Bokutachi wa NEWS! || NEWS

ヒミツ ・ ミツル 00: Introductory Post: Semi-Friends Only.

I'm Ces, formerly sakura_041888 , and this is my new journal. I'm mainly a lurker in the communities I frequent in, so I'm really sorry if I don't bring forth downloads or anything for your pleasure. D:

As of October 17, 2011, this blog will be half-public, half-private. Posts done in public will be punctuated with the Japanese word ミツル    ("mitsuru") and will mostly consist of my essays and concert reports. Posts done in private will be marked with ヒミツ    ("himitsu" = secret) and will mostly consist of RL and private stuff.

Please do leave a comment if you want to be friends - don't worry I don't bite. :)

EDIT April 18 2019:
I would appreciate it if you can leave a comment saying you'd like to know me better instead of the ones that say "please add me back (because you have the files I need)".
I'm sorry - I usually have my files up for a reasonable period of time, so once I take the links and the files themselves down, they will forever be down. I wish to clean up my online spaces as frequently as possible.

Layout: neen from revolumna
Double Art mood icons: Komi Naoshi (original manga work), himitsuru
Katekyo Hitman Reborn mood icons: Akira Amano (original manga work), nanabbang

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Runaway || Gakuen Alice

ミツル 26・ヒミツ 111: Closure... Or so I think.

I didn't think it would still be this hard.

Almost a year after Tegoshi has left, NEWS finally - and I mean it when I say finally - managed to finish off Story. I think most of us agreed that it was not the wisest decision for J&A to take, what with this pandemic still raging in Japan and prompting a minimum of two state of emergencies - but now that it's finally all over, we can all breathe a sigh of relief. I have not been closely following the updates since the tour started, but there have been some slight issues, like some governor trying to shed a negative light on the fact that NEWS was going to hold a concert in their prefecture, for one.

I have been trying not to be disappointed all over again because Story had been cancelled twice at this point (first due to the initial COVID outbreak, and second due to Koyashige being infected), and I could not dare hope that everything was going to be alright. Some weeks ago, there was another major SoE declaration and Aichi was included, so we all held our breath and thought it was going to be postponed yet again, or worse, entirely cancelled (like some stage plays at this point. I am still terribly upset and mad about how Haisute ended).

Still, by some miracle, Story managed to pull through, and was able to finish off safely without any outrageous incidents. We should be thankful, but ... there's no helping it; someone has to address the biggest elephant in the room. It's supposed to be a closure, but it still doesn't seem to be one.

This tour was not entirely Story without Tegoshi.

I wish - and I really truly wish - that I am wrong, and that this is all just a bad dream that I could wake up from. But no - I am still bitter, I am still frustrated, I am still upset even after all this time. Yesterday I realized the reason behind all the negativity I felt.

Tegoshi's absence in their music is glaringly obvious, and there was no way to ignore it.

What drew me to NEWS in the first place was their music, and not their camaraderie, history, or background. I came into the fandom in 2011, when I was barely still adjusting to their vocals as 6nin, when Ryopi announced their departure. Looking back, I think my rage about them leaving was shallow, because I didn't actually build an inner connection with the group at that point back then. I have only been listening to their music, and although I struggled with finding translations, their songs thoroughly clicked and drew me further in. Discovering the men and the personalities behind the voices was secondary. And even as a new fan, I could tell that Tegomasu's voices was at the heart of NEWS's music, and didn't feel any deeper connection to Ryopi's voices (and embarrassingly, even to KoyaShige's).

This was probably why when Ryopi announced their departure, I couldn't understand why everyone thought NEWS disbanding was something that "couldn't be helped". Why? I thought. There are only two voices leaving. The ones who are actually carrying the core of NEWS's music are still there. They are bound to make it even better, so why grieve? I knew they could make it through, and I knew it was not impossible for them to overcome this hurdle. Which was why Utsucon felt like a huge sigh of relief. See, I told you. They sound even better now. Sure, we'll miss the former voices, but the ones who stayed were truly able to make up for it. But then of course, this was entirely everything on my side, and this perspective was solely my own, and not the fans who were with them even back to the 9-nin days.

