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Happy 26th Birthday Matsuura Aya! June 25, 2012

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Jpop, Matsuura Aya.
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Photo courtesy of the Matsuurian

I’ll be the first to admit that Ayaya’s 26th year on this planet certainly hasn’t been the best, personally or professionally, but all was not lost. Her Maniac Live event at the Akasaka Blitz (at which the above photo was taken) was absolutely fantastic and proved that she is still as good as she ever was!


 

Happy 26th Aya!


 

Matsuura Aya – Subject: Sayonara “10TH ANNIVERSARY BEST” SPECIAL LIVE December 20, 2011

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Not too long ago Aya celebrated the tenth anniversary of her debut with a special performance at the Cotton Club in Tokyo. There we got the first unveiling of Subject: Sayonara, the sole new song to appear on her 10th Anniversary Best album due out tomorrow.

Previously, we only had a rough fanrecording of the song to go by, but this morning UpFrontTunes released the entire performance on Youtube:

Written by Takeuchi Mariya (someone who Matsuura fans should recognize, as her 2008 musical Mariya – Honki de Only You was based entirely on Takeuchi’s music) Subject: Sayonara is certainly a haunting and beautiful ballad, helped in no little part by Aya’s fantastic voice. The amount of emotion she is able convey through merely the inflections in her voice is absolutely wondrous.

Also, I know I’ve said it before, but she really does work fantastically with a live band. It just adds that inexplicable organic element, and just helps everything feel just that much more alive.

Edit: Through the magic of time, what was once tomorrow is now today and Aya’s 10th Anniversary Best is now available for purchase! I’ve updated the appropriate links over in the side-pane. This album really is perfect for all Ayaya fans. Don’t care much for her newer, non idol-styled work? No problem as it’s filled mostly with her classics. Or do you simply yearn for more new work from her? Well this is all your gonna get for the time being so you better just smile and take what you can get! 😀

Dokki Doki! Love Mail Covered in an Anime! November 1, 2011

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The anime in question seems to be Katte ni Kaizō (do correct me if I’m wrong about that), and well, the title pretty much sets this piece up pretty well. Check it out below!

Sure, halfway through it transitions from nice and sweet to more than a little demented, but I’m too enthralled by all the allusions to the original PV to really care!

Here are a handful of my favorites:

My absolute favorite allusion has to be to the little punching scene at about two minutes into the embedded video:

I love it because it’s just so darn subtle. If you didn’t know to look for it you would completely miss it. The people who made this either really loved the original PV, or just spent a whole heck of a lot of time watching it when making this! 😀

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

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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!

Meet Ashida Mana August 5, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Matsuura Aya.
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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!

Happy 25th Birthday Matsuura Aya! June 25, 2011

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The world has been given the precious gift of an entire quarter century of Ayaya, I can think of no better reason to celebrate!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AYAYA!!

A Decade of Matsuura Aya April 11, 2011

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Ten years ago today Matsuura Aya debuted with the single “Dokki Doki! Love Mail.” Ten years really is quite a long time. Heck, ten years ago I was a lowly little middle school student, and pretty much the only thing I can remember from that time period was that I was saving up to buy a used Dreamcast over the first half of that year.

My personal history aside, what really drove that point home for me was this little scene from the PV: Aya appearing on a bunch of televisions in an electronics store.

…a bunch of cathode ray tube televisions, that is. I can’t remember exactly when those things started to go extinct in electronics stores, but honestly the last time I ever remember seeing a display of them was when I bought my current TV with my parents somewhere around 2003, which was still 8 years ago. Even bargain warehouse stores such as Walmart don’t even carry those things anymore.

It might seem kind of silly now, but I imagine that a just a few years from now a regular tube television will be just as quaint and a sign of the times as a TV with UHF and VHF knobs or even a black and white screen.

Now last year I wrote about the ninth anniversary of “Dokki Doki! Love Mail,” and unfortunately I really don’t have much else to add about the single itself.

Looking at it now, what strikes me about the whole song and PV is that it’s almost like an entirely different person is performing it. Last night I watched the first episode of Sakura to Satsuki (Aya’s brand new drama series) and seeing how she has grown and matured over those ten years is really incredible. Yet, despite the ten year difference, there are still moments in “Dokki Doki! Love Mail” where unmistakably you can see glimpses of that beautiful woman she would eventually grow into.

So, here’s to the first ten years of Matsuura Aya’s career, and ten successful more!

The Other Side of Aya: Enkyori no Renai (遠距離の恋愛) February 20, 2011

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Matsuura Aya.
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Today, I wanted to take a look at “Enkyori no Renai” the coupling track of “♥Momoiro Kataomoi♥,” Aya’s best selling single, released on the 2nd of February 2002:

Romaji Lyrics:

koibito ni narenai mama ne
kono mama nara kitto muri ne
hontou no koto iwanai ienai
hikkoshi suru mitai watashi

hanarete shimattara
sugu ni aenaku naru
hanarete shimattara
chikai ko ga ii desho?

anata wa
nanni mo shiranakute ii
watashi ni furareta dake na no yo
nanni mo shiranai hou ga ii wa…

sore na no ni denwa shitai
ima ijou ni suki ni naru wa

waza to tsumetai kotoba
tsukatteru no ni anata
yasashiku shite kureru
yasashiku shite kureru

futari wa
doushite deatta no yo
motto iroiro shiritakatta
doushite deatta no yo doushite…

LaLaLa…
Mmm…
LaLaLa…

futari wa
doushite deatta no yo
motto iroiro shiritakatta
doushite deatta no yo doushite…

Translated Lyrics:

Looks like we can’t hook up
Surely it’s impossible now
I won’t tell you the truth; I can’t
It looks like I’m moving

If I go far away
I won’t be able to see you soon
If I go far away
You’d prefer a closer girl, right?

