28 February 2009

Tackey's upcoming butai is named and new single announced

The title for Tackey's upcoming butai in late March through April has been announced Takizawa Enbujo '09 Tackey & Lucky LOVE. It was also announced that for the butai Tackey will be releasing another solo single, which is still untitled, for the theme song.

Daily Sports article. (Japanese only)

It seems to be some bitter sweet news for Tackey & Tsubasa fans. As they will have a release from at least one half of the duo but then there's the fact that T & T haven't released anything after Tackey began releasing these solo cds, so it can be seen as a bit worrisome. Especially since Johnny's wanted them to be solo artists in the first place and their sales haven't been the most steller compared to the other groups around the time they did. Hopefully they release something together soon to put their fans' minds at ease.

26 February 2009

New Kanjani8 album announced

According to reports on the Recomen radio program Yoko and Hina announced that Kanjani8 will be releasing an album next month, on April 15th, and that it will be titled Puzzle. There seems to be two versions of the album, an LE with a DVD that will have PVs of special sub units for the album and then a RE with solo songs for all the members.

Kanjani8 LJ community with the news. (English)

Not a big Kanjani8 fan, though I liked the songs off their last single, but it's nice to see one of the other non-Arashi/KAT-TUN groups finally announce a new release for 2009. Hopefully Tokio, NEWS and Hey! Say! JUMP won't be far behind now. Especially since Russ-K has updated their website for their next campaign so hopefully that means a new single from NEWS for that.

EDIT: cdjapan has the album up for pre-order.

Puzzle [Regular Edition] / KANJANI8

Puzzle [w/ DVD, Limited Edition] / KANJANI8

23 February 2009

Group Review: NEWS

I want to try something different for this blog, as I don't want to get stuck if there isn't any news to report or I haven't watched an episode of something yet. So I came up with an idea to do a group review of sorts, which will be me just going through the Johnny's groups and giving my thoughts on them and the members of the group. Beginning with the group that got me into Johnny's, NEWS.

I didn't get into NEWS until they had just made their comeback with Hoshi o Mezashite being their latest single at the time. They have always retained the top spot for my favorite Johnny's group though they now have a couple of close seconds.

For group favorites, it took me a while to settle on one, which was Kato Shigeaki. Even though he isn't the best singer or dancer of the group and looks the least idol like, I love him the most of the group. I think a lot of it is because he is un-idol like so I feel I can relate to him easier than the rest. That and he always seems ready with a story to tell about his day or his past experiences and he does a good job with keeping them interesting. And he has a great smile, which for me is a big thing as one of the most attractive things to me is a smile.

After Shige everyone else just rotates positions constantly. Though Nishikido Ryo, Tegoshi Yuya and Koyama Keiichiro tend to stay near the top more than Yamashita Tomohisa and Masuda Takahisa.

I like Ryo because he's a gap kind of person. I mean he looks cool and can act cool but really he's a nice guy at heart. His smile is still a bit scary looking to me but there's something earnest about him that I've come to like it over time.

Tegoshi I liked early on because he has a good voice. And when he was younger he was just adorable looking. I'm not sure if I can get used to the 'sexy' Tegoshi as he's stuck with a bit of a babyface so 'sexy' doesn't seem to suit him much at all. But I think he's probably come the furthest in the group since their debut.

I don't think one can like either Koyama or Shige without liking the other as they spend so much time together you just have to follow one of them to get updates about the other. Koyama took me a while to form an opinion of but because I was following Shige as a fan I eventually came to like Koyama by approximation. Also as a regular Shounen Club viewer I got a regular does of him there and I love how he's like the caring older brother to all the younger Juniors.

Yamapi has the 'cool' look to him but it's taken me some time to really begin warming up to him. I think its mainly because he doesn't seem to be able to express himself well and comes off as guarded most of the time. But he seems to slowly becoming more and more relaxed nowadays and is looking more like his Junior days where he looked truly happy to be doing what he was doing and being with the people he was with.

