NHK’s Kouhaku to pay tribute to Sakai Izumi & finding closure in “Tooi hi no nostalgia.”

On December 12th Zard released the final works of vocalist and lyricist Sakai Izumi. Just that sentence alone fills me with a strange disbelief and although months have gone by since her sudden and tragic passing I still find it difficult to believe this to be true. "Glorious Mind" is a beautiful song filled with optimism and Zard's trademark coupling of both sweet melody & driving rock arrangement are ever present here in this final chapter of what has been one of J-Pop's most beloved and celebrated discographies. I will truly miss hearing further expressions of heartfelt lyrics and the unique sound and power of her vocals which have engulfed me, warmed me, and moved me since first hearing "Forever You" which was released on March 10th 1995. This final release which is Zard's 43rd single also includes "2007" versions of "Sagashi ni ikouyo" and "Ai wo shinjiteitai." Photos of her complete discography can be seen here as I've collected her complete works.

While "Glorious Mind" somehow albeit unintentionally has an aura of finality, for me personally I've always found Zard's masterpiece "Tooi hi no Nostalgia" to embody the very feeling of closure. What I mean is that it has a sound to it that just brings to mind emotions of a curtain call, last track of an album (although it's actually second to the last),…credits rolling at the end of a film… and so I find it appropriate to end this entry with the sweet poetic lyrics of Sakai Izumi coupling with what is one of my all time favorite J-Pop songs, "Tooi hi no Nostalgia." Originally released on Zard's 3rd album "Hold Me" I find this song to be truly timeless and it always fills me with great emotion whenever I listen to it. I hope you will give it a listen as it's been uploaded and the link can be found below before the translation. 

As a final thought here,  Sakai Izumi will be honored and remembered at the upcoming annual NHK Kouhaku (Red & White Songfest) along with Misora Hibari. Zard never appeared on the Kouhaku and I find this to be a great gesture and such an important one as Zard's place in J-Pop history shall never be forgotten.

"Tooi hi no Nostalgia"

Higure doki yoku futari de aruita ne
(We used to walk together in the sunset)
Mada kaze ga samui haru no hibi wo
(During the Spring when the wind was still sort of cold)
Sora miage kagayaiteru ano hoshitachi
(Looking up to the sky to see those stars)
Te ni todoki sou de sotto nobashita
(It seems so close so I reached out for it)
Gomen ne naisho de ano koto dekaketa koto
(I'm sorry,when I left without telling you)
Sugu hanaseba yurushite kureta?
(If I told you right away would you have forgiven me?)

*Ano hi ienakatta kotoba wa ima mo kono mune no naka de nemutteru
(What I couldn't say that day, it's still in my heart)
Ano toki mou sukoshi yuuki wo daseba
(If I had a little bit more courage then,)
Kimi wo ushinawazu ni sunda kamo
(I probably wouldn't have lost you)
It's too late
Tooi hi no nostalgia
(Nostalgia of days gone)

Hissori to iki wo tometa arubamu ni wa
(I hold my breath quietly as I reach for that album)
Togireta shiawase no history
(Our happiness ending)
Futari to mo asu no yukue shiranai egao
(The 2 of us had smiles on our faces, not knowing where our paths would lead us)
Mujaki na mukashi mune ga itai
(Those innocent days I long for)
Yappari dame da yo
(No, it wouldn't have worked out)
Ima de mo ki ni natteru kara
(It still bothers me even now)
Hanaseba yurushite kureta?
(If I told you would you have forgiven me?)

Ano hi ienakatta kotoba wa ima mo kono mune no naka de nemutteru
(What I couldn't say that day, it's still in my heart)
Ano toki mou sukoshi otona ni nareba
(At that time, if I was a little bit more mature)
Kokai wa hanbun de sunda no ni
(There would have only been half the regret)
It's too late
Tooi hi no nostalgia
(Nostalgia of days gone)

*Repeat

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About MorningBerryz

Lover and free spirit who's interests in Japanese culture and the like are insatiable. I am of pure Japanese/Okinawan descent, love my cats, sleep and am a bit naughty at times :).
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46 Responses to NHK’s Kouhaku to pay tribute to Sakai Izumi & finding closure in “Tooi hi no nostalgia.”

