i went on a rollercoaster ride with Misako and Nissy?!

I had a strange yet nice dream two nights ago. It involved members of AAA, Misako and Nissy in particular.

So it seemed AAA was having a concert and I was getting a cab from somewhere to go to the concert venue. Lo and behold, Misako and Nissy were in the queue just before me. Since we were probably all going to the same venue, how about we share a cab? I asked and Misako agreed, and we all boarded the cab.

While in the cab, Misako and I started talking (no idea in what language) but soon we were like old friends. Nissy was for some reason being all sullen and refused to join in the conversation. Misako told me that he’s like that and to ignore him. In the dream, I felt surprised and a tinge of disappointment as it was so unlike him on stage — always bouncing around with energy and being all chatty.

Anyway, soon we reached the concert venue. A couple of fans were already there and started running up to Misako, asking for pictures with her. I was kinda brushed aside but somehow she remembered me and got me to be in the picture too. The fans were all squealing and disturbing this outdoor band performance so we got shoo-ed away.

As we were walking off, Misako suddenly pulled out a concert ticket. Strangely, it had this coupon for a free ride on the rollercoaster at the concert venue. (Yea, strange…like what?! Is this a concert or funfair now??? And why the hell would Misako have a ticket when she is the artiste that will be performing???) She asked me if I’ll go sit the rollercoaster with her and Nissy. I felt so happy.

Soon the rollercoaster ride ended and it was time for her and Nissy to go get ready for the concert. We walked together to the hall. Just as she opened the door to the hall, I took a peek in and saw the other AAA members already there and getting ready. At that moment, Shin-chan came out and wanted to get something. I was so excited and said: “Hi, Shin-chan!” (This time I was sure I spoke in English as I knew he understood English.) At the same time, Shin-chan said: “Hi, I’m Shin!” Maybe he thought it polite to introduce himself since I was Misako’s friend.

And then I woke up. Argh. Would have loved to talk to Shin-chan more. That is like my real life dream too. Ah well.

Hmmm…sure as hell hope that Nissy is not all sullen in real life. That would really be a huge disappointment.

i dreamt i talked to shin-chan

There’s no fancy way of putting it, but simply, I dreamt I talked to Shin-chan from AAA. Not as a fan at a fan meet, but as a friend.

We were sitting in the back seat of a car, waiting for some friends or family? Not certain who we were waiting for. We were listening to some Japanese music. I recall Perfume and some other artistes. I suppose it was our first time talking to each other coz when I tried to make small talk, he seemed rather aloof. People would know that the true blue introvert of me doesn’t like to make awkward small talk. Anyway, I asked him which college was he in. He answered quite curtly like he was uncomfortable revealing a detail of his personal life. But then, I hit jackpot when I started commenting on how there must be a couple of Asian supermarkets around his college just like how mine did. That’s like a god-send for students coming from Asian countries. He started opening up a bit more when we talked about that. Weird though, I commented at some point that he was Taiwanese. LIKE WHY WOULD I SAY HE’S TAIWANESE??? I must have quite a few Taiwanese friends, that’s why.

And that was all. I know it was a rather blah dream but it was a good one. I am an introvert but I do crave to get to know people on a one-on-one personal level. And yes, I would love to talk to Shin-chan one day and get to know him as a friend.

dear AAA

Dear members of AAA,

The high touch (high five) session was a pleasant surprise during the fan meeting, but it went by so fast that I couldn’t really register everything. Frankly speaking, after Chiaki, it was all a blur. I wish there was more time to interact with each member because there’s just too much to say to you guys. But we all know that this is impossible hence, I decided to write what I wanted to say. Writing helps me articulate what I want to say so much better because knowing the introverted self I am, my mind would have drawn a blank and I would have been unable to utter anything anyway.

I am not the fan who knows every song lyric by heart. I am not the fan who can identify every song and match its title correctly. I am not the fan who would clamour for attention (although I sometimes wish I had the guts to do so). But I am the fan who has been following AAA since its debut. I am the fan who has seen AAA grow from just another dance/vocal group to artistes that are worthy to perform on an international stage. I am the fan who has seen the struggles and also the positive changes of the group.

AAA has definitely grown and improved musically and vocally through the years. I still remember the days when some members seemed to be merely background dancers. Now, everyone has solo parts in the songs.

Leader: You were the first member that caught my eye because I remember you were one of Ayu’s dancers in her concert.