We got NEWS, then White, then Quartetto, and then Neverland. Each album further solidified my belief that 4-nin NEWS was their best shape, and their voices grew in ways I couldn't even imagine. There were unique harmonies I never thought they would explore. There were songs I didn't think I would like at first, but then grew on me simply because it was them singing. There were songs that were cheesy and ridiculous, it made me laugh and slightly doubt my judgment on idols. There were songs that were filled with meaning which took time to explore, simply because of my limited Japanese. And then there were songs that just straightaway proved why NEWS truly is my favorite artist.

Around Epcotia, when it was revealed that we were halfway through a four-part project, a thought and a possibility crept into my mind - something that was born out of my unstable mental state back then: what would happen when this project is through? Was there a reason why they had thought this up? And I unconsciously thought of reasons, and simultaneously thought of justifications. They are probably thinking of letting Tegomasu resurface for a moment after this project is over. They're not doing this because of someone's plans of leaving, right? Or they're not doing this because they needed to prove to the higher ups that they are still relevant, right?

And then.... this.

Story definitely felt like a rewind of Utsucon, but as I kept on watching the stream, a feeling of dread grew bigger and bigger inside me, and it took me until the MC to figure out why I felt so uneasy.

It was just not the same as before.

Please don't get me wrong. I truly, really, and honestly feel proud that 3nin NEWS pushed through with Story despite Tegoshi's absence, and I recognize the enormous amount of courage it took to actually continue a project that was not supposed to lose anyone. I am proud, because I know that more than our feelings of disappointment, hatred, and sadness, the remaining members should be feeling more of this than anyone else, and are still deciding to give us stuff that they "owe" us. Not that they actually owe us anything, but I bet that they feel like they had to continue this for our sake as well as theirs, and that leaving the existence of Story up in the air is something that cannot be done. They needed to close the curtains on it, and put an end to what is considered their best era.

I rationally understand all of this, but my other self who has been struggling for so long and has been relying on 4nin NEWS's music for strength, is in a fit of rage and is utterly inconsolable.

What has happened to all those harmonies? Where is the one who was supposed to sing this line? What do you mean by this line? How dare you say it when you couldn't keep your promise! How dare you leave them in this state! How dare you make them cry like this and relive that pain they felt in 2011?! No, I don't want this voice to belong there! Why is it like this?! Why are you even trying??? Please stop trying! It hurts to listen! I don't want to listen anymore! Where is the NEWS that I have truly fallen in love with?! Give them back to us! I will never forgive you! Give them back to me!

Such thoughts were just painful to say, and are truly illogical and inexcusable. Yet, I know I am not the only one who feel this way. I had thought it was immature when fans of other groups would lament about members leaving and rant about how the musical repertoire has changed, complaining that it ruined their experience, and that they want to leave for good. I never thought I would feel the same.

It hurts. It still hurts. It hurts like hell, but there is nothing I can do. There is nothing I can do when the group I love is suffering more than I do, more than what they have shown to us. I have no right to yell or scream or throw a tantrum just because their new shape is something that I cannot bear to look at for now. I have no right to hurt other fans' feelings too, especially when they have opposing views, and when they truly love the people who had left for good.

"If change is part of life,
then.... it's such a cruel kindness."

At this point I am reminded of this line from Fruits Basket, and I cannot agree more. We shouldn't have thought that it was going to be the same forever. To some extent, circumstances, people, and even feelings would change, and all we can truly do is to accept the reality that not everything is going to change in the way we want them to. There will be good changes. There will be irreversible ones. There will be sudden ones that will catch you unaware and will turn your world upside down. And then there will be gradual changes that let you gently ease into acceptance.

