Fifteen years ago today, a boy band from Japan had their debut performance on a cruise ship in Hawaii. The group consisted of five guys: Ohno Satoshi 大野 智, Sakurai Sho 櫻井 翔, Aiba Masaki 相葉 雅紀, Ninomiya Kazunari 二宮 和也, and Matsumoto Jun 松本 潤. They were just scrawny little boys at the time, (between 16-19 years old) but they have matured into some seriously sexy men.
Arashi at debut, September 1999 (L-R: Ohno Satoshi, Matsumoto Jun, Aiba Masaki, Ninomiya Kazunari, Sakurai Sho.)
Arashi: photoshoot for their 2013 CD, “Love” (L to R: Matsumoto Jun, Sakurai Sho, Ohno Satoshi, Aiba Masaki, Ninomiya Kazunari)
The title of their debut song was also their group name: Arashi 嵐, meaning “storm.” I haven’t found video of their actual debut performance online, but I did manage to find a grainy LQ version of the A.RA.SHI PV on Facebook. Just clickety click the pic below to watch it… They were so adorable back then!
Arashi in the video for A.RA.SHI, Nov 1999.
Some of the guys weren’t all that interested in debuting as singers at that particular time, but for some reason, they stuck with it, and I’m sure glad they did.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, ARASHI!
I hope to enjoy your music for another 15 years! Maybe THIS will be the year I finally get to see you perform live… Trust me, I’m working on it! ❤
I missed yesterday… oops! In my defense, it was the first day of English summer camp at school, so I was swamped, but I was also hit with the headache from hell, so I literally left school, came home, curled up in a ball and went to sleep…
Well… after I watched the teaser for JYJ’s Back Seat MV. Oh man… the sexiness… I was really wishing I didn’t have the headache so that I could watch it over and over and over again all afternoon/evening.
Anyway, back to my countdown and back to Japan in 2010 for the last song in JYJ’s A-Nation set in 2010, W: a beautiful ballad with some very moving lyrics. And there’s a story behind them… (It’s a bit of a long one, so I’ll share the video first and then the story.)
The songs on JYJ’s album The… were the first ones released by JYJ after their injunction against SM Entertainment. In fact, they weren’t even called JYJ yet, they were marketed by Avex in Japan as Junsu, Jejung, Yuchun. This particular song is said to be a message to the 2 remaining members of DBSK, Yunho and Changmin; and that, although they didn’t write the lyrics themselves, they sat down with the lyricist, Inoue Shinjiro, who conveyed their feelings for them. (http://aozorajae.blogspot.ca/2011/06/meaning-behind-jyjs-w.html)
To my knowledge, however, JYJ themselves have never confirmed nor denied that the song is about Yunho and Changmin, and since Avex halted their activities in Japan and JYJ subsequently filed a lawsuit against Avex, they no longer sing, nor mention the 4 songs on the The… mini album. However, this may change, going forward, since Junsu sang a medley of some old Tohoshinki (DBSK in Japan) songs at a recent concert in Japan… time will tell, I guess.
Regarding the translated lyrics in the video, it should be noted that in Japanese the “I” and “we” pronouns are seldom required. If you are speaking about something, it is understood to be about the speaker, unless otherwise stated. So, the people who translated these lyrics used “we” and “us” in lines like “We are painting the W in the same way / We will shine more and more so that you can find us” When really, it could just as easily be “I” and “me.” So this could be a song about someone yearning and waiting for a lost love just as easily as a song about 3 bandmates who miss their other 2 members. They do say ‘bokutachi’ and ‘bokutachi no’ at a couple of points in the song, which means we/us and ours, but, again, I think it can be interpreted to be either we the singers, or we the singer plus the person being sung to.
Furthermore, at one point in the song, Yoochun is credited with singing the lyric “We love you both,” however, the official lyrics on the CD say “In love with love” for that line, though it does sound a bit like “we love you both” in this live version, so the idea of Yoochun changing it when singing live is possible, though, to me, it still sounds more like he’s singing the lyrics as they are in the official version.
One thing that people put forth as an argument against it being a message to the other two members is that whenever the song refers to “you” it uses “kimi” which is singular, instead of “kimitachi” the plural form. But it’s music, and people take stylistic liberties with grammar in music and poetry all the time. Also, if it was a message, they might not have wanted to be completely blatant about it either, so using “kimi” would keep the intended recipient(s) vague.
Those who aren’t fully familiar with JYJ and DBSK may wonder why people think it’s a message to the 2 members that stayed with SM Ent? Well, other than the blog post by Inoue Shinjiro, which I’m not actually sure is authentic – I’ve never been ambitious enough to search for his original post – there is one major reason. The W in the sky that the song refers to is the constellation Cassiopeia: the constellation after which Dong Bang Shin Ki’s official fan club is named. It was named after Cassiopeia specifically because of its 5 star W formation, representing the 5 members of DBSK. Because Dong Bang Shin Ki literally means “The rising gods of the east” and where else do the gods reside but in the heavens, right?
