Johnny’s Talk: Why do I love Johnny’s?

Recently, I have been asked by some readers how and why I became interested in Johnny’s and I decided to write down some of my thoughts.

Tegomass no Mahou - Kobe, December 2011

Tegomass no Mahou – Kobe, December 2011

Starting in December, I have reached the point in my life where I am transitioning from school to a full time job and it isn’t the easiest transition. During this transition though, I have been really taking the time to think about why I love the things that I do and prioritizing my time accordingly. As most of you know, Johnny’s is something that I have loved since I was in my first year of University and I have just grown to love it even more over the years and since I have moved to Japan. Why do I love Johnny’s so much? Why do I dedicate so much time to something seemingly just taking my money? I will be explaining some reasons why I love Johnny’s in this post.

Johnny’s makes me smile. Plain and simple as that. Every time I listen to Johnny’s music (which is everyday) I smile. It gives me energy to start my day and calms me down when I am having a bad day. It’s just me and the music at that time. I also have many memories connected to the music and when a particular song comes on; memories of that time in my life flood back and make me smile. Now this can be true of almost any music, but Johnny’s is the music that I have relate the most to.

It’s not just the music that makes me smile, but seeing the boys that I support on TV, doing various projects, working their hardest and seeing them do amazing things makes me happy too. It makes me want to strive and work harder because I see them doing their best in a cut-throat environment and they still smile through it all, but at the same time are close to the fans. They aren’t perfect and can show their more vulnerable side and we know they are human.

Johnny’s gives me someone to support and grow with. After many years of loving Johnny’s, I have settled into whom in the agency I like the most and support the most. For me, that is mostly NEWS, with some other groups that I go and support; mostly the “You and J” groups, which consists of Kanjani8, NEWS, and KAT-TUN. Most of my favorite Johnny’s are not much older than me, normally between 25 and just over 30 years old. Throughout the years, I feel like I have grown with them and seen them accomplish more and more as we all grew towards our dreams. I know it sounds cheezy, but these boys (or I should say men) do amazing things and it makes me want to do amazing things as well. When I see their concerts and performances I am blown away by the quality and the hard work that is put into it. They might not be the most talented people in the entire industry, but you can tell that they work hard, and that is what matters to me. They don’t grow and fit one mold of Johnny’s; they all break off and do what they love to do. Take my favorite group NEWS for example: Koyama is a newscaster, and is an anchor for the news program News Every. Tegoshi loves soccer and is doing work directly related to it, even becoming a main caster for the FIFA World Cup in 2014. Massu loves fashion and now has his own column in a fashion magazine and designs the NEWS tour costumes. Shige wasn’t amazing at literature when he was younger, but he has already written 3 novels and many short stories and is Johnny’s first novel author. Once again, seeing them do amazing things makes me want to do amazing things as well and push myself harder. The best part is that there is a group for everyone to enjoy and there is such a variety of talent in Johnny’s.

Johnny’s lets me be a part of a fandom of amazing fans and being a part of something bigger than just me. Fandom is an amazing thing. I wouldn’t be the person today if it wasn’t for the people that I met through the Johnny’s fandom. Some of my closest friends I have made through this fandom and the experiences of traveling and meeting people from all around the world, are priceless. Fandom isn’t perfect by any means, but it is a mesh pot of amazing people from all around the world coming together that love the same thing. This isn’t just on the internet, but when I go to concerts and I look at the crowd waving their penlights in unison in support of that group, it moves me and I realize I am not alone in what I love. Concerts are one of my greatest joys to attend because I get to interact with fellow fans and I get to see the Johnny’s that I support in person and show my support, even if only I am 1 in thousands.

Tegomassu no Seishun - Fukuoka

Tegomassu no Seishun – Fukuoka, April 2014

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Kanjani8  Jyuusai – Osaka,  August 2014

Last, but not least, Johnny’s gave me a dream. Anime and Manga started me off on my love for Japan, but it wasn’t real to me after a while. When I found Johnny’s, I found a whole new culture and it opened the world to me. I never thought I would want to live in Japan before I entered University, but when I found Johnny’s I wanted to understand what they said, and I wanted to learn more about the Japanese culture. I dived head first into learning Japanese and studied business, and I eventually moved to Japan, then I wrote my business graduate school thesis on the business of Johnny’s. They gave me the motivation to move overseas, away from my family, to open my mind and push myself out of my comfort zone. I realized recently that the thing that I love the most is making people happy and giving them hope in a world that doesn’t do that well. Johnny’s does that for me and lets me find that about myself. From here on out I will be searching for exactly how I want to do it, but I know entertainment and Johnny’s is something that does that for me, along with Japanese Fashion and Music in general. I want to harness what Johnny’s does and let people understand that Johnny’s is more than just pretty boys dancing and singing.

