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Moteki February 9, 2014

Posted by ayasawada in Drama, Music.
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Moteki drama poster

Moteki is Japanese slang for a period of romantic bloom in your life where you are suddenly attractive and popular. The very idea of a ‘moteki’ seems absurd, the kind of thing that could only happen in harem manga and Hollywood romantic comedies. But where this franchise succeeds is taking this bit of seemingly wishful-thinking and turning it into a something real, human and honestly (don’t laugh) quite profound. (more…)

48groups pilgrimage January 19, 2014

Posted by ayasawada in Japan, Music, Travel.
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On my most recent Japan trip I visited Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka. Seeing as that’s three out of the four 48 Groups locations, I couldn’t very well do that and not stop by hallowed ground, right? Here follows impressions and directions to sating your AKB/SKE/NMB thirst while on the move in Japan. (more…)

Perfume city Tokyo January 2, 2014

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Perfume でした。#prfm

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The last year or so has been, without a doubt, the best 13 months of my life. Capping off what can only be described as ‘Perfume year‘ was the holy grail: a pilgrimage to see the group in the motherland of Japan. 

The date: Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The location: Tokyo Dome – the capital’s legendary baseball stadium and one of the biggest venues in the country. Perfume played here once before in 2010, but this time returned for 2 days, part of a 4-date ‘4th Tour in Dome’ that including a couple of nights previous in Osaka’s Kyocera Dome. 

:) #prfm

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Yet it was Tokyo that was the ‘homecoming’ of sorts, and the one that most international fans decided was the one to gather for (probably in no small part due to the coinciding Christmas holidays). Thanks to the World PTA fan club, for the first time we had a relatively easy way to purchase tickets to a Japanese concert. It was a lottery, but though many of us worried, practically all got tickets (and for those that didn’t, most of us had spares). I was lucky enough to draw a pair for both nights and booked my flight right away. (more…)

Hanging out with Perfume on Google+ October 16, 2013

Posted by ayasawada in Music.
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Perfume Google+
Sometimes life gives you lemons and you have to make lemonade. And sometimes it just gives you the lemonade.

I’ll be honest, when it comes to Perfume, I’ve had a pretty amazing run of luck. After the incredible experience of World Tour 2nd, and having also drawn tickets to go see the group’s Tokyo Dome concerts in December, I thought my Perfume luck was pretty much exhausted. It seems not so. (more…)

Perfume World Tour 2nd: Dreams are made of this July 10, 2013

Posted by ayasawada in Music, Travel.
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OMG this is really happening! #prfm

Sometimes good things happen. And sometimes AMAZING things happen that make you feel suddenly connected and belonging to your life and your world.

After the miracle of Singapore, I vowed to see Perfume, my favourite Japanese group, again someday. But I was stunned when just two months later the group announced a European tour. They would be coming to Cologne, Paris…. and London.

I intended just to go to London, but my friend Andy (who I met at the Singapore live) and I got a bit nervous that the London tickets would sell out really fast (which they did). The Paris tickets went on sale immediately, so we got a couple of those just in case. When we managed to get London tickets too, Andy shrugged and said, “It would be rude not to go to Germany too…” :P

What followed was a whirlwind. Twelve months ago I thought I would never see Perfume perform live. If you’d have told me then that a year later I’d have seen them not once but FOUR times in four different countries, I wouldn’t have believed it. If you’d have said I’d also have met them in person, I’d have laughed in your face.

ALL THESE THINGS CAME TRUE. (more…)

AKB48 Super Festival June 23, 2013

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AKB48 Wonda advert

So, clearly I’m quite into AKB48 and on my recent trip to Japan I decided to indulge somewhat in what it’s like to be an AKB fan in the motherland. It was a thrill to be there, particularly around Akihabara, seeing the members plastered on every billboard, every public transport TV, appearing on numerous TV shows and hearing their songs playing across the streets and in stores all week. ^^ (more…)

Documentary of AKB48: No flower without rain June 16, 2013

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No flower without rain cover

The Documentary of AKB48 films are really special to me. Bearing the production backing of indie director Shinji Iwai and given unparallelled access behind-the-scenes of the AKB machine, it’s fascinating and gripping stuff for anyone intrigued by the circus. Given that these films are also somewhat responsible for me becoming an AKB fan, I’ve been looking forward to this latest one for months. So was it worth the wait? Hell yeah. (more…)

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu February 24, 2013

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ありがとう@pamyurin。とっても楽し方! ロンドンはキャリーに大好きだ ^^ #kyary #kpp

Two weeks ago Harajuku superstar Kyary Pamyu Pamyu played in London. As I often say on this blog, it’s rare that any Japanese music comes to the UK so when a pop culture phenomenon who’s riding high in the Japanese charts comes to town, we’re in for an extra special treat.

In all honesty, I hadn’t heard of Kyary up until a few months ago, when a friend asked on the morning of the ticket sales if I was going. I bought one on a whim, figuring a) it’d be fun at least and b) I’m liable to like anything produced by the inimitable Yasutaka Nakata, the man behind my favourite group Perfume.

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峯岸みなみへ:みいちゃんがんばって January 31, 2013

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Minegishi Minami

Since becoming an AKB48 fan, Minegishi Minami has been my favourite. Always bright, bubbly and playful, she’s never been as super super popular, but is a founding member and always in the top 20 of the Sousenkyou. So I was pretty upset to read today of this scandal broken in a Japanese tabloid and even more disappointed at the typical AKB management’s reaction to it. Punishment was swift, with Mii-chan demoted to Kenkyusei level for the indiscretion.

On the one hand, you could say this is what all the girls signed up for – the rules on boyfriends, or even to be seen to be doing anything vaguely construed as having anything to do with boys, is pretty clear and it’s not like any number of members haven’t suffered the same paparazzi treatment, scandal and punishment in the past few years. But there’s always the feeling that we, the fans, are far from inconvenienced and more saddened that the reaction to a girl just doing what any normal human being would be doing. And instead of being given a supporting arm around the shoulder she’s shown severe punishment – to the extent that Mii-chan felt she had to shave her head as some form of retribution (I never quite got that as a Japanese self-punishment, but it is one of the few noticeable actions one can do in such a powerless situation, particularly when your hair is one of your most attractive features).

The subsequent apology Mii-chan posted to AKB48’s YouTube channel is totally heartbreaking. (more…)

Perfume LIVE: a dream come true November 29, 2012

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Untitled (2012-11-24 13:41:42)

On Saturday night, something I never thought would happen happened: I saw my favourite jpop group live. And it was a miracle that I got to be there.

I’ve been a massive Perfume fan for 3 years. But living in London, I accepted long ago that I would probably never see any of my favourite jpop acts live. It’s rare enough that any of them play outside of Japan, let alone make it all the way to UK shores. And even if some do, all-female pop groups aren’t generally at the head of the queue.

I was therefore excited to hear the news of Perfume’s first “world tour”, but somewhat disappointed to discover that it was actually more of an Asian tour. I was due to be on holiday in Malaysia at roughly the same time period, but my hopes were dashed when I failed to secure tickets to any of the 4 gigs through the online ballots, which quickly sold out anyhow.

Shoganai, I thought. I was thankful to already be going to Anime Festival Asia (AFA12), with its 3 nights of jpop live goodness attached to the weekend (blog post to follow). Little did I know the best was yet to come.

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