Monday, 31 December 2018

To Conclude: The Songs Of 2018

With 2019 just a few steps away, it's that time of the year again where we look back at the music and listen to the songs that made our Year merry, bright and entertaining. With sweet, cautious and beautiful tunes to keep us going, let's listen back to the Songs of 2018 before we conclude the Year that was...

Despite thinking that I was a little out of the loop for the whole year, I have actually listened to my fair share of music. Initially, my track list for this entire list consisted of well over a hundred songs, but after knocking many of them out, I was finally able to manage this list, plus the Special Mentions. Sure, it's not a big list, by any means, but it was hard to come up with and comment on, as per the usual.

Still, I am happy with the final outcome, and even though I feel like I have not branched out that much in terms of sound, groups and the like, I am happy to note that once again, a group that's not gthe usual in suspects comes out on top. Yet again, I have a completely different group Topping my Year End list of songs, and once again that delights me. I rather like it when a group / singer that hasn't won before wins, especially if said group / singer is someone who has never ranked prior to this, or who I never listened to before the year this list is set for.

No matter what, each year always makes for an interesting list.

Anyway, it's time to cut the rambling and move forward this list. So, without further ado let's get into my latest Conclusion for 2018, this time in Song. For the Year to Go, which songs stood the test of 365 days, and which ones only just missed the final placement? Let's read on, find out and pass our judgements.

To Conclude: The Songs of 2018 (at least, according to Chiima).

Sunday, 30 December 2018

To Conclude: The Idols Of 2018

With the Year's End on our tail and a new one set to begin, it is time to take a look back at what the Year Gine By has delivered for us all in Idols, Music and Video. To begin our mini-countdown to January 1st, 2019, let's begin with the ones who made 2018 all it was before we conclude this chapter. It's time to take a look at The Idols Of 2018 and see just what they delivered to make this 2018 so memorable...

So, it's been a year. Despite being inactive here on my blog, my love for Idols has only grown throughout 2018. Yes, it was rocky at the start - I followed barely any music, groups and idols - however, I seem to have made it up during the middle and end of the year thanks to various events, interviews and the like, and have slowly come to understand myself even further as a fan of idols, music and more. So, it has definitely been a year of sorts, one that proved both eventful and uneventful within the realm of real life and Idoldom.

And it is here where I shall wallow in the ups and downs of the Idolverse. From the Idols who made 2018 incredible, to those who have debuted and the ones we have lost to a wave of graduations and disbandments, here lies a look back to The Idols of 2018: A Conclusion (of sorts).

Within this wide idol-sphere, will there be a group you recognise, or will I pass by the ones you loved the most? You will have to read on and find out...~

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

The Return of LONDON BLUE - An Interview with LONDON BLUE (Part II)

*The interview was conducted via e-mail on October 24th as a look back at LONDON BLUE's Hyper Japan debut and their thoughts on the event, as well as a look at how their current events are going to celebrate their major debut release. A big thank you to LONDON BLUE and Kiyoshi Hayashi for allowing Selective Hearing to have this opportunity once again.

**Unfortunately, due to RINA's hiatus taking effect during the time this interview was conducted, she could not take part in answering the questions alongside the other members.

This post has been cross-posted from Selective Hearing. Please be sure to check out the official post on the website!

Made up of five members with a passion for the UK in both its sound and fashion sense, LONDON BLUE are a group known for their towel-waving moves and guitar-riff fuelled instrumentals in more than a few of their tracks. Though the group has been around since 2013, LONDON BLUE have only recently begun to make a name for themselves within the idol fandom thanks to their recent major debut with the King Records label, a company that distributes music for the likes of AKB48Uesaka Sumire, TeddyLoid, Ogura Yui and more.

Since the groups major debut on September 5th 2018, LONDON BLUE have been actively performing and promoting their single through in-store events and live performances whilst also taking on outside activities to further promote themselves individually. Unfortunately, member RINA announced her hiatus from the group on October 12th, 2018 in order to focus on her current acting projects. Furthermore, the youngest member RINKA announced her own period of rest on November 7th, 2018 in order to focus on her exam period and other side projects. Due to both RINA and RINKA's respective breaks, LONDON BLUE is now operating as a three-member unit and actively promoting their new single to get their name out there.

Now, just months after their UK debut at Hyper Japan Festival 2018 and a major release, LONDON BLUE return to Selective Hearing for a second round of questions to discuss their major debut single, fashion and their plans for the future as a group. What will we learn about the London-loving group today?

Monday, 26 November 2018

Welcome to London, LONDON BLUE! A HYPER JAPAN Festival 2018 Interview with LONDON BLUE (via Selective Hearing)

*The following Interview took place on July 15th, 2018 at HYPER JAPAN FESTIVAL at the Kensington Olympia in London, England. Four members of LONDON BLUE - KANA, KAYANO, KYOKA and RINKA - were in attendance for their London stage debut. The following write-up of the interview was published on September 4th, 2018, just a day before the groups major debut event with KING RECORDS.

You can find the original write-up on the Selective Hearing website! Thank you for visiting, reading and supporting this blog and any other website I might be affiliated with.

With a cool & cute image, as well as soundtracks inspired by UK Rock, bubblegum pop and R&R, LONDON BLUE is an all-female idol unit inspired by the UK! With five years to their name, as well as their up-coming major debut, the group has seen hardships and highlights since their beginnings in 2013, with the most recent highlight being their major debut with KING RECORDS on September 5th.

Made up of five members - KANA, KAYANO, KYOKA, RINA and RINKA - LONDON BLUE are known for their catchy songs mixed with 'cool and cute' visuals, as well as their entertaining stage presence. With three singles (two indies, one major) and an indies album to their name, there is no denying that LONDON BLUE are a little under the radar, but the group have found mild success in the past with their album track MIDNIGHT LOVER, which reached the #5 spot on the Japan weekly Usen hits back in 2016.

