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Matsuura Aya Reveals That She Suffers From Endometriosis August 30, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Matsuura Aya.
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You can read the official Up-Front statement here.
The official Ayaway statement here.
Translations of both announcements by sferris here.

Comment by Matsuura Aya translated by sferris:

To all you fans, thank you for your constant support.

I have something I would like to share with you.

This has been going on for about 4 years now. Every now and then, while in my every day routine, I would get stomach pains. After consulting with a physician, I was diagnosed with endometriosis. Upon discussing with my staff, I decided in 2009 to take a “2-3 year break from doing concerts”.

I continued to do research on my own and found that there are many others just like me who are suffering from the same condition. However, I found out that instead of treating the condition, they just ignore it and allow the condition to worsen. I hope that by sharing this I can help inform a lot of other women about this condition. If you are worried about the possibility of this at all, I highly recommend that you visit the hospital as soon as possible.

For me, these types of personal problems are a very delicate matter, so only people really close to me have known about this throughout my years of activity, however this year marks the 10th anniversary of my debut and is an important year for me and my fans. Despite hearing what everyone had to say, I can’t just stop everything though! Right ♥ So I will do my best to continue my activities without pushing myself too hard.

I apologize for making my fans worry.
I hope you can understand and please continue to support me from here on just like before.

Matsuura Aya

Apparently “endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that behaves like the cells lining the uterus (endometrium) grows in other areas of the body, causing pain, irregular bleeding, and possible infertility.” While I certainly understand the individual meaning of those words, seeing them together in that context is something I cannot fathom. I really can’t as I have no base to stand on. I think the most unsettling thing is the rather wide spectrum of symptoms, from just discomfort to complete infertility. 😦

Aya certainly hasn’t had the best of luck with her health. Back in 2006 she took a small break due to temporomandibular joint disorder and in 2009 she had to reduce the impact of her activities due to a broken toe (if you’ve ever wondered why she was stationary during the PV for Chocolate Damashii that was the reason). While obviously her broken toe was a temporary condition, I also still worry about her temporomandibular joint disorder since there literally has been no statement about it since 2006. Does she still suffer from this? I frankly have no idea. I’d hate to think she’s been dealing with both of these conditions simultaneously now.

Still, this isn’t completely gloom and doom. As it’s stated, this isn’t a new condition, and it’s something she’s been living with for the past two years. Over that time she’s been a regular cast member on a television show, released an album, and done a few other associated jobs, so she is apparently living with this condition with some degree of success. I think we can take a bit of comfort in that.

I also can’t help but wonder if the timing of this announcement has to do with all of the rumors regarding her supposed affair with Tachibana Keita, as this certainly puts much of the supposed “evidence” for that in an entirely new context. Evidence such as her lull in activities recently as there hasn’t even been any paparazzi photographs or anything else of the like in years. Her assertion that she won’t be retiring is certainly reassuring to me as a fan. I personally would have no problem if she were to take a spouse, but I couldn’t imagine how crushed I would be if she were to officially retire. Although, considering this it certainly seems more than a bit selfish of me to feel that way.

Truthfully, thinking about her having to deal with this makes me feel a little sick to my stomach. Gosh darn it Aya, GET BETTER!


Preview of Morning Musume’s “Kono Chikyuu no Heiwa o Honki de Negatterun da yo!” August 27, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Morning Musume.

Kono Chikyuu no Heiwa wo Honki de Negatterun da yo! is just one of the double A-sides of Morning Musume’s 47th single set to release on the fourteenth of September (the other being Kare to Issho ni Omise ga Shitai). A preview of the PVs for both tracks were released on this week’s HelloPro! TIME. You can take a look for yourself here. I’m only going to be talking about Kono Chikyuu no Heiwa wo Honki de Negatterun da yo! here, because hey, I like that one better! 😀

So without further ado: PIC-SPAM TIME!

The PV starts off with all of the girls asleep in bed, because apparently the entire thing is just a dream that they enter through…

…a magical door! I think that it’s a pretty neat idea to frame the PV with and the transition they use while maybe a little cliché, is still pretty effective.