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I hope you all enjoyed this insight into some of my thoughts recently! Why do you like Johnny’s? What makes you happy? Have you found your dream and what is it? Please comment below to let me what you think!

Review: KAT-TUN – Dead or Alive

Second Guest Post by my amazing friend Meghan! She is an amazing writer and requested to write about the new single “Dead or Alive” by KAT-TUN! 

Dead-or-AliveA new year has started and KAT-TUN has come out with a killer single. This January KAT-TUN released Dead or Alive. This song was written for Kame’s new movie, Joker Game, which was released on Jan 31st. Jovette and Maiko Rivera, the writers of Dead or Alive, have done a fantastic job with this song and has matched it well with the spy-love theme of the movie, while at the same time still holding true to the style he usually write s for KAT-TUN. Personally I was exhilarated to hear that he had written Dead or Alive and knew from the start that it would not disappoint.

Proving my point, Dead or Alive made it onto the World’s Top 20 Single Awards at number 12, that’s above Maroon 5 and Ariana Grande.

Dead or Alive sadly didn’t get much exposure on the usual programs. Due to the difficult situation at the moment in Islam with the Japanese hostages, KAT-TUN had decided that it would be best to perform their B-side tracks instead out of respect.

Dead or Alive

The first A-side of this year has really outdone itself. The theme of this song was clearly ‘spy’ which I believe really opens itself to a variety of possibilities. Dead or Alive focuses on the secret lifestyle yet also showing that there is someone that they would protect no matter the circumstance. After seeing Joker Game, I understood that the song matched exactly to the movie and really brought out the emotions that Jiro Kato (Kame’s Character) had towards Lyn (Kyoko Fukada).

The arrangement is fantastic; bringing a large range of instruments that is common in Jovette’s style and also reminds me No More Pain. Even with the large presence of string instruments, the guitar is what really catches my attention. The tune is catchy and also elegant; the transitions are smooth and flows throughout the whole song, including a quieter section in the middle of the song which ties it all nicely together without being repetitive at all.

The lyrics continue the whole mysterious spy-love theme with phrases like “I will fly to save you” and “Searching for the meaning to live”. It possesses an almost lost and searching feel with an understanding that love is what you ultimately protect regardless of danger.

Polaris

Polaris is a big contrast to Dead or Alive. The music is light and sweet, a perfect little ballad. This to me I think is common to find on a KAT-TUN B-side. Normally we have a big A-side, very rocky and edgy, and then a sweet and loving ballad to balance it all out.

Polaris is about the stars and love. I want to say it’s about lost love as it possess a melancholic tone but the sweet idea of promises of tomorrow that ends this song makes me think otherwise. Therefore, I would describe this song more as hopeful.

White Lovers

White Lovers, which was sang on TV a few times, is another sweet song in my opinion, almost with the same feeling as Polaris. However White Lovers seems to be more about young lovers. The song is sweet and all about learning about one another. It’s a sweet song with a good beat that’s got a lovely piano playing in it throughout.

I would describe this song as very Junno-like, not only because of his large amount of singing parts in it, but rather because the song reminds me of some of his solo songs. It’s sweet and cute and the blending of all of KAT-TUN’s voices go very well. Whereas Polaris was more hopeful, this song seems more promising and about enjoying the relationship.

You are delicious

You are delicious is more a dance song. It’s energetic and upbeat with a good hook and smooth transitions. The most interesting part of this song is the lyrics I believe.

The lyrics speak a lot about enjoying the night until morning using the analogy of roulette to explain that anything can happen. To anyone who is familiar with the club scene, the song seems to talk about the thrill of the club and about meeting with people and spending a fantastic night with them. As usual, KAT-TUN is dancing on the line with this song, not right out making explicit, but there are enough edgy phrases that make it rather suggestive.

Overall, it’s a great song to bounce along to.

Hanasanaideai (離さないで愛)

To anyone who was following the series of solo songs and the solo music videos that KAT-TUN had recently been doing, you would understand what I meant when I say that Hanasanaideai was nearly a disappointment. This was one of Kame’s first solos and was often performed on Dream Boys. I understand that Kame would want to give live (both on CD and visually) to this solo.

This song is very Kame-like. He portrays it confidently and beautifully, bringing across the insecurity a woman can feel in love. It dances on the edge of desperate and hopeful. Yet still echoes nicely with the music and matches well with the type of songs that Kame usually chooses for his solos.

