Friday, 17 January 2014

Internet Detox

I mentioned previously in my 86th Digest that lately, due to circumstances in my personal life, I have been feeling down. I can't say I am miserable, because I'm not, but I have just wanted to rest more lately because, truth be told, I am mentally and physically (to a certain degree) tired, and with things that have happened recently, I feel like things have taken a toll on my stress levels.

You see, this week I have been made redundant. I don't want to make a sob story out of this, but the place where I mainly worked is closing due to financial issues, and a robbery in one of the two shops I (used to) work at did not help at all. I knew it would happen, but realising I no longer have a job has knocked me far worse than I thought, so I have that playing on my mind as well as the fact that now I have to find another job, 8 months shy of going off to University (if I go).

But even before all of this happened I decided to take a short (and unexpected) break from the internet for a few days, and I just relaxed and read my books, played with my niece or spent time with people, not once going on the internet or my laptop except for watching episodes of a show I had missed on TV, and honestly, I really enjoyed it. It was nice not having to feel like I needed to constantly check my Facebook, Twitter, e-mail or keep updated on the Idols I love... and I want that more, especially right now.

So that is why I have decided to go on an Internet Detox, or a break if you will. Completing my Digest today, I really felt like I wasn't putting in the effort I should be and that I really needed some sort of a break. I know I don't write a lot, but I do just want to break away from it and focus more on my personal life and try to relax some more as well.

I doubt that this will be long, I want to estimate a week or two, but I can't promise anything. I feel so bad for doing this, but right now I feel so distant from the online world that I think I really do need this. The circumstances I am currently in won't help with this feeling either, in fact I think it's the stress and worry I have right now that makes me want to do this more, so I think my wanting to take a break from blogging and the internet has come at a good time (in a sense). Honestly, I would rather come back to blogging happier than stay writing and feel depressed and down about myself when I could have done something about it.

I will keep up with my Digests, but they may come on Thursdays for a bit given how I am feeling, or even Fridays, and I might contribute to Selective Hearing, Idolminded and NekoPop a bit, but I won't write anything else on here until I feel up to it and like I am back to my normal self. It can take a week, or a bit longer. I don't know. I feel so bad for doing this, but I hope you all understand.

For these next few weeks, I will be looking for jobs, voluntary opportunities and sorting other things out like holidays and trips to where my future University is. I will be busy, but I will try and relax as well so that I don't get stupidly stressed, like I normally do. I will still be online, just not as much as I usually am.

When I next see you all in a regular Blog post, I hope that I will be a happier Chiima, one who has sorted out herself.

Ja ne~


Thursday, 16 January 2014

Okay! Musume Digest #86

Hey, where's the Digest, Dayo? It's right here!!! Are you ready to Digest?

This Week, in Idol News...

The Girls Live airs its first episode! Michishige Sayumi to challenge cooking! Tsunku to announce big news on January 22nd regarding Morning Musume '14! Nakky to get a PB! Berryz update their profiles! AKB48 members celebrate their coming-of-age ceremony! MomoClo Z's Reni celebrates her coming-of-age ceremony! Ohori Megumi is pregnant! Yasuda Kei gets wed! A few albums to be released soon! And more!!! Are you ready to Digest this meal?

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Yamakawa Risa has been Expelled, Chiima Thinks and Feels

On January 10th, it was reported that Houkago Princesses 4th Generation member Yamakawa Risa, the Chairman of Classical Ballet, has been dismissed from Houkago Princess and the company Princess Music as of January 8th, 2014.

The reason for Yamakawa's dismissal is due to a breach of contract, as she met with a fan the day after she had asked to suspend her performances until January in order to get treatment for her foot.