  1. snow-flower says:

    wow, sounds so romantic

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  2. strawberrie says:

    I must figure out what job you have to afford all these Jpop releases….if only I had work this summer I may had extra to spend…..

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  3. HarimaKenji says:

    Just wanted to add, she was already honored in the Best Artist 2007 special, they put a video of Makenaide and said some nice words. Oh, and they talked about this last release too, the program went on air one day before it was released (11th) and I was already wondering when you were going to post about it… It was such a good surprise when they showed that video ❤ She certainly deserves it.

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  4. Saburo says:

    http://wezard.net/news.html
    Another deluxe compilation is being released next month. Details and track listing via the official website.

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  5. stawberriedoll I hope you had a chance to hear the song along with its lyrics. Sakai Izumi always wrote her lyrics in a way that reflected real life and in that fans really could relate to them in a special way. This is just the tip of the iceberg as she has so many wonderful songs. 🙂

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  6. Ah Strawberrie sometimes I feel that I'm actually working for J-Pop releases! I may soon need to check into "J-Pop Anonymous." 😛

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  7. HarimaKenji I'm so happy that she was also honored on this show! "Makenaide" was a wonderful choice of song for this tribute and the lyrics are still some of the most inspiring ones written in music. I'm really looking forward to watching her tribute on the Kouhaku this new year's day and I'm going to have to try and stay up late even though I work early the next morning. I'm wondering if they'll use a nice collage of her songs spanning her career. I imagine that it'll make me quite emotional.

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  8. This looks to be a great collection especially with the inclusion of live tracks. I imagine the packaging will also be beautiful. Thank you for the information!

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  9. strawberrie says:

    Understand right now I only have 428 dollars left to get me thru second semester at Marshall. I spent 46 on the Junjun scarf, 50 on Nono's second solo photo book, 21 at Play-Asia because they still had Gyaruru's limited editin left, 7 on a Matsuura CD I won on Ebay…and I think thats it….oh I preorder Abe and Yajima's single.

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  10. strawberrie looks like you've got some great items heading your way! I just got an e-mail from Ohta reporting that the scarfs have arrived so we should all be receiving them soon! I really enjoyed Gyaruru's debut single and the late addition of Abe Asami but I'm wondering when they will or if they will release anything else as it's been quite awhile since this release. The pv is wonderful with all of the eating going on!! :O Ah the Nacchi & Maimichan collaboration single is getting nearer to release date!! 🙂

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  11. strawberrie says:

    Yea, I'm so glad it will come before I go back to school. I totally have to do work study this semester since all these releases are coming. I was going to buy Morning Musume's concert DVD but I have to hold out on it since I owe 200 dollars in February for room & board. I think I will spend on my money of C-ute's third album and maybe Morning Musume's new single.

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  12. strawberrie the Hello! Project release merry-go-round never sleeps!!….I haven't even heard about C-ute's new album yet! Gambare with your school work!! 🙂

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  13. Mikey says:

    Very nice song. I never heard her voice before. I added the group name and album title in iTunes and it found the CD cover! Not so common for a jpop title… 🙂

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  14. Mikey I'm happy that you enjoyed this song as it's one of my favorite J-Pop tracks! Sakai Izumi's voice is so wonderful and unique and I'm really looking forward to seeing her tribute on new year's day during the Kouhaku. It's amazing how iTunes can search for album art for so many titles!

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  15. Mikey says:

    I was reading up on her on the Wikipedia. I didn't know that she had died! RIP. It's so nice to meet someone that has the knowledge and the passion. :)I was thinking of where I heard Berryz first… someone sent me the link on Youtube to their Special Generation dance version. Very addictive and kawaii too. 🙂 They need a picture, so that when you mouse over it, it shows their names and some attributes. That would so cool! Maybe a "Name That Berryz" quiz on one of those quiz builder sites… Ideally with a short video clip. I'm pretty good at dreaming up work for other people, huh? 😉

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  16. I love a lot of older J-Pop as well as the new music being released today and Zard is one of my very favorites! It was so sudden and tragic especially since she was getting better and was actually planning another tour when she recovered. 😦 Ah I love the pv for "Special Generation"!! The dance choreography is so great in this song and at that point it was one of their more advanced dance routines! Miya is spectacular in this pv and it's ironic that she was the very member who was having trouble remembering all of the dance choreography! :O Back then this single was also their best selling single up to that point in their career. 🙂 That's a great idea! I have no idea how to build websites and always marvel at other people's hard work. 🙂

