Sunday Blog Roundup: One Whole Year of Smooching Your Jpop Blogging Butts! Mwah!

Filed in American Wota 1.0

It was a year ago that I did my first Sunday Blog Roundup. Up to then, I’d try to chat up other blogs but didn’t make a habit of it. Twelve months later, and it’s the one thing that’s remained consistent in my blogging habits – what the heck, even the name and domain of the blog that carries it has changed!

I won’t lie. Doing the roundup takes efforts. Sometimes it takes up time I could spend sleeping or handling other blog entries (especially when I leave it to the last minute). However, I’ve never wanted to stop doing this. Why? Out of a sense of service? To generate good will and more linkage back to my own blog? I do it because I’m selfish. The Sunday Blog Roundup is me blatantly kissing the asses of my favorite English language Jpop bloggers in the hopes that they would be encouraged and keep on turning out quality blog entries for all fans to enjoy. I like to read about Japanese pop music and I’ll shower love on all those who write about and share it in an interesting manner. After all, I’m a blog reader first, a blogger and link-whore second and third.

So on this paper anniversary (how ironic, given we’re on the internet), I’d like to salute the best of the Jpop blogosphere in this past year (that I know of). They were chosen based on certain nebulous criteria: longevity (at least a year old for the most part, with Go being the old man of the group), consistency, depth of insight, entertainment value – all qualities worth seeking out in a Jpop blog. So in no particular order, here are the titans of this past year of English-language Jpop blogging – give em a round of applause, folks! And visit their sites often! (Except the last two.)

Go of jrocknyc is the quintessential alpha male blogger. By that, I mean he fits best the original idea of blogging as drawing from the far and sundry reaches of the internet to create an interesting miscellany of news, insights, and opinions. In this way – in his choices of what he brings and how he comments on them, no matter how strange or disconnected it may seem from other entries – he creates a view of the world uniquely his own. There is a strong focus, however – his purview is hard rock music, Japanese and otherwise – and Go knows his shit inside-out and sideways. If he had to be summed up in two words, I’d make it, “Respect, bitches.”

Santos of Idolizing St. Anna is the most dedicated of otaku in the English-language Jpop blogosphere, though when he first started his only real idol interest at the time was Bon Bon Blanco. (Ironically, B3 had been inactive for most of this past year, making his title seem cryptic for newcomers.) Hailing from Japan and being able to attend the shows of his favorite acts, he lives the life many of us overseas wish we could lead, attending shows and handshake events and being right in the middle of all that wota action. Not only that, he has taken to being our spokesman with a generosity that still amazes me. As a blogger, Santos also has a penchant for looking at idols in an unusual manner, with statistics and graphs and stick-figure animated drawings which not only make his sight invaluable, but quirky and humorous as well. It’s impossible to imagine the Jpop blogosphere without him, and we’re all quite lucky he chose to focus his blog as an English language site and not Japanese.

Fronted by Mark, the Ikimasshoi.com crew are the newsbringers of the Jpop blogosphere, staying on top of new developments and often being the first place to hear about important events. This blog has also gone through a regimen of improvement and re-design that understood style mattered as much as substance on the internet. While the spinoffs haven’t always fared as well, the main blog has long been and remains a powerhouse that can’t be ignored.

Led by eyn, the Channel-Ai crew cover Jpop reviews and analysis – with a helpful mix of related downloads – that are well thought-out, insightful, and informative. Channel-Ai has a talented collection of writers (my favorite is H!P specialist Lainay, of course) with a wide range of interests and tastes, but a cohesive group identity emerges that adds a level of authority to the overall blog. As a result, it’s become a great resource for the new Jpop fan looking to learn a great deal about his new passion – or the curious older fan looking for something new and exciting.

