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

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Friday, November 30, 2007


I would like to clear up one minor thing,in regards to Jin`s formal apology earlier.
This article was the first part of a three or four part series into a myth on English fan sites that Morning Musume was at the point of ending or in a state of panic over the Mikan sales numbers . I was brought on staff for my back ground reasons to help Jin take HNPH to another level of reporting , first hand and on the ground so to speak .That is still my intention ,however over my surprise of the premature release of this article ,I was put in a undesired position.

The mistake that Jin is referring to , is a mistake caused by e-mailing .There are a number of sources involved in this series development ,both public and private . Due to the large amount of information involved in this series, a good number of e-mails are being exchange by all parties involved. Jin was given a series of e-mails with some numbers related to the downloads part of the article .Jin mistakenly took the numbers that was requested to be checked with his sources and then returned to me ,so to ensure that all parties were being informed of the same data and made them a part of the uncompleted article . The so-called modifier that has some of you up in arms was never intended to be a part of this article series. It was part of an ongoing investigation to support evidence that Mikan`s sales were likely higher then what was listed by Oricon , due to the influence of digital download sales as reported by the RIAJ and numerous media outlets world wide on the fact that Japan leads the world in digital download sales. .This downloading trend has also effected Oricon economic structure,a fact that Oricon had released after the article was posted and was also planed to be used as a supporting factor. The so-called modifier was not the final number involved in this investigation and played a very small role in the overall story, that it`s outcome would have not been effected by the conclusion of the investigation .In other words the so-called modifier served only as an industry difference between the types of sales , generated by the RIAJ own sales report and not the outcome of the story . Jin mistakenly in the rush of e-mails thought that was the final numbers or that the information sent to him was intended for publication with the article.

There was never any intent to mislead any readers or other Bloggers that may have wanted to use the story. The error was simply an e-mailing error of miscommunication and an unfinished article was placed on the site by mistake without all parties involved in the story agreeing to or knowing of the release until after the fact.

The intention of first article of this series was never planed to be centered on Mikan or modifying numbers. Instead it was to be just an opening piece to a much larger look at the future of Morning Musume , with the hope that it would help end a growing myth in English speaking fan communities that Morning Musume or H!P were in a panic over the sales or the future of Morning Musume . A belief that is not supported by the nation of the artists involved in the story.

>> Read the rest of this article

About That Myth-busting Feat...

Yesterday, I published a post about busting the myth of the end of Morning Musume. However there are flaws that come with it. And the comments that came after really shows it. It's my fault, really.

Eric Kamezou: "Apologies on behalf of Jin"

Firstly, after gathering the facts and figures provided by the resourceful Gaki, I neglected to send the finished post to Gaki to proof-read and check, because I was convinced that it was fine and ready to be published. While my primary intention when editing the post was to let everyone know the emergence of the digital-sales business and that Morning Musume's CD sales of their latest single "Mikan" of 28k units should not be the measuring tape of their success, I failed to check with Gaki about certain factual details of the write-up which has resulted in some people challenging the article in the comments section, and probably mislead some readers.

I'd like to blame my health condition (I was ill with fever for 3 days), but it all boils down to being more responsible and discussing things over with your comrades before making a final decision.

Apologies in advance for causing any misunderstanding. Please continue to support Gaki and his future articles. Currently we will re-assess the digital sales modifier, and update you guys if we have any progress/results.

For my penance, I will abstain from meat today and spend the weekend reflecting on this matter. And maybe work on the blog cosmetics, those banner up there is way out-dated........

Peace (^_^)v
>> Read the rest of this article

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Debunking the Myth of the End of Morning Musume

This article aims to debunk the myth that have been circling around the Morning Musume fandom (especially the English fandom, check out the reactions noted in, that due Morning Musume's weak sales in their latest single "Mikan" is a sign that their time is done, and that their popularity is fading. Many fans assume that their fandom is rapid shrinking, due to older members have graduated, and wotas less interest in the current Momusu members (their attention has diverted to the C-ute and Berryz Koubou).

As noted in the previous post Mikan sold around 28k copies and has been performing weaker than the others. If you are a hardcore Morning Musume fan, you may want say that the Japanese music industry is declining overall. But the fact is the industry is NOT on a decline. It's because.... times have changed.

Beginning with Oricon figures, as we all know Oricon sales figures should not be taken as a true measurement for the sales performance. They only count sales based on reports from selective stores, therefore we use the 1.75 modifier to calculate a closer estimate. Still, it is not 100% accurate. I have touched on a subject that Oricon may be playing favorites and everyone still mentions it every now and then.

To restore hope to all desperate fans let's look at a bigger picture, outside of Oricon sales figures.

The Rise of Digital Age
The market for digital-sales have
Four days after Apple launched its iTunes Music Store in Japan, they recorded over one million song downloads. An outstanding feat, seeing that it took iTunes USA a full week to achieve the same numbers. The main factor - price. Why spend 1545 yen ($US 13.99) on the CD jacket, when you can download it for 463 yen ($US 4.19).
As noted by Gaki in the comments of a previous post, the RIAJ (Recording Industry Association of Japan) reports that digital-music sales are rising due to the increasing popularity of ringback tunes, mobile-based full-song downloads, PC-downloads and other forms of paid downloads. We are talking about 121.6 million units of digital-sales in the 3rd quarter of 2007 that are not taken into account by Oricon.

Cumulative digital-download results for the first three quarters of 2007 show mobile-based music downloads rising 28% to 325.2 million units, for a value of 50 billion yen ($458.1 million), up 44%, while PC-based downloads in the January-September period rose 27% to 22.3 million units, for a value of 4.3 billion yen ($38.7 million), up 15%.
Total digital downloads, including miscellaneous categories, for the first three quarters totaled 347.5 million units, a rise of 28%, for a value of 55.3 billion yen ($506.8 million), up 44%.

In summary, while in the first three quarters CD sales dropped 30% but digital downloads have risen 28%. CD Sales as of Oct 2007 was 51.421 million and download sales were 347.5 million. Meaning that, comparing with the industry CD & digital-sales, for every 1 CD single sold, it is sold by digital download 6.8 times (rounded from 6.75). Therefore to calculate a more closer estimate of the true sales, is to take the Oricon figures and multiply by 6.8.