The music video is intriguing. A lot of loneliness is portrayed in it but also bringing through a lot of hope. The part that I was most interested in was how it seems that Kame has hit the bottom and yet refuses the assistance of a stranger (aka. Junno). Where the song talks a lot about hoping to be never let go, this just seemed a little contrasting to me. Half the video also features Kame dancing. Half of me suspects that this is an echo of his new drama starting February 6th (Second Love).

Dead or Alive – Music Video

Although I love the song, I found the music video a little bit of a disappointment. It’s beautifully shot and does fantastic work with the lighting. Don’t get me wrong, I love the spy theme and how KAT-TUN are all running around espionage style and singing. But part of me wanted more. I desired dancing that we usually get in their other videos, and if no dancing, at least a loose story line. The making of the video is a lot quieter and toned down than usual, but still has a few entertaining parts that made me laugh.

The special edition

As some of you know, this single featured a special edition which you had to order especially online. The title track is the same, and the design is the same as the Regular edition (a little disappointing, I was hoping for at least a different cover photo) but the contents were worth it.

The B-sides of this CD are live recordings from the countdown concert 2014-2015 and features all the members solo songs sung live as well as In Fact and Dead or Alive. It also featured a long 30 minute special talk especially for the fans which did sound a little like a radio program without the music (the members words, not mine)

Overall I think that the single was very well put together and featured some good songs. I’m glad that Jovette and Maiko wrote the A-side this time and that I hope that he will be writing more of their singles in the future.

If you haven’t heard the songs already, you should definitely check it out.

Single Information

Royal Kingdom Music (Jovette and Maiko’s site)

World Single Awards ranking

World Single Awards article

Translated Lyrics of Dead or Alive

 

 

I’m Meghan, a South African who has lived all over the place. Currently I live in Japan where I am a teacher, a writer, a traveller, a translator, a blogger and a dreamer. Meghan’s blog

Japanese Entertainment – Top 10 Johnny’s Release Picks of 2014

Johnny's-picks-2014
It’s the end of 2014 , which means wrapping up the year with this year’s Top Johnny’s Release Picks! I have picked my favorite 10 releases of the year and will tell you a bit about them. some artists that I normally don’t pick have appeared in this year’s list, so I hope that you will enjoy wrapping up 2014 in Johnny’s style!

Johnny’s West – Yume wo Dakishimete/ Jipanngu ookini daisakusen「ジパング・おおきに大作戦 / 夢を抱きしめて」

Johnny’s West debuted this year with “ee janaika” and “Yume wo dakishimete/ Jipanngu ookini daisakusen” is their second official single. While I was in the store looking at some other music, I decided to have a listen to this single because the jacket covers were colorful and intrigued me. I ended up falling in love with this double A-side single and I found myself singing it at random times during the day for months, especially Jipanngu ookini daisakusen. Even now I have an energy boost whenever it comes up on shuffle in my iPhone. Yume wo dakishimete is a more “Johnny’s-like” song, I love the “Latin” sounds in it and shows a different side of West than I had seen before.  I even ended up buying their first album after listening to this single and quite enjoy that as well. Have a listen to Johnny’s West for some “genki”, fun music!

Kanjani8 – Ittajanika/ CloveR「言ったじゃないか / CloveR」

This was Kanjani8’s first single on their new Label, infinity records. CloveR was for member Ohkura’s movie by the same title, and Ittajanaika was for member Nishikido’s drama “Gomenn ne seishun”. Ittajnaika is a more rock band style song and the thing I love most about it is the music video and the lyrics. Its kind of reminiscent of a past single “It’s my soul” Basically, the lyrics are about guys not understanding why women say things and lie and wanting to know the truth from them. CloveR, on the other hand, is a more pop-like song that actually reminds me of a One Direction song. It’s different for Eito to have a more love pop-like song like that and I thought it was a perfect song to tie into the movie. It make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when I hear it!

NEWS – ONE-for the win-

“One-for the win-“ is NEWS’s first single since “World Quest” in December 2012. Member Tegoshi Yuya was chosen as the main caster for this year’s FIFA World Cup Brazil and “ONE – for the win-“ served as the FIFA World Cup 2014 theme song on the network Tegoshi served as the Main caster on, Nihon Television. It’s an upbeat song with a Latin “Brazil”, summer feel to it. The amazing part of this song is that all the participating country’s names are contained inside of this song and didn’t just cheer on Japan, but every team participating! “One – for the win-“ was the song that defined my summer this year and has a special place in my heart. I have lots of memories watching Japan play in the World Cup this year with friends and cheering on Japan with this fun and energetic theme song!

