I wish I were there!!

To be able to shop in Japan for Hello! Project merchandise must be both wonderful and treacherous to the bank account! Paul Thomas is enjoying a wonderful trip to Japan and along with his first H!P concert experience, he's also enjoying a great H!P shopping spree!! I've never heard of these @Home cafes that he's just visited and you can read all about his time there at his Hello!Blog which he's been updating during his trip. 🙂 There's the cutest picture of him wearing dog ears along with one of the maids! Hahah I wonder if they sell those ears there!

The above photo includes merchandise that Paul has picked up for me! This is soooo kind of him to do some shopping for me while there and I kept changing my mind on which members' merchandise I wanted him to look for. 😛 In the end it came down to Risakochan, Nocchi, & Manoeri. Paul communicated to me that the H!P Egg's merchandise is quite difficult to find as it sells out very quickly and he also found me some C-ute, Berryz Koubou, & Kamei goods. The photos are grouped in pouches and he's keeping the ones underneath a surprise for me. 🙂 The Risakochan tumbler looks adorable and her t-shirt that he found in an unofficial shop looks ultra cute! But perhaps the most suspense comes from a Kamei item that he's found for me which he says is one of the strangest goods that he's seen! Hmmm…up until now Nacchi's linen box holds the title of most unusual, so I can't wait to see what it is! When everything arrives I'll put them up in more detail here. Paul if you read this thank you so much for getting these for me and your incredible generosity! Enjoy the rest of your vacation!!

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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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63 Responses to I wish I were there!!

  1. Dollygrl15 says:

    I'm so Jealous!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lucky you!

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  2. Mikey says:

    This must so exciting for you! 🙂 You've got me wanting this stuff now, and I'm still not quite sure who most of them are! ^^ I could definitely use a maid! 😉

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  3. Namida says:

    Hi, MorningBerryz. I am Namida from Paul's blog. Do you remember me? I decided to join Vox because he might be upset if I use his space. To answer your questions, I used to live in Hawaii but we moved to the mainland. Back then, I bought my anime from Space Castle, my comics from Jelly's, and my magazines from Bun Bun Do and Iwase Bookstore. I visited Haku Bun Do twice and bought a few CDs but didn't like the store too much. Did you know these stores? I'm sure most of them closed by now. I will move back to Hawaii either this year or next year, and if you are interested, I hope to meet you. If not, then. . .
    I want so much to show you my iPod Touch. I have many H!P videos (PVs, concert clips, DVD magazines, and episodes of Haromoni@), entire shashinshu's, CD singles and albums, and so forth. My collection is on a shelf, but the iPod is my virtual collection and I'm surprised by how well it replicates the real thing– especially when I'm flipping through the shashinshu or browsing through coverflow. Watching Haromoni on my "3.5 inch flat screen TV" is quite thrilling.
    Just as we were discussing, those who download exclusively will never know the true joy of ownership. When H!P is planning a concert or to film a PV, it is relying on a budget. The bigger the budget, the higher the production value, and it shows up in the sets, costumes, dancing, cosmetics, and so forth. How do the planners afford these, but by money earned from previous releases. In many ways, those who buy are like shareholders. I conceptialize this by imagining the collections of the top 75%, 50%, 25%, 10%, 5%, and 1% collectors. With all of your complete collections, FC releases, merchandises, multiple copies, and array of artists and groups, you are among the top 1% of collectors. You are therefore funding their next projects in an extraordinary way. This is yet another way of looking at H!P as a business, I wish to hear your thoughts one day on what you think the typical collectors in those varying percentages own. Of course we would have to compare ourselves with collectors from Japan, as I believe that those outside the country have much less to choose from unless we have someone to shop for us from official H!P stores. Ha! And you thought my comment had nothing to do with this post!
    Love,
    Namida (Iro)

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  4. Namida says:

    Just in case I was a bit vague: Just as there are small shareholders and large shareholders based on the level of stock ownership, so too are there small collectors and large collectors based on the size of your collection. In both, we hope that our investment yields good returns. In the case of H!P, the investment brings satisfaction, makes for a higher value collection, and most importantly, funds the works of the artists and groups.

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  5. strawberrie says:

    He must of save up a lot. He ask me if there was anything I want and all I said if he could find W's first album. But of save up a lot for this trip since he already spent so much. I wonder if there are H!P Postcards……..? Send one to friends when I study in Japan for 4 months.

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  6. Paul is being so kind in helping me shop in the best of ways! I'm really in debt to him for this large favor!!

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  7. I hope you had a chance to read up on Paul's @Cafe adventure! Only in Japan do they come up with these great ideas! The maid outfits are so adorable but I don't think they'll clean your house! 😛

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  8. Namida it's really great that you created a VOX account! Haha when you responded with some "pidgin" it really made me wonder if you lived here! Hmmm….I'm not familiar with Space Castle but we still have Jelly's and I used to have magazine subscriptions at Bun Bun Do and a good friend of mine used to buy tons of J-Rock magazines from Iwase!! I think she single handedly was paying their rent!! :O Unfortunately a lot of the Japanese specialty shops have disappeared in the last few years including Bun Bun Do which just kept getting smaller and smaller until they finally closed down. Iwase closed too. Wow you're so lucky to have an iPod Touch!! And so much memory?!! It must be amazing to be able to watch episodes and pvs anywhere! I think I need a new computer before any iPods will truly be compatible. Hmm….that's a long term goal! You really have the best analysis and visual on how a music corporation operates. This is truly an in depth way of looking at it and I totally understand and agree! Future projects are really reliant on past ones and the cycle really continues this way. I've never thought of it this way before and your shareholder analogy is a perfect representative of a fan's "investment" into their favorite groups/artists. Hmmmm….I'm not really sure if I'm in that top percent but I love the thought. 🙂 Paul sometimes tells me that my H!P collection may be able to compare to a fan's collection in Japan but I really imagine there's someone there who has absolutely EVERYTHING!!! :O Imagine if someone has every UFA photo ever produced….I think I'd faint if I ever saw it! I really wish the Hello! Project Information Village were still here in Waikiki. I used to visit there every few Saturdays and it's the closest taste that I've had so far to shopping in an official shop in Japan. The photo sets were wonderful and with them being 4 x 6 it kind of set them apart from the UFA photos being released in Japan. They had displays with Momusu single releases' member outfits that they would change periodically. I used to wish that they'd sell them! I can't even imagine how much they would have cost though! Thank you for your insight as I've never heard this subject stated any better than what you've just written. It's great to meet such a passionate fan! Hahah I love how you "snuck" that in there…Paul's such a great friend!!

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  9. I actually didn't realize how long he was going to be in Japan on this trip!! He worked so hard in the months leading up to this vacation and I can't even imagine how much he's spent by now! He' says that they're so many shops there selling H!P merchandise that you can easily spend too much! I believe there should be H!P postcards available there I'd imagine. When we had an official H!P shop here in Hawaii they sold postcards and I was able to get a couple of the different sets that they offered. They even had greeting cards that had drawings of individual members on them! Wow it's wonderful that you're going to be able to live in Japan for four months!! 🙂

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  10. wu-san says:

    Ah, this is what the J-blog/reading community is all about. It's nice to know that we can all help each other out, and want to go out of our way sometimes. If this isn't one defining virtue of the net, I don't know what is.
    I owe you one too MorningBerryz…for the Scarf you are sending me. Cant thank you enough for that 🙂
    I seriously need to comment more on Paul's site…as I often link him on Intlwota. Plus, he's in the UK, so who knows, maybe one day I'll bump into him. I loved reviewing his @Home Cafe post and his concert post too. Really fun to reading how he's getting on in Japan.

