Seriously Cute: Okay! Musume Time 5th Anniversary Contest

I am an Idol Blogger ...
... how did that happen?!

How many times have you had this scenario before?

Random Person: Why Japanese idols? You don't understand what they are saying.
You: How about you? Why do you like [Insert random artist here]?
RP: I don't know ... because I enjoy it?
You: Bingo. 

For me, I love it the same way how people like Kpop and Justin Bieber. People can like Kpop because the style matches their taste. Or love Justin Bieber because his lyrics reaches them. Why can't Jpop have the same effect on me?

However ten years ago, if someone had told me I would fall in love with J-pop idol music I would probably laughed. At that time, I had been serious about perfecting my singing Broadway songs. I wanted to sing Opera and pursue music in college. That was such a long time ago, but I remember how it broke my heart when I realized that I didn't have enough talent to make a career out of it.

Sharing a Sweet Sound: Why Do I? by Chii

Chii asks, "Why do I cry?"
When not making music for 4TE and REMOTE GIRL☆, it looks like Chii and Alexander are still keeping themselves busy.

If there is one thing the girls in 4TE always excelled at, it is showcasing their individual personalities.

Last 4th of November, Chii released her first solo not under the name of  REMOTE GIRL☆ and it is called, "Why Do I?"

However, it comes a little bit of a surprise. I am so used to to hearing Chii sing in Japanese, that I wasn't prepared for this particular song to be in English.

However when the surprise died down, I was able to fall in love with it as it is. The song was fun --- without it necessarily being a dance tune.

Chii with Cry-kun in MV.
Cry-kun says, "I dance for cookies."
From the very first moment, the whole thing for me is a mix of Caroline Lufkin's song, "Bicycle," in voice and vintage feel  and Sweet Vacation's quirky and fun techno-style.

Chii's world --- might be a bit more surreal though. It is like she decided to add Alice in Wonderland-glasses into the mix. Who doesn't love a trip down the rabbit hole?.

Sitting Down with Mei (4TE and Former Oishii-Ichigo)

Main Vocalist
Fans of the group, 4TE may realize this just turning to their social media. It seems that that are working on new music and their next music video. Already, the group has been sharing teasers of the costumes and theme.

Trying to hold in my excitement, I instead tried diverting my attention to my interview with Mei. Not that it helped since hearing her voice gave me the urge to smile ridiculously. After this interview, I learned a new side from Mei. Her beauty isn't just skin deep, she is extremely mature and has the voice that probably spoke with the most experience in the group.

Mei, the angel-voiced fashionista of the group has been a favorite of mine since she first auditioned for Oishii!Project. She has a voice that oozed charisma and a style that I would kill for.

My artist's first reaction to her photo and videos were, "Wow! She is so pretty." No different from how I reacted as well.

Oh, and if you don't know yet, Mei is not just another coverist. I fell in love with her Clarity cover. She has also been known to share some of her original compositions. Even getting recognition for one of them  from Japanese program, J-Mello.

Sitting Down with Micchi (4TE and Former Oishii-Ichigo)

Main Vocalist
In the Jpop fandom, when you hear the word ‘Idol’ (アイドル, aidoru) what comes to mind?

I am willing to bet that it is usually ‘Morning Musume’ (モーニング娘。Mōningu Musume) or the AKB48. The idol industry is currently one of the highest selling musical acts in Japan. But their popularity isn’t exclusively in Japan. Their fame has extended to different parts of the world. Even as far as the United States.

Thanks to YouTube and sites like Nico Nama, a new type of fandom rose from the ashes like a phoenix. They are called, ‘Net Idols.’ These girls received recognition when Beckii Cruel, a girl from the Isle of Man shot to fame. She became an inspiration to many girls outside Japan who dream of becoming an Idol.

And I had the pleasure to speak on Skype with one of the members of the online idol fandom's rising groups, 4TE.

