It’s been quite a year. Zush said it a few days ago and well, it made me want to say it to. Putting my original Idea on the shelf for a week, I’ll try and entertain you with my reflections on the year – a year which has seen me ignore my educational responsibilities, pick up a book for the first time in years, discover the best band in the world and being given the opportunity to write about it all. Did I mention I met some pretty neat people along the way? I’ll try and keep it focused, I don’t want to be self indulgent here, just honest.
The death of Zush
Not quite as drastic as that, although I’m assured, the pain was just as good. I trust his judgement. Zush, headman of Kakko-ii and a good friend went M.I.A for two days. Now, that’s not really that long. Yet recently, Zush has been a regular on his forum. I’ve been able to ponder on all sorts of issues ranging from the state of Morning Musume right down to the distaste of a certain brand of White beer with him. Now, my family hasn’t had the best of times in recent years, a runaway farther isn’t exactly brilliant, especially when he’d been such a good role model for me and my sister and a great husband to my mother in the past. He was a good man, at least for the better part of my childhood. Quite frankly, it makes you appreciate the finer things in life, that’s not to say I’ve lived my life to the fullest. Often it’s quite the opposite. One thing life has taught me; be glad to meet good decent people. I’ve been gifted in that respect I’m sure, to have seen many bright lights walk into and out of my life, I can only be thankful (and I am). But as life would dictate, –Once like a spark’. Life moves on and so do friends. At a time in my youth when everyone is going in opposite directions, the sparks that took so long to burn slowly turn their backs on you, and fizzle out like a slow death.
I’m thankful to have met Zush for sure. I know we’re just –net friends’ but still, a good friend is a good friend all the same. At the very least, if I ever did meet the guy, I’m sure we’d have plenty to talk about over a few bottles of beer, in a nice bar, his choice and hell; I’ll buy the first round.
When he told me why he’d been inactive for two days, I was stunned. “I was in Hospital” the first thing I glared at when an email came through. Zush had been hit suddenly with Kidney stones which, as the subtitle suggests, felt pretty much like death. Of course I was worried after hearing this. When a friend feels like he’s nearly died, well, it doesn’t call for champagne. Thankfully he’s ok now, perhaps too ok. He told me this had given him time to finish his blog, which he’d been absent from for two weeks. When it was posted up, his reflection on the year was quite touching for me. Partly because I agreed with almost everything he had to say on H!P’s year in the trenches, it was the personal touch that made it very real. I smiled when I read it anyway. This consequently made me reflect on my year, a year which has made me question my life. Sounds like the beginnings of a very tired cliché right? But it’s true, though sadly, the whole self-discovery thing is a little too late, story of my life.
A year of Morning Musume (you wanna blog about it!?)
I know when I ramble on about H!P, especially when it concerns Morning Musume, I talk as if I was there from the very beginning. I was definitely –not’ there in 1997. In fact I can tell you, as a kid growing up at the time; I was still getting high off the Spice Girls, chasing my school girl crush, and playing a lot of soccer down the park with friends.
The beginning of my summer vacation was the beginning of my love for everything (almost everything) H!P related. I’ve known about them for less than a year then, yet I go on about Tsunku’s empire as if I was part of the team that helped monopolise a large portion of the Jpop scene for many years. I’m sure I’m not the only one to get wind of Tsunku’s franchise late though.
Once you fall for the charm of his Idols, there’s really no turning back. I may talk like I know it all but I don’t mean to. I’m just passionate about the cause. I think every blog writer should be thankful for having the opportunity to ramble sweet nothings to an audience. And if you are able to attain a readership, good or bad press, you should be bloody thankful. Whether you’re gifted the chance to write or crafted an opportunity or outlet to do so, I think you have a responsibility to write truthfully, objectively and of course, inspire us all with subjectivity. I’ll leave it to Ray Mescallado of Americanwota to digress into the realm of what a –good’ blogger should be. I trust his insight a lot more than I do mine. I also happily go along with his appraisal of Craig from Your opinion doesn’t count. We may not vent our anger or delights in the same manner, but I love his brashness just as Ray does. He sometimes pops into Kakko-ii to; we rarely exchange words if truth be told. But we’ve certainly bashed the reputation of England together a few times (it’s ok, we’re both UK citizens).
