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AKB48 Spring Shuffle 2015

On March 26, AKB48 held a concert at the Saitama Super Arena which saw the fourth major team shuffle in the group’s history. I’ll only be reacting to a few bits of news. Truthfully, the makeup of the teams only means so much to me. I’m much more interested in the 48 groups as a whole and specific members.

For people that are commited to specific teams, shuffles like this can be really stressful or disappointing. I try to take it all in stride. I always liked the Hello!Project shuffles that happened between 2000 and 2005. This is obviously more permanent (although it’s starting to occur more and more), but I look at it as a fun way to mix things up.

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Kawaei Rina Graduating

As most people know, last May, Kawaei Rina, Iriyama Anna, and a staff member were attacked during a handshake event. The attacker was arrested at the scene was recently sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty. After that attack, for a time at least, Rina and Anna returned to the group. That is until a few days ago when Kawaei Rina announced her graduation.

One reason that Rina has mentioned for graduating is being unable to “participate in handshake events with fans anymore.” It’s really sad news and I’m gutted for her. But hopefully, graduating from the group will be the best thing for her in her life. Hell, doing handshake events is strenuous and physically exhausting enough as it is. And then you are adding in the memories of that incident on top of that?

She is going to focus on her acting career and hopefully she does well.

I’ve only been a true AKB48 fan since October. I’ll have to watch back to see Rina’s best moments during her time in AKB48 since the only thing that I knew about Rina before the slashing incident was her “smelly feet” gimmick. Watching her perform Watanabe Mayu’s “Rappa Renshuchu”, she does have a charm and cuteness about her.

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Kitahara Rie transfers to NGT48 as Captain. Kashiwagi Yuki concurrent NGT48 position.

This feels like it is good news for Rie. From my understanding, she is a popular member but that popularity was starting to wane. Despite 21 A-side appearances, she hasn’t been featured since “Labrador Retriever.” It’s a chance for her to take on a bigger role in the 48G world. Whether that works out or not, it can’t be all that different from the spot she was in.

As for Yuki, she stays in AKB48 but makes the concurrent switch from NMB48 to NGT48. I wonder what the Shrews Guy thinks of this.

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Matsui Rena, Ikoma Rina concurrent positions cancelled.

I enjoyed this exchange so I’m a little disappointed to see it come to an end. Rena fit in well with Nogizaka46 and it was cool to see Nogizaka represented in AKB48. And while Matsui Rena will not be taking part in the election, Ikoma Rina will be eligible.

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Matsumura Kaori promoted to Team KII.

First things first, I believe that it’s still unknown whether or not she is going to accept this promotion. I liked the idea of her being the “lifetime honorary Kenkyuusei,” especially since it was her idea. Even as a kenkyuusei, it was an idea/gimmick that worked and helped her stand out. Why change that?

A user, lordnoobs, at stage48 has an interesting theory:

I can’t help but have the feeling that with the recent graduations management feels like ske needs more experienced veteran members to provide leadership.

This would make some sense as SKE48 has seen a lot of graduations recently. And while Matsui Rena is not graduating, recent news of her not participating in the election makes you wonder if her time is coming. Still, couldn’t Kaori have done this as a kenkyuusei member?

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Kitagawa Ryoha concurrent to Team 4, Mukaichi Mion to Team K.

For a brief moment in time, my two favorite 48G members were on the same team. The five minutes that I saw Ryoha was heading to Team 4 before I saw that Mion was heading to Team K was five minutes that I’ll never forget! I am not especially committed to any specific team or group in 48G but I did enjoy Team 4 the most. It would have been awesome to see these two interact more but I can wait until they are the two absolute centers of AKB48 in a couple of years!

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Team 8 members in Teams A, K, and B

One last interesting development is the inclusion of Yamada Nanami (A), Nakano Ikumi (K), and Sakaguchi Nagisa (B) into the AKB48 teams. I’ve always wondered what the future really holds for Team 8. Are they a permanent fixture? Will the popular members of the team be moved into other sections of 48G? I guess I get the beginnings of an answer with this move.

You can read a full list of the changes over on the Stage48 message board.

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Verbal Jint’s “Perfect Day” – My new alarm

You know, I’ve been trying to come up with all different ideas to get back into the blogging groove here. With the exception of a few SNH48 entries, I’ve been putting it off for months. Should I come back with a series, a really in-depth entry, or a bunch of habit posts again? Well, I kept delaying it and delaying it to the point where I’ve basically become the embodiment of Pledis Entertainment. That Pledis joke also comes included with all the disappointment associated with the final product.

