Firstly, I forgot February is only 28 days, thus I didn't pay my internet bills. And after I managed to reactivate my account, my PC crashed on me. And THEN when I managed to restore it, my ethernet card is giving me problems! *sigh*
Anyway, everything is fine now.
On topic then..... When I went to reactivate my internet account, I stopped by the bookstore and ...
... bought the issue of Kago Ai interview with Friday magazine. I'm having mixed emotions looking at it, although now this news is old. However, I was curious: How are response from the people from Japan with this news?
What I've found are based on reactions and comments from blogs, news sites and a short talk with handful of people residing in Japan. May or may not represent the entire fandom's voice as a whole.
On writing this, I realised that how greatly influenced I am by the popular (now cancelled) weekly Sunday Blog Roundup by Ray of AmericanWota.com. And it shows in the some parts of this article. Heh! ^_^ Don't worry if you cannot read Japanese. Just thought that I'd include my sources in here. So now you know where I mostly do my patrolling. ^_^
Firstly, news sites like Sanspo have acknowledged the exclusive by Friday. Even Yahoo! News have covered it as well with an article (sourcing from gendai.net), adding that there are concerns as to whether Aibon can make her comeback. It is commented that ex-Momusu members are suffering decreased activity, stemming from the current Morning Musume's drop in popularity. It drew such comparison like Goto Maki for being unable to create a wave with her recent sexy image and Nakazawa Yuko's decreased activity. Geinouscoop echoes this article. It further comments, being unsure whether Aibon could at least match up to Yaguchi Mari's current activity.
From the shores of Japan, blogger topspin1 begins by saying if Aibon returns to showbiz, she may be arranged to go on a "different route" and additionally notes that the 1 year suspension is good for Aibon - in a good way (in order to teach her a lesson, perhaps). Further stating that Aibon, due to her being one of the most popular girls back in her Morning Musume days, and had probably become arrogant. Coupled with stress, she became brave enough to smoke. (But I think influence from friends played a big part there too).
On the official return date - there is none announced. But by now, a lot of us have heard about the steady rumour about Aibon's return to showbiz on the graduation day of Yoshizawa Hitomi - 6th of May. Also noted by m.m.p. And I agree with him, and the commenters that posted on my previous posts - Aibon's reinstatement (if it ever happens soon) should NOT coincide with Yossie's graduation. It only makes sense, otherwise it will hurt the meaning of Yossie's graduation. But it's the comments left on that blog that caught my attention. Will explain below.
I found a collection of links of blogs and news sites about Aibon's news, and that's a LOT of links and cross-links. I wish I could join their community to post comments and ask questions, without looking like a complete under-informed gaijin noob. But I cannot, so here's a summary of what I discovered:
1) Aibon haters exist
2) Among blog commenters, a lot of them are pessimistic on Aibon's return.
3) There are no blogs or news sites that bad-mouth Aibon. Only commenters and BBS posters do that.
4) Some people think that the suspension is too short
5) Some compared Aibon's suspension to the ones within Johnny's Jr. And thought that is unfair that Aibon to be allowed to return to showbiz.
6) Some think that Aibon should not be allowed to return because what she did(smoking) had an impact on the younger generations, and that is unforgivable
7) Aibon has gone skinny (Duh!)
8) The "aura" that Aibon projected in the Friday interview emits negative energy. Not sure if Aibon can come back and resume the image back when before she got suspended.
9) Aibon has faded to a mere "normal girl"
10) Bloggers are more hopeful about her return, and agree that her return should not coincide with Yossie's graduation
11) Some think that Aibon has changed/matured. And they are love how she looks now.
12) A small number predicts that she returns when she is 20 years old.
13) Aibon may not be able to sing when she returns. Career path may be more on drama acting, like Yaguchi Mari.
14) "I can't wait for her to come back!"
15) "It's about time!"
..... etc etc etc.
After reading what I have found, I hate to admit it but as the Hello! Project management office(referring to UFA perhaps) said, they DO know what is going on and what's at stake to reinstate "Kago Ai" to the showbiz. And it is a difficult task - currently it is but, in their own words, a "blank sheet of paper". There ARE a bunch of people that have negative views on Aibon after the incident. I guess the plan to bring her back is much more tedious than we expect...
Of course, I do understand that they still have to guard their own interest at all costs. I can only hope that whatever they are planning to do, will pan out just fine. For now, whether the people hate her or love her... one thing's for sure - All the world's eyes are on Aibon.
As for me, Aibon had expressed her regret in the interview. After all, she has said the words I wanted to hear:
And that.... that matters most to me. Good luck, Aibon!
Thanks for reading.