So, despite the fact that JYJ never confirmed it, and that the translators used their own interpretations in their translation I think it’s entirely possible that the song is a message to Yunho and Changmin. Releasing a song called W that specifically refers to the constellation that their fan club is named after is too coincidental not to mean something. Plus, their emotions seem so raw while performing it. And, I’m pretty certain that JYJ still believed that they would be back with the other 2 some day because of things that were said when Junsu had a rather infamous Twitter meldown in January of 2011, so the idea of them using a song to communicate with the former bandmates that they were cut off from by the lawsuit is completely feasible. But, I will leave you to make up your own minds… Thoughts?
Um, so I was going to conclude the A-Nation videos in this post, but then a behind the scenes video of the Marie Claire Korea photo shoot came out, and… well, that’s just too much perfection to not share.
So, go ahead and watch, it’ll be the best 55 seconds of your day:
My only complaint about this video is that Junsu never smiles or laughs in it. We see happy, laughing Yoochun, and happy teasing Jaejoong, but Junsu looks very stoic throughout the video. 😦 I love his 으걍걍 moments better than anything else, so, I’m a bit sad to not see any.
(For those of you who are reading this to keep up with me in Korea, and not out of any love for JYJ or Kpop, 으걍걍 is the syllable set they use to describe Junsu’s loud, raucous laughter.)
Here, rather than having me explain it, just watch this video instead. It’s hilarious and adorable.
Woohoo! As of tomorrow, my # of days to countdown will start with a 1 instead of a 2. ^_^
In celebration, I give you a 2 for 1 deal (or as they call it here in Korea, 1 plus 1). This video returns us to A-Nation 2010 in Japan, where JYJ performed Get Ready, a fun, upbeat danceable song, and The Long Way, a pretty little mid-tempo number that I fell for the very first time I heard it.
I love Yoochun’s voice in Long Way; it’s got such a pretty quality to it. I think, because he is in a group with two vocal powerhouses like Junsu and Jaejoong, people tend to overlook Yoochun’s vocal abilities, and that’s a shame, because the boy has some serious singing chops.
Overall, I really love JYJ singing in Japanese. If their tour brings them to Japan, I hope it’s on a weekend that I can fly over to see it. And I hope I can somehow manage to get tickets for it too. From all accounts, the ticketing process in Japan is not exactly user-friendly…
For tonight’s countdown post, I need to leave Japan in 2010 for a moment, and take you to Seoul in 2014. To the Opera Theater in the Seoul Arts Center, to be exact.
Tonight I had the immense pleasure of seeing Junsu perform the role of Dracula in Dracula: The Musical. That man truly does have a talent for musical theatre. He was absolutely, positively, delightfully flawless. Phenomenal, even. I can’t actually believe how moved I was by his performance. It was all in Korean, and I don’t understand enough Korean to know what was being said and sung on stage tonight, but the emotion that Junsu infuses into every note told me all I needed to know. When Mina refused him and broke his heart, I felt his pain, and cried with him. When he became vengeful and predatory, stalking Lucy without mercy, he made my heart pound in my chest and my breath hitch. (And yes, I really, really wished I was Lucy in those moments.) Predatory Junsu is seriously the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life, hands down. No wonder Lucy was powerless to resist and even Mina couldn’t deny how drawn she was to him. Junsu filled the stage with his charisma, and the chemistry he had with both female leads was palpable.
It was a fantastic production, one of the best I’ve ever seen, and, even though I’m not a musical theatre fan, I’ve actually seen quite a few of them. Even disregarding the Junsu factor, it was flawless. The sets were stunning. The cast was phenomenal. The music was SO GOOD! It took my breath away. I hope they release a soundtrack (with Junsu, of course) because I want to have those songs. What? Did I just say that I want to own a musical theatre soundtrack??? I think Junsu is turning me into a musical theatre lover.
Here’s a video of Junsu and Jung Sun-Ah performing Loving You Keeps Me Alive. Give it a listen. You won’t regret it.
We weren’t allowed to take pics during the performance, and my seats were super far away anyway, so I didn’t even bother to try during the curtain call either. I did, however take pics of the signs etc in the lobby of the theatre…
I’m not gonna lie, I’m still giddy about getting a floor ticket for JYJ’s Hong Kong show. I booked my flights and everything today, so the excited high I had from booking my concert ticket continued on throughout the day. Being able to see them a second time is so amazing and makes me so happy.