Furthermore, I get the feeling that the 5-10 people that read this (along with the bot search engines) will just be happy that I’m posting anything at all.

So let’s just roll with it. I was shuffling through music and came upon this Verbal Jint song: “Perfect Day” featuring Ivy. It’s the third track off of the 2012 release, 10 Years of Misinterpretation 1. He’s signed to the Brand New Music label.

Isn’t this song just the kind of song that you want to wake up to? I can easily imagine it being used in a movie or tv show during a montage. A montage where the main character wakes up and does all these good deeds like running in the park with their kids and dog or volunteering to help feed the homeless. Depending on the type of person you are, it’d be the kind of montage that makes you identify with main character or hate them for being too cheerful.

The blog Princess Of Tea has the translated lyrics. In a lot of ways, this song is way too positive for me. But I’m honestly trying to have a more positive outlook towards life. Yes, I know how pretentious it sounds! I’m not going to go all Tony Robbins here. Even if it’s just for a moment, at the start of the day, it’d be good for my soul to just go “hey, it’s the start of a new day and I didn’t die in my sleep, hooray.”

For the past few months, I’ve been using a rotation of A Pink – Mr. Chu and HKT48 – Seifuku no Bambi as alarm clocks. I’ve already knocked those out of the rotation and I’m going to be using this song as my alarm tone. Sure, it’s kind of cheesy to wake up to a song that actually says “it’s gonna be a perfect day.” But it’s so upbeat and catchy that I’m won over.

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SNH48 Update: January 2015

It’s been six months since my last SNH48 Weekly Recap, with the last one being on June 11. There is no way that I’m going to be able to go over the last six months of SNH48, so let’s confine it to what’s happened in the month of January.

SNH48 4th Generation

I think the biggest news of this month is going to be the incoming fourth generation of SNH48. The new members will be officially introduced on January 31 at the SNH48 Request Hour concert. Back in November, there were photos of the 19 girls who were chosen to be the fourth generation of SNH48. Two weekends ago, there was an unconfirmed fan report that identified fourteen of these members.

With that said, we do (temporarily?) have profile pages for the potential members over at Shanghai48s.com. The Japanese site snh48.info has information too. Without knowing too much about any of the members, Song Xinran stood out to me first. There’s a lot of potential doppelgangers in this group of girls too: Wang Shu to Hao Wanqing, Wang Xiaojia to Li Yitong, and Yang Bingyi to Wang Lu. Wang Xiaojia and Wang Shu are apparently League of Legends players. All I can say to that is: at least it’s not DotA.

SNH48 Best 30 Request Time Concert

While it will be too late for anyone coming into this post through Google, SNH48’s request concert will be streamed via qq.com. I’ll be waking up early Saturday morning to watch it. I’m hoping to be able to recognize ever song, but I’m not sure. Even though I’ve sold my soul for a donut and 48G music, I still haven’t heard or learned lots of their songs.

As for rankings of any particular songs, I don’t really care. I just hope it’s a fun show.

GIVE ME FIVE and UZA Released

SNH48 released two EPs since my last SNH48 Weekly: “UZA” and “GIVE ME FIVE.” I’ll save full reactions to both for later. So, quick summary, I’ll just say that I liked “GIVE ME FIVE” more than “UZA.” I made gifs for both:

GIVE ME FIVE

UZA

Members Leaving

In my absence, nine members left the group.

As you can see, all but one of those graduations have been third generation members. This is just the normal cycle of SNH48. Every generation, a good amount of members leave the group pretty quickly. I expect the same thing to happen with the fourth generation. Xu Yanyu leaving the group is the most notable of the bunch. Well, technically, she’s on an indefinite hiatus, but she’s out of the group.

Ju Jingyi in Weekly Playboy

Ju Jingyi becomes the first Chinese SNH48 to get a solo photoshoot in Japan. She looks great in all of the photos but Jingyi is so photogenic that it’s cheating. My favorite of the set are the blue dress photos, but specifically the one with her looking to the side.

(The issue also featured a solo photoshoot of one of my new favorite AKB48 members, Mukaichi Mion.)

Wu Zhehan in Mina magazine

Queen Awkward of SNH48 was featured in a recent issue of mina magazine. It’s been months but it’s still amazing to me that she won the first general election. She looks great in this photoshoot.

Cosplay

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I love this cosplay of Kinomoto Sakura from Team HII’s Li Qingyang. It was just the thing that I needed to notice her more.

Team HII’s Yang Huiting did a cosplay of Love Live! that got more attention. But Love Live is from this decade so I don’t know anything about it.