The dysfunctional Your Opinion Doesn’t Count pseudo-family – spearheaded by Wonder Twins Langdon Alger and Tsuji Eriku – don’t go for depth as much as bracingly honest opinions and a heavy dose of recreational backbiting. From the smartass name of their blog – which I originally thought was directed at their readers but now suspect is directed at each other – to the clever regular features they provide every week, this crew never takes itself too seriously and are unashamed of being exactly who they are. I’m too lazy to look back, but I think Tsuji Eriku described watching a Berryz concert and laughing at the wotas before a sudden epiphany sank in… to me, that was so honest and so funny and so true to my own experience, I nearly shat myself. (Not really, but that seems like an appropriate YODC response.) Further, the interaction among the contributors of this blog is as entertaining as the eyecandy and music clips and regular doses of oddness that make their blog such an enjoyable playground. My favorite was the sniping that resulted from a dead-sexy photo of Momoko, leading to a comments section more entertaining than even the Monkey Girl herself.

HANABI.1984 of J-Pop CD Cover Art is the shining example of how a strong niche can make a blog stand out head and shoulders over any other. He took a simple premise – publish images of CD cover art – and has created an invaluable repository for Jpop fans. The blog has not only expanded to include related fan art, it also enjoys strong reader participation, making it a de facto group blog in its own right.

Thea of Made in Paradise took her Avex fangrilling and made all of us excited about it as well. She posted a mix of news, reviews, and opinions that were laser-focused on what she loved best and created a strong coterie of devoted readers. Thea’s no longer blogging but promises to remain active with other internet fan activities, and I wish her luck in all that she does both online and off.

Last but by no means last, crs of Undoing the Mercator Projection and 28hundred hours is the finest writer in Jpop blogging that I’ve encountered yet. Her writing had style to spare, a bitingly honest sense of humor, candor backed by impeccable reasoning, and a comprehensive view of how the Asian music scene worked. I first encountered her with Mercator and was blown away immediately. Along with Jarret of I’m bad at naming things and Santos, she formed the foundation for Feed of Pop. She disappeared for a while, re-emerged with 28 hundred hours, and did astounding work there, too. (As well as created the Miyabi rating system!) And like Thea, she’s no longer blogging because of other obligations. So let me just take this moment to publicly wish her the best of luck and know she’ll always have a dedicated reader in me.

One thing I’ve noticed and enjoyed is the way blogging about Jpop has bloomed, as seen by both the roundups and Feed of Pop. The first Sunday Blog Roundup barely filled a typical blog entry for me – and now, it’s hard to keep the weekly list to a manageable size. A year from now, I’m betting I’m going to look back on these coming twelve months and will have an even stronger list of bloggers – including several repeaters from this group, I’m sure. So as long as you keep on blogging – and let me know you’re doing so – I promise to keep kissing your butts and letting know how fabulous you are.

I know it’s selfish and manipulative of me, but I can’t help it.


I already covered the biggest news in the Jpop blogosphere for the week with this morning’s piece on Mako-chan getting hosed, but there’s other stuff going on in the world of H!P – including another accident with that lonesome W, Nozomi Tsuji. Ikimasshoi.com again breaks the news of Tsuji falling from the stage the day before Konno’s graduation. So that’s fire, then air… Tsuji, stay away from water or dirt! A dismayed CJ Marsicano of Stuck in a Pagoda with Motoko Aoyama observes, “If it ain’t one holdup for W3: Faithful, it’s another.” Ikimasshoi.com also has the latest news on Kago (actually, a translation of that tabloid article) and of Goto Maki’s next single and Secret Live DVD. Meanwhile, CJ pays close attention to the whole question of Japanese Girls With Guitars.

And could it be…? Are eighth gen auditions already in the works? Ikimasshoi.com confirms this is so!

