Memories of Tegomass 4th Live “Tegomass no Seishun”

Tegomass no Seishun was the first tour I went to, and travelled around the country to see, since I started living in Japan. Previously, I had only been to the Kansai Area where I live, or Tokyo and occasionally Nagyoa, which is the closest venue to Kansai. For Tegomass no Seishun, I went to Fukuoka, Osaka, Nagoya, and Yokohama. Each venue was a different experience for me and I wanted to share some of those memories.

Osaka

Osaka was the first leg of the tour and I was able to hit for tickets, despite it being one of the smallest venues of the tour. I hit for the first day, second show so it was one of my first times going to the first day of any Johnny’s concert tour. The day before was presale goods, so I took the train out from Kyoto, where I had been living at the time, in the heavy snow and went to buy goods for me and some other friends. The fondest memory I had was this mother and her son in front of me in line and the boy was just chatting away about Massu the whole time.

The next day, one of my friends came down from Nagoya and we hung out before the show, being at the venue when the first show of the day got out. You could see everyone was in high spirits as they came out and I was so excited when they finally let us into the venue for the second show. I had no idea what the set list was going to be like, so during the concert I got excited when certain songs came on. The venue was so small, so we really could hear Massu and Tegoshi when they sang “Aoi Bench” with out any microphones. I cried at that song, and every other time I heard it when I went to the tour. My first impression of the concert tour was “Wow! Tegomass has grown so much!” I had been to the Mahou tour over 2 years ago, so it was almost like a “Hey! It’s been a while” and “Wow! Look how much we all have grown”.

Yokohama

I went home to America a few days after the Osaka venue for almost a month, and when I came back I was still on Spring break from my MBA program. My friend Rosie from Thailand and I had been planning a trip for this tour since it was announced, so after a brief trip to Hiroshima for sight seeing, I went to Yokohama and met up with Rosie. We were only able to go to 1 of the 4 shows, but this time was a different feeling because it was an arena venue, not a small hall like Osaka.

To be honest, Yokohama was not my favorite show because they seemed too focused on the technicalities versus showing the fans a good time. They were filming at the afternoon show I went to, but I believe that the evening show is what was actually put onto the DVD and the afternoon show was just a dress rehearsal for recording the night show. It was still an amazing show, but I think it was because the last show I had been to was in a small hall where they could give the fans more attention, it was a bit of a change to go to an Arena venue. When I go back and look at the DVD, they did an amazing job at filming this tour though! I am glad they filmed Yokohama.

Fukuoka

After the Yokohama venue, Rosie and I took the Shinkansen 5 hours from Tokyo to Hakata for the next part of the tour. This was my first time to Fukuoka, so I was excited to explore southern Japan a bit! It was the beginning of April, so the Cherry Blossoms had just bloomed in Fukuoka. It was quite warm for the beginning of April and the venue was right by the sea, so we were walking around the pier before the concert. It was so pretty!

My favorite memory was when we were standing around the side of the venue near the pier and we saw a group of girls gathered around looking towards the venue. They would like squeal every few minutes at something and Rosie, my other friend Monica and I, couldn’t figure out why. Eventually after a few times, we figured out it was a soccer ball that popped up every so often over the top of the venue wall. Everyone knows that Tegoshi plays soccer before the concerts, so we all assumed that it was him playing with a few people before the show. Eventually, the security guard began to shoo everyone away.

Fukuoka was my favorite leg of this tour. Tegomass were both in high spirits and the venue itself, Marine Messe Fukuoka, was big, but not huge. You had a good view of the stage and the layout from wherever you were sitting. We went to both days, the first day we were in the 10th row of the stands and the second show we were up towards the back of the stands on the second floor. In both seats you felt involved in the show!

Nagoya

A last minute decision spurred me to go to Nagoya, the last venue for the tour. Nagoya is only a 45 minute Shinkansen ride from Kyoto, so about a week previous, I decided to go, at the invitation of some of my friends who were also going. I met up with some amazing Tegomass/ NEWS fans and we talked for so long about the concert and everything that happened! I stayed at my friend’s place in Nagoya with her other friend and it was basically a whole slumber party in her small apartment with blankets everywhere on the floor! We talked until the late hours of the night and was one of my favorite concert memories to this date.