News

Other bits of news. There’s not much.

Weibo of the WeekMonth

In a month’s time, there must be thousands of weibo posts/updates from just the SNH48 members alone. I do my best to keep up with all of them and post the photos to Shanghai48s, but sometimes it’s just too much.

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I’m starting to think the relationship between Chen Wenyan and Zhang Yuxin resembles that of Spike and Chester’s from Looney Tunes.Yuxin comes off as super cute, hyper, and energetic. Wenyan is the type that’d burn a building to the ground and would get annoyed at Yuxin’s energy.. That’s how I choose to believe it.

So that’s it and we’ll see where we go from here. At least Joonyoung won’t be at the top of the blog anymore.

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2 Days & 1 Night – E365 – Countryside Diary Part 1

Original Air Date: 2014.11.09
Season 3, Episode 43

I’ve been promising a couple of friends to watch 2 Days & 1 Night for the better part of a year. KBS World uploads a subtitled version of each episode to YouTube so it’s not difficult to find. Yet season three of the show has been airing for over a year now and I’ve only seen a handful of episodes and clips. Let’s try to change that.

The crew is filming in a farming village in Gimje. In this episode, each member gets paired up with a “grandma” and the goal is to help her with whatever work needs to be done for the day.

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I haven’t watched an episode of 2 Days & 1 Night in at least a couple of months so I needed a re-introduction of each cast member. Lucky for me, the start of this episode was a great primer of who’s who and their personalities. The pairing starts right at the beginning of the episode. Since this is my first 2D1N post, let’s take a minute to introduce each member.

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Kim Jongmin

Jongmin is an original cast member of 2 Days & 1 Night. He is also a member of the group Koyote since their third album, Passion, was released in 2000. I was first found Jongmin in 2010 while Koyote was promoting “Return” and then went on to look up all the rest of their music. Since I was introduced to him through this Koyote song, my first impression of him will always be that he has this mysterious and cool charm. It turns out he anything but that… The guy is quite a goofball. His most recent single, “Sali Go Dali Go,” and Koyote’s “1999” are great examples of this side of him.

Jongmin gets chosen first by Oh Jeongae. Defconn argues that she should try to get to know the rest of the cast before choosing. Jeongae only wants Jongmin. Taehyun even asks her if she knows anyone else but Jongmin. Naturally, she doesn’t. Jongmin throws in a good line – “I’ve never been so popular before in my life” – that made me think of “Sali Go Dali Go.” In fact, the song plays in the background shortly after, good timing.

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Kim Juhyeok

Juhyeok is an actor and the oldest member of the cast. He joined the crew at the start of Season 3 on December 22, 2013. I didn’t know a single thing about this guy before he joined. From what I’ve seen, he is the most reserved of the group and definitely the shyest.

Kim Jeomsun picks Juhyeok to go to the market to buy groceries with her. As it was with Jongmin’s grandma, she chooses him immediately. Defconn pleads with her but she outright says that she doesn’t like him.

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Kim Junho

Junho is a comedian that joined the cast at the start of Season 3. He’s also currently a cast member of two other KBS variety shows: Gag Concert and The Human Condition. I’ve known about him before 2D1N but only as a name in news articles. In 2013, he won the Grand Prize as the KBS Entertainment Awards.

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Junho is paired with Bae Mallye to pick peppers. Well, he’s picking peppers in the field.

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Cha Taehyun

Taehyun joined the show in Season 2, which began on March 4, 2012. His big career break came starring in the film My Sassy Girl with Jeon Jihyun. We won’t talk about this too much though as I’m still trying to pretend that My New Sassy Girl is not a thing that is about to happen.

I still don’t have a read on what Taehyun is like on the show. From what I’ve seen, he is sort of the straight man compared to Jongmin’s goofiness.

Jeong Gapsun needs a doghouse built and it’s between Taehyun, Joonyoung, and Defconn. As you can tell, they all seem useless for the job. Joonyoung and Defconn make fools of themselves and I think she picks Taehyun just because he embarrassed himself the least. Defconn pees in some bushes while Joonyoung does some stuff that only Joonyoung can do. More on that later.

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Jung Joonyoung

Joonyoung joined 2 Days & 1 Night at the beginning of Season 3 as well and is the youngest member of the cast. He was originally going to be vocalist of the idol band LEDApple but was already under contract to another agency. He was subsequently dropped and struggled to find a place in the entertainment industry afterwards. His break came during Superstar K4 when he joined the talent show with a band to try to get some promotion. He ended up participating in the show as a solo artist and finished third. His participation on Superstar K4 is how I (and the rest of the world) got to know him.

