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#1 mollipen

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 04:55 PM

News Runner March 2, 2003

BoA at the Grammy's - While training in New York, the Korean popstar, BoA, got the opportunity to attend the 45th Grammy Awards at Madison Square Gardens. This came as a gift from the Korean cable channel MNET. In an interview, BoA talks about her aspiration to be among those recieving a Grammy some day.

dream does Cosplay at Velfarre - Pop group dream, peformed songs from their latest single Music is My Thing in front of 1000 fans at Velfarre in Roppongi, Tokyo on the 23rd. All the girls were cosplaying various people (shown below).



Kanako gives the shorts a shot - "Kanako Higuchi, the star of "Episode Kiyoko," appeared at the Tokyo premiere of Daihachi Yoshida's short film "Mitsuwa." Higuchi was flanked by other members of the short film's cast, including Itsuji Itao, Eri Kyokuyama and Shido Nakamura. "It was a really weird role, unlike anything you'd ever see on TV or that, and a role that really made me laugh," Higuchi said of "Mitsuwa," whose director Yoshida is best known for his work with TV commercials.
"It was great fun."
"Mitsuwa" will screen over the Internet from noon on March 1 until March 31. It can be accessed for free at http://casty.jp" (Mainichi Shimbun, Feb. 26, 2003)

MOVIE http://mdn.mainichi.co.jp/geino/0302/image...0225_1.jpg'


sources: WEBOTAKU Accueil Japan, ZakZak Geino, Mainchi Shimbun

#2 mollipen

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 04:58 PM



Movie: http://www.mainichi....1/s030109_1.mpg

Yuria Yato. You may not have heard of her name yet, but this shy teen-ager could be the next in the line of Japan's seemingly endless production line of quality pop divas.

The singer made her debut in May last year and released her first album, "Watashi no Shomei (The proof of me)," in December. The 12-track album portrays honest feelings felt by the 17-year-old and is peppered with gems like "Sayonara," which is also a theme song of the hit Japanese anime, "Saishuheiki Kanojo."

She said singing came naturally early in life.

"My grandpa used to run an izakaya bar and there was this big karaoke machine," Yato, who just turned 18 on January 21, recalled during her recent interview with the MDN. "I don't remember about it myself, but some photos that were taken when I was two or three show me clutching a mike (in front of the karaoke machine) and showing off."

By the time Yato was at junior high school she regularly hit karaoke boxes with her classmates, but around the same time she began to see a voice trainer as part of her activity with a children's theater she had joined earlier.

"I liked SPEED [now-disbanded Japanese girl-pop combo] songs and sang many chart-topping stuff at the time," Yato revealed. "But then my trainer recommended me to write my own songs when I was a third-grader.

"There's a diary I've been keeping since I was an elementary school kid -- not every day, mind you -- and I penned my first song in there. That's how it started out."


The diary was a place where she could outpour her emotions but the realization that she could do the same with songwriting made the teen-ager think seriously about singing.

She opted to go to the Tokyo-based Seishin Gakuin, a part-time high school with an entertainer-training course where she could pursue a career in the entertainment industry.

The decision paid off when Yato won the "Street Break Kashiwa 2001," an open contest for up-and-coming musicians held in November that year in her native Chiba Prefecture. The win subsequently led to her clinching a contract with her current label, Radiosonic Records.

Her immediate aim in 2003 is to do as many live shows as she can, one of which is coming up at a live house attached to Seishin Gakuin on Jan. 25.

Yato plans to release a follow up to "Watashi no Shomei" later this year.

"I want to express my feelings as an 18-year-old in my next album," the singer said. "That'll be the same when I am 32!"



Yuria Yato official Web site
http://www.yatoyuria.com


Radiosonic Records
http://www.radiosonic.co.jp

#3 mollipen

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 05:02 PM

POPCETERA / J-Pop picks and pans

Rori Caffrey Special to The Daily Yomiuri

Best Album: Hyde's Roentgen

L'Arc-en-Ciel's main man breaks from his rock band, heads to England, and returns with an adult-contemporary album for aging goths. The songs range from booming orchestral works to stark solo pieces, the lyrics from romantic to gloomy, and it all trembles with graceful passion.