I know I am still in the middle of the grieving stage, and still unable to move on. But I can only hope and pray that this will all pass soon, and that one day, I will look back and see that this point was truly for the best, and that everyone will eventually reach a level of happiness that is truly meant for them. It may take months. It may take years. But hopefully, eventually..... soon. Soon.
Runaway || Gakuen Alice

ミツル 25・ヒミツ 110: And this is where we separate ways.

Tegoshi at the end of his 2-hour long press conference yesterday

I don’t think I really have the right to talk about it, considering that for these past two years I have been putting NEWS in the background and have not made them a priority nor a driving motivation compared to my early years in the fandom i.e. 2011. Also I have branched off to other interests which may have weakened my attachment to them, but I would like to think that through this “self-detachment”, I could actually have an objective perception of things and not be too blinded by emotions. Either way though, I feel the need to talk this one out, mainly because this issue is affecting me on personal, social, and mental levels, despite not having been emotionally invested in them recently.

I have this to say though: if you plan to know which stand I am really on, you should probably be ready to read this entire entry. My stance is not black and white: it is just a shade of gray, and I can't even tell you how light or dark it is. From my last entry you should be able to know how much I feel about Tegoshi as an artist, but in this one you will know how I feel about Tegoshi as a person. So this can be a semi-rant, but I will definitely try hard to express what I feel as rationally and objectively as possible, after watching his press conference last night, and based on people's translations (since there's Japanese legal jargon and stuff).

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I will be muting all words relating to Tegoshi and his works, and for now I've even resorted to blocking his account because he keeps on appearing in my feed as QRTs (I don't follow him).
I will be muting anyone who will be commenting a lot about him and his activities.
You are free to block or unfollow me as you see fit. I will try my best not to let go of poisonous comments regarding him, but just in case. Please, you don't have to inform me explicitly you have blocked, muted or unfollowed me. I will figure it out.
If any positive news about Tegoshi pops up that you feel essential in me changing my mind about him, please feel free to mention me. I would welcome that.
But for now the pain is still fresh and I still cannot bear seeing an abundance of his existence on my feed. I am truly, deeply sorry.
Please let me heal, and one day, in due time, I hope I can find myself the strength to finally forgive and forget everything.
Crushing grief || Hetalia

ミツル 24・ヒミツ 109:「ずっと」の終わり (The end of a "forever").

This.......... was totally not the way I had wanted to come back to writing about NEWS.

Last day of Strawberry tour, 08/12/2018.

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Shige-papipupepo || NEWS/Shige

ミツル 22:Arashi 「untitled」Concert Report: Tokyo [2017.12.24, Aiba's Birthday]

Second Arashi concert, and my first in Tokyo.

I normally don't write concert reports for Arashi because I figured a lot of people are already doing them and I feel really unworthy as a fan (I didn't write any report for Japonism; I don't go for multiple shows nor do I pay close attention / have their music on repeat as much as I do for NEWS), but there were circumstances this year that made this experience worth documenting, and I want to have this report written down so that if ever I fall down into the depths of despair once again, I would remember how I felt during these past few days and be saved over and over again. Sounds like an exaggeration, but it's true.

Since September I started battling work, personal and health mental issues. It all started with two blunders at work - and because I don't normally cause blunders nor do I encounter situations like those, I started doubting my capability. As much as everyone else tried to reassure me that everybody makes mistakes, I was not consoled at all - until the ballot results for Untitled came. To be frank, I had even forgotten I applied, so it was a happy surprise to find that I had hit for my second Arashi concert - and to make it even more special, I had hit for the show on Aiba's birthday on Christmas Eve. Before the ballot results came, I was on the verge of booking a sudden trip home to take time off, but receiving the ballot results mail, I resolved to hang in there for 2-3 more months until the concert. It wasn't easy especially for the month of December (the same month I was officially diagnosed with work adjustment disorder and depression), but I managed to hang on.

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So since I have quite a poor memory of what happened, I will only be writing about the songs / parts that I can vividly remember!