So the true sales for Morning Musume's single "Mikan" is 28,082 * 6.8, giving us a 190,957 of estimated true sales, with a discrepancy of +/- 1000 units. Now the numbers don't look so bad, huh? ^_^

It is this lucrative potential in download sales that prompted Avex to announce that Ayumi Hamasaki's next single, "Together When...," will be a digital release only. The full song officially goes on sale on December 5, with shortened ringtone versions available starting last Wednesday. Avex acknowledged the decline in CD sales and increase in digital sales and as a result it became the main factor behind the decision. They recall the RIAJ report of the rise of 142% in sales increase in 1st half of 2007, and due to its low-cost production (compared to the cost producing CD jackets) and may consider making it the core of their future music business if the single is successful.

Morning Musume's Other Income Source
Other than CD sales and digital-downloads come from concert tickets, concert merchandise, photos, Hello! Project stores, photobooks, radio shows, variety shows, political campaigns. So there are no worries that the group cannot find ways to sustain. Children who attend H!P concerts bring their parents along, meaning that they generate revenue even from the wallets of parents of H!P fans. So don't think the wotas are the only source of income for Momusu.

The Lure of Morning Musume
Morning Musume is recognizable to every Japanese, no matter if you are a Jpop fan or not. I remember seeing a variety show in which Yaguchi Mari was on. The on-site reporter carried placards of Morning Musume members to remote villages around Japan. They pick a random senior citizen and ask if they know who the person in the card is. Not surprisingly, all of them do know! (even though some of them got the names wrong, but they recognize the girls at least)
We owe this recognizability to TV exposures and other mass-comm media, which Morning Musume have in abundance. See the viewership figures here -->
Utaban exposed to 13.5 million viewers
Music Fair exposed to 11.3 million viewers
Music Japan exposed to 13.3 million viewers
Music Station N/A about the same as the others
Haromoni as of Nov 11 draws 2.4 million viewers

Speaking of Haromoni, which given a daytime slot aired on Sunday mornings, it is a variety show designed for children. Despite their many past scandals, Momusu has always and will remain a strong demographic draw of pre-teen girls, who like Momusu fashion style and make up. Kusumi Koharu testified in an interview with Oricon that during her junior school's radio taisou (morning assembly exercises) session, they used "Love Machine" as a tune to dance to (Much to the shock of Nakazawa Yuuko, who is feeling the generation gap there ^_^). Additionally, many teens name Takahashi Ai and Tanaka Reina as their role-model.

Overseas, Momusu are 3rd most searched group in Korea. They are in the top 5 in sales in Taiwan . Their visit to Taiwan caused a near riot at the airport for fans to see not only Junjun and Linlin, but MM as a whole .

Business Is On a Roll - Expansion.
Earlier this year, the holding company UFG (Up Fron Group) the mother company for UFW (Up Front Works) and UFA (Up Front Agency) where Hello! Project resides under, are on a move to get listed on stock exchange.

This can only mean one thing, business is booming. And it is not without the help of image recognition created by their entertainment side of the business. Namely, the artistes with UFW and Hello! Project. They would not have spent 100 million yen to promote their company image in 3 national papers if it was not important.

Therefore it makes no business sense to kill a brand that they have spent 10 years to build, especially one that they have invested with so much resources.

I hope this article helped to answer many questions that you may have, and to urge you to have more faith in Morning Musume. I'm not saying that the Oricon sales figures is not important, because it is. A good sales track record looks great on any portfolio. But if you can look beyond the numbers and the bigger picture, you will find that there are still many untapped potentials for Morning Musume. They're time is not done. In fact, they've only just begun...

Peace (^_^)v

29 November 2007 - Facts & figures provided by Gaki, edited by jinryuichi

RIAJ Reports Rise In Q3 Download Sales
Online music sales surging in Japan
iTunes Japan hits 1,000,000
Ayumi Hamasaki next single will be digital download only
Output of Audio and Video Items in 10/2007
>> Read the rest of this article

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Columnist with HNPH

HNPH is pleased to announce that we will have another contributor with the site - Gaki.
You probably have seen his posted comments and views on a few articles lately. Now he will share more with his own analytical style that is similar to mine.

I will let his written works speak for itself. So please be kind with him and watch out for his new articles!

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

About the New Girl In Town And the Future of Morning Musume...

Hello! Project has issued an announcement echoing what we all being buzzing about - Sugiura Taiyou & Nozomi's newborn baby girl Sugiura Noa. Many bloggers are absolutely pleased to know about it and here are their reactions.

Now in previous interviews, Sugiura revealed that their daughter's name will be a combination of the parents name. Funny, the name "Noa" (希空) only have half of Nono's name, Nozomi (希美) and none of the father's name Taiyou (太陽). So I thought further, and with reference to Sugiura's fame due to his role as Ultraman Cosmos, a quick search produced this -->


Image taken from this site and information in English can be found here.

So now I understand~~~~~~~!
Well.... at least I think it's like that. (^_^)v

And here's a clip of the Ultraman Noa, the last mode of Ultraman Nexus, in action.

I called Noa-chan Hello!Project's first Morning Magomusume モーニング孫娘 (Morning Granddaughter) in my previous post. Some comments from my previous post questioned that, because NOno is not the only and not the first ex-Morning Musume to have a child. As noted by Sponichi, there was 1st gen member Ishiguro Aya, 2nd gen member Ichii Sayaka, and finally 1st gen member Iida Kaori (who got married the same day as me! ^_^) who is expecting her child in January 2008. To be clear, I said that this is the first Magomusume because Nono is the first person (soon to be followed by Kaorin) to remain under the Hello!Project stable even after the birth of the child. To me, this is certainly something significant, because they are supposed to be idols. Unless they are not considered as idols after leaving Morning Musume of course...

In any case, Tsunku seems to agree, and revealed his feelings in his blog.

In his blog, he mentioned that he was very happy for Tsuji, felt as if his own granddaughter was born, and expressed his joy to see a small-sized Tsuji being a mother. (I think he still find that hard to believe, as many of us do~~ ^_^)
He said that the newborn girl is a reserve candidate for Morning Musume!