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  11. strawberrie says:

    Yeah, I just got an e-mail from Paul saying he found the CD I ask for. Yeah I don't get to go Japan until the spring semester 2010. I'm thinking of doing homestay since I really want to learn the language.

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  12. Mikey says:

    I was just kidding! ^^ I'd never be so lucky as to get a maid like that! Back to my mop and duster!! 😉

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  13. Ah is it still cold there in the UK? This is really the nicest thing that Paul is doing for me and I can't thank him enough! Do you and Paul live close together? Hmmm….I'm not even sure if you've had that conversation with him. 😛 It's wonderful that he took his laptop with him on his trip and I love reading his updates. Ah the @Home Cafe was really eye opening as I never knew there were such places before. Seeing Paul with those dog ears makes me think of Momusu on HM@ episodes!! One interesting thing that he noted in his e-mail to me is that H!P merchandise is incredibly widespread there everywhere he goes. With "Mikan's" disappointing sales and some decline elsewhere there surfaced talk about H!P losing popularity but from his experience there it seems that these thoughts may be somewhat exaggerated. He says they're everywhere and fans are in no shortage when it comes to the shopping that he's witnessing. I just thought that was really nice to hear and very encouraging!

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  14. You really have something great to look forward to and being able to converse in Japanese every day is the best way to learn. I'm happy to hear that Paul found the CD you were looking for! 🙂

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  15. wu-san says:

    it's going to be cold here for another two months 😛
    I'm not sure if Paul thinks too highly of me actually. You asked me when I first started commenting on here if I knew Paul Thomas, and I said 'maybe…it rings a bell'. Perhaps he was annoyed that I couldn't place him with Hello!Blog at the time. I think I sounded a bit dismissive, and I didn't mean to be. I dont know to be honest. Hmmm, by train I wouldn't think Essex would be more than 2 hours away. But I'm not totally sure on the geography actually. Mind you, a former housemate of mine in Northampton has family in Essex, so perhaps I can ask him about it.
    It's good to hear that H!P is still being somewhat more popular than many – myself included – have speculated. I think it's sometimes like that though right? We should all fly to Japan and see for ourselves. Like what Paul is doing.

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  16. Ah I sounded too serious there didn't I? 🙂

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  17. Mikey says:

    You know, as I was pushing the Send Button, I was afraid you might take it that way. I didn't mean it like that at all. I just meant to say that I did read his blog and knew what they really where (and that they aren't really maids). I knew you were kidding, and was just kidding you back. You are one of the most considerate and kind person I've ever met. I would be loath to hurt your feelings, intensionally or not. Like in Youha's 486 song… 🙂

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  18. Ah then Kamei's scarf will still be able to venture outdoors with you! 🙂 Hmmm…Pauls' such a nice person and I don't think he would take it that way. In any case with a little clearing up things will be fine. 🙂 2 hours sounds really close too! The sales have been in decline with their albums and singles but I think that the internet creates a lot of that and it's affecting every country's music industry I imagine the same way. It makes me smile though hearing that their other merchandise continues to be popular there. Ah maybe I'm being a bit naive here. 😛

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  19. Sorry I totally misunderstood that. 😛 I'm glad that you got to read his entry on this most unique place and I wonder if he could keep those doggie ears as a souvenir. 🙂 Although I don't think he'd wear them again!

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  20. Mikey says:

    If I had those doggie ears, I'd wear them! ^^ (If only to confuse the dogs)I might say things stupidly, but I don't think that I could be mean to you deliberately, since you are such a sweetheart. 🙂

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  21. Namida says:

    Hi, MorningBerryz: Howzit, brah? Da kine, Space Castle was on Pensacola St. and South King St. but closed down in the early 1990's. I believe that the Japanese-owned stores, which sought patrons among newly arrived first-generation residents from Japan– not that there was a huge influx anyway, priced themselves out of the market. I hear that Korean-owned businesses are booming in Ke'eaumoku St. I don't load my entire iTunes library into my iPod Touch because of space limitations, but I rotate the content. Since I have music videos on it, I don't have much music (MP3) on the player. For music, I listen to the Nano, which I bought around the same time last year.
    You'd be surprised by your standing among collectors worldwide, even if you compare yourself to Japanese fans. Japanese homes are small, so there simply isn't space to keep a big collection even if someone were determined to have one. I'm not saying it is impossible to stuff a room, but there is a limit—unless one were able to afford a large space, which would make those with large collections a rarity. Instead, the top collectors are more engaged with the "abstract" and the "experiential," so they are more likely to attend FC events and concerts. There are different kinds of collectors—such as myself. I've been to Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, and yes, Honolulu; but only once did I visit a H!P store, and I didn't buy a single item. The reason is that I prefer to restrict myself to CDs and DVDs. Toward a uniform measurement of different kinds of collectors with different kinds of collections, I would still imagine that you are among the top 1%. Inevitably, a collector must ask whether he or she would want absolutely everything even if one were able to have it. Would the collector rather spend a portion of money collecting something that's not H!P—must less related to music or idols? It all depends on whether such a person finds a higher calling in something else.
    The question is what is more reflective of the popularity of MM: sales of CD's or sales of merchandise. Paul said that merchandise is incredibly widespread and eagerly purchased. I too would like to believe that MM is still popular, and I believe that they are (e.g. single releases reaching the top 10 each time). Yet, the shopping experience in Tokyo is unique, so with that, consider the following (these do not stand alone but are to be understood together) as it relates to H!P goods: 1) everything (H!P or not) is everywhere throughout the city; 2) everything is in large quantities and varieties; 3) the city is the largest in the country and does not mirror the shopping in smaller cities or towns; 4) if you are looking for something specific, you will find it to the neglect of what you are not looking for; 5) goods for otaku and members of zoku are readily available because these are dedicated spenders; and 6), the prices range of these goods could be very low to very high, whereas the very low are small items and could be stocked by thousands of merchants throughout the city yet their margins are very thin (they might be found in many stores, but they don't bring in a lot of income to offset costlier ventures and productions). One might wonder whether I have any precedent before suggesting these points. In fact I do: Hello Kitty. Sanrio has more channels of distributions and the products are eagerly purchased by a greater segment of the population, yet would you believe that domestic sales have been down for the past few years? You wouldn't have guessed it by its ubiquity and the ever-expanding product line, but it is true. Fortunately, their goods translate easier overseas so the company is seeking foreign markets. Here's the paradox that has nothing to do with H!P, if you will let me deviate: Why don't many Sanrio products make it overseas, as merchants are reminded, "Not be sold outside Japan", if sales are sagging? I could go on and on. . . maybe I should save this topic for my own blog. In sum, the fact that H!P goods can be found in many places does not reverse my view that low sales of CD singles is indicative that the group is struggling one way or another. The questions are, in what way if it is not in popularity, and does defeat in that struggle spell doom to the group in spite of respectable popularity?
    Sorry if my comments are long, and I hope I don't keep beating a dead horse.

