Archive for March, 2009

Hello!Project Poll – Top 10

Paul over at Hello!Blog has put up his latest incarnation of the Hello!Project Poll. This time around, you get to pick your top ten out of all of the current H!P girls. I remember doing the poll around this time last year and found the results to be pretty interesting; now with the inclusion of the soon departing Elder Club and some Eggs, this one will surely be even more so.

H!P Ranking 2009

H!P Poll 2009

My ten are packed with the Kids of course, with Berryz and °C-ute filling the top spots. I’ve got my thoughts on them detailed in my rankings posts if you’re interested.

Ne~e? Matsuura Aya has always been a favorite of mine. She was one of, if not the first H!P act that I had heard or seen. I’ve always enjoyed some of her earlier works, and while I believe that some of her more recent stuff isn’t as good, I love it all the same. Also, can’t forget GAM. The combo of Aya and Fujimoto Miki really worked.

Abe Natsumi, was introduced to me when she did the duet with Maimi early last year. Through a bit of searching I found Koi no Telephone Goal and a few others that I’ve enjoyed. Seeing her in some of the older Morning Musume songs and shows, she’s not only cute, but fun. With SALT5, DEF.DIVA and Nochiura Natsumi she’s also done some enjoyable work. She’s also one of the few in H!P who are around my age, haha.

Yoshizawa Hitomi was a hit during her English lessons. Really played up the tom boy role with the Musumes and has always been cool with Gatas and Hangry & Angry. Her personality has always stood out to me, and that earns her a spot in my tops.

What’s in a Photobook?

Well, not literally. I think the answer to that question is a fairly simple one. Jonas over at on the other hand, has raised an interesting question that I really hadn’t thought too much about:

“What do you Think About when Looking at Photobooks?”

It’s a question that on the surface brings forth a response of “because I like the pretty pictures.” But when you really think about it, perhaps you can glean a little bit of insight into yourself. What do these idols and entertainers really mean to you? What type of enjoyment do you get out of it? No matter how plain, bizarre or embarrassing.

As for me, happy people make me happy. Cute people make me happy. I guess the idol photo/photobook thing is a portal into that. The photos of happy, fun and cute bring out a little bit joy and excitement in me. Their smiles and playfulness just elicit a strong sense of glee. It does, as Jonas implied, require some sort of familiarity as well as realism; if not I can feel somewhat detached. But with the attachment, well, that’s all I need really.

And as I say that is all I need, they provide so much more. I’ve got a particular interest in idols from the Japanese music arena, whose music I also love. Then there are other avenues by way of doramas and even simple things like television game and variety shows. One gets the enjoyment of these photos that can otherwise be unrelated to the medium where the idol caught the eye in the first place. Or, the photos can be an introduction into the world of the idols’ other works. When viewing a photo, all of these thoughts, a conglomeration of the whole experience seems to be running through my head, albeit on a subconscious level.

I’m not much of a daydreamer, but I have thought once or twice about what it would be like to “be there.” I imagine it would be fun to partake in various activities, something we could do together that would continue to make the time with them exciting and cheerful. Like a father to a child, I like to think that I would be the kind of person to spoil them with love and support, and criticisms. And even with that, the photos are enough for me; I prefer to watch them have fun with little to no intervention. In the end, I don’t think much about anything when viewing photobooks, but an underlying thought is there. What a wonderful time they must be having, all captured in a single photograph, I hope their happiness continues from that moment and beyond.

Judy and Mary 15th Anniversary Tribute Album



Hot off the presses, the Judy and Mary 15th Anniversary Tribute Album, released March 18, 2009, was pretty awesome. Just as I had hoped. I really need to go back over the Judy and Mary discography, as so far I’ve fund some pretty cool stuff. I’ll keep this brief, but there are a few tracks that I wanted to give specific mention too.

The album starts off with Ikimono Gakari covering Classic. Ikimono Gakar’s sound is all over this one including their signature harmonica. One spot actually plays a bit like Kimagure ROMANTIC, intentionally I’m sure. Those little bits, plus an ever so slightly updated sound make this cover a really enjoyable one.

mihimaru GT takes a stab at Over Drive, and they do a great job. Thing’s start off simple and pick up a few more interesting sounds as things go on. True to form, mihimaru GT mixes in a little bit of their Hip-Hop thing. mihimaru GT is a group that I’ve heard about for quite a while, but have never looked much into their music. I’ll definitely be checking them out in more detail in the future.

The third track I’d like to mention is Lucky Pool, covered by HALCALI. I like HALCALI’s style and this song is another one where the group takes the original and adds just enough to make it their own. HALCALI of course, interjects a lil rap. It’s the same old song, but different enough that it’s fresh and new. Well, both versions are fairly new to me, but you get the point.

