Posted in Hello!Project, Loot, Morning Musume on December 14, 2009 by Pex

Well, today in the mail, I received something I never thought I would get.  It’s an autographed poster of Morning Musume.  My Morning Musume (Ai, Risa, Reina, Eri, Sayumi, Koharu, Aika, Junjun, and Linlin).  I love collecting autographs of celebrities whose work I enjoy, and while I generally don’t pay for the autographs (I much prefer the personal touch of writing to them and asking for their autograph, and them giving it of their own free will and with no money involved), there can and must be exceptions.

Generally said exceptions are when the celebrity is deceased (I would like, for instance, to get William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton’s autographs, but since Hartnell died before I was born and Troughton died before I could write a proper letter, that’s not really possible unless I buy it from someone who already got their autograph).  Other times, it’s down to money.

Last Christmas, for example, I got two autographs.  One was from Grace Park of Battlestar Galactica, and the other was from James Best of Dukes of Hazzard fame.  Both were obtained for me by my brother.  Grace, through my brother writing a letter and asking her for an autograph for me.  Mr. Best, being a somewhat retired actor, charges for his autograph (fair enough, he’s got to make a living as well), and my brother bought an autographed photo of him for me.  I treasure them both more or less equally, though Grace gets extra points because she also sent an autograph to my brother as well as an autographed Mini-Mate of her BSG character, Athena/Boomer, simply because we were fans of BSG and she didn’t have any photos of her in character from the show.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I saw a regular poster at one of the forums I frequent (Hi, Himalia!) was selling a couple of autographed posters of Kimagure Princess, signed by all nine members of Morning Musume.  Since my brother and I did not have the opportunity to go see them in California earlier this year, and since Koharu had already announced her graduation, I knew this would be our only chance to get the autographs of our Morning Musume, the version of the group we had followed since our induction into the world of H!P fandom right before Egao Yes Nude was released.  Yes, technically, Yossi and Miki were still members at the time, but they had graduated before we could really, really get into the fandom, so for all intents and purposes, our Momusu was the stable lineup.  Yes, we knew it wouldn’t last, and yes, we were okay with it, more or less, but the opportunity to get all nine girls’ signatures simultaneously was just too good a prospect to ignore, considering our Golden Era was coming to an end.

To be honest, although we couldn’t really afford it after buying everyone else something for Christmas (and ignoring the fact that I need to get a new computer that can run Star Trek Online when it comes out in February), this was one chance we just couldn’t pass up, and so my brother and I pooled our meager resources and bought the autographed poster.

Regardless of anything else someone may give us, I think this may, in fact, be our best Christmas ever, because we’ll get to spend it with some of our favorite girls in the whole world!  God Bless Them, Every One (Even Koharu, who’s just gone solo…)!!!


Talking About My (Re)Generation

Posted in Hello!Project, Koharu Kusumi, Morning Musume on September 19, 2009 by Pex

“Change, my dear, and it seems not a moment too soon!”

No, I haven’t updated much lately, and that’s unlikely to change, as the blogging bug isn’t biting as hard as it used to, but I couldn’t let today’s announcement of Koharu Kusumi’s upcoming graduation from Morning Musume and Hello!Project pass without offering my thoughts, for whatever they’re worth.

As a fan of Doctor Who, I’m no stranger to change.  I’ve watched the lead actor in that show change several times since I first started watching back in the early 1980s.  Like Doctor Who, Morning Musume has an in-built process of renewal – the Doctor has regeneration, and Morning Musume has graduations and auditions.  It helps to keep the group fresh and vital, and allows for “the show to go on”, as the old maxim goes.

This is good, because like I think every generation should have its own Doctor and eventually lose him to the next regeneration, and the next generation of fans,  every generation of Japanese kids growing up (at least, in my mind) should be able to share in the joy of discovering their own Morning Musume.  Koharu will soon join the august ranks of Yuko, Kaori, Nacchi,  Mari, Maki, Yossi, Rika, Konkon and the others, in the halls of the rich musical legacy Tsunku has laid down for the group.  New fans will have to discover her as part of this valuable past, just as I did the others.