You
Don’t need to know anything
Just that we’ve broken up
It’s better that you don’t know anything

Even so, I want to call you
I love you even more now

I talk to you coldly on purpose
But you
You’re so nice to me
You’re so nice to me

The two of us
Why did we meet?
I wanted to know more about you
Why did we meet, why…

LaLaLa…
Mmm…
LaLaLa…

The two of us
Why did we meet?
I wanted to know more about you
Why did we meet, why…

Romaji and translated lyrics from ProjectHello

Out of all of Aya’s B-sides I’ve covered so far, this one is easily my favorite. It has a very “cool” air to it, certainly contrasting starkly to “♥Momoiro Kataomoi♥.” I especially love the part where she starts to hum. It’s simple, but I think it just adds so much to the song in terms of atmosphere.

I would actually really like to see Aya take another stab at performing this song today. It’s far more mature than many of her other earlier works, and I think it would certainly benefit from the greater control that she has gained over her voice in the years since her debut. That isn’t to say that she doesn’t sound good here, in fact quite the opposite, especially considering that she was fifteen when this song was recorded!

Beverage Commercial Shocker! December 31, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Matsuura Aya.
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That’s right boys and girls a beverage commercial shocker! How shocking can a beverage commercial be, you might ask? Well, I’d imagine at least moderately shocking or even “exceedingly tingly,” but that’s not really the point…

Now, for you guys that may not be aware Matsuura Aya used to be the image girl for the Gogo no Kocha brand of ice tea. This lasted from 2003 to 2007, and even resulted in the single “Ki ga Tsukeba Anata.”

Here’s the first commercial to feature “Ki ga Tsukeba Anata”

Pleasant little commercial there, no? This series of cm’s always reminded me a little bit of a miniature movie, with their rather high production values and implied plots.

So, sometime a little before Christmas I was bumbling around on Youtube and happened to stumble across this Chinese language beverage commercial:

I was immediately hit with the sense that I had somehow seen this commercial before, which I then realized was because this is nearly exactly the same as the Gogo no Kocha commercial above! There are far too many eerie similarities for this to be a simple coincidence, just take a look for yourself at the comparison I’ve done down below:

Similar collegiate style lecture hall.

Waking the sleeping boyfriend with a cold beverage to the cheek, who then dramatically jumps up.

I will say this, at least the Chinese boyfriend character was trying to pay attention in class with his textbook. Take a look at what Aya's boyfriend was doing: reading comics! What a slacker!

Beverages in ice water! This shot is to emphasize how cool and refreshing these drinks are, and thus make you thirsty and want to buy them.

Let's go somewhere with wind blowing in our hair! Excitement! Notice how the spacial arrangements of the characters are the exact same between the two commercials, and that both the boyfriend characters shout.

Uncomfortable physical contact!

A forlorn glance, what intrigue!

Another forlorn glance, double the intrigue!

The real kicker for me though is that both commercials end with the main character shouting off into the ocean/large body of water that I assume the bridge in the Chinese commercial is built over. I always thought this was an odd way to end the commercial in Aya’s version (though I do imagine it shows her venting her frustration, albeit still an odd ending) and to see the exact same ending in the Chinese version is just frosting on the cake.

But hey, if you’re going to copy a commercial you might as well copy a good one right? 😀



I want to give a quick congratulations to S/mileage for winning best new artist at the 52nd Annual Japan Record Awards! The fact that those girls managed to beat out much more mainstream and popular groups is a great accomplishment! Good job girls!

I also want to wish you all a happy and prosperous 2011! May the new year be a good one!

The Twelve Days of Tsunku-mas: Last Christmas December 22, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in Hello! Project, Jpop, Matsuura Aya.
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On the ninth day of Tsunku-mas, my true love gave to me Last Christmas performed by Matsuura Aya, Hirahara Ayaka, Skoop on Somebody and Sukima Switch:

This performance dates from the December 9th 2006 episode of Music Fair21.

Oh Aya, your English, it’s, it’s… not great… >< Don't worry though, I still love you 😀

Special shout-out to those two pianists. Those guys are rocking some seriously groovy hairstyles.

Ahh, but you guys know what's better than Aya getting a couple parts in a song? That's right! Aya singing the entire song! From a fan-recording of her December 8th 2007 Christmas Dinner Show in Yamagata:

Her English is actually quite a bit better here, as I imagine she probably rehearsed quite a bit more for her dinner shows than the Music Fair21 performance. Last Christmas is probably my favorite of the “newer” Christmas songs, and she really does a commendable cover of it. Personally, even if a few parts are still a little hard to understand, I think her voice more than makes up for it.