Tegomass – Tegomass no Seishun 「テゴマスの青春」

“Tegomass no Seishun” was Tegomass’s first album since October 2011 and they didn’t disappoint! Tegomass has a signature “light and upbeat” style to their music that never fails to move me. With “Seishun” Tegomass, now 27 and 28, graduated to a more mature sound while still sticking with their normal style of music. They focused on the music and vocals more than ever and it really showed through the tour they had this past spring too. They had collaboration with the “Godspellers” called “DONUTS” and the main song promoted on the album, “Hikari”, has an incredibly beautiful music video. For more information and my full review of “Tegomass no Seishin” click here!

Kanjani8 –Omoi Dama 「オモイダマ」

Omoi Dama was used at the Theme song for this year’s “Koshien”, the hugely popular and prestigious High School baseball tournament held every summer in Japan. They had a high school band participate in the music video and the “marching band style” sound to the song is just amazing and reminds me of my own high school and University days cheerleading for American football and basketball games. The rhythm of the song speeding up and slowing back down and the meaningful lyrics connecting to the baseball tournament, cheering on people’s dreams really makes this song amazing. I listen to it when I feel down and every time I hear it now it makes me smile and know not to give up.

TOKIO – LOVE, HOLIDAY.

“Love Holiday” was written by member Nagase Tomoya and was a collobration song for the JRA (Japan Racing Association). It’s an upbeat song and I love the guitar in it. It has a kind of “country rock” combined with a swing feel to it and the bass combined with the horns in the song really makes the song for me! They are the only “band group” in Johnny’s, so their style and music is different from the typical Johnny’s sound. I really haven’t ever been a huge TOKIO fan, but since Massu (from NEWS) started working with Taichi on Ippuku, I have been becoming more intrigued in the group because of a close friend, and since this year was their 20th year anniversary, they had a lot of promotions and I was able to get a better feel for TOKIO than before.

Kanjani8 – Jyuusai 「十祭」DVD

This was Kanjani8’s 10 Year anniversary special event held this past August and it didn’t disappoint! This was also Kanajni8’s first DVD release on their new label. The quality is amazing, along with the videography itself. They had another Eight Ranger skit and also did a Johnny’s medley! Their feelings of the past 10 years were put into this special concert and it really shows through, even in the DVD. As an added bonus, they did other songs that they don’t usually perform and the fans were able to decide some of the songs that they did in the concert as well. It has a feel of a typical Japanese Summer Festival and I loved it, as summer is one of my favorite things about Japan. I hadn’t laughed so hard in a long time as when I went to this concert. Kanjani8 concerts are really an amazing experience, even on DVD.

Hey! Say! JUMP – smart

Hey! Say! JUMP was the first group I got into in Johnny’s! I hadn’t been following their music closely for a while, but this album caught my attention in the CD store and I decided to buy it. I was very surprised at the variety of music that was inside of it, from a Hip Hop sound, to band style, to pop. It was at that point that I realized that they had many sides to them and it was an interesting concept to me. I really enjoy most of the songs on the album and realize just how much Hey! Say! JUMP has grown since I was a huge fan of theirs. In 2015, I would really like to follow them more closely than before!

Kanjani8 – Kanjanizm 「関ジャニズム」

To be perfectly honest, I hated this album when I first heard it. I loved all of the singles from when Kanjani8 changed to their new label, but this album was a big question mark to me. I only liked the main song, E J Coaster, and the singles, and that was about it. I put the album down for a while because I got busy too, and then picked it up again a few weeks later. I fell in love with it! After listening to it a few times, I was able to pick up the flow of the album and the feel of the album and I thought it was amazing. It is a bit different than typical eito, but eito style none-the less. There have been mixed views about this album by people I have seen online, but I think it’s good that eito is taking charge of their stuff more with their own record label. Though it is more pop-like than before, it still has band style songs and has the “eito-feel” to it.

NEWS – NEWS 10th Anniversary in Tokyo Dome DVD

This DVD is a very special DVD to me, as I was able to attend this special even in person, and I was able to celebrate NEWS’s 10th Anniversary with them. This was NEWS’s first time back in Tokyo Dome since their LIVE LIVE LIVE! tour in 2010, which was about 3 years before this special event was held. They had an amazing enter stage set up, along with 2 live marching bands that came and performed with them. They even wrote a song for the fans that was only performed at this event called “Ai Kotoba”. This DVD also includes behind the scenes footage of the whole concert tour, as well as LIFE OF NEWS part 2, continuing from LIFE OF NEWS that was on the DVD with the Album “NEWS”. The album was amazing, so the set list and the songs are all amazing in this DVD, too.

