31 August 2010

Johnny's net opens sections for their solo talents

Johnny's net recently updated and now several of their solo talents that they manage have their own sections on the website. These include ex-members of old Johnny's groups such as Uchiumi Kohji, Sato Atsuhiro and Okamoto Kenichi. And it looks like Ikuta Toma has gotten some kind of promotion as he also has his own page even though he's usually called a Junior still. And the last solo page of course goes to Akanishi Jin, which pretty much finalizes his departure from KAT-TUN.

I think personally I am most excited that Toma has his own page. I feel he deserves it as he's probably as well known if not even more well known than some of the Johnny's that have had music debuts and this looks like Johnny's is acknowledging that. It also gives hope that perhaps for other Juniors that don't debut there is still a way to gain success for them if they stick around. Of course it depends on whether or not Johnny's will give them chance to pursue acting over back dancing but after the success of Toma I feel they're probably more open to that these days.

Kanjani8 return to the Kyocera Dome for Countdown 2010-2011

It has been announced that Kanjani8 will again be holding their own Countdown concert in Osaka's Kyocera Dome this year for the Countdown 2010-2011. It will be at the tail end of their up coming national tour which begins at the end of October and will have them at the Tokyo Dome in early December.

Tokyo Graph article. (English)

From this news I'm honestly expecting to hear news about a new album from K8 for their national tour. They do have enough singles for one and it seems like Johnny's is aiming to have just about every debuted group to release an album this year.

27 August 2010

Ueda injured during concert and KAT-TUN's 5 year anniversary plans announced

At the first concert in Taipei Ueda Tatsuya dislocated a toe when he failed to land on target after taking a jump off a 3 meter stage. He ended up being rushed to the hospital after he made it backstage and has promised to perform at the concert the following day and his solo concert over the weekend back in Japan.

This doesn't seem to be the news that Johnny's really wanted to have come out with the concert as plans for the concert tour next year, that will mark the group's 5th anniversary since debut. Like the current tour it will have two different legs. The first will be in Japan but Johnny's are looking at holding the concerts in industrial complexes instead of the usual concert venues. The second is an international tour with the locations of Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, China and Hawaii.

Tokyo Graph article.

I have to say I feel really bad for Ueda as dislocating a toe must be rather painful and having to dance on it the day after, even if he takes it easy, is bound to hurt as well. But I guess after getting lucky after Kitayama from Kis-My-Ft2 fell off a stage at a concert earlier in the tour they had already used up their luck with him coming out of that uninjured.

And for the other news I have to say I'm a bit excited about this upcoming tour. Even if they aren't my favorite group I do like them enough to see about putting some money aside to see them in Hawaii. A part of that is honestly because I want to support Johnny's attempts at coming to the U.S. and it looks like they plan on using KAT-TUN and Akanishi Jin as the artists that will be their barometer of success in the States.

Tackey & Tsubasa officially return

Johnny's net has updated recently and has the concert information for the Tackey & Tsubasa concert tour Tackey had mentioned during his solo concert tour. The tour for the duo will begin in October and go through early November and they will be visiting three cities, Nagoya, Kobe and Yokohama.

So with this there is an official source for the return of Tackey & Tsubasa as a duo. I would venture that we will soon get information about the single that has also been talked about. With the concert dates it'll probably be released around that time to go with them and since Arashi has already announced a single for October it means there is a high chance it will be sometime in October as Johnny's tends to announce releases in chronological order, though every once in a while there's an exception.

25 August 2010

Arashi's Dear Snow for October

Arashi doesn't seem to ready to slow down one bit and have a new single coming out 0n October 6th titled Dear Snow. The title song is the theme song for the film Ooku, which Ninomiya Kazunari has a starring role in, and is listed as being a ballad.

This single follows the usual release pattern for the group and will have two editions, one limited and the other regular. The limited will have the standard DVD with PV and making of while the regular edition will have a bonus track as well as karaoke tracks for both songs which will not be included in the limited edition.