Here is the full announcement translated in English, with thanks to Steve of Selective Hearing. You can find the original report here.
Report on Yamakawa RisaJanuary 10, 2014 
4th Generation member Yamakawa Risa was taking leave from performance activity for treatment of her foot near the end of last year, but because of a rule violation, as of January 8th, she was dismissed from Houkago Princess and our company. 
To all of our supporting fans, we regret to inform you in this manner. 
A few days ago, there was an action performed that was deemed inappropriate, where Yamakawa interacted with a fan outside of work. 
Because of the treatment for her foot, she was scheduled to miss live appearances including the One Man Live on January 12 and individual handshake meeting on January 13 so she could rest, since, at the time, she could not even walk properly. She put in the request to leave for this period of time and it was accepted on grounds that she return to work with peace-of-mind, but Yamakawa was found meeting with a fan the next day. 
At first, for fact checking purposes, we tried to speak with the fan directly, but after finding out about this, we received a mail from Yamakawa stating her intention to resign from the group, saying she wanted to resign for a different reason, and soon after, we gave up trying to contact the fan after he fully stopped communicating with us.
Since the fan broke communication with us, we couldn’t confirm anything with him, and given the information we had, we had no choice but to take action against Yamakawa for breaking the rules as a member of Houkago Princess and causing a breach of contract with us as a company. Breach of contract was based on non-delivery of her duties as a member and any further communication with Yamakawa was handled directly by our lawyers. 
We strictly prohibit message exchange and communication between members of Houkago Princess and fans, whether it is through blogs, Twitter, or through letters sent to us directly. Even if you send letters, we cannot give you a direct response from the members. 
We also cannot share any of your personal information with the members, even if you send it in letters to us, whether it is your address, phone number, e-mail address, LINE ID, etc. Please note that if you include any of this information in your letters to the group members, we will not deliver it to them. 
If we find that this rule is broken again, not only will the member in question be banned from all activity with Houkago Princess and dismissed from the company by our lawyers, but we will consider taking legal action against the fan in question as well, and on top of being banned from attending any other Houkago Princess events in the future. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding. 
We truly apologize whole-heartedly to everyone who has supported the group and Yamakawa for the last year, and we hope you can still continue to support the other Houkago Princess members in the future, and we’ll do our best to continue our activities. 
Also, if you have a cheki ticket for Yamakawa Risa, please come to the corner of the area where the event is being held and let us know that you have one and we can exchange it for another member.

And so another HouPri member bites the dust... great.

I am really shocked by this announcement, because I liked Risarina a lot. She wasn't my favourite member, but she was a member that I liked to hear about and see, so to find out that this has happened... it was shocking.

However I was even more shocked by the entire report once Steve had kindly translated it for me when I asked him if he would. Even Steve was shocked I think, because as he said, this is pretty harsh, and as you can see from what has been written, Management are taking things to a whole new level in Houkago Princess, and it really upsets me.

I already knew that management were monitoring the girls' Twitter, e-mails, letters and blogs in case another 'Hitomi' incident happened, where one of the more known or popular members was found to be meeting up with fans and exchanging messages, but to bring the law into it is kind of intense and really really harsh. It's shocking, and as I said, it really upsets me and makes me feel uncomfortable as well.

I understand that this is what being a Japanese Idol is about; being unattainable and basically being there as an object of desire for fans, someone to like and look up to, or someone to fawn over. I understand that this is how the Idol industry works, but that does not mean I feel at ease with it. In fact, I feel less at ease with it now than I did before, because as Steve put it, this is Management basically claiming the members of HouPri as their property and if anyone dares to touch them in any way, they are no longer worth it. Reading this and realizing that has hit me seriously hard to be honest, and I just don't even know what to think...

Yes, I do think that Risarina shouldn't breach contract, and I find it good in a way that even the fan is being punished for this (HouPri Management never lets a fan who has basically helped to breach an Idols contract come back to the venue ever again) but I find this whole thing utterly stupid and upsetting, and I feel so bad for those girls, because they can't have a normal teenage or young adult life because they are 'owned' by a company who sell them on as products. I know that some of the girls enjoy this and want to be an Idol, but for those who feel the need to break out, being punished for basically being a teenager is not nice.