I still haven't figured Massu out yet. He seems so reserved so I don't think I know enough about him to form an opinion just yet. He does seem like a genuine nice guy though and I like his smile so he has that going for him though.

And in a nutshell those are my current thoughts about NEWS. I think the only other thing that I want to say is that a new release from them is well overdue. Johnny's needs to remember they have other groups outside of Arashi, KAT-TUN and Kinki Kids that they need to release something for this year. But that's a rant for another day.

And to finish ending this completely off topic, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Kamenashi Kazuya!

Sakurai Sho news

A couple of news bits for Arashi's Sakurai Sho.

First off, from a casting list for the 7th episode of Uta no Onii-san it looks like Sho will have a guest appearance. Of course since this information is just a list of people in the episode it's hard to tell how large or small this guest role will be for now.

arashi_on LJ post (English)

And then it's been announced that Sho will host the Music Lovers Dream Live 2009 program on NTV. The program will air on March 24th and will run for about two hours. There isn't much more information about it beyond that yet.

NTV official website (Japanese only)

22 February 2009

J-Rock Live Tour '09

I know this time last year I wasn't paying much attention to all the Johnny's concerts, but I have the feeling that the rock groups are doing more this year than they had last year. Not only do they have the concerts with Matchy this month, but they have a one-off concert next month for White Day, and then now a new concert series has been announced over at Johnny's net, J-Rock Live Tour '09, from March 29th to April 29th.

It is listed to be six concerts in total with Question?, FiVe, and Flat Five Flowers listed as the performers. And this time it will be in four different cities in Japan, Hokkaido, Tokyo, Aichi and Hiroshima.

This makes me wonder if Johnny's is trying to amp up these groups for an eventual debut or just feel like that they have enough fans that they might as well let them have their own concerts. I guess time will tell in the end.

21 February 2009

Koyama and Shige to appear on Kiseki no Kizuna

I know I'm a bit late to report on this, but I really do want to advertise it. But Koyama and Shigeaki will be on the program Kiseki no Kizuna on March 13th. Koyama will be the MC for the program while Shige gets to break into the world of overseas reporting as he talks to Yamaguchi Eriko, a woman in Bangladesh who is working to design bags that the people there can make and sell to bring in income for themselves.

LJ entry on news_jpop

I'm rather excited about this as I love to see celebrities using their ability to hold people's attention to help give them insights about things they may never think or know about otherwise. Not to mention giving some of their spotlight to the people that are working hard to make a difference in the world I think is rather admirable as well.

I think this is a good match for Shige as he seems like the kind of person that could really appreciate what is trying to be achieved from the kinds of things he writes his essays about. I hope he writes an essay or two at least about this experience as I find them thoughtful and sometimes rather insightful.

19 February 2009

Uta no Onii-san first impressions

As I realize that I'm only a couple of episodes away from getting about halfway through this drama I figure it's about time I wrote up my thoughts about the first episode of this drama. (laugh)

This is the kind of drama I tend to like on default on the fact that it's light and fun. And seeing Ohno look so grumpy in such a bright and cheery looking costume amuses me so.

The cast overall I think is good, except for one person, the girl playing the ex-girlfriend of Ohno's character, Yano. She's a singer by trade and this is her first acting role and it really shows as she comes off stiff and I find it hard to take her seriously. Especially in any seen where she has to cry as it looks so fake. But other than that I enjoy everyone else. Ohno does well and I can see why people liked him so much in his previous drama, Maou.

The 'kids love Yano though Yano says he doesn't like them' theme does well with showing how uncomfortable Yano is with being on the program. But you can tell that once you get past his apathetic and 'oh woe is me' exterior he's a good guy and does care about others. Which I think is where his character development in the drama will be, learning that he should like about others more. The other thing will be the heavy handed theme of 'everyone has to deal with hardships so you should always do the best you can no matter what you are doing.' And while I can agree with the ideology I wish they didn't through it into the audience's faces so blatantly.