Dear Snow [Regular Edition] / Arashi

Dear Snow [w/ DVD, Limited Edition] / Arashi

23 August 2010

Sakurai Sho interviews Mikhail Gorbachev

Even though Tokio will be hosting this year's Nippon TV's 24hr TV program they will not be the only Johnny's featured.

Sakurai Sho recently has been doing interviews in the areas of the former U.S.S.R. for a segment on the program highlighting the poverty that can be seen all around the world. While in Russia he got the chance to interview and speak with Mikhail Gorbachev, former U.S.S.R. leader and a Nobel Prize winner. The interview will be shown during the NTV 24hr TV program on August 29th.

Momoedgewood blog entry.

I have to say it's amazing to see someone from Johnny's connected to such a historical figure. And I really think that this is yet another way for Arashi to be able to set themselves above their peers and become another legendary boy band like SMAP.

20 August 2010

A little bit of this and that.

I admit I was getting worried about what to post today as I really couldn't find anything to write about yesterday and felt too tired to write anything that required anything more than basic thought. But thankfully there are some little Johnny's related news that came out today.

First off it's been reported by the fan club members of You & J (the official Johnny's fan club for groups NEWS, Kanjani8 & KAT-TUN) that Akanishi Jin is now listed as a solo artist for the fan club. To me this makes sense as I'm sure there are many KAT-TUN fans that are also Jin fans so they can still ballot for tickets for his solo stuff without having to pay fees for another fan club.

you_and_jin LJ entry. (English)

To celebrate their 200th episode the show, Music Lovers, will be having a special Arashi episode. The episode will have special performances of album tracks from Arashi's latest album. And to even go further to make this episode and the performances more unique the audience will be male-only. The episode will air on August 22nd.

Tokyo Hive article. (English)

17 August 2010

Ashita no Joe promo begins

Even though the movie is not due out in theaters in Japan until February of next year promotion of Yamashita Tomohisa's Ashita no Joe movie has begun. So far there is a promo picture of Yamapi in character and on the official website for the movie they have a short 30 second trailer up for the film.

Tokyo Hive article. (English)

Ashita no Joe movie OHP. (Japanese)

Even though it's only a short clip and the promo photo available isn't the greatest of quality I still find it much easier to believe Yamapi as a boxer than I ever could Kamenashi Kazuya when he played on for the One Pound Gospel drama. But that's just my two cents.

15 August 2010

How to buy concert/butai tickets at resale ticket stores. (Tokyo)

I know I've promised somebody at some time I would do a blog post for this and since it's a slow news day and I've gotten serious again about having about a post a day I decided to do it now.

This post is for buying tickets from the ticket resale stores, or the ones I knew about in Tokyo. The stores I'll be covering is the one on Takeshita Street and then a small chain called Yokohama Ticket, which has three stores in Tokyo.

For those who don't know, these resale ticket stores tend to be small venues that deal in buying tickets from people to resell to others. For artists that tend to sell out at the fan club level these are very helpful in actually getting a ticket if you're not a fan club member or since they only sell what they actually have you can try your luck at getting good seats as they will usually tell you the area and row the ticket is for. The stores are nice because any one how has the cash (and they will only accept cash, no cards) can buy the tickets they have there.

Of course for the good seats expect to pay above the original ticket price. In fact unless it's either not a lot of demand for the amount of tickets they have or a few hours from the start of the concert you're most likely not going to find a ticket under the original ticket price, even for bad seats.

All of these stores are small and can get crowded without many people in there. The tickets will be in locked glass cases so first find the ticket(s) you want then flag down one of the store clerks to get you the ticket. Also tickets are almost always sold in ones or twos, so don't expect to be able to find tickets for three or more with seats together.

Also I've never run into someone working at these places that knew English so you need to know at least some Japanese. If you can at least remember the words and phrases for buying and basic information about the concert in Japanese (artists name/location of concert or date/and numbers), you'll probably be okay. And if words fail you pointing can help too. And when you're at the counter don't worry when they start talking a lot while pointing at the ticket, they're just verifying it's the ticket you want so nodding your head and saying 'hai' should be all you need for that.

And now that's out of the way I'll talk about the stores.