Best Single: Kick the Can Crew's "Marushe"

A killer horn loop, catchy chorus, and quick rap lands this on the year's-best list, as well as the turntable of any party that needs to get started right.


Best Newcomer: Mika Nakashima

This Kagoshima teen has proved she has the brains, beauty, charisma and voice to become the idol whom, if you haven't heard already, you will very soon.


Best Live Act: Polysics

The poster on the door said it was the Polysics playing, but onstage I saw something more like a coed Devo tribute band on Ritalin performing the soundtrack to an electro-clash train wreck. Did I mention the android sync dancing?


Best Bilingualism: Heartsdales

Mind-blowing switches between fluent English and Japanese rap by these superfly sisters.


Best Trend: Mullets

The Camaro Cut, the Soccer Rocker, the Achey-Breaky-what-a-mistakey. Call it what you will, the short-top-long-back hairstyle was hijacked by the J-pop elite and taken to a new and trendy level. This "mullet nouveau" could be seen on members of SMAP, V6, and Kinki Kids.


Biggest Improvement: Whiteberry

This year's Chameleon has more songs penned by the band and a more original sound over all. Once they graduate high school, these Hokkaido girls will be one rock 'n' roll force to deal with.


Biggest Surprise: Toranoana's Go! Go! 7188

When a band spends an entire album covering their most beloved songs, the result is, by and large, a dreadfully dull listen. But Toranoana's gritty renditions of '70s rock tunes and anime themes make for a wonderful exception to the rule.


Biggest Hype: Goro Inagaki's return to SMAP

Emotions soared and tears flowed on the televised special as Inagaki, after a four-month hiatus for a traffic violation, groveled his way back into the aging boy band.


Biggest Shame: Mari Yaguchi singing in baby talk

As a 19-year-old woman who dresses and dances like a preschooler in Morning Musume spinoff Mini Moni, Yaguchi walks the line between cute and pitiable. But on the kiddy-pop group's "Mini Moni Hinamatsuri" single, she crossed that line by gleefully mispronouncing matsuri as "matchuri." It's not adorable, Mari, it's sick and wrong.

Most Welcome Revival: The Blue Hearts

These proto-punks called it quits in 1995, but two of their singles popped back on the chart after being used in a drama series.


Most Welcome Return: the brilliant green

With the success of her solo pop career, it appeared as if Tomoko Kawase (aka Tommy february6) had ended her rock group days. But this March, after a year-and-a-half of silence, the brilliant green returned with a brilliant single.


Cleverest Artwork: Yuki Prism

Take one ex-Judy and Mary vocalist, two melons and a mirror-image snapshot and voila: you have a CD cover that challenges the beauty myth while making your chuckle.


Most Genres Covered On One Album: Quruli's The World Is Mine

This was a sliver away from making Best Album of the Year. The lead-off single, "World's End Superstar" was a gem, too. So for their experimental pop that beautifully weaves styles and blurs genres, the Quruli boys receive this awkward distinction.


Worst trend: A cappella

The Gospellers, Rag Fair, Baby Boo--and the list goes on. Are they talented singers? Sure. Are they dull, soulless, unsexy and sickeningly goody-goody? Totally. By taking this wet noodle of a musical genre out of its rightful place (free shows at nursing homes) and putting it on the pop chart, these groups have spread a plague. Now, any teenager who can hold their own at karaoke thinks they can round up a few friends and caterwaul Motown classics on TV variety shows and in front of malls.

#4 mollipen

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 05:05 PM

Televiews / TV pulling out all the stops for New Year's entertainment

Wm. Penn Special to The Daily Yomiuri

What I love most about the Japanese entertainment world is that it is so...well...entertaining. Of course, it has more than its share of actors who cannot act, dancers who cannot dance and comics who haven't got a clue, but it also provides a fair share of amusing moments.