Sadly I know that we as fans can do nothing about it, because this is basically like Animal Cruelty; we know it goes on but, no matter how much we whinge, whine, cry and petition for change, it won't happen because we are in too deep with it already. Even if we do see a little change over time, like Noda Hitomi coming back and hjoining READY TO KISS or Sashihara Rino rising to the Top after adulterous pictures of her were given to a magazine or newspaper company, there is still no major change in the Idol industry that allows these girls to be girls. They are basically still products to the industry, and whilst I try to turn a blind eye to it sometimes, seeing something like this happen and then talking over it with Steve makes me realise just how upsetting this entire thing is for me as a fan, and how hard it is to think that this is what happens, and that there is no way of stopping it.

I love my Idols and I love Houkago Princess, I love them with all my heart, but I'm having a difficult time with this one, because this Report has shed a lot of light on a topic we all struggle to deal with as fans, and I honestly just don't know what to think right now.


Thursday, 9 January 2014

Okay! Musume Digest #85

Hello? Digest Dayo? Hold on a second, let me go get it for you... Minna! Are you ready to Digest? Let's GO!

This week, in Digest News...

Morning Musume, Up Up Girls and READY TO KISS give their New Year's Messages! Station♪ to release a new single! C-ute look HOT! Up Up Girls to release their second album! Bakusute Sotokande Icchome reveal their 1st Album covers! HKT to release their Stage DVD! New members to be added to Ebichu! And More! Are you ready to Digest into the New Year?

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

What do the Fans Want!? Is it even Necessary!? Morning Musume's 'What is LOVE?' Review x Rant!

All opinions within this post are totally my own and no one else's... er, well, it is my blog, who else's opinions would be on here!? Baka Chii!!! Tut!!! Still though... LEAVE YOUR BUTTHURT AT THE DOOR! THANK YOU!!!

This is more of a rant than a well-rounded post. YAY for letting loose sometimes xD

Good Lord, it feels like it has been forever since I last wrote, but that's all thanks to tiredness + a bit of horrible writers block. It is never nice to combine those two horrid things, I tell you! It puts a downer on my life a bit, because I do love my writing! Ah, where would I be without pen and paper?

... Oh wait, I would just be using a computer or typewriter instead, wouldn't I? Silly me!

So around this time last week, on News Years Day to be exact, Morning Musume had released their latest music video on Hello! Pro Station to the public known as The World Wide Web. Of course the reaction towards the new music video was a positive one, filled with bright, cheerful smiles, happiness and many joyous cries at seeing the video. Yes, everyone soon fell in love with it, cherishing the precious one that they had all been given and enjoying it greatly!

... Oh wait, I lied. Everyone fucking HATED it. How freakin' peachy! It's good that everyone can agree on something, right? That it's so cheap and a poor attempt, that it's shit and nothing amazing, that it's a rip off of AKB MV's or whatever else people are saying...

Yeah well, guess what World? I like it. BOOM, whaaaat? Chiima is, once again, a part of the Minority! Whoopee!!!

I can just hear the dry sarcasm in my typing right now.

Seriously though, I like this PV, and it rather annoys me that so many people are unhappy with this video, mostly because I think that, hey, we are getting THREE PV's from MoMusu for this single instead of the one or two we usually get, but I do have other gripes about it too (and these gripes could reign in butthurt galore depending on who reads this) but we shall get to those later.

... So who wants to look at the PV everyone hates so much with me? I DO!!! Oh wait, only me? FINE!!!

Love, Morning Musume '14, is an emotion that we men and women harbour towards the opposite or same sex, our teddy bears and also the unconditional love towards our families. Some also harbour this strange emotion towards large pillows that include a print out of their favourite Anime character or Idol on said pillows.

That is what LOVE is.

Whoever has the most glowsticks is the most LOVED!!!

... I think it's Daaishi. Whoops, sorry Riho, no more Ace name for you!

Why the Hell are MoMusu obsessed with the Crane neck dance move? Do they all want to be bloody birds this coming year?