You see, this is my first graduation.  My first real graduation, that is.  The first single released after I became a fan was Egao Yes Nude, but I never got the chance to get attached to Yossi and Miki before they were gone.  The current lineup, in a lot of ways, is the only lineup I’ve ever truly known.  I won’t lie and say I’m not sad, because I am.  I quite liked Koharu (Kirarin Voice and all) but this graduation is perhaps for the best.  It reminds us that the group has never been, and perhaps never should be, completely stable.

Things change, people change, but the group lives on.  And that’s as it should be.   If people get too used to one lineup, then when the lineup does change, it throws everyone into a state of panic.  Look at the poor C-ute fans.  Down two members in one year, and no tradition of auditions for the group to replace their lost members.  It makes one feel as if the group is deteriorating before their very eyes and they’re powerless to stop it.  At least with Morning Musume, it seems more like a catalyst for change, the beginning of a process that will see the group emerge in a new and different, but no less awesome form.  Yes, Morning Musume will never be the same without their little Miracle Worker, but they will still be Morning Musume, that great bastion of wacky Jpop genius, the foundation of the International House of Tsunku (IHOT), and I plan to enjoy them just as much as I always have.

In the meantime, I feel it my duty to point out that Koharu’s last day as a member of Morning Musume and Hello!Project will be December 6.  Checking the calendar, I see that that particular date falls on a Sunday this year.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but I plan on drinking a toast to Koha-chan that day while giving Hapi Hapi Sunday a spin on the ol’ CD player. Right, who’s with me, then?

JPex Inferno

Posted in Ai Takahashi, Hello!Project, Morning Musume, Risa Niigaki on June 10, 2009 by Pex

Okay, so…I mentioned last time around that I married Risa in Sims 3, and that my brother was going to propose to Ai-chan.  He did so, and now we are all living happily together in a single house.  Well, I say happily…

Ai-chan tried to kill me last night.  Not intentionally, of course, but still…

Ai-chan, for some reason, decided to grill some food.  Now, we were using the “static motives” cheat to avoid the boring bits (eating, sleeping, etc.), but nevertheless, the first thing that pops into Takitty’s head after getting married is…grill hot dogs.  I’m not sure if there’s some sort of symbolic jiggery-pokery going on there or not, but it’s certainly possible.  Anyway, Ai-chan, being a relatively new character, has not had any training in the cooking skill.  And she sets the grille on fire.  And me as well.

It’s funny, really.  Ai-chan fainted immediately, frighteningly close to the flames.  I was quite worried that she would catch fire.  So I stood next to her panicking and screaming.  Reaction Queen Risa ran around the big wall that encircles our house and proceeded to cringe in terror at more or less the exact spot on the other side of the wall that the flames were coming from.  My brother follows her out there and proceeds to attempt extinguishing the flames from the other side of the wall.  Hey, maybe it can actually work in the Sim world, but I’m pretty sure it can’t in real life, so I was more than a little disturbed by this.

Thinking that perhaps it won’t work after all, I call the firefighters on my cell phone.  The second I hang up, my pants catch fire.  As they are doing so, Ai-chan finally wakes up and rises unsteadily to her feet.  The first thing she sees is my butt on fire, so…she faints again.  In the same frelling spot as before.