Ai Otsuka, HALCALI, Ikimono Gakari, Kimura Kaela, Midori, mihimaru GT, Nakagawa Shouko, Okuda Tamio, PUFFY, SCANDAL, school food punishment, SHIGI, SUNEOHAIR, Takeshi Hanzawa… whether or not you’re familiar with any one of the artists, I really recommend you check out this album. There’s not one track on here that I didn’t like to some extent.

30 Second Previews

It’s Cake Day 2.0

So I made a cake. Happy 2 Years International Wota.

Thanks to International Wota and the J-Music blogosphere for all the news, entertainment, and camaraderie over the past year. For someone relatively new to the Japanese music scene, it’s great having a plethora of wonderful resources out there. Here’s to another great year, oh and cake! Messy, messy cake (-_-) gomen… but hey, it’s the thought that counts, right?

The Cake

The Cake - Strawberry cake for mah Berryz ♥

The Frosting

The Frosting - IW blue, kinda. Well it's blue anyway.

Pink Things? WTF

Pink Things - WTF?

intlwota 2009

intlwota 2009 - Frosting fail.

The Finished Product

The Finished Product



Berryz Ranking

2010 Update » Berryz工房ランキング

Mmm Berryz. Please excuse any ramblings, incoherentness or the like, but man, I love me some Berryz if you couldn’t tell. My reintroduction to Hello! Project was at the hands of Berryz Koubou. Gag 100kaibun Aishite Kudasai specifically had me hooked with the cute upbeat sound. Then the dance shot version of the song, something I had never really seen before. As I was watching, I was overloaded with cute.

Berryz Koubou

Berryz Koubou

Read more

Buono! Ranking

Buono! desu! *pokes cheeks* *drinks milk*. As with °C-ute, Buono! had just released a single around the time I first started getting into Japanese music. Also similarly, their first single, Honto no Jibun, didn’t really wow me. That’s where the similarities end however, everything since I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and given time, even Honto no Jibun has earned a spot. There’s really not a song of theirs that I don’t like, and a whole lot that I just love. There are a couple of reasons why Buono! didn’t make the top spot in my Wonderful Hearts listings. But I’ll just leave that alone by saying “Berryz.”



Read more

°C-ute Ranking

2010 Update » ℃-uteランキング

Three of four in the Wonderful Hearts line up, °C-ute’s got an interesting discography that is quite enjoyable. I had just gotten into Hello! Project around the time that Tokaikko Junjou was released. The song was supposedly a cool, revolutionary-ish style for the group, one which didn’t really catch me. Followed up with LALALA and their third album, I’d say they were a bit of a disappointment, especially after high expectations from when they won the Best New Artist award.



Read more

Wota Wonderings 3

After glancing over the questions for this months Wota Wonderings, I quickly came up with the response “No.” But well, that wasn’t going to cut it…


The music industry has had many tie-ins with animes and doramas. Of those tie-ins, did one manage to capture your interest and get you hooked on their music? Or, did one manage to change your perspective of a musical act? Did you end up watching the anime or dorama in its entirety or give up once the musical act’s tie-in ceased?

So how’s that formula work out anyway. I had to ponder that for only a short while. The type of tie-in I was thinking about was an artist promoting a product for an anime or a drama. That is, rather than promoting the anime directly. The product in this case however, is the artist/song themselves. A bit quick to jump to the response of no, it didn’t take too long to come up with one of the biggest artist tie-ins that’s grabbed me.
Read more

Morning Ranking

2010 Update » モーニング娘。ランキング

I’m not the biggest of Morning Musume fans, but I think I know enough to give this a try. Of the Wonderful Hearts, Morning Musume is my least favorite. I enjoy the music, but have not felt motivated enough to go much beyond that. Initial hesitations came from the size of the group. Too many to form any sort of attachment perhaps, and then the feeling of a choir, no individualized sound. Scanning through their discography tho, I’ve been able to find enough that is enjoyable and still mostly like their more recent releases.

Morning Musume

Morning Musume

Read more

20,000 and an iTunes Survey

Well, it’s been 4 months and 5,000 plays since I did my last iTunes Survey and my music library has grown quite significantly since then. I’ve picked up a lot of new artists from the wotasphere, iTunes and recommendations. 9mm Parabellum Bullet, Base Ball Bear, Ikimono Gakari, Rei Okamoto, SCHADARAPARR, Tomoiki Ki o Uetai,  and W just to name a few. Even with that doubling of the size of my music library, I still feel, and I know that there is so much more out there that I have yet to discover. Survey starto!
Read more