Bonus: KAT-TUN – come HERE

I was originally not going to include an 11th this year, but I felt like I had to put this in here as well because the album was different from past KAT-TUN albums and I want to mention it along with the other releases. The title song “come Here” is a very pop-ish song, when KAT-TUN is normally more edgy and rock-like. People who don’t know KAT-TUN too well might think that they have changed style judging from just this song, but if you dive deeper into the album it has a rock feel to it as normal, just a bit more on the pop-ish side. I love Udea’s solo “Art of Life” along with Nakamaru’s “Crescent”, and all the singles are definitely KAT-TUN like.

Phew that was long! Johnny’s has had some great releases this year, and I can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store for the fans! What did you think of these pick for 2014? What are your choices for the top Johnny’s releases of 2014? Comment below and let me know!

Japanese Entertainment – Introducing INKT

Well nice to meet you all, my name’s Meghan, today’s guest blogger. But that’s not all that important today since I’ll be introducing a new band to you all today.

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INTK taken from inkt.asia

Now a lot of you maybe thinking ‘what is this rock band doing on this blog?’ And some of you may be thinking ‘oh I see’. Lets clear the reasons up very quickly.

 

Last year Tanaka Koki was fired from Johnny’s due to a breach of his contract. I wont go into details since that isn’t the aim of this post, but after his one year restriction he is back with a new band in a new genre.

 

INKT would be what I personally would describe as a One Ok Rock – Abingdon Boys School hybrid. The songs display a good mix, some guitar/bass heavy, others featuring lots of keyboard. Koki also added some rapping in areas, giving the band a rather unique sound.

 

INKT consists of 5 members:
Vo. KOKI
Gt. Kei
Key. kissy
Dr. SASSY
Ba. mACKAz

Now we all know Koki as the ex-KAT-TUN member, but do you all know the rest?

mACKAz and SASSY used to be apart of the band High and Mighty Color, a rock band with a female vocalist. They disbanded a little while ago.

Kei and kissy were both freelance musicians, and had played together in KAT-TUN’s band during the Chain concerts in 2012.

 

In October, INKT was announced opening their website, opening a blog and starting their own fanclub. A teaser was released for their first song, Trigger which marked the announcement of their first album, released on November 8th.

 

Mini song reviews:

Trigger (Lyrics: Koki Music: Kissy)
Trigger is what I refer to as the most ‘one ok rock’-like song on the album. Its got a good balance between all the instruments and really sets it clear from the start, this is a rock band. The key point in this song I think will be the lyrics. They are all about pushing forwards and the frustration of standing still.

 

Fight for freedom (Lyrics: Koki Music: Kissy)
This one starts with what I can only describe as an anime opening sound. The song quickly loses this and becomes an interesting blend of keyboard, guitar and rap. The lyrics show a very battle-ready kind of attitude, showing that the band is ready to take on anything that may come their way. The lyrics talk a lot about fighting for freedom (like the title implies) and how they are ready to leave the past behind and to take on a new future.

 

A Whole New World (Lyrics: Koki Music: Kei)
This is definitely what I would call a more drum and guitar based song. The tune is more upbeat than fight for freedom. It has smooth transactions. From the title alone I got the image of Aladdin stuck in my head. Which in a way is what the lyrics are aiming for. There is a lot of talking about how everything is trapped in a boring world, and that we should break free into a new world where we can make our own place. The most catchy line is definitely ‘I’ll bring you to a whole new world’. It suits the image of the band. A rock band making their own place, taking fans from KAT-TUN and high and mighty colour and leading them to a new sound.

 

Past & Future (Lyrics: Koki Music: Kei)
This one starts with guitars in a way that I think is similar to Asian Kung fu generation. Its got a very mellow and smooth sound that makes for easily listening. Its lighter than the other songs musically, but seems to have a heavier lyric focus with phrases like “We won’t fight our way any more, We’ve got to start to run brand new way.” and “We will keep going with our life, till our hearts stop beating”.
This song I think features some great bass lines though, which you wouldn’t typically notice in other rock bands, unless you listen for it.

 

Shangri-La (Lyrics: Koki Music: mACKAz)
This is great upbeat song with a feeling of moving forwards. The composition reminds me of some of Asian Kung fu generation’s more heavier songs. But it holds it own unique style with the vocals leading the tune rather than the guitar or keyboard. Also its one of the fewer songs with a gentler hook rather than a heavy rock based one like trigger. The song’s lyrics are a lot about forgetting all their troubles and about just letting go and having fun.

