Restarting the Old Rusty Engine
(For the 2nd Time too)

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hyun Young Covers "Renai Revolution 21"

This was on the news yesterday, I had first thought it was a joke. ^_^

Korean actress/singer Hyun Young (or Hyeon Yeong), currently a popular regular on Korean variety show Heroine 6, is probably best known for her movie and drama works back in 2005, most notably "My Wife is a Gangster 3". News has it that she has released her 2nd single and it is a cover of Morning Musume's year 2000 hit single Renai Revolution 21. It's called "연애혁명" but I don't know how pronounce it in Hangul, but the translator says that it meant "Love Revolution". Same thing, eh? ^_^

Extra newsbit: Hyunn Young's first single "Sister's Dream" was also cover song, of "Dragostea din tei" (the "Numa Numa" Song) by O-Zone.

This will be the first time a song from Morning Musume have been covered in Korean. Apparently, Tsunku himself was asked to check on the lyrics beforehand. This single is due to be released tomorrow on the 30th, but reportedly have received pre-orders of 30,000 copies already, not counting physical stores. Man, that's crazy!

There has been talks as to whether Hyun Young has any plans to break in to the Japanese market. Her agency SR Media & Entertainment responded that "It is still to early for that", but added "However, it is a fact that there are many preparations being done, like learning the Japanese language, in order to advance to the Japan or Asian market".

Are there similarities? I don't understand Korean, so I do not know how the lyrics are like. (Can anyone who understands Korean please help us out?) The PV is outrageous but is also funny. Lots of CGs and effects. There were some references to Hello! Project acts in terms of costume. See below:

Hyeon Yeong in two different costumes from the PV.

Hello! Project Summer Shuffle Units 3 Nin Matsuri and Odoru 11.

There is a familiar choreography in the PV at the chorus "Wow-woah Wow-woah Wow-woah Love Revolutiooonnn~~". Look closely, and you will see some 3 Nin Matsuri "Chuu Natsu Party" dance as well,..... including Tanaka Reina's trademark "pistol and a wink". ^_^

Seems like everyone wants to dance , mash and mix with Renai Revolution 21!

This is not the first time Korea has covered Japanese songs, but I find myself siding with the original because... well, mostly it's because I came into contact to the original first, and have listened to it for the n-th time in so many years. (Who doesn't? ^_^)

Make no mistake about it, Hyeon Yeong is one fine lady. I just don't see why her agency decided that she has to "copy" another musical act for releasing a single, while having the intention of breaking in the Japanese audience at the same time.

But then again I guess we could say the same back in the shuffle unit days when the guys in UFW put Abe Natsumi in a yellow one piece, a long wig, dance like a Loch Ness Monster while singing a Japanese Ondo song....... and they still think she's hot. ^_^


The PV

Source from
Images copyright of SR MEDIA & ENTERTAINMENT (Seoul) taken from
Source from Drama Wiki on Hyun Young
Source from Wikipedia on Hyun Young
>> Read the rest of this article

Monday, May 28, 2007

Niigaki Risa featured on Friday tabloid

No... not in a scandal or anything. ^_^

The Friday tabloid features upcoming photobooks frequently. Last week's issue has a Niigaki Risa 3rd solo photo album "Isshun" column on page 9. And here's how it looked like:

[ Translated inset texts coming up ]

And here are more pics:

Gaki-san is still as thin as ever but looking great. I know a lot of girls who would kill to have a figure like hers.

Also, she's been having that wavy hairdo for some time now, which makes me to wonder if that is currently the latest trend amongst youngsters in Japan.
The PB is shot in Okinawa so we may see lots of Gaki-san bikini shots, and "wet-shots". A must-have!

(Heh! I'm definitely showing the Gaki-san fanboy side of me lately. ^_^)

And finally, one observation:

As you can see, Kamei Eri had used the SAME bikini on her photobook.

Either the photographers recycle their models' clothes often, or the GAKI*KAME combination pair are so intimate that they don't mind sharing their bikinis and undies. Woohoo~~~! ^_^
>> Read the rest of this article

Sunday, May 27, 2007

'Iron Maiden' Miki on Young Town Doyoubi

Do you tune in to Young Town Doyoubi? It's a radio show navigated by veteran comedians Akashiya Sanma and Murakami Shouji, featuring regulars Fujimoto Miki and Takahashi Ai (Ai-chan has been with the show for 4 years, while Miki 3 years). Thinking that Mikitty will not show up for this week's show because of her scandal? Think again. Mikitty showed great guts and DID show up for the show and endured long lectures from the fatherly veteran Sanma-san. AND she is not repentant at all!

But don't take my word for it. If you are interested, download the broadcast if you have an account with H!O, or read the summary .

Ah, I hear my "Download complete" alert there... Excuse me while I take a listen at the show now, will come back and write my opinion.
>> Read the rest of this article

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Up Front Group To Be Listed Company On Stock Exchange?!

With all these scandal news flying about, it' so easy to miss out on other things that are going on in the Hello! Project world, especially the brighter news. I feel sorry for not covering Abe Natsumi's recent theater work and Viyuuden's boobs... err... I mean, their latest single. ^_^

Anyways, here's an intriguing news - word is out that Up Front Group, which Hello! Project is managed under, may be preparing to be a listed company in the stock market, as reported in the article published by Nikkan Gendai and covered by Yahoo! News.

It is stated in that same article, that up till March 2004 there were approximately 30 companies under the UFG holding company, many of which are not entertainment showbiz related. Perhaps UFG is doing a business remodelling in order to qualify itself to be listed in the stock market. By March 2006 UFG earns a gross profit of 138 hundred million yen and the company expanded its net worth to 257 hundred million yen. Recently, the company have invested heavily on the real estate sector. According to a personnel of a credit research company, it is noted that it is one of the options that a company can use to get listed.

If UFG succeeds in attaining a spot at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, it will be the 4th entertainment business related company to be listed, the others being HoriPuro, Yoshimoto Kogyo Co. Ltd and Amuse Inc..