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  22. wu-san says:

    I suppose 2 hours is not that far is it?. I'm sure I'm just making things out of nothing then…I dont know. Paul and I haven't really talked much. Anyway, I'll try harder to comment. Sometimes reviewing for Intlwota though, after I've linked I've usually said a lot of what I wanted to say already, and so maybe it's easier for me to not think about posting comments. Ah, must try harder leaving comments on other people's sites.
    Hmmm, your collection really is going to take over your living room soon I fear! 😛

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  23. paul.thomas says:

    MorningBerryz, it's been amazingly easy to spend the money you sent me, although Risako merchandise is in all the H!P shops, the Nocchi and Manoeri merchandise is harder to find, as in the stores aside from the Filofax (which I wasn't sure if you placed an order with Ohta or not, so didnt get) it all seems to be photos and even then there's no where near as many as those of the other members of H!P. As I say I've gone a little over what you sent me, but consider it a late Christmas present. I should be putting it all in the post for you today.Wu-san I didn't take your comment in that way, so don't worry about that. As for the commenting, I always read your posts on IntWota and think that you (and everyone else on IntWota) provide an amazing service to our little corner in the blogsphere.Namida, you're right about Tokyo being a unique experience and certainly with things like photos and other merchandise from the H!P store and the concerts, I totally agree with what you are saying, there are a ton of reseller shops of this kind of thing, totally aimed at Otaku fans willing to easily part with their cash and to be honest outside of Tokyo I imagine it would be hard to find shops like this. But it's places like HMV and Tower Records that have really got me, each have a H!P section, comprising of new and old merchandise. These sections may not be huge, but they're certainly large enough, the HMVs I've been in have had about 8 shelves of items and have been crowded, albeit with school girls, lol. My thoughts on this are based on how these stores operate back in the UK, with the stores up in London being similar to those in Tokyo and when you come down to where I live (which is about an hour on the train from London) the stores are mini replicas, so I'd imagine that even these smaller stores would have H!P items in them. Every music shop I've been in (excluding shops for specific types of music) sells H!P items, both CDs, DVDs, new and old, even in the more quieter areas of Tokyo, certainly I haven't noticed them getting any less room then any other of the artists, it makes me think that if they are in decline in shops like HMV I wonder what they must have been like when they were at the their peak.

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  24. Hahah more pidgin! 🙂 Ah it really is part of Hawaii! What's funny is that it really depends on whom I'm conversing with that determines whether the pidgin comes out or not. At work it's all a bunch of guys so there's an abundance of pidgin being spoken but for the most part elsewhere it kind of remains hidden for me. Haha I actually don't even have that much of a pidgin vocabulary to begin with! 😛 I was at card party a couple of years ago and a friend of a friend actually thought that I was from the mainland since I didn't speak like most people that they knew here. But anyway why am I talking about pidgin to begin with?! 😛 You're very aware of things here in Hawaii! I've actually never heard of that place before. Where was I?! I imagine that I'll need a new computer before any from of ipod can be of use to me. Old computer….no USB II…friends say it's not a good idea! I do own a little Nano but it's in storage until the aforementioned upgrade occurs. It must be great to be able to travel with your collection at your fingertips!! Last year when I flew to Las Vegas for the NASCAR events an ipod would have surely come in handy!! I love children but this one just kept on screaming on the way back!! Ipod help me!! 😛 Hmmmm…I wonder if I really do rank in that 1%…it's a really nice thought! Thank you! Ahhhh space! My room is kind of tiny but I've found ways to maximize space over the years. I'm really bad…I don't throw anything away!! 😛 I keep all sorts of things and sometimes I wonder if I really need them, but I still keep them! As H!P has grown their releases have gotten so non stop. I remember when it was just Momusu and their releases were so easy to follow. But I'm definitely not complaining as I love H!P too much and the more the merrier I say! Wow you've been to soooo many places in Japan!!! :O I must visit there one day in the future! Hahah I keep saying that every year! 😛 You really have great insight into this topic and I agree with everything as it makes a lot of sense. Those are all very strong points and considering the region being explored actually never dawned on me before. Heheh I'm a naive optimist! 😛 I really hope that lower sales isn't an indication of an end coming soon. It would really break my heart. Momusu is the one of very few groups that I became a fan of on my own and from their very beginning. I think that's why they're extra special to me in so many ways. I know that all things must pass but I just hope that it isn't too soon! 🙂 You really do present the best argument and it really stood out to me on Paul's Hello!Blog in that corresponding post. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts here!

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  25. I'm always amazed at how much time and dedication everyone there puts into this passion! I can barely keep one blog and you have the task of writing and reviewing so much! I don't know how you do it, really. Ahh Paul just answered you! 🙂 I'm trying so hard to keep everything in my little room right now! It's kind of comical and someone once said that it looked like a 'store.' 😛

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  26. Paul I can't thank you enough!! You are so kind to shop for H!P merchandise for me and while on your vacation too! I'm so happy with everything that you've chosen and lots of Risakochan is great! 🙂 I was wondering if the Eggs would be hard to find and thank you so much for searching for them! Hahah you're going to have me checking the mail box in great anticipation every day! 😛 Thank you for your observations of H!P merchandise in Japan! It's great to know that they're so widespread! 🙂 There's so many different ways to view this topic but hearing your first hand experience there makes me happy! 🙂

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  27. wu-san says:

    Ah, I wonder myself how Ray keeps on top of a lot of things most of the time, as he does a lot more on Intlwota than me. I do what I can and try my best, but I usually only average 3-5 links a day…although in the summer it's busier as the younger generation of bloggers have summer vacation, then it doubles for Ray and I. But credit has to go to Ray more so than me. This travelogue I'm in the middle of complicates things a little, and I'm taking on more work to help, well, live lol…so my own blog isn't really active heheh. But I'll try. Plus, I'm trying to help out Kakko-ii.com again, my kind of j-pop home where my love for j-music and H!P in general was nurtured XD.
    haha, you could have a morning musume museum in your house at the weekends, and you can give guided tours. well, not just Momusu either, but all kinds of j-music you have.
    @Paul: I was reading something out of nothing then :P. Ah thanks for the support and so forth, and keep having a good time in Japan…I'll be tuning in.