 

Survivor (Lyrics: Koki Music: Kissy)
This one is easily my favourite and from what I’ve seen of fan responses, is perhaps a fan favourite too. Its very vocal heavy, with what almost seems to be telling a story with phrases like ‘Tell me why? Tell me what to do’ and ‘Survivor, I’m a messenger’. The keyboard and guitars does a fantastic job in this song, backing up the image of the vocals perfectly.

 

FTW (Lyrics: Koki Music: SASSY)
A lot of people I know were really anticipating this one after the itunes previews were released. Its the only one with a rap start. Its a fast song with the guitar really leading the tune. Koki really worked hard with the lyrics of this one, and is clearly enjoying being able to swear in his songs now. The lyrics make me question a lot of things though as there are a lot of lines like “the manipulated gossip of the mass media, fuck that” and “Can’t say what I wanna say.” It makes me wonder what Koki is really trying to say in this song.

 

45′ (Lyrics: Koki Music: mACKAz)
This one seems almost like a mix of different genres. It takes elements of pop and electro and mixes it into a more rock style. The most interesting part I think is the chorus and the almost out of place piano after it. The lyrics talk a lot about keeping your mouth shut if you don’t know anything. Its very interesting, and is well interlaced with the other instruments and with rap to make it captivating. This song does make me realise that Koki has been working on his vocals and is really trying to make a good range of sounds for INKT.

 

Hide and Seek (Lyrics: Koki Music: Kei)
On this album, this one is probably the closest you would get to a slower song (accept Zutto, I’ll talk about that song at the end). You can hear the keyboard introducing a good lighter counter tune to the strong guitar in this song. I think its a good blend of the two to make a more emotional song with supportive lyrics talking about being together and carrying on together. Life, and maybe love too, is a bit like a game of hide and seek is what the song seems to be trying to convey. “I never leave you. Trust me.
It’s alright now. Don’t be afraid” It also is like a promise to the fan’s, they aren’t going to leave us.

 

Iron Heart (Lyrics: Koki Music: mACKAz)
I felt like this was a strong song to finish on. Its almost got a finale feeling to it with it long introduction, long instrumental and long outro. The lyrics seem to be leading this song. The lyrics itself is a little darker, talking about once being a robot with no feelings, but then being changed by love. This is a great thing, but then the song goes on to say that his love has now gone away, and he doesn’t know what to do with these feelings and that he can’t turn back any more. He has to continue forwards. Its a beautiful song when you listen to it, and the lyrics sound almost like a hopeless promise that you know will one day be fulfilled. I think this may be INKT’s musical promise of more.

 

Overall I think its a strong album. I think it shows elements of all the members strengths and really sets themselves in the rock genre.
I would really recommend Survivor, Shangri-La and FTW.

INKT do have two other songs, which were not released on the album, but are available for online download.

 

Zutto (Lyrics: Koki Music: Kissy)

Zutto is one of them that also had a music video released for it. This one is a ballad, and gives a good contrast to the heavier rock songs that have been featured on the album.

 

Zutto is heartbreaking I think. The ballad is beautiful with a nice gentle mix between guitar and keyboard. Koki’s voice matches it well, but the pain of the lyrics really seep out. The song is about lost love and about scolding oneself for still not forgetting about it, like he is still trapped in love.

 

Nobody Knows (Lyrics: Koki Music: Kissy)

This one sounds very upbeat and is a nice addition to their music. This one is almost like a smooth rock song with lots of guitar-keyboards in it. The lyrics talk about moving on after losing oneself and to step forward towards a new road. Its an uplifting song which is fun to listen to.

 

Im glad to see INKT starting out like this and I really look forward to what they are going to produce in the future.

 

Till next time x

 

INKT official website

INKT official blog

INKT official youtube

Lyric translations

 

 I’m Meghan, a South African who has lived all over the place. Currently I live in Japan where I am a teacher, a writer, a traveller, a translator, a blogger and a dreamer. Meghan’s blog

Johnny’s Talk: What To Wear To A Johnny’s Concert/ Event?

One of the hardest things for me to decide on when I go to a Johnny’s concert or event is: What should I wear?