Here comes the interesting part of the article - Assuming that UFG has set its sights to get listed, every single movement it makes will be noted. It is likely that the company may want to reduce the severity of the many recent scandalous incidents. Namely, Kago Ai smoking scandal and her termination thereafter, and Tsuji Nozomi's shotgun marriage incident.

On the 9th of this month, UFG have reportedly spent over 100 million yen to promote the company image in 3 national papers.


So finally I understand the mystery behind the news spread picture above. And supposing that this article means what it said, that UFG would be more interested in protecting its business interests and keep the scandals down, then I am well prepared to assume that Mikitty will escape this scandal safely. Unless of course, she says something stupid or do something crazy... like getting pregnant or something.

But somehow... I feel as if something's not right......
>> Read the rest of this article

Friday, May 25, 2007

Fujimoto Miki - Shouji Tomoharu Scandal Acknowledged by News and Their Agencies

Good morning, everyone. I am, of course, at work so I shall be brief.

Last night... well, wee hours in the morning actually... my Email-pal from Japan bought the Friday magazine from the convenience store, and took the pains to type out the full texts of the article. Would have scanned it as well, but it was late and needed shower & rest. I didn't post it then, but here it is now:

フライデー テキスト全文 25-05-2007





Very interesting read indeed. It's the same as what we saw in the scans that is probably widely circulated by now. The NewsFeed at H!O have more videos and stuff updated. So please check it out.

This morning, the many new press covered the scandal.

From Japan-Zone Entertainment News
The first reported romance for new Morning Musume leader Fujimoto Miki (22) is none other than comedian Shoji Tomoharu (31). "Mikitty" has been spotted several times spending the night at Shoji's Tokyo apartment by weekly gossip magazine "Friday", who published the photos in today's issue. Friends say they have been dating since at least last autumn.

Other Japanese press:
Sankei Sports
Tokyo Sports
Chunichi Sports
Sponichi Annex

Will Mikitty get kicked out of Morning Musume?
Will she resign from leadership and Momusu, just like Yaguchi Mari?
Is Mikitty taking from past scandal examples, because she wants to quit Morning Musume?
Again, how will UFA handle this matter?
What is it in comedians that hot girls like so much anyway?

Frankly, I agree with my buddy in Japan -> I don't think Mikitty will get into too much trouble. I'm guessing that UFA will just let the matter slide and the news to cool down, the old trick of "If we don't talk about it, we can pretend it never happened". Matsuura Aya was Friday'd once before, almost similar elements - bought stuff at the convenience store, stayed over-night, photos taken... etc. There was an uproar then, but who talks about it now?

Sure, Ayaya may have some leniency being a solo artist and all, whereas Mikitty is in Morning Musume, where such things are a big no-no. BUT if nothing severe happens to Mikitty, we can probably safely say that the way UFA handles their talents are different now. For now, we'll see if Mikitty will be put on a language course overseas or not - meaning that she will be put on some kind of hiatus, she can't be walking the streets with HaroMoni@ given the current situation, right?
>> Read the rest of this article

Fujimoto Miki Scandal - More News Clips

Finally, WHG server was not accessible in the day until a while ago, and here's what they found.

EDIT: This clip from Nikkan Sports.

... However, the relationship between Fujimoto and Shouji is still shallow at this time, apparently the office will see to the matter in a stern manner in order to deal with the situation of the two smoothly. The office of both parties have not given further comments...

And found more from the 2ch BBS...

AND there's an update on the H!O NewsFeed.

Is this the end of the road for Mikitty?

I'm going to bed now. When I wake up... I hope it's all a bad dream.
>> Read the rest of this article

H!P HNPH News - Yasuda Kei in Theater and Tsuji Gives Sugiura a Go-Ahead

Yasuda Kei Promotes Her Latest Theater Work

There were many comment given by various celebrities regarding Tsuji's case. Even Hello! Project's own Yasuda Kei. Yasuda appeared for a press conference in Osaka, promoting her latest theater work in "Youkihi no Kanbouyaku" ~ 楊貴妃の漢方薬 where a tragic life story of Yang Kwei Fei, the concubine of the last emperor of Tang Dynasty in China. The play will be performed in HEP HALL in Osaka until the 29th this month. When asked, Yasuda commented about Tsuji, by saying that she didn't think Tsuji would surpass her (by getting married). Furthermore adding that although Tsuji have to apologise for the trouble caused in her work, Yasuda hopes that everyone, as previously said by Tsuji herself, to "watch over Tsuji warmly".

Tsuji Nozomi Gives Permission to Sugiura Taiyou to be Gay!

Don't be scared, I'll explain. ^_^

Tsuji Nozomi have recently appeared on the news again. Tsuji's husband (Gah... I can't believe I've just typed 'HUSBAND' there T^T ) Sugiura Taiyou attended the private screening of the movie "Academy" that he also a part of. This movie is a production directed by Gavin Young. In short, it tells the story of trials and tribulations of a few aspiring dancers when joining AAA (that's "Australia Art Academy", not the other AAA ^_^). The movie will open in theaters on 2nd of June. Here's the interesting part - Sugiura plays the part of a gay student falling in love with a fellow male classmate. Tsuji's comment as quoted by Sugiura -> "Since it's a guy, it's OK. I'll allow it.". Sugiura added that everyone should catch the movie and see the "boy's lifestyle" as presented in the movie.

Oh, another thing.... Leah Dizon, who guest stars in the movie was also at the event, and she presented Sugiura a bouquet, which he accepted with smiles. Maybe being gay is OK, but THAT's a No-No!

Endnote: I almost mistyped the post title... Use your dirtiest imagination and you will know what I mean. ^_^
>> Read the rest of this article

Thursday, May 24, 2007

H!P HNPH News - GAM's Mikitty Lives her "Freedom" and Satoda Getting Busy

You know Hello! Project is getting too much attention, when a busy guy like me is creating 4 posts on a single day, and covering 5 news in two posts. ^_^ Not that it's forced upon me, but because things like this has to be historically documented somehow.

First things first...