Probably the easiest to find is the one on Takeshita Street which is in Harajuku. Just get off the train and find the main gate for the Harajuku Station. Across the street will be the entrance to Takeshita Street (and the first photo of this post is the entrance though the Koishite Akuma banner won't be there anymore). You just follow it straight down and once you pass the 7-11 start looking on your left for a shop that will have what look to be fliers for concerts plastered all over the front. And then you're at the store. I never really paid attention to the name of this store but it's the only store that looks like that on the street. This one mainly has idol tickets and Johnny's related tickets tend to be to one side of the store.

Now Yokohama Ticket has a website but to my knowledge you can only buy the tickets at either of the three stores they have. The locations they are in are Shibuya(渋谷), Ueno(上野) and Shinjuku(新宿). I mainly used the Shibuya one and sometimes the Ueno store. I think I may have gone to the Shinjuku store once and I had just happened to run across it. The website does have directions to all three stores at the bottom of the main page.

I did a screen capture of the tickets for Arashi's upcoming concerts. As you can see you're going to have to be able to recognize the Japanese used for group names. You can also see how they have the tickets listed and the prices they go for.

A simple breakdown of the columns on the page is the left most will tell you which store has the ticket. I number in the next column can be ignored and then you have the date and venue name for which concert the ticket is for. The next column can be ignored and then you have seating information, such as the area of the venue you'll be in the row and a set of seat numbers that the ticket(s) will be in. You then have the price followed by the number of tickets. The tickets with the box on the far right have already been sold, I believe they update frequently but even so there's always a chance the ticket you may want won't be there anymore when you go if you wait too late.

I came to like this store if partly because of this website as it helps give an idea of how much tickets are going for even if I didn't get my tickets from them. Also they have a much greater variety for non-idol artists.

Of course if you're using these stores they only sell what they physically have on hand so you won't see the tickets go on sale until people actually have gotten their tickets in the mail and sold them off. So if you're only visiting Japan for a short while, have a lot of extra spending money and want to see a concert but won't be heart broken if you don't then using these stores won't be bad. Or if you're living in Japan for a long period time but maybe not long enough for a fan club membership to be worth it then these stores are nice to know about as they save you the hassle of trying to buy online. Otherwise you're better off using other methods to get the tickets you want.

I hope overall this is helpful and gives some people another option for trying to see Johnny's while in Japan.

Ninomiya in new drama

Looks like Ninomiya Kazunari isn't going to get a rest anytime soon as it's been announced that he will be starring in an upcoming fall drama on Fuji TV. The title of the drama is Freeter, Ie wo Kau and so far the only cast announced are Ninomiya and the lead female actress, Karina. Filming has already begun though so hopefully they'll announce the rest of the cast soon.

Tokyo Graph article.

So that's one of the rumored drama series confirmed. I am still surprised it's Ninomiya this time as he has been so busy with filming Ooku and GANTZ. Though I guess since he hasn't done any drama work since 2008 it does make some sense it would be his turn to lead a drama series for this season.

14 August 2010

Hope for Tackey & Tsubasa return in 2010

During one of the concerts for Tackey's current solo tour he talked about reuniting with Tsubasa to release something as a duo. No dates or anything were given but he did say that it would be soon and that they would also be having a concert together.

Tokyohive article. (English)

Honestly I had just about given up about Tackey & Tsubasa as there had been no word of the two getting back together since the initial hints about this late last year. I'm sure this update, while vague, will make the duo's fans happy though.

13 August 2010

TakiCHANnel update and Club ∞

Now that it's on the second week some questions about TakiCHANnel can be answered. Probably the biggest on people's mind is whether or not the previous week's video could still be watched when the new one is up. That looks like a 'no' as the video is up (this time it's A.B.C.-Z with the group quiz) and there is no sign of being able to find the past week's video on the site. And whatever the quiz and gallery were meant to be will be a mystery for now as even the under construction links for those have been taken down.