Overall I've liked what I've seen so far of the series and will be sticking with it until the end unless it somehow goes offtrack from it's current progress, which I really don't see happening.

18 February 2009

Belated Birthday Wishes, again.

Ok, I feel like a complete failure now that I release that over the weekend that I completely forgot to say anything about Kusano's birthday on the 15th. I mean it's not like I completely forgot it as there were posts about it on the LJ comms but it just slipped my mind when it came to posting for that day. And since I do like Kusano I feel terrible for it.

But from a little snippet from Yamapi's blog, that even without the name mention just has to be about Kusano, those who did remember made the day worth it for him. Which makes me so happy to first hear that he is back in Japan and that he's still hanging out with the News members.

Hopefully soon we can get some official news for him, like his own series of concerts. (This I would die for and sell a kidney if I had to for a ticket.) So come on Johnny's, don't let this fangirl down and give me another reason to hand my money over to you. (laugh)


17 February 2009

Hey! Say! JUMP Spring Concert 2009

Johnny's net has updated with information for the spring concerts for Hey! Say! JUMP. The most eye catching thing about this news is that Hey! Say! 7 will have their own concerts. I only hope that later BEST also get to hold their own concerts sometime after these concerts. I mean I like HS7 but I want to see more of HSB.

One thing I noticed is that there's a sizable gap of time between the Osaka concerts, the last on April 5th, and the Hiroshima concert, April 19th. It's a bit odd to see such a gap unless there's something planned for that time, and I'm personally betting that it will be a new cd release (finally!). I mean it makes sense to have new material to promote with a new concert, most of Johnny's other acts have their concerts based off their albums. HSJ has yet to release an album but they have tended to time their concerts so far after a new single at least.

Because of the dates and locations in the end I won't really have a chance to see them this time. But I'm not as heart broken about it as I thought I would be, but I think that's mainly because I figure at least I'll be in the right place at the right time for a HSB concert, which I'd die to see. And I'm still hoping that if I'm right and that gap is for a new release promotion it won't be just a new single, but rather a new single and their debut album. Johnny's can't posibbly make us wait much longer for that, or at least that's what I'm hoping.

16 February 2009

Drama news

A couple of bits of upcoming drama news.

First off the Gokusen 3 special has been given an air date of March 28th. Being a big Takaki fan this makes me happy to hear as I'm really looking forward to seeing more of him. Now only for him to get another drama role sometime soon hopefully...

NTV Official Gokusen website.
(Japanese only.)

Secondly, another spring drama starring a Johnny's has been announced. This time it's a TBS drama and will star SMAP's Nakai Masahiro.

Yahoo!Japan news article.
(Japanese only.)

And lastly, the winter drama, 33pun Tantei which starred Kinki Kids' Domoto Tsuyoshi, is getting a sequel for the spring season. So I guess it won't be hard to guess when the next Kinki Kids single will be released. >.>

Yahoo! Japan news article. (Japanese only.)

14 February 2009

Uchi concert update and shameless self-promotion

The second part of Uchi's solo concert series has been updated on Johnny's net. There are three more concert dates added. Two in Osaka and one in Nagoya. Still no ward on which Juniors will be with him, but I'd be surprised if there's a major change from the Juniors that were a part of the concerts last time weren't there for this new leg.

And because I've decided to be a bit shameless as I need to work on earning some money to attend these concerts and butai I've been saying I can go to, I've begun a sales post over on my LJ account, here. It'll be mainly Johnny's items and I'll continue it on once I'm in Japan and can find those Johnny's goodies one really can't find outside of Japan easily.

13 February 2009

Time Capsule: August 8th, 2007

I'm dead tired so I'm just putting this old entry up from my LJ. It's one of the earliest Johnny's posts I made and it makes me feel rather nostaligic looking at it again as it's all about me discovering Yamada and the original Hey! Say! 7. Especially watching all the clips I had to re-find as all the old links had gone done.