GAM's Theme is "Freedom"

In an exclusive interview with Oricon yesterday on the 23rd, members of GAM, Matsuura Aya and Fujimoto Miki talked about their first album "Amai Yuuwaku" ~ "1stGAM~甘い誘惑" which was launched on the same day. The interview started off by mentioning Hello! Project caters to different listeners to their own age. Ayaya noted that because their busy schedules, the pair have to do their recording on different sessions and in order to do so they each have to imagine each other's presence. But given their long time friendship, their chemistry provided for great teamwork and have completed their recording without major problems. For example, when Ayaya sings the chorus, she is able to envision Mikitty's voice and singing style in her head to provide her part. The pair stated that they owed their rapport and chemistry to them knowing each other since their solo career days even though they have formed GAM only a short while ago.

Therefore Ayaya and Mikitty exclaimed that the theme for GAM is "Freedom". The pair wished to show the fans the GAM that they have created on their live concert, and is confident that they will enliven the crowd to sing along.

All this sounded good, and I look forward to their first concert. However it seems to me Mikitty have exercised her "freedom" a little too much, because...

Fujimoto Miki got Friday'd

The headlines on Friday tabloid on Fujimoto Miki isn't just a hoax. Friday have proven time and again on their reliability for such scandals. Love 'em or hate 'em, they're just doing their job. Had it not been Friday, some other tabloids would have covered the scoop, I'm sure. The good people at Hello! Online have further discovered more news about Mikitty's case. Here's a little quote from there ->

Friday reveals news of the two leaving a sauna, and having a 3-day-long date. Both are seen entering Shouji's 4WD car, going for a 2-hour-long dinner to a Japanese-style dining bar, then stopping at Miki's apartment and leaving in less than one hour for a sauna salon. Just after midnight, they are seen going back to Shouji's apartment.

Is this the end of Mikitty? Are we witnessing the shortest reign of being leader of Morning Musume at only 3 weeks? How will UFA handle this situation given the recent trouble caused by Kago Ai and Tsuji Nozomi?
Source here.

On the brighter side of things...

Satoda Mai getting busy

Busy with work, that is. Satoda Mai have been receiving numerous praises of being a wonderful TV talent. Other than her pioneering a new futsal league back her hometown, Satoda have been increasingly active in her "solo career" as sole member of Country Musume. Her activeness on variety shows and the like is only second to Nakazawa Yuuko. Even Yaguchi Mari is getting less appearances, but then again she has her own radio show and a regular show.

Satoda Mai have a solo single released, entitled "Oyaji no Kokoro ni Tomotta Chiisana Hi". Or rather a duet really, as reported in BARKS. The single will also feature the participation of veteran duo "Fujioka Fujimaki", whom have their own show called Oyaji Entertainment. I don't think this single is aiming at the top of the charts, but it's meant to be fun. Some Boys! Blog noted this news and provided a sample, please buy it if you like it.

In addition to that, Satoda gets her own regular column in B.L.T. magazine, named "Satoda My Favorite" starting today. ALSO, she will be next featured on Hello! Project Digital Books for the month of June. Yup, ANOTHER photo album eyecandy for us.

I guess we can quash that speculation of having Satoda, Yoshizawa Hitomi and Coconuts Musume Ayaka forming a buddy unit. BUT, as I always say, never say never! ^_^
>> Read the rest of this article

Previews from Niigaki Risa PB "Isshun"

A certain kind fellow managed to get a shot of some pages of Niigaki Risa's 3rd solo photobook "Isshun" ~ 一瞬 , and uploaded it for everyone.

NICE!! And appropriately named, I might add. "Isshun" means "In an instant".... who would have thought that the same kid who thought "Chan Pon Chan" was the capital of China and ended up being 2nd runner-up of Mechaike Bakajo Year End Exam.... would turn out like this? ^_^
>> Read the rest of this article

Friday'd! Fujimoto Miki & Shouji Tomohiro Love Scandal

Alright now... here's what I found.

A front cover of Friday with headlines highlighting current Morning Musume leader Fujimoto Miki in love relationship with a man named Shouji Tomohiro. Forget the cover girl, it's the yellow texts on the right that I'm worried about. Man, there is absolute havoc Japanese BBS right now!

I don't know much about Shouji, he could be well-known in Japan, I think. He is one-half of manzai comedian duo Shinagawa Shouji. Can anybody who knows more about this please step up, slap me and tell me that this just a hoax? Please~~~

So now........ I'll be waiting to see if:
1) Major news sites/papers acknowledging this scoop
2) UFA/UFW acknowledging the news

Either one of them leads to the other, so only then we'll know if it real or plain speculation.

Some info:
ADDED: Friday Article titles - Page 9 "「モー娘。」藤本美貴、庄司智春「3日連続通い愛」現場"
Japanese Wikipedia entry on Tomohiro Shouji
Here's a bunch of videos of him on Youtube, if you are curious to know how he is like.

>> Read the rest of this article

Eyecandy Galore - A Season of H!P Photobooks

Golly! So many photobooks of members under the Hello! Project umbrella have their photobooks released. What the heck is going on? Are they expecting their fans to buy them all? Has there been a boost of economy in Japan (or worldwide for us oversea fans) or what? Nevertheless I'm glad to see some of the H!P Kids lose their photobook virginity finally.

The mission to separate the fans from their wallets is never ending, it seems. (Hmm... Where have I heard this prose before?)

The latest is Michishige Sayumi. Yup, AGAIN! It's only on January this year when her 2nd solo photobook "Doukei" ~ 憧憬 was released. There must have been a great demand for more "Usa-chan Peace!" goodness from the fans, or UFA is finding ways to give Sayu more work. It's due next month. This better not be a hoax. Source here.

NEXT, we've finally get to see the cover of Niigaki Risa's 3rd photobook "Isshun" ~ 一瞬 which is due to be released on the 28th this month. And golly she looks good WET! From the looks of it, I'm guessing there may be some shots that shows a mature side of her.
Source here.

