Monday, September 26, 2016

Sunhwa to leave Secret!!

Oh MAN, some bad news...this is yet ANOTHER one of my favorite k-pop groups that is losing a member! Sunhwa, whom of course was the first one I ever knew from the awesome TS Entertainment group, has decided not to renew her contract and Secret will go on as a trio...Argh, even though Hyosung is and will always be my bias, you cannot deny how perfect the group was as a quartet!
Sunhwa, you will be missed!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Cake Wars with Mirei Kiritani in "Suki na Hito ga Iru Koto"

Mirei Kiritani as Misaki
I’ve been needing some new dramas to fill the empty space left by Ie Uru Onna, and along with Haru’s psychological detective drama ON, i’ve picked up the latest drama Suki na Hito ga Iru Koto, starring Mirei Kiritani as a young girl named Misaki Sakurai who is trying to eke her life out as a patissier in the turbulent world of restaurants.
All her life Misaki has dreamed of making cakes and has seemingly found her lifelong dream as the pastry and cake chef of a local bakery...
A Happy Cake Maker!
This dream goes crashing down the tubes when the bakery is bought and closed down and Misaki suddenly finds herself out of a job! She tries desperately to get accepted by other restaurants, but she keeps getting denied.
"Why can't I get hired?"
Her friend Wakaba (Junko Abe) tells her that her wedding cakes, though very beautiful, are rejected because she herself has never been in a romance before, and the naive never-even-kissed-before Misaki has to agree.
Advice from friend Wakaba (Junko Abe)
By chance that evening she gets locked in the bathroom ("Can this day get any worse!" she thinks) and has to wait for the help to let her out. Hours go by and when someone does finally come to the door, her rescuer is none other than Chiaki Shibasaki (Shohei Miura), a childhood friend (and secret first crush) of Misaki’s who is becoming well-known in the restaurant circles.(Funny, this drama reminds me a lot of Hungry!, a drama which also co-starred Miura as one of the chefs!)
Stuck in a Bathroom
And her rescuer is...?
it's Chiaki (Shohei Miura), her childhood crush!
Having tasted one of her cakes, Chiaki invites Misaki to help out at his restaurant down by the seaside for the summer as they are in need of a good pattisier. She immediately jumps at the opportunity and is beside herself when he offers to let her live in his own house while she works there.
When she hears the news, Wakaba tells Misaki that this may be her "love chance" and takes her shopping to pretty her up and buy some cute clothes so she might 'get her man"! A new job prospect AND a possible romance? What could go wrong!
Wakaba takes Misaki shopping
A delighted Misaki makes her way to the shore, ready to start her new career with her high school sweetheart, but her happiness is cut short when she meets a brusk surfer named Kanata (Kento Yamazaki) who treats her rudely when she asks for a picture at the beach.
He refuses to help her and only snaps a picture when she falls in the sand! Grrr, hopefully not everyone is this crude!
Kanata (Kento Yamazaki)
"Here's a good pic of you flat on your face"
When she makes her way to Chiaki’s house, she is greeted by another strange sight-  a boy named Toma (Shuhei Nomura) who, besides being overly-familiar with her, seems to already LIVE there as well!
Toma (Shuhei Nomura)
He invites her in, and she is doubly shocked to find the rude surfer Kanata from the beach living there as well! It turns out that both of these boys are brothers of Chiaki’s and they ALL live together under that one roof…the same roof that Misaki is going to stay at!
A House Full of Brothers
How can a girl cope in this kind of living situation??
The next day Chiaki takes Misaki to their restaurant (cleverly called “SeaSons”, get it, it's three sons living by the beach) and it is more beautiful and dazzling than she could have hoped for!
Welcome to SeaSons
Unfortunately, Kanata is the head chef of the place and doesn’t approve of such an obviously air-headed girl who is only here to look for love and waste time, and it’s up to Misaki to make him see that she is serious about the job and is a worthy person to add to their establishment.
Unapproving Chef Kanata
Misaki trying her best, learning the local ingredients and flavors
So far so good, and though Misaki clearly has eyes on Chiaki, I can see the storyline going where the other two brothers might fall for her as well, and since the name of the drama is “A Girl and her Three Sweethearts”, you can’t expect everything to run so smoothly anyway!
LOL, they’ve even already introduced a couple of “foils” for Misaki’s advances towards Chiaki like stunning Nanao as Kaede Takatsuki, a gorgeous older woman who seems to already have an existing relationship with him!
Luscious Nanao as Kaede Takatsuki
Yes, just like Ryoko Kuninaka in Hungry!, there's always a pretty older lady to crush the dreams of a young wide eyed girl in love with the main guy character! Poor Misaki, it’s only the first episode and already so many problems to deal with!
AHAHAHAHA, I Can only keep watching to see how this whole brouhaha turns out!!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Ie Uru Onna 終わり

Just finished watching the final episode of the awesome, awesome Keiko Kitagawa drama Ie Uru Onna, and laughs were had, excitement was felt and tears were shed as the show wrapped up on the same high note it's been broadcasting throughout its entire 10 episode run!!!
MAN, such a great show and I just don't know what I'm going to do to take its place! A Five Star Drama!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Racing To The Finish with Keiko Kitagawa's "Ie Uru Onna"

Just finished watching the penultimate episode of the awesome, awesome drama Ie Uru Onna, that wacky, interesting and touching drama of the eccentric oddball realtor Sangeya Machi who uses her skills and passion to sell each and every house she is presented with, and this episode was just as great as ever!!!
If there was ANY DOUBT that Keiko Kitagawa is by far my favorite Japanese actress ever, it has been entirely dispelled- I am head over heels in love with this gal, every show and movie she’s in always captivates me, and Ie Uru Onna is yet another gem in her extensive catalog!

Oh man, I don’t know what I am going to Do with myself when this show ends next week. I haven’t been this DEPENDENT on a drama to get me through my week sincee Yui Aragaki’s Okitegami Kyoko No Biboroku. Such a great, great show and I am already dreading the thought of life without it!!!!

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.