Saturday, October 25, 2008

So many little time

17 days after I got back from Japan, I have to admit that my soul is still back there. And while browsing through the tons of photos I have, I was amused at how many men sightings are in my photo folders.

Not only was I busy spotting Kimura Takuya or watching concerts of SMAP and F4, I was also diligent in spotting many other Japanese actors/idols who I have some sort of liking to. Gomenasai Takuya. Gomenasai Zaizai. Gomenasai Vanness. Gomenasai Jerry. Gomenasai Ken. Please forgive my wandering eyes.

For the rest of the men sighted by mopworld, please head on out to this site:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Kimura Takuya..on my mind

For the past 4 years, Kimura Takuya has been tattooed in my mind. So it's no wonder that when I was back in Japan, all I was pre-occupied with when walking all over Tokyo.

This one I spotted Sept. 30th while walking in the Shinjuku area. It was raining but I did not care, Vic just had to take my pic in the rain!

This next pic was taken in between buildings! We were walking through Harajuku St. last Oct 1 when I spotted this big billboard. I had to click the camera just at the right time because it was a busy street and cars zipped back and forth. Success!!
And on our walk back, I was happy that we were taking that road. So with quick fingers, travel sister Vic had to take this shot. LOL!
We spotted this Fujitsu shop across the street in the Ginza walk. Again, it took all effort to take a clean shot!

And then we spotted this "mojakura" billboard towards the subway exit to Roponggi Hills. I loved this shot of me taken by none other than Vic, my travel sister.

And would I have insisted to my host family that I would like to see the Sankaku-hashi bridge if not for Takuya's 2004 drama Pride? Of course not! But no self-respecting member of Takuya's harem will miss being on this bridge if they find themselves in Yokohama.

And who would have thought of going to the Parliament building and have their photo taken in the middle of the street if not for the memorable scene in Takuya's latest drama CHANGE?

And I couldn't go home without seeing Odaiba and Fuji TV. It was a no brainer choice between Fuji TV and Tokyo Tower. Hahahaha!! Fuji TV is the home studio of Takuya and his group SMAP and their long-running variety show SMAPXSMAP.

For 2 years, I have envied Ochie for her pic in this mini-set of SMAPXSMAP's Bistro. So when I sat down and had my pic taken by Rachel, I felt such satisfaction that when we left Fuji TV, I said to myself "I am ready to come home".

There are more photos of billboard sightings which just goes to show what sort of "superstar" Kimura Takuya is in Japan - huge! For the rest of the photos, please click the link below.

Friday, October 10, 2008

F4 Japan Tour 2008 in Tokyo...One More Time

One more time, I went to watch F4's concert this time in Tokyo last October 7. I was still alone in my stand seat but not exactly because May and Rachel were just a binocular away.

Nippon Budokan was a bigger venue than Yokohama arena and that night, it was packed to the rafters. Congratulations to the boys! My only complaint is that stand-o audiences did not see one part of the stage because of the venue design.

So I was there on my East-Row F-Seat 14 chair and was pleasantly surprised that one more time it was Zaizai's side during the opening number. I don't know exactly how to describe it but the boys seem "genkier" that night. Maybe because the opening show blues are gone? Or they had the chance to get drunk and do some bonding in between concert dates...whatever...they look more harmonious.

Everyone was gorgeous that evening but I'd like to especially note that Vanness dropped the eyeliner and was therefore drop dead gorgeous. LOL!

So one more time, I want to complain that we can't see the stage below us but one number we were all surprised when Jerry went on the crane and was like soooo near us. From then on I stopped silently complaining and said to myself that the production folks already thought of it and compensated.

One new thing in the show was Vanness singing a Japanese r&b song acapella which I find really sweet and cool. Then before Ken sang Lalala, he said he hurt his arm and couldn't wave it too much. Awww... poor baby! He was the one who always told his fans "safety first" and he wasn't careful. Despite this he proceeded to push the sleeves of his t-shirt and showed his *chokes* arms. It don't look hurt to me...

When Zaizai's broadway number came on, something was obviously wrong with the center revolving stage. After Zai's number, the show stopped for about 10 minutes due to technical difficulties. What is admirable about the japanese fans, actually everyone there including all gaijins like me was that no one complained and patiently waited. I took that opportunity to chat with my seatmate.

The show was announced to be resuming shortly and all I could think about was what will the boys do to compensate. I know the Japanese for their pride in the quality of their work. They must do something..and voila! Zaizai came out again with his fingers doing the number 1 sign and everyone went wild. He did his number all over again! Wow!