Yet it is this year alone that has been one of LONDON BLUE's busiest. From the recent lineup change that introduced KYOKA, RINA and RINKA, LONDON BLUE also announced that they would make their UK stage debut at HYPER JAPAN in London, finally realising the groups dream of performing in the city that they are named after. With so much going on, from a UK stage debut to a major record deal for their up-coming single, LONDON CALLING, it seems like LONDON BLUE are heading towards a new stage, one that might have seemed impossible to reach five years ago.

But it is the Hyper Stage where LONDON BLUE truly shined this year. With their towels in hand and energy boosted, four of the five members - RINA was absent due to a schedule conflict - took to their first London stage and dazzled the audience. With an updated God Save The Queenopening their act, cute and cool songs at their disposal and an enthusiastic audience, it's no surprise that LONDON BLUE found mild success during their two-day stint at HYPER JAPAN, particularly when it came to their meet and greet.
It was after their first performance and meet & greet on the Saturday that Selective Hearing had the chance to catch up with LONDON BLUE to talk about the groups 5th anniversary, their up-coming single and the plans they had for touring London.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

The Princesses Farewell: A Princess From Two Worlds - A Look at Houkago Princesses 'Kaguya ni Negai wo' Music Video (Review)

Despite being but a week month or so old, I feel that it is time to sit down and talk bout Houkago Princess and their music video for Kaguya ni Negai wo, the latest tale from the Idols who transform into storybook royalty at exactly 4pm. I am doing this to both discuss the videos themes and meanings, as well as to gain a better understanding of the video and its story overall.

My original intention was to write up the usual; a pic-spam overview. However, after watching the music video back a few times I feel that there is enough here in terms of visual representation to warrant an actual review. Plus, I really do want to stray from the pic-spam style posts for now and create something with a little more body to it, and a lot more theory. So, after a revelation regarding the video by a friend, a bit of scrutiny and a fair few views, it's time to talk about this PV and what it offers.

And before I get into this I do want to point out that this is not a song review, so there will be little to no focus on the music itself. I also want to point out that I am not a professional in analysing film or video, nor do I claim to be a professional of any form. These are just my thoughts, theories and views on what has been showcased in the video in question, and I am open to further discussion and would love to hear your own ideas and opinions based around Kaguya ni Negai wo, too.

With that said and done, let's talk about visuals and over-analyse this PV.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Self-Reflection: Graduating The Hello! Project Fandom

Goodbye does not have to mean this is the end...

I opened this blog in 2010 as an outlet for a deep-rooted love affair that I had begun with Hello! Project, a love that started in August of 2009. A majority of my posts were dedicated to opinionated reviews of PV's and singles, views on up-coming e-Hello DVD's and more. I named my blog Okay! Musume Time as a homage to the group I adored, whilst the Okay! in the title originally represented a play-on-word of 'Okai' for my then-favourite member, Okai Chisato, and it was here that I became comfortable in my love of Hello! Project, idols and Japanese music.

Eight years on and my love for idols is still strong. I still want to write about them and share everything I can regarding the songs, the groups and the videos I love, but I need to say this now:

Hello! Project is no longer a company that I love and adore. The affection I once held for Hello! Project has well and truly gone, and now that affection I once held will be ingrained in this blog forever by name and past posts only. From here on out I will move forward as both an idol fan and an idol writer.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Personal Thoughts: A Decision For Okay! Musume Time

Back in July this year I posted a quick update on my thoughts regarding the graduation of Okay! Musume Time as a blog and my conflicting feelings towards whether I should continue writing here or not. I said I would give myself until the blog's 8th anniversary to give you an answer. It has been 3 months since then, and I finally have an answer to what I wrote back then.

I will keep Okay! Musume Time going, but my content will lessen from here on out. Thankfully I have posted a little more since I wrote that post initially and after a lot of thought and consideration I qrealised that I couldn't leave Okay! Musume Time just yet. There's too much I want to try and do, plus it is my space. It's a space that only I know completely.

I came to the realisation that I could not close the blog or stop writing on it just yet maybe a month or so ago. It took a while, but I feel confident in my abilities to keep Okay! Musume Time open. Of course some content may now be cross-vers from Selective Hearing (with slight differences, as personal commentary on here won't appear on SH's more subdued posts) however I want to continue to try and create content for Okay! Musume Time as well.

This is a blog that I love and care for deeply, so I'm happy that came to the conclusion I would like to keep it open. I am also exceedingly grateful, thankful and blessed that I have readers like you who offered me words of encouragement and understanding during the time where I thought closing this blog was the only option. I am happy that you are here to help and support me when I need it most, so thank you for everything. I love you all and feel like the luckiest writer in the world. Without you I would be nothing.

Be happy and healthy everyone, and of course take care. You are all so amazing and precious to me, and I wish you so much happiness and luck.

Lots of love,

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Oyasumi Hologram WORLD 27 TOUR - An Alternative Music Journey Through The West and East Side of The US!

November is right around the corner, and for American fans of Japanese music and alternative idols this is the time to travel through the US.

9 dates.
8 venues.
3 cities.
3 leading acts.

Now is the time to act everyone, because Oyasumi Hologram and more are coming to a venue near you. Just make sure you're in the East or the West when the time comes...

With only five days until the event big, the Oyasumi Hologram WORLD 27 Tour will be taking the US by storm in a 9-day tour that sees the dynamic indie rock, alternative idol duo travel across the East and West Coast. With only five days before the tour begins, there's still enough time to grab your tickets and join the girls in their amazing music-driven adventure across the US!