Shin-Chan: You are my favourite member in the group. Even though you are my favourite, it was tough watching you perform at first. If ever there is to be an award for the member who has improved the most vocally, it would go to you. I’m so glad that you finally have solo lines in songs now. You may not be the strongest in vocals, but you definitely have other gifts. I am impressed by your command of English and your willingness to converse in English with us fans who are non-native speakers of Japanese. It was even more surprising to learn that you don’t drink by choice. Me too! It takes a lot to stand firm in what you believe in when everyone else around you is doing it. Respect!

Hidaka: Kamisama! Lol. I guess you’ve found your comfortable spot in the group (and also in fans’ hearts as the rap god.

Nissy: Gosh, you need to improve your English. But thanks for entertaining us with your funny antics. Lol.

Misako: You look so much healthier this time round compared to last year. Please take care!

Chiaki: You’re the cutest member of the group! ❤️

Shuta: I’ve always wondered about this…are you into the Korean look/style? Lol.

Thank you for coming back to Singapore! I really enjoyed myself at the concert and fan meet. I feel really blessed as I’ve always wanted to attend an AAA concert but thought it would just be a dream. I guess it’s really a dream come true. I’m looking forward to more great music from you guys. And of course, more concerts in Singapore in the future.

Regards,
Elisia

PS: There’s lots more great hawker food in Singapore other than chicken rice that you gotta try. Chilli crab, black and white carrot cake, hokkien mee (hokkien noodles), bak kut teh (pork ribs soup), bbq sambal stingray, orh luak (oyster omelette), sugar cane juice, that $1 ice-cream in bread, etc.

takizawa kabuki

After all the years of hoping to go to a JE concert and/or seeing a JE boy, the first one I saw was Takki. (Luckily it was Takki and not some newbie small fry JE kid boy.) I believe this is the first time any JE-related event is held in Singapore.

I’m talking about this — Takizawa Kabuki, which was held from 18 to 23 August 2015. I attended the 18 August show. While I was partly thrilled to see Takki in person for the first time, I was also curious about the performance itself. I am actually interested in Japanese culture ok… I’ve attended a Noh play and Bunraku before, but not Kabuki. I’ve heard that this show is different from the traditional kabuki as it includes modern elements, but I wasn’t exactly sure what I was in for.

It was a little hard to take the arch as it was overhead. I like how it maintained the traditional feel of a theatre of a Japanese play.

My parents, sister, sister’s two friends and I were seated in the fifth row from the stage, so we pretty much got a very good view of all the actors. Everyone was just gasping and chirping with excitement when Takki emerged. Oh yes, Takki may have looked like he aged a little but he is still as flawless as ever. Apart from Takki, I only recognised three other JE boys — Kitayama Hiromitsu, Kawai Fumito and Ishigaki Daisuke. Haha, it’s been some time since I last fangirled and kept up with the Johnny’s empire, so my recognition of JE boys stops at around Ya-Ya-Yah’s time. There was this one dude that looked like Ayukawa Taiyo, but nah it wasn’t him. Taiyo left JE a long time ago. (Every time I think of Taiyo, I am reminded of his aho face in Oni Gokko Revolutions…this face…)

Throughout the whole show, all I could think of was “this feels like I’m watching Shonen Club”. All the singing and dancing. There were short excerpts of actual stories being played out, but it really didn’t feel like I was watching a traditional Japanese stage play. What was most intriguing was how Takki demonstrated the whole make up process for kabuki actors. He also demonstrated his skill in bringing out the essence of the character he was playing, no matter if it was male or female. Yup, you gotta give it up to Takki…he proves through his hard work that he is not just some pretty boy.

I was however, left a little puzzled. Was the show supposed to be a kabuki play with modern elements? Or was it more of an introduction of Japanese stage plays to foreigners?

Of course, Takki also made it known through the show that Japan is interested in forging stronger ties with Singapore. He included a scene in the show where a congratulatory message was played (for Singapore’s 50th year of independence), and song/dance to folk song “Rasa Sayang”. Oh wow. I was half expecting the SG50 logo to appear on screen (as you know, simi sai also SG50) and maybe they’ll all break out in song to the latest NDP theme song written by Dick Lee, but no, it didn’t happen. Haha.

There was a lot of swinging around overhead the audience as common with JE concerts. I was just worried that dirt from Takki’s shoes would fall on us as we were sitting so close to the stage and he was swinging directly overhead us. It was an awesome show nonetheless, with impressive backdrops and props. God knows how much they spent on bringing this show to Singapore. All I can say is, the ticket wasn’t awfully expensive.

The ticket and little “souvenirs” from the show…they were basically stuff that came down with the confetti.