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  17. Mikey says:

    Yeap, it was Special Generation that brought me in. The are so cute! But it seems just a little naughty watching them, since they are so young…By "generation" they mean like within the group? I thought it meant that their entire age group was special… :)Here is the video I'm talking about, the one with the English subs… HERE

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  18. "Special Generation" is a perfect song to be introduced to them by! I still think that it's one of their top tier songs although they have so many songs that I love that it'd be hard to judge them at this point. I think it's referring to their youth as a whole, together. After Momusu they're the next great wave! 🙂 It always impresses me when I see fan subtitled pvs as it must be quite time consuming to do! Not just the translation but also the timing.

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  19. Mikey says:

    Thanks for the insight! :)I highly regard fansubbers – all that work! I try to praise their efforts, when possible. For some reason, I was just thinking about Miyazaki's Castle In The Sky… I love the music from almost all of his anime. And I would be willing to bet you will be blown away by Perhaps Love! ^^I have some of the videos from that movie on my VOX.

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  20. I have a few Miyazaki films too! 🙂 His style and storytelling are truly unique in anime and I love all of his heroic characters. Now that you mention it the accompanying soundtracks are very good and I imagine they're being released as albums. I will have to get a hold of this movie along with "1liter of Tears." Thank you again for the recommendations! 🙂

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  21. Mikey says:

    It's so pleasing to share with someone as receptive as you. As they say "Great minds think alike!" ^^Kiki's Delivery Service was loved by the niecelets too. In fact, I am told that they played it over and over again 0^o for days! lolI love the instrumentals from that one too, plus the song Rouge No Dengon is so cute! ^^Video HERE

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  22. HarimaKenji says:

    Although I can't really go against either of Mikey's recommendation, as Laputa: Castle in the Sky and Kiki's are some of their best works, Ghibli (the anime studio headed by Miyazaki) is generally acknowledged by My Neighbor Totoro, Howl's Moving Castle and Spirited Away, to give the English release titles… But those are not really favorites..I love Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no Haka), a touching story about the journey of a boy and his sister trying to survive after their city was destroyed by bombs during the II World War. It's so famous it got a live action movie adaptation some time ago, but forget that, the original anime is way better. It's true that it wasn't directed by Miyazaki, but you'd never guess it if I hadn't said.My Neighbor Totoro is basic cultural knowledge to a whole generation of Japanese youth, including H!P members – Totoro references already appeared in H!M episodes. I especially remember one when a comedy duo made a joke with one of the movie's most remembered scenes, the one with the two girls and Totoro with an umbrella waiting at a bus stop, if you've ever seen the movie you'd recognize that immediately. Totoro is more aimed at kids though, but that's not so bad.Princess Mononoke is my personal favorite from Ghibli. Love the way Miyazaki gave the movie some strong environmentalist undertones without making it look like a goddamn Al Gore speech. Overall, this one and Nausicaa have my favorite plots, although my favorite character is in Porco Rosso. And I've been glad to see Mononoke have a great critical reception outside Japan, I've seen it in more than one top 10 lists, that's for sure…But anyway, I feel it's kind of pointless giving Ghibli movie recommendations… You can't go wrong with them, even if you decide to just look for all of them and watch in a random order. Believe me, that's true, I've tested that approach.Going maybe a little too deep in the topic, but Miyazaki is not alone in anime land… I'm waiting the day Satoshi Kon gets some more mainstream worldwide acceptance, that would sure be fun to watch, especially because he tends to have a more complex plot and style than Miyazaki… A movie like Perfect Blue getting the same mainstream recognition as Spirited Away's oscar would certainly help extincting the dumb "anime is for kids" prejudice some people still hold. Perfect Blue is a story about an idol's career… and a stalker. You should take a look at the introduction of the movie in its wikipedia page, it's pretty interesting. The disorientating style of the storytelling in this remembers me of Butterfly Effect, the first one, if you've seen that. I haven't looked at the sequel.

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  23. I actually haven't seen "Kiki's Delivery Service" but was tempted by it's DVD release which I've seen a few times in some stores. The next time I see it I'll pick it up. I sure have a lot of movies to watch now!