Now, I believe that fashion is very personal to everyone and what he or she chooses to wear is a reflection of who they are. Each person has their own style and what they like to wear and there is no right or wrong thing to wear to Johnny’s concerts! I personally like dresses and skirts and a more mature style of clothing, as well as when I go to Johnny’s concerts I don’t want to draw attention to myself more than I already do by being foreign. Some people like to dress up in cosplay or dress up to draw attention to themselves, so it is all based on personal preference and what you feel comfortable wearing! Even for Japanese fans there is a huge gap between the people who dress “normal” and the people who go all out and cosplay and dress up, so don’t worry too much about it! Fashion in Japan is so wide and varied that you won’t feel bad with whatever you decide to wear. So with all that being said, this post is about how I decide what to wear to a Johnny’s concert and maybe it could give you some ideas yourself on what to were when you go someday! Here are some questions that I ask myself when I go to a concert that help me decide what I will wear:

“What group am I going to see”? I always start out with this question. This is a big factor because each group has a different kind of presence and the fans dress differently and act differently as well. For example, NEWS fans are considered “fashionable” and the group itself has more of a “prince” type of image, so I will pick the overall theme of my clothing based off of that. KAT-TUN on the other hand has more of an edgy rock-like feel to them with darker colors, so I tend to wear darker colors to their concerts and try to be a bit edgier with what I wear, but still stick with my own personal style though. The most out-there group that I normally go to see is Kanjani8, and the way that the fans dress is very much a reflection of the group themselves. It’s always fun to see what Kanjani8 fans will wear to the concerts!

“Who is your favorite member”? Johnny’s groups usually have colors associated to the individual members in the group. An easy way for the fans and for the members themselves to identify whose fan you are is to wear your favorite member’s color to the concert. Sometimes I follow this, but other times I don’t. It all depends on the concert and the group for me, as well as where my seats are. For example, for Tegomassu no Seishun I chose not to wear my favorite member Massu’s yellow color in Fukuoka and Nagoya, but instead wore the green color that the concert goods and the theme of the concert was based off. In Yokohama and Osaka though, I wore Yellow.

What season is it and is the concert/ event outside or inside? This also plays a factor into what clothes I would wear as well. KAT-TUN’s countdown concert I wore dark clothes because it was winter and because they were edgier as well. NEWS’s concerts were inside and outside, so the outside concerts I didn’t dress up as much because it was in the middle of summer and I would be sweating a lot, but the inside concerts I decided to dress up a bit more because I wouldn’t be sweating as much. Also, waiting for goods outside can be a factor as well, so take that into consideration when you are choosing your outfit as well!

Will I be wearing any of the concert goods I am buying? For Kanjani8’s Jyuusai concert, there was a “happi” that they were selling and I wanted to buy it so I decided on the dress that I wore based on that. I thought the happi would look better with a collared dress, so I wore that. Another popular thing to do is to wear the concert T-shirt right after buying it or personalize the concert T-shirt for another show that you will go see in the same tour.

A note on Stage plays: For stage plays, I would recommend toning down what you wear to a concert if you normally cosplay or dress up a lot for these events. With stage plays you have to remember that the Johnny’s guy is only one member of the cast during this play (even thought he may be starring in it) and other people who aren’t Johnny’s fans will more than likely be attending as well for the other cast members who have nothing to do with Johnny’s. The purpose is to enjoy the stage play and support the Johnny’s guy, not for the Johnny’s guy to notice you or to draw attention to yourself, which is different than a concert. With this being said, there is a certain respect for the stage and arts when you go to see stage plays so please try to be respectful of that. The manners for concerts and stage plays are different is all, not that one is better than the other. For the most part, most people I see at stage plays dress normally and I don’t even know they are going to the play unless they are a carrying around a bag from the group that the Johnny’s guy in the play is in. I personally dress like I normally do everyday, but if it’s an evening show I might dress a bit more fancy.

Here are some pictures of what I have worn to past Johnny’s concerts!

Tegomassu no Seishun - Fukuoka

Tegomassu no Seishun – Fukuoka Picture courtesy Monica (blog: the beauty of existence)

Kanjani8 - Jyuusai

Kanjani8 – Jyuusai

Tegomassu no Seishun - Nagoya

Tegomassu no Seishun – Nagoya

Masuda Takahisa Stageplay - Strange Fruits in Osaka

Masuda Takahisa Stageplay: “Strange Fruits” – in Osaka

Was this helpful? What do you normally wear to Johnny’s concerts? Please let me know in the comments below!

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

テゴマス「サヨナラにさよなら」「猫中毒」

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

関ジャニ8LIVE 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

関ジャニ∞「へそ曲がり/ここしかない景色」

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!

 

Report: Ueda Tatsuya’s Stageplay『冬眠する熊に添い寝してごらん』- “Trying to sleep with the Hibernating Bears”

Ueda’s Stage play was the first part of my spring break! Even though classes were over, I still had to write 2 long papers before my break could really begin. In the middle of this, I took a day off with my friend Meghan who is a huge Ueda fan and went out to Osaka to see Ueda’a stage play!  I saw the first show of two on February 10th. Meghan’s friend helped us get the tickets back in November, but she was only able to get us standing tickets on the day that the general sales opened, so I was prepared to stand for over 3 hours. Yes, OVER 3 hours. This play was longer than other stage plays that I had been to before and had an intermission, which the other stage plays I had been to hadn’t had before. The first part was about 70 minutes long and the second part was closer to 90 minutes.