From California to New York City, Oyasumi Hologram's latest US tour promises to be one of the biggest yet for an indies act that hails all the way from Japan. This will also be the duo's first overseas tour.

And they won't be coming alone. Joining them on their tour through America's most popular states is Toriena, a 25 year old chip tune artist from Kyoto, Japan who will join the duo for their WEST COAST lives. If that wasn't enough though, it was also revealed that NECRONOMIDOL, the group born from H.P. Lovecraft and all things dark, will also perform alongside Oyasumi Hologram for the tail-end of their EAST COAST side of the tour.

Cheki and buppan sessions will be included at the end of each show.

The tour runs from November 1st, 2018 until November 11th, 2018 and will see Oyasumi Hologram and their support acts in a variety of venues. Tickets are currently available from a variety of online vendors, so be sure to grab yours soon.

*Please note that November 4th's show is VIP exclusive, and includes a class held by Toriena on how she creates her music, as well as an exclusive acoustic solo act by Oyasumi Hologram. Limited to 30 attendees.

**Headlining acts will be different for some of the tour dates.

Friday, 26 October 2018

Who are You, LONDON BLUE? An Introduction to the Idols Inspired by the UK! (Updated on September 29th, 2020)

LAST UPDATED on 16/02/2020

Cross-posted from Selective Hearing (Includes a spiffy photo gallery, a lot less commentary and a lack of two extra video links.)

An Introduction To is a series of articles on both Selective Hearing and Okay! Musume Time that aims to introduce readers to various groups and musicians, regardless of their time within the industry. Whether they are indies or major, unknown or even relatively well-known, this series is here to give readers an insight into who is who and what they do. For our first post, let's check out a group inspired by the UK.

Who are you? It's LONDON BLUE!

*(This is the first in a new series for Selective Hearing, but the continuation of what I hope will be a revival for Okay! Musume Time's past Introduction articles).

The Origin Story...

Way back when in 2017, back when I actually blogged, I learned about LONDON BLUE. I don't know how I heard of them or where, but I did, and my interest was piqued. One review of their album, We are LONDON BLUE later, I pretty much forgot about them. Of course I still knew of them, but I didn't follow their releases, themembers or anything else. And then 2018 happened.

Announced as one of the groups that would perform at Hyper Japan Festival 2018, I travelled to London to finally meet the group I had reviewed long ago. There I was able to meet the renewed lineup, watch their live performance and take some cheki's with the four members who had attended the event. It was here that I was able to fully appreciate the group I had almost forgotten, and now I am a changed person.

Now I love LONDON BLUE, and here I am, introducing them to you...

With their humble beginnings starting back in 2013, LONDON BLUE began with this audition notice: “We’re looking for girls who can express the world of “pop&rock”. In September of the same year, LONDON BLUE was formed with its four original members - AKANE, MISAKI, MIDORI and HIKARI - and their sound producer Hidemaro Aoki of Kabuki-Rocks fame, who has since been creating music that incorporates a mixture of genres ranging from UK Rock to Bubblegum Pop and more.

Now with a modest 6 years under their belt, LONDON BLUE proudly claim their love for the UK music and fashion scene in both their sound and style. Yet despite the groups significant lineup change over the past five years, the members still tote a 'cool & cute' style in their music, visuals and fashion choices, all of which they showcase frequently with various lives and release events they perform throughout the year.

From February 2018, LONDON BLUE has seen a significant change not only in its lineup but also its status. With their fifth anniversary the group finally held its first performance in London, England at HYPER JAPAN in July 2018 before returning to Japan to prepare for a September major debut under King Records. Since then members have been busy with performances, radio segments and release events. Furthermore, auditions are underway for new members to join the group.

With the addition of member NOA in January 2020, LONDON BLUE became a two-member unit with a focus on harmonising. Lead by AILI - formerly of AngeMignon and currently a member of Ever!BE Mayowanai - the group has continued to uphold the name and history of the chika idol group.

As of NOA's graduation on September 27th, 2020, LONDON BLUE has entered an indefinite hiatus.

But who is the primary member of LONDON BLUE? Let's take a moment to find out.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Three's A Crowned - Houkago Princess Debut A New Generation!

Way back when on October 8th, 2018, Houkago Princess crowned three new princesses who aim to continue the legacy of Idols transforming into Royalty after 4pm. With the graduation of Leader Odagiri Nana, 3rd generation member Yamaguchi Miran and 4th generation member Kizuki Saori, these three girls will take on their seniors' responsibility and create a new type of Houkago Princess.

It is time for the second story to begin...

With Nana, Miran and Saori fully graduated from the group as of October 14th, members Kohinata Nanase (22), Yamamoto Natsumi (20) and Tani Nobara (17) were able to begin their activities within Houkago Princess from October 15th of this year. Though crowned 7 days earlier, the members were preparing for their full stage debut behind the scenes and have finally began their activities with the group who transform from idols into real princesses!

It's a fairy tale come true, especially for former trainee members Nanase and Natsumi, both of whom have been a part of Houkago Princess YOUTH since August 2017 when the little sister unit found itself being refreshed with all new members and candidates for the throne that is Houkago Princesses 'Regular' lineup.

For the youngest member to be crowned - in both her generation and within Houkago Princess - Nobara's own Princess dream came true through a once in a chance audition for the Regular title, no training needed. Though this type of audition has never happened before. Nobara was able to beat multiple candidates and become a part of the group, which typically has YOUTH members train for a year before they can completely debut within the group (even the original lineup of Houkago Princess trained for 9 months or more before they could debut on stage).

Though the site has not updated the members' details yet, it can be assumed that the girls will join the 8th generation alongs Yukino Yuria who debuted with Houkago Princess back in July of this year, alongside the re-promotion of Michishige Saho.