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  28. You certainly are busy and Ray must be Superman! But maybe without the x-ray vision and cape. 😛 You guys have way too much work to do for me to even imagine. I may not even be able to get online this weekend to post anything new actually…and already it's early Friday evening. I had to take a long nap today…not enough sleep last night and the night before. But it's Friday night and I can't fall asleep early! 🙂 Hahah a tour sounds fun but my room is soooooo small that it would have to be very few visitors at a time! I think if you saw my room you'd laugh! 😀 I've been told that it looks like a store.Take a photo with your Kamei scarf when it arrives! Hopefully by next week if the post office's promised time holds up. 🙂

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  29. wu-san says:

    I'm still up, trying to write that damn silly post! lol. You may like the band, as they nod towards ear-friendly 60's brit pop/rock…like early Beatles. But I know your poor PC is a little, old, so I wont throw you video links and downloads lol. hopefully I'll get it done soon so I can sleep.
    heheh, you know, if you're sleepy you should get some rest. You deserve it. I would say have a power nap, but I find they just make me angry, as I just want to stay asleep.
    maybe you can knock a wall through to make your room a little bigger, if the shelves of Jpop goodness done collapse a side down already :P.
    Ah, I'll be hiding behind the bins outside my house for the postman now! and I sure will take that picture. Maybe I'll set up a video camera outside the house door, so you can witness the moment I jump on the postman and grab my package 🙂

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  30. I find that I need a little nap almost every week day after work! No matter how long I've had this schedule, starting at 4 a.m. never becomes too comfortable! I always think that I need more sleep! 😛 Hahah postman beware!!!! "Kamei scarf could create extra excitement!" If you have time I'd love to see a photo! 🙂

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  31. Heheh Namida for some reason your comments have become black and hahah I have my face up to my ancient monitor trying to read it as it blends in with the brown background. 🙂 Ah this theme that I'm using here at VOX hasn't changed a single time since I started this adventure…I wonder if it's time for a change. Wow you must really know your way around Japan!!! O_O So many places that you've visited and so many more that your heading too!! Do you travel with friends and family or do you have relatives there? I really wish I still had relatives living there as that would make it such easier to visit. You're so lucky to be able to travel so much!! Haha I'm stuck in Hawaii and have only been to the mainland three times in my life! 😛 The 'Zombie' analogy is a perfect fit and it really explains the situation in a new light. It's interesting that Japan has companies like these that still get loans despite little to no profit. I wonder what the big picture thinking is for their society to support such businesses. Long ties and history…hmmm…I don't much about it and I wonder. Indeed H!P has artists that are far less profitable than others and it is a similar situation. A good example would be their shashinshuu releases as in the beginning seemingly everyone got one but as time has passed only the more "popular" members are getting multiple releases. Kamei, Rikachan, Aichan really lead everyone in this regard and I'm so happy about that! 🙂 And when you look at Berryz Koubou it's really obvious. My favorite Risakochan already has 2 and yet Sakichan, Chinamichan (whom I actually thought would've gotten one by now), and Maasa have yet to receive their first pb release. As a business I guess they have to look at it strictly in a profitability sense. While I really would love to see every member get pb releases I totally understand what's deciding this trend. Hahah I'm always afraid of the 'end of H!P' talk! :O 😦 Being a fan since the beginning with Momusu's debut single capturing my heart, I just find it so hard to even think about as silly as that probably sounds. 😛 And yet all things must pass…I just need to be better prepared for it!! One thought that I find comfort in is that when the day comes that no more new H!P releases are out there I'll still have so many things to watch and listen to as a great reminiscing can begin to occur. 🙂 And yet the thought still scares me!

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  32. wu-san says:

    I'll get around to taking a picture when the scarf arrives then :P. And yep, the Postman better be on his game, because I might just go crazy when I see him walking to my door with a package.
    You start at 4am? wow, thats early! I usually do Night shifts when I work, so I suppose that gives me time to sleep in later.

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  33. Namida says:

    Dear MorningBerryz:
    I like your Vox theme, as it reminds me of the five-story pagoda at Nikko Toshogu and the surrounding cryptomeria forest of Nikko National Park. I wonder how my font turned black. Would you believe that I travel alone in Japan? I don't have any relatives or friends there either, which to me is fine because I need the concentration to carry out my studies. I write about Japan on a semi-professional basis, but in the future, I hope to do it professionally– even as a job. Lucky for me, I can blend in very easily and make the locals think that I'm one of them. I believe that this is my "higher calling," as I visit not only because I want to see something, but to learn in a very serious manner.
    Once a bad loan is revealed, others could be exposed. The relationship between politicians, bureaucrats, and bankers made sure that zombies companies didn't fall into bankruptcy. If they did, major banks would suffer from huge write-offs and this would further weaken their balance sheets, and thousands of employees would be laid off which the Japanese are not accustomed to. Daiei was one of the zombies companies– yup, that one, as in Holiday Mart on Kaheka Street. Anyhow, I've wondered how Melon Kinenbi and Nakazawa Yuko have stayed on for so long. As for the shashinshu, I speculate that the younger age and the willingness of the members, in terms of exposure to risk and comfortability in the type of photo shoot, may play a role in the releases of the books. Also consider the advice and consent of the members' parents, and the additional stakeholder– namely, the publishing company (e.g., Wani Books), that would like to see their books get sold and not take a chance on an unproven idol.
    I've noticed that CD Japan has not listed the PV single for Morning Musume's next single. I suspect that the contents of the PV single will be split between the CD single's bonus discs. Buying an additional CD single in order to complete the video content would cost almost the same as a PV single, and might boost sales a bit. Remember that there was no PV single for "Mikan." Is this the end of PV singles? I might be wrong. Hopefully.
    Have a wonderful week.

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  34. Postman beware!! Can't wait for the photo and it should just be a few days now till your really late Christmas present arrives! 😛 4 a.m….you just never get used to it and now I have to work inventory this Saturday too! I'm going to have a really short weekend. 😦

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  35. Okay I'm keeping the theme for sure now! 🙂 Hahah did you see your font above? It took awhile but I was able to read it all! 🙂 I can't imagine ever traveling alone! :O I'd be too worried about getting lost or attacked! 😛 It's wonderful that you're able to work while there and that explains why you've been to so many different areas in the country. 🙂 It finally changed ownership and became Don Quijote recently. That store's been there seemingly forever as I can remember. I'm always sad to see that Yukosan doesn't sell better as she always has such wonderful songs and I really just love her so much. Melon Kinenbi has really had their releases cut back recently and I feel kind of bad for them. But with low sales I guess it's indeed to be expected. I've been wondering what the two bonus DVDs were going to contain and I think you just figured it out exactly. It would cut costs with one less release to produce and the booklet was probably the most costly to begin with as they'd have to do all of the photo shoots plus add the item's production costs. I'm really going to miss the booklets though as they were really the most collectible item in these releases. But it would add incentive to fans to buy at least the a and b releases for this single. Maybe this is a test of the market to see how things go after the results of "Mikan" which I still don't understand as I thought this was a really great song and overall release. Have a wonderful week too! 🙂

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  36. Hahah that's so funny I never thought of that!! Then I wouldn't have had to get up so close to the monitor which must have appeared quite comical if you could've seen! 😛 :O!! :You're the first person to recognize that strange…uh…word or expression…I'm not really sure what it is but it always made me smile whenever I heard it. 🙂 I wonder if they ever found out what it means. I really can't imagine how you can travel alone! It's amazing…you have no fear! :O Heheh I heard something about this going on with the shopping carts although I don't remember where it happened. It's brilliant when you think about it…free money!! 🙂 I do love some enka music too and I guess the most exposure that I get to it is each year during the Kouhaku. It takes such amazing vocal control to perform this style of Japanese folk songs. Yukosan may have a slightly less powerful voice but I really like her enka songs that she released early in her solo career. I think she has a really wonderful voice as does Maeda Yuki too. I'm glad that her pvs are on the Pucchi Best series as that's the only chance I have to see them. Ah when Shirokiya first introduced their "Book Off" and Japanese music section there were so many hard to find releases there!! A couple of friends and I would always go there to check on their new stock and it was amazing what you could find. I have a few Anri CDs too and I remember when they were promoting her appearance here as they had posters in the record stores and I was able to get a promo of hers too. Some of my favorite late 80's to early 90's J-Pop artists that I love are CoCo, Ribbon, Sakai Noriko, Matsuda Seiko, Tanimura Yumi, and Qlair.