It seems like TakiCHANnel is not the only special website project for Johnny's as Kanjani8 have one that I believe is tied to their Prologue to Patch videos they've been releasing with their recent singles. The website is called Club ∞ and it looks to be more of a tease than anything else right now as once you access it you can only get 'character' introductions so Kanjani8 fans can try to figure out who is who from the descriptions given. Of course this is all in Japanese but I'm sure the Kanjani8 English fan communities have discussions about this topic and hopefully by the release of Kanjani8's upcoming single LIFE they'll have the answers.

11 August 2010

Hey! Say! JUMP's new concert DVD

It looks like the concert DVD for Hey! Say! JUMP will be of their spring concert tour Hey! Say! 2010 TEN JUMP. It will be released September 15th.

Johnny's net has the full track list up already on their site and according to that there will only be one version of the DVD and the concert will be spread onto two discs. And it will have a tour documentary for the Kyocera Dome concert. There is a first press bonus which is a special booklet that will be 44 pages.

Hey! Say! 2010 TEN JUMP

26th poll results

I figured it was about time I updated the poll. So here are the results for 'When a group loses a member who do think you should support?'

The group and those who left. 18

The ones remaining in the group only. 6

Those who left the group only. (If were your favorite.) 0

Only the original group with all the original members together. 3

It depends on the situation. 24

It looks like most are pretty loyal to the group when something like this happens, which thankfully is not often.

The new poll will be a favorite member poll for NEWS. Mainly because I realize I have yet to do one for them and that seems wrong seeing as they're my favorite group.

And I'd like to quickly mention, as off topic as it is, I've been rescanning my Johnny's photo collection. I've gotten a good chunk of them scanned so far but I'm going to wait until I've scanned them all before updating the photo post. There have been some changes to the collection as I've decided to get rid of some photos but I've added news ones too. I hope to be done scanning by the end of the month at the latest.

09 August 2010

NEWS new album LIVE

Finally NEWS' new album, LIVE, is up for pre-ordering and as I expected it comes out September 15th, just in time for their concerts.

The album will have two editions and this time the limited edition actually seems worth getting as it comes with a DVD. The DVD contains footage of an unplugged concert, which should be interesting to watch IMHO.

The regular edition comes with two bonus tracks not on the limited edition which will be the studio version of Share and the unplugged version of FOREVER.

The full track listing is up on cdjapan's website. I checked Johnny's net and they only have all the track titles with no more information about them like who the composers, lyricists, etc are yet so it's impossible to tell if there are any solo songs on the album for now.

Live [w/ DVD, Limited Edition] / NEWS

Live [Regular Edition] / NEWS

I have to say I'm really excited about the new release as there will be more than enough music to tide me over after being without a new NEWS release for so long. I just need to figure out how to afford both editions now.

TOKIO is awarded by Japanese government

One of TOKIO's programs, The Tetsuwan DASH, has been involved with a project to clean up the Tokyo Bay area. It has been successful in returning areas to their natural state, bringing back the native species of the bay and informing the public of the importance of protecting the area that the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s Kanto Regional Development Bureau has given the group the Marine Day Award this year.

MomoEdgewood's Mediawatch article

Have to say I'm proud of the group, especially as they are my favorite sempai group. But even so I think it's nice in general to see an idol group do something that helps improves the lives of others in other ways than just being entertaining.

08 August 2010

TakiCHANnel on air.

Meant to post this yesterday but I've been really busy these past couple of days. I will be responding to comments in the next day or so as I don't have much time on the net for now.

But as I reported earlier there is a new Johnny's net section which is a page for a web program produced by Hideaki Takizawa, TakiCHANnel. The first episode launched a couple of days ago as well as an uphaul of the page itself. It know has a new background image of an imaginary city street with the images of Juniors plastered just about everywhere. (I personally am quite amused at the 'la femme Ryosuke' ad featuring Hashimoto Ryosuke.) If you click on the screen on the cityscape you'll see the first episode featuring Kis-My-Ft2 as they answer trivia questions about their group.

One thing that really jumps out at me is the fact that all the photos used on this site of the Juniors are actually clear with no photo shop layering to make them look a bit strange but they look as clear as any of their magazine photo shoots. I've gone ahead and made a snapshot of the web page for quick reference for people to see what I mean.