And with that said and done... let's take a look at the new members. Who will become your Princess?

First to Charm: Natchi!

Monday, 15 October 2018

The Road to Normality - Odagiri Nana, Yamaguchi Miran and Kizuki Saori Graduate from Houkago Princess!

After a final One-Man Live on October 8th, 2018 at Zepp DiverCity in Tokyo, as well as their final live performance on October 14th at the Odaiba Venus Fort church Plaza, Houkago Princess members Odagiri Nana, Yamaguchi Miran and Kizuki Saori successfully graduated from the group, marking one of the biggest lineup changes in the groups 7 year history.

With their graduation, Houkago Princess will lose its final veteran member Odagiri Nana, a first generation member who has acted as the groups leader since its inception in 2010, when the girls were in their training period before a 2011 debut. The group will also lose the last of the third and fourth generations - Yamaguchi Miran and Kizuki Saori - both of whom joined as trainees in 2012.

All three girls have been prominent members since becoming a part of the regular lineup, with Odagiri acting as a lead vocalist and visual, whilst Yamaguchi and Kizuki acted as lead dancers for almost all of the groups performances.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Thinking About: Iikubo Haruna's Graduation Announcement

Way back when on August 17th, Iikubo Haruna announced that she would be graduating Morning Musume '18 and Hello! Project at the end of the groups Fall tour in December. With this decision, Haruna has cited that her reasons to graduate include the desire to pursue acting, radio, as well as focus on manga and fashion a little more.

With the groups 20th Anniversary being celebrated this year and last, Haruna began to think more about the future of the group, as well as her own future. Currently, Haruna acts as a sub-leader within the group beside Ikuta Erina, and is also the oldest member at 23. With her 24th birthday approaching, Haruna feels like it is time to step down from her position within the group and try new things in order to further her career within the entertainment industry whilst also challenging herself further.

Originally debuting in 2007 as a talent, Iikubo Haruna started out in acting and modelling for Love Berry before graduating in 2011 to pursue a career as a member of Morning Musume. Since then Haruna has performed live and in studio, acted on stage and for tV, participated in variety programs, MC'ed for live performances, released two solo photobooks, had a brief voice acting stint, appeared on radio as well as participated in commercials. Haruna has also been a member of the short-lived SATOYAMA sub-unit DIY♡, and is known for her fashion, speaking voice and complimentary nature. As of 2013, Iikubo Haruna is the longest serving sub-leader in Morning Musume's history at 5 years and 4 months (thus far).

It's been almost a month - almost - since the announcement was made, and so far I have made no move to comment on Haruna's decision to graduate. I did plan to talk about it as soon as I could, however after the announcement that three members of Houkago Princess would graduate from the group this October I knew that that specific post would take priority. The only other post that would top HouPri's graduation announcements would be Eripon's decision to graduate, and thank goodness we've not hit that time just yet.

Regarding Haruna's graduation though, I can't say I'm too surprised. I wasn't thrown for a loop like I was with Wada, and it's certainly not shocking in my mind, but that's probably because I'm at a point in my fandom with H!P where I just expect everyone to go at any point unless it's, say, Ogata Haruna or Duu. You know, the members you really don't expect to leave because of their age or shorter tenure. With Iikubo though, it makes a little to a lot more sense that she'd eventually go. I mean, she said it best herself: This year she turns 24, and she wants to challenge herself by going solo and pursuing other things within the entertainment industry.

I don't blame Harunan one bit for making this decision, and I am honestly delighted that she's decided to leave the group to better herself.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

The End of An Era: Odagiri Nana, Yamguchi Miran and Kizuki Saori to Graduate Houkago Princess!

Way back when - August 20th, to be exact - Houkago Princess released an announcement that Odagiri Nana, Yamaguchi Miran and Kizuki Saori - arguably the three most popular members - would graduate the group in October, just shy of the upcoming single release. With this, a new leader will be appointed, and for the first time since the groups debut there will be a new face leading and representing Houkago Princess.

Odagiri Nana has been the groups leader since its inception way back in 2011. From 2010 she began her training with her fellow first generation members, initially made up of eight girls before dropping to seven just shy of their indies debut. Since then, she has watched other members come and go, seen the group through its highs and lows, grown a steady and dedicated fanbase and lead the group forward as its face, its lead singer and its main support. Eight years have gone by and it is undeniable that Odagiri is one piece of the groups main strength, not for her voice but for her leadership and popularity.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Become a Princess After 4pm! Houkago Princess ~Regular Member Auditions~ Awaits You!

From now until August 31st, Houkago Princess will be accepting auditions via mail to join the group. A website has been specially created for these auditions, so if there is anyone interested in auditioning to become a potential member, please follow this link HERE for all of the information needed regarding the process.

In this post I will break down the information given on the website, including the requirements for the audition and what girls need to do as a part of this audition process. I apologise for any mistakes that may happen throughout the post.

To start, the website has been laid out to create an easy navigation between topics:

- An Introduction to Houkago Princess
- About the New Member Audition
- About the Audition application
- FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

And with this in place, I will go through each topic individually, and briefly. Let's begin.

Monday, 13 August 2018

A Royal Invitation: Houkago Princess Announce Regular Member Promotions, An Audition and A New Single Release!

Lineup, lineup, there is news a-plenty in the world of Houkago Princess, and it's time to reveal all from the world of sparkling tiara's and school uniforms! From an up-coming single to new member additions, let's unveil the latest from Houkago Princess, the idols who transform into royalty once once the clock strikes 16:00...

First up, member promotions!