Dayashi: "I need to tie my shoes..."
Sayumi: "Fuck, I think I just busted a hip! Ouch!"

Most favourite dance move. EVER!!!

... Or at least until I find another dance move I like a lot, that is.

Jesus Christ on a Shelf, there is a lot of Eripon and all them other ones in there! FUCK YEAH, ERIPON!

Yes Sayu, having your very presence in Morning Musume (14) and on our screens is a Never Ending Luxury... Please, never end! -sobs-

Also, look at that gorgeous Iikubo face in the background! Yee haw, cowgirl!

No, Masaki isn't fair to everyone, especially when you go to her handshake events. Then again, those are the ways of a Goddess.

Crying and Laughing at this ridiculous but fun dance! Muahaha!11

Er, Daaishi, we need to talk about your filthy language...

Masakins, I don't know if we have told you about the birds and the bees yet, but erm... to have babies, it is definitely necessary to get turned off, and sometimes when you don't want 'it', it is also necessary to get turned off...

Eripon: "Why is everyone trying to explain the laws of sex to Masaki...?"

DAAISHI, this is your fault!!! Thanks for bringing it up!

Wear shorter skirts or bikini's... basically do an AKB, and then you may just attract the world, girls!

This has to be one of my favourite scenes from the entire video... that camera angle! -shudders-

Just by being there, you can bring great happiness to the world! And YAY, heart!!!

Riho, you've become so pretty? -sobs-

Also, dat Daaishi belly!

I want to take a ride with that cowgirl Haruna... if you know what I mean >o>


MoMusu still think that they are birds of a feather, taking flight... girls, you are NOT Swans!!!

NO ZUKKI! You would not love to go! You would love to bloody well STAY!!!

Who the fuck are you lot kissing? Don't let Friday get in on this rumour, you lot!

I do love it when choreographers reminisce and steal dance moves from past releases...

It's great having a blast from the past! Especially one as bloody weird and hilarious as this dance move!


Sayu: "Dance, my puppets, DANCE!!!" -Cackles-

Oh yeah, do the Swan Can-Can! Swing those legs!

It seriously looks like Eripon's lugging up some boxes in this scene, doesn't it? Oh, and Dayashi x Sakranbo are idolisig the eternal Idol, Sayumi! Who wouldn't?

Reminding us mere viewers at home that we have not seen MoMusu live yet... -sobs-

I swear, Riho goes a tad crazy with her dance moves! ROCK IT, GURL!

Rock the baby, but don't let it fall... whoops, I think Sakura dropped hers! Shit!!!

A BETTER PV!!! STILL!!! Aren't you fucking listening to the masses?

For the fans who want it... er, yeah, it's kind of necessary...

Haruka: *hic* "Hii...~"

Pfft, you're telling me, Dayashi. Try conversing with a few fans who don't see eye to eye with you, and you realise you really can't convince them.

Meh, I've let many people down. Not gonna stop me from doing it again, though!


Daaishi: "Zukki... HELP ME!!!"
Zukki: "Cha-chan~ <3"

Sayu in the middle of everyone's heart, including the make-shift MoMusu one. D'awww...~

Zukki: "Fuck this shit, I'm done."
Masakins: "YEEEEEEEAH!!!"
Sakuranbo: "Urgh, why the fuck is Riho an Ace when she can't even sing properly?"

Oh crap, who turned the lights out!?

This looks like a re-enactment of Stacies. Go Zombies, Go!!!!

I kind of wish that this had been put in colour order, rather than order of who UFP like for centre girls. Oh well!

