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Used to be my favorite idol

Posted by mountainoluv, 31 December 2013 · 1503 views

Ai Kago Morning Musume Rinko Kikuchi 47 Ronin
Used to be my favorite idol I've been sleeping well these past few nights.

I originally got interested in Morning Musume through the PV for "Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari." When I saw that video, it blew my mind! I wondered, "Who are those girls? What are they trying to do? What motivates them?" This was ~6 months after I started using YouTube, so I was still using it quite a bit to explore my interests. I started watching videos of Morning Musume. I started watching videos of groups that the members of Morning Musume were in, besides MM. For example, I got interested in W and Mini Moni. This was about 2 weeks before MM came to Los Angeles to perform in the 2009 Anime Expo a the LA Convention Center. (I'll cover that in a future entry.)

I started researching the members of MM. One whom I was immediately attracted to was Ai Kago. Don't ask me why . . . she is/was cute, you can't deny that. I guess what drew me toward her was her story, the thing about getting caught smoking, getting suspended for nearly 1 year, getting caught spending the night with a man, getting fired, etc. (You can find out about her trials and tribulations on the Ai Kago thread). I felt so sorry for her when I found out about how she attempted suicide by slashing her wrist with scissors. I felt I just had to support her. OK, well, she became my favorite idol at that time. When she came to perform in Los Angeles, I was there. It was great, standing just a few feet from my favorite idol. That was definitely the high point in my Ai Kago fandom. I used to watch her PV for her solo single, "No hesitAtIon," quite a bit. I watched her scenes in the HK martial arts film "Kung Fu Chef" on YT, too. About 6 months after she performed in Little Tokyo, she started making appearances for KDDI Mobile. Shortly thereafter, she had an appearance in Torrance, about 30 minutes from my house. So, I decided to attend and try to see her again. I had seen videos of an appearance she made in New Jersey, and there was a handshake opportunity. Anyway, I saw her at the Mitsuwa Marketplace in Torrance. It was fun, but there wasn't any handshake opportunity. I was disappointed about that. It seems like her 'people' had started to insulate her from the fans. A year or so after that, I started to hear about her having problems with her management, Mainstream. I don't know the details, but apparently, she thought that some events they had scheduled her for were 'beneath her.' (There are other rumors, however, like Mainstream tried to get her to do an AV.) Then, she completely broke with her management, and a legal battle ensued. Then, her bf was detained in jail regarding a threat he made to someone who was trying to collect a debt from him. She was called in for questioning by the police. Just after that, she attempted suicide again, this time with pills. I lost patience with her at that point, and she was no longer my favorite idol. I kept her in my top five, but I promoted aMI TOKITO to the top spot.

Since that time, Ai Kago got married and gave birth to a daughter. She blogs and tweets, but besides that, she hasn't done much professionally. It may be her choice, because she wants to spend time with her baby. Now she (Ai Kago) is trying to make another comeback, by establishing another girl group ('Girls Unit Project'). I am curious as to how that will turn out, and I certainly wish her the best in that endeavor. I saw a couple of videos of the applicants, and they seemed talented and atractive. I hope they get some good songs and choreography, and release some music and PVs. There is a lot of good music being made now, in Japan and in other countries (Korea, Thailand, etc.) I think she has a chance of making another positive contribution to entertainment. I support her as a performer, but I just don't look up to her as a person or a personality anymore. She had too many chances, as far as I am concerned.

What got me on this topic is that the other night, I was on YouTube. I saw the "Making of Ai Kago in Los Angeles" photobook video. It was 58 minutes long. It was kind of cute. They made a little story of her settling in LA. One thing I noticed is that they tried to make her look like an airhead, though. In the video, she lost her passport, she tried to cook something and failed, she got a massage and was shocked when they told her how much it was going to cost, and then she lost her car key. I heard that one of the companies that was linked to Mainstream had a business to bring Japanese people to the U.S. for English language training. Supposedly, they wanted to show that if Ai Kago could do it, then people who were considering coming to the U.S. could certainly do it. Anyway, she looked really good in the video. I think she was at her peak of hotness in that video. If you are at all interested in Ai Kago, you should watch that video.

On an unrelated note, I went to see "47 Ronin" the other day. It was good. The performance of Rinko Kikuchi was particularly captivating. She played a witch, but she looked beautiful nonetheless. I didn't know about her before, but now that I do, I will definitely keep my eyes open for her. I hate to say it, but Ai Kago will never do what Rinko Kikuchi has done. That's because Ai just doesn't have the English language skills that Rinko has. Plus, Rinko has these adorable dimples! I'd be interested in hearing who you think looks better, Ai or Rinko. [I didn't realize it until a second ago, but I had seen Rinko before. She played the deaf girl in "Babel" (2006).]

Related to "47 Ronin," I wasn't too big on the concept of "It is better to commit suicide than to get hanged like a common criminal and bring shame on my family." I guess I am used to my own (American) culture, so any cultural concept that differs from that seems bad/wrong. It just seemed like the characters were too worried about "shame" and "honor." While the film doesn't seem worthy of an Oscar, if you are interested in Japanese stuff, I suggest you go see it. If you plan to see it, you better go soon, however. The news is that "47 Ronin" is flopping, so it might not be in theaters for long. As I was going home from the theater, I thought that a movie with just one American in the cast just couldn't make it big in the U.S. It looks like that is the way it is turning out, too.

OK, have a happy new year and be careful out there!




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