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After the concert I had to run for Narita again so I said goodbye to my friend momentarily (because we would be seeing each other again in Cebu, anyway). It was indeed a great concert and a great way to spend Christmas Eve - though it was kind of a pain to get home, with all other couples who had romantic Christmas Eves.

On the way home, I kept on thinking about the messages during the narrative bits of the concert, and remembered how they were all speaking of meetings, departures, fate, and meaning in them. It made me think about my own life and how I've met so many people - people who had hurt me, people who became my friends OL and RL, people who came and left, and people who changed my life for good. I'm very thankful especially for Arashi - because despite them not knowing who I am personally, they had made my life take a positive turn. For the past two days I was in Tokyo, I managed NOT to take my antidepressants, which is saying something - I didn't need to rely on any medicine for me to feel better, because Arashi's presence was enough for me to forget my depression. They might be "small" or "trivial" things, but this concert made me realize that they had played an important and crucial part in my "survival", and by realizing this, their presence isn't something "small" nor "trivial". For making me come this far, for helping me out in times when I was down, I am immensely grateful, and thankful for the five of them.

May I never forget "untitled".
Bokutachi wa NEWS! || NEWS

ミツル 21: The Green Mile stage play report: Kyoto [2017.11.06]

Finally I've come to fulfill my promise.

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After the play all of us filled out a survey, and since my Japanese is still weak I half-filled it with English.
I was able to catch the night bus back to Hiroshima, and that was the only negative thing about this trip actually, forcing myself to sleep in my seat without having the freedom to recline my seat. I'm not sure if I will be able to take the bus again for trips like these, but Green Mile will definitely not be my last NEWS - or Shige - play. :)
Bokutachi wa NEWS! || NEWS

ミツル 20: NEWS NEVERLAND Concert Report: Tokyo [2017.06.11, Tour Final]

Neverland will always be in our hearts, and will always continue forever.

I guess everyone who has been following the tour already know how the final show made headlines. I won't be commenting much about Tegoshi's issues e.g. scandals, but as we all know and admit by now, the recent events did play a major part in his drastic behavior during the shows. I did mention in my last concert report how he wasn't acting like his usual "idol" self i.e. the annoying, prankster, spoiled brat self he always puts on not only on tour documentaries, but also on tv. As sad as it was, this tour allowed us to see a side of him we very rarely see, and for that Neverland will always remain a memorable live for me.

I flew to Tokyo days before the concert so that I could spend those days travelling with my best friend to some of the nearby prefectures. But on the Saturday before the concert, I was quite pissed because we had met with a previous student and since the catch-up conversations dragged on for so long, we were only able to finish at 2 in the morning. Very obviously, the trains had stopped running by this time, so my best friend and I had to go walk all the way from Shimbashi to Bakurocho. I didn't even know why I didn't have the guts to call a taxi, for heaven's sake. In the end we arrived in our hostel at 3, and my feet were so sore I could barely walk straight, much more take a shower and change. So it was no wonder that I woke up with my entire body feeling sore at around 8. We had to wake up earlier than usual because we were to hear mass at Yotsuya and I had to prep myself for the concert before going. In the end I had to go back to the hostel anyway because 1) it looked like it was about to rain and I forgot my umbrella; 2) the escalator "ate" my pants so I had to clean them up a bit, and; 3) the humidity rendered my hair useless so I had to go fix it again, and put on the concert accessories I had forgotten. Though feeling a bit angry at myself, I soon cheered up the moment I was on my way to the venue - because you know, I'm seeing NEWS.

Personally I have to say, during this tour I was happy I was able to meet more friends and even make new ones! From the I arrived at the dome about 15:30, I was swamped left and right with Line / Twitter messages to the point that my Line application crashed and I had to resort to messaging / mentioning people on Twitter so that I could tell them where I was. We took a lot of pictures, talked about a lot of stuff, fangirled over some moments and squealed over how each of us looked cute and how we were all prepped for the concert.