Celebratory shot with my sister for finally catching a JE show.

jayesslee concert

We almost couldn’t get a chance to go to the Jayesslee concert because the tickets sold out so quickly. But two more concert sessions were opened up and we managed to get tickets to the concert on Saturday night. Off I went to the concert with Serena, Marissa and Lynette.

Thanks Marissa for the wefie. Not great quality but ok I guess.

If you don’t know who Jayesslee are, they are a pair of Korean-Australian twins who got famous on YouTube for singing covers. Their cover of Tamia’s “Officially Missing You” went viral and was what got them famous.

Jayesslee…yes!

I was more excited that they brought their babies (and husbands) along too. Their babies are so cute! Jordan is like an exact replica (looks) of his dad. He is very responsive which Aunt Janice can attest to. After asking Jordan to shake his head, she looked at her son, Shane and asked him what can he do…nothing. XD Awww…but Shane’s younger than Jordan by three months and he’s cute too, so all is forgiven.

Before I go all gaga about their babies, I should be talking about the concert and their music. They sang covers of newer songs but what impressed me was their cover of Ariana Grande’s “Problem”. Sonia actually did the rap very well. And both sisters tried a bit of beatboxing. How cool is that? Janice also showed off her new piano-playing skills which was pretty good. Yea, they were sharing how Sonia was the more musically talented sister because she played the guitar and how for years Janice only could play the shaker or tambourine. So finally, Janice upgraded her musical skills and started playing the piano.

I was waiting for them to sing Taeyang’s “Nun, Ko, Ib” (Eyes, Nose, Lips) and they eventually did. Yay! Love that song. I also love this other Korean song they covered a long time ago. It’s a blessing song which was also sung by Super Junior. I’m always awed by people who can harmonise just like that. I think that was what got me hooked on their singing.

I know some would find it awkward, but they did sing a couple of Christian songs and proclaim their faith in God. Yup, they actually started out singing Christian songs and have always stressed that they would like to share their faith through music. So, I really wasn’t surprised when they started singing Christian songs at their concert. In fact, I really liked their cover of Hillsong United’s “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)”. If I really had to comment, I’d say that their covers of those Christian songs were really powerful. You could feel their heart and soul were poured into singing those songs…more than when they were singing the other pop songs. Guess that’s the power of faith.

how beautiful you are

TeamAyu recently went global and is now accepting overseas memberships. Of course, I didn’t hesitate and joined. I have always dreamed of joining an official fanclub. (Well, I already did join AAA Party. I have my ways even though I don’t live in Japan.) Next on my list is Perfume’s World P.T.A.

The perks for overseas members are not as good as in the native Japan, but at least there’s some access to restricted content (and hopefully first dips for tickets when she performs here). I checked out the site and found some clips from when she performed at the recent a-nation concert in Singapore. Had this “懐かしい” feeling while watching the clips. Especially the one for 「how beautiful you are」.

Here’s what Ayu said before she sang the song:

Thank you for coming to a-nation Singapore.
We all are so glad that we could see you all here.
And we hope that you have enjoyed it.
What I wanted to tell you through my show is you all are beautiful.
I want you to [be] proud of yourself.
That is why I choose this song as the last song of a-nation…
how beautiful you are.

I know how Ayu has changed over the years and she now has diva behaviour, but she has come a long way…so I think I’ll just look past that for a bit.

PS: The annual fee for TeamAyu membership is 3200 yen.

ktv song list

I recently satisfied my ktv craving when I met up with my ex-colleagues. Joel (hotpot) is back from his studies in UK!

Well, almost. Because I couldn’t find some of the songs I wanted to sing. I don’t really keep up with Chinese songs these days so I mostly sing Japanese songs at ktv.

Here’s my ideal ktv (Japanese) song list:

  • YUI – Good-bye days
  • YUI – fight
  • ZONE – secret base 〜君がくれたもの〜
  • NO NAME – この涙を君に捧ぐ
  • AAA – a piece of my word
  • Perfume – My Color
  • 浜崎あゆみ – Who…
  • OLIVIA inspi’ REIRA (TRAPNEST) – A Little Pain

If I really had to, I’ll add these in too:

  • AKB48 – 桜の木になろう
  • NEWS – 星をめざして
  • NEWS – ずっと
  • 宇多田 ヒカル – First Love
  • モーニング娘。- ふるさと
  • Berryz 工房 – ジリリ キテル

Looks like I have quite a list right? Except…the usual popular ktv hangouts don’t have most of these in their systems. Can’t blame them. Not many people sing Japanese songs and some of these are not main singles…more like B-sides. Of course, my list is not that long either compared to some other people, but that’s because I can’t read Japanese fast enough and can only manage simple and slower-paced songs. As said before, I don’t quite like relying on romanji. Used to do that, but it’s not good if you want to practice your Japanese reading skills. I rely a bit on memory from singing the song over and over again too. Yup, jpopasia is my good friend as they list the actual Japanese lyrics to songs and not just the romanji lyrics.