"I am slowly getting sucked into JE more and more everyday. I've done quite a bit of reading up on JE and it's kinda interesting to see how it works with who gets debuted and the whole structure of the thing.

Recently I've become a Ryosuke Yamada fan from this. Mainly thanks to the Taiten Gakuen Q live drama and the debut of Hey!Say! 7. He's such a cute little thing I just want to give him a hug. The Hey!Say! 7 unit (Hay!Say! for the current Heisei era in Japan and the era all the members were born in and 7 for 2007 the year the group was put together) is supposed to be a temporary unit put together to sing the OP and ED of the Lovely Complex anime series. Their single went on sale last week and sold over 120K units, which is pretty big for sales in Japan and it's still at number 1 for its second week. It kinda makes me wonder if they will keep the group temporary or not since NewS started off being a temporary group too.

But here's a recent interview with him. It's cute when he tries to impersonate Yamapi and the idea of him and Kame hanging out and jumping on a bed is just adorable. And it's pretty amusing that he actually gives his mother's age outright and that she's a huge Kinki Kids fan, which is probably why Ryosuke looks up to Koichi Domoto so much.


And here is Hey!Say! 7 in the Heyx3 telephone box. They pretty much just introduce themselves and talk about one of their senpais that they look up to.


The entire making of segment of the 'Hey! Say!' PV from the LE version of the Hey!Say! 7 CD release. My favorite part is near the end when they're doing the cover shoot and you can see the box crates the shorter members have to stand on so their heads are all about level:



And on an end note videos from NewS' latest DVD are filtering onto youtube. I haven't had the time to watch them all but I this clip dorkily cute. It's NewS doing a cover of the new Kanjani8 song 'Kanfuu Fighting'. The little bits of Kanfuu in the performance are pretty cute, IMHO.


And since it's the 14th in Japan already, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Uekusa Yuta!

12 February 2009

ARASHI Around Asia 2008 in Tokyo DVD

When I saw the e-mail from cdjapan a few minutes ago, I have to admit I got rather excited in the hope that it might be a new release from Hey! Say! JUMP, NEWS or Tokio. So I was disappointed to see it being another Arashi release. But I guess a tour DVD is to expected from them, I just wish another Johnny's group other than Arashi or KAT-TUN would release something soon, you know?

But for thsoe who are Arashi fans it looks like they didn't hold back with extras for this DVD. There's a bit of back stage footage being mentioned in the listing, which for any group is fun to watch.

ARASHI Around Asia 2008 in Tokyo / Arashi

Back again.

I'm sorry for disappearing for the past couple of days. I had mid-terms and just didn't have the time to update. And it just figures news starts popping up when I'm busy like that. -__-;

First off it's being reported that Shigeaki from NEWS will be starring in a play coming this late spring/ early summer called, Seminar. The Tokyo run will be from May 17th - June 3rd. And then it changes venues to Osaka from June 9th - June 14th.

This has me very excited as I love Shige and I now have a very real chance of seeing him onstage for this play. Hopefully I'll still have money for it with KAT-TUN having their concerts in May as well.

Also Johnny's net has put up information for the 'second part' of Uchi's solo concerts. He'll be performing in the Tokyo Budokan on March 7th and 8th. It hasn't been mentioned which Juniors will be performing with him but I'm sure it'll be at least close to the line up he had for the Tokyo concerts for 'part 1' of his concerts.

It's that time for news about the next season's dramas come out. First is that SMAP's Goro Inagaki will have a drama special based on his late night variety show Goro's Bar. It will have the same cast as the show and will have fellow SMAP member Takaya Kimura as a guest appearence.

Tokyograph article. (English)

Next is that it looks like there won't be a season without someone from Arashi having a drama. This time it's Matsumoto Jun's turn again with the TBS drama Smile, that will co-star Aragaki Yui. Apparently his character is supposed to be half-Japanese, half-Filipino, which makes me go o.O as he doesn't look half-Filipino at all.