Before this, here's what we have:

[ No Image ]
Tsugunaga Momoko 1st Solo PB - “momo”
Release Date: 20th June 2007
Source here.

Natsuyaki Miyabi
Release Date: 31st May 2007
Source here.

Suzuki Airi 1st Solo PB - "Airi"
Release Date: 23rd May 2007
Source here.

Yajima Maimi 1st solo Photobook - "Maimi"
Release Date: 27th April
Source here.

The rest of the list can be found from the official Hello! Project site here.
>> Read the rest of this article

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tsuji Nozomi Cries while Watching Missed Theater

Slowly coming back to blogging... how could I resist? ^_^

Tsuji Nozomi attended the theater show of "Itsu no hi ka kimi kaeru" at Nissay Theatre in Tokyo, in which she dropped out due to her pregnancy. Before the start of the show, she visited the dressing room, to apologize to the acting leads Kakei Toshio and Kuroki Meisa. Everyone responded with a "Congratulations, Tsuji-chan!", and caused her to weep loudly.

Tsuji proceeded to watch the show from the audience seats. During the show, moved by the performance of Ishikawa Rika and her character's storyline, Tsuji cried again. As the show ends with the curtain call, Tsuji applauded over and over again when her replacement Yoshizawa Hitomi appeared.


 元「モーニング娘。」メンバーで俳優杉浦太陽(26)と結婚する辻希美(19)が22日、妊娠で降板した舞台「何日君再来 イツノヒカキミカエル」(東京・日生劇場)の千秋楽を訪れた。


Source from Sponichi Annex
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Monday, May 21, 2007

Be Right Back...

First of all, big THANK YOU for checking back on this site. ^_^

Thought I'd explain my disappearance here.
It seems that life has caught up with me, again. One thing I've learned -> Procrastinating is never a solution, things come back to haunt you no matter what. Right now, I am busy with so many things - work, wedding stuff, apartment hunting, and other things like renewing passport, medical appointments... etc. So tired... so tired.....

Ya know, I hadn't spared the time to sit down and recollect my thoughts about Tsuji Nozomi's announcement to marry Sugiura Taiyou. I must say that the last time I ever camped outside the news sites and searched the net so vigorously for information, was during Kago Ai's second scandal. (And of course, Yoshizawa Hitomi's loss of her brother). A small but conflicting sense of relief though, that Tsuji did not announce her retirement. I had thought that was going to happen.

I made lots of blog drafts but none gets finished, interrupted by various elements (or gets outdated). Will return to blogging in a few days, maybe sooner. In the meantime, you know where else to go for more H!P goodness and news, I'm sure. ^_^

Other than blogging, I hope to get back to my other projects as well, like transposing more H!P songs to play on guitar, mix some short trance tunes, continue doing my digital manga, and compose and arrange J-Pop songs... etc.
Currently I'm involved in a fan-subbing project for the Utaban show on the 3rd of May as translator. It was tough, but heck I had fun doing it, and certainly have learned a lot, and improved my hearing, comprehension and translation skills.

All these while being occupied with a busy life. I'm crazy, innit? ^_^
Someday, I may need to sacrifice some of those projects,

Ooops, time's up... I gotta go now... I'm bloggin' this from office during lunch break. :P

Stay Genki+ and Be Positive!

Peace ^_^
>> Read the rest of this article

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Abe Asami Joins Gyaruru!

Thanks to Anna for the heads-up. You rock! (^_^)b

Apparently we have a new member for Gyaruru. And that person is Abe Asami, the younger sister of Morning Musume 1st generation member Abe Natsumi.

In the comments section of Tsunku's official site, he mentioned that he was keen on continuing Gyaruru, that based their gimmick on the Gyaru theme, and was catching on to the masses.

It all started when Tsunku watched Asami's performance in a theater show called "Out of Order" on March and was captivated with her comical but mature act, though he didn't recognize her under the make-up and outfit at first look. He was going "EH~~~!" when he found out who it was. After further research, it was known that back in the high school days, Abe had previously been scouted by another agency while she was shopping in Shibuya. And guess what? She was sporting Kogal fashion! The scouter, of course, was not aware of Abe's identity at that time, and had scouted her with the intention of producing for Kogal starlet that looks like Abe Natsumi. (Yeah, that could have been a cool AV production, innit? ^_^)

After Tsuji's withdrawal, Tsunku thought that it was a good idea to include Abe in the mix. After all, who could have a better credibility to play a part in Gyaruru, than ex-Kogal Abe herself? Abe said that it brings back bitter-sweet memories of her youth, after looking at herself in the mirror wearing Kogal fashion again.

And as is the theme, where competitive eater Gyaru Sone is "Sonene" and Meganekko idol Tokito aMi is "aMiMi" (yeah, I just recently realised that the official spelling for Tokito aMi is with a lowercase "a"), Abe Asami was named "Abebe". Sonene will take the place of Tsuji as leader of Gyaruru.

Tsunku also added in his comments that he had thought of canceling the release of Gyaruru's debut single "Boom Boom Meccha Maccho" because he didn't want an incomplete work to be released and thought that it would be disrespectful to the fans. However, with Abe's addition and her positive participation in the recordings and jacket photoshoot, brought the potential in Gyaruru back to surface again. With that, he was convinced that this will be an attractive single. Lastly, he expressed his regret regarding the delay of the single release to the fans, staff and record stores.

As for me, I didn't expect that it would be Asami. What a surprise indeed!
I knew her as a mainstream J-Pop singer-songwriter, and is fairly well-known for her unique style. Also, I think Tsunku did a good job at following up, whether Asami was deliberately a backup plan or not, the timing was just fine. Plus, end of the day, we get to listen to "Meccha Maccho" and all is right in the land.

Gyaruru will hold an "in-store" event on debut day on 20th June in Tokyo record stores. A free live show and a hand-shake event wil be held on 30th June, at Shibuya C.C. Lemon Hall in Tokyo.

Sorry Yakkun... ^_^ (But then again.... never say never. )

News from Sanspo
Comments from Tsunku's official site
ADDED more news source:
Nikkan Sports
Sports Hochi
Sponichi Annex
Daily Sports

UPDATE 1:11 P.M.
This just in.