Despite happening all the way back in June, I wanted to report that both Michishige Saho and Yukino Yuria from HouPri YOUTH had been promoted to the Regular lineup. With their coronation held on July 12th (Maika's birthday), the two members are now fully integrated into the group, and will be a part of the up-coming single release.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

The Finale of A Four Year Reign: Shirosaki Himari Graduates from Houkago Princess

Today on August 12th 2018, Shirosaki Himari graduated from Houkago Princess after a four year run. A 6th generation member, Himari joined HouPri as an Apprentice and then Candidate in June of 2014, before finally being promoted to the Regular lineup on June 21st, 2015.

Despite this being her final chapter however, Himari has lead a wonderful life as an idol. She has watched HouPri grow from a small indies group to something bigger, and though she has not held the limelight as much as other members, she has still had her time to shine and enjoyed every moment of it. There is no doubt in my mind that after this day, Himari will be remembered fondly by both her fans and the current, past and up-coming members.

Monday, 6 August 2018

The Story Ends Where It Began: Kojima Mayumi Graduates Houkago Princess on the TIF Dream Stage.

On August 5th 2018, Kojima Mayumi ended her very own fairy tale in the very place it began: Tokyo Idol Festival.

Three years ago she stood as a trainee member in HouPri YOUTH, but a year later at Tokyo Idol Festival 2016 Mayumi was promoted to the Regular Lineup. Now, two years later, it's this very event she delivers her final curtsey and last farewell as she writes her final chapter and closes the book. Today, she becomes alumni royalty.

And from today onwards I will miss her greatly.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Personal Thoughts: Graduating Okay! Musume Time? (Not yet, but maybe)

I keep wondering when I last did a post, and looking back now, it was at the end of June. Thinking even further, I haven't continued my Haachin series despite saying I would, and actually I have a clear idea of where to go with them, but right now I don't have the time, and my interest has waned a little with this space. I don't know why, it just has.

Thinking back to my hiatus, I had times where I thought about completely leaving Okay! Musume Time and never looking back, and those feelings are only intensifying now despite how much I wanted to return. It was actually during my weekend at HYPER JAPAN that I wondered more about graduating Okay! Musume Time or going on another hiatus, because despite how much I love this blog and how much it has shaped me as a person and a writer, it's also holding me back a little (or so I believe), and I'm not as into the articles I want to write as I could be.

There is a lot I want to do on here, but I want to do similar content on Selective Hearing. I also want to showcase a better, more professional side to myself, but I don't think I could ever get Okay! Musume Time to that standard, but also I want to keep this personal, bubbly side to myself on here. I've also acknowledged that I want to write more for Selective Hearing and to better my article count there. It's quite low in my mind, and during my hiatus I did well with writing, but since trying to get back into writing on O!MT I have fallen back into the habit of writing nothing for either site. It's aggravating, worrying, and it only stresses me out more.

Of course there are a lot of good things about Okay! Musume Time that make me want to write here for a long time. Firstly, it will be 8 years old come November. Second, I finally hit the 1000 post count during a Haachin-based post. Third, I have been able to talk to so many people through this and made friends thanks to blogging. I've grown and learnt so many things since starting up my blog and I can't be happier that it brought me so many things. It's thanks to Okay! Musume Time that I am where I am today in my love for idols and writing, but I know that there will be a time when I need to stop and do something a little different, or the same thing on another platform.

I will give myself until Okay! Musume Time's 8th Anniversary to decide whether or not I graduate this space. By then I should know where I want to be and what I want to do.

Apologies for the sudden post everyone, but I wanted my feelings about this situation out in the open. Thank you for reading, and please take care.


Friday, 29 June 2018

[Snippets of Haachin] The Haachin Experience - Performance Selection (Mini-Reviews)

[Snippets of Haachin] - also known as [A Week with Haachin] - is a week-long series in which I dedicate myself to all things Ogata Haruna. Whether it is a PV Review, Birthday Live viewing or something else, this series dedicates itself to watching the growth and wonder of Ogata Haruna before her upcoming Graduation on June 20th, 2018.

Even with minimal screen time and few solo lines, let's look back at Ogata Haruna's 4 years as an idol and adore her from afar. It's time to celebrate and fall in love once again with this idols smile and sweet nature...

Despite Haachin already graduating from Morning Musume '18 on June 20th, I plan on finishing these posts as soon as I can (all without becoming stressed or damaging my work life) and appreciating the heck out of her as much as humanly possible, because yes, she is worth it. That, and I really didn't plan out or time the posts that well beforehand, so I will repent for my sins and finish what has been started (let's hope I finish this, at least).

So, without further delay I give you this: a small but satisfying selection of songs that showcase our dear Haachin in a live setting, one where we can truly enjoy her as an idol on the stage. Though she might not have dominated the platform like many before her, and whilst she does not have the voice of an angel, this was still a place where could watch her shine a little more brightly and where we could truly appreciate the hard work, efforts and her smile even more.

Even though she wasn't given the time to shine as much others in line distribution or camera presence, we can still watch over her time as an idol and look back fondly at the memories she created. It's time to adore Haachin a little more and look back at the few lines she was given throughout the years. Are you ready to reminisce?

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Renouncing The Crown - Shirosaki Himari and Kojima Mayumi to Graduate Houkago Princess

On June 25th 2018, Houkago Princess members and staff made the announcement that 6ki member Shirosaki Himari and Kojima Mayumi from the 7th generation would graduate from the group in a double Graduation ceremony on August 12th this year.

Shirosaki Himari was first introduced as an Apprentice in June 2014, and was eventually promoted to Regular status in February 2015. She is a 6th generation member alongside Michishige Saho and Maika, as well as the youngest member within Houkago Princess.

