Super Cute Koahru strikes again!

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Maybe I'm a little biased towards talking about Koharu since she is my favorite idol within Morning Musume, yet I cant help but sing her praises when she brings something out.
The track of 'Papan Cake' at first didnt make much of an impression me, I thought it didnt contain any hooks or memorable moments, yet thankfully after much continious listening I can safely say I'm a big fan of the song ... yet I can also say its far from being one of her best, I was hoping its genki levels would surpass the legendary 'Konichipa!' ... it didnt.
The PV is a typical koharu video, its good to see she hasnt dropped her air guitar.
The 'set' is fairly low bugget, its just a room littered with various props, toys, instrumensts and what not, yet who cares when you have Koharu flailing her arms and legs around like its going out of fashion?
Her outfit is a beautiful colour purple with splashes of honey yellow, she really looks adorable (as always).
A moment that really makes me love this is when Koharu belts out the lyric 'HAI!!!!!' ... I could listen to that forever.
The one thing (and one thing only) that annoys me about the video is that she dosent even eat the bloody pancake, throughout the video she flirts with it, pouring over the maple syrup ... looking at it wantingly ... she even cuts into it with her fork ... and then the PV ends! what an anti-climax!!!!
I seriously hope I get to see Koharu NOM on some pancakes in the 'making of' or I'll never have closure :(
All in all its a typical Koharu affair, lovers of Koharu will love it and the haters will hate it.

Online Videos by Veoh.com


Mano Erina ... Super idol in the making



I downloaded this single about 30 minutes ago and I cant stop listening to it!
The song is a very basic affair, Mano's vocals are so sweet
check it out! download it here! or listen to it below!

Some pictures from her live performance:


Airi's Classic in 60 seconds!


Before this dvd came out I was kinda confused, WHAT exactly was it? ... the title 'Airis Classic' is fairly vauge ... If I was in charge I would of called it 'Airi fails at mini-golf for 50 minutes'.
Thats right ... the whole video is dedicated to Airi playing mini-golf all by herself, some people would find that relatively tedious ... yet considering its Suzuki Airi ... its awesome, I could quite happily watch that girl cut her toenails, anything she does just drips with adoribility and win.
I spent the good part of an hour making screen caps of the videos best parts ... but then I thought sod it.
So since I havent made an OPV for a while I hope you might enjoy this ...
I called it 'Airi's Classic in 60 seconds!' ... I made it with some crappy windows program so it kept crashing on me >:( ... but I should be getting an imac soon so I should be able to make more in the furure.
The full length version of 'Airi's Classic can be viewed and downloaded here.
Below is the OPV I made, hope you like it ^^

(note - Veoh rejected my uploads of this video, I have no idea why so I uploaded it via youtube)

Berryz Kobo - Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance!

The PV came out today on Dohhup!
I've uploaded a low quality version to veoh, I'll re-upload another one later of higher quality.
I'll also write about it later when I'm drunk, words tend to flow better that way.


I'll keep the review very simple because I'm now kinda hungover ...

The video is awesome from start to finish, the short frilly skirts are relevant to my interests and the dance routine seems fairly complex and very funny.
The monkey suits multiply the awesomeness by a thousand, I think that Chinami and Massa stand out the most in this video, their antics as monkeys are really cute and sweet.
Its good to see the Berryz getting more of an equal line distribution.
I'm wondering how many different versions there will be of this ... I'm hoping there will be a close up version and dance version (with and without monkey suits).
My head hurts, I'm gonna lay down.


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'Racist' advert pulled in Japan


The blue text below is lifted from The Guardian

A Japanese mobile phone firm said today it had pulled a TV advert depicting a monkey as a political candidate amid accusations that it was a racist reference to Barack Obama, who is seeking to become the first black US president.

The ad, for eMobile, shows a monkey in a suit addressing an election rally, surrounded by supporters carrying placards with the word "Change".

The apparent intention is to persuade subscribers to other mobile phone carriers to transfer to eMobile.