Tsunku's message in TNX official site, similar with his comments on his own official site.
PLUS, messages from Gyaruru members in TNX. See front page and click on the second button under 'News & Topics'.
Or more specifically go here.


Messages from Gyaruru Members

To the fans that have supported Gyaruru, to company staff that have worked with Gyaruru, and lastly to the members "Sonene" and "aMimi", I truly apologise for causing trouble and worry with my sudden withdrawal.

Although it was a short period working as "Tsujiji", it was fun being able to put on the Ganguro make-up, curled hairdo and fashion that you normaly don't wear. I have heard that we have a new member joining, Asami-chan. I am looking forward to the power-upped and reborn Gyaruru with Asami who will take my place, together with Sonene and aMimi, As former Gyaruru leader, and though I'm going to be a "yanmama" (Young Mama), I will support Gyaruru more passionately than anyone else.

Tsuji Nozomi

Firstly, congratulations to Tsujiji for the marriage and baby! Although it was unfortunate that we were not able to work together, we wish you happiness for always. Next, welcome to Gyaruru, Abebe! Starting with our CD release event, let's all go "BoomBoom" on it (^O^)/!

Tokito aMi





まずはCD発売イベントに向けて、Boom Boom 行きましょう(^O^)/!


>> Read the rest of this article

Monday, May 14, 2007

Scandals, scandals..... What the heck is going on in Hello! Project?!

Been SO busy with work and I didn't have the time to digest the news of Tsuji's marrying Sugiura. Please take this blog post as my personal way of ranting and collecting my thoughts. Apologies in advance for any offense caused.

So here we go...

There are so many scandals going on in Hello! Project. That I can't help but wonder - what has happened? Who or what started it? Here I recount some, and only some, of the many scandals that I can recall and blog about.

Yaguchi Mari
Any news press that talk about scandals within Hello! Project will surely mention Marippe on their articles. Now, she is not only remembered for her outgoing and outspoken personality, she has become the mother of all scandals in H!P. Sure, Nacchi and Kaorin had been rumoured to have boyfriends, it wasn't as shocking as Marippe's.
I've said this before and I'll say it again - I've always thought Yaguchi Mari's scandal with Oguri Shun wasn't a coincidence. At the back of my mind, I still think that it was damn well planned and orchestrated. Why? Because I've read news, rumours and other hear-says that Marippe was tired of being Morning Musume leader but nobody listens to her, or do not offer enough respect. When I watched the video of the jacket photoshoot for "Namida Tomaranai Hokago" single, I saw the other girls playfully teasing Marippe for her height. Sure they're friends and all, but come on... she's their senpai and leader. You don't see them do that to Kaorin, do you? (With the exception of Yossie, of course) Therefore, I suspected that she used this method to force her agency to remove her from Morning Musume.

Now, being a big fan of "The Gooch", I still reserve about 30% of doubt about her scandal. Maybe she did indeed found a happy relationship with Oguri. However, apparently due to work commitments, they broke up, but Oguri found another girlfriend soon after, in Tokuzawa Naoko . Marippe, on the other hand, doesn't seem too shaken by this, and found herself headlining the Friday tabloid with another relationship, this time with former Kansai Johnny's Jr. - Uotani Teruaki.

But, no matter what was the truth behind her private life and relationships, in my view, this has caused a chain reaction of scandals later on. Did the other girls used Marippe's case as an example? Did Marippe's daring actions and having the guts to make her own decisions about her own life affect others?

Kago Ai
Kago Ai was caught enjoying a puff on Virginia Slims at a restaurant, and as we all know, was suspended for underage smoking. Later on, she was reportedly feeling the regret, and worked as an intern en route to her come back. Then it happened again, and not only because that she was reported by Weekly Gendai that she was smoking again, she spent the night with Ishimoto of SOMA at an onsen.
However, I suspected that this incident may have happened much, much earlier. There were sightings of Kago going for onsen trips during the same year of her suspension, so maybe that news was recycled again due to her hot comeback news. Cos' I still cannot get over the fact that the current chief editor of Weekly Gendai was formerly working for Friday. Nevertheless, Kago had admitted to the relationship.

Matsuura Aya
Ayaya have long been associated with Keita Tachibana of Jpop super trio w-inds. Later on, good ol' Friday tabloid made it official when they spotted her loaded with bags groceries and stayed over night at his house that one night. This news didn't get too publicized, due to it being an "open secret". The storm slowly settled down and nobody got kicked out of either of their agencies. Which brings me to the next person who also didn't get kicked out.

Tsuji Nozomi
This by far is the least scandal-like. Mostly due to the positive feedback by UFA, and the much televised press conference announcing the marriage. Why, yesterday's Haromoni@ even featured the announcement in the final minutes of the show. Tsuji did the right thing of pre-informing the agency about her relationship, probably have lessen the severity of her "scandal". However, I still lament the timing of it. But who knows, maybe the agency have gotten used to these news already, OR maybe this is a start of how differently the management view their talents' personal life.

... and the most ironic of them all...

Tanaka Reina
Sorry I had to bring this up, CJ.
I dove into my picture archives and found this....

"Tanaka Reina in Love and Retires"
"And the plan is to get pregnant..."

Can't remember when and where I got this from, but most possibly it was back when Reina got Friday'd last year.
Reina was involved with a boy in high school, and eyewitnesses said that they saw the two have been going out together many times. The agency couldn't afford to lose her to a scandal at that point of time, where Morning Musume's popularity was already fading and was trying to promote her by making her center in the "Ambitious! Yashinteki de Ii Jan" single.
So the agency summoned her to the meeting room and asked her "Either you break up with him, or you quit", in which Reina promptly replied "Okay, I'll quit", much to their surprise. We don't know what happened in the end or what UFA did, eventually Reina is still around and her boyfriend was never mentioned ever again. But as a result, Reina was never featured much ever since then and became the least active member in Morning Musume... compared to Sayu, Kame, Gaki-san, and even newcomer Mittsi, who have their own radio shows.

