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19th Anniversary

1999.09.15 ~ 2018.09.15

 🎉  H a p p y  A n n i v e r s a r y  A r a s h i !  🎉

 💚  I'm grateful for your music
 💜  I'm grateful for your concerts
 💛  I'm grateful for your generosity
 💙  I'm grateful for your dedication
 ❤️  I'm grateful for your existence

These are my own posts from my Twitter account, and three posts from my Instagram account, both made in 2018.

To be honest, I really don't know what else to add except just to say that I am forever grateful that Arashi came into my life. I am so thankful, so blessed, and so full of love for these five adorkable men. I love each one of you so very much! Thank you for giving us 19 years to cherish and treasure, in our hearts and in our souls.

Strangers on a Train

Nino as Charles Bruno
I am writing this blog post as a tribute to Nino's stage play (butai in Japanese) performance in Strangers on a Train. Nine years ago today the production ran at Tokyo Globe in Shinokubo, from 18 July to 11 August, 2009. Strangers on a Train (or Mishiranu Jokyaku) was originally written by Amercian novelist Patricia Highsmith in 1950 and the following year it was adapted and made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Farley Granger, Ruth Roman, and Robert Walker. Critically acclaimed film and theatre director Robert Allan Ackerman wrote the screenplay, adapting it for the stage and introducing a more homosexual subtext into the plotline. He directed the Japanese stage play in 2009 and later took his screenplay to the West End, at London's Gielgud Theatre, in 2013.

Ackerman's 2009 production in Japan starred:
Ninomiya Kazunari as Charles Bruno
Akiyoshi Kumiko as Elsie Bruno (I saw her recently in Mukodono! where she played Aiba's mother, she is sooo beautiful!)
Uchiwa Shigeru as Guy Haines

The basic premise is this (from the original story, found on Wikipedia):  Architect Guy Haines wants to divorce his unfaithful wife, Miriam, in order to marry the woman he loves, Anne Faulkner. While on a train to see his wife, he meets Charles Anthony Bruno, a psychopathic playboy who proposes an idea to "exchange murders": Bruno will kill Miriam if Guy kills Bruno's father; neither of them will have a motive, and the police will have no reason to suspect either of them. Guy does not take Bruno seriously, but Bruno kills Guy's wife while Guy is away in Mexico.
Bruno informs Guy of his crime, but Guy hesitates to turn him in to the police. He realizes that Bruno could claim Guy's complicity in the planned exchange murders; however, the longer he remains silent, the more he implicates himself. This implicit guilt becomes stronger as in the coming months Bruno makes appearances demanding that Guy honor his part of the bargain. After Bruno starts writing anonymous letters to Guy's friends and colleagues, the pressure becomes too great, and Guy murders Bruno's father.

If you are interested you can read the rest from the Wikipedia page here.

Among the Arashi fandom I think more fuss has been made from Ackerman's homosexual element than anything else Nino did for this play. He and Uchiwa (Guy Haines) share a kiss. Now, I want it known that I am not homophobic in the slightest but surely Nino did more for this production than simply to participate in a kiss with another man! (There were also *incestuous* scenes between Charles Bruno and his mother Elsie. Again, I am unfazed).

I have read Patricia Highsmith's novel, mostly because after seeing the film The Talented Mr Ripley starring Matt Damon and Jude Law, I became intrigued about her books. In later years, when I became an Arashi fan and I discovered all about Nino having performed in Strangers on a Train, I rejoiced. That feeling quickly became bittersweet once I knew I would never actually see it. As far as I am aware no *secret fancams* have seen the light of day. Instead, I only have my very special SOAT folder on my laptop with hundreds of images, paparazzi photos, promotional magazine spreads, as well as a few Japanese television news/promotional videos. I also have a copy of the butai pamphlet and the postcard collection.

My private collection: the original novel and DVD, 2009 butai pamphlet, and Nino postcard set

I would dearly love to have seen Nino in this production, for as many stage plays that he has performed in since his Junior days with Johnny's Entertainment, this is the one play I absolutely and unequivocally mourn for. Nino looks so grand, so smouldering, so angry and passionate. Even the papa pics show the bitter bile in his contorted facial expressions, the spit issuing from his mouth, and the tears! I have no doubt in my mind that he put his heart and soul into the play. How I wish I could witness it for myself! *insert crying emoji*

Someone did actually go and see it, *ughhhhh* they were sooo lucky. You can read it here.

If anybody knows where I can find any promo videos of Nino, I would really appreciate knowing. I have the one from Mezamashi but if there are others, please leave me a comment. It would be greatly appreciated.

Edited: I almost forgot to mention, I am going to make a special 見知らぬ乗客 scrapbook for the tenth anniversary 💛

ブラックペアン / Black Pean

Opinions. Everybody has them, right? When it comes to Nino's latest drama, Black Pean, it's a little premature for me to offer up my solid opinion. Let me explain why. I've been watching it raw since episode one, in other words without any subs. You may think this is very strange but there's a good reason why I'm watching Nino as Tokai sensei with barely any clue what he's saying/whispering/grunting/yelling.... *JAMA!*

These past few days I'm seeing a lot of people saying they are not ready to say goodbye to Tokai sensei. They are already in mourning, and that's kind of sad to me. It might be the last episode tonight, and like all the other episodes I will be live-streaming it, but for me it isn't the end but the beginning. And I can hardly wait...

