Sunday Blog Roundup: Christmas Wishes, pengie on Top, and the Kindness of Puberty

Filed in American Wota 1.0

This time I’m late on purpose: after all, it’d do no good to split up Christmas Eve with Christmas Day, especially with all the holiday wishes circulating in the Jpop blogosphere. And the buzz in the Jpop blogosphere this week certainly has the taste of eggnog and spiked punch to it, with all the Christmas greetings and holiday good cheer being passed along! We may be a small corner of the blogosphere as a whole – not only discussing a very particular form of popular culture, but one from a different language and culture than most of us – but the camaraderie and bonding is quite evident in the way we reach out to each other, in the way we interact – and especially in how so many of us seem to get off on all those Hello! Project santa cosplay photos circulating this year. (But why no sexy Shinya Santa photos? Where is the justice in that?)

So starting off the holiday greetings, Pata at Irresponsible Pictures closes his month-spanning 25 Days of Bishoujo with: Ayu Tsukimaya of Kanon, the always delightful (except when she sings) Ueto Aya, Inoue Mae of Hana Yori Dango, Shinku of Razor Maiden, Michishige Sayumi of… well, you know, Nana Komtasu of… well, you know that too, Misaki Nakahara of Welcome to the NHK,and ends with perhaps the most delectable of the H!P Kids, Suzuki Airi in a Santa baby pose that will dance in my head the rest of this holiday season (love the boots, too!). Pata also considers what manga various Christmas icons would read – it’s worth it for his description of Santa Claus alone. Tom at Hello!Blog not only wishes us a very pinku Christmas (God, look at how skinny Koha’s middle is in that shot!), but also gets directions to U.K.-based Hello! Project shopping from Craig and receives some nifty HP gifts from MorningBerryz blogger A.Hamasaki. Speaking of which, MorningBerryz shares his collection of Sweet Morning Box sets from all three years they were released, 2002, 2003, and 2004, the last of which comes with a snow dome.

Ikimasshoi is taking a vacation until the New Year, with Happy Holiday wishes to us all, while Japan Probe shares some very beautiful Japanese Christmas cards. At Your Opinion Doesn’t Count, Langdon provides the now-classic Mopremes performance from Christmas 2003 (wow! that feels so long ago!), then offers his list of the three most underrated holiday songs. Tsuji Eriku has a gift of Arigaki Yui for the holiday while Hikarufeet wishes a Reggae Dance style Meri Kuri (there’s an AV series devoted to this kind of dancing, by the way). Last but not least, Craig is is filled with holiday cheer and shares the 1st Xmas video – what I like to call the “half nekkid Christmas song”. Meanwhile, Thea of Made in Paradise shares the 3rd Xmas video. Dainmymi of J-MuNet shares Tommy Heavenly6’s “I Love Xmas”, jariten at HALCALI day by day shares a video clip of Halcali performing, and CJ Mariscano of Stuck in a Pagoda with Motoko Aoyama pops the star on my tree with a hot Viyuden shot, as well as sharing a Christmas remix he did a few years ago. Johnny of The Mind offers some personal Christmas video cheer while Noone of Yossittelua has a Christmas drawing of a gift we’d all want.

Go of jrocknyc shares a video of his daughter’s first U.S. Christmas, Jinryuichi of Hello Non-Pro Hour sends his holiday regards, as does pengie of unchained, Meganekko’s Béné and Gail of Himitsu. Gail also notes that today is the day for Danger V, a concert for Danger Crue’s acts. To close the Christmas wishes off on a totally wrong note, lolitron asks the all-important question and shares a story about someone who takes “it’s better to give than to receive” in a whole new light.