I ended up in the Arena right near the back stage, and Massu and Tegoshi both came close to me and were singing “Kiss kaeremichi no love song” in front of where I was. My favorite memories of this concert was Massu jumping down from the stage and handing a child one of the sign balls near the back stage.

“See you Next Live” appeared on the screen after the encore at every concert. In Nagoya it held an even more special meaning to me, because it marked the end of my first tour I had traveled for. Tegomass is my favorite concert to see live because of the live music and the band that backs them up. I can see them time and time again and never get bored becauase each time is totally different.

This tour I spent with such a variety of people and made so many memories. A concert is more than just seeing the group live, its connecting with fellow fans who love the same thing as you as well.

To Tegomass and all the people who I met back in February 2014 to April 2014, Thank you. It’s a tour I will never forget.

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Album Review: NEWS – WHITE

NEWS-WHITE

NEWS “WHITE”, released on February 28th 2015, is NEW’s most recent album released a year and a half after their previous one. This time they used the theme of “white”, which has always been their “group color”. They also experimented with new sounds and new concepts, such as implementing a short film in the album. It topped the weekly charts, beating Acid Black Cherry.

The Songs

MR.WHITE

This is the title song of their album and also what their short film was based off of. I heard it on Koyama’s radio show K-chan news in the middle of February and I loved it the first time I heard it! This is a different type of sound compared to what NEWS has done in the past, with a “funk” vibe to it. I love the combination of the beat with the horns. The vocals are amazing and the key really suits their voices. When singing on music programs to promote the album, they always sung this song and you could see how confident they were with the concept through their performance.

KAGUYA

KAGUYA was NEWS’s most recent single that was released in January. It has a very “modern meets old” feel to it and is an “epic love song” that showed a more sensual side to NEWS. For a full review of this single, please click here to read my post about it.

NYARO

NYARO was originally released about a year ago, but only as a Bra commercial tie-up song for the brand Walcol. The fans have never heard the full version of this song, so it was great to finally hear it. It’s a very NEWS like “summery” song. It has a country feel to it with fiddle like sounds and country like guitar. Paired with the kind of dance beat in the background, I think it makes a new and interesting combination. The echo of “Nyaro” in the background in the chorus makes it such a fun and catchy song that get’s stuck in your head.

SEVEN COLORS

SEVEN COLORS was the theme song for the 2013 and 2014 FIFA Club World Cup and is personally my favorite of the three soccer songs that they have released. Since both times were in Morroco, it has a dance-electronic beat combined with African drums.  I like the uptempo-ness of the song combined and the variety of sounds.

Weather NEWS

Weather NEWS is probably the most news-like song out of this whole album to me. It’s a call and response song, very much like “4-Fan” was in their 2013 “NEWS” album. The whole concept of having a call and response song is such a fun concept to me and makes me feel involved in the concert and with the other fans as well. For the music, it’s a very simple song with simple lyrics, and it was a very nice surprise to have Shige do the rap part and not Massu, who had seemed to take on the rap parts since Yapami had left the group.

Super Sonic

NEWS normally has one “hard dance” song on their album, and Super Sonic was this album’s dance song. What makes it different than the other dance songs that they have done more of an electronic and dubstep feel to it, which seems to be a theme in Asian pop in general recently. When I first heard it, it sounded reminiscent of an Arashi song from their “Digitialian” album. It’s like a combination of a rock song and a dance song combined together and is probably my favorite dance song of theirs to date.

Black-Jack –Inter- and “BYAKUYA”

I combined these two together because one leads into another. Black Jack is an interlude or kind of intermission into the other part of the album, but more specifically into BYAKUYA. It’s a dubstep type song that you would probably hear in a club and somehow merges well together with the fantasy like sounds in BYAKUYA.