Art from the Heart: BGC Art Mart

Handcrafted Teddy bears
from "My Fabric Projects."
Remember a few months ago I talked about La Pomme, a small shop that sold handcrafted supermarket items? I had loved it for its child-like charm.

It always makes me happy when creativity is expressed.

The Bonifacio Global City (BGC) Art Mart is an event held every few months to give artists and craftsman to showcase talent and sell their wares.

This is what I love about BGC. Every street you go, you really see a work of art.

I saw it advertised on facebook the day before I went, I was lucky to have found it  because they had been cancelling the event for a while because of heavy rain in the area. Worried that it would be my only chance to catch it until the next time they have it at around October or November.

The event is small but it still certainly made me happy, since everyone was so nice. All the artists there were so open to talk to me and tell me about their products. How they are made and what they are made of.

I know they are just trying to sell their products, but still I had a lot of fun talking to them. I'll be sharing a few of my favorite booths.

Beyond the Trailer: Disney Descendants (2015)

Disney Descendants (2015)
(L to R) Carlos, Evie, Mal and Jay

"Ben, the teenaged son of King Beast and Queen Belle, invites the exiled children of defeated villains to attend a prep school with the heroes' children."

The colorful costuming and Villains Vs Heroes (Royals Vs Rebels?) makes me think of Ever After High, the singing makes me think of High School Musical --- and the vapid and vain heroines Vs the quirky and interesting villains? Is like they took a page from the School of Good and Evil.

I knew it was going to be a trainwreck the moment I heard about it. However, out of my love for the original I decided to watch without any biased feelings.

Apparently, I didn't need them. Even without knowing anything about the original movies, it is still a horrible adaptation. It had cute moments, but I personally didn't think they were enough to save the whole film.

The children acted better than the adults. The adults either over-acted or had lukewarm acting. Considering they are playing beloved characters, it was disappointing.

I like Dove Cameron's Mal and Sofia Carson's Evie. But while I think Booboo Stewart is absolutely hot, I am not so certain about his character. He and Carlos got the worst end of the stick when it came to character development. It is a shame since I thought Carlos was a decent actor and cute too.

(L to R) Carlos, Evie, Mal and Ben
This movie has "building potential new franchise" all over it. They even have dolls. Why is Mal's eyes brown though. I could have sworn they were green in the movie.

The dolls were made by Hasbro Toy Co. The company that gave us G.I. Joe and Jem and the Holograms.

Anyone remember Jem and the Holograms? Anyone? I guess not. 

Nummies Sweet Shop : Sweet Tooth Heaven

Nummies Sweet Shop,
Cagayan de Oro City
Nummies Sweet Shop is found along Pabayo St., Cagayan de Oro City. It is the shop with the pale blue picket fence. From the outside, it does look darling. Only slightly questioning the word ice cream written as one word.

Even weeks before I came to this place I had heard good things about it and for me that is very important.

I am a horrible food reviewer though. In Cagayan de Oro, new sweets cafes had been popping up everywhere but I wait to hear what other people think of it first. Since I ate in places I thought were cute on the outside and only to be disappointed with the horrible food before, I have developed a habit of waiting to hear what friends say before visiting for myself. I didn't want to be fooled by the exterior again.

However, it was rated very highly in facebook with an almost perfect score of 4.9. I think that is the first time I've ever seen that high of a score that doesn't have food that costs less than P300.

It was a little weird taking pictures from the outside because I noticed people looking at me weirdly. Not that I blame them. I probably looked suspicious. I could be taking pictures for retcon in order to plan an elaborate heist to steal secret recipes. Or I just look weird, period. I am willing to bet it is the latter.

Sitting Down with Chii (4TE and REMOTE GIRL☆)

Main Vocalist
“I can’t believe I’m actually talking to Remote Girl!"

Just that basically sums up how this writer felt during the whole interview with the beautiful and talented brunette from the United States.

Most people are probably asking, “Who is this girl?”, “Who is Lolichiidesu?” and “Why all the excitement over a girl in the internet?”