Finally, he remarked that Tsuji is a "producer" now, and hopes that she will be a reliable, perfect, kakoii and kawaii mother for the kid.

Oh... he also said he wanted to meet the baby and give it a hug. ^_^

There has been concerns and talks about the future of Morning Musume, due to the disappointing sales of their latest single "Mikan" and that Momusu's time is running out.... because Buono,C-ute and Kirari have outsold Momusu.

Current sales report
Hello! Project ArtistSingleTotal Sales to Date
℃-uteTokaikko Junjou38,085
Buono!Honto no Jibun35,281
Tsukishima KirariChance31,766
Morning MusumeMikan28,082

I don't know about you guys, but I felt that from Tsunku's statement in his blog that the baby is a upcoming candidate for Momusu, deep inside he wants Morning Musume to continue on. (at least until the kid is old enough to audition, of course). I think Momusu's time is NOT over.

But this should not be the only reason. Please stay tuned for an upcoming post.

>> Read the rest of this article

Monday, November 26, 2007

Tsuji Nozomi Gives Birth to Baby GIRL! - Sugiura Noa

After the status report of Sugiura Taiyou and Tsuji Nozomi about their baby, it was made known that on this day 26 November 2007 12:45 a.m., Nono has given birth to a healthy 2730 grams baby. And it is a GIRL!!!

The couple christened the baby "Sugiura Noa" 杉浦希空(すぎうら・のあ). Literally meaning "Sky of Hope", this is a beautiful name. Proud father Sugiura revealed that the mother is safe and is deeply moved. Their respective agencies has been notified and the news was faxed to various news media.

And there we have it, our first Morning Magomusume モーニング孫娘 (Morning Granddaughter)!












[ Source ]
>> Read the rest of this article

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Mitsui Aika Wins Game to Voice Gurocchan In Kirari Revolution

So last week's Haromoni's big announcement was nothing we had expected.

This week's Haromoni hosted a voice casting competition to decide who will be the one to voice the new cat character "Gurocchan" in Kirari Revolution, which was revealed on last week's Haromoni. Pity... since it was Michishige Sayumi who created the character, I thought it would be more appropriate for her to play the part. Oh well...

The competition began where the candidates, Takahashi Ai, Niigaki Risa, Tanaka Reina, Jyun Jyun, Rin Rin and Mitsui Aika. Each are required to deliver the best Yankee line as intimidating as possible... while sucking on helium. ^_^

And here is the winner... Mittsi!!


"Namennayo" (なめんなよ) literally means "Don't lick me", but this Japanese slang meant "Don't play with me" or "Don't look down on me". It is befitting that Mittsi wins this game, because "Namennayo" is also the name of a cultural boom that hit Japan in the 1980's involving pictures of cats in Yankee attire.

It all began when a man named Satoru Tsuda found an abandoned kitten at the dry cleaners and took it into his care. Although he hated cats, but this particular kitten changed his mind, and he gave it a name "Matakichi", after the dry cleaner's name. As his fondness towards the feline creature grows, one day the kitten was playing with some doll clothes and an idea struck him - he would dress up the kitten in doll clothes and took pictures of it. This gave birth to a nationwide boom called "Namennayo Cats". Since then he has been taking pictures of cats dressed in various costumes and attire. It was a big hit for men and women alike. One of his trademark was being able to make the cats/kittens stand on two legs when posing for the camera. I only look forward to the day he is able to train the cats to do Kishidan performances. ^_^
More information and pictures here.

My take: The decision to cast Mittsi to voice Gurocchan has gotta be pre-decided by the agency already. I mean, the association with Gurocchan as a cat character and the line "Namennayo" has to be more than a coincidence. In any case, I think Mittsi will do very well. But she better not be sucking helium every time she deliver a line for the cartoon character. ^_^

* In other news, Mittsi also won the voice casting role for the new T-Rex character in Robby and Keroppi, in which Niigaki Risa voiced Athena. This time she is required to put on a mohawk hairdo and some accessories, and deliver the baddest line she can. And here is the result:


* Fictional account. (^_^)v
>> Read the rest of this article

RuRu's first!

I wonder if Jun Jun and Lin Lin already know this, but they aren't the first Chinese member to enter H!P. Back in 1999 T&C Bomber grouped up and consisted of a member from China, RuRu. The group disbanded after a year and split their own ways (Inaba is still with H!P) and RuRu had decent amount of songs outside of H!P.

Early this year she released an album under Avex. More like a cover album. It's nice that she has been given a chance in Japan still. Maybe there's even a better chance for Maki then. ^_^ It would have been nice if RuRu she was still in H!P today and give both JJ and LL a bit of reassurance since she was in their shoes.

Here's some nice info about her:

1. She has an amazing voice.

Other: Utaban

2. She has done some work in China.

Others: 愛してる | 美麗心情

3. She can dance.

Extra Links:
Blog | Promotional Website | Profile
>> Read the rest of this article

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Tsuji Nozomi Due to Deliver Baby in a Few Days

This came in a few hours ago.
In May this year, Tsuji Nozomi discovered to be 9 weeks pregnant and subsequently announced her marriage to Ultraman star Sugiura Taiyou. Now the time has come for the baby to greet the world. My God, has it been 9 months already? (*counting fingers, conceived in March, now November...*) Yeah, it has! Boy, how time flies~~~ (^_^)

On topic, while actor Sugiura Taiyou (20 yrs old) was in a talk show at Digital Hollywood University in Tokyo, in commemoration of the DVD release of his participation in the movie "Academy", he announced that his wife Tsuji Nozomi (20 yrs old) is currently at the last month of pregnancy and is expecting anytime soon. Obviously he is filled with the soon-to-be-father feeling.

He added that as part of the prenatal care, Tsuji had been listening to music a lot, and even danced to the concert live DVD. (Good God... is that wise, Tsuji?). Even the name of the bay has been decided, it was to be a combination of the parent's names. (Taiyou and Nozomi, 太陽 and 希美... I have no idea where to begin to guess, though it does potentially sound nice.)

Sugiura comments "Now it looks as if a watermelon had entered her stomach. I was there for her at nights where she had difficulty sleeping. Now I finally know how hard it is to be a woman". He is understandably very excited.