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  37. I'm sorry I wrote that kind of funny didn't I. What I actually meant to say is that you're the first person to recognize it from the commercial. 😛 I wasn't aware that it wasn't a real place though until now. 😛 Some of my friends would answer the phone like that!! 🙂 Hahah I didn't know that "Kokomo" isn't real either! 😛 I guess I could probably really be taken for a ride with this stuff if someone wanted to pull a prank on me! Ah you just made traveling alone seem even more perilous!! :O Very vivid…farmer, wife, and their dog. :O Brian's Billiards…there was sooo much smoke in there!!!!!! And all of your clothes would smell like it afterwards!!! :O I'm really no good at pool though but it's really a lot of fun to play!! I have Iijima Mari's album "Different Worlds" and her single "Friends" which was a tribute of sorts to Lin Minmei and Macross. I haven't listened to those in quite some time and I think I'll put them on right now. I have Matsuda Seiko's 2nd English release…it's titled "Was it the Future." I think there was an earlier one where she did a duet with one of the Wahlberg brothers but I'm not totally sure which came first. I have a friend who's a big Matsutoya Yumi fan!! I have just a few of her albums which were promotional copies from when I worked at a record store. Yaguchi Mari does a great version of her song "Chuuou Freeway"!! 🙂 OI have lots of Dreams Come True albums!! I really love Yoshida Miwa's voice and I still think it's one of Japan's most powerful ones!! I originally found out about them when I watched my very first Japanese drama "Aishiteiru to itte kure" where the theme song was "Love Love Love." This song will always hold a special meaning for me!! Wow you listen to Inoue Shoko too!! I find it so rare to know someone who likes her music too! When I was doing the J-Pop buying for the record store I brought in a lot of her albums and singles. My favorite album by her is "Up Side Down" hmmm…my collection of her music is a modest one though. I have her vhs with some of her pvs too! 🙂 Ah Zard…but you probably already know how much I love Zard and Sakai Izumi!! I'm still so sad that she is no longer with us sharing her great talent of lyrics and music. 😦 "Bu"…heheh I haven't heard that in years!! :O It's true that back then it was really difficult to learn about Japanese artists and thank goodness for the internet and the availability of so much more media today! Ouch!! you didn't like Momusu's first 2 albums?!! :O I'm happy that they grew on you later! 🙂 Did you ever watch Crayon Shinchan? "Do-shite?" is such a cute song by Sakurakko Club!! 🙂

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  38. Namida says:

    [ciò è buono]

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  39. Wow Keeaumoku street was that big empty lot for so many years and I had to really think of where it could have been located. Hmmm since I can't remember silly me was probably not there at that location! 😛 I remember a Diners, Tower Video, and a gas station but not much else. Heheh it's probably hard to believe that I've lived here all my life but I'm still capable of getting lost on this tiny island as there are areas that I'm just not familiar with at all. Mostly up north from Mililani and on the far east side too. I just don't travel there very often. And if I can get lost on this island, I'm definitely not traveling to Japan alone! 😛 Hahah but by 'lost' I mean that I drive around for awhile until I see something familiar that leads me back to familiarity…so more like losing my way for a little bit is all. Wow that must have been so difficult to find those artists from such little clips. Thank goodness for all of the information that's available now days. It's amazing that you were able to find them back then! I may be a music-holic in need of help! It all started when I purchased Morikawa Miho's album "Voices" which was released in '92 and from there Moritaka Chisato, CoCo, Luna Sea, Glay, DCT, Sakai Noriko, Zard, Black Biscuits, Amuro Namie, Ribbon, Qlair, Nakayama Miho, Nishida Hikaru, Mr.Children, B'z, X Japan, Fukuyama Masaharu, Imai Miki, Mochida Maki, Smap, and the list goes on and on. I have thousands of J-Pop albums and singles on a custom shelf that my brother built for me awhile back which covers the entire length of my room. It's beyond full and I'm having to be very creative to find places to keep the ever growing collection organized. I got the J-Pop buying job at a record store and back then they used to only bring in the Oricon charting titles but they allowed me to experiment and order through new release catalogs so I would see artists and releases that looked interesting or cute 😛 and order them. The Japan export division would occasionally send me promos so I could learn more about the different artists but for the most part it was just blind buying…sometimes a hit and sometimes a miss. I then lost touch with American music for the most part and became so exclusive to J-Pop. Some of my friends thought that I was weird…well maybe I am, but I've also made a few new friends through having an interest in J-Pop so there's more to cherish there as well! 🙂 I could go into more detail but I wouldn't want to bore you beyond belief! 😛 One day I'd like to take a photo of my J-Pop collection but it may be difficult without a wider lens or perhaps I could use several photos instead. But then it'd really hard to see what's actually on the shelf so I'm not sure if I'll do it. I'm not familiar with Kompeitou but a duo sounds nice! I like Hana Hana, Kubokuro, and Kiroro as the 2 vocalists in each of these groups really compliment each other so well. With Hana Hana their voices are such a nice contrast! "Sayonara daisuki na hito" is a really beautiful song that was also a drama theme song which aired here awhile ago. I had no idea that Iijima Mari moved to the U.S. and did all of those things! :O My albums by her are kind of old as I picked up only some of her back catalog but Wow I never imagined!! That's quite a surprising twist!! I would play "My Friend" in the store driving some nuts but one of my fellow workers who wasn't even interested in J-Pop actually bought that one single because I guess I…uh caused her to hear it too much! 😛 Sakai Izumi has "Nocturne" but I wasn't aware of a magazine as well. It's a really rare item! I still can't believe that she's gone.

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  40. Namida says:

    [זה מעולה]

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  41. You have a really great memory of these places! I can only picture some of them and I live here. 😛 I'm the type of person who only goes to specific places and I usually only go there on one path so I guess that would explain why I'm so unfamiliar with some areas on the island. I know that sounds really lame and whenever I have to go somewhere that I've never been before I usually have to consult a map to make sure I recognize street names and don't get lost! 😛 Hahah it's only an island…can you imagine if I lived in the mainland…I may never find home again. 😛 That's a great point A to point C story although at the time it must have been quite aggravating! I might have given up and tried to go back to the hotel after the second attempt. That sounds really confusing and I'd have to travel with someone who's familiar with the area or I'd probably spend most of my vacation there being lost. One day I'd like to ride on the shinkansen! That's a really wonderful idea collecting items from different stations! Ah I remember that episode. I had no idea that the term "ekiben" could mean something else though! :O It's amazing how everyone comes across J-Pop in their own way. There's an old post on Paul's site that tells his story and then there's so many comments from other fans sharing theirs as well. That was the first post that I discovered when I found his site one night and I included my J-pop discovery story there as well and it's kind of long and may have put some to sleep. 😛 The choreography for idol groups back then was quite simple and usually done in unison. It's amazing to see how it's evolved over the years and especially in Momusu. I love the choreography for "The Man Power!!!" Plus I love the togas so much too! I wish I could purchase one as it'd be one of the best collector's items! If the Hello! Project Information Village had stayed open here for just a bit longer they may have had them on display there. Hahah I stay away from MySpace! I'm still trying to imagine a place called Space Castle…….. $35 is quite a lot!! It's good that your Minmay memories will always remain as she sounds to have changed quite a lot over the years! I wasn't even aware that that was her character until I saw the single that I purchased in a catalog.