In September 2015, Kojima Mayumi joined Houkago Princess as a member of their trainee programme, HouPri YOUTH Beforehand, Mayumi had been active gravure model. Since September 2016, Mayumi has been an active member of Houkago Princesses Regular lineup as a 7th generation member alongside her gen mate, Sekine Sasara. She will be the second member of her generation to graduate.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

The End of The Idol Road - Ogata Haruna Graduates from Morning Musume '18 and Hello! Project

On this day June 20th, 2018, Ogata Haruna embarked on her final journey alongside Morning Musume '18, before joining the ranks of many beloved but graduated members and marking her history as a member in one of Japan's longest running idol groups. Now, after a short but memorable three years and eight months, Ogata Haruna will create a new path for herself as she looks towards her new dream of attending University.

Already it feels weird to write these words, and right now it's hard to think that Haachin won't be a part of this lineup. I can't even express how strange it feels to know that from this day on, Haachin is a member of the Graduated girls. Then again, this isn't a graduation any of us were expecting halfway through the year.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

[Snippets of Haachin] Greeting You Sweetly (I-Candy à la Haachin)

[Snippets of Haachin] - also known as [A Week with Haachin] - is a week-long series in which I dedicate myself to all things Ogata Haruna. Whether it is a PV Review, Birthday Live viewing or something else, this series dedicates itself to watching the growth and wonder of Ogata Haruna before her upcoming Graduation on June 20th, 2018.

Even with minimal screen time and few solo lines, let's look back at Ogata Haruna's 4 years as an idol and adore her from afar. It's time to celebrate and fall in love once again with this idols smile and sweet nature...

I'm still in a state of confusion as to how soon Haachin's graduation is, despite being fairly aware that it's literally around the corner. I suppose it's because it was a little more rushed than most, and there hasn't been a hype around it like Duu's or even Zukki's. So, I'm still in a state of delusion, thinking that it isn't the end - not just yet. Even planning these posts isn't helping the realisation to settle in any quicker.

That said, despite being ignorant to my own feelings over Haachin's graduation, I must admit that after viewing her first - and only - Greeting's DVD, I was overcome with a sense of sadness. It hit me pretty hard that very soon, the only two non-birthday solo DVD's she would have been given are themed around her introduction, and then her goodbye. It's shocking to acknowledge, and makes watching her Greeting even sadder than I had expected, because after seeing this for the very first time, I actually wonder how she never received another solo DVD of any form. Haachin is very endearing and entertaining to watch, and you can really see how fun and cute she is here.

With that said, it's time to delve into a solo journey that features our beloved Haachin. After a disappointing lack of solo shots in almost all of her debut music videos, this time we will celebrate the image and charm of a girl

So, after the disappointing lack of Haachin in her debut PV's, it's time to sit down and take a look at Haachin in her solo journey through the 'Greeting' DVD. Much like a photo book, we will embark on a visual trip with the cute and upbeat Ogata Haruna, an angel whose image has not been appreciated enough in pictures or cinematography.

Welcome to Greeting ~Ogata Haruna~. Are you ready for your heart to still?

An Interview with Darkness: Selective Hearing Interviews NECRONOMIDOL

A little earlier in the year, I devised some questions for the dark-wave, HP Lovecraft themed group, NECRONOMIDOL via Selective Hearing, based around their up-coming tour to the United Kingdom where the group would visits Manchester, Birmingham and London for three live shows. Due to the groups busy schedule with both touring and recording, however, it was not possible for management to release the translated replies until now.

I would like to thank both Greg of Selective Hearing and Ricky who is NECRONOMIDOL's manager for allowing me this opportunity to give the questions and to interview the group via e-mail. It's great to look back on the members' feelings before the show, and to also have a better understanding of the group after everything has already happened, as well as to see how well their answers fit in line with the recent shows.

Please check out the original article on Selective Hearing, but do enjoy this version as well. Thank you very much.

*As a side note, this version contains a few more questions and answers that do not appear in the Selective Hearing original. So, we have a bonus round. Enjoy!

Interviewer: Kelly-Mae (Chiima)
Editor: Greg


K: Risaki Kakizaki
S: Sari
H: Hina Yotsuyu
R: Rei Imaizumi
T: Himari Tsukishiro

[Snippets of Haachin] A Quartet of Beauty - 'Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru / Yuugure wa Amaegari / Ima Koko Kara' PV Overview(s)

[Snippets of Haachin] - also known as [A Week with Haachin] - is a week-long series in which I dedicate myself to all things Ogata Haruna. Whether it is a PV Review, Birthday Live viewing or something else, this series dedicates itself to watching the growth and wonder of Ogata Haruna before her upcoming Graduation on June 20th, 2018.

Even with minimal screen time and few solo lines, let's look back at Ogata Haruna's 4 years as an idol and adore her from afar. It's time to celebrate and fall in love once again with this idols smile and sweet nature...

Truth be told, I honestly didn't think that my [Week with Ogata] series would be as hard as it's looking to be, and if I had had a clue about how annoyingly difficult it will be, then I would have started this series around the time Ohaa announced her graduation date. That said, you can't help it when life gets in the way... but when has that ever stopped me from getting these kinds of posts out, on time or not?

I think the difficulty stems more from the fact that Ogata is one of the rare, few members who is given very little when it comes to releases and publications. With a small amount of solo lines, stupidly little screen time and not that much in either concerts or even solos, there is a limit to what I can find on the world wide web without having to download or buy DVD's. Even in terms of magazine and photo shoots there isn't much for Ogata, and even if there was something out there that included her and her alone, it's more than likely only available in Japan. That's just the way it is, and for foreign fans especially, we can only see what's on the surface.

And oh, what a shallow surface that is in regards to our dear Haachin.