Gosh... Tsuji... now full-fledged woman..... (T^T)b
Wonder if they will be revealing the baby's picture or name later?



 この日、主演映画「アカデミー」のDVD発売記念トークショーを東京・千代田区のデジタルハリウッド大学で行った杉浦。子供の話になると自然と顔がほころぶようで、「(辻は)音楽をよく聴いてるし、希美のライブDVDとか見て自宅で踊ってる」とモー娘を胎教にしていることを告白。「名前? もう決めてます。2人の名前が合わさった、いい名前って感じです」と笑顔を見せた。


(2007年11月21日21時45分 スポーツ報知)

[ Source 1 ]
[ Source 2 ]
>> Read the rest of this article

Fujimoto Miki Friday'd Yet Again [UPDATED]

This just in. Saw this on WHG after I logged on.

Article title: Fujimoto Miki "Couple Picture in Passionate Love inside a Car"

[ Source ]


It's bad enough she got caught dating comedian Shouji Tomoharu by Friday and had to resign from Morning Musume. And after she remained non-active post-resignation, she is discovered dating by Friday again.

But it should be no big deal by now, since she is not in Morning Musume. But why repeat the scoop if it was the same guy she's dating? Was it a different guy this time? Was it to report the development of her dating stages with her boyfriend?

There was another article highlighted in WHG where Mikitty supposedly was asked for out-of-court settlement/compensation from an ex-boyfriend. I quickly brushed it off thinking that it can very well be baseless, and could be referring to an old news by BUBKA where some pictures of her with a guy was taken before she went into showbiz. Now... now, I'm not so sure, I wish I have my hands on that article to know more.

EDIT 02:26 A.M. : Okay I found that news article - it's gossip material. May be true, may be not. But it's not Mikitty asking for money, it's her older brother. Moreover, it's more closer to "extorting" rather than "asking". I don't know if this worth blogging about or not. But in any case, it may not be related to this Friday scoop.

EDIT 03:47 A.M. : Okay, found more information and I feel better now. It's the same guy, Shouji Tomoharu.
Apparently, an American car was spotted at the Shibuya station on a weekday (driver is Shouji), and Mikitty was spotted emerging from the busy crowd and entered the car casually. The couple then proceeded to TSUTAYA to buy some Wii games (Shouji bought Super Mario Bros) and then he drove back to his house with her. It was noted that Mikitty's workload has decreased since the discovery of her dating relationship. But she had begun her voice-training to prepare her next job.

And that's it. No big deal.
Gosh... why can't a girl shop some video game in peace? "Passionate Love" my ass! (>_<;)

So there's absolutely nothing to worry about. I know I wouldn't. Give Mikitty a break already. It's not like she's not allowed to date now..... I mean, she's allowed to date, right? (-_-;)
And I must commend her on her casualness, and that she did exactly what she said she would do in her final Young Town Doyoubi radio episode - that she would continue seeing Shouji. That's good ol' vintage Miki-sama for you. (^_^)/

Some pics:

>> Read the rest of this article

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Chances for Kago Ai's Return to Showbiz

Another news that I have missed out... It's about Kago Ai. It's been a long time since I wrote something about her.

If you haven't noticed. I have prevented myself from calling Kago with the showbiz name "Aibon" or "Kago-chan" because essentially, that is her showbiz brand, and she is not in it at the moment. Figured that it will be more appropriate for me to address her as a person, as Kago Ai. But that's just me, you do not have to agree with me, you may call her whatever way you're comfortable with.

Here I found a news clip that showed some newscasters analysing the development of Kago Ai and her exile from the entertainment scene due to her reckless behavior.

The news corner starts of by stating that Kago has been terminated from her agency UFA for 7 months already, and further mentioned that reportedly Kago had stayed in Nara for some time after her termination, and afterwards have lived in Hawaii with some relatives, before finally settling down in New York with you-know-who. As much as I love the idea that the "important announcement" on next week's Haromoni would be about her return to showbiz, but after the past frustrations I decided to remain realistic this time. The panel and analysers however decided to shed some positive views on Kago's case this time.

Then the analyser began to explain the possibilities and reasoning of Kago's comeback.
1) Kago provides her family consisting of her divorced mother, 3 siblings (7 yrs old brother, 6 yrs old sister, 2 yrs old brother). She has to work to support her family, and it would be truly difficult for her to work as an OL (office lady) at this time (after being in showbiz for so long), therefore she has no choice but to return to showbiz.

2) Kago deserves another chance. Although she has to pay the price of smoking underage, there are others who have done even worse things but still able to return to showbiz. Furthermore, her smoking did not really cause harm or hurt anyone. One panel mentions that it was not right of her to smoke because of her status as an idol.
The lady panel presents that Kago. like Goto Maki, although still an adolescent she had to work as an "adult" in showbiz for a long time ever since she was 12 years old. And because she is forced to be like an adult (even though she was not) with no one to depend on and be herself, probably she has been looking for a way to release her (suppressed) true self, and found that opportunity with a 35 year old man. The lady panel hopes that Kago is able to make choices for herself in the future, because people will depend on her, and she may break down under pressure again.
The 3rd panel supports the idea of Kago's comeback, though he is concerned about the media and paparazzi who have been working too hard to haunt and expose Kago.

3) Kago turns 20 years old February next year, the legal age in Japan, and it would be a good timing for her comeback. And there are many ways she can do so, even if it meant that she has start from scratch by going into a Kansai-limited circuit (because her hometown Nara is in the Kansai region of Japan), and she can do this while she decides how she wants to shape her career path.

I am contented with this news broadcast, because at least it's not about bashing Kago left and right about what she had done. What I think, is that if Kago does come back, chances are that it will not be with Hello! Project/UFA. The top guns at UFA are known to be ruthlessly strict about maintaining their rules. But I do wish Kago a good "afterlife" from showbiz, and that she live well and healthy...

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

What's it going to be THIS time?

What’s it going to be THIS time?

I don’t know how this one will turn out, but the last one (JJ and LL) still left some impact on the fans. The latest Haromoni@ (11/18/07) briefly mentioned a big announcement for next week’s episode. My first reaction; “-_-. Again? Really? I hope this is a good one.”