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  42. Namida says:

    [هذا هو الحكم]

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  43. You have such wonderful power of memory! Photographic memory?! 🙂 That's a really wonderful thought! Being able to travel by foot and yet see so much! You would make a perfect guide in Japan with all of your travels there and you'd be able to point out all of the sites of interest too! I'd really love to see what the ekiben packaging looks like!! Maybe you could take a photograph of them the next time you visit Japan. 🙂 Heheh I'm typing as I read…ah I'd love to see what those ekiben reproductions look like! When you rode on the shinkansen could you tell how fast you were going or was it a hidden effect? Those train fare cards are a wonderful idea and making them into bookmarks is wonderfully creative. Japan is so innovative and it never ceases to amaze me whenever I learn something new about their culture or what's available to travelers. "The Man Power!!!" impressed me so much and it's visually so rich…ah it's the togas too!! 🙂 The choreography still impresses me even when viewed next to their more recent single releases. Hahah you know already…the togas!!! Hmmm.. but now you have me thinking a bit more about it….ummm….how about the news desk from the news segment on Hello! Morning!! 😛 Right where Yukosan and Kamei would sit! Okay I know that's just crazy!! 😛 For Aichan & Kamei's togas I'd pay……$1000….hahah it may not be enough though as someone would probably out bid me for sure! :O I wish I knew about Space Castle as I would have loved to have visited there…not for the scary prices but rather just to see all of the collectibles and CDs that they had. I really love the conversations that we're having and you really have so much knowledge and experiences to share! I'm sorry that it took me so long to respond as I haven't been feeling well lately.

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  44. Thank you Namida, I'm almost among the living again. Just hearing you mention all of these places of interest is so impressive!! I think you'd present really great tours that are vastly informative! That's really unheard of elsewhere, being able to visit that many places in one concentrated area. I'm so impressed…you know all of the names of these locations! You really have studied so much of Japan and I'm wondering if you're compiling your memoirs as you travel there. If I had 10 days to spend in Japan…I'd probably run out of money in 5! 😛 Haha but really self restraint would be really difficult to uphold with so much shopping to do! And places to visit! I can't believe that they don't want their ekiben boxes back! Sounds like such a great presentation and being that they sell miniature replicas of them says so much!! I was wondering what the sensation of speed would be like on one of these bullet trains. It's amazing that it moves so smoothly at that speed!! It must be an amazing sight when two of them pass each other!! Japanese culture is so different from any other countries' and if only everyone could be so polite! 🙂 It's nice that these traditions haven't diminished through the new generations and are instead passed down intact. Japan is so unique and that should never change. Wow you even know where Sayu was in that Best Shot pv!! I love her version so much as the song really seems to suit her voice nicely! That's incredible! A Battle Royale store!! :O Ah I bet it was really popular back then too! Hahah it would be weird to wear one of them devices around your neck! Yes it's going to have to be the togas from "The Man Power!!!" but if I spent that much on Aichan & Kamei's togas I may be disowned! 😛 The Hello! Project Information Village that was in the Royal Shopping Center would have Momusu's pv outfits in a large glass display and they'd change the outfits from time to time. Seeing the outfits from "Ai araba it's all right" and "Roman my dear boy" was amazing!! I wish I owned a camera back then as I would've taken a lot of pictures! They would also write messages, sign cards and draw pictures each time that they visited Hawaii and those would be in the glass display case too. It would be amazing to own some of those and I wonder what happens to them afterwards. It would be a shame if they were just put into storage. I'll be happy with the togas but you're scenario sounds so perfect! You can't beat a day spent with your favorite H!P member(s)!!!! I'd have to choose Kamei for sure! Thank you so much for your kindness! 🙂 Ah a friend at work joked that I may have a worm living in me! :O Okay that's not funny. But I'm feeling much better now. 🙂

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  45. Namida says:

    [いいですね]

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  46. You have such a great approach to your travels in Japan and I'm so impressed by how much you're familiar with the different districts and landmarks in the country! I think I would be too weak to fully appreciate everything the way that you do and you're really maximizing the experience in the best way. Hahah I'd be too obsessed with H!P, Arashi, and other J-Pop interests too learn enough! 😛 You're absolutely right about it being a cultural interest as I too have taken an interest due to my heritage. I love how you decided between the two places of interest and ended up with such a rewarding experience along the way! That truly must have been amazing to be there in person after reading literature on the very spot! Mmmmm…every time I hear mention of Kobe beef I think of Reinachan and how much she loves beef!! Japan collectively seems to love beef or this may just be a naive observation on my part. 😛 Your diary must be an amazing read with so many details and notes about Japan's prefectures and history. Just being able to experience it all first hand! Wow you typed it all out! :O 186 mph is amazing!!! I can't imagine what it must feel like traveling at that speed! Makes me dream of NASCAR and how they reach those speeds on a weekly basis all in 3400 lb stock cars! 🙂 It must be quite a sight looking out the window of a shinkansen!! I wonder what a photograph would look like. Hahah I'd be walking around with ekiben boxes that I wouln't want to throw away all day until I got back to the hotel! 😛 Hmmm…I'd have to mail them home separately too. That's a great point about how Japan would some of its mystique if one were born and raised there. Hawaii is a perfect analogy to that. Some people travel here to experience our beaches and weather but since I live here it all seems normal to me. It probably shouldn't though but I guess it can't really be helped. I wonder what I would be like if I had been born and raised in Japan. Hmm…would I be stuck in an office too. Wow you should tell Paul that he was on the same line as Momusu for "Joshikashimashi monogatari's" pv!!! I think he'd get a real kick out of that! That's amazing you know where "Aruiteiru" was shot?!! I always thought that Kohachan looked to be walking around in some barren wasteland…well compared to the lushness of Aichan's surroundings! 😛 On a few occasions when I'd visit the H!P Information Village I would see some local people walk in and have that expression like they've just walked into a foreign country via a simple doorway! :O It was even funnier witnessing tourist from the mainland walk in as they'd actually think that it was an "information" locale and proceed to ask the clerk for directions to a place of interest in Waikiki! I really miss the store soooo much!!! But I have to be thankful that we actually did at one time have a H!P official store here in Hawaii that I could just drive to on any given day. 🙂 Ever since Kamei become the beloved reporter character on the H!M news segments I've just loved her personality so much!! I also think that she's so personable and just too adorable for words to describe! I love her laugh to…hahah I guess every thing about her! 🙂 Aichan had been my favorite Momusu member for a very long and ever since Nacchi graduated from Momusu and Kamei had been 2nd for quite a long time…just recently becoming my favorite Momusu member…I guess it was inevitable. 🙂