You see, even though I've got all the raws and the subs provided by tronella (compliments for her are at the end of this post) I haven't watched one single subbed episode yet. *WHY?! I hear you screech* Because I've purposely saved them all up for one special reason. A NINO / TOKAI SENSEI MARATHON! Yes, that's right. I've deliberately waited until the last episode airs tonight and the subs become available so that I can watch them ALL in one sitting, back to back!!

This way I don't get to say goodbye to Tokai sensei so quickly and I also get to savour every single episode with all the wonderful extra information on tap. I'm so excited I can barely contain all the feels swirling around in my heart right now!

I can hardly believe it was exactly one week ago since Nino's birthday... The days are flying by all too quickly!! I celebrated Nino's 35th birthday by going to McDonald's (which I've done annually since 2015) to enjoy hotcakes with syrup and I either have yellow macarons or like this year, I had a birthday cupcake! Initially I was going to have ramen for lunch but I decided to go home instead and decorate (badly) a cake I'd bought. I also made yellow (pineapple) jelly. Last weekend I also marathoned a re-watch of Rysuei no Kizuna, my number one favourite Nino drama. It was wonderful to re-watch the Ariake-3 whilst feasting on cake and jelly.

To tronella: verbal or written praise and bouquets of flowers are not enough to express my sincere gratitude to you, not only for your subs but also for all the extra information you've written up ~ thank youuu for all your hard work, dedication, and attention to detail. You went above and beyond. You truly are a godsend.

Akimahende/Abunai Houkago

Opening titles for Akimahende (top) and Abunai Houkago (bottom)

If there's one thing about Ninomiya Kazunari which strikes a chord in me, it's his acting ability. I could rave about his versatility and on-screen presence until Doomsday comes but for the purposes of this blog post I'll just rave about the two dramas I've watched him in recently.

Cast your mind back to the late 1990s. Arashi wasn't even born yet! Nino was still in ranks of being a Johnny's Jnr member, but already he was making a name for himself in television, butai, as well as appearing in various Japanese concerts for other Johnny's groups such as V6 and KinKi Kids. Now, I've recently watched The Last Recipe, albeit in raw format, and Nino has since had twenty years experience in film and television. I like love to watch Nino act, with or without the privilege of English subtitles, and in just the last four years I've watched his acting capabilities blossom and deepen. It's no surprise that for me period dramas are my favourite genre for Nino to appear in, but he also shines in family, comedy and drama. In short, he can do anything. Just look at his impressive resume.

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Arashi Dramas/Movies

I have previously written blog posts about each of the members' doramas and movies that I have watched. Since then (December 2016) I have watched many more, concentrating mostly on Matsumoto Jun because my list was so poor last time. I realize that out of the five members Nino has appeared in the most dramas and movies to date and Ohno has probably made the least but my Nino list is the longest, because well...he is my favourite member! LOL

And so, since December 2016 I have watched:

Yokoso, Wagaya e
Bokura no Yuuki (and the SP)
Kizoku Tantei
Kimi to Miru Sen no Yume (fancam Butai)

Lucky Seven (and the SP)
Wagayano Rekishi
Bokura no Yuuki (and the SP)
Hajimari no Uta
99.9 Criminal Lawyer (season II)

Sukoshi wa, Onegashi ga Dekitakana
Tengoku de Kimi ni Aetara

Yonimo Kimyona Monogatori
Tensei Kunpu (fancam Butai)
Shinobi no Kuni (at the Japanese Film Festival 2017)

Kimi ni Sasageru Emblem
Tokujo Kabachi!!
Kobe Shimbun no Nanokakan
Honey & Clover
Saki ni Umareta Dake no Boku
Yoiko no Mikata

I am hoping to watch Narratage and The Last Recipe some time later this year. Also on my immediate list is Black Pean which starts next month. Who knows what the Japanese Film Festival will show in Perth later this year? Could I hope for something involving Johnny's Entertainment idols? Laplace's Witch, please JFF! My fingers and toes are all crossed :)

Akemashite omedetō gozaimasu

Ninomiya's reaction to White Team (shirogumi) winning the 2017 Kouhaku Uta Gassen! Bless him!


This entry is three days late *gomen ne* I really wanted to write up something to post quickly but I just kept getting distracted with things happening in real life, and then all the wonderful New Year shows such as Aratsubo and the VS嵐 special, which I was successfully able to live-stream all the way through ~ yayyy!

But this post was originally intended for Nino and for my 2018 Resolutions. See, I'm getting distracted again...

So, I have to say once more that I am so stonking proud of Nino's amazing job at co-hosting the 68th NHK Kōhaku Uta Gassen. His ability to emcee seems to be completely flawless, like he is just in tune with everyone around him at all times and he knows how to read the atmosphere from moment to moment. He's not overly-dramatic, he doesn't get flustered, but if he or anyone around him does, he covers it with a word of encouragement or a one-liner that instantly breaks the ice. He's just perfect at it, and yes. I love him so much.

As for my resolutions for 2018, it is fairly simple. First of all, I need to increase my conversational Japanese skills. I know loads of basic words and phrases now but listening to a conversation between two or more people still has me in a total daze. After three hours live-streaming Arashi shows last night, I lost concentration and ended up with a headache so I definitely need to learn more, and more, and more.... 

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