At last it was time for us to go into the dome, and so we went our separate ways. This was where we were seated, near the entrance of Gate 20.

Not the best shot, but we still got a nice view.

From the very start of the concert I kept on warning the friend beside me that I would be crying like hell, since I've heard that Koyama and Massu were crying the day before - the former during Full Swing, and the latter during U R Not Alone.

Oh, but even with this knowledge in hand, and even though I braced myself, nothing prepared me for the waterworks that would happen in the next three hours.

Absolutely nothing.

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There is no doubt that NEVERLAND is an emotional tour for 4nin NEWS - perhaps the second (or third) most emotional one after Utsukushii Koi ni Suru Yo and the 10th anniversary tour.

For these past few months, NEWS had encountered so many setbacks, mostly happening to KoyaTego. Of course, there was also that incident with Shige's loss of voice, but perhaps the biggest thing that had hit them were the LINE scandals. Both KoyaTego's LINE accounts had been hacked and exposed, and with this loss of confidentiality, they have earned the ire of many antis, but not without reason. Both accounts had revealed the existence of girls in their private time, and for Tegoshi there was also that issue of him giving away "free" concert tickets. While these issues raised some valid points, the contrasting way KoyaTego handled these were quite interesting to see. Koyama had preferred to stay silent, but Tegoshi took to explain things both on jweb and in public (he apologized to people during one of the shows). Regardless, there is no doubt that these scandals had affected both members, and that there were a few people who have taken this offense very seriously, like the anon discussion forms, or reports of hate uchiwas being brought to the shows.

And now that the tour is over, these are my personal thoughts, especially in regards to my personal life.

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If you actually managed to read all this way, I apologize for the extremely long concert report, lol. Otsukare for getting this far, and thank you! See you for the next live.
Bokutachi wa NEWS! || NEWS

ミツル 19: NEWS NEVERLAND Concert Report: Hiroshima [2017.06.04, Arena Final]

So, my NEWS date 3 of 4! Sorry it took me so long to finish up Hiroshima; I had to fly to Tokyo earlier than usual this time around (flew out Wednesday before the con instead of the usual Friday) and with work in between, I wasn't able to do a proper report. Most of the things for this leg were similar to Fukuoka's anyway so there won't be anything much here, except perhaps for the arena vs dome differences I have recently noticed.

The primary thing that got me mostly excited with this leg was the fact that I am finally seeing NEWS within a few walking blocks from my apartment, so I could bike to the venue and get ready without having to worry about being late. NEWS in my city asdfghjkl;asldkfja, haha. I ended up biking to the arena Friday night and was ecstatic seeing the NEWS trucks parked at the back. :D

I didn't go to the Saturday and Sunday noon shows (because I had to go work an hour away on Saturday and I opted to give my ticket to a friend for Sunday), but both times I hung around the venue for a while and was just grinning ear-to-ear seeing all the fans that had come this far. For Sunday I met with my friends before they went in for the noon show and had a bit of a brunch with them as well.

Another thing that got me all hyped up for the Hiroshima leg was the fact that I had hit for four arena tickets! We were somewhere in the D block - and we were elated to see how close we were! We're a bit away from the center, but only a row of seats separated us from the small aisle where NEWS were to go on the carts.

As usual I won't be commenting in detail on each song (especially if I had already done that in my Fukuoka report - and the setlist is pretty much the same anyway!), so just very briefly, here goes!

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Sometime in the middle of the concert (I can't remember now where, though I'm pretty sure it's was before the MC), there were some members who passed by in front of us - Tegoshi and Shige, I think? I was very amused when my friend had a bonding moment with the girl in front us screaming "YABAI" at each other XDDD

Another friend of mine had noticed beforehand that Tegoshi didn't seem to be his normal self during this leg of the tour, and by going to the concert I saw what she meant - Tegoshi was far less annoying this time around. For me, Annoying Tegoshi = normal Tegoshi, so seeing him being subdued and more calm / collected / quieter made me think something has definitely changed in the middle of the tour. I could sense it had something to do with the Line scandals he had been involved in for the past few weeks, but normally Tegoshi was strong enough to face this sort of things head-on, so seeing him in this state kind of unnerved me. Never have I seen a Tegoshi so... forced. As it turned out, the last concert finally gave us answers, but I'll leave that for my next concert report.

