Goku Day -Reminiscing about my childhood hero

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Today it’s May 9th – 5/9, which is pronounced Go/kuu in Japanese, which then became the official Goku day here in Japan.

My blog has been inactive for some time and I’ve debated about what to actually do with it, but I’ve decided to give it one more try. I hope to make at least one entry a week and I’m happy for continued traffic to this blog despite its’ dormant status.

So who is everyone’s childhood hero? Mine is without a doubt Son Goku of the famous series Dragon Ball. It’s strange because I’ve never really been interested in anime or manga, not before and not now. I’m living proof that it’s possible to live in Japan without having any knowledge about this worldwide popular phenomenon.

There’s only one exception… Dragon Ball. To be more precise: Dragon Ball Z.

It was the first manga I ever saw in my home country Denmark back in the 90’s and start of the 2000’s. The whole idea of manga was so foreign to me I even read the two first volumes of the serious backwards. My stepbrother was reading the books and it quickly sparked an interest within me big enough to go and get all the volumes released so far, though I must admit I wasn’t hooked before The main character, Goku, became an adult in the arch called Dragon Ball Z.

I loved the serious and read the books several times. All the girls around me couldn’t care less about the guys with big muscles fighting each other, so I got accepted into the the group of boys, which is a big thing when you’re 10 years old. We would talk about DBZ, practice Kamehamehas and anticipate the next book.

We watched the anime on a German channel without being able to understand what was said, but we were still mesmerized and filled with excitement thinking about the next episode. Son Goku and Son Goten were my favorite characters. In my naive childhood years, Goku was the perfect Hero – the perfect guy. I didn’t see any flaws in his actions, when he came swooping in saving the day, even sacrificing his life to save others. In contrast, I saw Vegeta as an annoying jerk and I couldn’t understand his popularity.

During the years I’ve rewatched Dragon Ball z several times, especially the Cell and Buu saga – the Buu saga being my favorite. A few years ago I stumbled upon “Dragon Ball Abridged” by team four star on youtube and it’s one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever seen. Binge watching their amazing episodes again and again, got me through the darkest days of my pregnancy and once again reminded me about how much I still love Dragon ball Z more than 15 years down the road. Dragon Ball Abridged even made me realize who my true favorite character of the show is, Vegeta. I loved every minute of him on the screen and made me rethink my opinion about him in the original show as well. He’s without a doubt the character showing the most growth throughout the series, going from being a villain to a hero. I’m proud to say that I’m a Vegeta fan now, I carry my awesome Vegeta bag with pride and I’m still searching for the perfect Vegeta strap for my phone.

That being said, Goku is the Hero of my Childhood. He was kind, heroic, positive and strong, for a 10 year old girl without a proper father figure, he was my ideal man. I desperately wanted a father like him.

Of course, the adult me now realize how rose colored my glasses were back then and I now see Goku as the naive, irresponsible and often selfish character for what he is, but he’s still a Hero. A naive and irresponsible hero, just waiting for his next challenge. He’s great at seeing the good in people, making enemies his allies and protecting the earth – therefore a true hero in my book. Do I want to be married to him? Hell no. In that regard, I think Bulma is onto something.

Happy 30th Anniversary to Dragon Ball! Happy Goku day! I’ll be waiting for the next episode of Dragon Ball Super.

Please follow me on instagram if you like cute baby pictures or random pictures from my life in Japan. I upload pictures almost daily. My account name is: milaya2109

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YOUTUBE: My City Aarhus.

So, I have 4 days left in Denmark before I leave for 6 months – first starting out with a 3 weeks travel in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam and then 5 months of study at Kobe University in Japan. I have tried to spend time with friends and people I might come to miss during the upcoming 6 months. Then I also got a request on youtube, asking me to introduce my city – which is a Danish city called Aarhus. It’s the second largest city of Denmark and it’s where Aarhus University – which I attend, is located. I grew up in Denmark’s capital Copenhagen and moved to Aarhus one and a half year ago to attend the university, so I’m still a bit new in the city. Though I do know my way around, know the famous places and I don’t really see getting lost as a possibility.

I also have become quite fluent in the Aarhus-dialect, even though I swore I would do anything to keep my Copenhagen-dialect, guess it didn’t work out. I do seem to suck up dialects like a sponge, which explains why I often can speak Japanese with a touch of at least 4 different dialects/speech patterns (for an example: Osaka, Hiroshima, Nagoya, Tokyo …). I think my Japanese husband finds it a bit weird that I still haven’t picked up anything from Miyazaki and I still have trouble understanding that dialect – even though I have been to Miyazaki several times.

Well, I just decided I would share my newest youtube video – like I did the last time. I have already said my goodbyes to the city of Aarhus, since I for my remaining few days in Denmark have returned home to Copenhagen and spend time with my mother and friends, before my adventures starts in the far east. I hope to keep updating as I go along. I hope everyone had a nice weekend.

