Friday, August 31, 2012

The Avengers

in 3D!

Vlogust 31st, 2012: Fushimi Inari


Made a visit to Fushimi Inari. Due to the heat we only made it up about a third of the way. But I got a new fox omamori, so I'm good.

6→17: Autumn

Headed out from Kyoto to Hama. It was an intense few days. Especially yesterday (Nara, yukatas, fancy lunch, walking around in yukatas, back to Kyoto, The Dark Knight Rises, drinking). But it was a really good trip. I'll do my best to post pics when I get back to Nagoya.

My train was unfortunately late messing up my entire transfer plan, eliminating my break in Toyohashi and adding another transfer in Ogaki, so I gave in and am taking the Shink from Maibara, which will get me into Hama a full hour and a half before originally planned with no more transfers but for 2410yen more.

Now it's on to Hama.

Song of the Day is Mabo's Autumn. Which is AWESOME. It's deliciously Mabo from the first second. And he's singing it so that's even more awesome. A love song. Of course. In a way, it's a bit like the answer to Purple Rouge. Wait, that sounds familiar. Mabo may have said that in the most recent fanclub newsletter. :)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Movie time

The Dark Knight Rises.


5→17: 遥か

Another single. This one quite chill. I like it, but as I am with most singles, that's about all I can

To Nara and back again

Went to Nara, got dressed up in yukata, walked around in the mid-day sun, had a fantastic meal at the Nara Hotel thanks to Restaurant Week, walked around a bit, and now we're headed back to Kyoto for The Dark Knight Rises and drinking.

And shock and gasp, the meal at Nara Hotel was so good and the atmosphere was so proper, I couldn't bring myself to take pictures of the courses, but they were all good. The pics are my post-lunch tea and the view we had from our table.

And we've decided that we need to do this again in February.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Vlogust 29th, 2012: そうだ 京都、行こう

I was going to translate the now classic JR Tokai tagline for travel to Kyoto, but I can't get it right. Everything I come up with sounds like it's been translated from Japanese.

Right, to Kyoto

is the best I can do right now. The feeling is "You know what? Let's go to Kyoto"

Anyways, To Kyoto!

I managed to get a seat on my first train. With some luck, I'll get a seat for my second. I believe I have an 8min transfer.

It's been a while since I've taken the local train in this direction. Kinda cool.

Got a seat on a really empty train. Hoping it stays this way.

Checked in and relatively unpacked. Was given a twin so I stuck the beds together which reminds me both of The Unbearable Lightness of Being and a fantastic, possibly long forgotten KinKi Kids skit from back in the day. I hope I don't end up like Koichi...

4→17: 雨傘

An awesome song written by Sheena Ringo and arranged by Tokyo Jihen.

As much as I went on about TOKIO singles being over-produced and such there are also the awesome times when awesome people write awesome songs for TOKIO and this is one of them. Totally Sheena Ringo but also totally TOKIO. Awesomesauce.


Oh yeah, and if you haven't guessed from the pic, I'm headed to Kyoto.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Vlogust 28th, 2012: Fireworks


Fireworks on the river.


DUDE how did I not know about this!!

Mel: Happy

3→ one

Waiting in line for tix for the planetarium. Summer is ending soon so all the families are trying to get in. As long as I can get a ticket, I'm good. This is my last chance for the August show.

I kinda wish they had a special line for annual passholders. I'd even pay extra for the privelage of a shorter line. one

Music by Taichi, lyrics by Tatsu-nii.

It's got the Taichi feel that I have grown quite attached to. I wish I had more to say about it, but I honestly just like it. It's listening to it feels natural. Like the way things should be.

Two more to go

Then my non-stop September jumps the gun then keeps going.


It's going to be awesome fun, but when did I turn into such a social butterfly?

But first things first, I need to get through today. Work. Planetarium. Frantic room cleaning and laundry. Fireworks.

Monday, August 27, 2012

17→2: advance

This is possibly the last TOKIO single I bought. To be completely honest, TOKIO singles have been hit or miss with me. This is mainly because singles are more a product of marketing than TOKIO. The tie-ups, the over-produced sound, the pressure on fans to purchase 3 versions. And after a while in the States and being away from Japanese TV and Taichi's blog, I couldn't justify blindly buying them.

TOKIO exists in an interesting place, having grown into an actual band within a boyband agency. Johnny's has provided them the opportunities that have defined them like DASH and their jingle playing hundreds if not thousands of times a day on the Tokaido Shinkansen, even if many people don't remember or know. But in return, they give up some of their artistic license.

This is why I hoard the albums. Albums are where they get some of it back. Albums have a bit of TOKIO color to them that singles can't simply by their very nature. (Though I used to hoard singles for the coupling songs for this exact reason.)

Albums are where band!TOKIO lives. And concerts are where band!TOKIO thrives.

Wow, that had nothing to do with advance. Umm...Yay Kuroneko? :)

Vlogust 27, 2012:


So after 26 days of taking 15sec clips, my body still hasn't figured out how long 15 seconds is.

And I keep forgetting how low-def I'm shooting.

