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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.



Sayumi Michishige in Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari.
Not long after, I discovered youtube. Youtube had still been at its infancy. While browsing for anime openings, I came upon a video that looked like a train of pretty Japanese girls. It was a video of "Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari," but of course at that time I didn't know it yet. One face in particular caught my attention.

I always associated my love for idols with Sayumi Michishige. After all, she was the first person who made me curious about Morning Musume who had been the first idol group I fell in love with. We were practically the same age and at that time, I wanted to be more like her, happy and confident.This had helped me over the years since somehow I now as-a-matter-of-factly say, "I am so cute" with a straight face. I have an unusual pitchy voice that everyone teased me for, but I can still say that it is the cutest thing ever.

The same time Sayumi was trying to stand out from a group of much more charismatic girls, I was still trying to stand out as a writer. I knew I was good, but I also knew that there were too many people who are better. It was heartbreaking when no one read my stories, disappointing when no one cared about what I wrote and disheartening that when people did bother to read --- the focus had been on my mistakes. Writing is competitive because we live in a society where everybody thinks, "Anyone can write" and isn't considered anything special at all. I didn't want to be anyone. I wanted to be someone who wrote something you'd find only from me.

Sayumi Michishige in Sexy Boy ~ Soyokaze ni Yorisotte ~
In college, I had often studied with headphones on and music playing. At that time, I was really quiet about my love for Jpop. So no one really knew that instead of Neyo and Chris Brown who were popular at that time, I was playing, "Sexy Boy ~ Soyokaze ni Yorisotte ~"

Subtitles for this song didn't exist at that time, so I had no idea what they were singing about. Listening to it just made me happy and I was able to finish my assignments with a smile.

Sayumi Michishige in Sayuminglandoll.
It was also around this time that I discovered idols also did "gravure." At first, I thought it would definitely make me uncomfortable. I had heard the stories of gravure done by under-aged girls. Despite my initial uncertainties though --- I found myself loving, "Sayuminglandoll" despite the controversies I was beginning to discover about the idol industry.

I fell in love with the colors and concepts. That photobook inspired a few of my pieces. "Curiouser and Curiouser", which is about Alice finding a magnifying glass that allowed her to see the "Wonderland" of the real world through it. The other is a piece called, "Alice and Barnaby the Balderdash."  No one will probably ever see it again since I submitted it for a class assignment and I never got it back.

It is funny, but until I began writing this blog I didn't realize how much idols had already began to inspire me. However, I didn't think I was brave enough to write about them yet. I allowed idols to inspire me, but not drive me.

However, as time went by --- the constant changes to the members and image had made my interest in the group wane.  I still liked a few of their songs but they had stopped inspiring me.

By this time, I had discovered other groups like Perfume, Ali Project, solo acts like Olivia Lufkin, Nana Kitade and Kanon Wakeshima ---  and I fell in love with the dark Lolita culture. Since my interest had always inspired my art, this is the birth of my angst era.

How did it happen then?


Morning Musume'12  in One・Two・Three 
It was probably around the same time Sayumi became the leader of Morning Musume. They were brought to my attention again by their new song, "One・Two・Three." It would be the first song I meet the Ninth and Tenth Generation. Funnily, I can't say I loved the song but I couldn't help but feel that Sayumi upped her appeal since I last saw her. I also became curious about this lineup.

Again, interest inspired art. Characters inspired by idols began popping out in my writing. This especially apparent in the fanfiction I wrote during this time. I even named one of the original characters in those stories after Haruka Kudou. I used Mizuki Fukumura's background and image to construct mannerisms for characters like Tomoyo Daidouji.

I was inspired again.

Around this time, I began discovering and re-discovering other idols and idol groups. I fell in love with C-ute, Buono! and for a while I even began following AKB48. Not long later, I fell head over heels for Houkago Princess and Doll Elements. It was around this time that I discovered people who wrote idol blogs. I started as a follower at first and it wasn't long that I was pulled into it too.

Skype Interview with Micchi.
But the trouble had been standing out. Since I didn't simply want to write something people had read before. I decided to do interviews of people I want to support and deserve a voice as well. I fell in love with what I am doing.

I had always loved people's stories and this had been a pleasure to write them. All those days of going without sleep to interview them on times convenient for them and taking time and effort to plan out each post.

But it isn't just that. The fact that they would give time for me at all is inspiring. They didn't have to answer over 20 questions I had for them. If they hadn't helped me, I don't think I would have continued this at all. I still continue to write and pour every piece of my heart in every word.

Why did I do it?


I can't say I know the complete answer for that. I wasn't even sure I should since there were so many other idol bloggers out there, who are probably much better writers and had been in the idol culture much longer than I have.

The closest answer I could really think of was that it made me happy.

Over the years, my taste changed. I am not as into Morning Musume anymore and I have taken interest in other things as well. It comes with expanding your horizons. I do movie, book and book reviews now as well.

However, my love for idols never subsided. Not really. The positive aura that they always emit in every performance is what keeps me believing in positive things every day. On my most depressed states ---- like the time I thought I would lose my job or when I was making my decision on what to do after I graduated --- I had listened to songs Houkago Princess's Juliet ~Kimi wo Suki na 100 no Riyuu or C-ute's Middle Management.  Unusual song choices for most, but for some reason it led me to think positively and smile.

Sayumi waves her final goodbye at her graduation concert,
Aki GIVE ME MORE LOVE (2014)
Its been --- maybe three years now. I got my start from another site until I finally decided to make my own in my own design and vision.

To be honest, when Sayumi graduated I thought my interest would drop for sure. My love for the fandom had started with her, it would have made sense if it ended the same way.

It didn't. My friends in the fandom kept my interest alive and I discovered and fell for other girls and groups that I felt deserved admiration. I don't think that there will ever be another Sayumi, nor do I believe I will ever find another idol to fill the gap she left. However, I still think that there is still positive energy in watching idols.

I have heard it all. "Dating Scandals," Pedo-baiting, girls sleeping their way to the top, prejudice, "no talent," "can't really sing," 4-chan and that is just to name a few. It is impossible not to if you're an idol fan. Maybe I am naive, but I still believe that in the sea of idols that come out every year there is at least always one who just loves idols or just someone who wants to give the same positive energy idols do for other people. As long as there is one, I believe this fandom is still worth supporting.

I am an idol blogger ... I am an idol fan. And I love every minute of it!

1 comments:

  1. o/

    Carry on with your love for idols and blogging about them. I'm very much the same for liking jpop music in general although I've been branching out recently thanks to a lot of phases I undergo (and you know me personally, that I'm pretty neurotic). Hopefully, though, one day that people can stop questioning what we like, what we do in our spare time and take it as it is. We do have different interests as people. It's interesting, the things you write on this blog. :D

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