Lauren’s Top 10 Favorite Johnny’s Releases of 2013

Though it is already May, I had this document sitting on my computer since the end of last year and I thought that it might be nice to share!

This time, I will be talking about my top 10 favorite Johnny’s releases of 2013. I made a YouTube video on my favorite Johnny’s releases of 2012 at the end of 2012 and people seemed to enjoy it, so I thought it would be good to wrap everything up again as well for 2013. These are in no particular order, I simply chose my top 10 favorite Johnny’s releases of 2013!


1: Tegomass – Sayonara ni Sayonara and Neko Cuudoku


It’s no secret that Tegomass is one of my favorite Johnny’s groups and with that being said their two singles released this year, Sayonara no Sayonara and Neko Chuudoku are first two in my favorites of 2013! Tegomass hadn’t released a single since early 2011, which made it 2 years since their last single. These two singles are very different from eachother, but both reflect some of Tegomass’s charms. Sayonara ni Sayonara was cute, but with a adult twist and amazing calming vocals. Neko chuudoku was a new venture, Tegomass dancing for the first time in their music video which brought out their cute side, which they are famous for! I cannot explain how much I am in love with these singles and their B-sides as well! I have a review of Neko Chuudoku here if you are interested to hear more details!


2: Kanjani8 LIVE TOUR 8EST


This DVD was released in April 2013 and was their tour from 2012 and their 8 year anniversary. The DVD was filmed outside at Nagai Stadium in Osaka and the day it was filmed, it was pouring rain so you get to enjoy Kanjani8 acting funny in the rain. This DVD also has the first Eight Ranger comedy skit since their 2009 tour, PUZZLE. It was actually filmed during one of the performances I was able to attend and this tour holds a special place in many eighter’s hearts for the nostalgia and for representing how far Kanjani8 has come in just 8 years. This DVD is definitely for Eighters new and old alike! This was the coupling tour with there 8 year anniversary album by the same name “8EST” that was released in 2012.


3: NEWS LIVE TOUR 2012 Utsukushii koi ni sure yo!  DVD

NEWS LIVE TOUR 2012 〜美しい恋にするよ!〜

This NEWS DVD is one of my favorite DVD’s hands down and for many reasons. First is that this DVD was the first tour that NEWS did with just 4 members. Second, they preformed all the fan favorites that the fans decided on from their BEST album released in 2012, as well as the member favorites and solo songs. It was a special concert and was filmed with many emotions on the first day of the tour, which is rare for a Johnny’s concert that normally films towards the end of the tour. I didn’t see this tour the day that it was filmed and attended another location for this tour, but I felt the emotion pouring out through the DVD even through I wasn’t there. NEWS has become closer to their fans more than ever and this was an amazing comeback tour!


4: NEWS- “NEWS” Album

If I had to pick a favorite Johnnys album of all time, it would have to be this album, followed by NEWS Pacific and Tegomassu no Mahou. This was NEWS’s first album as 4 members with all the songs originally sung by the 4 of them. I love everything about this album, from the order the songs are in to the solo songs. They also included a DVD called LIFE OF NEWS where the members went on a day off together and introduced something they were really into to the other members and showed new NEWS’s dynamic. This album was the perfect combination of fun and mature and it marked NEWS’s new chapter as 4 members. If you would like more details on this album as well, I wrote a review about it here.


5: KAT-TUN – “Kusabi”

KAT-TUN 「楔-kusabi-」

KAT-TUN always ends up ninja-ing their way into my favorite list every year and this time it is with their mini album called kusabi. This was released in November and is the first release since Koki was asked to leave Johnny’s for breach of contract. I had been listened to this album non stop to prepare for the countdown concert and new years fan event that I went to at the end of last year and the beginning of 2014.  The title song, kusabi, is my favorite song on the album followed by Gimme luv. The reason I like this album so much is because I feel like they are starting to go back to the old KAT-TUN sound that I am used to when I got into KAT-TUN during queen of Pirates and Break the Records era.  Kudos KAT-TUN for a great mini album!


6: Yamada Ryosuke – “Mystery Virgin”

山田涼介「ミステリー ヴァージン」

When I first heard the title of this song I was like HUH? Because it really doesn’t make sense, even with the lyrics of the song it only clears up the title a bit. BUT despite that, I fell in love with the beat of this song and since Yamada Ryosuke was the reason I got into Johnnys and a song I loved by him Moonlight was a special song on one of the editions of this single, this is in my top 10 johnnys releases this year. This is also the theme song for the Kindachi Special drama that aired in January of 2013 year that Yamada starred in along with his fellow Hey! Say! JUMP member Daiki Airioka.