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  24. I do notice that some of the titles that are really pushed in the U.S. aren't actually the ones favored by his fans which is really interesting and a bit strange at the same time. They even dub them in English casting popular actors/actresses which I really don't care for as I'd rather watch all foreign films in their original language. I think there was only one time that I didn't mine watching an English dubbed movie and that was "Ninja Scroll" although after I found out that the original Japanese language version was available I never did watch it in English after that. I love "My Neighbor Totoro" and it was a friend at work that suggested it awhile back as I'd never heard of it before. It seems to appeal to children and adults alike as it's such wonderful imagery along with a memorable story. I really liked "Princess Mononoke" too and bought this on DVD as well. At first I didn't realize all of the symbolism going on in this film! Hmm…not sure what my favorite is and I'd have to give that some more thought. "Perfect Blue" sounds like quite a serious approach to anime with quite a frightening subject. Something like this being marketed strongly would surely get a lot of attention I'd imagine. I really liked the first "Butterfly Effect" and it had a great impact on me. The direction and order of sequences was amazing and it worked so well with this film. It made me see Ashton Kutcher in a whole new light too as he shed some of that "70's Show" label that's kind of been attached to him. How such seemingly little changes can affect so much and albeit it was a movie it really made you think about the consequences for ones actions. I liked this movie so much that I bought the sequel which seemed to be released without any fanfare and it's best to stick with the original! I think the sequel was just a way for them to try and cash in on a great idea but it wasn't very good unfortunately. Has "Perfect Blue" been released on DVD?

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  25. HarimaKenji says:

    Satoshi Kon's movies, more than any other anime movie directors I know of, always have some psychologically complex characters and a kind of disorientating storytelling, where it gets increasingly harder to define what's real and what's not. Butterfly Effect is a textbook example of that, as far as I can think of, so I'm sure if you liked that you'll like Perfect Blue. It was released on DVD, it even has a US DVD version. I see it's available in YesAsia, should be anywhere you look for it, really… It got a very strong positive reaction from the anime community, Satoshi's name is fairly big there, and it got mainstream attention to. Look at TIME's "5 Top Anime Movies on DVD" here, it's right there along big names like Spirited Away and Akira (one you might not know of, but was responsible for the second big anime wave to hit the world back in the 90s). Problem is that there are generally two extreme reactions to anime you can expect to get: it's either considered only for kids or it's considered mindless violence. I think even if Perfect Blue got an Oscar, most people would just throw it in the "mindless violence" bin.

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  26. Thank you for the information on "Perfect Blue"…I'm going to check around for it and it's great that it was released in the U.S. as may make it available at Amazon.com where I love to shop! It's impressive that it made Time's top 5 anime films!! It makes me feel pretty ignorant as I've never heard of it until now. 😛 I really should watch "Akira" as it's been suggested to me quite a few times. It made quite a splash when it was finally released on DVD here in the U.S. after only being available on VHS for such a long time and I remember seeing it on the shelves but just never got around to buying it. You may find this amusing or silly as most of the anime I own is of the comical type. "Tenchi Muyo!" (the original series) is my all time favorite! I also love "Cat Girl Nuku Nuku" and "Dragon Half"! I can watch "Dragon Half" over and over and it still cracks me up every time! I love how the animation changes to extreme wacky when the characters say silly things! 😀 And then there's always that single bead of sweat that appears at those odd moments of embarrassment. The writer of the dialog really had a blast making such a silly but 100% entertaining anime! I wish "Crayon Shinchan" would be released here domestically too. A local channel used to air it every Saturday for years and I used to tape the episodes when I had the chance but sadly they're not being shown anymore and have been replaced with grappling type of anime which I find quite boring. I love the older theme song sung by "Sakurakko Club" ("Do-shite?"). It's one of my favorite J-Pop theme songs!

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  27. HarimaKenji says:

    Not really, comical type is also one of my favorites. I used to say I like every kind of extreme – be it the very complex, the very emotional or the very funny. See how I use HarimaKenji? It's the main character from one of the best comedies around, School Rumble ❤ Of course you'll guess that I'm biased to say that, but at least I guarantee there's lots of biased people like me out there =PAkira is a difficult recommendation… I wasn't satisfied with the movie, and I only started liking it after I saw the manga version, which goes further into the plot. It was a revolutionary movie, I can give the Akira enthusiasts that point, but the real revolution was only complete some years later in 1995 with Ghost in the Shell and Evangelion. Then anime directors started understanding how to put crazy plots in anime form. Akira was a first step.