Zush of Kakko-ii.com wishes Kon-Kon the best on her post-graduation plans, while HANABI.1984 of J-Pop CD Cover Art provides all the variant covers for Morning Musume’s “Ambitious! Yashinteki de Iijan”. Noone at Yossittelua has another Yossi strip sure to please and delight, while Johnny of The Mind takes a pretty thorough look at one of my favorite Momusu photobooks, Hamilton Island, breaking it down to parts one, two, and three.

bagofpeanuts of Koppie Dip!! reviews the Rainbow 7 Concert DVD, noting quite tartly (and correctly), “Once you’ve watched one Morning Musume concert you’ve pretty much seen them all.” Last but by no means least on the H!P front, Craig of the irrepressible All in 1 has seen the light and is bemused by the Smile Version of Berryz’s “Koi no Jubaku” PV. I watch that and all I can think is, “What’s with the Morning Musume-level budget for a Berryz PV?” Craig also takes an epic voyage to get his Gaki-san photobook – showing he’s more of a Gen Six fan than I can ever be – and gives it a brief review.

On the Avex front, Rinoa of Channel-Ai covers sifow, as does Ikimasshoi.com. Béné of Béné Blog looks at the live action Sailor Moon show as well as shows the cover for the final SweetS album. Over at Idolizing St. Anna, Santos should get a special award for best blog entry title of all time, though admittedly the story attached is quite sordid. Santos also pays attention to the connection between Japan’s economy and the quality of AV stars, showing yet another up-side to that whole paper tiger thing.

Go of jrocknyc reviews J’s “fly away” PV with his usual humor and wisdom. (Though come on, The Cars isn’t the silliest name from the 1980s. A Flock of Seagulls? Echo and the Bunnymen? Duran Duran? Debbie Gibson?) He also reviews Kirito’s newest release and has news that Dir en grey may cancel their U.S. tour due to illness.

jariten of HALCALI day by day wishes Yukari a happy 19th birthday. Nineteen? How long have I been listening to them, again? Meanwhile Jordi of Subliminal Beats writes an open letter to Rip Slyme’s management telling them what’s what and how it has to be. KagoFeet of Don’t touch my jpop! continues to spread the news of Kreva – and even dedicates it to Version 2.0, which was sweet of him. Tsuji Eriku looks at some Jrap, including Rip Slyme.

Meanwhile, KagoFeet’s KF Sunday PV Pick is Natori Kaori’s “Lovespace”, while at Your Opinion Doesn’t Count, Langdon Alger chooses the theme song of Yagu-featured dorama Gal Circle for it’s J-Music Clip of the Week. Tsuji_Eriku also compares Hinoi Team’s performance of “Around the World” with the original by Monkey Majik.

Gail of the impressive Himitsu provides a useful online shopping guide for those of you still debating on which services to use, as well as looks at the dorama Kurosagi. Akiramike of the mighty HamsapSukebe delights in the new dorama Kekkon Dekinai Otoko. On the anime front, usagi of usagi incidents continues to look at new episodes of Witchblade here and here, as well as resuming Strawberry Panic.

Shay of SparkPlugged looks at a British band, Hope of the States, while Karkaui has set up its own Okinawan pop culture wiki. And after months of being away, Jarret of I’m bad at naming things is back! And he’s got video game news of IDOLM@STER going from the arcade to the Xbox 360. And on the eyecandy front, Cute Cosplay Angels has even more Natsukawa Jun and the final installment of this wonderful series.

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4 Responses to “Sunday Blog Roundup: One Whole Year of Smooching Your Jpop Blogging Butts! Mwah!”
  1. HANABI.1984 says:

    Congratulations!

    It’s funny how quickly a year goes by. Well, at least for me. ^_^

    Thank you for all your hard work with these Sunday Blog Roundups. I just love them. I find so many interesting entires that I would otherwise miss if you didn’t mention them. And thank you for the kind words about J-Pop CD Cover Art. I feel so honored. ^_^ Keep up the great work and here’s to many more years of amazing J-Pop blogging!

  2. Craig says:

    MM’s 8-nin lineup? More like 8-min 8).

  3. Tsuji_Eriku says:

    You know we got mad love for you too!

  4. Gail says:

    Thanks for the hard work on the Sunday Blog Roundups, thanks to you I get a lot of stuff to read up on the world of J-pop which I really enjoy a whole lot 🙂

    And also, thank you for including my blog on your roundups, it’s such a great honor to be included here 😀 More power to you and keep up the amazing work~! ♥ ♥