Blog with further information. (English)

08 February 2009

Memories kanji and romaji lyrics

I really like this song so I decided to go ahead and transcribe it. I'm almost tempted to go ahead and try translating it as I understand what the lyrics say but I still don't think my Japanese is up to the level to do a decent job with translating song lyrics. As song lyrics tend to use grammar rather liberally in all languages, so I have a lot of respect for those who are capable of translating songs well.

But enough about that, here is the transcriptions.

Memories (kanji)

つらく悲しいときは 今日の笑顔を
思い出して歩いて行こう また会う日まで
道に迷うときは 歌を歌おう
切なくても 眩しい日々が
僕らを迎えてくれる いつでも
だから Always Go My Way...
心で覚えたもの 未来へ繋ごう
行き止るも怖がらすに 何度でも
Always Go Your Way...
目には映らないもの 信じ生きよう

忘れないで ひとりじゃない

空は広いのに どこにも行けない
Always Go My Way...
転がり続けいつか 夢叶えよう
傷ついてもあきらめずに 何度でも
Always Go Your Way...
動き始めた僕ら 明日を生きよう

忘れないで ひとりじゃない

Memories (romaji)

Tsuraku kanashii toki wa Kyou no egao wo
Omoi dashite aruite ikou Mata au hi made
Michi ni mayou toki wa Uta wo utaou
Setsunakute mo Mabushii hibi ga
Bokura wo mukaetekureru Itsudemo
Dakara Always Go My Way...
Kokoro de oboeta mono Mirai e tsunagou
Iki tomari mo kowagarasu ni Nando demo
Always Go Your Way...
Me ni hautsuranai mono Shinji ikiyou

Wasurenaide Hitori jyanai
Minna koko kara saki wa...

Sora wa hiroi noni Doko nimo ikenai
Sonna kigashiteita kedo
Always Go My Way...
Korogari tsutzuke itsuka Yume kanaeyou
Kizutsuite no akiramezu ni Nando demo
Always Go Your Way...
Ugoki hajimeta bokura asu o ikiyou

Wasurenaide Hitori jyanai
Minna koko kara saki wa...

06 February 2009

Upcoming Spring butai

Well Johnny's net has a couple of new entries in its butai (stage performance as in plays and musicals) section.

The first being a play for Junior Toushin Yoshikazu, who hasn't been seen for some time. I think most people remember him for being the first fifth member of A.B.C. when they were aptly named A.B.C. & Toushin Yoshikazu. His play is called Ashita Blog (Tomorrow Blog) and from April 1st through May 9th will be performed in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Fukuoka, Okinawa and Nagoya.

The butai that has just been but up on the site is another Takizawa Hideaki butai, which right now is titled simply, Takizawa Hideaki Butai. I'm sure eventually the name will be changed. It will only be performed in Tokyo and the first show will be March 29th, then it will run until April 25th.

I'm thinking that since I have no way of being able to attend Romeo & Juliet to see Shoon (I'd be in Tokyo for the Osaka shows and the train ticket would cost about $300 if I tried to go) I might just see about going to this Tackey butai if it has Kis-My-Ft2 playing major roles in it. Though I'd probably go for the cheap tickets as I'm sure I won't have much money to spend that first month I'm in Japan, so attempting to save money is a must. I guess I'll just have to see what happens when there's more information about it and what my finances look like at the time.

05 February 2009

Yuuki 100% comparisons

Since I now have the live version of Hey! Say! JUMP’s Yuuki 100% to listen to, I decided I would make some brief comparisons to the original version of the song by Hikaru Genji and Ya-Ya-Yah’s cover. Of course it isn’t a completely fair comparison as the full, recorded version of HSJ’s version could have some differences from the live, but I think it’s also safe to say that there’s quite a bit that will stay the same.