Now speaking of fantasy, BYAKUYA is an all out fantasy song, a cross between a pirate theme song, like out of Pirates of the Caribbean, and something out of Harry Potter or “Nightmare Before Christmas”. If you think about it, it also sounds like something that KAT-TUN would do, an epic song that has lots of “visuals”. There is so much going on in this song that you have to listen to it a few times to really hear everything. The first time I heard this song I felt a combination of “What is this epicness?” and “What did I just listen to?” because there was so much going on.

ONE –for the win-

One -for the win- was the 2014 FIFA World Cup theme song that member Tegoshi was also the main caster for.  This song has a more Latin feel to it, which really surprised me the first time I heard the song. This song is one of the songs that gets stuck in my head so easily because the chorus says all the names of the countries that participated in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

White Love Story

Out of all of the songs on the album, this has to be the song that struck me the most. It is such a light and fluffy love song, but more specifically a wedding song. The lyrics are so sweet and the harmonization combined with the piano and the lyrics make me tear up every time I hear this song. This song personally showed me an evolution in NEWS, a maturity from the typical love song to something that was deeper in a sense. The lyrics talk about a man treasuring a woman so much and wanting to make her happy and protect her from now on. At one point the lyrics say “You are my Heroine”, it might seem sickly sweet to some people, but I think that it’s a beautiful song and a beautiful melody, which makes it on my top songs on this album.

Ai Kotoba 「愛言葉」

Ai Kotoba is the song that NEWS wrote themselves for their 10 Year Anniversary Event. NEWS has gone through a lot in the past 10 years, going from 9-8-6 and then to 4 members, so this was was a song dedicated to the fans and them coming this far as 4 members. It’s a very sweet song with a simple melody, but a deep meaning. It’s  a special song for the members, as well as the fans. When I heard it in the countdown this past year, I was crying so hard.

Solo Songs

Koyama Keiichiro – Romeo 2015 「ロメオ2015」

This was a song that Koyama and former NEWS member Nishikido Ryo did as a duet together in a concert a long time ago and Koyama decided to revamp it as his solo for this tour. It has a latin flair, but it is quite simple if you listen carefully. It is sexy in a subtle way and the vocals aren’t too harsh and it suits Koyama’s voice very nicely.

Masuda Takahisa – Skye Beautiful

The first time I heard this song I didn’t know what to think of it and I didn’t like it that much. I was very confused at the rhythm changes, going from soft and “mysterious” to hard dance club like music. I had to listen a second time before I actually understood the tempo changes and how it all flowed together, and then it became one of my top songs on the album.

Tegoshi Yuya – Anata 「あなた」

Coming from his solo last album/ tour “Lovin U”, this was a bit of a disappointment to me when I first listened to it. It was very simple love ballad compared to the previous two solo songs, really focusing on the voice more than anything. It was quite boring for a while, but once I listened to it a few times and felt the lyrics and the piano, I began to like it more.

Kato Shigeaki – Escort

Escort is my favorite of all of the solo songs this tour, just for the beat of the song combined with the lyrics. Shige wrote the lyrics of the song again this time, and I think he was trying to spin off of his previous solo “Dreamcatcher” with “flowery” lyrics again. I like the piano and “funk” kind of vibe to the song and it flows very nicely, although some of the English lyrics make me giggle every time I listen to it.

Overall impressions

This album was a new direction for NEWS, they experimented with some new styles of music, but you could still very much feel classic “NEWS” throughout. It showed a more mature side of NEWS in a way, an evolution almost. In particular, Byakuya and Black Jack –Intern- and Kaguya were a bit out of the ordinary for NEWS, but it gave them a more mature feel. My favorite songs were White Love Story and NYARO, along with Weather NEWS, which were the most “NEWS” like songs on the album, in my opinion.

I hope you enjoyed this review! What do you all think of NEWS “White” album? Please let me know what you think in the comments below and press the like button if you enjoyed this post.

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!