I then thought about possible announcements and tried to think outside the box a bit more, since I really don’t know what may be up. I rewatched Haromoni@ and I think that the preview for JJ and LL’s announcement had Tsunku’s VTR in it, but this one just had a simple text saying "ANNOUNCEMENT NEXT WEEK." So maybe it has nothing to do with Tsunku?

Here are just some ideas that might show up:

Kikkawa Yuu to Debut with °C-ute
She’s been busy lately as an H!P Egg and recently performed with them (and a few other eggs I think) on the °C-ute Cutie Circuit 2007 ~MAGICAL CUTIE TOUR~. Also, she isn’t on the list for the 3rd newcomer’s concert.

More visits to Asia or a tour
Seeing how this was a success of Taiwan and Korea went, I’m sure with or without the announcement it’ll come soon.

Revamping Haromoni@
Maybe the production team thought it’s a time for some new ideas? It is a bit dry. ^-^

Nice Girl Project
This could be old news to some and new to others, but maybe Tsunku will officially publicly about his new project now.

Maki Goto Update
Maybe there will be more info regarding about her?

Ogawa Makoto Comeback
Some people in forums mentioned this, but I doubt it. We know for a fact she’s keeps in contact with H!P though. There still might be a chance.

Hello! Project Kansai to Debut as a Group
They have been busy lately, so why not? Start off the New Year with another new group. xD

Oh yes, I just remembered wasn’t the JJ and LL news leaked out a few days before it Hello! Morning showed? So I guess we’ll find out about it before it shows, if it’s THAT big of an announcement. Also, I wonder what all of you guys think? Big news or small news?

P.S. – I wonder if DANCE☆MAN will start producing more H!P songs, since he recently did Ongaku Gata’s second single. [Check out their PV!]
>> Read the rest of this article

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Can Morning Musume's Mikan Take the Top Spot in Oricon?

The time draws near, and the result will be out soon - Will Morning Musume's latest single "Mikan" regain their number position at the Oricon charts once again?

...... funny, I have never anticipated the charting positions like this... maybe it's because earlier today, I was worried if Momusu can even make it pass the top 10, thankfully they eventually did....

In any case, we have heard from our own side of opinion about Momusu's latest single but what about the others? Here are Momusu's main competition:

KAT-TUN - Keep the Faith This one really ROCKS! Sorry to say, but they are truly rockin' it good, and I like the song... this will be damn tough to beat. (Actually, I don't think it can be beat. Please don't stone me... )

KOH+ - KISS shite J-Rock, it's OK, but not spectacular to me.

Keishimeshi - Seinaru yoru ni / Fuyu monogatari - A Hip Hop Christmas song. With X'mas drawing close, and the PV showing lots of lovey dovey stuff, they should get some attention.

EXILE - I Believe - Another Christmas themed winter song, a feels-good-to-be-in-love song, I like this one. Notably, the lyrics is written by new vocalist Takahiro.

Personally, I think the biggest threat is EXILE and KAT-TUN. Between Christmas and a Johnny's powergroup, I don't know.... it's tough. KOH+ and Keishimeshi cannot be overlooked either. Optimistically, I hope the debut will be #3, but on the pessimist side it may be at #5. But if Momusu can beat either EXILE or KAT-TUN, it will be a good sign of things to come. Because Momusu, if not H!P in general, really needed something to make everyone overlook their scandal-plagued year.

So what do you think?
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Romance of the Wotagei ~ ヲタ芸のロマンス

In the beginning, there was Japan. Then the Japanese created "idols". And for a time, it was good... RRRIIPPPP!!!

Okay, enough of the Animatrix reference, but I swear its soundtrack was playing my head while I was typing this post. ^_^

Why I did create this post for such an old topic? Because I have recently discovered that there is wotagei in my neighbourhood. Check this out, this culture is now in Malaysia!!

Man, I didn't think it was possible~~~~ Obviously I was wrong... (^_^;)

According to fellow blogger Artszfar of, the guys read from this blog about the time when visited a karaoke centre called Yumekukan in Plaza Mont Kiara. Then they gathered their army and their Morning Musume T-Shirts, booked a room and did the Wotagei. (Funny, because that karaoke centre was at the ground floor of the building where my office is located. How did I miss it? Haha~~~! ^_^)

Well anyways, "what IS wotagei?". For the benefit of those who don't know yet, it's a unique Japanese culture where a group of concert goers would include hand-clapping, cheers and dance routines during a song performance by their favourite idols. It serves to increase the tension of the song and as a way for the fans to show their love and support to the performers. As this culture was a trademark for wotas (Morning Musume otaku), it was aptly named "wotagei" (lit. "the art of wota").

The discovery of this culture began when the performers and concert staff started to notice some fans spinning around while jumping during concerts. Further investigations found their answers in Akibahara, the material haven for wotas. In fact they are an organised group of people, and have set up headquarters and clubs in many cities in Japan. (Kinda like the mafia. ^_^)

This culture is arguably exclusive only to Hello! Project, though it should be noted that the wotagei has already extended to other acts such as AKB48. Generally, many still believe that this form of art is born out of Hello! Project concerts. Out of the many H!P songs, the wotagei is most closely affiliated to Fujimoto Miki solo hit "Romantic Ukare Mode". But it need not necessarily be only for Mikitty's song, any other (preferably up-beat) songs is just as good.

Today, this culture has travelled across the oceans and has been embraced by many international wotas. At the top of this post, the Malaysian wotas are enjoying themselves, forming an (unofficial) H!P Fan Club.

A while ago I saw a video clip of a bunch of guys in Mexico singing "Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari" in a subway train and another clip of the same guys doing the wotagei on the train. (Annoying the hell out of the other passengers obviously ^_^). Now we have a properly organised Mexico H!P F.C. doing the deed in front of the bronze Angel of Independence statue.

I'm thinking that some these people have probably been to Japan, maybe stayed there for some time, and later brought the culture back to their home country.
So I'm pretty sure other countries may have adopted the wotagei as well, especially Taiwan, Hongkong and Korea.