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  28. Mikey says:

    I hope that I;m not overdoing it with all the movie references! ^^ As your friend says, any Miyazaki is good stuff. I've just been keeping an eye out for stuff my 4 and 2 year old hapa nieces would enjoy. Some are just to violent for them now. Even Castle In The Sky was pushing it, I'd say. Just something random… but I loved Bubblegum Crisis 2040 so much I bought the whole series! 🙂 I really like the opening theme song…HEREI think I blogged about it on my VOX.

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  29. I never would have figured that out and it's such a great way to pay tribute to a favorite anime and character! I always wondered why "Akira" was so praised albeit I haven't actually seen it and only heard of it, but now it makes a lot of sense as you explained how it started a style of anime. I liked "Ghost in the Shell" and I actually saw it in a theater so now if I watch "Akira" I'll better relate to it knowing what it stands for in the progress of manga to screen.

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  30. No, it's really great to have some direction when choosing new series and movies to watch otherwise it would be many blind decisions made by myself and even more so when it comes to anime which I'm not very knowledgeable of to begin with. I've heard of "Bubblegum Crisis" but I think it was an older series. There seems to be a lot of soundtracks available too and having one of the characters portray a singer is a great idea as well!

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  31. wu-san says:

    thanks for bringing Zard to my attention a short while back 🙂
    "Tooi hi no Nostalgia" really takes on a greater, almost hallowing existance once you've really settled into the rest of her work. I guess you pointed that out already heheh.

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  32. I'm happy that you had a chance to listen to some of her songs! 🙂 This song for me has always had this "closing" type of feeling to it and it's hard to explain. And you're right…it's meaning has grown even larger now. She wrote some of the greatest lyrics in all of J-Pop and I'm so glad that a friend suggested her music to me a few years ago.

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  33. Mikey says:

    I saw Ninja Scroll and Perfect Blue too! I guess most of the anime I've seen is older stuff. I did see the Nana movie though, even if that isn't anime. I loved ALWAYS – SUNSET ON THIRD STREET so much I bought it in Region 2. :)Also, Eve and The Firehorse, a Canadian film you can only buy from their website, but well worth it. Also, speaking of film about the handicapped in Japan: Josie, The Tiger and The Fish… I thought that was wonderful, offbeat film.And the Korean I'm A Cyborg, But That's OK is really something too, staring singing star Rain and Im Su-jeong …I've found the best thing is that peoples' recommendations stick in my mind, and at just the right time, pop up in my mind to pick something good to watch.

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  34. A friend here gave me those 2 movies! Ito Yuna who's from Hawaii is in "Nana" and I've bought all of her releases. My favorite song by her is "Truth." It really showcases her strong vocals! I'm guilty of not watching "Always sanchome no yuuhi" yet. 😛 I've read about "Josie, The Tiger and the Fish" but wasn't really sure about it at the time. "Dare mo shiranai" really touched me although I don't know if it's a film for everyone. It was released in the U.S. under the title "Nobody Knows" and the young actor Yagira Yuya was really great in his lead role. The opening scene really comes back to haunt you when you realize what was actually being shown. My Mom watches a lot of Korean dramas and she has one with Rain in it although I have no idea what he looks like. Unlike Japanese dramas, Korean dramas are so long and you really have to commit to them! My Mom can watch them all day but I'm not sure if I could that and it would probably take me months to complete!

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  35. Mikey says:

    That's so cool! We do have a lot in common, it seems. :)Speaking of Nana, I just added Mika Nakashima's Snow Flower video to the DVD of videos I am making. hehe She is so beautiful! It says on Wikipedia that her song Endless Story sold more than Nakashima's Glamorous Sky!I haven't watched too many Kdramas, mostly heard about them from friends. Just to be clear, I'm a Cyborg is a movie, not a drama… and is mainly a comedy. It is by Park Chan-wook:"Park is internationally renowned for what has become known as his "vengeance trilogy", consisting of 2002's Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy in 2003 and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance in 2005."So, an off beat comedy is quite a departure for him! ^^Oh, and Netflix has Nobody Knows! 🙂

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  36. Wow Yuna outsold Mika?!! I find that really great and yet shocking. I like Nakashima Mika too and I have her collection album. A friend of mine actually met Yuna here in Hawaii when she was visiting her parent's restaurant which he frequents on the weekend. He took a picture with her and she even signed for him one of those autograph boards!! I've seen "Oldboy" and "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" in the stores here…I should pick one up the next time. I really found "Nobody Knows" to be very moving and memorable but have only suggested it once before and that friend didn't really care for it so I've been hesitant to suggest it again. I do hope that you enjoy it if you choose to watch it.