I’m worried, but I can’t stop laughing.  Still, I do manage to realize I am right next to our swimming pool, so I dive in.  As I do so, the firefighter runs in, and puts out the fire.  Because the AI in this game is a little screwy, the firefighter then waits until I start climbing out of the pool before he strips down to his undies and dives in after me.  At this point, my brother can’t breathe from laughing and I’m literally doing the Picard facepalm maneuver and giggling to myself like the Frank Gorshin Riddler.  To be honest, I’m still laughing about it every time I think about it, mainly because I was the only one who got hurt.  As close as she was to the flames, I’m just glad that it was me instead of Ai-chan who got burned.  Even so…

The goal for the next play session?  My brother is soooooo teaching his little woman how to cook.  Before she kills us all…

Silicon World

Posted in Ai Takahashi, Eri Kamei, Hello!Project, Hitomi Yoshizawa, Koharu Kusumi, Mari Yaguchi, Morning Musume, Risa Niigaki on June 8, 2009 by Pex

Well, Sims 3 has been released, and my brother and I have, as usual, made virtual versions of ourselves to mess around with.  He went the sports superstar route, while I became a famous author.  For me, at least, it’s pretty close to real life.  Except for the being famous bit.  I’ve only had one thing published so far, so I’ve got quite a ways to go in that department.

What does this have to do with J-Pop, you ask?  Plenty.  First of all, you can import music into the game by putting it in a particular sub-folder of the game’s files.  Just like the first two games.

More importantly, like the first two games, you can create custom Sims.  Some wonderful, wonderful person has made Sims of Morning Musume.  All of the current lineup is available, and apparently IchbnB1 intends to continue making H!P Sims, because since yesterday, he’s also made Miki Fujimoto.  Personally, I hope he makes all of H!P, but I’d settle for the remaining members (past and present) of Morning Musume.

The likenesses are pretty good really, with Sayumi’s being the most faithful to her real-life counterpart, but as I said, there’s not really a bad one to be found among them.  What really impressed me, however, were some of the outfits.  Reina, in particular, has a selection of outfits from her Very Reina photobook (the red dress, and the purple and gold bikini) which look stunning and virtually identical to the ones Reina actually wore.

So, yeah, awesome stuff.  Oh, and I totally married Risa Niigaki last night (and my brother plans on proposing to Ai-chan tonight). *squee!*

Oh, I did manage to find one more MM Simmaker on the Sims 3 website.  So far, they’ve made Mari and Yossy (including a Mr. Moonlight formalwear option!), with hopefully more to come.

Anyone who is thinking of getting Sims 3, now you have another reason to do so – collecting Morning Musume Sims!

Mari Yaguchi Wants Twins

Posted in Hello!Project, Mari Yaguchi on May 12, 2009 by Pex

According to Japan Today, Mari Yaguchi wants to have twins with a non-Japanese man.

Okay, I’ll do it.  No sacrifice is too great for my Marikins…

2009 H!P Top Ten

Posted in Ai Takahashi, Blog Business, Eri Kamei, Hello!Project, Koharu Kusumi, Morning Musume, Risa Niigaki, Yuko Nakazawa on April 15, 2009 by Pex

Top Ten Lists are tricky things.  I love them, because they’re fun to make, and fun to read, but man, sometimes it is tough to choose among so many good possibilities.  Such was most definitely the case when I took part in Paul Thomas’s Hello!Blog Top Ten survey.  A lot of things weighed on my mind.  I would begin the list, then stop, then begin again.  The funniest thing is that I would start with a particular Top Ten “Theme” in mind, and try to select my top ten according to that theme, but by the time I got to five or six, I realized I was picking with different criteria than how I had started and thus, I was forced to begin again.  Eventually, I just went for it, and although many worthy candidates were not included, I am pretty happy with my list as it now stands.  The theme I eventually went with is “When I Think of Hello!Project, I Think Of…”

10 – Yuko Nakazawa – She’s about three or four years older than me, and I think she’s very sexy, but also a very practical woman with a temper that reminds me of me.  Neither one of us are as irritable as we used to be, but like me, I think Yuko still has her moments.  I, of course, want to marry her sometimes, but I think that’s due mostly to our similar age and also pity because she’s always worried about not finding a husband.  I want a wife someday, and so I sometimes daydream about Yuko “settling” for me if she doesn’t find anyone she really likes.  I should be so lucky…

9 – Chisato Okai – The lovable scamp!  I don’t even like Charles Dickens, but she reminds me of one of those Dickensian orphan boys who have had a hard life but aren’t adverse to a bit of mischief.  Plus, she has a very underrated voice.