Also of note on the page is the J Birthday link which has a calender with the birthdays of several Juniors (both Kansai and Tokyo) listed. One can only assume that these will be the Juniors that will get featured on this web program. From that then the groups that will be featured will be; Kis-My-Ft2, A.B.C.-Z, B.I. Shadow, 7WEST, B.A.D., Snow Prince Gasshoudan, Question?, Veteran, Hip Hop Jump and BOYS. And the un-grouped Juniors are; Takada Sho, Masuda Ryo, Kyomoto Taiga, Anderson Casey Takashi, Morimoto Shintaro and Yasui Kentaro.

There's also a message from the producer (Tackey) and a a contact us link that will let you send an e-mail in. There are two links at the bottom that aren't open yet, one for a gallery and the other is a quiz. I hope those open soon as they seem pretty interesting, though I know I probably won't be able to completely read the questions and answers for the quiz.

All in all though, I'm pretty impressed with this web page so far. I'm really glad Johnny's has decided to branch out more on the net as for overseas fans it's the easiest way to keep in touch with what's going on with the boys as we don't have them featured on TV programs like in Japan.

06 August 2010

Debut Speculation... B.I. Shadow (as of 05 August, 2010)

I've decided to hop over to one of the younger groups this time for speculating about debuts because honestly the ones with the greatest chances for debuting in the next year or so are the ones that are still in their teens now. I do plan on going back and looking at some of the older Junior groups eventually but for now I want to focus a bit more on the groups that have members that are most likely for debut.

There seem to be a few staples about the Juniors that Johnny's like to hold on to. One of these are having one of younger Juniors be the face of all the young Juniors, like Yabu Kota and Nakajima Yuto once were and Morimoto Shintarou currently is. Another is to have a group of four members which gets a good deal of attention. Perhaps it's a bit of a carry over from the first Johnny's group, named simply Johnny's, who had four members or even the Four Leaves, the Johnny's group that put the agency on the map in the Japanese entertainment industry. But very rarely is there a time where there isn't a popular four member Junior group in recent years with groups such as 4Tops, Ya-Ya-Yah and currently B.I. Shadow. In a way this is a good thing as members of each of those past groups have debuted, but not all of them so it's a bit of a double edged sword.

Looking at B.I. Shadow I definitely see parallels to Ya-Ya-Yah in how they get treated with how much screen time they get on Shounen Club and what concerts they are a part of. Both groups even have a CD release, even though BIS had to share with NYC, as Juniors. There is also how the performances are broken down, main focus on two members with the other two having noticeably smaller parts and screen time, though thankfully so far Yuugo and Hokuto have been able to be more than back dancers for Nakaken and Kikuchi. But even so I honestly feel that BIS will share the fate of 4Tops and Yax3 and won't be debuting as a group.

Going from which members tend to get the spotlight or opportunities to go on shows and be a part of dramas I would say that Nakaken is the shoe in for a debut. He's been in the most dramas and gets a lot of the spotlight and attention in the group. And personally I can't blame Johnny's for the treatment as he has been a flowing with charisma since the moment he got on stage.

Because he gets partnered so much with Nakaken I would say that Kikuchi also has a good shot for debut. I admit he took a while to grow on me but know that he's doing the games for Shounen Club and just getting more chances to show his personality I can't help but find myself liking him.

I also think there is a good chance for Yuugo to debut as well. He still may be the least polished looking during performances but he's been a joy to watch in the Junior Coliseum and I'm sure being on School Kakumei helps with getting people familiar with him.

And as much as I am a fan of his personally I can see Hokuto being the one most likely to be passed up for debut for now. I'm not going to say that I think he'll never debut, especially if the B.I.Shadow break up happens in the next couple of years, but he does not get as much attention or the chances for people to know him better as the other three members as things stand right now.

Of course most of this is based on believing that BIS will be broken up for the next volleyball debut, as if they aren't that will change things as a lot can happen over a few years. But seeing how the Juniors are now I think there's a good chance that it will happen. Especially if Johnny's wants to avoid having fans react so passionately about Yax3's break up. So if they don't have BIS around for as long as Yax3 then they most likely won't have as many die hard fans of the group if fans aren't given as much time to grow attached.