So. Had your fill of all this heartwarming Yuletide love? Good. Christmas cheer aside, there were also many great non-holiday articles this week covering a wide range of topics and perspectives. Justin of The Great Swifty Speaketh! writes a thoughtful review of Hamasaki Ayumi’s Secret album, astounded at how it sets aside (miss)understood like a barely-remembered bad dream. Meanwhile, Aprilis of Channel-Ai looks back at Hamasaki Ayumi’s Tsuki ni Shizumu short film and is disappointed in it despite loving the song and PV. Madara of Madara Blog attends a New York screening of Nana 2 and realizes how it illustrates a different perspective from others: specifically, that he can appreciate the film because he can “think like a Japanese girl”. He then goes back to catch up on earlier Nana, namely the first movie and the manga.

Santos of Idolizing St. Anna attends a Perfume show that will become a concert DVD! As always, he does a great job describing the show and making his own unique observations. And I’m not sure if it’s because she’s the Jpop blogosphere’s Nostradamus or the Jpop blogosphere’s Method Man, but pengie of unchained is top of the Google pile if you search for “jpop blog”. I’m not jealous – actually, I’m just perplexed that Cult of Pop and American Wota seem to score higher than Feed of Pop…

I didn’t realize AW Forum member siaoliao had her own vox blog called Heavenly Psycho! (It’s got a great tag line, too.) Anyway, she started a regular feature called Puberty’s Been Kind To You – the premise is genius! – and her current examples are Kame of K_T-TUN and – an obvious choice – Niigaki Risa, who started out as a towheaded little nothing and has somehow become one of the bright lights of the current Momusu There’s another new Jpop vox blog called Tokyo Jihen: it already starts with a bang with news of a new Nakazawa Yuko song and a look at GAM’s treatment at Kouhaku this year.

Zush of the indispensable Kakko-ii.com takes a very comprehensive look back at Hello! Project, covering all the major events and surprises from 2006. His compatriot wu-san takes a more personal approach in his look back, and makes this great point about blogging on H!P and being a fan in general:

Morning Musume is a timeline, an ongoing history that persists to this present day. Regardless of whether you joined the party from the conception of Morning Musume or whether you were won over by the exploits of GAM, we’ll all follow the same timeline eventually.

It’s certainly one of the most compelling aspects of H!P, the fact that if we dig deep enough and become committed enough, we feel like we’ve been there from the start. (What the heck, my all-time favorite Musume left several years before I even knew she existed…) Meanwhile, Kd of Iriro Aru Sa! has part three of her own look back on H!P 2006, this time focusing on the best offering from each active unit. She also makes a very compelling insight on Idolm@ster that seems real obvious, now that she’s made it. Wow! That’s pretty damn clever and makes me wish even more that the damn game was in English.

Also on the Hello! Project front, Frox at Japtard receives his copy of the 7.5 Fuyu Fuyu album and shares the love with us. MorningBerryz offers a Musume Dokyu screencap that makes Koharu interesting in a whole new way. He also has news of Momusu coming to Hawaii in March! So maybe… Ahhh, who’re we kidding? I’ve never seen them and I freakin’ work part-time in Waikiki. They’ll probably walk by me on Kuhio and I won’t know any better. But there’s other things to look forward to at that time: from Switch-On! News, Berryz Koubo has announced their thirteenth single for March – with two limited editions! And is this two degrees of separation? Johnny of The Mind meets the wife of a guy who was friends with Goto Maki and gets to ask this guy some questions. Even in the midst of the holidays, CJ Marsicano of Stuck in a Pagoda with Motoko Aoyama wishes Kamei Eri a happy eighteenth birthday. But that’s not the eighteenth birthday you most anticipate, is it, CJ?

Zaeleus of LunaTech continues to provide helpful information to H!P fans with a musical selection time guide to the Ribbon no Kishi musical and a tour tjrpigj the CD/DVD packaging of Ayaya’s Naked Songs – a nifty idea I’d like to see more of. Craig of YODC gives Miyabi credit where credit is due, then shares the “Musanawagi Scarlet” performance on Music Fighter, finding it preferable to the one on Hello! Morning. Craig also offers an absolutely adorable Sayaka Ichii photo that makes me miss her even more. Meanwhile, Langdon shares some Sa-yummy images.

