Growing up with Idols

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In my last post I mentioned grabbing an old notebook at random from beside my bookcase in which to write. I keep all sorts of old things in that space- calendars (which I hate), wrapping paper from birthday presents, school things which I can’t bring myself to throw away, and all of my notebooks from freshman year up until graduation. After arriving at Ben and Jerry’s and ordering my sorbet, (but before setting out to write my Sumer Refreshment post), I opened the notebook and leafed through it.On discovering that I had picked up  my all-purpose notebook from Freshman and Sophomore year, I was immediately drawn in by the nostalgia. What interested me most were the page dividers. On each one I had doodled, scribbled, and generally left record of all of the dull and confusing math and science classes I’d ever been in.
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Y’know who else gets bored? Eri. Eri gets bored. But not Koha!
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Most of those doodlings had to do with Hello! Project. In my freshman year I had been a fan of H!P for two years. My scribbles were mostly about my most and least favorite members each group. On one page I explained that I hated Michishige Sayumi, that I couldn’t stand Sugaya Risako, and that Airi’s line-hogging annoyed me to no end.

On the next page, I wrote down ideas for various sub-groups, mostly in jest. One was Maxi-Moni, consisting of Yurina, Maasa, Koharu, Maimi and Erika. Another, somewhat less well-intended group was untitled but consisted of Matsuura Aya, Okada Yui, Saitou Hitomi and Goto Maki.

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Gee, wonder what this group oughta be called…
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On another page I had set up a challenge for myself: To remember all of Morning Musume’s singles in order. I didn’t do too poor of a job, and from Ai no Tane to Resonant Blue the only song I ended up missing was Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari (incidentally my least favorite Morning Musume song). Still other pages had little caricatures of my favorite members, charts drawing up proposed revivals of the old sub-groups (long before Tsunku had the idea!), and lists of those girls whom I considered the most talented singers.After leafing through all of the pages and eating half of my sorbet, I sat back. I looked around the shop and noticed that I was the only person eating alone. But most of the other people sitting around me looked sweaty and bored, while I felt pleasantly distracted. When I realized that, I sat forward in my seat and wrote these lines:”I have been a Hello! Project fan for five years now. For all of those years, Idols have been my main hobby. Whether I’m bored at school, alone at a restaurant, trying to fall asleep after a long day, or flying to a foreign country, Idols and their music have been my constant and sometimes best companion.”

I’d be lying if I said I had no regrets regarding the four years I spent in high school. But all in all, I had a lot of fun with friends, clubs, and school trips. Throughout those years, Idols were my soundtrack, my distraction, and my hobby. All of the songs on my ipod are more to me than just background music, and the videos I’ve favorite’s on Youtube aren’t just  entertainment. When I listen to Genki+ I am taken back to the plane ride to Greece during my junior year. Whenever that song comes up on my iPod I remember how excited I was, but also how close-minded. I was ready to judge and look down on all of my party-obsessed classmates. I also remember how much I opened up on that trip, how I was able to get along with the very kids I’d set myself up to despise. Whenever I feel myself starting to prejudge someone, I think of Genki+ and I remember to give them a chance.

Similarly, whenever I watch an episode of Ayaka’s Surprise English Lessons, I remember the time in my sophomore year when, lonely and shy, I set myself in the corner of the library and watched Ayaka teach Yaguchi how to say “I want to be naked on a deserted island.” To my surprise, a few kids came over to watch, and those kids soon became my friends.

Just a few days ago I packed up all of my things and moved to New York for college. I’ve been here a few days, and the uncertainties and feelings of timidity and the desire to prejudge are already upon me. I have to find a job, find all of my teachers’ offices to arrange interviews, and for the first time in my life do all of the little things that make up life without parents. Amidst all of the future uncertainties, one thing is solid. I know, without a sliver of doubt, that Idols will continue to be there for me. Even if all of my most beloved groups disband tomorrow, there will always rise up another group of smiling young women with questionable musical talent. I’m not going to go into why I think the Idol phenomenon in Japan will never die (at least not in this post)- this post is simply meant as a reflection on my past and future, and all of the ways in which Idols have and will affect me.

I guess what I’m really trying to say in this post is a huge thank you. To Idols, to their producers, to their fans, to their questionably sane costume designers, their choreographers, and to everyone I have met as a result of this unusual hobby. True, more often than not I have found things to complain about. I will continue to rail against the evils of the Manobeast, and Tsunku will probably never be fully on my good side. I’ll probably never be able to look at S/mileage and not think of Wada’s xenophobia, and AKB48 will continue to confound me. But even that is all part of what’s so wonderful and fun. So thank you, Berryz Koubou, Morning Musume, C-ute, H!P Eggs, AKB48, Onyanko Club, and all the rest. I’ve had a lot of fun these past five years thanks to you. I look forward to every fluffy-skirted and squeaky voiced moment that you will provide me with in the future.

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Thank you!

9 Responses to Growing up with Idols

  1. isilwentari says:

    I love this post. First: good luck with everything!! College, being on your own for the first time etc is scary, but amazing. Excited for you! Second: I so SO know what you mean. Idol stuff always brightens me up, whether it’s music or just crazy variety show antics (or that pic of Takalin – <3). Being a fan is pretty awesome, eh?

    • Rebecca says:

      Thank you! This post was actually mostly written a little while ago, so I a can at least update and sY that so far it’s been stressful but still fun!

      Yes, being a fan really is awesome. Also, that pic came from your blog. Because you are awesome!

  2. Cristelle says:

    Woah woah woah girl, this might be a little weird, but are you going to NYU by any chance? Fellow idol fan here. I’ve only met one idol fan here so far. I’m a sophomore this year. xDD if you are, we should meet up. I understand if you’re not comfortable talking about this in public, but let me know if you can. (maybe email?)

    • Rebecca says:

      Haha, it’s not weird at all! But no, I am currently attending Sarah Lawrence, which is about 20 minutes outside of the city. I do plan on going into the city once things calm down here, and if you’d like to meet up, I’d be delighted to!

      There is a pretty big community of H!P fans in New York, and the ones I’ve met were all very nice, by the way.

  3. mozenator says:

    Great post. I feel very much the same way about “the girls”. Not sure what you have against Aya, though, must have missed something there…but seriously, best of luck with school and everything else. if you need anything don’t hesitate.

    • Rebecca says:

      I adore Aya! She and the other girls of that group all simply share certain assets… Which may or may not lead an immature mind to lump them together as a group.

      I still very much want to go into the city sometime and do karaoke with the other fans there!

  4. mozenator says:

    @Cristelle : I am in NYC and may or may not be one of those “very nice” area fans Rebecca was speaking of!😉

    We do have quite a (growing) fan base here and we just got together 2 weekends ago in the city for some Idol karaoke…hit me up on FaceBook if you’re there or let me know how to contact you…I am Josh Mosby on FB, and joshmos on H!O…

    Sorry to go off topic, Rebecca. The more the merrier, we had 9 at our last meetup, with about 3-5 people not able to make it.

    Btw, great writing all around, Rebecca.

    • Rebecca says:

      Don’t worry, you’re totally one of those very nice people!

      It’s fine, it’s fine! I’m excited to see you all again. How often do you tend to have meet-ups?
      🙂 Thank you kindly.

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