Sunday, August 28, 2016

Vintage J-Pop Vinyl Gold!

Just came across the most exciting find at the local Book Off today- walking past the store window we came across them selling an LP of the old Kamen Rider X soundtrack, which already piqued our interest, and when we got inside, we were to find a whole treasure trove of 60's and 70’s Japanese collectible LPs and singles! Looking through the stacks of vinyl I came across some sweet 45’s of Aki Yashida and Sayuri Ishikawa (back when she was “still one chick” and before she adopted her obaasan kimono enka goddess persona), but the piece de resistance was a beautiful copy of Ayumi Ishida’s Greatest Hits LP, in PERFECT SHAPE, crisp corners and still retaining is glossy lustre.
 I wanted to grab all of them, but upon searching my pockets found I only had enough for the singles (which were an amazingly cheap 3-5 dollars each) but not the Ayumi album which was $30.00. I hemmed and hawed and finally i decided if the store took credit cards then I would grab it in a heartbeat, and sure enough, when i found they took VISA, those singles and albums were brought to the counter in a jiffy! even better, when I had my items rung up, the lady at the counter told me the LP was actually 20 bucks, NOT 30! HOW AWESOME!
The album has all of Ayumi’s greatest hits including “Taiyo wa Naite Iru”, “Kyo Kara Anata To”and of course her signature tune “Blue Light Yokohama” and the Aki Yashida and Sayuri Ishikawa singles were classics as well; Aki’s “Ushiro Sugata” and “Koi Azami”, Sayuri’s “Anata No Tamenara”, “Hatoba Shigure”and even the Sayuri SIGNATURE Kohaku tune “Tsugaru Kaikyo~Fuyu Geshiki”!!)
Looking over the vast amount of albums and singles they had for sale, it’s obvious that they all once belonged to someone who truly loved and treasured them, and I hope they know it has gone to a good home!  A beautiful addition to my meager J-Pop Vinyl Collection!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

At The Halfway Mark With Keiko Kitagawa in Ie Uru Onna

Keiko Kitagawa in Ie Uru Onna
Awwwww MAN, I cannot begin to stress how much I love, love LOVE Ie Uru Onna!!! Starring Keiko Kitagawa as the eccentric House-selling goddess Sangeya Machi, each and every episode so far has been sooooooo sooo fun, interesting and full of HEART! It also doesn’t hurt that Keiko is looking so DAMN FINE!
I know there are a few of you out there who can't get into this show or Keiko's wierd character, but for me, this is the one show that I wait impatiently for each week, it's my favorite show on right now. Right now we are at the halfway mark for this wonderful, wonderful show and I can’t wait for the next episode!!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Haru Turns ON

Haru as Agent Todo in ON
Just started watching the crime drama ON, and what a strange and surreal show it is! The show stars actress HARU as a special agent named Hinako Todo, who has an uncanny ability to remember every  case she’s reviewed down to the dates and names, making her a veritable database of knowledge in the field.
Her team is comprised of leader Iwao (Atsuro Watabe), Kurashima (Jun Kaname) and a hot-headed detective named Shoji (Yu Yokoyama). Together they make up the violent crimes detective unit at the station.
Hinako Todo (Haru)
Atsushi Iwao (Atsuro Watabe)
Keiichiro Kurashima (Jun Kaname)
Yasuhisa Shoji (Yu Yokoyama)
When we meet up with the team, they are investigating a murder of a man who has been killed under unusual circumstances- his wounds are almost exactly like the ones on a girl he is suspected of murdering some three years earlier.
They investigate into possible perpetrators of the crime, and what Todo and Shoji find is that there are a number of similar cases where accused murderers are slain by the exact same method they supposedly killed their victims.
And as they dig deeper, it begins to seem like the victim did the injuries to HIMSELF. Normally a person’s self preserving instincts would stop you from strangling your own self or stabbing yourself multiple times in the heart, but what if there was some way to turn that off? Forensic Scientist Ishigami (Mieko Harada) thinks this may just be what's happening!
with Forensic scientist Taeko Ishigami (Mieko Harada)
Investigating further, they find that there may be people who have psychological “triggers” in their psyche that, when activated, send them into violent killing mode, bringing harm to innocent people around them and possibly even against their own selves.
Confronting a Killer
There is a sinister Mental Health clinic that seems to be keeping track of the psychologically triggered murders and both the director of the hospital (Ken Mitsuishi) and his assistant (Kento Hayashi) seem suspect. What do they have to do with all these killings? 
Tamotsu Nakajima (Kento Hayashi)
And then there’s main character Hinako herself.  Though expressively cheerful and happy in her job and at the station with her fellow detectives, her nights are spent in a lifeless, depressed drawl. She also has a disturbing penchant for bloody crime scenes, almost delighting in investigating them, and even when a close friend of hers is killed, she still places observing the crime scene above any personal loss, a trait that bugs her partner Shoji to no end. What secrets is she hiding?
"How Curious!"
I began watching this show purely for the sake of Haru, whom I had begun to develop quite a crush on in the Satoshi Ohno drama “Sekai Ichi Muzukashii Koi” and so far Haru has been a joy to watch. I’m really liking this actress! The story of ON, however, hmmm, it’s going to take me some time to really get into this show, it is so ‘out there” with their theories (the one about a criminal giving himself his mortal wounds just by imagining them is kind of a stretch) and the way the killers instantly turn psychotic when triggered seems hard to swallow… But the story of Hinako and her past intrigues me to continue watching this one. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

