Monday, July 10, 2017

An Ode to Tsugunaga Momoko


Because of work I had to miss out on the streaming of Tsugunaga Momoko's graduation concert. While I am bummed about missing it I have not searched for it to watch either. Instead I am staying safely in the 'denial' phase of loss and pretending if I have not seen the concert than I can think of her still being with Hello! Project a little longer. Or at least not have to think of H!P without her even though I know better. So this is not a farewell post, that will come someday, but rather one where I get to reflect on how much I have come to love Momoko.

Well before I got into Hello! Project I ran across Buono! and fell in love with the group. Their rock-pop songs were perfectly to my tastes and the whole concept of the band screamed "cute", and I have a great weakness for cute things. Though it was Miyabi and Airi that got most of my attention but once I did get into H!P and learned much more about the girls my like for Momoko grew. I can now say that I have no favorite member of Buono! and it remains my all-time favorite H!P group.

But with that growing like for Momoko also came respect for everything she has accomplished. From being one of the few H!P members to get the chance to go to and graduate from university. The fact that she created a persona with Momochii that was the perfect fit for variety shows, the heart of Japanese TV. I do not think I will ever be a Momochii fan but the persona kept Momoko relevant even when H!P was struggling to find how to build lost momentum in the idol industry.

Seeing her act as playing manager in Country Girls really drove home that she was more than ready to mentor. With Berryz Kubo she never really had that chance which is what CG gave her. I would say she did great with nurturing the young talent that entered the group despite it never having much of a stable line-up for various reasons.

Since she joined H!P as a literal child fans can see her grow up to be the young woman she is. And with all that she has already accomplished in her young life it seems like a no-brainer to have faith that she is going to continue to do well with whatever she wants to do with her life. And teaching seems like a perfect fit for her.

While I will be sad not to have Momoko the idol anymore I cannot help but feel grateful for the fact that I was able to find her and become a fan.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Dear Johnny's

This has probably been some time coming but I do not think I can really consider myself a Johnny's fangirl anymore. These days I find myself more frustrated with the agency and rarely feeling excited about what is going on with all the groups.

A part of it is just how hard it has become to keep up with groups from the agency. Even though Johnny's has gotten a little better about not being as controlling with the image of their idols it still feels like they are a decade or more behind the rest of the Japanese idol agencies. The fact that there is so little you can find media-wise without having to resort to piracy has become off putting, especially since the some of the sources that are out there are so protected you have to put in so much work just to look at magazine scans or a short video clip. And I am someone who does not mind paying for official products and releases, but that gets so expensive so quickly I have to limit myself to a few of the groups I really like. This means the chances of me being able to give other groups a try become slim to none. I feel guilty about that as there are so many groups that are hard working and talented that I am passing up on because of that.

Another part is that the whole drama from the factions within the upper management and how it all played out left a sour taste in my mouth. The whole thing did not help the agency as it created divides with groups when one of the big selling points to Johnny's for me was the fantasy it was all one big happy family. Then it got so messy when Iijima Michi ended up leaving and SMAP more or less getting the ax for wanting to support the manager who had been with them long before they became popular.

Honestly I wonder what the future for Johnny's is going to be as there are plenty of signs that the strangle hold they once had for the Japanese male idol industry is waning. K-pop may not be as big as it once was in Japan but it is easy for those groups to get past any blockages Johnny's might have thanks to the K-pop male idol groups that paved the way during the last Hallyu wave in Japan. EXILE and their related groups figured they could get around any issues by labeling themselves as a performance group rather than idols. Then there is the voice actors that are tied to idol-themed properties that have them perform as idols for special lives, as well as the fact that voice actors have always come across as a certain type of idol for some time. And I have recently noticed boy idol groups from other agencies, though I think it is mostly just Amuse, getting drama roles and commercial deals without having to pretend to be anything but idols. All of which are much easier to follow, especially for international fans.