As for me,..... I do not know how do it and most certainly did not practice the wotagei. I wanted to say that I'm too old for that kind of action, but suddenly remembered that some of the Japanese wotas are over 30 or pushing 40. I guess my way of being a fan is different...

Personally I think it's okay to show your support to your favourite H!P idol in whatever way you wish, whether it's the wotagei way or the common way. Some of you may think it's a bit extreme, but I look at it as being the most basic and pure way of showing love not in words, but in "actions". Just remember that it does not apply to every single concert. Imagine doing the wotagei in a Beyonce Knowles or Westlife concert... (^0^)

\\(^0^) Urya~ Oi!! (^0^)// Urya~ Oi!! \\(^0^) Urya~ Oi!! (^0^)// Urya~ Oi!!

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Souvenir From Bangkok - Morning Musume 10 Years Anniversary Book

On to the brighter side of things. I went on a company trip to Bangkok, at the end of last month. We explored the shopping district in the heart of the city, including the pride of Bangkok - Siam Paragon. Came across a Kinokuniya chain store, and of course I alone walked in. While it's amusing to see Martha Stewart's cookbook written in Thai, there's only one shelf in the store that caught my attention.

I don't know about the others, but I have never see such a collection of Hello! Project photobooks for sale in the Kinokuniya store in my city. There are some old ones, as you can see. I must say that Tanaka Reina's photobook "Girl" is the most tempting of them all, and it's the last one on the shelf. In the end, I settled for this -> Morning Musume Tanjyou 10 Years Anniversary Book

It is a mook (hybrid of magazine and book) with full illustrated periodical of Morning Musume's works with B.L.T. for the past 10 years. From the early days of debut single Morning Coffee till the latest single Onna ni Sachi Are.

It also contained a collection of interviews of 21 girls of Morning Musume past and present, with lots of off-screen pictures. For the current Morning Musume lineup, each girl have a 2 page interview, except the Pandas Jyun Jyun and Lin Lin who had 1 1/2 page.

As for the OG (Old Girls), they look absolutely fantastic and evergreen, and everyone gets a 2 page interview. Except for 3 girls who are given a 1 page interview - Fujimoto Miki, Tsuji Nozomi, and Ogawa Makoto. Yup, Ogawa is in there too, which makes me wonder when did they begin producing this mook. She has a message in the mook in English - "I expect I'm still singing and dancing in 10 years!!" Judging from her column, I assume that UFA and MM girls are still in touch with her, and I think she'll be coming back soon. ^_^

As for Mikitty and Nono, well, I guess it's understandable. And yes, Kago Ai is NOT in there. :(

One thing though, because I bought this mook before Goto Maki saga began, before Gomaki announced her graduation I was fascinated with Gomaki's interview column. Now it takes on a different meaning. Take this quote from Gomaki for instance:

Ever since my debut (with Morning Musume), all our songs were always at number one spot in the charts, so I didn't know how significant it was to be at number one. I was taking it for granted. But when I reached number one as a solo, I was surprised and so happy. The feeling of reaching that number one spot as Goto Maki was different.

Before, after reading that I thought that maybe Gomaki is still competitive to be at her best and really appreciated the fruits of hard work. Now I feel as if she had given up, or maybe tire of the chase to be the best.

Well anyways... in conclusion, although I'm feeling a bit of regret of not getting Reina's PB (due to money constraints), but I'm still happy with this purchase. A little bit of everyone still makes me happy.

Some snapshots:

The current lineup of Morning Musume, by the generation.

The girls introduces to the readers all about Morning Musume for the past 10 years

Jyun Jyun looking absolutely kawaii and pretty

Ah~~~ My favourite girl Gaki-san looking absolutely mature and beautiful

"A little bit of Ai-chan in my life,
a little bit of Eri by my side,
a little bit of Risa is all I need,
a little bit of Reina is what I see.
A little bit of...."

More information on Morning Musume Tanjyou 10 Years Anniversary Book
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Monday, November 12, 2007

Sooooo.... Goto Maki IS somehow... "involved"...

My PC is resurrected. Good.
But I have to reformat the hard disk. Bad.
Managed to salvage most of my "important data". Good.
But I have reinstall the drivers and softwares. Bad.
Managed to connect to internet and surf freely. Good.
But discovered more bad news on Goto Maki/Yuuki saga........ DAMN BAD.

As I just managed to revive my ancient machine, now was the only time I managed to crawl the net undeterred... and found more information that I have missed for the past week. I still haven't browsed around other blogs and forums enough, and most of you probably have known about these news, but I need to record it in this blog, just for... archiving purposes.

What I found out is that Goto Maki's brother, Yuuki will be prosecuted for a theft crime, involving cables. But what I missed out is how Gomaki is involved in the whole situation - it is said that Gomaki's lover happened to be Yuuki's partner in crime.

As noted by a commenter, Hello!Online has information that Goto Maki will quitting showbiz altogether. Other than that, the existence of a boyfriend. Of course I have no way of verifying it, cos I'm not in Japan. But take note - the info came from ever reliable and credible H!O.

The bit from the FLASH Magazine - the official site does make note of the headline scoop of discovering Gomaki's boyfriend and his involvement in the crime, additionally other sources notes it too. It was just as H!O reported, word for word. However, the latter source questions the credibility of the scoop, because it was sourced from eye-witnesses consisting of "close friends" and "neighbours".

And apparently, stemming from Yuuki's theft crime, there were... oh, how should I say... "whispers" that not only Gomaki's boyfriend (separated) was arrested..... Gomaki was also named. Lots of hecklers in Japan also seem to be riding on this ... "whisper", since Gomaki DID say "sorry for causing trouble for other (H!P) members". Probably they assumed from that statement Gomaki indirectly admitted her involvement?

Personally, I don't think Gomaki is financially troubled nor desperate for money. I'm thinking somebody must have misread "Goto Yuuki" as "Goto Maki" and coupled with the photographs in the papers and news sites, the fact became twisted as it passes from one person to another. However, I cannot comprehend how her brother's crime can become her burden and "cause trouble" to her fellow H!P members, but I can only sum it as being another one of Hello! Project's "Idol tradition".