Take last week. This column reported on the telegenic Kano Sisters, who had just launched a line of "gorgeous girls" trading cards with the sexy siblings making a visual fashion statement on each and every card. Televiews thought it would take at least a few weeks to find something more amusing than that, but it took only a day.

A Christmas shopping trip soon revealed the Morning Musume passport, an official-looking, bright red, gold-embossed booklet that notes, in both Japanese and English, that: "The Minister of Foreign Affairs of U.S.M. requests all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer, a Morning Musume fan, to pass freely and without hindrance and, in case of need, to afford him or her every possible aid and protection." The passports are issued by the "United States of Morning Musume." Anyone for a nationality change?

Even if you are not yet ready to pledge allegiance to the new land, you may feel you are living in the United States of Morning Musume this holiday season. Starting tonight with Tokuban on TBS and right up through Hallo Kids on Jan. 6 on TV Tokyo, the girls will be ruling the TV world. (I won't even mention their radio appearances.)

Highlights of the Morning Musume agenda include the Morning Musume Suspense Special Dec. 28 at 9 p.m. on TBS, the Shimura Ken no Bakatono-sama New Year's Special with Mini Moni Jan. 4 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:54 p.m. on Fuji TV, the CDTV Special Chogoka! Live Toshikoshi 2002-2003 Dec. 31 to Jan. 1 from 11:45 p.m. to 4 a.m. on TBS and, of course, the girls' appearance on the 53rd annual NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen. It will be their fifth year on the Red and White show, and they will be joined by singer Miyuki Nakajima, making her first Kohaku appearance 27 years after her musical debut. She will sing her hit "Chijo no Hoshi," the theme song for NHK's Project X program.

It appears the only two Morning Musume-free days during the next fortnight may be on Dec. 30 and Jan. 3, but I make no guarantee of that. The Republic of SMAP may be the only major challenger to the girls' supremacy. The holiday TV guides devote pages and pages to the two small-screen superpowers.

The thick-as-telephone book, yearend editions of all the major TV magazines are now on sale and they are required reading for anyone planning to spend the holidays gathered round the "terebi." Yours truly bought several and one even came complete with a free hokaron (hand warmer) to keep toasty warm as one reads up on the big year-end goings-on. It may come in handy as the weather out there in TV land definitely looks pretty chilly this year-end.

NHK seems to have broken with its traditional custom of tossing a few episodes of Sherlock Holmes or Poirot our way for the holidays. All I can find is a two-part broadcast of Joan of Arc Jan. 2 from 11:10 p.m. to 12:46 a.m. and Jan. 3 from 11:30 p.m. to 1:10 a.m.

It appears most of the private networks have given up trying to compete with the second half of the Red and White year-end extravaganza on Dec. 31. Other viewing options for the final night of the year include Beethoven's Ninth on NHK-E at 7:30 p.m., an Antonio Inoki martial arts special on TBS, baseball "fine plays" on Fuji and Beat Takeshi debunking strange theories, phenomena and tricks on Sekai wa Koshite Damasareta on TV Asahi.

But wait! There may be one show that can cut into the Kohaku Uta Gassen ratings. NTV is devoting a full four hours and 45 minutes to a historic first--a marathon, people's choice, trans-archipelago hunt for the 99 best ramen shops. The slurping saga will stretch from 6:30 p.m. to 11:15 p.m., when comedy duo Ninety Nine takes over with Takashi Okamura's annual year-end gallop through a fiery hoop.

Of course, yours truly will be attempting to watch as little of this stuff as possible--just enough to write the annual Televiews New Year double column that will appear on Jan. 9.

Here are Televiews' top holiday picks until we meet again.

In the drama category, Yosuke Eguchi has the title role in Akahige, the tale of a dedicated Edo-era physician that airs Dec. 28 from 9:30 p.m.-11:54 p.m. on Fuji. Masaharu Fukuyama stars in a tearjerker about an ailing Hakone Ekiden runner Jan. 2 from 9 p.m.-11:30 p.m. on NTV. The final farewell to those office ladies with attitude, Shomuni Forever, airs Jan. 1 from 9 p.m.-11:30 p.m. on Fuji. A promising remake of the classic Sanma no Aji will be broadcast Jan. 3 on Fuji from 9 p.m.-11:20 p.m. Ken Usui stars as an aging widower and Naomi Zaizen plays his devoted daughter.