The show is pretty much the same as in Yokohama except that this time, I appreciated the dance sequence of Vanness with girls. They were very sexy and Vann baby, you were meant to dance with women..

During the Memory Pieces number of Jerry, everyone was so amused when the tiger mascot carried Jerry piggy back style! Jerry himself was laughing and couldn't sing properly for a few seconds. That was fun!

Zai-Ken fans would also be happy to hear that during Qing Fei De Yi, Zai and Ken air kissed! Then Zai did the rabu rabu wave with Jerry. That was fun too! The conversation between them (though I have no idea what they were talking about) seemed to be candid and not scripted. When Zai asked Jerry to introduce the next number, Jerry said in English "ladies and gentlemen", then he wanted to speak in Japanese but was still thinking in english because what he said was "next wa" - Japenglish! He then said the right words "tsugi wa Vanness!"

Again, for some reason I find the numbers of Vanness sexier this time around. I had goosebumps when he took off his hat and shook his hair (maybe he would cut it shorter again..) during Listen to Your Heart. One more time, I will say that I love the boy to bits but the hair and goatee does make him look older than his 30 (already?!) years.

We, stand -o people were again blessed when the next guy on the crane was Zaizai for his japanese songs. He was in front of us sooo long that I had the chance to scream "Zai, mahal kita!". Who cares if he heard me and knew that was I love You in Tagalog. Hahaha! I just wanted to shout my love..

Jerry sang, in my honest opinion, One Meter better this time around. No twinkle, twinkle little stars on the piano this time. And were those real tears because my heart felt like it was being squeezed with how the number seemed to be so sad.

One more time, I enjoyed Zaizai's Mama Shuo (thanks to May). But then something caught my eye that made me amused though no one seemed to care - the spelling of the word boarding was wrong! It was spelled "boading". Hahahaha!!! Again, who cares? The cute bazooka distracted me from proof reading the whole thing on the projector screen. =)

More show of genki-ness when Jerry gave Zai a kiss and a rose (isn't that a Seal song?) during their duet. Jerry yasashii ne...

One more time, Show Me Your Love was a great number. Zaizai was shaking his butt nicely, Vanness and Ken worked the crowd singing closely to the crown and throwing kisses!

As they sung Goodbye, I was again in tears because this trip is coming to a close and I am not only saying goodbye to Japan but to F4 and the many friends who spent time with me - Mayo, Minori, Minori no onechan (gomen ne I forgot her name), Chicharu-chan, Satoko, Sakura, Kana, Yuichi-san, Eve, Yoke-chan, Winnie, Pyo, Michi, Sylvia, Naomi and Jasmine.

The show was made more special because I was already going home and not seeing the Oct 8 show and as I told my seatmate who is now a new friend, Manami, she gave me the pen light as a souvenir to take home. How could I stop crying?

The boys came out one more time after the encore because no one simply moved from their seat. They said their goodbyes and thank you's one more time with Zaizai bowing for so long at each part of the stage. That was really kakkoi. Again, how could I stop crying?

It was only when I was hustling out of the venue and I felt someone pat my back and said daijoubu (it's ok) that I stopped crying. Kyoko, from Kobe who I bump into everywhere from Taipei to Yokohama and now Tokyo was behind me and saying kiotskette kudasai (be careful). I laughed and told her that she should be the one to take care because she got hurt during the stampede in Taipei last January.

So one more time, goodbye F4... so long my boys. Until the day that I would say "hao jiu bu jian".

Note: Thanks to May for the correction of my chinese pinyins. =)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

F4 Japan Tour 2008 in Yokohama...All to Myself

Last night, I had F4 all to myself at the Yokohama Arena because I ended up watching the kick-off concert of F4’s 3 city, 7 show tour hitori ne – alone. For some reason whoever was supposed to watch with me did not show up.

I was even excited to go to the arena from where I am staying in the suburbs of Tsurugamine, Yokohama. I arrived at Shin-Yokohama (some 8 local train stations away and 5 subway stations from downtown Yokohama) at 5pm. My ticket said gates will open at 6m and show will start at 7pm. Since I was early and hungry, I decided to find a good place to eat and gladly found it not far away from the arena.

I was back at the arena as the gates were just opened. Following the throng of people, I went about finding my seat. My F8-39 seat was a lower level seat on eye level with the stage. My SMAP concert arena tickets would still be “the” arena ticket for me so far in my fangirl days but I’m not complaining since the venue is not as gigantic as the Tokyo Dome. I can still see them clearly without having to resort to binoculars.

