Happy New Year everyone っo(*´∀｀)o！！！
Here every New Years day we’re treated a complete broadcast of Japan’s New Years eve musical celebration which pits the Red (women’s team) against the White (men’s team) in a cumulative singing showdown and much like years past, this year’s show also provided an abundance of great performances, surprises and visuals which were most memorable~.
First and foremost was seeing ARASHI host!!!! And at some points during the night (each time she appeared on screen) I did secretly long to see long~time Kouhaku host Nakama Yukie up on stage beside the boys hosting as there’s just something about her presence and class which brings so much to any event. This year Nakama Yukie would appear as a special guest judge role instead and like always she looked so so beautiful. The continuing trend of seeing much less enka also was notable this year as in a sign~of~the~times sort of way the move away from Japan’s unique folk styling opting for more pop and modern artists is perhaps in a bid to attract a growth in the youth audience. Still I would love seeing both enka performers of old and new in the grand mixture of the evening but perhaps those days of dominance or now ever equality are behind us now~.
Much like the Olympics the Kouhaku also loves having unique mascots and this year’s oversized stuffed~animal plushies were what appeared to be two giant gorillas and when at one point Riida had mysteriously vanished from the stage I began to fear that one of those mascots had eaten him :P!….luckily though Riida had just been in wardrobe change as he was getting prepared for his “Kaibutsu~kun” theme performance =). So many of the sets were so amazing and well designed too and in case you were wondering just what AKB48 was looking at to get such a reaction atop this post…….there’s just the one and only “Head” whom could pull off such a feat as she always promises to produce the night’s most elaborate of stage visuals, tonight she rode high above the audience upon an giant swan……crane? And while “Furusato” and “Arigatou” were two of the night’s most emotional some of my other favorites were by ARASHI (were both awesome as hosts and they absolutely ruled the stage with their medley of “Troublemaker and “Monster”), AKB48 (“Beginner/”Heavy Rotation”/”Ponytail to shu shu” medley rocked!! and they also made their presence felt all night appearing as dancers for other artists including Godai Natsuko which was really pretty + an anime tribute performance by Acchan, Yuko, Tomochin & Mizuki Nana and more!), aiko (if you’ve been reading here for awhile you already know how much I love and adore aiko so much♥!!), Fukuyama Masaharu (He appeared via satellite and for a cause even had his long locks cut live right on stage), Kobukuro (love how their voices harmonize together….beautiful!), Angela Aki (known mostly for her piano compositions she performed solo on acoustic guitar), Godai Natsuko (what’s even better than a great enka voice?….being accompanied on stage by Takamina, Kojiharu, Sae, Mayuyu, Yukirin, Mariko, Miichan and Kasai!!), AAA (♥♥♥!), L’arc~en~ciel (I had no idea that they were on this year and gosh*! Hyde love~love his voice so much!!), Ikimono Gakari (“Arigatou” I thought was one of the best songs of the night), Ishikawa Sayuri (♥♥♥!), Hikawa Kiyoshi (the enka boy~wonder I still think of him and on this night there was even a Middle~Eastern flavor in his song and performance), SMAP (awesome medley of “This is love” and “Triangle”….sweet~sweet~ballad♥ and Shingo~kun’s public service announcement for Japan’s going all digital moving away from analog permanently was quite cute!) and omg the drunken~master~like Kuwata Keisuke never ceases to surprise me as he was channeling Bob Dylan for his first song and thank goodness for those Japanese lyrics they show at the bottom of the screen otherwise there would be little way of knowing just what he was singing/saying at all…(^q^)!
The five hours flew by so quickly and even Couscous enjoyed~* the Kouhaku this year although she did at several times say something like….”..if you close your eyes this is really nice….” in reference to a few of the night’s male singers lol and I won’t say anything more as I’m guessing you already know what she was implying xD. A wonderful aspect of the Kouhaku is how you don’t just see your favorites♥ once for their main performance as they’ll appear sometimes repeatedly in back~up dancer roles for other artists and in special tributes too throughout the night. So below are just a few favorite♥ performances from the 2010 Kouhaku and I’ll begin with Angela Aki solo on guitar followed by AKB48’s awesome medley which ends with an amazing~* victory pose and be sure to watch for AKB also in Godai Natsuko’s performance and a few more performances too =)!!
Maeda Atsuko, Oshima Yuko, Itano Tomomi & Mizuki Nana
Godai Natsuko w/ AKB48