Concert Report: Johnny’s Countdown 2014-2015 in Tokyo Dome

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This year on New Year’s Eve, I was able to attend Johnny’s Countdown for the first time! Since I became a fan, I have watched it every year on TV. This year though, Johnny’s Countdown wasn’t broadcasted on television, so it was different compared to previous years . In this post I will talk about what happened in the concert briefly, followed by some thoughts I had afterwards. Let’s get started!

The Concert

The concert started promptly at 11:00pm, starting with a video showing the names of all of the groups that were performing in Johnny’s Countdown this year, and then each group performed by debut year from the most recent debut. Johnny’s West started, followed by ABC-Z, Sexy Zone, and Hey! Say! JUMP. There were actually a lot of fans of these groups in particular that I spotted in the crowd, besides Kinki Kids, which surprised me. These are the “Kouhai” groups, or the younger groups,and it was an interesting experience to see all the different fans from these groups and how different the demographic was from the shows and concerts that I normally go to. I had seen Hey! Say! JUMP live back in 2011 for “Summary” in Kyocera Dome, but I had never seen the rest of the groups live before. If you had read my blog post about my 2014 favorite Johnny’s release picks, then you probably know that I was very interested in Johnny’s West and Hey! Say! JUMP in 2014 and that it was so much fun to sing and dance along with their songs! They really are fun groups to watch live.

After Hey! Say! JUMP was NEWS, which is my favorite group in Johnny’s, so it was very emotional for me to see them back at Tokyo Dome after about a year and a half, singing one of the same songs. They sung their new single “Kaguya”, as well as “Ai Kotoba” and to be completely honest, I was crying hard throughout their whole performance, especially at “Ai Kotoba”, which was a song written for their fans for their 10 Year Anniversary event and not yet released on CD. (Edit. NEWS just announced an album today 1/16 that has “Ai Kotoba” in it) It was very emotional for me to see them live as 4 members after so long.

Next up were Tackey and Tsubasa. This was Tsubasa’s first performance back from being admitted to the hospital, so you could tell that the Tackey and Tsubasa’s fans were very excited. After T&T was Kinki Kids. This had to be my favorite part of the countdown, besides NEWS, because I have heard amazing things about them performing live. I am not a huge fan of Kinki Kids, but their performance blew me away. I have always wanted to seem them live, and this was the perfect opportunity to! I loved hearing their famous debut single “”Garasu no Shonen” (硝子の少年) live.

After Kinki Kids, came the Sempai groups, Shounentai, who has Higashiyama in the duo, as well as Okomoto Kenichi (who is the father of Okomoto Keito of Hey! Say! JUMP. It was fun to see father and son interact with each other on stage, Keito at one point putting on his father’s jacket for him). After they finished perfoming, it was the countdown! After the countdown, Matchy came out on a motorcycle and rode around the dome! It was then introduced that it was his 35th Anniversary, and he performed for about 20 minutes. After his performance, special guest Kuroyanagi Tetsuko came into the dome in a police car with sirens and everything straight from Kouhaku, then came on stage and talked with the Sempais. She congratulated Matchy on his 35th year anniversary and also congratulated Tsubasa on being released from the hospital.

After this, all of the groups then came out and performed one of each of Matchy’s songs, ending with “Ikagen”, in which they all wore the same white jacket with “ikagen” on it. With that, there was the ending greetings and then the concert officially ended.

Overall impressions

This year’s Johnny’s countdown was different than other years, the biggest reason being because they didn’t air it on live television as they normally do. Talking with my other friends who have been many times, normally it would be very “start and stop” because of the TV broadcast and the talents themselves couldn’t really interact with the fans that much. This year, it was smooth and more fan interactions by each of the groups that performed. The Sempai groups did an amazing job performing as well and a highlight for me was seeing some groups perform live that I probably wouldn’t get the chance to see in a normal concert.