Thankfully Ai-chan’s hair is no longer blonde! I hate to admit it, but the color and cut actually work pretty well with this particular costume.

Speaking of the costumes, they are extremely reminiscint of what was worn in 2007’s Onna ni Sachi Are, albeit with a noticeable lack of feathers. That’s certainly not a bad thing, though.

Also that psychedelic tunnel of flashing disco lights is rendered rather well. It’s a bit impressive to see in motion and I think it makes a fine backdrop.

Going through the first half of the preview there is an obvious emphasis on Ai and Reina, as really could be expected anymore. But in addition to those two I couldn’t help but notice a lot of Riho. Like a whole heck of a lot of Riho. To be fair, she really does a fine job but I imagine this emphasis on her will just continue to grate on me for a while longer.

I was starting to feel a little annoyed by all of the Riho pushing until Risa here had her solo line. Is it by design that she is given one of the most powerful lines in the song, or was it just her performance that made it seem that way?

…and then she is given a true solo? OH HECK YES!

Seriously though, while she may not be given as many lines as some of the other girls whenever she has a solo it’s almost always something special. I absolutely love that about her!

Extra brownie points go to Sayu for looking extra gorgeous in this shoot. That sash/necklace thing looks a bit like something she stole from Mr. T when he wasn’t looking, but I’ll just let that slide considering how short that skirt is and how long those legs of her’s are. Why has it taken me this long to notice them? They’re quite fantastic 😀

Oh, and apparently Miss Takahashi is a loser! Sorry Ai-chan! ><

So, what about the song? I like it. It has a bit of an old school Morning Musume flavor to it with the funky disco-style beat (also the exclamations of "love and peace," can't help but remind me of Love & Peace! HERO ga Yattekita). It also has epic Risa solos. Those make everything better.

I do want to take a second to congratulate Ai and Risa for ten whole years in Morning Musume! That’s one heck of a legacy they’ve made for themselves, and while Ai’s time might be limited, hopefully Risa can take that record and run with it a bit longer! Long live the fifth gen!

In Which Kikka Doesn’t Understand… August 22, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Blog Stuff, Jpop, Kikkawa You.

Taken from the making of DVD for YOU!, her first photobook.

In completely unrelated news Nights4Blogging has become an official affiliate of HelloStoreUSA!

You might notice a few new banners over there on the right because of this. While I’m sure most of you have already heard of, or even patronized, them before I really can’t recommend them enough. They have truly top notch customer service, shipping that is surprisingly affordable and quick, and prices that you simply can’t beat for new goods. Best of all is that they’re really the only place outside of Japan where your purchases directly go to support your favorite idols. So if you’ve never been there before definitely click on one of the banners and see what you’ve been missing out on all this time (or if you have, still go and check out their latest additions)!

S/mileage is Now Potentially 125% Larger August 15, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop.
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At last night’s Hello!Project concert the results of the S/mileage audition were announced and it was revealed that Nakanishi Kana, Kosuga Fuyuka, Takeuchi Akari, Katsuta Rina, and Tamura Meimi would be brought on as sub-members of the group.

Yeah, that’s right, they’re not actually real members yet.

Personally, I think this is a smart move. Let’s say that a few of these girls don’t really pan out. Maybe they’re not liked by the public, don’t have the talent, or maybe they just can’t keep up with the stress of the job; whatever really. Well now they can be dropped without too many strings attached. On the other hand, say if all the girls are well liked and perform well they can be kept just as easily. Brilliant, really.

I know quite a few people are pretty outraged by the fact that S/mileage now has a second generation, but I can’t say it really bothers me. Business wise it makes sense, though. An idol is essentially a brand and it takes time, effort and money to make a brand recognized. Groups like Berryz Kobo and C-ute are only good until they’re members age, whereas Morning Musume can stay young forever through their cyclic membership. Throwing S/mileage into the category of a “cyclic” group will undoubtedly allow the group to stick around longer, and thus bring in more revenue over a longer period of time.

I must say I am rather surprised by the sheer number of people added. Like I mentioned in the title, five members is a 125% increase in group size. Wow. To put that in perspective, if Morning Musume’s 10th gen was the same size proportionally it would be 11 members!