H!O has given the heads-up for all of us on Gomaki's supposed departure from showbiz. I'm only waiting for the other news sites to confirm it to make it official. There's still hope for her rebound though. At the very least, that I do believe.


Web posted at: 2007/11/07 05:06
Written by コ○助

かつて「EE JUMP」のメンバーとして芸能界に身を置いたこともある、後藤真希の弟・ユウキ(後藤祐樹)が逮捕されたのは10月20日のこと。自ら「銅線窃盗団」を率い、転売目的で100万円相当の銅線を工事現場から盗んでいたという事実に、その一報を聞いた誰もが耳を疑ったなり。派手な芸能界から転落していく「元芸能人」が犯罪に手を染めるケースはあるにはあるなりが、モーニング娘。の中核メンバーだった後藤真希の弟であり、それなりに売れた「EE JUMP」のメンバーという抜群の知名度を誇る「元芸能人」の犯罪は、相当な衝撃をもって受け止められたなりよね。





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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Goto Yuuki Prosecuted... But where does Goto Maki fit in?

I'm still fresh from following this news compared to the rest of the world, having returning only recently. But where does Goto Maki fit in her brother Goto Yuuki's theft crime?

It's now official that Goto Yuuki have plead guilty for the crime of stealing cables from a construction company and will be prosecuted, his reason - "I needed money". (~A~) Bleh...

I'm still puzzled on how Gomaki come into the picture, I mean, how is she associated with her brother's mishaps. How come she is quitting Hello! Project at this time? Please, please, please don't tell me that she is actually involved in her brother's crime. On a dramatic scenario (but least likely methinks), perhaps Gomaki had pleaded her agency (UFA) to help her brother or she quits. But the puzzle still doesn't fit.

Because if Gomaki does want to leave H!P to plan her own life and musical path, she can very well negotiate peacefully with UFA. (Unless somebody upstairs in UFA doesn't want to release her, of course). With regards to her release contract, I wonder what further stipulations is involved. Many fans think that she may move on to Avex rightaway, but what if... just what if Gomaki's release contract stipulates that she may not perform under any other labels until the termination of her previous employment period? Such a thing IS possible if the contracts says so. Unless her next agency decides to overrule that clause (with some cash and conditions), will Gomaki face a long "holiday"? Seriously, I hope she's not in trouble or something... cos' there seems to be an outbreak of "acute-gastroenteritis" lately.

On the contrary, Yuuki's ex-partner in EE JUMP, Sonim, is doing quite well, having recently formed a duo unit with TV talent and model Osawa Akane. The unit is called "tomboy" and their first single "Super Star" is a cover of Korean group Jewelry 2005 hit of the same name. They're doing so good that the single has been chosen as the closing theme for a TV Tokyo variety show Sukibara, recomended to national karaoke companies, and "tomboy" will also debut Utaban. [Source]

Just ranting round... cos I'm still trying to resurrect my PC, but to no avail. And i'm in a blue, blue mood....
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Friday, November 09, 2007

Thoughts on Morning Musume latest single "Mikan"

I'm glad I came back to blogging in a good time (other than my home PC dying on me), the new Morning Musume single "Mikan" was great and the PV was awesome. The reaction of fans were even better. I'm loving this PV because honestly speaking, the last few PVs are way under-budget. So this time, it was really impressive. So now we have another concert crowd-pleasing song for the wotas to go "Oy! Oy!" while thrusting their fists in the air. (^o^)/ Oy! Oy! Oy!....

Have rewatched the older variety shows featuring the girls recently (all the way back to 2001). It's a strange but great feeling - back then the 5th gen members Takahashi Ai and Niigaki Risa were so quiet and well behaved in their rookie year, right now they are fronting the group. Time flies... *sniff sniff* (;_;)

Still, the word "mikan" was not even mentioned in the lyrics. I wonder why? Just thought I'd mention the first few things that came into my mind when I hear the title "Mikan".

1) Mikan = It's not over yet!
Given the many past unfortunate incidents that seem to plague Morning Musume members, past and present, it is not surprising for some people to think that "Their time is over". I have read worrying discussions if MM is disbanding soon.
Now, the "Mikan" single CD cover shows a birthday party of sorts, the coupling single "Bon Kyu Bon Kyu Bomb Girl" seem to signify fireworks. So what could they be celebrating?
The songwriter (presumably Tsunku) must have a hidden message for everyone -> "It's not over yet!!"

If you are a manga lover like me, you may have read the sensational manga "Shaman King". Unfortunately, due to unfavorable reader poll and budget constraints, the manga serialization has been cancelled prematurely. Obviously the manga creator Takei Hiroyuki was saddened with this decision, and he is forced to end the storyline with a hanging plot. To express his regret, he drew an orange at the last page, next to the words "Owari" (meaning "The End"). In actuality, "mikan" has a double meaning of "Incomplete". I wonder if that is the meaning of this single used "Mikan" as a play on words to express just that - "It ain't over yet!".

2) Orange = Somebody's gonna end!!
On the other hand, if you're a movie buff and is totally into movie trivias, the fruit orange has got to scare you when I mention this movie name - "The Godfather". But what does the story of a mafia cartel has got to do with the title of this single? You see, whenever an orange appears in the film, a death scene comes afterwards. See this list if you're not convinced or have not watched the film. I hear that this is a Sicilian tradition, or it could be a deliberate plot devised by the filmmakers... but this is superstitiously scary to me. Is someone else gonna be in trouble?

3) Mandarin orange = just a Japanese tradition and export goods
There are a few impressions I have when I think about Japan. The tourist impression is more or less "Sushi, Tempura, Mount Fuji, Geisha". ^_^
For me it's Tokyo Tower, onsen, sushi (of course), businessman in suits on a train, katanas/shurikens..... and boxes of oranges. Yeah oranges... I mean, don't we see that often in Japanese Doramas? You know, when they use those same boxes to collect their belongings when they are fired from a company, utilised as a make-use coffee table for bachelors squatters, girls eating oranges around a kotatsu watching TV, using the boxes for storing stuff when moving to a new apartment... etc.

Of course, after listening to the song and watching the PV my thoughts have changed somewhat. I haven't gone to the forums to see the reactions of others, but I assume that it could be similar (minus the Godfather thing, maybe ^_^) What I don't understand is the childhood pictures shown in the PV.