But the combination of the monkey, and the resemblance of his message to the theme of Obama's campaign - "Change we can believe in" - prompted bloggers to accuse the company of making a racist slur against the Democratic hopeful.

The company, which stressed it had used the macaque mascot in several other adverts, said it had never intended to insult Obama but had decided to pull the "Change" ad in response to criticism in the blogosphere.

"We had no bad intentions, but this is a cross-cultural gap issue and we have to accept it," eMobile's chief executive, Sachio Semmoto, told Reuters. "There are African-Americans in Japan, so we decided to take prompt action and shut down the ad."

Semmoto went further, describing the senator from Illinois as the kind of leader who could benefit not only the US but also Japan. "For two years I've been saying Obama has the capacity to change America, the kind of capacity that Japan needs," he said.

Monkeys are revered in Japan, and their image can be found at numerous Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, but eMobile's choice of animal for this ad did not impress the foreign blogging community.

Zurui, in a message to the Black Tokyo site, wrote: "Well it seems like the ugly head of racism has reared its big head again on Japanese television.

"Am I crazy to think the monkey is supposed to represent Barack Obama? Given the track record for companies in Japan that use monkeys and blacks or monkeys as blacks in advertisements ... maybe not!"

Writing on Japan Probe, James disagreed: "Is this 'the ugly head of racism' in Japan, as sites like Black Tokyo have written? I don't think so.

"The commercial clearly is a parody of Barack Obama's campaign, which has received a lot of positive media coverage in Japan, but I don't feel that it reflects racist ideas about black people and monkeys.

"I doubt that most Japanese people would even understand how a pink-faced grey monkey native to Japan could be equated with African people."

It isn't the first time a Japanese firm has found itself accused of racist depictions of black people.

Three years ago a TV commercial by Mandom, which makes men's grooming products, drew condemnation because it showed a Rastafarian accompanied by a chimpanzee that had been made up to resemble him.

Obama is hugely popular in Japan, not least among the residents of a fishing town on the Japan Sea coast that shares his name.

The residents of Obama - "little shore" in Japanese - formed a supporters' group to follow his progress through the Democratic primaries.

His Japanese supporters made sweet-bean buns bearing Obama's face and "I love Obama" T-shirts, as well as similarly themed chopsticks, which the town's mayor sent to the candidate along with a message of support.

While I'm in no postion to remark about a 'cross-cultural gap issue' the advert seems to show a fair degree of racist intent, yet I find the advert funny... does that make me racist also? oh noes!
Here it is anyway, what do you think?

Pa! Pa! Pancake!!!


Super idol Koharu's latest single 'Papancake!' has finally been played on radio.
Below is a radio rip for your listening pleasure.
I'll hold my review (for now) until I hear a better version and see the PV.
Download the rip here.


The Geisha return to the floating world


The blue text below is lifted from guardian.co.uk/

''Miehina has barely taken a dozen steps along a Kyoto street before the audio backdrop to her every public move comes to life. In the fading light of an early summer evening, the metronomic clip-clop of her platform okobo sandals is accompanied by the clicking of shutters, as a gaggle of amateur photographers seeks the perfect snapshot of one of Japan's most venerated women.

They stay with her until she retreats down a backstreet and slips through the sliding wooden door of her teahouse, her emerald green kimono, worth tens of thousands of pounds, now no more than a photogenic imprint.

In the past tourists would have had to wait hours for a fleeting glimpse of a lone geisha on her way to an appointment. Now they are spoiled for choice.

After decades of decline, Japan's traditional entertainers are making a comeback. Earlier this year the number of geisha trainees - known as maiko - reached 100 in Kyoto for the first time in four decades.

The ancient capital is still a long way from returning to its 1920s' heyday, when there were around 800 geisha in Gion, its most famous geisha district.

In 1965, records show, the city was home to 76 maiko. By 1978, the number had fallen to 28; the number then stuck between 50 and 80.

