Melissa's Jpop Report

Giving you the hook up on all things jpop related!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Ueno Zoo/Asakusa

@Cynthia: Hi hi! Glad you're enjoying the read. Yeah, I know, I'm kind of random on here, lol! ^_^/

Well, the last exchange student from April 05 has returned home. (T_T boo, it was my friend Sonnya). I guess that makes me, Chin, Chema, and Rida officially old school. Anyway, she invited me to an outing with her friends on Saturday. There was like 10 other people there. It was a lot of fun, and I made some new friends. ^_^


There's been a lot of new peeps showing up in the Ryo now. I think so far only one of the people I've met is an exchange student. She was from Taiwan. I wonder if I'm being a bit mean when I get introduced. I usually just say my name, throw in a "hajimemashite", and go on. Mmm, but now that I think about it, everytime Yokoyama san introduces me to someone, the only reason I was there in the first place to get introduced was because I was on my way out.

In the news!
Van Tomiko's debut album goes on sale today! Gonna get my copy on the way to the Shakalabbits concert today. ^_^V Somewhat unfortunately, the mp3s for the album got leaked, so I already have it on my player. I haven't listened to it yet, though. I will when I get the cd today.

And the Sakura outside my window have started blooming! The ones by the station are practically in full bloom. There's a gorgeous tree along the walk to the station that I have to stop and get a pic of. Everytime I'm on my way to the supermarket, there's a small crowd of people around the tree. It's kind of funny. They even put lights in the branches of the trees and turn them on at nights. I didn't realize they did that.

Monday, March 20, 2006

O muwai gawd!!!

I'm going to see Van Tomiko live tomorrow! ^__^V I've been freaking out since last week, and now I'm about to have a heart attack! I hope I can get close up! J-wave is having a special live broadcast in Ebisu that will be open to the public. I always knew I love J-wave. ^^V Go Vanchan!

And in other news, the Sakura are starting to come out! *prepares camera*

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Trip to Nikko (ancient Japanese shrines galore!)

Got a call from my tutor asking if I wanted to go to Nikko with one of the professors at the school. Why not? Don't remember what prefecture it was in, but it's in the Kanto region. ^__^ One of my friends, Sonnya, came along, too. There was a bit of a problem that the two of us weren't dressed appropriately for the cold, mountain weather (we didn't know we were going somewhere cold >_<), but other than that it was lots of fun. I never dress properly for the cold anyway, so I'm use to freezing. (thank goodness for sunlight);amp;amp;amp;id=15203096

It was a pretty long drive. 4 hours I'd say. We stopped at a rest stop on the way back and bought some dinner in a bakery there. I ate a pastry filled with Yakisoba (oishii!) and...curry bread. That was one of the most delicious things I've ever had. I've heard about it from animes and manga, but I always thought it was called that because the dough was flavored with curry, lol! There's curry inside the bread. It was soooo good.

And in other news, Japan vs. S.Korea today in baseball. Tensions are definitely high. o_o So far, score is 0 to 4 with Japan in the lead. How will this game turn out? ...I just can't believe I'm watching a baseball game with interest. (wa! Japan just scored again. 0 to 5. o_o)

Monday, March 13, 2006

Me and kids

I suppose one of the interesting aspects of going to another country is interacting with the children. Being that I'm at a college, I don't have much opportunity for that, but I had the opportunity this Sunday. It's not much of an interesting story. In fact, it's practically nothing at all, but I was a bit interested when I realized I was going to have the opportunity to spend time around Japanese kids. You see them running all over the place, so you wonder what they're like.

Anyway, I just went to the park with a mother and her two daughters that I know from church (I’m going to a different church now btw). My tutor, who knows the family, was there, so I didn't have to do much interacting. Yeah, they're pretty much like any other child. The older daughter is 7 (i think), and the youngest is 5 and hasn't started school yet. It's funny listening to them speak in Japanese because they seem like little geniuses since they can do something so easily that you have trouble with. You also fear conversation with them because you don't want to look stupid when you can't understand them.

I did actually have some one on one time with the youngest. Everyone had needed to use the restroom except us, so her mom told her to wait with me outside. It was great because after her mom walked off we turned and stared at each other for a few seconds with a kind of "So I guess we're stuck with each other, huh?" look. Well, that's what my look meant anyway. I also made sure to keep a good few feet in between us (Just keep reading, you'll find out what's my problem). I did try to strike up a conversation, though.

Me: *pointing at the 4 guys we had watched perform in the park* suki datta? (did you like it).
Her: un (yes)
Me: Violin o yatteiru no? (do you play the violin)
Her: un
Me: ah, sugoi (awesome)

I then proceeded to snap some shots of the "weird English" on the back of some random girl's shirt.

In case you didn't know this about me, I'm not too comfortable being around children (you don't say?). Generally, I prefer to not be around them at all unless I'm related to them. In cases where I'm a complete stranger to them (and more importantly...their parents), I'm actually afraid of them. Well, more of indirectly afraid of their mothers. It's because of something I like to call "the mother bear complex". My general assumption of a mother's reaction to seeing a stranger talking with her child is hostility. This assumption is most likely due to the constant stream of messages you receive as a child from every children's book/program/teacher/your parents that teaches you to "never talk to strangers". The stranger usually assumed the role of an evil, dark shadow representing the psychotic adult bent on doing you harm whom you should kick in the shins and run from should they do so much as offer you a stick of gum.