So either the theme of this single is childhood, birthdays wishes, hope and dreams. Or a message that Morning Musume is not going down just yet, and they are celebrating a fresh start all over again.

Peace ^_^

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RIP to Jin's PC

It's dead... my PC is dead. :(

It seems like the Gods of blogosphere doesn't want me to come back... or are They just testing me? In any case, my PC is dead, and I feel so paralysed. For the past few days, I've been playing ER and trying to revive 'her', but no dice. It's partially my fault, really. Cos' I haven't been paying attention to 'her' and treating 'her' badly (sounds like a real life relationship, eh?). In addition to that, my net connection is also acting up. Grr....

However, I'm going to play necromancer and use all my skills to try to resurrect 'her'. Gimme a little time before my next post. In the meantime, anna wrote a nice article on Morning Musume's latest single 'Mikan', so be sure to read it!

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

You'll get a chance!

Morning Musume's 35th single, Mikan

Here we have a nice and natural look for MM's newest single. At first when I heard the title I thought it was for once going to be a ballad. XD I know right? What chances are that. Lol. After I heard the radio rip I wasn't wowed immediately. It sounded like an ordinary album track or b-side. After I saw the promo images and pvs, it changed my mind completely. No wonder they call a PV, promotional video. It helps. ^-^

Their cloths in the covers and promos are really relaxing on the eyes. For once I think that EVERYONE looks decent. Ai looks really mature. Risa looks graceful. Eri looks like she's back to 15 again. XD

Sayumi's dress and colors reminds me of Saki of C-ute's latest outfit. Reina looks pretty much the same. She's fashionable and photogenic. Does anyone else think that Airi's light green dress and Koharu's light green sweatshirt/dress is a sign. XD Both are aces in their groups and wearing similar colors and styles. Maybe I'm overthinking. ;]

Aika looks so down to earth and looks so natural. Jun Jun still has that awkward poses and smile. She's still new and I'm liking her more. ^-^ Lin Lin has her cutie face on with a cute pose. Her colors remind me of a bumblebee. Hehe~

On with the PV:

First off, their costumes are really cool. They stand out a lot and look pretty normal for a singer's costume. I think that with these costumes or the photoshoot cloths they may actually get to appear on TV a bit more. Music Station would never let MM wear the ONSA costumes on TV. It would distract everyone. XD I remember that they use to wear normal cloths and then changed with the performance, but that was years ago I think.

I like the pairings within the song and PV. Putting Aika next to Koharu was smart. She got more exposure there from Koharu. ^-^ I was beginning to worry that Aika was being hidden from everyone since JJ and LL took her thunder. Then you see Aika again with JJ and Ai. Smart again. I really like Aika and hate to see her in the shadows.

The CG backgrounds made the song even livlier than it did with just the radio rip. It was cute how they added a "Mikan" (orange) in the background. It was nice to see so many different angles and scenes. They're on top of the world! :o Their eyes on the closeups are really cool. Nice light effect. Made them shine even more.

Free Image Hosting at

Their dance is really jumpy. That's the only word I can think of right now. XD It's a good song to dance to for fun. Especially for kids. Wota's may get a "kick" out of this. A lot of people are thinking that the dance is a bit cheesy, but hey think about the song and it's beat. It works. It gets the crowd going.

Of course I have to talk about the baby pictures. They made the PV more personal then just a "PV". They put a bit of themselves into it and had a fun time. I bet a lot of other fans liked it because they found out or learned something new about their fave members. Reina always had curly hair. Risa looks the same from even a child. Same with LL. Eri was too cute. Aika's smile from then was already shining. And so on.

Overall I think this is one of the best PVs in years. It's so fun and it didn't blind the fans. Everyone looked fantastic and looked like they had fun. It seems like they put a lot of thought to this PV. Who ever thought of the pictures needs a raise. :D There were a lot of angles in the PV too. Usually we get 3-4 with same background and such. It's going to be some performance in this years's Kouhaku Uta Gassen.

OH YEAH! Why didn't they tell us that Ayaka was in MM?! Jk. It's hard not to imagine Lin Lin as Ayaka.

Random stuff I thought people might be interested in knowing:
Johnny's NewS recently released an album. One of their songs was arranged by Suzuki "Daichi" Hideyuki.
C-ute is nominated for Best New Artist at Best Hit Kayousai 2007.
Heike Michiyo gave birth to her first baby on Novemeber 1st. Congrats!
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Friday, November 02, 2007

Is Korea ready for another girl group?

If you follow Korean music like I do, you must know that this year many new boy groups and girl groups appeared. Fierce rivalry already appeared before they even debuted and now with the year almost ended I look and see if there’s room for Korea. I would like to take the newest girl group and compare them with Morning Musume.

So Nyuh Shi Dae (Girl’s Generation)
Members: 9
Time since debut: August 2, 2007
Company: SM Entertainment
Age Range: 16-18

All 9 girls have trained separately for quite a few years. One of the members has actually trained 7 years before her debut. Almost all the members have done dramas, commercials, and modeling jobs individually. (Still are.) One member can speak Chinese and two members grew up in America and are able to speak in fluent English. Also, another member have debuted in Japan before and ironically participated in ASAYAN's "Korea Japan Ultra Idol Duo Audition". They are most likely going to get compared to this group because of the number of members.

These girls have loads of experience that I’m betting the Morning Musume girls never had done. Well, maybe the newer girls. You might say that Morning Musume will kill them instantly since they have so much history, but look at the girls. There is a language barrier. It’ll be harder to get close to the fans that love them so much there. You might also say that they aren’t competition at all. Who knows? What’s your opinion and how do you think Morning Musume will come over to Asia? What ways can they do to make them stand out. Music wise, not like events like they had recently.

This is more of 'if's' if they ever debut in Korea.

So Nyuh Shi Dae Debut MV:

Other links:
[ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ]
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New Co-Blogger with HNPH

It gives me great pleasure to announce that HNPH is welcoming its first co-blogger -> anna. She has her own style and opinion, very much different from mine, which I think will be a breath of fresh air.
So please be kind to her, and give your best support.

Peace ^_^
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