Kyary pamyu pamyu

So what’s Kyary Pamyu Pamyu? That’s the stage name of 18 year old Takemura Kirikiko, who is a Harajuku model and blogger who in 2011 also turned into a recording artist. Her first single PONPONPON was released in July 2011. She also managed to get the 16th place at last.fm’s “top 100 new discoveries” in “best of 2011”. She also have her own line of fake eyelashes. Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is also known for 変顔 (Hengao) which means “weird face(s)”, which she enjoys making a lot. So when she’s not busy looking like this:

She often likes making faces like this:

She often takes pictures of these faces and uploads them to her blog or/and twitter. She started out as a fashion blogger and then managed to get a professional career modeling for Harajuku magazines like “zipper”. Her debut single and debut mini album (もしもし原宿/Moshi Moshi Harajuku) was produced and composed by Nakata Yasutaka, which is a member of the electro pop duo Capsule and also famous for producing music for artists such as Perfume, MEG and Suzuki Ami. It is also pretty evident that some of the electro pop sounds from these mentioned artists has been carried over to Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s music, which has the electro beats and the auto tune voice, but she also manages to keep something that makes her unique. Her music is cute, weird, catchy and gets stuck in your head. The fact that she’s not just a solo version of perfume is apparent in the actuality that I don’t like listening to perfume or such artists. So it surprised me how fast Kyary Pamyu Pamyu grew on me since I do not normally enjoy or find myself listening to electro pop. I decided to give her try after seeing updates concerning her newest single “Tsuke matsukeru” on a news page for Japanese media, I guess I was intrigued by her “weirdness”, but when I finally hit the “play” button for the Tsuke matsukeru music video I didn’t expect to like what I would hear.

Her voice was a bit like I predicted, very girlish, high-pitched and to be honest not that vocally talented. But, I still watched the full video and even decided to download her single – I was hooked. And that feeling certainly didn’t change when I got around to listening to her debut single PONPONPON, with it’s “ponpon way-way-way, ponpon way pon way ponpon” which is meant to get stuck in one’s heard like a virus. And this “virus” does also seem to spread outside of Japan, since more and more non-Japanese people (including myself) have found interest in this weird girl and when Japanese internet magazine Nikki Trendy Net did a interview with her they included this in the headline: 海外でも人気の原宿系カリスマモデル! (Harajuku charisma model who’s popular even popular overseas) The interview can be found here : [Nikki Trendy Net ] (in Japanese) which includes talks about her beginning to like lolita fashion in a young age, but when she entered elementary school she couldn’t dress like that anymore and dressed in regular clothes from GAP and Uniqlo instead.

Her songs hold neither any deeper meanings nor any serious feelings for that matter – they’re just light, cute and catchy. I’ve included two of her videos for those who feel like trying her out.

A good weekend to everybody.

J-Pop talk: Abe Mao.

So today I’ll make an small introduction to one of my favorite Japanese music artists.

I have two favourite singers; one is YUI, who I’ve been a fan of since the release of her single “Feel my soul” back in 2005. The other one is a singer called Abe Mao, compared to YUI she is rather unknown, which is why I thought I would mention her.

Abe Mao is 21 years old, born in Oita prefecture and debuted in 2009 with her album called free.

I discovered Abe Mao while looking around on youtube, where I came across her debut song free, which was not long after the release of the album of the same name.

I liked her music style, which showed some similarities to YUI. I liked her voice, her energy and overall presence.  Her voice wasn’t flawless, neither is it today, but her voice is filled with personality, a charm that lures you in and a voice that isn’t just one among a million.

Like with YUI, Abe Mao posses a kind of uniqueness that can draw an audience. They both also write their own lyrics, play the guitar and piano as well.

After listening to “free”, I looked up some of her other songs, which was part of the debut album, and I was quickly hooked. On a whim I decided to buy her album and even managed to get my hands on the almost sold out limited edition. Shortly after her first single was released, titled “Tsutaetai Koto / I wanna see you” and from there I started to anticipate all her new releases, which I of course also pre-ordered to keep my newly found and growing Abe Mao CD collection in tact.

What I also love about Abe Mao is how she doesn’t try to look or act perfect. She doesn’t try to be a polished idol. She has a nice humour, which she doesn’t mind turning against herself. I mean, how many singer would write a song called  ストーカーの唄~3丁目、貴方の家~ (The Stalker Song ~3rd block, your house~). Which has lyrics like these:

”You little sister, she’s cute. She’s called Moe-chan, right?

”The 3rd block, the stakeout of love”

”Don’t be scared. I’m just looking.”

”I’m just loving you. Please notice”

Abe Mao has a great array of both; fast paced, rock-ish songs, amazingly beautiful ballads, acoustic-like songs, fun, upbeat pop songs and many other styles that are hard to put in categories. Especially because Abe Mao possesses great diversity when it comes to her music and she never becomes neither boring nor ordinary.

Of course the biggest highlight for me occurred this summer when I was able to see Abe Mao live in Tokyo. She has an amazing stage presence and energy and while seeing her perform you have no doubt that she’s doing something she loves. Something I hope she can continue with for years to come, because she deserves it. She’s not just one in a million, she’s Abe Mao.

Last, I’ll finish of with her latest single, Soba ni Ite (Full version), which is a song I really love. It’s a beautiful ballad, both in words and overall feel and really displays Abe Mao’s talent and potential.