I had a few concerns though, which were the talking parts, and also Machy’s performance, and some fan manners. First off, because it was Matchy’s 35th year anniversary, they put a good amount of the attention on that, especially because it was December that he debuted. Because of this, Matchy dominated most of the talking parts, as well as the special guest, Kuroyanagi Tetsuko. Nobody besides Kinki Kids and the other sempai groups (Okomoto Kenichi and Shounentai) talked. If it weren’t for NEWS’s Masuda Takahisa being silly in the background on the screens, NEWS fans wouldn’t have seen much of NEWS talking, same for the other groups too. Many people online were upset at Matchy dominating most of the countdown concert, but others enjoyed it for the sempai groups, so it was divided on this particular point. I still think it is good to respect and honor the sempai groups, but they should have informed us that this would be a special Matchy tribute instead of thinking we would get our normal group interactions singing lots other group’s songs.

Another concern of mine was I saw a lot of people around me, and in the dome in general, sitting down during group’s performances that they weren’t a fan of. Since the concert was dominated by the sempai groups, a lot of the people who came for the younger groups were bored during the other performances and sat down, some even on their phones. Why was this a bad thing? Well, at a Johnny’s concert most people stand up and support the groups, so it is seen as rude to not support the other groups and just sit down. A lot of people online were mentioning this point as well. To be honest, I can’t blame them for wanting to sit down, I even sat down during Matchy’s long MC, but I didn’t sit down when the groups were performing. Even if I wasn’t a fan, I listened and stood up to support everyone and cheered them on.

Have you ever watched Johnny’s Countdown before? How do you think this compares to other years? What do you think about some of the points brought up? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Stageplay Report: Masuda Takahisa 「フレンド -今夜此処での一と殷盛り-」 October 12th, 2014

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On October 12th, I had the opportunity to see Masuda Takahisa’s play 「フレンド -今夜此処での一と殷盛り-」two times at the Tokyo Globe Theater! The Tokyo Globe theater located at Shin-Okubo station, one stop away from Shinjuku going towards Ikebukuro station on the JR Yamanote Line. This is only the second time I have ever been to the Globe Theater, the first being for Shige’s play back in April “Naka no Hito” 「中の人」. The first showing of the play started at 1:00pm so my friend and I actually entered about 10 minutes before the first show started and I quickly bought goods and sat down. My seat was on the first floor, Row G on the right side when facing the stage. These seats weren’t bad for the first viewing because I felt like I was inside the play at the end (which I will get into later), even thought it was a bit low to the ground and me being small, sometimes seeing in-between other peoples’ heads in front of me wasn’t fun. Then the play started right at 1pm.

Play Overview

Please note there are spoilers following this, so please be careful if you are going to see the play!

The opening scene begins with Massu’s character helping a drunken person walk along, coming in from the right section of seats near the stage, then up the stage, and barging into a bar late at night when they are closed. Here you also meet the character that will become Massu’s character’s wife later on, Akiko. It then cuts to one of the characters explaining the setting of the play. The setting is a bar/ Izakaya called “Friend” (in Katakana) located near Shibuya Station in Tokyo. He also introduces some of the characters as well and after this the play starts.

The play takes place beginning in Showa Year 5 (1930) and continues through out the years until, I believe, probably between Showa year 17 or 20?(1942-1945) when the bombings of Tokyo happened. It is a “one room” setting play with only one set change towards the end of the play.

As a guide, here are the characters names that I mention here:

Actor’s Name – Character’s Name

Masuda Takahisa: Yasuhara Yoshihiro

Kaname Endo: Nakahara Chuuya (The Poet)

Aimi Satsukawa: Miyaji Akiko (Yasuhara’s Wife)

 

This play is actually based on a true story of a famous Japanese poet named Nakahara Chuuya. He was a famous poet in the early Showa period. Massu’s character, Yasuhara, went to school together in Kyoto with him they are good friends. Nakahara is going through struggles many struggles, including love problems and problems with his attitude and not getting along with people well, which leads to many funny scenes in the play, but also some emotional ones as well. The play has many themes, including friendship, love, and loss. Through the play, Yasuhara evolves as he grows older and he has to choose giving up working with Nakahara on writing and literature and the arts, which he loves, for having a stable job for income because he gets married. This decision comes from the cover that he drew for the author’s book being rejected by the publisher (which he helped get published in the first place) and him getting married as well. This ends up being one of the most emotional scenes in the play because he is rejecting to continue being Nakahara’s “partner”, but explains that he will stay his friend no matter what. This also happens on the day that Yasuhara’s engagement is being official. Other emotional scenes include the girl working at the bar, Akiko (who ends up being Yasuhara’s wife character’s wife), accepting the offer of the owners of the bar to become their daughter, as well as sending off their friends to War and the scene when Yasuhara came back from the funeral of Nakahara.