Anyways, I got new shampoo yesterday. My hair is still drying out so I don't know if it really works for my hair, but so far my hair's nice and slick. So slick, in fact, that combined with my new hair gel, my french braid, which you can barely make out in the vlog, was a bit more difficult than usual this morning.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

1→17: archive

I just realized on my way home that it's 17 days until I see TOKIO in Nagoya, so I've decided to do a count-up through the songs in the album with short thoughts to further prove my obsession with these five guys.

First up is archive.

This is a song that had me at first play. The feel of this song gets to me. I want to listen to this while I'm driving, preferably through SoCal, watching the scenery change with the melody. Plus there's something about Nagase's songs that are decisively TOKIO. The lyrics don't quite make sense, but I like them. There's a hidden story there and I enjoy filling in the blanks as I go.

I can't wait to hear this one live.

Vlogust 26th, 2012: Nothing to vlog!


Seriously. I got nothing today.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Vlogust 25th, 2012: Please, please, please


Yep. 3 copies of the same album, though two came with DVDs of awesome. The third I bought specifically because I wanted to ballot for one of the 17 backstage passes for the Nagoya show. I was contemplating a Budokan show (either TOKIO b-day or the last show, which I already have a ticket to), but too much competition and Nagoya is my homeground for concerts.

Crossing fingers.

I find out on the 30th.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Vlogust 24th, 2012: 17 - Another week but with TOKIO


Starting today I commute with 『17』 in my MP3 player. Awesome.

I feel invincible. Like I can do anything. Like nothing can stop me.

Mel on a TOKIO high can be a dangerous thing, as many know. The world is a beautiful place and it's okay for me to be me. No one can phaze me because I have a TOKIO album flowing through my earbuds. Their music, their words will catch me if I fall.

So far, Nagase's songs are my favs. 「archive」 and 「Sometimes」 are both awesome. But I am also partial, as ever, to Taichi's music. Something about the melody line gets to me. I love it. Matsuoka's 「Autumn」 is also gorgeous. It's Mabo, but not. Damn, that doesn't make much sense, does it? Oh well, it's not like any of you genuinely care that much of my TOKIO fangirl ramblings. And if you do, you understand.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Vlogust 22nd, 2012: Gyoza


At my grandmother's, making gyoza. Life as usual. Life is good.

Though this time I finally figured out that if I make little balls of the filling beforehand, it makes my life SO much easier.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

17: Pre-listening reactions


There's gonna be lots of these posts over the next few weeks. As previously demonstrated, I tend to get very metaphorical and wishy-washy when it comes to TOKIO. If my fangirlness bothers you, skip anything with "17" as that is the name of the new album.

So I picked up my reserved copies and happily noticed that it seems a good number have already sold. AWESOME.

Then I got on the Shink and successfully recorded the last part of the Ambitious Japan jingle. SCORE.

I settled into my seat and opened the limited first edition and then proceeded to get surprised by Leader.

First, the lyrics of More, written by Leader. They're in English. And make perfect sense!

The Leader's picture...the hair!!

Then the lyrics of the last song. Music by Taichi, lyrics by Leader. The title roughly translates to "In the name of freedom" And one part translates to something like "If a reason is there then (I) won't look back/Say thanks to days without answers I found my own time/ As long as the slightest light shines an unending story expands/If that's the case, it has already begun/In the name of freedom I will commit it to my heart"

I cried. I haven't even heard the song yet and the lyrics made me cry. I won't get into reasons and my translation doesn't do it justice, but yeah.


And it's a Taichi song. I've always liked his music. I'll try not to set my expectations too high, but it's difficult not to.

Vlogust 21st, 2012: Forever TOKIO


You know you're a hopeless fan when the release date of a new album approaches and you get butterflies. Really happy hyper psychedelic ones.

If this album were a person, I would dive into its arms and say "Welcome back" then bury my face into its chest and not let go.

This is how much in love I am with TOKIO.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Vlogust 19th, 2012


Given there was massive storm yesterday, there's the possibility it'll rain again today, but I'll take my chances without an umbrella.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Vlogust 18th, 2012: Overthinking it


On the train to work there's a kid about 7 years old untangling the cord on his earbuds. He's very careful about it. It's not tangled badly at all, but he slowly and deliberately threads the cord around and through itself, inspecting the remaining knots and contemplating his next move.

I suspect many kids his age, especially boys, would have just tugged and pulled. I admire his undivided attention.

That being said, he seemed to be overthinking the puzzle in front of him. Focused only on the center of the tangle while ignoring the earbuds, which if he used to guide the cord, would probably have made it much easier.

Then again, he might have been looking for a challenge.

And such are my ponderings on a Saturday morning.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Vlogust 16th, 2012: Waiting for the train and TOKIO


Stayed longer than usual to beat the heat among other reasons. While I was at the station, I gave in and bought a Kamen Cider...couldn't help it.

And as I waited for my train, I put on TOKIO's Sugar and thought about how I'm going to see my boys soon. How they're coming to meet me in Nagoya and I'm going to meet them in Tokyo. Of course I don't me as an individual. But this is what it feels like to go to a TOKIO concert as a fan.