Now I have 2 concerts to count down to; that’s cause for celebration. So, in celebration of my ticket acquisition and impending Dracula!Junsu moments tomorrow, and continuing my count down to concert #1, I have something naughty to share: Junsu’s performance of Intoxication at A-Nation in Japan 2010.
Junsu performs Intoxication at A-Nation 2010
^ Just look at those sexy shoulders…
Junsu was the DBSK member with the most innocent, cute image, and then all of a sudden, during Mirotic promotions, he comes out looking all sorts of sexy. And next thing you know, he releases this Japanese solo number.
The translator made some rather odd word choices in this version, but you can still get the gist of the meaning. This song is Junsu being downright raunchy. And I gotta admit, I don’t mind one single bit…
This is an excellent time to be a JYJ fan. Today, they announced the name and release date for their full-length comeback album: comes out on July 29th. To say that I’m looking forward to it would be the understatement of the century.
Along with the announcement, CjeS released concept photos for the new album. There was a really good one of the guys:
Jaejoong, Yoochun and Junsu – concept photo
I didn’t realize until I saw the picture above, but it’s been ages since I’ve seen Yoochun in full K-pop makeup. And I’ve missed it. Jaejoong and Junsu have both released solo albums, so they’ve been in their K-pop idol personas quite often in the past few years, but Yoochun has been focusing on acting, and hasn’t sported guyliner in far too long. It also looks like he might be sporting some sexy highlights in his hair too. I approve. 🙂
A post on the JYJ Official Facebook page said that the 3 members wish they can make people happy with JYJ music. Well, I, for one, am happy just at the sheer thought of them releasing an album together!
Another reason that it’s a good time to be a JYJ fan is that Junsu has just started his run in Dracula: The Musical. Two of my friends and I are going to see it on Saturday (and then I maaaaaaay have gone and bought myself tickets for another 2 performances in the first week of August), and I can’t wait! He is going to be fantastic in that role.
Aaaand, if all that good stuff isn’t enough, Jaejoong’s drama Triangle is doing well in ratings. And Yoochun’s big screen debut is also just around the corner! And August 9th is their concert in Seoul! And!!! Tickets for their Hong Kong show on August 16 go onsale tomorrow and I am going to try sooo hard to get one. All I need is one standing room floor ticket and I will be a happy camper. Wish me luck!!!
I forgot to make a countdown post last night (no reason – thought about it while cooking dinner and promptly forgot afterwards). So, today I will post twice. Once now and once later tonight.
I’m going to stick with JYJ’s Japanese songs today, because they really are wonderful. And I’m going to try to stick with the A-Nation 2010 performances, because they’re my favourites. 🙂
In fact, the video I’ll share today is one of my very favourite performances of anything ever. When I’m feeling super sad or angry or any other emotion that requires me to distract myself with something really warm and fuzzy so I can return to functioning like a normal human, THIS performance of THIS song is what I call The Big Guns. It’s what I turn to when nothing else will take me to my happy place. And, shockingly enough, JUNSU IS NOT A PART OF THIS PERFORMANCE!
What could be so wonderful that it doesn’t even need Junsu to be one of my favourite things ever? Jaejoong and Yoochun performing Colors: Melody and Harmony. A song they co-wrote in celebration of Hello Kitty’s 35th anniversary. Check it out:
Look at how genuinely happy they look. They seem unable to contain their glee. This performance took place in August 2010, and was one of their first after leaving SM Ent (the first ones were the Thanksgiving Live in Dome concerts in Osaka and Tokyo in June, then this was the next one after that) and before Avex decided to be dickheads and halt all of JYJ’s activities in Japan, so I think they had a cool feeling of freedom for the first time in a while.
And Jaejoong messing up at the end… Adorableness personified. I rewatch that part over and over and over again and never get bored.
Anyway, this is my happy place, and I love that the person who posted the video also considers it her happy place so much that it’s what she named the video on YT. ^_^
On this the day that marks 25 sleeps until I see JYJ in concert, I want to take a trip to Japan, and bring you some of the songs from the first album they released as a trio. The album is called The, and JYJ weren’t even JYJ yet. They were simply referred to as Junsu, Jejung, Yuchun.
Tonight, I bring you いつだって君に (Always with you). It’s such a pretty song… Jaejoong’s voice as it starts is just so beautiful and clear. All 3 of them sound great, but Jae’s introductory vocals just flow over you like silk gliding across your skin.
I have to apologize. The version I wanted to share was of their performance at A-Nation 2010, because that whole show is just wonderful to watch, but all the videos of it that I found had the sound removed for copyright infringement. This video shows scenes from that show (the ones where they’re actually singing) interspersed with scenes from their Thanksgiving Live in Dome Concert. It’s still good, but it isn’t the one I wanted to share…
On the up side, if you can speak Spanish, there’s translated lyrics right there for ya. 😉