The TBS drama special Lovers, Jan. 3 from 11:45 p.m.-12:45 a.m. on TBS, includes two romantic tales. The first stars Takako Tokiwa and features a script and direction by actor Etsushi Toyokawa.

On the variety scene, Kinchan and Katori Shingo's 68th All Japan Costume Grand Prix airs from 6 p.m.-8:54 p.m. on Jan. 1 on NTV. One of the most imaginative and creative shows around, mark this one on your calendars!

Beat Takeshi's Heisei Kyoiku Iinkai 2003 Special will be broadcast Jan. 3 from 7 p.m.-8:54 p.m. on Fuji. Ai Nori fans should tune into their Dec. 29 special from 10 p.m. to midnight to catch a glimpse of the show's first newlyweds.

On Dec. 30, NTV will air their usually entertaining Zoom-in Super NG Special, with lots of animal footage and NG (no good) scenes featuring regional announcers in their most embarrassing moments and the year's best bloopers. A similar scenario will be featured in the 15th Zenkoku Omoshiro News Grand Prix from noon to 1:55 p.m., Dec. 31 on TV Asahi.

SMAP will be the guests on the special Tokyo Friend Park II Gold competition Jan. 2 from 6:30 p.m.-8:54 p.m. and Urinari challenge the social dance world championship Jan. 3 from 6:30 p.m.-8:54 p.m.

For those who do not want to be bothered watching any of this stuff (but still want to know what those who spent their holidays around the "terebi" did watch), check out the holiday ratings wrap-up show Year-end--New Year's 30 Best-rating Programs Review Jan. 6 from 9 p.m.-10:54 p.m. on NTV.

Televiews just cannot wait to race headlong into the new season, which officially kicks off at 8 p.m. on Jan. 5 with Musashi, which occupies NHK's Taiga drama slot this year. Ichikawa Shinnosuke plays the hero.

And what is this? Yet another English-language program is heading for prime time on TV Asahi. FB Eye starts Jan. 6 at 8 p.m.

The most promising new series of the quarter begins Jan. 9 from 10 p.m.-11:09 p.m. on Fuji. The romantic comedy Bijo ka Yaju (Beauty or the Beast) stars Nanako Matsushima and Masaharu Fukuyama. Just back from a job in a U.S. TV studio, Matsushima goes to work as chief producer for a news program on fictional Japanese station JBC and immediately runs up against director Fukuyama.

The biggest competition in the romantic comedy genre may come from another Fuji offering. Itsumo Futari de, starring Takako Matsu and Kenji Sakaguchi as two friends from the countryside pursuing writing careers in Tokyo, starts Jan. 6 at 9 p.m. Happy viewing and a Happy New Year!

#5 mollipen

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 05:20 PM

Astro Boy Goes Bust



Video: http://www.mainichi....mg/021106_2.mpg

Astro Boy, Japan's most famous cartoon character, is the inspiration for the Atom Bra produced recently by Triumph International Japan.
Since 1987, underwear manufacturer Triumph has released an eye-catching bra to promote its collection.
Astro Boy, known as Tetsuwan Atom in his native land, was chosen for the 2003 collection because Osamu Tezuka, the cartoonist who created the character 52 years ago, made the date of the robot boy's birth April 7, 2003.
Triumph also hope the Atom bra will help show that scientific improvements will lead to richer lives.
Yumi Kudo, 23, Triumph's current face, models the bra. (Mainichi Shimbun, Nov. 7)

#6 mollipen

mollipen

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Posted 12 June 2003 - 05:23 PM

http://www.japander.com

This site shows some crazy Japanese commercials from the likes of Brad Pitt, Swartzenegger, Eddie Murphy, and others.

The videos aren't working for me. Probably because their in that god awful .mov format. But, the pics are funny enough. ^_^




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