8 – Asami Konno – I love a good underdog, and if you looked up underdog in the Japanese dictionary, you’d find a picture of Konkon next to it.  Assuming dictionaries have pictures, that is.  I’ve never seen one that did, to be honest.  Anyway, not liking Konno is like not liking children or puppies or rainbows.  If you don’t, you just don’t have a heart.  I could go on and on about how sweet and intelligent she is, but I’d serve her much better by telling you to go watch the “All 13 Together!” Morning Musume Christmas Special.  After watching that, if you don’t like Konno, you not only don’t have a heart, you don’t have a soul, either.

7 – Koharu Kusumi – Koharu, like coffee, is an acquired taste.  You either like them, or you don’t.  Fortunately, I’m rather fond of both of them. I love her Kirarin singing voice, and I like her sugary-sweet dorky personality.  I wouldn’t dream of trying to defend her to her “haters” as I, unlike Koharu, just don’t have the energy or persistence for it.  But she’s cool and don’t let anyone tell you she isn’t, and that’s all I’ll say about her for now.

6 – Junjun – If Angels do walk the Earth, then one of them must be Junjun.  She has a pure kind heart and she really seems to cherish her life on this world like the gift it really is.  Generous, but not in a goody-goody way, she really believes in that kind of sharing (those who have seen the “fake lottery” episode of Haromoni@ will know precisely what I mean here.)  Having said that, she has a great sense of humor, and seems to have a good time doing just about anything.

5 – Eri Kamei – When I was growing up, one of the first comic books I ever bought was Elfquest.  I was intrigued by the fierce, yet otherworldly nature of the Elves in that book, as well as their strange ethereal beauty.  To most people, Eri may be an alien (or Erien, whatever).  To me, though, she will always be a magical elf, full of mischief and surprise, and yes, beauty.  Plus, she looks cute in glasses.

4 – Reina – Reina is a sassy, no-nonsense kind of girl who will someday rule the world.  Or should do so, if there’s any justice.  I think I’m rather more fond of her than I used to be, especially since I found out she likes to watch tv a lot, and it’d be cool to come home and spend the night on the couch next to her, vegging out in front of the television with a bag of chips and watching our favorite shows together.

3. Mari – I wish she were my girlfriend.  She likes comics, anime, and having fun.  Her loud personality might be a bit of a challenge, but she’s sweet and beautiful and just seems like she’d be the most awesome person in the world to hang out with.

2. Risa – Sexy!Awesome is the only way to describe her.  Level-headed but with a sense of fun about her, she is truly one of a kind.

1. Ai – Perfection incarnate.  Sexy, sweet, hard-working, self-depreciating, lovable, huggable, oh-so-snuggle-able Ai-chan.  If Junjun is an Angel, then Ai is the Goddess she works for.  There is nothing about this girl that I don’t like.  Her voice is, quite honestly, the best voice I’ve ever heard sing, and I thank my lucky stars every day that I know of her and her beauty and talent.  Also, if I’m allowed a younger wife instead of Yuko, Ai-chan is, without a doubt, the girl I’d be on bended knee in a heartbeat for.

Well, there you have it, my H!P Top Ten.  Tune in next time when I will be listing a slightly naughtier Top Ten, courtesy of Shirow at Wotaku Now

How Soon Is Heaven?

Posted in Hello!Project, Tsunku on March 21, 2009 by Pex

A while back, you may have heard about a Nintendo DS game that Tsunku, the musical genius behind Morning Musume and Hello!Project, was in the process of developing, entitled Rhythm Heaven.  So how soon is Heaven? It’s right around the corner!

While, according to Wikipedia, the game came out on July 31 of last year in Japan, it’s about to hit North America.  Gamestop has a release date of April 5, 2009.  Wikipedia confirms this, and also provides a May 1, 2009 release date for European fans of Tsunku to get their fix.

Hmm, I think I know what I’ll be buying my brother for Christmas this year…