In the end I got into Johnny's with NEWS and as long as that group continues on I will remain somewhat invested in the agency. If just as mostly a NEWS fan. I still do like Kis-My-Ft2 and TOKIO but I am more passive with following them than NEWS. And I do still await in hope that SixTONES debuts (Praying that Tanaka Koki's recent arrest is not going to ruin things for his brother Juri there). But outside of that no other group has maintained my interest, especially as I have been moving on to other fandoms. And it helps that those fandoms I do not have to jump through hoops just to enjoy.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

My Life: A small update.

Between my new job and moving to another part of the house I really have not had the time I wanted to do any kind of proper updates on this blog and various other social media accounts I have. Instead I just keep building a backlog and worry if I waited too long to make a post about those things at this point. But on the other hand I really do not want to give up either.

In any case I do enjoy working at my new job and will be glad to have a nice steady income once more. A disposable income has been missed though having the money to cover what I need and have something left over to save at the same time is fantastic. Also I am hoping that I can use the experience I am getting from my current job to find work back in Washington State, as I still miss living there terribly.

And the move is something I have needed to do for a while as I now have room for more than bedroom furniture. It also gives me a good idea of how much room I will need when I move into an apartment, which is a goal of mine for this year.

I just need to figure out how to fit writing into all of this as I miss doing it. I am probably going to have to change up some of the things I am doing for my blogs so I can schedule posts once more and keep it from looking so dead. But that will probably have to wait until I finish moving all my stuff. I honestly did not realize I had so much until now. At least I am reaching the point where I feel like I have more of my things in the new area and out of my old room.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Duu to graduate and break all the hearts

This past week has been a flurry of events for me and I was so happy to have a day to relax and catch up on things. And I was just in time to see the announcement of Kudo Haruka's graduation from Morning Musume '17. She will be leaving the group after the autumn concert tour of this year.


This one really breaks my heart as Duu is one of my favorite members of the group. I get her reasoning though as if she wants to focus on acting it would be easy to worry about not really giving her all with the other aspects of being an idol. So I agree that if that is what she has set her heart on than it is probably the best way to go, especially if she has such worries.

That all said it does not lessen the heartbreak of hearing that she is leaving. Even though as a fan I am happy for her to be chasing her dreams I will still miss her as a member of Morning Musume. At least as an actor she should remain in the public eye so it will be easy to keep tabs on her as she continues her career in the entertainment industry, so there is a silver lining to hold on to. Momusu just is not going to be the same for me without being able to see her smiling face with the rest.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

My Life: Working my way out of depression

Since this is my blog for whatever I want to write about I am creating a series that will be me talking about my personal life. If you are not interested in that kind of thing then just look to see if a post title starts off with "My Life" and go ahead and skip it. This is mostly just for me to try take some time just to go over various aspects of my life, so this is more for me than anyone else.

In the past couple of weeks, and perhaps even further back, I have been feeling some symptoms of depression. It is hardly the first time I have experienced these so I at least knew what to look for this time around. Previously I thought it was just a part of my personality that I needed to correct so needless to say I never really did anything that helped in the long run. Since then I have gone to therapy and honestly it has been years since then that I felt like this.

Lately though my life feels like it is just stuck. That I am not doing anything of importance or useful and the goals I have set for myself are more like daydreams than anything actually attainable. This has caused my motivation to plummet and I have to fight with myself to do something productive. Even getting this written has been a few days worth of struggle.

Today I hit my tipping point and had a breakdown. It was something I was hoping to avoid as with it comes so much self-loathing. And it it is just frustrating as I know rationally those thoughts make no sense and should be ignored but that does not stop them from slithering in and trying to take hold.

So far the best method of dealing with this is distracting myself with just any activity. Not the easiest thing to do when motivation is an issue. And if I want to get better I need to face things more head on and find somebody to talk to that will listen.

It is terrifying to seek out help from others, as I have run into the issue of others not believing me when I talk about having a mental illness or brush off my problems as if my worry is just me being foolish. But I know I have to try. And writing this is helpful as in a way it lets me warm up and build some of the courage I need to speak up.

So I am going to take some calming breaths, take a minute or two to meditate to get my mind in a better place and go talk to someone. I just hope they will listen.