I’m still learning my craft as a writer, god knows I’ve written some bad stuff, but I’m happy to be along side every blog writer who writes about Jpop. Morning Musume is a timeline, an ongoing history that persists to this present day. Regardless of whether you joined the party from the conception of Morning Musume or whether you were won over by the exploits of GAM, we’ll all follow the same timeline eventually. Who hasn’t looked back at an early Utaban or Hello! Morning and said “Those were the good old days”? We all get hit by nostalgia yet, we were never there (well, some of us have missed a fair bit). Why do it then? When you’ve been going strong for almost 10 years, though I’m sad to say recent MM have seen better days, you’re going to gather quite a scrapbook of moments. This is a group that was never just a group, more a companionship of sorts, a family. Anyone who reaches out to those many moments becomes part of the extended family thereafter. I just pull out the pictures and write about them. You have the final say, that’s what I think anyway. I just hope I’m doing my job right.
Can I get Jam with that?
In the hope of becoming a better qualified H!P fan I joined Kakko-ii.com in the summer. I had tried a couple forums before and a couple since. It’s fair to say that some see more activity than Kakko-ii, some even offer more goodies to the loyal customer. But frankly, many of these forums contain a lot of pretentious bastards & crazed fanboys. Kakko-ii has many members on its books, and I’m sure many enjoy the great picture archives that Zush Kindly shares, there’s more to come to ^__^ but the forum’s active members are quite small. This isn’t all that bad. Big forums are often impersonal affairs, too many members, too many posts overlooked or ignored; no one can quite keep up. Kakko-ii is a small hub of comrades. We all know each other quite well and we get on.
Other than Zush, one other member has really captured my imagination. Her alias on Kakko-ii is Jam-a 14 year old girl from Finland. It’s been cheekily talked about once or twice before *looking at Craig of Your opinion doesn’t count* that there maybe something more going on between us. With there being a 6 year gap, the very first thing to say is “no”. I’m sure Jam would be quicker than me to deny such a mischievous remark. However, I feel we get on very well and I’m happy to call her a good friend. They’re in short supply at the moment, I’ve still got a few left, hell, I go to university with one of them but most are living there own lives now, trying to find a function in life. I guess I should be doing the same (discussed later). But Jam and I have many things in common; we can certainly talk about food forever. This confuses us both. Her school nurse suggests she could put on a little more weight and me being a university student, a meal a day is common place. Don’t look at me like that; the beer money has to come from somewhere. We also share the same views on many Jpop related subjects and well, sometimes we talk about all sorts of crap. Maybe this friendship works because I often forget I’m twenty, and I’ve met people well into their 30’s who have very little colloquial skills whatsoever, Jam could talk circles around them no problem.
Kakko-ii is, if I can be so crude as to say, “Totally awesome”. I’ve met two people I could happily call family and the roundtable we sit at (when we can) promotes a fair bit of conjecture on all sorts of things on and off topic. I can only say its fun. A quick mention goes out to –Kimi’ who has only recently joined the ranks. He’s a fellow Malaysian and a good upbeat guy, I met him before on another forum, I’m sure he’s following me. LOL I’m joking of course.
Ray Mescallado (I owe him my blogging badge)
If it wasn’t for Ray Mescallado I probably wouldn’t be blogging right now. Upon reading one of Zush’s posts, Ray happened to notice one of my comments- a lengthy few paragraphs of something or other. This got me noticed and soon enough I was a blogger. Sometimes life is as simple as the fact, though it often isn’t. This time I got lucky.