Well, never fear, dear Readers, because I will persevere in my quest to adore Ohaa until the day she graduates! With even the most minimal of content, I'll try my best to doll out reviews and talk about the girl many love, an idol who will be missed by friends and fans alike in this ever-evolving world of entertainment and cuteness. Though she may not be as present as we would like, she is a member who has placed a stamp on our hearts, a girl who has appealed to those that noticed the unique and undeniable quality of Ogata Haruna. For many, she is their oshi, and throughout this series we will try to come and understand just why she sticks out to others, and why she is so darned special.

I could go on and use various synonyms to describe Ogata, but where's the fun in that? So before I dare to lose myself in words, let's take a look at the debut of Ogata Haruna, a quartet of beauty that represents the beginning of a generation.

This is the beginning of the end, dear Readers. Are you ready to indulge in all things Ogata? Let's go~

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Fulfilling the Idol Dream: An Interview with Aidoru Sozai

I would like to thank the members of Aidoru Sozai for taking part in this e-mail based interview with me, and for allowing me to publish their answers on this blog. Though the group is still fresh, they are raring to go and show us what they are made of, and to allow us to understand the group and its members more through this interview.

Formed in the early months of 2018, Aidoru Sozai is a 7-member self-produced idol group based in the Philippines who are currently undergoing their indies phase. Made up of former MNL48 candidates, this personality-filled lineup have already held their first successful mini-live on April 28th at Ozine Fest 2018.

Currently, the group are working towards a debut single, but have successfully introduced their own overture that will accompany future live performances. Despite being so new to the idol scene however, fans have taken to Aidoru Sozai - LoveSo for short - and are excited for the beginnings of this groups bright and inspiring journey.

In early March this year, I sent LoveSo a request to conduct an e-mail interview with the members to get to know the girls, discuss what they are all about, and delve a little deeper into the dynamics of the Philippine's based idol group, Aidoru Sozai...

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Born to be Idols: An Introduction to Aidoru Sozai

There is something about indie idol groups that is inspiring and joyful in my eyes. Though I can't support them all - sometimes there is never enough information, or I simply do not know they exist - I have felt that the drive and hope indie idols bring is dazzling, especially when they can shine on a stage in front of even the smallest number of fans. They're infectious and spirited, and despite how little people know of them, these idols persevere to fulfil their own dream, as well as to create hope and happiness for their fans and listeners.

But indie idols are not just born in Japan, and for one of the few brief moments in my blog's history, I would like to take a moment to introduce and appreciate a group that has been born outside of Japan, crafted from the dream of becoming the idols they have watched on stage for so long.

With the rise of Idols both online and off, it shouldn't come as a surprise to see a few indie brand idol groups popping up every now and again. It may be even less surprising to know that these groups rarely gain recognition outside of their own fanbase, yet with the recent auditions for MNL48 - the latest overseas escapade for the AKS corporation, which will be based in the Philippine's - there is one indie idol group who have risen from the background and greeted us with renewed hope, and maybe a little bit of glee as they ascend into the world of music, performance and joy.

Aidoru Sozai - LoveSo for short - is the delightful yet surprising new indie idol group based in the Philippine's to watch out for. Announced in January this year, the group finally announced the  full seven member lineup back in March, before finally announcing their live performance debut at Ozine Fest 2018 on April 28th. And despite being so fresh to the idol scene, the group is already causing a stir online and off, especially when you consider that LoveSo is made up of former MNL48 hopefuls. Despite this however, the girls of LoveSo have created something that is not only inspirational and dream-like, but a group that is polished and higher in standard than what even the most seasoned indie idol groups can offer.

With a hoard of information readily available on Facebook, Stage48 and even a wikia page dedicated to these girls, there is no doubt why people like the idea of LoveSo, or why they want to support them. Not only are they refreshing, but the members themselves seem too idol-like to be true, and the effort they are putting into not only their image, but their logo's, profiles, performances and videos, allows us to realise just how serious they are about becoming real idols in the Philippine's.

Already these girls embody the characteristics of the idols we adore from afar: they are cute, hard-working, and they have a goal that they want to reach. Whether they can sing or dance right now is not really a factor, in my eyes - as long as each girl strives to create a dream for their fans or hopes to stand on stage in order to inspire others, then they are embodying the image of an idol properly, and despite only having one performance under their belt thus far, LoveSo are already showing us that they are more than prepared to take on that idol persona and stand on the stage for all to see.

Whether they are based in Japan or outside of it, I find it inspiring that the members of LoveSo have made their dream come true and created new goals for the group we see now. Regardless of the setbacks they may have faced up until this point, they have been warmly welcomed into the idol community and will continue to grow with the adoration of their fans and supporters, no matter how far apart everyone may be. And as one of the few seas-apart fans, I would like to continue my support for the group and promote them with all my might.

And with that in mind, I would like to take the time to introduce you all to the new indie idol group, LoveSo! Even if they aren't idols from the country of the rising sun, they are still idols born with the desire to create happiness, music and dreams. So, without further ado, let's take a look at who makes up this cute and joyful unit and what each member has to offer us.

Are you ready~?

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Updates & Changes In: Blogging (May 2018)

Over the course of my Hibernation Period I had a lot of thoughts and ideas running around my head regarding Okay! Musume Time and its future. It took a while to figure out a clear direction for myself, and I have a few plans and ideas for this space, but it's uncertain if all of them will ever be implemented in the future. As of right now, I am simply testing the waters, but I wanted to make you all aware of anything that will change here.

Like anything, not all of these practices will stick, and some may never be implemented in the long run. It's all a work in progress at this point, and nothing more. But like any other blog, themes and practices change over the course of time. Okay! Musume Time will never immune to this, and I am aware that over the course of 7 or more years, I have dropped and adopted ideas, created series and strayed from them in a certain amount of time. Some things are constant whilst others are temporary. In order to keep this blog tuned into my personal interests however, change is necessary.