The ironic part of that news clip is that a personnel from another agency suggested a surefire method for her freedom from UFA - get pregnant. However, this method cannot be executed smoothly because her boyfriend was still in high school. Whether Tsuji picked up this idea from Reina or not, is up to us to guess.

These are only a few that made it to the headlines. I didn't even list down the other rumoured scandals yet and...... you know what, I think I might do that on my next post.

Thanks for reading.
Peace ^_^
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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Full Translated Transcript of Tsuji and Sugiura Press Conference

I'm doing this because I'm still curious... and some of the bits are quite... cute and romantic, but intriguing to say the least. Yes, there are some cover-ups.

Here is the full translated transcript of Tsuji Nozomi and Sugiura Taiyou's press conference to announce their marriage.

UPDATE: Complete!!
Whew... it's a lot of work, I didn't think it would be this long. But in summary, a light hearted interview, with lots of funny bits. The press keep trying to dig some ugly info from them, but Tsuji and Sugiura answered them the best they can.

In a way, I can relate to Sugiura's feelings and the responsibilities that he have to undertake, because I am going to get married soon as well. Thought I hate it when I think of the havoc Tsuji has caused in everyone around for this shotgun marriage, I guess after being an avid Nono fan for so many years, I have no choice but to offer my best wishes and hope that she have a happy marriage and a healthy baby.


Sugiura: Hello, thanks for all for gathering here from your busy schedule. At this time, we would like to announce that I, Sugiura Taiyou and Tsuji Nozomi will get married. On March I have turned 26 of age. She is still 19 years old. Although she turns 20 next month, she will register in the family in welcoming her turning to 20 years of age. At this time, to everyone, especially to her related company staff, and the all fans, we have caused worry and inconvenience to you all. We offer our deep apologies. Truly sorry for this.

Tsuji: Hello everyone, and thank you very much. Because of this sudden state, for causing worry and inconvenience to all the fans and people, truly sorry for this. I, Tsuji Nozomi have decided to marry Sugiura Taiyou. I am truly happy. From now on, please watch over us warmly.

Sugiura: To elaborate my dating with her in detail, on April last year, it started and came to know each other through a mutual acquaintance, in the form of a group friendship, and started going out during summer. Through this association, we came fall in love with each other. Round about January this year, we started to think about marriage, and at the time of my birthday on 10th March, I proposed to her and gave her a ring as a present. Both our parents have given consent, have reported to both of our agencies in the beginning of April and received their acknowledgement. We thought of giving preference to marriage, but because we both have our own work, we thought of putting it on hold. However due to the change in her physical condition, at that time we came to realise that she was possibly pregnant. Of holding this press conference in a hurry, please be kind to us.

Tsuji (T)
Sugiura (S)
Press (Q)

Q: When exactly did the love relationship begin?

S: About summer last year.

Q: When did the notion for marriage start?

S: January this year.

Q: And Tsuji-san?

T: Because I have the feeling of love, I thought that it's nice to get married, but practically I haven't really thought about it.

Q: How many months pregnant?

T: 9 weeks pregnancy.

Q: What were the proposal words?

S: How embarassing! Because I love her smile, so I said "I want to look at your smile forever. Would you be with me for always?"
(Note: Sugiura proposed to Tsuji in Kansai dialect)

T: Honestly, when those words are said to me, my mind went blank. Tears came out emotionally, I was really happy.

Q: What kind of timing was it said?

S: It was my birthday, went for a drive in my car. At that time, I presented her a ring.

Q: What kind of ring?

T: I was born on June, it was a birthday stone.

Q: Have you thought about contraception?

S: It was life born as a result of love, we want to treasure life.

Q: You didn't think about how this will affect your work?

S: Regarding this matter, because we caused inconvenience, it was inexcusable, however, I am a man, and will properly protect her with my life, I even have a child so I am happy that I am allowed to watch over them.

Q: Tsuji-chan was diagnosed of pregnancy during the checkup of gastroenteritis, wasn't it? Were you aware that you were pregnant?

T: A while ago, though I suspected of it because of the change in my physical condition, I didn't think it will come to that extent.

Q: What do you think now that you know you're pregnant?

T: Quite recently, my sister just have given birth to a baby, it was right after that (about the pregnancy). When I looked at my sister, I came to have similar feelings and was very happy, because of the surreal feeling of having another life in my belly, the maternal instinct in me have came out.

Q: What did you do when Tsuji revealed it to you?

S: Well, I was told that probably she was pregnant. But I have decided to marry, so frankly I was happy.

Q: Was the morning sickness alright?

T: It has finally settled down. Now I'm okay.

Q: Aren't you surprised with the pregnancy?

S: Not knowing what to say to each other, we laughed. But it was filled with happy feelings.

Q: So you found out about the pregnancy during the checkup for gastroenteritis, wasn't it?

T: Initially, it was diagnosed and treated as acute gastroenteritis. It was known during a proper re-examination. It was on its 8th week, after frequent inspections it was on its 9th week when we came to know about it.

Q: We have here the news about commencing with the marriage registration on Tsuji-chan's birthday.

S: Well, in consideration that turning 20 years of age is about welcoming adulthood.

Q: Weren't the parents of your partner surprised?

T: Originally, the word about the marriage was told to family and the office. Isn't it a fact that getting married is a feeling that you will have when you are seeing someone? Dad and Mom understood this, and because we made this decision ourselves, they greatly approved of it.

Q: When will the marriage plans going to take place?

S: Tentatively, we considered to have it about next year.

Q: How did you tell this to the members of Morning Musume and your friends?

T: Told to each one of them by email, and everyone have replied with supportive words like "congratulations" and "although it's going to be touch, but keep your spirits up".

Q: Were they surprised?

T: Yes. Just as I thought, the older 'sister' said that she didn't think that Tsuji-chan will surpass her. She's 34 years old this year.
(Referring to Nakazawa Yuko)

Q: Will you be living together?