Lights went off at 7:15 pm and the show started. The concept of the introduction was legends and knights. There were 4 legends from the North, South, East and West. I could not remember who is which because I was focused on the entrance of each member from the 4 ends of the stage. The member nearest me was Zaizai. Perfect! =)

Opening number is obviously Waiting for You. All 10,000 plus ladies in the house went wild. Jerry was handsome and looking cool. Zaizai was his usual smiling self, gained weight (sexy...) with his blue hair. Ken thank God shaved all the hair on his face and looks healthy (he is not fat! just filled out nicely with a tiny belly..hahaha!) Vanness on the other is buffed as usual and for some reason looks like the Asian version of Prince. I love the guy but he just went a bit overboard with the eyeliner.

After Waiting for You, F4 sang the old familiar Can’t Help Falling in Love with You. A flash back of all their most popular music videos were shown and then Ken came on for a solo. He sang a song which I could not remember the title (something about a new day) and Lalala which everyone was happy to sing along with. Then Zaizai came on to do his solo of some jazzy song with a cute choreography. Yes folks, Zaizai danced! After the upbeat number Zaizai sang Missing You. Next to come on is Jerry introduced via a little boy fantasy concept singing a newly arrange song which again I could not remember the title (Memory Pieces! It was my LSS the whole day today..hahaha!). The cute number ended with a lucky fan getting a cute and big Winnie the Pooh teddy bear from Jerry.

Zaizai came on to fill in a gap and asked the audience to do the wave and then Vanness came on to do a solo. He sang a song I like (Mama?) with back-up vocals, then another ballad and finally segueing to Listen to Your Heart. By this time, the boy (oops, he’s already 30 now!) has already thrown his top away. I was actually waiting when he would do it. =)

Then it was Ken again. And to my surprise and delight, he tapped danced and sang a jazzy version of Ai Bu Ding Tian. The guy obviously used his idle time well because he was just perfect tapping away. I just wished he practiced the dance while singing because there were times that I could not hear his voice from gasping for air. Nevertheless he deserved a huge applause which the crowd did give. Ken’s next number was well-timed because he sang an acoustic ballad in English. Folks, sorry about my many senior moments. I will just edit my post later when I’ve done a little digging in my files.

Up next was Zaizai again singing two Japanese songs in a row – his own Wherever you Are and the national romantic ballad of the Japanese I Love You. The Japanese ladies in the house, which is most of them, can only exclaim sugoii! If he forgot even a word of the songs, I did not notice. Then there was about 3 seconds of dead silence and Vanness came back on singing something about Lucky Love with a guest DJ/rapper who I don’t know (hahaha!!). It was Jerry again after Vanness and sang (was it? it is!) One Meter. My ears ached but I forgave him after a second because he was just looking so hot!! =) After his gut wrenching song he walked over to a piano and played a bar of the scintillating Twinkle, twinkle little stars moving on to his cover of the Japanese version of Wo Ke Yi (part of Mars OST). While singing this song, the trailer of his new drama Starlit was being played at the big screen. It looked like its going to be a good drama.

I never thought I’d hear Mama Zuo sang live but last night Zaizai delighted his fans with his airport where in the world theme number. Aside from dancing, Zaizai went on a harness and did back flips and all sorts of flying antics. It became my favourite solo of the show!

As the show seem to be winding down, out came Ken and Vanness singing Wo Bushi F4 rock version! It was a fantastic number and fantastic to hear them singing Zaizai’s song. And then Zaizai popped out of center stage wearing a hospital jacket...of course everyone guessed that he will sing Jerry’s song from the drama. Suddenly Jerry came out also wearing the hospital jacket so the whole arena went wild because they sang duet. It was such a great segment that it became my favourite group number of the whole show.

Then the boys sang old favourites from At the First Step and Season of Fireworks. Thank you speeches followed and finally Goodbye from the latest album. As they disappeared from the stage, the crowd kept on clapping and chanting F4. We knew they would come out again. They have not sung the F4 global anthem!

They all came out at my side of the stage and I almost fell off my seat with how tight and skinny Zaizai’s jeans are. Both he and Jerry were wearing jeans and boots but Jerry’s was a bit loose. I would have died twice if Jerry was wearing skin tight jeans too! So of course they sang Can’t Lose You and Meteor Rain as the encore numbers. Now it’s perfect.

As I run outside of the arena to catch my trains, I thought to myself that though it was the first show and there were some off key singing the overall grade for the show in my opinion is excellent. The costumes were not too over the top. Although the stage is simple and set up like a cross, overall direction and production design was good. Visual and hydraulic equipment were used very well and they did not scrimp on hiring back-up dancers. The band is of course from Taiwan and all are friends of Vanness. The re-arrangement of their old songs was fantastic.