Joonyoung is probably the most unique personality on the show and in any Korean variety show that I’ve ever seen. More on that later.

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He ends up with Shin Bongim. She needs someone tall and skinny to replace wallpaper in a room. Defconn is neither of those.

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Defconn

Defconn is a rapper that has been active since 1998 but has only recently found success. He formed a duo with Jung Hyungdon and they’ve been pretty successful as a comedy team. I’ve been more excited about the duo’s work as producer of that kind of thing with idols. They created Big Byung and are doing a female idol version in the near future.

I haven’t seen enough to say this is a definitive statement but a lot of 2DN1’s comedy based on Defconn is based on his weight. It gets to be a bit too much sometimes. However, despite that, I think that Defconn (along with Junho) is the best natural comedian of the show. He’s got great timing on jokes and adapts to comedic situations so well. He and Jongmin have the best facial reactions of the show.

Lee Yongim says she wants some skinny to help pick out some weeds in a rice field. She’s stuck with Defconn though.

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And off we go!

It’s going to be a bit too much to recap the whole episode, so let’s just go with a list of the memorable moments.

  • 00:19:25 Defconn in the field and asking if there are leeches. “There are” says Yongim.
  • 00:19:54 Yongim struggling to say Defconn’s name.
  • 00:25:56 Bongim speaking too loudly when she calls Joonyoung weak.
  • 00:26:12 Joonyoung having to look up on his phone how to tear off wallpaper.
  • 00:28:24 All the cosmos flowers in Gimje. It’s an amazingly pretty and scenic area. There are lots of scenes that are beatiful to look at as Juhyeok and his grandmom go to the market.
  • Every scene between Junho and Bae Mallye. I can’t believe how great the chemistry was between these two.
  • 00:32:45 Junho trying to hide in Defconn’s fields.
  • 00:45:53 Junho, Defconn, and Bae Mallye talking about Mallye’s deceased husband. This was a pretty emotional scene. I was definitely caught up in it.
  • 00:50:33 Defconn to get his grandma to rap and the shout out to Yoon Mirae. Image
  • 00:53:16 Defconn’s so pleased with himself when he fixes her ceiling light. Image.
  • 00:53:49 Joonyoung taking two hours to put up one strip of wallpaper. The rest of the 2D1N staff is basically forced to do the rest of the work for him.
  • 00:55:19 The grandma with Taehyun pretending to eat when she wasn’t hungry just for the 2D1N cameras.
  • 01:03:18 Junho and Mallye’s sudden karaoke session.
  • 01:09:15 Juhyeok uncomfortable dancing in public. He can be so awkward that is hurts.

And what deserves a very special mention is Bae Mallye exposing the flaws of every variety show:

As much as I like and approve of Mallye’s idea, it would grind a lot of a variety shows to a halt.

Out of Context Screenshots

Joonyoungism Of The Episode

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Before I wrap this up, we need to talk about Joonyoung. Whether it’s all an act for the show or his true personality, the way Joonyoung acts on 2 Days & 1 Night is incredibly unique. There have been actors and idols who play “stupid” characters on shows before but that’s not quite what Joonyoung does. He’s more so aloof that he comes off as stupid, but it pretty clever in his own way. The age difference between him and the rest of the cast adds to the comedy of it as they seem to be constantly bewildered and confused by everything Joonyoung does.

So this week, the best Joonyoung moment was when he was pulling down the wallpaper from Bongim’s room and finds some spiders. I’ve never related to a celebrity more than Joonyoung in this moment. I used to be able to handle spiders; but after a summer when a nest of eggs was hatched in my room, it’s never been the same. Everything about Joonyoung’s face is how I feel about the dang things.

This is was more of an “introduction post.” Apologies for any mistakes in it! If things go well, I’ll be posting about 2 Days & 1 Night on the regular. I’m not going to go back and watch all of the episodes that I missed so we will just continue on from here. I’m hoping to watch two episodes a week until I catch up to current airings, but the show is 90 minutes long. It took me two hours to watch those 90 minutes and another hour or two to write this post. So it might take a bit to catch up. I also may try out different formats of how to go about writing and posting this.

That said, this was a great episode to start with. Because of the rural setting, it’s an immediate reminder of Invincible Youth. Junho and Defconn stood out the most as far as interacting with their grandmother partners. At one point, Mallye asked Junho when he will be coming back to visit her. Hopefully often, the two of them need to have at least a monthly visit. The next episode preview promised to bring in the rest of the village for a big dinner. I hope to get around to watching it before New Year’s.