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  47. That would be so amazing to be able to have a visual of the same exact spot through the eyes from a century ago and today. I wasn't aware that artists depicted such things on woodblocks! Haha the big dog episode!! 🙂 I remember she was teaching the dog to shake hands but was having a bit of trouble getting the dog to fetch. Yes she kept losing so it was just Reinachan and her furry friend while the other two members got to eat! :O The reactions are always great!! Meat appears and…. :D!!! I'm guessing it's probably quite expensive too which makes it such a treat to have! Being that an anime depicted tears of joy really says it all! Reinachan's Futarigoto episode was a lot of fun to watch too and the producers knew exactly what to get for her to cook! H!M episodes would also offer meat as the winning prize on so many episodes and it just appears that the whole H!P family loves meat!! Wow so many different types and here I was only aware of Kobe beef! "Matsuzaka"…if ever in Japan now I know what to look for…well if I can actually afford it! A friend that I work with traveled to Japan after his wedding to stay with his wife's family and he told me that the fruit can be really expensive there too! Some of its shaped like a box and they stack it up in their stores…I'm guessing it saves a lot of space this way but $60+ for a fruit?!!! o_O Ala Moana has really added to their high classed stores in recent years and I imagine I'd have security following me if I entered one of them as I probably don't appear to be able to afford anything in there! 😛 The Japanese visitors continue to be the lifeline of Hawaii's economy and it's amazing how much they spend here!! Hmm…I think I've always had the perception that "made in Japan" is best. Even when I was little Japan's goods always seemed to be of higher quality and I think a lot of that perception was passed down from my parents. Most of my friends seem to have the same perception but most of them were born and raised here in Hawaii too, so I don't really have a outside opinion to consider for the most part. The more I look back on the H!P Information Village the more it seems like such an odd but great venture. I still remember when I first found out about it. I had just purchased Momusu's Hawaiian themed album and I usually don't pay too much attention to the little inserts in there but with a glance I noticed a reference to Hawaii. I called the phone number right away to find out what time they opened to next day and straight from work I headed into Waikiki. I must have been an odd sight for the clerk as I was dressed in one of my Dale Jr. replica uniform outfits! :O It was my first experience seeing an entire wall of H!P official photos and the whole ordering process was quite a learning experience for me. Later I found out that purchasing idol photos in Japan is set up quite similarly in some locations so this is the closest I've ever got to a taste of Japanese shopping. Ah I love Kohachan in this pv the most too!! She's just the most animated and she's really into the song the most it seems. I love that part too! 🙂 My mother is traveling to Hokkaido later this year with a friend…unfortunately I won't be able to go though. I here it's so scenic there as much of the landscape is still untouched by concrete jungles. She's taking a camera and I asked her to take lots of photos! So many H!P pvs are shot in studios or with blue screen so whenever they venture outdoors it adds such a nice touch! And to know that they've chosen well known locations makes them even more special. I imagine that it must cost much less to film indoors so that's probably why these pvs are few and far between. In Momusu's recent history I think that "Aruiteiru" is their best single. It's just perfect J-Pop love! 🙂 Seeing Mikitty act all cutesy shedding her usually stern appearance was such an endearing sight when she partnered with Kamei. Hahah but Kamei just can't be beat…she's just too adorable and her introductions are always priceless!

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  48. Namida says:

    [זה מעולה]

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  49. Thank you!…"Semi" is one of my favorite BK songs!! I always thought that this song could have been a single too!

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  50. I'm so sorry that I'm replying so late!! I'm picturing that you have a very impressive historical collection of Japan! I wasn't even aware of these woodblocks until you mentioned them. The book you mention must be a marvelous visual to own. 139 varieties?! Ah my brother really loves beef and I bet if he had the chance he'd set out to try them all! 😛 Ah that's an easy one! Aichan! If you had said Hokkaido then I would have had to think about it for awhile…but it's Nacchi! So many of my favorite members are from Hokkaido…must be something in the water up there! It's interesting that wagyu beef can be raised outside of Japan and still retain its name and I totally understand how it's regarded in a higher way when raised in Japan. Mie? Ohta is from Mie! I have no idea where it's located but whenever I order anything from him it's postmarked from Mie. I'm wondering if it's close to Tokyo….but I'm probably way off! 😛 The fruit prices are quite scary in Japan!! And square fruit! O__O Hahah that's my problem right there! I always look at prices first! 😛 Security!!!! So much outsourcing is the norm now days. Cheaper labor costs and a competitive market I guess are the causes. It's kind of sad thought that even those once "made in Japan" companies are having their parts manufactured outside of the country as well. It's just a sign of the times I guess. Hahah I agree why Vizio! I have a little 15" LCD in my bedroom and it's definitely a Sharp Aquos. Japan's products have a reputation of being well made and that's what I was brought up to believe but more so in just seeing their superior quality first hand made the difference in my opinion. Hmmm….my Dale Jr. uniform…now outdated as he has changed sponsors! :O I need some new clothing now! I'm kind of an odd sight in Hawaii as there aren't many NASCAR fans here…or at least visibly. The store clerk didn't seem puzzled by my appearance which is surprising. I wish the store would come back to Hawaii! One can dream…. I've heard about these from a friend at work! He ordered through a machine of some type and then walked over to find his order ready in a short while! Ah the jobs are disappearing too! That's where my mom is going later this year…Hokkaido! Not me though I can't go! Haha you're right! Konkon and her love of great foods! I hear Hokkaido is so scenic and much of it is untouched by development still. I hope it remains that way as every country in the world needs to have an area which is natural…and beautiful! You must be thinking of Kamei's "Juunanasai" shashinshuu! (goes to get it…) I'm sure someone else could figure out which school it is…ah I'm just not sure. She's posed in front of their announcement board but she's blocking the name of the school! This pb was shot in Hawaii on Oahu and one of my favorite photos is near the back where she's crossing Kapahulu Avenue! 🙂 You can see Diamond Head in the background, American Savings Bank, Mail Boxes Etc., and several other locations that have been there for awhile. 🙂 In the making of she's hugging one of the sign posts on the sidewalk and I've been meaning to go down there and hug the very same post! 😛 People will probably think I'm nuts though! 😛 "Ai no tane." It's more than just the song itself but I think this may be in my profile here so in short, when I ordered their debut single from a new release catalog back in late '97 while I was the J-Pop buyer at Tower it was a blind type of order as I knew nothing about them at the time but when it arrived I fell in love with the coupling with song "Ai no tane" as soon as I heard it. Haha I always thought that this should have been the a-side but as "Ai no tane" is a Asayan single already it wouldn't make any sense…just an indication of how much I love this song. Most groups/artists I learn about from friends but in this one instance Morning Musume was a group that I discovered all on my own for once. It makes "Ai no tane" even more special and almost symbolic for me…I know that sounds wacky! 😛 To this day whenever I listen to it it really takes me back to when I first became a fan with their debut single and for this as well as me thinking that it's such a great song it'll always be my all time favorite Momusu song no matter what H!P releases and how much I love those new songs that are coming out each month and into the future.