My First TWICE Album "The Story Begins" Arrives!

My Autographed TWICE CD "The Story Begins" Arrives!
Even though I've been trying to cut down on my actual K-Pop purchases in the past few months, I knew i just had to get at least ONE real TWICE CD, and what better album than the one that first introduced me to the girls, THE STORY BEGINS, featuring their awesome song Like Ooh-Ahh (among others)!
 I went onto ebay and found a very nice and friendly seller who not only had the album up for sale, but it was AUTOGRAPHED by ALL the girls!!! Aw Man, I just HADDA get it!!! From there the seller asked me which trading card variants I wanted, and of course for me it was all MOMO, MOMO, MOMO, so they sent me  a Momo Group card, Momo Single Card, and most adorably, a Momo Baby card! They even threw in an Mnet TWICE Group Shot trading card with the purchase, a SOLID deal all around!
As you can see, I just got my package the other day and it is sooooo sooo beautiful! The hardcover booklet featured the girls in all their dazzling beauty and they had this amazing cookie-cutter-type fold-out lyric booklet which featured the profile shots of each individual member, WOW, how COOl can you get?!
As i'd already downloaded TWICE's songs digitally I already knew and loved all the songs off of this album, but for the record, each and EVERY song on this release is superb, Like Ooh-Ahh, Truth, Candy Boy, and the incredible Do it Again, everything here rocks!
Man, I'm thinking it may be about time I picked up their LATEST CD album"Page Two" as well!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Nana Seino Shines in "Hapimari"

Dean Fujioka and Nana Seino in HAPIMARI
Hapimari~Happy Marriage?! is about as basic and generic as a Japanese Drama can be, with all the usual tropes and cliches…but Nana Seino is so DARN cute in it that I just HAVE to watch every episode! 
Nana Seino as Chiwa
Dean Fujioka as Mamiya
 Nana stars as Chiwa, a good-hearted and hard-working girl who is struggling financially because of her good for nothing father’s gambling problems, and when we meet her, she is in the middle of juggling two jobs, a day job at an electronics store....
..and working as a hostess at a cabaclub in the evenings...
One night at the host club she is met by a stiff young man who insults her for working as a hostess, causing her to get fired when she throws a glass of water in his face.
The next day at her Electronics job, the strange man is back, and she finds that he is a wealthy businessman about town named Hokuto Mamiya (Dean Fujioka), and has come looking for Chiwa with a mystifying offer...
He will take care of all her financial woes if she will do one thing: MARRY HIM! Chiwa is an old fashioned girl who believes in marrying for love, to marry for money seems wrong, and even if she WERE to marry for cash, why marry such a stiff, unfriendly and scolding person??? She adamantly refuses.
She tries to get back on with her life, but her father’s gambling debts are coming back to haunt him, and even though they struggle with meager meals each evening to stretch out their pennies, they simply can’t get ahead.
It all comes crashing down when thug debt collectors come looking for Chiwa’s
father and decide to take her instead to “work for them to pay off the amount”. Just at that moment, Mamiya returns, and once realizing the situation, with his checkbook, instantly pays off the debt. 
Chiwa has no choice but to reluctantly marry this strange person. But what is this deal all about? Why did he choose HER of all people? Is the marriage for real? And, of course, the real question that everyone can already guess: Will Chiwa end up actually falling in love with Hokuto??
This drama seemed like a LOT of other recent dramas and movies, especially the Emi Takei movie “Clover” (where she is proposed to by her stiff supervisor), and  the Kyoko Fukada drama “Please Love The Useless Me” where Kyoko’s superior takes care of the addled girl’s problems (and Dean Fujioka starred in both and seems to be playing pretty much the same guy here, LOL) There’s even bit of  Sekai Ichi Muzukashi Koi” in it with Norika Fujiwara trying to advise her boss about how to better woo a girl.
So yeah, very predictable and basic plot, but BOY, Nana is sooo adorable in this, I’m already in love!!!