I decided to mention Ray in my last blog, actually, I pretty much grabbed him to come take a look. I of course meant it as it was written-an apology for his benefit as I know he reads Kakko-ii posts. I really didn’t know whether he would enjoy the read. There are different levels of liking someone, especially when it comes to Sayumi Michishige and I couldn’t gage how much he liked her. Sorry Ray, I wish it was a bit of Irony. I’m just not that clever. This being a blog entirely on Sayu, I wanted to give him a heads up. Upon reading his earlier works it’s now clear to me he loves her, my bad. Is it too late to say “I meant it as a Joke”?
I’m a reader before I’m a writer and Americanwota.com is a sure-fire way of accessing the good reads with ease. Every week I wait for the Sunday blog roundup to see what he has to say. I love his style of writing and as a critic; he’s by no means afraid to have a dig at himself. His opinion obviously counts for more than he’d like to take credit for. A few fellow bloggers whose work gets reviewed by Ray each week come to see how well they’ve done. I’m not gonna lie, If Ray loves what I write and praises it, I’m pretty darned happy with myself. I don’t want to embarrass him though, I’m just saying, he’s a respected guy within the blogsphere and I certainly appreciate his musings.
Overall, a weird year
Oh dear, this has become more personal than I’d have liked, I know you’re thinking the same. I blame Zush’s Kidney stones and latest blog for my sudden change of topic :P. Maybe it’s the season, a time when we all look back on the year and say with a smile “shit”. I know I’ve got my regrets. A certain girl works at a Chinese food shop on Fridays near where I live at university. The countless times I’ve gone in for her number and come out with a bunch of noodle snacks I didn’t want, “Oh for F*£$ sake!!!”. Truth be told, I love the food, reminds me of happier times (the years spent visiting my birth place-Malaysia and relatives in Singapore). But still, I’d rather have her number, this girl is beautiful and more importantly, Chinese. Though my mother has no problems with who I date, I know deep down she’d love for me to end up marring a Chinese girl. Being half Chinese and half Malay myself, I feel I have an advantage. This is not the case at all. Not with my woman skills. At least the food is good; god knows I need a few more test runs.
University has been a drag, I have lost all passion for what I do and frankly, I’ve failed my second year. I’ve taken up reading with delight, never have I read so much so profusely. It’s all non-fiction of course, mostly about all the places I want to visit in the future. I have a passion to explore the world. It’s never that grand to be honest. But still, I’m sick of England and have eyes only for Singapore. I’ve been there many times in the past and I love it to death. If someone offered me a job there, I’d gladly become an expatriate. Japan should get a mention. I’d live there to, it’s probably obvious right? Travel writing has caught my attention the most, some very good reads. If you asked me what I wanted to do it would be to travel write for a living, Malaysia and Singapore certainly, as the written texts on both countries are virtually non- existent. I reckon I have a travelogue in me somewhere. If anyone wants to give me a job by the way, just say. I have no problems in becoming an expat, seriously, I don’t. I have no clue who I am, but I have dreams now, as unattainable as they are, they’re still my dreams. It took me the best part of this year to figure it out, but I got there. Somehow, it’s a very hollow victory.
H!P has seen one hell of a year to, Zush pretty much covered all my thoughts on the issue however, read his blog and you know where I stand. The end of the year has seen me fall in love with writing, Japan, H!P and Jpop/rock in general, fall out of love with university-the repercussions of my actions will surely surface when the time is right. Life seems pretty dead-ended. But hey, I get to blog about something I love, that’s surely something right? Oh boy, I’m in serious shit when the academic year draws to a close, serious shit indeed. How to describe this blog? Stupid comes to mind, I know Jam says I call myself stupid too much, but it’s true. All I’ve done is wine on about my year. Perhaps it gives you an insight into a blogger’s mind and or life. I’m sure it’s far less romantic than that, I know it is.
Raise a glass
Here’s to everyone that’s mattered this year, including with my warmest regards, all the above who were mentioned. Wow, this blog is long, even for me. Don’t worry though, normal blogging will resume after this. A special raise of the glass has to go to Zush, he lets me blog my ass off :). Am I here to stay? I hope so.