Sorry this has been too rushed! I hope I can do a better one for the last show of this tour! Hope I can get it down tomorrow without leaving anything out.

Shige-papipupepo || NEWS/Shige

ミツル 18: NEWS Neverland Concert Report: Fukuoka [2017.04.09, second and final]

There's only one phrase that can describe this concert.
It was simply amazing.


I've been to the past two concerts, and while both White and Quartetto were special to me (White being the first NEWS tour I've gone to, and Quartetto having the musical style and motif/theme I really like), Neverland went even far beyond those two. It was completely different from every NEWS live I have watched and been to so far, in terms of stage layout, execution and sheer presence. I could tell that NEWS had poured every bit of creativity they had into making this concert perfect, and I am proud of them for it.

So where to start? XD

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As I've perhaps reiterated in this report over and over again, this concert had been freaking amazing and this has turned out to be my favorite concert ever! I'm so proud of NEWS and the effort and love they had poured into creating this masterpiece. I can't wait to see them next in Hiroshima and Tokyo!
Crushing grief || Hetalia

ミツル 17: Shifting gears, shifting years.

I won't deny the fact that 2016 has been a very trying year, both physically and emotionally. The positive thing about it I guess is the fact that I have been distracted well enough to keep a mental breakdown at bay. In between wavering feelings, placement transfers and work environment changes, I had somehow kept myself afloat and held on to whatever sanity I had left. Despite stumbling awkwardly over some roadblocks, I learned some things - something I can at least be grateful for.

Points in brief bullets:

  • Most of the team has been replaced and work dynamics have changed so much. I would say that this year has been the most turbulent for me due to the work environment... but it seems safe for now. Also, I got offered a leader position, but I am still learning the ropes and I haven't been given a lot of responsibility, so I still don't feel like anything has changed. I'm not complaining, though.

  • Finally moved from Yamaguchi to Hiroshima. I had to get used to three new schools and to my new home as well. For now my schools are great; the kids are okay (though I still miss my Yamaguchi kids terribly) and my JTs are awesome. Here's hoping the pace will continue and they won't turn into bloody little monsters...

  • Traveled a bit more this year - went to more concert shows and spent more money trying to get around places along the way. I made the most out of Golden Week, Obon and Christmas break by going to more tourist spots, and I haven't been disappointed. But of course, my money evaporated into thin air as always... no regrets there, though.

  • On matters of the heart, I made drastic steps that didn't turn out well, but I have no regrets there as well.

No resolutions for 2017, but recently I have been thinking of doing some extra stuff to do, e.g. enroll myself in online courses and try getting a license, take some certification tests, or finally enroll in a gym and try to lose weight. It's still a bit farfetched though, as I know myself better and think that doing all of these is next to impossible. But we'll see if I can get to tick those things off my list at the end of the year.

The biggest realization about 2016 for me however, is me coming to realize how short life can be. In the last two months of the year - and even right now, to be honest - I've lost friends and relatives. It still feels surreal, to be honest. It feels weird to think again so consciously about life and death after such a long time.Maybe that's why recently I've found myself caring less about trivial things, and trying to do things that make me happy.

I'm not sure what 2017 will bring, but I can only hope I will manage to fulfill all my inner desires and not regret anything. It's going to be a long road, but hopefully I will gradually get there.

P.S. I'm writing this at a very critical time, so today's entry is a bit messy. I could have just postponed writing of course, but I don't want to do it because there's a very big chance I will become lazy and postpone it indefinitely, so yeah... but I'll be fine. I just need to overcome this.