On the Avex Trax front, Santos of Idolizing St. Anna does some close reading of AAA’s “Samurai Heart” that exposes an ironic self-awareness one wouldn’t expect from the group. Dainmymi of J-MuNet has Otsuka Ai’s “Renai Shenshin” for download, though he prefers the B-side to the A. And always attentive to Saito Michi – the way a magnifying glass is attentive to ants – Thea of Made in Paradise notes her role as a student in Hana Yori Dango 2. Whoo-hoo.

Also on the pop front, Japan Probe shares DJ Ozma’s Utaban performance while samipiggy at MySpace loves her copy of Kanjani8’s “Kanfuu Fighting” and misses Jin in K_T-TUN. Gail of the impressive Himitsu is looking forward to w-inds’ twenty-first single, while Tomba of Channel-Ai provides a nicely-detailed and well-considered review of Utada Hikaru’s Utada United 2006 concert DVD. Apparently, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. J-MuNet’s Dainmymi offers Yaida Hitomi’s It’s a New Day album for download, along with Nakashima Mika’s Nana album, making an interesting comparison to the Sex Pistols of all things. From one clever Meganekko to another: Béné discovers the sheer wonderful-ness that is Tommy February 6 and her classic “je t’aime, je t’aime”. She also covers some odds and ends, including a Perfume event: Kashiyuka’s birthday! At HALCALI day by day, jariten poses the intriguing possibility of a new Halcali single as soon as next month. Considering “Look”, we’re certainly entitled…

On the rock front, Go of jrocknyc considers Phantasmagoria’s Under the Veil the two best tracks from the band ever – considering the group’s about to break up, as Aural Candy reports, also noting the bad luck Kisaki had with his bands. And with the taxman, as well! As owner of the Under Code label, Kisaki owes roughly a million dollars in back taxes and fines. Aural Candy takes the news in stride. Go also gives a glowing review to Exist Trace’s mini-album and brief reviews of Rize, Alvino, and Merry’s new releases. And what’s this? An X Japan reunion with Luna Sea’s Sugizo filling in for the late, lamented Hide? I’m not a fan of jrock but even I see how this seems like a dream come true.

On the anime front, usagi of the usagi incidents reviews the ninth and final episodes of Honey and Clover. She also reviews a novel called Winkie, which I would’ve thought was about… you know… and not a teddy bear. On the drama front, Akiramike of the mighty HamsapSukebe looks at the last four episodes of Bengoshi no Kuzu, bemoaning the poor writing.

And closing things off with a Year In Review note, CJ Marsicano of Stuck in a Pagoda with Motoko Aoyama starts his Top 10 Albums of 2006 with Hank Williams III’s Straight to Hell and Nakanomori Band’s Oh My Darlin’ ~Girls having Fun. Can’t wait to see the rest of the list… And I know there’s more lists brewing from others, as well! The next blog roundup will be on the first day of the New Year, so if you don’t hear from me sooner, have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve!

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4 Responses to “Sunday Blog Roundup: Christmas Wishes, pengie on Top, and the Kindness of Puberty”
  1. Shinji says:

    Merry Xmas mr.Ray 😛

    SO.MANY.LINKS.TO.READ.THIS.TIME.AROUND O_O

    its a good thing I have plenty of time in holidays.

    some blogging getting personal and festive in the xmas season. they make good reads. Crazy year for a lot of bloggers it would seem

    Ikimasshoi have upped and left us XD

    k. time to read some of those links I’ve yet to read.

  2. pengie says:

    Yeah, the Google results are weird. I took the “a jpop blog” portion out of my page title to see if I drop back down any lower. I don’t know if Vox results are weighed higher than other results or if I really AM getting that many readers… who knows. I guess we’ll see. 🙂

  3. CJ Marsicano says:

    Ray,

    It’s not like I have a rabu ho booked for 11.11.07, but… >:) yeah I’m looking forward to that day 😀

  4. siaoliao says:

    And I didn’t realize I got American Wota-ed till today. XD Feels like Christmas all over again. Hehe.