But looking at the history of groups like BIS I am certain at least one member will debut and there is always the chance that Johnny's will go for another large group (as they seem to be all the rage with girl groups like AKB48 and their copycats) and perhaps they will beat the odds and end up having all four debut into a large group like the original Hey! Say! 7 was merged into Hey! Say! JUMP. Whatever the outcome I plan on supporting all the members no matter what happens.

05 August 2010

Takizawa Kabuki to get DVD release & SMAP's ticket lottery

Tackey's Takizawa Kabuki is getting a DVD release on September 22nd. It will come in two editions with the limited version having a Children's Day Special which has a 80 minute run time according to Johnny's net. The regular edition will instead have a 90 minute documentary so both are three discs in total.

Takizawa Kabuki [RE] / Takizawa Hideaki

Takizawa Kabuki [LE] / Takizawa Hideaki

On the release day for their single SMAP announced that the serial numbers that come with the limited editions of the single are for a lottery drawing for 50 lucky fans to attend a SMAP concert from backstage, as well as get a chance to meet the group before the concert.

Tokyo Graph article. (English)

I have to say if this is just the beginning of the lead up to their 20th anniversary I'm curious to what else they plan to do. I guess this is going to be a great time to be a SMAP fan.

04 August 2010

Kis-My-Ft2 & A.B.C.-Z joint musical

Kis-My-Ft2 and A.B.C.-Z are headlining together, this time for a musical. The musical is called Shonentachi: Koushi Naki Rougoku and was written by Johnny Kitagawa himself for the first Johnny's boy band Johnny's. SMAP has also performed a version of the play and that was the last time it was performed. This time members of both groups will be starring in this musical that will run through September.

Tokyo Graph article. (English)

It's nice to see that Kis-My-Ft2 will not be lacking work anytime soon, though I am surprised that they aren't just headlining the musical themselves as they did with PLAYZONE 2009. But both groups get along very well and I'm sure they're all looking forward to working together as they don't have many chances as they used to.

03 August 2010

Toma to play Genji

It was announced that Ikuta Toma has the lead role in a movie adaptation of The Tale of Genji. The Tale of Genji was written in the Heian period of Japan and is cited as the first Japanese novel. Toma will be playing the lead character Genji in the film and the film is set to be released sometime in 2011.

Tokyo Graph article. (English)

Personally I've read parts of the story and I am curious to how they will do this adaptation because the actions of several characters, especially Genji, are quite questionable for the modern day. I mean I don't think raising a girl as your daughter so you can eventually make her your wife is just not something that does not come off as creepy in this day and age. But considering how long the story is and the length a movie would have to be I'm sure they'll be changing quite a bit of the story anyway.

01 August 2010

New Arashi single

This just popped up in my e-mail account so hopefully by the time I'm done with this post the limited edition won't be sold out.

But Arashi has a new single coming out on September 8th. The single is titled Love Rainbow which is the theme song for Matsumoto Jun's drama, Natsu no Koi wa Nijiiro ni Kagayaku. The regular edition will come with two songs, the B-side is currently untitled, and karaoke tracks for them. The limited edition will have the same two song tracks and include a DVD with the PV for the song Love Rainbow.

Love Rainbow [RE] / Arashi

Love Rainbow [LE] / Arashi

SMAP give Shanghai another try, & Kis-My-Ft2 1st photo book

It was announced today that SMAP will be heading to Shanghai to perform at Shanghai Stadium on October 9th and 10th. This will be the group's first time holding a concert outside of Japan.

They were to have had their first overseas concert back in July at the Shanghai World Expo but it was canceled due to concerns about crowd control.

Tokyohive article.

Also the Kis-My-Ft2 photo book has become available for pre-order already. At cdjapan they have it listed for an October 2010 release on the page for it but I noticed that if you save it for later or pre-order it they give it an October 12th release date. I would assume that is the tentative date for the release but until there is more official news given on the matter understand that the date can change.

Kis-My-Ft2 First Shashinshu (Photo Book) (Title subject to change) / Kis-My-Ft2