7. Kanjani8 – “JUKE BOX”Album

関ジャニ∞ 「JUKE BOX」

This was Kanjani8’s album released in October of 2013. This album is classic Kanjani8 with their combination of funny songs and band style songs, as well as the bonus features that came with the album, including being able to vote for your favorite unit performance for the JUKE BOX concert tour. They have all kinds of style of music from band style to ballads, to comedy to dubsteb electronic dance music, which make the album interesting! The main song this year for the PV that was included on a DVD with the album was “Takoyaki in my Heart” and it is very Kanjani8 like and is basically a member introduction.  They broke up into 2 Units this year and each wrote a song with the theme of “Manly”. The making of these songs were on the DVD with it as well. Kanjani never fails the fans with tons of bonus features for the price!

8. Hottake Band – Sayonara, Arigtou

堀田家BAND 「サヨナラ☆ありがとう」

This was the theme song for the drama that Kamenashi Kazuya from KAT-TUN was in back in the Fall called “Tokyo Bandwagon”. This was a special unit formed with the person that plays the father of Kame’s character, Tamaka Koji. I really like this song because it sounds like a drama theme song for me, not just a random song that was put in there. The guitar is so nice, with the combination of the airy acoustic guitar but also the electric guitar that pairs with it.  It gives a fall-like feel to me, which is when it aired! It also fit the theme of the drama as well, which was Family. It brings back so many memories of this past fall, good and bad, but mostly of my best friend returning to Japan! We listened to this song at Christmas while making Christmas dinner together, it being our first christmas without being with our families. I was sick a lot during December, and being able to spend christmas with her meant a lot to me so this song reminds me of that Christmas every time I play it and I smile.

9. Kanjani8 – He so magari/ koko shikanai keshiki


This was a double A side single released by Kanjani8, “He so magari” for the Drama Okura was in called “Tenki Onee-san” and 「ここしかない景色」 was for the movie that Ryo was in called “Kencho Omotenashi-ka” 「県庁おもてなし課」. 「へそ曲がり」 always reminds me of last spring and I love the beat of the song! I often find myself jamming out to it when I am walking around the city to and from school. 「ここしかない景色」is a band song for Kanjani8 and though it sounds kind of sounds like a generic band song, I like it! I like the acoustic guitar sound in band songs that keeps the rhythm of the song paired with the electric guitar back and forth.

10: KIS-MY-FT2 「キ・ス・ウ・マ・イ ~KISS YOUR MIND~ / S.O.S (Smile On Smile)」

Kis-My-Ft2 ninja-ed their way into my top 10 again this year as well! Though I am not a huge fan myself, I watch them from the sidelines and there seems to always be at least 1 song that I like from them each year. This year was another Double A-side single, but the song that I like is 「キ・ス・ウ・マ・イ ~KISS YOUR MIND~ 」。This song never fails to get stuck in my head! The beat is amazing, upbeat and a good up and down of pace throughout the song. I also love the choreography of the Dance in the PV (though I think the concept of the music video is kind of strange to be honest….) so I prefer watching the dance version of the PV because I actually tried to learn the choreography since I liked it so much.


So there you have it! My top 10 Johnny’s releases of 2013! What made your cut? Please comment below telling me your favorite Johnny’s releases below and why. I would love to hear new recommendations!


Japan Favorites October 2012

Hi everyone!

I am bringing you my Monthly Japan favorites video! This month is October!



A company under the same company that owns UNIQLO! They have some awesome sweaters during the fall and winter, thus I like GU this month! They offer Women’s and Men’s clothes, so be sure to check them out!

Kanjani8 For No.8 Photo book and 8est Album

I already made a blog post and a vlog about it, so you are interested, please go to my blog post by the link below!

Kanjani8 For No.8 Photobook and 8est Album Thoughts

Meji – Melty Kiss Chocolate

Melty Kiss is one of my favorite chocolates in Japan and it only comes out in Fall and Winter! It comes in Strawberry, Green Tea, and Milk Chocolate flavors! Costs 250 Yen for 1 box.