Experts believe the recent surge in teenage girls hoping to enter the "floating world" of tea ceremonies, performing arts, and yes, flirtatious exchanges with inebriated clients, is evidence of renewed respect among the Japanese for their traditional culture.

"I remember years ago being told by one woman: 'How would the English like it if their country was represented by what many people regard as prostitutes in national dress?'" says Lesley Downer, author of Geisha: the Secret History of a Vanishing World, who lived among geisha for six months while researching her book. "The Japanese are far less concerned about appearing western than they once were. They used to be paranoid about what the west thought of them. That was particularly true of geisha, which even Japanese considered too olde-worlde."

Much of the mild embarrassment many Japanese felt about the geisha thread running through their cultural fabric arose from popular misconceptions: the suspicion that, beneath the veneer of cultural exclusivity, they were little more than high-class prostitutes.

Though illicit sex is not unheard of, the myths surrounding the geisha are slowly unravelling amid unprecedented media exposure and a belated embrace of the internet among the teahouses of Kyoto's five geisha districts.

Though it was as aesthetically removed from geisha life as Hollywood is physically from Kyoto, the 2005 film adaptation of Arthur Golden's bestseller Memoirs of a Geisha piqued interest in the profession among teenagers. Hanaikusa, a TV drama based on the autobiography of Mineko Iwasaki, the source for much of Golden's book, was one of the small-screen hits of last year.

Then came the emergence of the cyber-geisha, who combine daily study of the traditional arts with a few minutes spent on their laptops. Though free of gossip - protocol precludes any mention of clients' names or how they behave - the most popular blogs draw thousands of visitors a month, eager to soak up even the most pedestrian accounts of the maiko's working day.

"The old geisha were terribly snooty and couldn't care less what people thought of them," says Downer, who attributes teahouse websites and online maiko application forms partly to enlightened self-interest.

"Now there is more interest in presenting an image to the world that brings them bigger dividends. They finally started to worry that geisha traditions would die out, and that they needed to do something about it."

Whether the new approach succeeds will depend on apprentices such as Miehina, now ensconced behind the bar at Harutomi, her teahouse and living quarters in Miyagawacho district.

"It wasn't that I didn't want to become a maiko," she says in her lilting Kyoto dialect as she pours beer into tiny, wafer-thin glasses. "I just didn't think I could. I wasn't mentally prepared for all the training involved."

Now 20, with three years of training behind her, she has just a few months to wait until full geisha-hood beckons. Though her talent for dancing was apparent early on, she resisted several approaches from Kyoto teahouses, relenting only when her father gave his blessing. "I knew that if I were to become part of this world, life would be totally different than it is for other teenage girls," she says.

Though she rarely sees her family and has lost touch with her school friends, she does not regret her decision. "It may appear a tough lifestyle to outsiders, but you quickly get used to the strange rhythm of maiko life. There are people looking out for you all the time. When they complain, it is because they want to make me better at what I do."

As Harutomi's only resident maiko, she will one day run the teahouse and nurture a new generation.

"This profession is about quality, not quantity," says the teahouse's owner Haruno, a retired geisha. "I'm pleased that more girls are interested in becoming geisha, but they must be up to the job. As long as they come here with the right intentions, I'm happy."

It is clear that expectations are high for the once-reluctant teenager who, her regular clients say, has become one of Miyagawacho's finest dancers.

"She is the face of Harutomi, and one day she will be in charge here," says Haruno. "If she messes up she will bring shame not only on herself, but on the teahouse ... and her profession."
The apprentice

After waking at 8.30, Miehina eats a light breakfast and reads the newspapers: some clients discuss current affairs. She spends the next few hours learning the three-stringed shamisen and other instruments, song and dance, the tea ceremony and the art of polite conversation. After lunch with her teahouse "mother", it is time to prepare for the evening. After applying makeup, which can take an hour, she crosses the street to be wrapped, layer by layer, in a kimono that along with hair ornaments and other accoutrements weighs several kilograms. Her appointments begin at 6pm. If at another teahouse, she must be back at Harutomi by midnight. She rarely sleeps before 3am. Her days off are the second and fourth Sundays.''