Mano Erina -『My Days for You』 August 14, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Mano Erina.
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Now, when a person normally goes to talk about a new release they generally do it around the time of initial availability of that said release. Personally, I think that’s become rather passé. I mean wouldn’t you really rather read about it two weeks later? Well then it’s your lucky day!

Now, I’ll say first off I’m not quite overly smitten with the song itself. It’s sweet and pleasant, but nothing spectacular. It does fit her voice quite well, though. Mano has this kind of inherent sweetness to her voice and I do think it complements the lyrics and arrangement for this particular song. One one hand I’m a bit impressed by how well they have tailored this release to suit her (though I guess this should be expected as she is a soloist), but on the other I can’t help but be a little disappointed that she isn’t being pushed a bit more by a more challenging song.

What I am rather smitten with is the PV. To put it frankly, it really is quite fantastic. Take a look for yourself:

I’m almost astonished at not only how well directed it is, but also the raw quality of the cinematography. Personally I think it’s probably the best H!P PV I’ve seen this entire year. There aren’t any crazy flashing lights, extras or back-up dancers to distract you. It’s just Mano, her camera and some beautiful scenery.

I'm a complete sucker for bright blue skies.

Throughout the PV there is rather extensive use of tilt-shift style photography to simulate a shallow depth of field. Here it is put to good use to make it seem like Mano is in some sort of small model or diorama. I also rather enjoy the framing of this shot with her sitting on the monkey bars.

I love how the angle here make it look like the apartment building extends on forever.

A soft focus and a slightly exaggerated level of brightness give this shot a very pleasant feeling I would say is reminiscent of Summer's morning

There are quite a few shots of Mano riding on a bus and these too are quite well done. The environment outside of the bus's windows is nearly blindingly bright and gives the interior of the bus a cheerful feeling.

The ending few scenes of the PV contrast with the rest by being shot at sunset. Not too much to say here except that they're quite beautiful.

I know I’ve complimented Mano in the past for having some pretty good PVs but this one truly raises the bar. The thoughtfulness of nearly every shot is rather refreshing when compared to the usual studio dance numbers that are the norm. I can’t help but hope that this sort of style will catch on a bit for the rest of H!P in the near future.

Meet Ashida Mana August 5, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Matsuura Aya.

Cute little twerp isn’t she?

She’s actually the youngest person ever to be the lead star in a Japanese drama. She’s also appeared in a handful of feature films and is even starting to appear in CMs. All this while not even being eight years old. The computer I’m typing this entry out on has more years on it than her for gosh sake!

But no, she isn’t just content with that. Not at all; she has her sights set on other goals. Goals such as Matsuura Aya’s MC position on Meringue no Kimochi. Yup…

At the end of this September Matsuura Aya will be losing her job to a seven year old.

A seven year old. I don’t even know what to say to that. It’s like some kind of twisted joke. For the last four years Aya’s MC gig on Meringue no Kimochi has been pretty much her only media exposure. Her stint on Collabo Labo only lasted a year, and her last few music releases had little fanfare. That was really her last foothold in the public’s eye. So really, the question is: what’s next?

Troubling thing is, that’s a darned scary question in this situation. I don’t mean to sound overly pessimistic, but I’m not 100% sure even if there will be anything next at this point. Now I could be (and hopefully am) wrong but there has been painfully little news from her or her management as of late. Even her fanclub has been neglected recently with a stark lack of events to keep her loyal followers engaged.

Who knows, though. Maybe she has another MC gig lined up? Or maybe she’ll revive her singing career and go on another concert tour? Or she could just slide a little further into retirement. Late 2011/early 2012 is definitely going to be a telling time in her career. Look forward I can’t say I’m feeling particularly enthusiastic about the whole thing. 😦

I will say this though: Back when I was seven years old I cerntainly didn’t try to take Matsuura Aya’s job, temporal and geographical issues be darned!

sup guys… August 3, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Mano Erina.
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Sorry for the lack of posts recently! I promise a new one in the next couple of days, but in the mean time I hope the above picture of Manoeri in a mascot costume can tide you over! ^^;