This image has stuck with me in to my adult years, and, being the overly serious type of person that I am, I have unconciously exaggerated it to where I believe I'm in danger of being mistaken. See, any parent who allows such an absolute view to be imparted to their children most likely has this view themselves. With every stranger being viewed as the potential serial killer looking for their next victim, the only acceptable reaction from a parent would be, of course, to go ballistic. That being said, I'm much better of not even entering the situation. Particularly, when you are in a different country, and it is quite possible the parent may indeed have a warped view of you as the foreigner.

And after reading this post, you're probably thinking "Yes, it’s best that you stay away from children....weirdo".

Friday, March 10, 2006

I feel pain >_<

I think I hurt my ankle. I was dancing in the music room a few hours ago, and I tried doing something like a double...jack..thingy...or whatever that move is called. Anyway, I crouch down then jump back kicking both my feet into the air and catch myself with my hands. I don't even know if it's a move, but I thought it might be interesting. Either way I landed kind of hard on my hands, so I just let my feet drop. I didn't land in a good way on my right foot, and I felt a little twinge. It doesn't hurt at all, and there's not really any pain if I walk. Last year, I hurt my left ankle doing the move the "regular way", and my ankle still hurts (or at least, doesn't feel normal). It probably serves me right, though, because I didn't stay off it.

So now I have my right ankle wrapped up and plan to stay off it for the weekend. The annoying thing is I have to return this silly video, so I'm going to have to walk out to the store. So much for staying off my feet. (which actually I've already done because I noticed I hard like 25 minutes til curfew. On the way, I think I may have realized my left ankle is in worse shape than my right. o_0 Not much of a surprise)

Speaking of the music room, I've been down there a lot lately practicing with my saxophone. I wrote out the melody for "Just The Way You Look Tonight" by Michael Buble, and I recently I transcribed the melody for one of Tomiko Van's new songs, "Hold Me". That would be the Tomiko of recently broken up Do As Infinity. Looks like she's planning to take a very different musical route with her solo career than she did with DAI. So far, all of her songs (3) have been very jazzy. I wasn't too excited at first because I'm not much for listening to Jazz (I tend to like playing it more than listening to it), but now that I know I can play her songs on my saxophone....^_____________^ Bring on the Jazz! After a week or so of practice, I'm planning to make a recording and post it on daiforum.

p.s. Koda Kumi's D.D.D featuring Soulhead is an awesome dance song!

Monday, March 06, 2006

I think some people like being old <__<

waaah! Bistro Smap is playing on tv. Today's guest is Koda Kumi, the talented tramp. They're eating all this delicious looking food. I'm hungry now. T_T Looks Shizuka Arakawa is next week's guest. I was watching tv with a friend last week. Apparently an enka singer who resembles Shizuka has become famous now. She looks exactly like her from the side, but so so from the front.

Yeah, so I was in Shinjuku at that huge bookstore they had. There was a girl in the elevator who had her headphones up kind of loud, so this woman tapped her on the shoulders and asked her to turn it down. Now, of course, this kid did need to turn it down. It wasn't bothering me at all, but the decent thing is to turn down your headphones in a crowded elevator. Still, the lady seemed like a bit of a crank. >_< Plus, both of them got off on the same floor, and I saw the woman purposely cut the girl off just for spite. I'm serious. She even paused for a second to make sure she'd do it right. <__< Nothing gets me more than people who think they're everyone's mom.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Now this is why I came to Japan!

What?...You thought I was here just for language study and sightseeing? You thought my reasons for studying Japanese were purely academic? O, no no no. Anyone who has seen my room would know that is "not" the reason I quit my job and flew half way around the world.

When my mother and sister were here during Thanksgiving (did I mention that? o_0 If not, I need to write that post), we were in Hakone (Mt. Fuji), and I asked my mom if she liked sighting seeing and going around to look at things. She confirmed that and then asked if what I liked to do was go to concerts. I said yes, and what happened today couldn't have done more to affirm that.

Today, I had the immense pleasure of attending a secret live to mark the debut of the new, all girl jpop rock group, Maria. What's so special about this group is that one of it's six members was a member of the group ZONE that broke up last April. Their place on my music totem pole is in the group right beneath DAI which meant when I heard the news I was one blink away from the water in my eyes becoming tears. I had only started listening to them in the spring of '04, but they had been together since '99. The youngest member was 11 or 12 when they first started out, and they only danced around on stage holding instruments and singing songs written by their producer. By the end, though, they were not only playing the instruments but composing some of the music themselves. (my recent attempt at learning the guitar has assured me that's nothing to sniff at. And they actually sang when they played) It really makes you grow to respect them, and, since their company never had them do the blessed "bikini-shot" photo books, you really feel the focus is on the music.

So getting to see the "re-birth of ZONE" was really special for me. Even more special when I think about all the other jpop experiences I've had and the excellent timing that placed me in Japan when so many important changes were happening to the group's who's music meant the most to me. Changes that would have had me sitting in front of my computer bashing my head against the keyboard screaming about wanting to go to Japan. The thought of being able to do everything I've done in the past 6 months with such ease makes me giddy. ^_^ I can just get up and go if I want to, and nothing hinders me. I can read about an event the night before and show up the next day. And I've always showed up. It's just great how I can move about another country like I live here, haha! It's completely normal things, and that's why it's so great that I can do them.

For anyone curious/bored, here's a live of ZONE covering 2 beatles' songs. (before one of them traded places with another girl because she wanted to go on to college)

Maria's PV (Promotional Video aka. Music Video). The girls write all the music themselves. ^_^V