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  37. Mikey says:

    Yeap, that's what it said on the Wikipedia article about Yuna. 🙂 I doubt that happens very often now. 😉 Just shows how big she was when Nana was released! I thought I also read that it was a secret who was playing her role until the film came out, so that lead to some extra excitement too! :)With Netflix, I could see Nobody Knows for nothing, so to speak. And I already trust your judgment anyway. I used to have to buy DVDs from yesasia.com and other fairly exotic places, 'cause I could rarely find them locally. Now, with Netflix, I can have many of them delivered to the door, and see more than I could ever hope to buy. :)Doesn't Mika have a song about a Cat?? ^^

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  38. I'm really looking forward to the 16th of this month as Yuna is releasing a duet with Celine Dion!! Celine Dion has such an incredibly strong voice and I think this pairing will go together really well. I wonder if it's being released in the U.S. too…I forgot to take a look. Hahah now I'm a bit worried that I may lose all credibility here if "Daremo Shiranai" doesn't come through for me! 😛 I'm not aware but you're probably right about Mika's song. 🙂

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  39. Mikey says:

    I heard about that. I love Celine Dion! I have quite a bit by her on my VOX. I love her singing in French, especially. Like her song with Garou called Sous Le Vent (Against The Wind) or in mostly Italian with Andrea Bocelli singing The Prayer… and so much more! 🙂 I bought her new album on iTunes the day it came out. That is really impressive and an honor if Celine is willing to sing with her. She can have the best in the world. I hope there is a Youtube to see of their duet. I would like to buy the single, if it's available. I doubt there will be a US release – even Utada's CD when nowhere here.Don't worry about losing your credibility with me… Not very likely! 🙂 Do you know how in geometry when you have the intersection of two circles that cross, the part that overlaps is called the union. I think our union is HUGE! 🙂

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  40. Wow you have a lot more Celine Dion releases than I have! This could be a Japan only release but maybe iTunes will sell it. Hmm..maybe you'll order the Japanese version too! I hope they sound great together and this could really push Yuna further into the spotlight! Only about a week more and I'll get to hear it! If I do suggest something that you dislike please let me know as I always like to hear honest feedback.

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  41. Mikey says:

    I sure do want to hear her duet with Celine! 🙂 Jlist has Japanese iTunes Store gift cards you can order from here, and if you ask they will just email you the number, so you don't have to have the plastic card mailed from Japan. I was thinking of getting a $100 one, so I would be good for a while…I'll let you know what I think. Even great unions don't always converge. ;)I really appreciate your suggestions!

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  42. Mikey says:

    Looking at the trailer for Nobody Knows, I was reminded The Owl and The Sparrow, a 2007 Vietnamese film I saw at SDAFF this last year. Simply wonderful! Hope you can find it one day. :)Oh I also like Rainbow Song from Japan! I wanted to see Yu Aoi after Hula Girls, but the whole cast is good!

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  43. Haha I just noticed Suzuki Ami's name in there and I had no idea that she had begun acting too. I had purchased some of her singles awhile ago and then she suddenly disappeared from the public eye for quite some time before resurfacing. I sometimes wondered if she had been "blacklisted" from the entertainment industry as this can happen to artists in Japan but was never sure.

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  44. Mikey says:

    Looks like she made another movie after that too – "XX" or "Double X"… :)It does seem that any little blemish on your record can get you thrown out, huh?

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  45. Japan's social acceptance and "rules" are quite unique as nothing like this could ever really happen in the U.S. or most places I think. Artists in the entertainment field must be very careful or it's like they get banned from the industry!!

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  46. Mikey says:

    I kind of inferred that. That, and saving face at almost any cost.

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