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.

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.

morning musume 10th generation

Following the graduation of Ai-chan, つんく♂ has decided to add more girls to his famed group, モーニング娘。. I find that a little fast since the 9th generation members have barely blended in with the other members, but I guess つんく♂ couldn’t bear seeing モーニング娘。 become a smaller 8-member group compared to rival AKB48. Of the 9th generation members, I think only Erina has managed to blend in well and beginning to look like a star. Despite everyone cooing over talented Riho, I think she’s only so-so. Yes, she does look cute and has the best singing voice among the 9th generation members, but in terms of star appeal…nope, not quite there yet. Perhaps Kanon’s redeeming factor for now is her cheerful nature and the ability to make people laugh. I’m sorry to say this but Mizuki is the only one who doesn’t look like she fits in. Don’t care whether she had some experience as a Hello! Pro Egg, she just doesn’t fit in.

But who knows? Things might change in the future like how Berryz工房 changed. Risako started out being cute as a button, but now she just looks like another pretty girl — nothing too wonderful. In fact, Miyabi has grown up to be the pretty girl with the star appeal instead. Even captain Saki is beginning to bloom and draw more attention. Oh, but I’ve digressed.

Presenting the 10th generation members of モーニング娘。:

 

Kudou Haruka (11), Satou Masaki (12), Ishida Ayumi (14), Iikubo Haruna (16)

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ9z4m6i6zk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1k6-78W1Olw

 
Of the new members, I think Haruna has a good chance of standing out like ex-C-ute member, Erika — not so much of singing talent, but of height and beauty. Haruka looks promising too being a little cutesy girl. Masaki needs a bit of an image change, but I’m sure it’ll come in time. Ayumi looks odd, but she seems rather enthusiastic when singing and dancing. Just hope she doesn’t turn out to be like Koharu — trying hard to gain attention to the point of being rather annoying.

Those who didn’t make it need not despair. There’s still a chance with rival AKB48 and judging by their popularity now (seems to have surpassed モーニング娘。), all’s not lost.

 

 

Oh hey! Isn’t that Satou Sumire and Kashiwagi Yuki? Both seemed pretty good during their 8th generation モーニング娘。 auditions so I have no idea why つんく♂ didn’t choose them. While both have managed to secure places in AKB48, I think they would have fared much better in popularity if they were in モーニング娘。 simply because it’s a much smaller group, but I guess they are happy where they are now. I mean, there are pros and cons. They get an older sexy girlfriend image in AKB48 rather than モーニング娘。‘s young girl image. And Yukirin is captain of Team B in AKB48.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBvOWCMoWvc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nvCuVgGtgI

tokyo skyscraper

A bit of an overdued post, but here’s my two cent’s worth of the SCANDAL concert…

It began with a bit of chaos with the queue. Sis, Jie Yu and I arrived at 1.45pm to join the unofficial queue outside the theatre at LASALLE. Yes, it was an unofficial queue thanks to a note right where the entrance to the theatre was that said no queue was to form before 3pm. But hey, Singaporeans are Singaporeans and we will queue when needed no matter what. There was a “chunk” of people in the middle — read: fan club forum, SCANDAL Heaven — but that didn’t bother us too much. There were a few people not in the queue and standing at the side which kind of irked us, but we still kept our cool. After all, we were armed and prepared with boxes of food, mats, and Monopoly Deal.

At about 3pm, a security guard came to tell the us that if we all cooperated and formed a proper queue (sans chunks of humans), he would let us into the theatre at 4pm. What happened next was annoying. People who were not in the queue took the chance to shove themselves into the haphazard “queue” while others who were right at the back took the chance to close the distance between themselves and the entrance. In other words, it was their unspoken cue to cut the queue. We found ourselves pushed right to the back of the queue. No, we were not about to give up the few hours of queuing just to find ourselves pushed out of the first 200 people bracket. (Note: the first 200 people who bought merchandise would get a ticket to the meet and greet session after the concert.) To make things worse, 4pm rolled around and there wasn’t a soul in sight to let us into the theatre. I wanted to talk to someone in the organizing team…like NOW. I must say that the event was poorly organized because there wasn’t any official person in sight. Finally when we managed to get hold of someone (think she was a LASALLE staff), that lady bitch wasn’t even the least bit helpful. She answered like she was annoyed that we even complained about the situation and asked for something to be done to improve the situation. She said she would get hold of someone from the organizing team and get back to us, but lo’ and behold, she didn’t even bother to get back to us. We were left standing like idiots right outside the LASALLE office door.

So alright, what do we do now? Some random dude from the front of the queue came to ask us why we were standing in the middle of their queuing party — probably meaning why were we cutting the queue. That was when Sis said that she’ll let out her inner bitch if she had to. Talked to the dude about the situation and finally we came to an agreement that as long as we don’t cut in front of their party, he didn’t care if we cut the queue. And so that was what we did. You know how they say “if you can’t beat em’, join em’.” Shaz and his two friends came later, saw us, and joined us after asking if they could.

After that whole queuing fiasco, we managed to secure front row seats! (Rejoice! Rejoice!) It wasn’t so much of how I could be much nearer to SCANDAL, but more of not having some random tall person block my view. Hell yea, it was good being in the front row. We were at the left of the theatre which gave us the clearest view of Tomomi. I must say that I was a bit lost with the songs they sang because I haven’t kept up much with their songs. Hey, when you’re a full-time student, you spend most of your time studying to earn those As. And although I would have much preferred to be at the right side of the theatre to be closer to Mami, being on Tomomi’s side wasn’t that bad too because she noticed us and threw her pick to us! Her aim wasn’t great as it fell at the barricaded part, but we managed to get the attention of the photographer to retrieve it for us. Oh! Oh! They sang 「瞬間センチメンタル」! And no, I’m not an FMA lover neither did I get started on SCANDAL because of the anime.

We found out later at the meet and greet session that Tomomi was focusing on Jie Yu most of the time because she said 「見えた! 見えた!」 excitedly when Jie Yu shook her hand. Rina commented 「可愛い。」 when she saw my outfit and Mami said the same too! <3 I only managed to blurt a mere 「マミも可愛い。」 before I was hurriedly “pushed” forward by the security guards. It’s true, Mami is cute because she has long natural straight hair and thick dolly bangs that I long for and can never have.

To end off the entry, this was our biggest present from the concert.

 

This was what I wore to the concert. Same thing I wore for my first J-Net fashion show…

 

And what would an entry be without some videos. The video that got me started on SCANDAL. Although they cannot replace ZONE, they have their own songs to make them a great girlband of their own.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtFGnRtr-Iw

My top 3 SCANDAL tunes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkz0K1NIff8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mpDLhppveI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOTQ6Bf33tc