She is 1/4 of indie group, 4TE, ½ of REMOTE GIRL☆ and Oishii!Project alumniHer solo channel in Youtube (Lolichiidesu) has almost reached a half a million views and her works with REMOTE GIRL☆ almost reaching a hundred thousand views. Her songs and videos receiving compliments from top performers from Japan. None of these feats very easy to accomplish.

For more information about 4TE, click on this link

REMOTE GIRL☆ is a duo composed of Chii and her friend. This duo’s genre leaned more towards Rock. Their most popular cover,“Ninjari Bang Bang” by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu has over 62K+ views, and I personally think they are a group worth looking into.

Who doesn’t love a girl with a lot of personality? And Chii certainly has a lot of it. She also quickly caught my eye for her adorable antics in front of the camera, her cute outfits and her strawberry & cream voice.

Now, she is still active making covers, holding fan events for the fans of 4TE and recording with the other members of 4TE for their mini album. 

Between the Pages: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cover of "Fangirl."
I initially had no plans on reading this since it didn't seem like my cup of tea. But while shopping for a book that I could read at the airport while waiting for my friend to arrive, he saw the title and jokingly told me, "You should totally read this. This is so you."

While I don't often advertise it, I admit that I am to some degree a fangirl. My brother has suffered many hours listening to me talk about my favorite characters from movies, shows and books. I say "suffered" because majority of the time I am either screaming or squealing.  He's even locked me out of his room a few times and only my tears could get him to open it again.

Though it probably isn't as bad as I am making it sound. According to my brother even that in a scale of 1-10, I only rate as a 4 or 5. That is not so bad, right?

Sharing a Sweet Sound: REMOTE GIRL☆ Discography

(L to R) Jenny, Chii and Alexander
In honor of REMOTE GIRL☆'s latest cover and their surprising change in their lineup, lets go back in time and venture through this group's awesome discography in the time they have been together. A while back, I got the opportunity to talk with one of the founding members of REMOTE GIRL herself, Chii.

Between the Pages: School of Good and Evil #1 by Soman Chainani

Cover of "The School of Good and Evil."
If you guessed that I bought this book because of the pretty cover, you are definitely not wrong. The deceptively innocent cover actually fits its overall theme of not judging a book by its cover. I was lucky this time though, since I did end up enjoying the book.

I grew up watching fairy tales and happily-ever-afters, and have always noticed what is famously known as the Disney formula.

The formula basically goes with a story's characters composed of a beautiful princess, an ugly villain and a rescue by a handsome prince or hero. Basically, the princess is pretty useless. A Disney movie usually has two or all three of these elements in their movies.

This book is a satire of that formula. But not the satire Shrek is. In this story, the most beautiful girl in the village is not the princess and the outcast is not the witch. It is a book that teaches the lesson that good and evil is beyond what is skin deep.

Sharing a Sweet Sound: Crystal Rose's Reflective Dreamer/Echo

While "Crystal Rose" is a new name on the net idol block, they have been around since February of 2013, only under the name of KRP28.

The group uses the AKB48 formula of having a large number of members and having a Senbatsu or a Selection for every single. They will be chosen by their performance in the group.

Currently, the group has over 28 girls from all around the world in their line up and had selected eight girls as the Senbatsu for their fourth single, Reflective Dreamer.

The girls singing the A-side, which is the titular song of the single are: Sahara, Kyoka, Erein, and Haru, While the B-side, named Echo was sang by Hira, Setsuna, Mizuki, and Sadako.

Cat Cafe PH : Have a Purrfect Afternoon

Cat Cafe Philippines,
Cebu City
On my trip to Cebu City, Philippines, I was most excited to visit my first cat cafe. As the only cat-person in my family, I wanted very much even for a short time to see cats.

It is a small and intimate cafe found in Guadalupe near Villa Fatima Subdivision and open for 12nn until 10pm. Customers are only allowed to stay for two hours at a time.

When customers enter, they are given not only the selection of sandwiches, coffee and sweets. The menu also included a list of instructions of how to handle their feline friends.