Hanamaru Udon

This is an Udon restaurant chain that I have been to in Shinsaibashi, Osaka and Shibuya, Tokyo. It offers some delicious Udon for a really cheap price, around 300 yen for the basic udon. You can also choose some fried sides to enjoy as well! I normally get the Kitsune Udon (Udon with Friend Tofu on top)

Nakau Restaurant 

This is a Japanese fast food restaurant that offers Katsudon, Gyudon, Udon, and more! Check out the website below to see what they offer! I love their Udon and Karage (Fried Chicken Breast pieces)

Dominos Pizza Japan

The Domin’s Branch in Japan! It has an english website to order Pizza, Pasta, hot subs and more! Check out the website below to see what they offer. I personally love their pepperoni and cheese pizza!

I hope you enjoyed this video and you can check some of these things out if you come to Japan!

Kanjani8 For No.8 Photobook and 8est Album Thoughts

Hello Everyone!

I talked about Kanjani8’s For No.8 Phtobook and Best Album “8est” in a video that I made today!

The video itself was a brief overview of what I thought, so I will share some more detailed thoughts here!

For No.8

For No.8 is Kanjani8’s first photo book. Well ….. not really. Its actually their 2nd, but the first was a “documentary” photo book so I guess you can actually say its their first.

The photo book is broken up into 5 parts. Sorry! In my video I said there were 4, but I went back and looked at it again after I recorded the video and realized that I missed a part of it.

Part 1 is a “Fashion” photo shoot where they are dressed very “fashionably” and take some high fashion-like photos.

Part 2 is a interview where each member goes to their favorite place and takes a few photos and talks about that place and reminisce on the past 8 years in Kanjani8.

Part 3 is where the members each have a camera and take photos for about a 2 or 3 month time period of their private lives or of different work that they did during that period. This photo period also covers their 8 year anniversary event “8chai matsuri”. This is my personal favorite of the photo book because  like candid photos and seeing a little bit into each member’s personality and what it it like to be an idol. There are even a few comments that they make on some of the photos that are really cute too!

Part 4 was a photo shoot during a band rehearsal. They are all candid photos and are beautiful quality. Once again, because I like candid photos this is my 2nd favorite part of the photo book and I love when Kanjani8 are playing instruments.

Part 5 (which I did not mention in the video) is where they go through all of their live tours that they have had and comment on the set lists of each one. Its really cute to see some of their thoughts thinking back about each of the tours.

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed this photo book and it was a great thing to give us fans because as part of their special 8th year. It was something that they had not done before, and this year seems to be about doing that a lot for them. I would change only 1 thing about the photo book and that would be to have a photo shoot at each member’s favorite place rather than 1 big photo and an interview. I would rather have some sort of cross talk for the part that they talk about the tour set lists because we have never had something like that before. We get lots of interview in the 8est tour pamphlet and the 8matsuri pamphlet, so it would be better if they brought something else to the table besides another interview talking about the past 8 years.

8est Album

“8est: Eight x Eighter = Eightest!!” is Kanjani8’s 8 year anniversary best album. Normally, Johnnys groups have big anniversary best release around their 10 year anniversary, but Kanjani8 had it at their 8 year anniversary because they are Kanjani “8”.

This album covers all of their singles from their debut single “Naniwa iroha bushi” to “ER”, the single released this summer, but not “Aopanna” that was released at the beginning of September. It comes in 3 editions: Limited Edition A, Limited Edition B, and the Regular Edition. The Regular Edition comes with 7 more songs, which are the 3 Limited Edition Christmas singles “Gift ~ White” “Gift ~Red” and “Gift ~ Green”  that were released on December 23, 24, and 25th, 2009. With that, the RE has every single release that Kanjani8 has had, as well as a new song “Crouton” that was written by Yokoyama and Yasuda, with the exception of “Aopanna” and the B-sides of each single.

The Limited Editions come with only the regular singles, not the special Christmas ones, but comes with almost 5 hours of DVD footage between the 2 of them. The DVD footage covers some 8 Matsuri Documentary footage and live performance footage, as well as a digest of the tournament that determined who would be the center of the song “Crouton” (mentioned above). It also has footage of the Crouton Music Video and the Making of the Music Video, footage of the Special event in Kyocera Dome on August 8th, 2012, as well as the “date” between the 2 members who lost the tournament (mentioned above).

The Songlist and contents of the Album are listed here at the Johnnys website:

Final Thoughts

I love this album! It shows all of Kanjani8’s singles and you can put it on play and listen it from beginning to end and see how the group has changed and hasn’t changed. Its good for new fans to hear everything in one place and its great for old fans to listen to everything and reminisce on the past. If you are a new fan, I recommend the Regular Edition because it gives every A side single that Kanjani8 has released, including the special Christmas songs. I believe a new fan can get a good feel about the group by listening to a compilation album in that way.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and watching my video and I will see you guys next time!