When Meghan and I got to the theater, we got in the standing seats line and we were within the first 5 numbers in the standing seats section, so we were called up first. We weren’t called to go in yet…. they actually had extra regular seats available to sell to us! We got lucky because there were only many 8 – 10 seats available and we were numbers 5 and 6 for standing seats. Apparently, special guests or press come to these stage plays and at this show there weren’t any, so they sold the seats to us for 2000 yen more (the standing seats were 2000 yen less than the regular seats) and we got first row of the 2nd block of seats in the theater right in the middle! They were pretty amazing seats!

Meghan and I got into the theater and sat down and about 15 minutes later the play started! The biggest thing that stood out was that during all of the show a huge buddah statue on the stage the whole time, at some points changed into a dog’s head.

To be honest, Meghan and I both didn’t understand most of what was going on in the play. Not because we didn’t understand Japanese, but because there were like 3 story-lines going on at the same time: One in the past, one in the Meji Period of Japan, and one in the present? After the play was over that day, we even asked Meghan’s Japanese friends what exactly happened in the play and they were just as confused as us! It was pretty funny that even the Japanese fans were confused, but at least we know that it was just a confusing play in general!

Ueda’s character was in the present and his story-line revolved around him and his brother and his fiancé. His brother was an olympic and professional Rifle shooter. Ueda’s character was a young salary man who was really energetic. After we meet those 2 characters, we meet a girl character who was supposedly conceived from her mother being raped by a dog? This girl character ends up being Ueda’s Fiancé. Later on Ueda’s older brother and Ueda’s character’s Fiancé meet at a conveyer sushi restaurant while waiting for the rest of the family to come and end up sleeping together. Somehow Ueda’s character finds out and goes crazy. Ueda was really good at playing a crazy character! His movements and the facial expressions were amazing and it was a complete 360 change from the really energetic character that he portrayed at the end of the play.

The conveyor belt sushi part of the play was my favorite part because they had many extra characters on the stage and even extended the whole conveyer belt restaurant out into the audience, and right in front of Meghan and I because we were sitting in the row right in front of one of the pathways in the center of the theater. There was so much going on during this scene and you could see the extras coming and going and shouting across the theater and even changing characters as they came and left! It was really funny to see all of the things going on the same time.

The other storyline or 2 that was going on was really confusing to follow. There was an oil factory and its manager and the manager having the workers practicing singing a song for when the head boss came to visit the refinery. Then the head boss came in later during the 2nd part of this scene. There was the Manager’s mistress too who was probably cheating on him with one of the other characters that entered with them. Meghan pointed that out during the first time this scene came and then when the second part of the scene came, it was almost an exact repeat of what happened in the scene earlier, but continued through until it merged with the other story line in the present somehow. It continued with the Mistress of the manager cheating on the manager with the other guy who Meghan though she was going to cheat with until finally it merged into the present time line story as well. In this scene there was also a hunter that I think was upset with the manager because they were drilling oil in nature or something? Either that or possibly didn’t like the changed in the Menji era though turing more into an Industrial nation. I don’t think that they even directly mentioned the reason he was mad, though. All I know is that the hunter and the manager of the oil refinery didn’t like each other and the had an scene right in front of Meghan and I where the hunter stared at us at one point!

As I said earlier, somehow these past and present story lines merged and the hunter from the past story-line and the brother from the present story-line ended up at the Kaiten sushi restaurant and shot a different person, the past hunter shooting the main boss of the oil refinery and the brother shooting Ueda’s and his grandfather?

It was a really confusing story line, but this is all I understood from it! After the play, Meghan and I were hungry so we headed to a restaurant around the corner and had some Omurice and meeting a friend of Meghan’s who was going to the 2nd show of the day before heading out to Shinsaibashi for a while where we shopped around.

The next morning, I wake up to a twitter message from a girl that saw us at the play the day before, she also was in the restaurant that we went to after the play with her mom, and she also was sitting near us during the KAT-TUN countdown concert as well! She was so happy that she found us on twitter and I was surprised that she found me over Meghan, because Meghan likes KAT-TUN more than I do! I am always so happy to meet foreign fans and Japanese fans of Johnnys! It’s always a fun experience!

Well, that wraps up my post about Ueda’s stage play! I hope you all enjoyed it and please check out the rest of my posts about my spring break that are coming up soon!