I probably could throw in a few more songs but I’ll either fumble through the lyrics or sound really bad. Sis and I have agreed that there are songs you like but you just can’t sing. That’s why if you’re taking part in a singing competition, you don’t just choose songs you like, you gotta choose songs you like that suit your singing style and pitch. Which is partly why I also end up singing the same Chinese songs because I know I sound good.

AyuReady?

For years I have been dreaming of seeing Ayumi Hamasaki live in concert and I finally got my wish fulfilled. The last time she came to Singapore to perform was way back in 2002 during the MTV Asia Awards. I could only watch her from afar (on the red carpet) then as I did not have a ticket to the awards/performance. And now, on 18 October 2014, she performed as the top artiste for a-nation Singapore Premium Showcase.

It was a bit of a rush as I attended Jo’s wedding lunch just before the concert, but I reached the concert venue right on the dot. There were some fringe activities like an express manicure and hairstyling counter. Really wanted to do my hair for the specially printed ribbon, but there was no time for that. 🙁 Thank God, See Nga was there earlier to help me get the uchiwa. The rest of the concert goods were either too blah or too expensive.

The order of acts (with my comments for each) is as follows:

  1. Stella Seah
    A Singaporean newbie in the entertainment scene. Sang three songs including the theme song for Channel 8 drama, Missy 先生。She was the opening act for the concert.
  2. Wagakki Band
    Was rather impressed by them. The concept for the band is to mix Japanese traditional instruments and Western rock band instruments. Rather good blend of ‘East meets West’.
  3. Aaron Yan
    After Fahrenheit ceased to exist, Aaron Yan can arguably be the only member who is still going strong in the entertainment industry. I think Fahrenheit can be said to be the last Taiwan boyband I was crazy over. But somehow, I think after they went their separate ways, each member kind of changed..for the worse? I’m not really sure whether they did something to their faces, but Jiro Wang and Aaron Yan kind of look different. Also, Aaron Yan adopted this casanova cool guy image which irked me a little. He was known for his cute boyish looks in Fahrenheit so it was rather uncomfortable seeing him being all bad boy. Well, it could all be marketing, but I really don’t click with this image of his. Feels fake. *shrugs*
  4. Girls Award Fashion Show
    Very short fashion showcase for Lowry’s Farm. Famous model, Lena Fujii was the highlight of it. She was all bright and smiley…and also the only model who threw more than just the souvenir towel. She threw her hat and coat to the crowd too. Rather funny because a guy caught her coat. Wonder what would he do with it? Was a little surprised to see that she’s not that tall even as a model. Anyway, I would have taken more notice if they were modeling for Liz Lisa or Dip Drops (more cute girly clothing). Lowry’s Farm is alright but their clothing is not really something I would go for.
  5. Sonar Pocket
    Not too familiar with this band but they performed a fun song titled 「ソナポケ☆DISCO」。The song is now stuck in my head.
  6. GENERATIONS from EXILE TRIBE
    Not too familiar with this dance/vocal group too. Haha, EXILE/EXILE TRIBE is too complicated. Too many members here and there. In short, EXILE is one group. GENERATIONS is another. And they are all under the family unit, EXILE TRIBE.
  7. M-Flo
    This was one of the two artistes I really wanted to see. Omg. M-Flo really rocked the house (or at least for the couple of rows at the front). They even did a small excerpt of my favourite song, Miss You. I was a little annoyed by the audience at this point. I kept seeing Verbal whisper something to Taku, and he was seen to be trying really hard to get the audience all high. I was a little puzzled and turned round. That’s when I saw a few rows of people just sitting in their seats, looking all bored. Hell, I know that most were there for Ayu, but what’s wrong with these people? These artistes are performing their best on stage, couldn’t you have the courtesy to at least cheer for them and look interested? Thought these people were plain rude.
  8. Ayumi Hamasaki
    What can I say? It was so obvious that everyone was there for her. Unlike the other artistes who only sang three to four songs, she sang double that number. And since she was the final act, she also got to perform the encore. Haha…I jokingly said to See Nga that it felt like it was her solo concert. The diva is known for her showy concerts and of course she did not stop short of bringing the same experience to this concert. I was so happy to see her perform, but more than that, I was happy to see her dancers, backup singers and band members especially guitarist Yoshi and bassist Enrique. These two have been with her since yonks ago.