S: After registering into the family. We already have a living spot, will slowly discuss and decide on things from then on.

Q: What about the wedding?

T: After everything is settled down, will work on it wholly.

Q: Who decided on the marriage?

S: I think I'm all 'feelings'. We met by chance, and I felt that my destined one has to be this person. I felt that I will protect her for the rest of my lifetime.

Q: What made you think so?

S: Normally, we always tend to run into each other in places where we least expected. This is where we hit it off. We didn't think we would be going out together, but it came to a point where it felt like it was destiny for us to meet and be together.

Q: Where did you meet?

S: At a house of a 'friend', by chance. We just meet up.

Q: We have information that you encountered each other via Yaguchi Mari.

S: It has nothing to do with Yaguchi-san. It was completely a normal friend.

Q: What about you, Tsuji-chan?

T: His laughing expression, and he eats his food in such a delicious way. Things like that.

Q: Home-cooked food?

T: Yes. My specialty is stewed cooking, which I learned after recently taught to me by my mother, and also...

S: Sakuzenni, wasn't it?

T: Yeah, like Kinpira.

Q: What about work from now on?

T: Definitely because of my dropout from the theater and withdrawing from (3 person unit) Gyaruru, for causing inconvenience to everyone I am filled with regret, however because of the live in my belly that was given to me, nothing else is more important. Although it is regrettable, I will do my best in delivering this baby, and once I have settled down and able to work, I will start from scratch again.

Q: Meaning that you still want to work in the entertainment showbiz?

T: Yes. Now I'm in the state of taking a break, will think about it slowly and carefully.

Q: Previously, Sugiura-san said that former Morning Musume Yoshizawa (Hitomi) was his type, right?

S: It used to be. At that time she (Tsuji) was still about 14 years old.

Q: So you still haven't found someone like that which is your type, have you?

S: Yeah.

T: It appears so. I found out about this from watching TV. Even so, I asked him "Yocchan was your type, wasn't it?" on the phone.

Q: And how did Taiyou-san reply?

T: He said "At that time".

Q: Does Yoshizawa-san know about this?

S: Of course not.

Q: Does Yoshizawa-san know about this announcement?

T: She still doesn't.

Q: How do you call each other?

T: For me, because he is called Taiyou, I call him "Ta-kun".

S: As for me, I call Nozomi-san "Non" or "Non-tan".

Q: Was the dating process smooth?

S: It was really a group date.

T: We had meals with everyone.

Q: You've been to place like amusement parks.

S: Yes.

Q: Was it with a big number of people even at that time?

S: It was a group even at that time.

Q: You've even went skiing.

S: I went to an acquaintance's place. But due to lack of time, and my face is showing, so I went back.

Q: Did you wear today's outfit with a hint of wedding dress?

T: Yeah. Because I love white, I responded with my hope of wearing white, also my ring is also pure white, so it matches.

Q: Was Sugiura gentle to you after knowing you were pregnant?

T: Because he has a tender character by nature, and because he is gentle by nature, since he going to be a Papa, I want him to do his best towards being a Papa. And since I am going to be a mother myself, will draw example from my mother and mature up.

Q: Looks like Sugiura-san's sense of responsibility.have increased.

S: I feel this day by day. I can do nothing but do my best to watch over them, as a father and as a husband!

Q: Have you thought of any names yet?

T: Though I have read books, but since we don't know if it is going to be a boy or a girl, will think about it when we know.

Q: What kind of married couple would you like to be?

S: Definitely I have the leadership authority. Because there are times that I am depended on, I will lead. Though someday this role may be reversed.

Q: Have you had quarrels?

S: Though we've had quarrels, but nothing serious.

Q: The reason to the quarrels?

T: It's me. I tend to keep him on a leash, and being selfish, things like that.

Q: Which one apologizes?

T: We both don't apologize, but after a night's sleep everything is like "Good Morning!" on the next day.

Q: If the baby was a girl, would you let her in Morning Musume?

T: Because I entered into showbiz as a Morning Musume after graduating from junior school, so maybe after she graduates from middle, or high school.

Q: So if it is a boy, then let him be Ultraman?

S: Definitely we'll do that. I dream of being Ultraman since junior school. I will show my child Ultraman.

Q: Any anxieties of being a mother?

T: Of course, there are things like 'what should I do' and 'what should I do in my free time'. However, I will ask other pregnant ladies and my mother of things that I can do during pregnancy. For my sake, I will find my own tastes at this time and mature up.

Q: A word to the fans?

S: At this time, although we have surprised a lot of people, I have been granted a new life, I can do nothing but to protect them. Because I am a man, I will protect my bride and my child with my entire life. For warmly watching over us, I am happy.

T: Definitely, to all the fans and all people that we have caused worry and inconvenience, we are truly sorry. But we have really made this decision after many considerations, from now on we will give our best with all our might. Everyone, please watch over us warmly.

Full press transcript in Japanese courtesy of Mainichi News
News from Mainichi News <-- pictures from the press event, 80 of them in all! Damn Nono is SO pretty. And Ultraman Sugiura is kinda cute actually, if I may say so myself.

EDIT: I found out that some people have trouble downloading the pictures because to the right-click is disabled by the site. So for those who don't have 'downloader' plugins, I zipped up them pics for you to download here -->
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Tsuji Nozomi and Sugiura Taiyou Press Conference - Marriage Announcement

What we've all been waiting(or dreading) for is here!

News from Oricon.

Tsuji and Sugiura, first words on press conference is "Sorry!"

On the 8th of May where the affiliated agencies of both parties have announced the shotgun marriage and the 9-week pregnancy, former Morning Musume Tsuji Nozomi and actor Sugiura Taiyou announced their marriage in a press conference, on the 10th May 4p.m. in Takawa Hotel, Tokyo.

With 14 cable cameras and 100 press journalists watching on, the "heroine" appeared before them, donned in a white dress and a mysterious expression, saying "Although this is sudden, apologies for causing inconvenience and worry to the fans and related personnels. Please watch over us warmly from now on."