Like alot of people my first interest in geisha culture arose from reading Arthur Golden's 'Memoirs of a Geisha', as I only tend to read non-fiction this book was a very welcome supprise, beautifuly written and well paced, not only was it a tale of love it was also a mini history lesson in the 'floating world' that is the life of a geisha.
Subsequently following from that I read even more books on the history, culture and perceptions of them from a western and Japanese stance, other books that stand out for me are Liza Dalby's 'geisha' which is her story of becoming the first ever non-Japanese geisha.
Also 'Geisha of Gion' written by one of Japans number 1 geishas Mineko Iwasaki.
In regards to the article above I find it very pleasing that fading faucets of Japanese culture are making a comeback, it will be interesting to see if they will try and recapture lost ground that has been taken by the maid cafes industry, regardless of the outcome I'm sure it will have sexy results.
Also While I'm on the subject its kind of ironic that I was talking to [name withheld] from MorningBerryz’s blog the other day about okinawan style music and the shamisen, I've loved the sound of the shamisen for a long time and hope to own one someday soon (for the right price).
As I'm sure alot of you are aware the shamisen features heavily on Berryz Kobo's Piririto yukou!, isnt it a funky sound?
I'll leave you now with a video by the Yoshida Brothers, the track is called 'rising' and is a fusion of traditional shamisen, ambient keys and rock, how awesome is that? VERY.


Tsunku shows us his cute pianist


Mano Erina can play the damn piano?! it seems so considering she's about to realase a single cleverly entitled 'MANOPIANO' (did you see what they did there?).
I think Mano is still a fairly unknown idol, she's had her stint in 'Ongaku gatas' which showed that she has a brilliant singing ability (she's also good at making those UHH AHH sounds ... check koi no bell).
Her introductions to 'Berrikyu' are fairly bland, a simple line and the catchphrase Berrikyu! ... so its kinda hard to see what sort of personality she has ... will she be hyper genki like Koharu? or will she be cool and cute like Risako? ... guessing I would say she will be elegant, polite and slightly reserved, no doubt the single thats coming out will be a slow ballady type affair ... unless Tsunku gets an idea for her to play flight of the bumble bee on a neon pink piano ... but that would just be stupid (yet awesome).
I was hoping that JunJun would get some kind of piano treatment considering she's so bloody amazing at it, will Mano be better than JunJun? will they have a VS battle? ... probably not, but I'm really looking forward to hearing this! I'll post it here when its out, but in the meantime lets just appreciate JunJun's talents.

And just for the Lulz here is a video of JunJun throwing a frisbee at some guys nuts ^^



I have nothing other to say apart from 'LOL'.


Another post about High King?!

Damn skippy, I have no aim with this post at all, I just wanna blurt out random win involving idols.
Now that Cinderella\Complex has hit the shops its gonna be really interesting to see how well this sells, did you get your copy? I know I got mine ... (ok that was a joke ... or was it?).
After watching the dance version (it should be called sexy version) about a gajillion times I can safely say that yajima maimi absolutely 100% totally OWNS the show ... her movements are fluid, precise, elegant ... and most of all sexy, watching her pull off those slick sexy movments is pure poetry in motion ... just oggle the gifs below! (nosebleed warning)

Photobucket Photobucket

Also did anyone bother to check the b-side to this single? if not then click play below, the song is called 'Kioku no Meiro' and considering most b-sides are shit, this is supprisingly brilliant, well worth listening to ... check out Yuka Maeda's adorable solo part ^^

And of course here is the dance version in question, enjoy!

Shirow out.