Before meeting them, customers are to read them. They are easy enough to do, such as wash our hands, be mindful of then cats, don't physically hurt them, don't startle the cats and be gentle.

Beyond the Trailer: Cinderella (2015)

Cinderella (2015)
Growing up as little girls, many probably had their favorite Disney Princess.  The original animated Cinderella made in 1950 was a popular choice.

With the growing popularity of live action fairy tale adaptations in Disney such as Alice in Wonderland (2010), Maleficent and recently, Once Upon a Time, it is no surprise that Disney is trying to take advantage of it.

Has anybody else noticed that they are mostly utilizing the blonde and beautiful female leads in all these versions, such as Alice, Aurora and Cinderella?

As one of their most popular princesses, it is no surprise that Cinderella was given an adaptation, with Cinderella played by Lily James and the Prince played by Richard Madden. And being one of those little girls who grew up watching this princess, I, of course jumped at the chance to watch it in Cinemas.

The Cinderella fairy tale had been given several adaptations and versions over the years. We have Ever After (1998), with the titular character played by Drew Barrymore and Glass Slipper (1955) with French actress, Leslie Caron; A Cinderella Story  (2004) with the former Disney star, Hilary Duff. These are just to name a few. So the challenge was really to give the story something to make it stand out.

Sitting Down with Max (SHEawase)

Max Ortner
マクシーン  オルトナー
The Boyish One
One of the many highlights in 2014 for indie group, SHEawase had been the addition of Maxine Ortner into their lineup.

After the graduation of Kristy Valdez, it left the group with its three remaining members, Melissa Shows, Tara Muchmore and Morgan Davis.

SHEawase made an announcement on their Facebook page for the beginning of their search for a new member on April 17, 2014.

After a 2-part audition process and going through numerous auditions from girls all over the world, the group and their staff made a decision. They finally announced the winner on their Facebook page on July 29, 2014.

Sharing a Sweet Sound: M O R E and Ippo Zutsu [MV]

Opening of 4TE's MV for M O R E.
4TE (for-tay); group members, Jenni, Chii, Micchi and Mei had greeted the new year by revealing all four members of 4TE and the MV for their song, M O R E last January 4, 2015.

The catchy techno sound which is quite reminiscent of the Japanese band, Perfume had fans dancing and shouting for more all over the world.

But their surprises didn't end there. 

Opening of 4TE's MV for Ippo Zutsu.
On February 14, 2015, just in time for Valentines Day, the group released the MV of the second song on their single, "Ippo Zutsu" or "One Step at a Time".

The MV also features familiar faces from the Toronto-based dance group, FrolicLassie, which 4TE's manager Berry Risa is a member.

Sharing a Sweet Sound: 4TE's Debut, MORE/一歩ずつ

4TE's Debut Logo
4TE (for-tay) is the latest net idol group to debut in 2015. Their name originated from the word, forte - which is a musical term for 'loud.'

The group is comprised of Mei, Jenni, Chii and Micchi. A team-up made from heaven for those like me who had followed them since their Oishii!Project days.

I was one of those fans that was devastated by their graduation and had feared the worst only to be comforted by teases and hints from some of the girls that the graduation wasn't necessarily a goodbye.

These four were definitely the members that really stood out in that huge project and had been popular in their own way. However, they all had one thing in common. They all love music.  

Sitting Down with Morgan (SHEawase)

Morgan Davis
The Cute One
Morgan Davis is one of the members of the net idol group, SHEawase with Melissa Shows, Tara Muchmore and Maxine Ortner.

In a group full of big personalities, Morgan stands out by giving an impression of gentleness. She is the character that is so sweet you can't help rooting for her. But her real appeal shines when this little cutie smiles. Because of her reserved personality, these smiles are rare and precious.

I managed to snag an interview with both Morgan and Maxine after their Tulsa Cosplay Celebration concert. I could only imagine how tired they really were. Despite their lack of sleep just having to perform the night before, the girls managed to look like nothing happened.

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