... Oh crap, the screen caps have ended! This can only mean that it is time to tackle the rest of the post in written form, with my opinion... deep breath people o-o
 Though why I am nervous to write this part is beyond me, but I have a feeling it's because this will be a very unpopular opinion... yeah... Oh wait, when has my opinion ever been popular? Never. Okay, nerves gone! I can get on with this happily now! Whew~

So, let's talk about the PV. That dreaded, horrible video that seems to have everyone on the edge of their seats with absolute despair and loathing. This is the very video that has many a fan hissing through their teeth at UFP and cringing over what this video turned out to be. This is, to put it ever so bluntly, the bane of many fans' existence. Don't deny it; a good majority of the fandom fucking hate this PV, whilst very few enjoy or  even love it. Thankfully, I am within the minority here, so I was a rather happy camper when this video came out.
 It wasn't until I read the comments from the fans of MoMusu that I really started to get annoyed. Forget the video and whatever everyone says about it, its the comments that get to me about this entire video. And of course, in a Chiima-like fashion, I am going to put my foot in it and whine a bit. Because that is just what I DU!

See what I did thar? Hurr hurr... yeah...

Hitting off my post of whining, one of the main gripes from the fans that I have seen to do with this video is this; I WISH they had shot a REAL PV!!! What? Are you telling me that you have never seen a PV shot in this way before? You've never seen an artist from anywhere around the world release a video that shows the performance aspect, rather than the visual style? This is what we in the Media call a 'Performance Music Video', one which focuses on these points; the performance of an artist, and also the popularity of a group. That is, basically, what this video is all about! The performance and showing off that Morning Musume are pretty popular and/or well known. This isn't a new thing, and it isn't actually lazy; it's just an easier way (easy can also be interpreted as lazy, sadly) to show off the dance, and also the fans. So what if it isn't shot in a studio or have snazzy effects like people want? It's still a PV, it's just that they decided to use concert footage instead of re-hashing outfits and sets (Hi, Matenrou Show, and fugly ol' Kimi Sae...). Sure, they could have used footage that previously existed from their other concerts, but this one was actually re-shot in Budokan, hence the funky camera angles and sweeping shots, to show off the fans a bit.

I have also heard a few complain how this is not a real PV because it is simply a 'performance' with an MP3 put over it. Seriously? You would rather have shitty Kimi Sae over this? Honestly, I think that this is way better than what we could have gotten, because I originally expected us to get a lazy video in the same costumes, with a curtain over the set once again to hide the original studio set the girls had used for one of their other PV's. When I first saw this, I was extremely happy that they had used concert footage with a few funky shots going on to enhance the feel of the performance! It was nice to see that, despite using concert footage, they had enhanced that feel and look of the entire video simply by using great looking shots! I also think that using the concert footage has enabled me as a viewer to feel like I am there in the crowd watching the group too, cheering them on along with the crowd! I find it pretty amazing to see the fans in the shots, though they honestly don't last long enough. Also, I find that watching the MV this way, we really get that sense of realism in how they perform on stage, rather than the uniformed and clean dance style in a studio; in a studio, they can re-shoot it until it is perfect, whilst on stage they have one chance and only that chance to dance it to perfection, rather than having to go over certain steps because they messed up. We get to see that frantic, energetic dance style we have come to love from MoMusu, rather than seeing everything clean and polished and overly perfected.

Going back to my gripes now, another gripe I have is people whining about this video copying or borrowing from '48 styled videos... Er, no. As I said previously, these sorts of performance videos have been around a long time, so it isn't a '48 only manufactured thing. Performance style videos are, as I said, a way of showing off that a group is popular or have a good majority of fans, Usually these sorts of videos also include backstage footage and interaction with the fans (which is what commenter's have actually also said they wished they saw, and I agree whole-heartedly with that!) but what MoMusu is doing isn't completely new or innovative; they did it because it was a great way of showing off how they perform live, and also to show off their popularity and how many fans they have. Surprisingly enough though, this is only the second time Morning Musume have released a PV like this; the first being Chokkan 2, which really was a last minute, budget video because everyone disliked the Koi wa Hassle, DO THE HUSTLE song, and then this one. So it's not as if MoMusu always take this approach to music videos, because they don't, so to see it once in a while really isn't a bad thing.
 Sadly, people make it out to be that way sometimes...