Congratulations F4! Wish to see Tokyo.

** Sorry no photos. Cameras were not allowed too.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

SMAP Concert..Yume Janai (It's Not a Dream)

I was not so happy to arrive in Tokyo yesterday (Sept. 29). Aside from the rains, the traffic from the airport to our hotel killed me. We wanted to try and get tickets to the Sept. 29 concert of SMAP but after checking-in at our hotel at around 5:30pm, tired and have not eaten since 9am, all we can do was drop our bags at the hotel and find something to eat in the Ikebukuro area.

After successfully finding a McDonald's (hahaha!), we decided to just get to HMV to get our copy of SMAP's latest cd Super Modern Artistic Performance. Once back in the hotel, I surfed local tv and much to my delight, there was a replay of an old Pussma (Kusanagi Tsuyoshi's show) episode with Kimura Takuya guesting. I set about preparing from the next day and promptly fell asleep.

Tuesday was another rainy and gloomy day. Plus temperatures suddenly dropped to 16 degrees (61 degrees) which for Filipinos like me is already collllddd! Vic, my SMAP buddy and I are so excited to get to Tokyo Dome but we had to content ourselves going to Shinjuku unti it was time to get to the Dome.

We knew we had good tickets but we did not realize just how good!!! The saying that good things come to those who wait is true in this instance. C-17 is an arena seat right in front of the right hanamichi (stage). 10 meters away from any of the SMAP member who would come to that part of the stage. 5 rows from the railing. What can a fangirl do but scream and jump when we were ushered to our seat! I mean sugoii! Wow!

The show started at exactly 6pm and lasted for a wonderful 4 hours!!! Talk about value for money, even if we had to fly to Japan to watch it. It was really great value. I have only been to Sample Bang in person but have watch all of SMAP's concert on dvd and I must say that they have exceeded themselves in terms of concept for this show.

I liked their horizontal walk on harness during the opening number. I loved the vampire concept which they've taken to the sequence break clips. The songs were spaced out well to give the boys the time to breath and allow them to dance beautifully. And most of all, I loved the arrangements of old the jazzy Tomadachie, Say What You Will. I closed my eyes amidst 55,000 people in the Dome and just enjoyed the music. Also the lullaby rendition of Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana in the sequence clip..

Now the main reason that I was there is this member called Kimura Takuya. With a stage so big, my eyes were literally glued to Takuya. Since we are in front of the right stage, were always excited to see him sexily sashay (there's no other word for it, believe me!) down the catwalk to our area. We saw every bit of facial expression, stared him down from head to toe. I especially remember the time he just popped out in front of us during Keep On. He was just gorgeous. Of course, I couldn't stop screaming when Takuya did his solo Style..he was wearing a lilac T-shirt with his green pants! Again, a purple person can only take so much! The description during the individual intro was soooo apt - sexy, wild and hotstuff!! He is the only Japanese who looks gorgeous in an American Indian outfit with a feather on his hair. I just don't know how he does it.

But then I also get to enjoy the other members. Especially since they insist on coming to our side of the stage. One member I enjoyed in this concert is Tsuyoshi Kusanagi who is actually my least favorite. I love his Sou Desu number. It has a catchy tune and dance moves that were so easy to follow. Plus other SMAP members were backing up. All the time in this song Takuya was in our side (sorry can't help but remember again..hehe) asking everyone to do the dance with him.

Aside from songs from the new album, I was happy to sing old songs like Sekai Hitotsu Dake no Hana, Yozora no Mukuo, Sonomama, Aoi Inazuma and many others. When I heard them sing Orenji, I couldn't help the tears from flowing. It is one of my favorite songs. I was just so overwhelmingly happy. I can only tell my Japanese friend Minori in halting words..ureshii..san nen..mattemashita. I waited 3 years to see them again and the difficulties and challenges that I had to overcome flashed before me.

I was back to singing along and dancing when another favorite was sung - Original Smile. I thought the show was finished after Arigato but then there was a second encore. This time, Takuya rode the crane on top of us. Suddenly he dropped his drinking bottle!!! My heart stopped beating for a second..could it be? Unfortunately it dropped directly behind us.

It took us 30 mins to get out of the Dome and into the train. And in the rain! I did not care about getting wet but I just had to take off my cardigan and put it over my bag of concert goods. As I take pictures of my loot, all I can say is that IT IS NOT A DREAM!! I came, I bought and I watched.

And it won't hurt to dream again...