The play did a good job of blending in comedy with all of the emotional themes, which is why I called it an “emotional roller coaster” after I saw it for the first time. The funniest scene in the play for me was right after the really emotional scene of Akiko accepting the owner’s offer to become their daughter. At the beginning of this scene, Yasuhara is about to enter the bar, but stops when he sees the owners come down the stairs, so he quickly shuts the door and stands outside the bar listening to the whole conversation as it goes on. At the end of the scene, when Akiko accepts the offer to become their daughter, Yasuhara begins to bawl crying and everyone in the shop is confused to where it is coming from, and one of the other characters exits the shop and sees him crying and brings him inside. Massu was adorable and the way that he cried on the lamppost outside the shop was hilarious! I was laughing so hard after crying at the emotional scene before it. Yasuhara was a great combination of adorable and cheerful, but also surprisingly serious at certain points.

The ending of the play was a huge emotional punch. The play had been pretty steady up until about ¾ of the way through. After that it, speed up once the war started until all of a sudden sirens begin to go off. These are sirens during war for when an air-raid bombing is about to begin to warn people to take shelter. Bombs “go off” and then you see Yasuhara stumble out from the back of the theater as the bombings are going on, all covered in soot and dirty and he is searching for his wife. This is the part that you feel like you are in the play, as the play actually moves into the seating area. Yasuhara trips and falls (passing out) then the bombings all of a sudden “stop”. From the right side of the theater, Nakahara’s “ghost” appears and begins talking to Yasuhara and leads him back to Friend, just as he normally used to back in the day. The only catch? Friend is on fire. So this scene is very powerful and eerie as everything is like normal with everyone dead and alive there, but the bar is on fire. The sound effects then stop after showing that it was a gathering of some sort, and everyone begins reciting some poetry together (possibly from Nakahara’s poetry?) and then all of a sudden Yasuhara begins to be pulled back into the “real world”, saying that he can’t die now, as he made a promise Akiko (his wife) when they got engaged that he wouldn’t die as all of her family died in a bad earthquake and she didn’t want to be left alone. Yasuhara gets pulled behind the curtain and the Nakahara recites more of the poetry and exits out the back of the theater. It then turns to Tokyo being in rubble and Yasuhara waking up at Friend in rubble as well. On the right side of the stage you see the figure of someone approach and they take their hood off as she notices Nakahara. It is Akiko and they are finally reunited after the bombings. They have an emotional reunion with her showing some important things that she saved that were important during the play, as well as saying that the owners of the bar are safe. The play ends with them hugging and crying there in the rubble of Friend.

At both performances I was crying so hard at the end of the play that I still hadn’t stopped as the curtain call was going on. Massu’s acting was amazing and this play was such an emotional roller coaster. Tons of people were crying during this play, which really does show that the whole cast, not just Massu, did an amazing job. Even I, who still isn’t totally fluent in Japanese, was moved to tears. I wish that I could understand more of the poetry in this play, but poetry is difficult to understand in any language. There were  also some romantic scenes between Yasuhara and Akiko that were cute as well! There wasn’t any kissing, just hugging, which actually made it even cuter I think.

I also attended the second show that day and that one began at 6pm. I was in Row N towards the right side of the stage again and since it was elevated I had a very clear view of the stage and this was probably a better seat than the one I had at the first show because of that. I was also closer to where Massu entered a few times in the play.

IMG_2628Thank you Massu for an amazing play! It was more than I could ever imagine!

I hope that you all enjoyed this play report! I did my best to convey some highlights of the play without telling everything about it. Please leave any questions or comments down below.

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!