be a part of a variety show

It was recently announced that 2/3rds of NEWS, Koyama Keiichirou, Kato Shigeaki, Masuda Takahisa and Tegoshi Yuya will have a regular segoment on a new variety program titled Soukon. Their segment will feature them having to do various running goals and they will also be planting trees as they earn points from these goals as a part of Lawson's green project.

Yomiuri online article. (Japanese only)

As a NEWS fan I'm pretty excited about this, even though I'm not sure how interesting it will be to see these four run every week. But I guess if they change things up enough it could be interesting. And in one of the articles about the program Shige mentions that he would like to run a big marathon, so it would be interesting to see if they can reach that goal, as marathons are something you need to train hard for. I guess we don't have to worry much about these four not being in shape for a while.