Online Videos by Veoh.com


A babble about Suzuki Airi


Suzuki Airi has always been one of my favorite idols within C-ute, she's probably second in line to the goddess Maimi.
Its recently been quite hard to ignore the girl as she has been alot more prominent in PV's and vocal shares, if you were to call her a 'line whore' you would be quite within your rights to do so ... considering she has such a adorable voice who cares if she hogs the lines?.
Airi started her idol career at the tender age of 9, now she is 14 years old so she has a good 5 years of 'idoldom' under her belt, its great to see her grow and develop her skills, it will be very interesting to see what direction she takes in the future, as I hate to say it ... one day C-ute will cease to exist ... and the girls that stand a strong chance of becoming solo vocalists are understandably Maimi and Airi ... with the chance of Nakajima Saki and Okai Chisato becoming a duo unit (how cool would that be?).
The past month Airi seems to of totally consumed me, it's probably to do with the fact of her antics on Berikyuu and the anticipation of her 3rd photobook entitled '6gatsu no Kajitsu' ... I intend to buy this photobook and her two previous books very shortly, I'm just looking forward to seeing some preview shots first.
An internet friend of mine made an off hand remark saying that she looked like an 'alien' and that she was 'freaky' ... that individual was promptly blocked from my MSN list for a good week or so.
Below you will find 2 download links for her 2 previous photobooks 'Airi' and 'Clear'.
Also a solo video of her performing the song 'Sayonara no love song' ... it really is quite beautiful indeed.

1st photobook - Airi.

2nd photobook - Clear.


Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance!


This just a quick update as I'm very pushed for time, so I'm just going to share a a full version of berryz Kobo's latest single 'Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance!'.
The rip quality isnt that great but its the best there is at the moment.
The quailty in regards to the actual single? ... its bloody brilliant!

Have it! Download here!.

Or listen to it right now, if the internet is working just press play:

I'll no doubt do a full review when the PV comes out.


Why I love Chinami Tokunaga


My first ever experience of Chinami was from the PV of Piriri to Yukou!, when she sings the line 'netarinai' at 34 seconds into the video ... I was absolutely transfixed by her, and that still remains to this day.
While many people have a varied list in regards to their favorite idols, I can safely assume that Chinami scores high amongst the majority.
Always genki and beaming with smiles she never fails to lift my spirits, its hard to pin a particular trait of Chinami's that I love most because she covers such a vast range of loveable quirks ... genki, dorky, playful, funny ... and now that she has just turned 16 some of us can now find her legally and morally permissible to be considered いろっぽい, as the main picture above clearly shows she has killer legs.
Now that she is blossoming into a young woman it will be interesting to see if she will become a little more reserved and more ladylike? personally I hope she retains her tomboy charms.
Below are a selection of clips that serve as constant reminders as to why I love her so much:


As this video shows, Chinami wasnt always the hyper genki idol, she was so timid and shy back in the days of the hello! project kids auditions, she bearly even shows her radiant trademark smile.
But as this baby photo shows, she has always had an idol fighting spirit within here.


At the begining of Chinimi's idol career she had some pretty funky 80's style hair cut, its really amazing how far she has come within the last 4 years, but its good to take a stroll down memory lane and watch Berryz Kobo's first ever PV 'Anata Nashi de wa Ikite Yukenai'.

Online Videos by Veoh.com

A majority of videos that feature Chinami are always filled with countless adorable quirky moments, at times she has had a tendancy to speak English (or try to).
Who can forget the moment she let slip that she had a girlfriend?

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When 'Dschinghis Khan' came out it was accompanied with about a thousand different versions of the PV, the version that stands miles ahead of the rest is the Chinami version ... 3 minutes and 14 seconds of pure genki Chinami joy!

Online Videos by Veoh.com

While this post mearly touches the tip of the iceberg of her awesomeness, its a start.
I'll end this now with this picture of Chinami talking about the berryz VS C-ute concert, the text written on the photo is 'Mina-san ni watashi no egao wo takusan o-todoke shimasu' which basicly translates to 'I will deliver lots and lots of my smiley faces to you all!!' ... is your heart melted yet? I know mine is.