To be honest, my main issue that comes with this MV is how people have taken it out of proportion, saying that they want a real video and not something like this, or that this is cheap and that UFP are being unfair. I find that rather fussy and greedy, if you ask me. And yes, I am aware I could get major hate for this, but that is seriously how I feel; most of the fans, newer and older in a sense, are being greedy. I mean, remember the days when we as fans had to wait a month or a little less to eventually see a PV from Morning Musume, or when they didn't have many releases at all? To be able to see what we have now, and to be given a Triple freakin' A-SIDE, is extremely lucky and amazing for us fans! Also, don't forget that these music videos aren't cheap or easy to produce, especially if you have three to create! I have a feeling that not only the budget for the two MV's, but also the budget to get to Budokan and then film in Budokan was a bit of a price to pay, and we all know that UFP aren't made of money, or at least don't want to splash that dough. The fact that they made Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa as amazing as it is is stupidly surprising in itself, so I'm not exactly surprised they created a video made up of concert footage for What is LOVE? anyway.

In my opinion, What is LOVE? came out better than I expected, and I do love it. I originally thought that it would be shit and ugly like Kimi Sae, or that they wouldn't even do a PV for the song (yup, pull a Johnny's on us all!) and leave us with just a track. That, or they would just do a cheap dance shot with an even cheaper background. But nope, we got concert footage with amazing shots and a few shots of the fans, and whilst I think a bit more variety (such as other performances of the girls in varying costumes and at different venues... like Pyjama's!) would not have gone amiss, I am really happy with the performance footage we have for this Performance Music Video, though not everyone is a happy camper.

Seriosuly though, what else can we expect? This is UFP, and when they do more than one A-side on a single, you can always guarantee that the last song on the list will be the least promoted, and will receive the worst PV and treatment, because it is simply not the 'important' song. What is LOVE? may be an incredible track, but it had its run of being promoted and baited to the public thanks to J-Melo, and now they are promoting two new songs that have a bit more importance to UFP - the original song, and then the Sochi '14 Olympics song. That, and MoMusu may not have had the rights to even film what others think of as a 'proper' PV for the song, given that this was a track made specifically for J-Melo. You never know.

Either way, I love the video, and whilst a little bit more clothing variety would not have gone amiss, I am a happy chappy here. I just need to stop reading the comments...

But seriously guys, what do you want? And is what you want even necessary? Is what I want necessary? Ah, the Goddess of Life and MV's is cruel...



Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Okay! Musume Digest #84 ~Happy New Year (Dayo!)~

Okay! New Year Digest
~Happy New Year (Dayo!)~

Everyone, it's time to Digest! Are you ready to Digest with me today?

This week, in Digest News...

New Year's Greetings from C-ute and S/mileage! Morning Musume reveal their new website for their next single! Kyary Pamyu Pamyu to release a new single! HKT48 lose a member! The Hello! Pro Kenshuusei lose a member! Johnny's to debut a new group! LinQ to release their first major album! Who exactly won the Best New Artist of the Year Award? And more! Do you want to Digest today?

Oshima Yuko to Graduate AKB48, Mitsui Aika to go on Hiatus - Hello! 2014, You Look AKBright!

So, er... Happy New Year?

So yeah... this happened. The announcement that Mitsui Aika would go on Hiatus to study English abroad, and then the surprise, live graduation announcement of Oshima Yuko. It. Happened.

2014 is looking so bright already!

Okay, I jest, but what a way to start the year of 2014, right? Mitsui Aika finally does something, except that that something is not Idol related and includes her going out of the country (come over to where I live, sweety) and Oshima Yuko stuns everyone by announcing out of the blue that she will be leaving AKB48 this year, shocking even the other members who she had not even told about her graduation. Wow. Double Wow.

This is definitely one way to open up the New Year, and I am sure it has shocked and surprised many!