Anyways, while I was waiting for the train, I realized I'm going to hear NaNaNa live for the first time ever. Talk about putting a stupid smile on my face.

I hate being over-dramatic about it because it sounds so fake, but these guys have saved me more than once. Their music and just them being themselves was often the push I needed to stop caring about what others wanted or expected of me and to be honest to myself.

They have a very special place in my heart. I love them dearly. And I'm going to see them for the first time in 4 years. Life is awesome.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Vlogust 15th, 2012: RAIN!


My grandmother asked me to help her cut the bamboo out back, but there is a heavy rain alert and it already poured once. But the sun peeked out so we went outside.

11 mosquito bites (all on me) and 6 bamboo stalks later, just as we got took down the last one, it started to rain again and we got inside right before it started to pour again.

And pour it did. Perfect timing.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Vlogust 14th, 2012: Trains and people


Obon and torrential rain caused a lot train troubles today, but strangely enough, I wasn't that affected.

Now I'm at my grandmother's and loving it. I totally need this kind of time in my life.

Monday, August 13, 2012

And 10 minutes later...

A bit of a drizzle, but not too bad.

The rainboots will stay home tonight, though I changed bags to accomodate a fold up umbrella.

Vlogust 13th, 2012: RAIN


Getting ready to go out and suddenly, RAIN!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

New Stationery + Book store in Lachic!

Got crazy eyes and stopped breathing for a sec. Then returned to my senses. Miraculously enough to not buy anything.

But now I know it's there.

Vlogust 12th, 2012: Me and my parasol


I used to think parasols were silly. But over here, they make sense. Mainly because I'm simply walking outside much more than I would back in SoCal. I don't care for hats and parasols cover my shoulders, so yeah.

The downside is having yet another thing to carry around. Which is why I usually don't carry it around unless I know, like today, I'll be walking about in the miday sun.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Vlogust 11th, 2012: Rereading The Hunger Games


That last part was supposed to be "Thought I'd do some review" Still getting used to where the cutoff point is when recording. My keitai, as far as I've figured out, can only film 15 seconds.

Anyways. Yes, The Hunger Games. September 28th. Can you belive it? Over half a year since the US release.

But better late than never.

Friday, August 10, 2012

When time isn't on your side. Or: Ponderings while I eat brunch. (tl;dr and VAGUE)

I'm usually satisfied to ride the waves of time to whereever they lead me. I've gotten used to the little surprises and lacks of notice that are inherent at my workplace and dealing with big surprises got pounded into me at the WCBF. And I find a way when there is something I want and it looks like I can have it with a few tweaks to my schedule.

But it's been a while since I wanted events to rearrange themselves to provide me with time to think and look for my answers. I have been left behind without a sense of closure, though I suppose the situation itself is one answer. It's an answer and I don't like it. A forced conclusion. And that's where I stand, with an answer, which is little more than an assumption, that I don't like and I have no choice but to accept. For the time being, anyways.

I hate it when I'm like this. I need a vacation from me. But the river of time goes on.

And I have to be at work in about an hour.

Vlogust 10th, 2012: To work


Just another day, I suppose.

Every once in a while, I go onto YouTube and after a series of clicking, I find new people to follow and obsess over. Last night, I stumbled across Sorted. Cooking videos made by a group of British guys. So much fun!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Vlogust 9th, 2012: Actually ventured outside today


Did laundry. Had a Skype date with the parents. Watched a lot of cooking videos on YouTube. And that's about it.

The lack of space in my room was so discouraging that all efforts to tidy up fail miserably.

But at least I'm somewhat rested. And it's a short week this week. Yay!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Vlogust 8th, 2012: Yukata!


So what do you think?

I quite like my choices. Not too bad if I do say so myself. Most of my kimono wear and accesories are in California. But I'm starting to build up an arsenal in Nagoya. Not that I have many occasions to wear them...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Vlogust 7th, 2012: Yukata choices


Yukata lunch date tomorrow! I'm leaning towards the orange morning glories.

The obi is pretty cool too. I'll post pics tomorrow.

I wonder what my friend's will look like. And where we're going. I pretty much ldft it up to her.

A gorgeous morning

No, it really is. And on more than one level.

Tuesday means just a morning shift. Then a bit of shopping for a few essentials. Then back to the house to clean my room and decide on my yukata for tomorrow. And then maybe Komeda again to write more letters.

Also, totally unrelated, but the 5:56 train is definately more crowded than the 6:06.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Vlogust 6th, 2012: Taking a risk


Forecasts say rain, but I should be safe this morning and I have umbrellas stashed at work, so I'm testing my luck in the next half hour, my only period of vunerability.

In other news, I got another fun thing coming up to encourage me to survive today, which for some reason is filled with sources of stress.

A friend texted me last night for a lunch date on Wednesday. Despite the heat, I suggested we go in yukata and she agreed and even offered to drive. Yay!

Just because of my schedule lately, this might be my only yukata chance this summer, which is unfortunate because I got two new ones earlier this year.

Now the biggest question is which do I choose? Probably going with the orange morning glories on beige, but the swallows and willow on mauve is pretty awesome too. I'll post pics later.