The "hero" Sugiura who is 7 years older, revealed that he presented an engagement ring and proposed to Tsuji on his birthday 26th March, adding that "To her(Tsuji) fans and related personnel, sorry for the trouble caused. We have been dating each other, and had the notion for marriage since January this year."

[This paragraph elaborates the history of Aibon's scandal, W, the theatre double cast with Ishikawa and the replacement by Yoshizawa... bla bla bla..]

Furthermore, Tsuji will register into his family when she reach 20 years of age next month.

EDIT: News clip added. All words from their own mouth here. -->

Source from Oricon





 2人は昨年春に出会い、親密交際を続けていた。辻は先月26日、急性胃腸炎を理由に舞台『何日君再来(イツノヒカキミカエル)』を緊急降板。その後、医師の診断で妊娠が発覚したという。代役には石川梨華と吉沢ひとみが務めることで、辻の穴を埋める。さらに結成されたばかりのギャルユニット『ギャルル』は脱退。今年に入りデュオ“W(ダブルユー)”でコンビを組んでいた加護亜依が、2度目の喫煙報道で事務所を解雇されたばかり。自身も 10代前半からトップアイドルを走り続けていたが、最終的には“女の幸せ”を実現させた形となった。


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Yakkun Wants to Join Gyaruru

Here's a little something on the side to quench our anticipation, while waiting for news from Tsuji's press conference.

Sakurazuka Yakkun, during the launch of his latest English-learning DVD, expressed his desire to join Gyaruru, which Tsuji Nozomi has withdrawn from. For those who have been following Hello! Morning would probably remember his "diving-kendo-slash" cum "show-underwear-in-the-process" incident on that episode last year. He remembers Tsuji whom he partnered along with Sayu to win a round of game with dominance.

His comments:

"Firstly, I'm surprised! She's 19, right? The rate of divorce for those who got married before turning 20 is high, so I really wish the two will continue to be together."
"If it was me, I'll can join in from a Marc Panther-like stand point. I want to do this, even if it is for 'limited time only'. I'll give Tsunku a call".

*Marc Panther is a Jpop artiste who joined Globe as the group's rapper and lyricist.

He also demonstrated his English skills and congratulated Tsuji's marriage:
"Hope and sunshine shotgun marriage congratulation!"

Nozomi means "Hope" in Japanese (referring to Tsuji Nozomi)
Taiyou means "Sunshine" in Japanese (referring to Sugiura Taiyou)

If there is anything more bizarre than a fake-tan Tsujiji, is a rapper dude cross-dressing as a gyaru in a sailor school uniform and dancing Para para.

Maybe Yakkun is trying to emulate Koriki's success of joining Para Para idol group Hinoi Team?!

Source from Oricon
Source from Sports Hochi
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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tsuji Nozomi Marriage Press Announcement on the 10th

So how is everyone taking the news about Tsuji's pregnancy and love affair? So far, so good...? Man, I'm thinking about it the whole time in the office.

Here's more development:
Source from Sports Hochi

Tsuji-chan Marries, Couple Interview on the 10th
Tsuji Nozomi (19 yrs), former member of popular idol group will marry actor Sugiura Taiyou (26 yrs) soon, this is confirmed by the agencies of both parties. Tsuji who is 9 weeks pregnant, will suspend all upcoming talent activities. The date for marriage ceremony and registering is undecided. An interview for the couple will be held in the city on the 10th, announcing the marriage.

CJ Marsicano noted in that Ikimasshoi found out UFW have confirmed the marriage situation to FujiTV. Cj also noted a collection of reactions from prominent bloggers here and here.
Ray of AmeWota also have a roundup of blogger reactions here and here.

More news on Hello-Online, where Tsunku was quoted with "She's been doing a good job as a singer until now, but after meeting the love of her life, she will be able to gain new experiences!"

Oricon also reports, and added Tsunku also said "Please give her(Tsuji) your best support". Also in the news, is Tsuji's current activities, where she will withdraw from the newly formed Gyaruru. Furthermore, adjustments will be made to find a replacement for her voice acting role of the character "Atena" in the anime "Robby and Kerobby".

Up Front Works have made it official news and Hello! Project as well. Tsunku has made his comments too and congratulates Tsuji. Basically, it's no different from what we already know. Except that the person that introduced Tsuji to Sugiura was noted merely as a "mutual acquaintance" instead of *coughcoughyaguchimaricoughcough*. Looks like the management is not taking it as serious as I thought.

.... like I said. So far, so good..... Peace ^_^
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Tsuji Nozomi pregnant?! And is getting married??!!

It's true. Tsuji Nozomi IS pregnant. Two months. And now she is getting married on 17th June.

It is known that on the 7th, Tsuji Nozomi (19 yrs), former member of popular idol group Morning Musume will marry Sugiura Taiyou (26 yrs). Tsuji is currently 2 months pregnant. The couple have been going out since 2 years, and apparently at the end of the same year they have been witnessed to frequently visit each other's home. Though Tsuji have formed a new unit "Gyaruru" on April, she dropped out of the theater "Itsu no hi ka kimi kaeru" which is opening on the 4th, with the reason of acute gastroenteritis.

Source from Sports Hochi


The news scans here. -->

UPDATE 2: The news in video, so you know how her boyfriend looks like. -->

SOOoooo... is that why Tsuji is moved to TNX label? Because Hello! Project cannot tolerate this kind of things?
Two pregnants pregnant, eh? That's February, so meaning they had sex on Valentine's day? Oh, wait... that's also when we got news about Kago's comeback on February... so the couple decided to have sex to celebrate the news or what? This reminds me a lot about Ishiguro Aya's case.

Sorry for ranting... I can't take this at the mo. Actually, I don't mind her having a boyfriend or anything, but the timing is just not quite right. Think about it ... the concerts, the theater, Gyaruru, Gatas Brilhantes, fan club events... etc. She has affected everyone else's schedule. Just like Kago...

So now... The Tsuji-Kago twin-effect have proven true. Maybe the two of them should have been in better control from the start...

I need to go to work now.
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