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  51. Namida says:

    [ciò è buono]

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  52. I really love the conversations that we are having and you are so knowledgeable! Haha half of your message is in black again but this time I did what you suggested and highlighted it! Fushigi ne… Your collectibles are so special because you've actually visited these places…I can only dream! If only we had great collectibles like Japan does! As you mentioned earlier Japan's very culture is so locked into collecting and it really shows how they cater to that by creating such wonderful items and not your ordinary cliche items. 600?!! that is so many!! :O I love how some prefectures mark their catches and have a distinct pride about them even if they're the same as another nearby prefectures' catches. 🙂 Hmmm..wagyu would definitely have to be authentic and raised in Japan I think…although the process is the same outside of Japan somehow it wouldn't be the same and as special. Haha but what do I know! 😛 I've never even had "Kobe" beef here in the U.S. and since I don't eat beef very often I wonder if I'd be able to tell the difference. This is probably not a good analogy by any means but I've tried some more expensive wines in the past and I can't tell you why their sooo expensive!! 😛 Okay cheap wine is one thing…not good! But once you reach a particular price I can't tell the difference in quality. So if I'm at an expensive restaurant and someone orders a really expensive bottle of wine it's probably best that I don't have any…would seem like a waste wouldn't it?! 😛 Wow a Aquos cell phone?!! Japan is always so ahead of us it seems in technology and the made in Japan tag equals quality in my mind. But even they are outsourcing their manufacturing needs…the high cost and competition….I guess it's inevitable. Hmmmm…if I found fingerprints on a new t.v. that I purchased I'd probably think that it was used…returned…and then resold to me! :O I'd return it too!! I'd probably be over reacting though….silly me! I wonder if one day the U.S. will start seeing this type of automation in eateries. It's scary to think though how many jobs would be lost if this were the case…that makes me think I hope not!

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  53. Namida says:

    [זה מעולה]

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  54. Hmmm….no I totally understand what you mean. Haha I may be guilty too…I love to collect Final Fantasy figures from the games that I've played. 😛 But really none of the other things that you mentioned and my room is filled with uncommon things I suppose. That's a very good point about H!P and what a fan learns about them through the years…I never really thought about it in those terms before and you're right!….every thing about them is embraced by us whether it be favorable or unfavorable. You probably already know this about me but I adore all of them! It's going to be amazing when you have your own display area for your collectibles!! And when you have guests over it's going to be so impressive but what you'll have to go along with these treasures that will be so special in addition is going to be your in depth knowledge about them. That's something that most collector's can't match! It'd have to be the Japanese version even if they were identical!! 🙂 The packaging and presentation is such a part of Japan's culture and it really shows in their music releases…sometimes I wonder why other countries don't put as much into their packaging as well. I've always thought that it gives the fan/consumer a real incentive to own the actual release. Haha but now I'm going to argue against that as for example the U.S. wouldn't embrace the extras the same way that the Japanese fans do. Most things are downloaded now days here so I don't imagine that even the inclusion of a bonus booklet or DVD would make any significant rise in sales. Haha I know we've already talked about this before! 😛 I love wine but it'd be a waste to spend a lot on me! Your "average" $10-$15 bottle is totally okay as I can't tell the difference really. Merlot is my favorite. Designer clothing can really be outrageously priced though! I know the fabric is of the best quality but Wow!! My brother has a Sony digital camera and they really do have great features. I've never heard of this partnership before but it must really give them a higher level of product. I'll be aware of Carl Zeiss the next time I'm looking at cameras as I really would like to get a new one….I probably can't afford these models though! 😛 It's great to know that the higher end technology is still being produced in Japan and that my Sharp LCD may have been built there! 🙂 The Japanese really do lead innovation!! They're designing robots now and they're becoming so functional in practical ways!! I've never heard of these screens before. I'm trying to imagine how a screen could exhibit 3 different images based on angle…I can't even dream about something like that! You're right!…it's not just the high standards of manufacturing but also the innovativeness…this new screen says it all! Silly me would have thought that the t.v. had been used and returned! 😛 I always scrutinize a lot whenever I open up something…more so when it costs more.

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  55. Namida says:

    Forgot to make the point in the last paragraph about cell phones: You can see Japan's strength in manufacturing comes through in cell phones, but the country is not noted for computer software unlike America, and that too is reflected in their cell phones. Another such product is the market for portable music device. Sony makes awesome sounding players with great features (strength in hardware) but the navigation and music management software can't beat Apple (weak in software).

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  56. Hmmm…Hawaii is so rich in different cultures and we're really like a mixing pot of sorts here. And what's nice is that everyone blends together and it doesn't matter where your background lies. 🙂 I'm glad that you mentioned Korean dramas!! How did you know that it has such a big interest here?!! Friends, co-workers, family….so many people watch them!! The market is so profitable and they're really smart about it too….all of their t.v. shows are subtitled as they know that there is a strong market outside of the country! I wish that Japanese t.v. dramas would have a resurgence soon too! Maybe then all of their programs would be professionally subtitled too. 🙂 My mom watches them all the time and I really do mean all the time! :O This makes her birthday, mother's day, and Christmas very easy to shop for!! I think it's really become encouraged by some of the businesses here that less for less is better. It's interesting that you can buy downloads of music and it's encouraged I assume by the artists as well as they must've given their consent to this. On the other hand I can kind of understand where this particular thinking is coming from as with just about everything out there one can find it for free online and they probably feel the need to try to make a profit in any way that they can. I love having the CD casing and DVD casings though….so I always prefer purchasing the actual releases. I love booklets too!! I'm really lame when it comes to cameras and its technology! I really don't know anything about it and for the longest time I wasn't even sure what the difference between optical and digital zoom were. 😛 Luckily when I asked a friend at work they didn't think I was too dumb asking such a question!! 😛 I'll upgrade my camera one day! I imagine that it must be really important for you to have a great camera to take on your trips! You could really compile all of your notes and diaries with your photos and create a wonderful personal documentation of Japan! 🙂 You really have so much insight into the country to share and every time we talk I feel even more naive!! 😛 But that's a good thing as I'm learning so much!! No doubt it would be a hard sell to have American manufacturers invest so much into a new idea that is only experimental and in it's development stages with no guarantee of profitability in the future. They're thinking is so different from ours and that's a great point as to why they're always so ahead of us in technology. The iPhone is amazing and maybe one day in the far far away future I'll actually own one. I had this really old phone and I finally upgraded to a BlackBerry pearl recently so I'm going to be using this one for a long while. It does enough for me and I'm very happy with it but every time that I see an iPhone I want one too!! The full web browsing is so amazing and that'd probably be my favorite feature I think! Haha those square watermelons that my friend at work was telling me about!! O__O Now that's maximizing space!! It's nice to know that we excel in software and to be even more advanced than Japan in this regard is amazing in itself. If someone asked me a question about our software in a comparison I wouldn't have known the answer before you mentioned how are markets differ on this. Just think if you could combine the two together…they're hardware and our software! Hmmm…I'm guessing that this already happens though in some way.

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