From the first listen through of all three songs it’s rather apparent that the HikaGen version has more in common with HSJ’s than Yax3’s. The big difference is that Yax3’s version uses the verses as solos while both the HikaGen and HSJ version only have one solo part, which is the solo lines Yamada has in the live performance. The rest of the song is sung with the group. One other thing the HSJ and HikaGen versions have in common that separates them from Yax3’s is just the maturity of the voices, which makes sense as Yax3 has the youngest member average of the three groups when they covered the song.

After a few more listens to all three songs I noticed something else in common with HSJ’s and HikaGen’s versions and that’s the trumpets used in the song. In the original the trumpets are rather prominent but in the Yax3 version they’re more muted in favor of other instruments. HSJ’s version brings back the trumpets to the forefront.

There is a new element in the HSJ version that the other two versions don’t have, and that’s a small infusion of Latin influenced sound during the trumpet parts. With Mayonaka no Shadow Boy having a bit of a Latin sound and the Minna no Uta Hey! Say! 7 song being called Salsa Iina Iine, I’m beginning to think that Latin/Spanish influenced music might be what Johnny’s decided HSJ’s ‘sound’ is going to be for their songs.

Overall I think it’s safe to say that HSJ’s version is definitely a cover of HikaGen’s Yuuki 100%, not Yax3’s. And if anyone says different then I really wonder if they’ve really listened to all three songs. I mean it seems rather apparent to me both the Yax3 and HSJ versions went in different directions from the HikaGen version so it would be kinda like comparing a chocolate & strawberry crepe to a banana & strawberry crepe. You may prefer one over the other because of personal taste but if you want to make a serious comparison between the two you really should know what a strawberry only crepe tastes like.

I also think both covers are good in their own ways with their own strengths that set them apart from each other. I mean I love how Yax3’s version has the verses as solos over the single solo part of the original and HSJ’s, as it seems to bring out the vocals more. But I really love that kick of Latin music scattered in HSJ’s version as it really fits the song and adds extra energy to the chorus, IMHO. And as the original is just a fun song to listen to it’s no surprise that I think that both covers are just as fun. I just wish I had a recorded version of HSJ’s to play along with the other two. That and a crepe as my above example has me craving them now. XD

04 February 2009

J-Melo awards 2008

The results for the J-Melo awards, an award given by the NHK program J-Melo has been released. This award is a fan chosen award as it is based on the number of requests the program receives for these artists. And as J-Melo is broadcasted around the world the requests are worldwide. Last year, 2007, only KAT-TUN and NEWS made the list but this year the number of Johnny's on the list doubled with Arashi and Hey! Say! JUMP ranking higher than the other two.

The Second J-MELO Awards (2008): Most-Requested Artists

No.1 L’Arc~en~Ciel
No.2 Arashi
No.3 Hey!Say!JUMP
No.4 melody.
No.7 Tohoshinki
No.8 Hikaru Utada
No.10 YUI

First J-MELO Awards (2007) :Most Requested Artists

1st L’Arc~en~Ciel
2nd melody.
4th Hikaru Utada
5th NEWS
6th Morning Musume
8th YUI
9th Ai Otsuka
10th Namie Amuro

Blog I got the list from. (English)

Another March play and Shounen Club March episode update

There's another play in March that will have Johnny's members in the cast. This time it will be Kanjani8's Yasuda's first time starring in a play. The play he will be doing is set in the Ed0-era and is called Kagotsurube. One of the older Juniors, Kazuma Shunsuke, will also be in the play.

Tokyograph article. (English)

Also, Johnny's net has updated with the filming information for March's episodes of the Shounen Club. Unlike the past two months there are no guests listed, so either they've quit doing that already or there will be no guest for the month.

01 February 2009

Ninomiya in drama special

It has been announced that Ninomiya will be in a drama special, titled Door to Door, that will air on March 29th on the Japanese TV network, TBS.

The story is an adaption of a real life story about a man from Oregon who despite form suffering from cerebral palsy became the highest selling door-to-door salesman for his company. Of course for Ninomiya's version of the story elements will be changed, the biggest being that it will be set in Japan so the cast can be completely Japanese.

Tokyograph article. (English)