    Her setlist:
    – Step you
    – XOXO
    – A Song for XX
    – Memorial Address
    – Love song
    – Lelio
    – Surreal~Evolution~Surreal mix
    – You & Me
    – How beautiful you are
    – Boys & Girls (encore song)

    She did not follow her setlist for the Japan a-nation concert. Would have preferred that setlist as it had more older songs which I’m more familiar with. I used to follow her music quite closely but sort of dropped off after the My Story album. Had to concentrate on studies then. Anyway, I’m glad that she sang Evolution, which is my favourite Ayu song.

    Gerald and I had a conversation about her just before the concert. He said that Ayu tend to go off-key in her recent concerts. (Gerald is a big Ayu fan who attends her concerts elsewhere in the world.) I told him that I would rather she go off-key than lip synch. I feel that for an artiste to sing live rather than lip synch is akin to sincerely wanting to connect with fans. Nobody is perfect, so even if the artiste goes off-key a little, it’s ok. Besides, we all know that Ayu has lost her hearing in one ear due to a health condition so it’s pretty awesome for her to sing live. We talked about her voice quality. It has changed significantly from being all shrill to a lower pitch. Some say it’s because of her health condition, I also think it’s just the maturing of her singing style as she ages. We also discussed the style of her songs. We agreed that we disliked her recent disco style craze for songs like XOXO and Lelio. In fact, Ayu reminded me of Madonna when she donned the leotard and danced around the pole. Erm…I kinda think it’s disgusting to try to act all sexy when you’re not a sweet young thing anymore. Not that I don’t think Ayu is fabulous and pretty, but I must say that she has matured a lot and therefore should be moving away from all the sexy/erotic dance moves. Oh well, that’s just my opinion.

Overall, I was impressed by all the artistes. They made an effort to speak English or Mandarin to connect with us, Singaporean fans.

As for the concert goods, didn’t find the stuff too fantastic so I only got myself the a-nation uchiwa which doubles up as a light stick. We only found out the next day that a light stick was included in the “goodie” bag that everyone had. Haha. I must say that I’m wow-ed by the light sticks of today. Battery operated so you can keep using it until it just conks out. So much more convenient than the disposable neon ones that last only for a day. The silver streamer is from the confetti pop at the end of the concert. It has the concert branding printed on it. So cool.

Besides the light stick in the goodie bag, there were a few flyers from the various sponsors. What caught my eye was this:

Omg! Ayu is following the footsteps of Perfume and having a global fanclub! So going to join it!

Now that I’ve seen Ayu live in concert, I would very much hope for AAA to come to Singapore. (It just might happen!)

wonder party

I get regular updates from YouTube for my subscribed channels and the AKB48 channel is one of them. I got excited when I saw the new video with Mayuyu (Watanabe Mayu) and Paruru (Shimazaki Haruka) as they were wearing lolita outfits. They wore it for the song 「初恋の鍵」 (Hatsukoi no Kagi) under the Team Surprise unit. Team Surprise is a one-shot unit created for a pachinko campaign.

It’s not the first time that an AKB48 member wears a lolita outfit since Sato Sumire models for Angelic Pretty, but I still get excited no matter what. What’s more exciting is the outfits they are wearing: Angelic Pretty’s Wonder Party halter JSK. The Wonder Party print is a highly sought after print which was re-released due to its popularity.

The CM and making of 初恋の鍵:

uta wo utau

Quite a bit has been going on but I’ll take my time to fill in the gap since my last post.

Since I made a status post on Facebook that I’ve perhaps found a new song to sing at KTV, I thought I’ll clear up some doubt on whether I memorise lyrics when I sing Japanese songs.

The truth is…no, I don’t. Apart from YUI’s “Goodbye Days“, ZONE’s “Secret Base ~君がくれたもの~” and Perfume’s “My Color“, I do not remember the lyrics to any other song. The only reason why I know the lyrics to these three songs by heart is coz of repeated listening and singing. So, I did not purposely memorise them.

When I want to try singing a song, I find the Japanese lyrics to the song. Not romanji, but the actual Japanese lyrics. I will only peek at the romanji for kanji that I can’t read. This helps me to keep up with my Japanese reading skills. Besides, there’s no romanji when you sing Japanese songs at KTV. This also explains why I sing rather slow tempo songs or songs with easy lyrics. I just can’t read Japanese as fast!

A good site I go to for lyrics is JpopAsia, which has the Japanese lyrics, romanji and translation of songs.

Trust me, it’s really no fun singing along with romanji lyrics in hand.