Now given that this is the one most were surprised by, I will first talk about Oshima Yuko's sudden graduation announcement. It was definitely surprising, and I was taken aback by it when I first saw the News on the Idolminded Twitter Feed... that said, I was not shocked by it. In fact, I expected that Yuko would graduate at some point soon, just not this soon into the New Year (or so late into 2013, actually). Still, I expected it. It's been a while coming, and I'm surprised she made it through the whole of 2013 (nearly) without announcing her graduation.

Still, this is a sad announcement, but it does feel like the right time for Yuko to graduate. That said, it will mean we have once again lost a great, spirited member of AKB48, and I will be sad to see her go. I like Yuko a lot, she has a quirky, interesting look about her that is appealing, cute and sexy in a way. She is very eye-catching, and one of the better members of AKB48. So yeah, I'll be sad to see her disappear from the group (though I am sure she will still be seen in acting).

Of course, her departure does open up a few doors for the other members; we could see a few nooblets come into the spotlight of AKB48, and I'm pretty sure that Senbatsu this year will be interest, not to mention that Mayu now has no competition in the form of Yuko or Mariko or whoever else to stop her from finally becoming the centre and most loved member. Unless another Sasshi case happens (Minegishi, please) I doubt we will see anyone else take the centre spot... unless Yuko stays around that long into 2014 to get to Senbatsu. If she does, it's a sure thing she will be the Top this year. Her Graduation would help her get there.

Still, whilst I am quite sad at the idea of never seeing her beautiful face in AKB again, I am happy she is going to be pursuing something else; it's been fairly noticeable for a while now that she was thinking of leaving, probably around the time Acchan graduated actually, and given the amount of other members she knew and loved have also left, it seems like it is the right time for Yuko to go as well. AKB48 is changing, and whilst Yuko is undeniably the most well known and popular member there, she is also changing and wants to pursue other things.

Personally, I hope that she goes into acting; I like her as an actress, she's the best in AKB48 that I have seen, and I think she would soar in the Japanese film or drama industry.

Next up is probably the news that people are less interested in, the fact that Mitsui Aika has announced her Hiatus in order to study abroad, learning English. Why talk about this, Chiima? It clearly isn't as important as Yuko's graduation, right?
 Wrong! I find this piece of news every bit as important as Yuko's graduation. In fact, I find it even more shocking... but that may have something to do with the fact that I do like Mittsi, plus, this news was totally unexpected.

I didn't expect H!P to surprise me much with news this year, or at least I hoped the only surprising news would be about a new group (didn't happen. Tut!) but instead, Mittsi announced that she would be jetting off abroad to study English, thus going hiatus from her Idol career. That shocked me a lot, but it also put me at ease as well; Mittsi is finally doing something, rather than doing nothing. Cruel as that may sound, despite her small singing and MC segments in H!P concerts, Mittsi really didn't do anything as a solo Idol at all. She didn't release a single, hold many (or any, even) events, and since her graduation from Morning Musume, she has pretty much been a sitting duck, which I think upset and annoyed her fans a lot. We wanted to see her do something, but she didn't.

And now she has something to do, except it does not include Idol activities. And why not? If Mittsi can't perform like she used to, then why not use her head instead? That, and this is a great opportunity for her. Being a part of Morning Musume was a great experience and her dream I'm sure, but she's 20 (soon 21), and she's still young. If she's going to study abroad, then now is the best time for her. She won't be sitting around any more, waiting for what if's and maybe's concerning her Idol career, but instead she will be doing something for herself and gaining experience and learning about a totally different culture. This will also help her decide on what sort of direction she wants to take on in life, too.

Personally I am glad that Mittsi came to the decision to study abroad, because it's nice to finally see that she is doing something rather than waiting around. It has been painful for me to just wait for news of what she would do as an Idol, but to know that she is now going to use her time to study has eased my mind about her. The news was indeed shocking, but it's reassuring to know that Aika has made a decision and is going to try something new. I will miss her terribly, but it will be a great opportunity for her.

Oh, 2014, what a nice way to introduce me to the New Year! Thanks for making it memorable already!

Osima Yuko News Links

Mitsui Aika News Links