Here I will list a few of the things that are going to change, ideas that will stick, and future plans I have that I hope to test out, but can't say for sure I will attempt just yet. There are some I have tried out already, and others that I'm in the process of attempting. Furthermore, there may be an increase or decrease in certain types of posts.

I'm rambling. So, without further ado, here is a list (and some explanation) on any changes and plans that will happen for the future of Okay! Musume Time. I hope I don't bore you.

Beep Beep!

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Visions of A Vivid Midnight - Juice=Juice's 'Vivid Midnight' (MV Review)

My recent posts have taken a more serious turn, so to bring back a little fun to the blog, it's high time I screen captioned and gif-ed the heck out of a really colourful, cute PV with some questionable choreography!

Yeah, y'all already know which one it is. Are you ready for a burst of flavour and juicy colours to brighten your day?

It's been a while since I did one of these, so naturally it feels refreshing to come back to my long-time love of screen capping and commentating for what is one of H!P's most colourful PV's in a while! It's such a blast of happiness and delight, I can't help but love it, and yeah, it actually makes sense that this would be the PV I returned to my screen-capping ways with... it's just so bright and fun, and I could gif and print screen so many scenes! I actually had to control myself, just so it didn't go over I don't how many... (haha).

Honestly, I think a lot of people love Juice=Juice's Vivid Midnight. With its K-pop twist, explosion of colour and bright sound, I can see why people are taken with this video. It's such a change in pace for Hello! Project and UP-FRONT, but it also allows us to see a new way of editing, techniques and style from the company, whilst also introducing us to new sounds and visuals from their groups. It's different, and it's unique to H!P, but it's a very welcome turn of events, in my opinion.

I had a lot of fun with this, as one would expect, and it makes me stupidly happy whenever I see it! I've even found a fondness for a certain member through this, someone who truly stood out in every way possible. Others, I felt a tad disappointed, but thankfully the video and its bright setting make up for any 10%-giving members.

... Okay, I'm rambling. Bad habits never die, y'all, but we'll stop chattering and get on with the commentary. This is Vivid Midnight, a damn cute and fun music video, and it's time to entertain ourselves a little to a lot more with it, because why not?

It's time to get groovy and enjoy a vivid, energetic midnight tryst! Are you ready? Let's get to

Kickin' It!

Friday, 4 May 2018

The Dog That Knows Freedom Barks The Loudest - A Look At Keyakizaka46's 'Glass wo Ware!' Music Video (Review)

Having already reviewed this on YouTube, I realised pretty quickly that I wanted to continue my thoughts and feelings towards Keyakizaka46's Glass wo Ware! in words. This is to not only further my understanding of the music video and its lyrics, but to also touch upon a few scenes and ideas that I may have neglected to include or even see in my initial review. It's also a great reason to return to a more serious tone in PV Reviews. You know, the ones I rarely do these days.

In line with things that are rarely done, throughout this review I will include snippets of the lyrics. Because the theme intrigues me, I thought it would be fitting, but for the full effect of what this song about, please look towards Sakamichi Dreams' translation of the song.

As to why I chose Garasu wo Ware! for a review, it has to be because it's my favourite of the songs and videos I have watched by the group. It's also the video that left the strongest impression on me, not only because of its visuals, but because the lyrics are powerful yet degrading. It is an impressive track with an equally expressive music video, one that is worth any persons time.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Here Lies A Damn Good Album - A Look At '℃maj9' by ℃-ute (Album Review)

In their 9th major studio album release - and their last original album overall - ℃-ute are ready to impress me with their vocal prowess and undeniable chemistry. They're also going to set the bar for any other albums I review very. Damn. High, and ruin other groups for me here on out.

It's time to check out ℃maj9, people. Get your earphones at the ready~

There is a little bit of background as to why this review happened, and it goes a little like this: One day on Facebook, I decided to make a post asking friends to list me their top one or two albums from Hello! Project, with the hopes to eventually review whichever album was mentioned most once my blog re-awakened. I did this both for a desire to know which albums people genuinely liked, and to perhaps find something new to listen to. Admittedly, I also wanted to review something that I might enjoy, I just didn't know what I could write about.

That, and I wanted to try out a few more albums. I have a tendency to ignore these types of releases - especially from the groups I follow - as disappointment in what I hear is a given due to the copious amounts of single songs vs. new tracks on studio releases. It more annoying than anything and leaves me with a distaste for albums. However, I would like to challenge this view, and I am starting it here.

In regards to the response to my post, it was favourable, much to my surprise. A lot of my friends posted their favourite albums and their corresponding covers, giving me some varied response on what people considered their favourites or even the 'best' of the bunch from all of the albums that H!P has to offer fans. Quite a few had repeat mentions (4th , Aya Matsuura Aya Best 1), but none compared to ℃maj9. It had around - if not exactly - 12 votes, making it the album that I would review for you all today. So here we are.

Thankfully this is an album I haven't heard, so all new tracks sans Iron Heart will be a surprise,  with the hopes that each song will be somewhat pleasant. Because it's ℃-ute though, I anticipate only the best. Still, let's pray that these girls and their composers don't let me down.

For everyone who listed their favourite albums - and for those who mentioned this one specifically - thank you! This review's for all of you, and I hope that you enjoy.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Thinking About: Wada Ayaka's Graduation Announcement

On April 5th, 2018, Wada Ayaka announced that she would be graduating both ANGERME and Hello! Project in Spring 2019, which will also mark her tenth year as the leader of her respective group. Wada's reason behind her decision to graduate include her desire to see the group grow without her, and also because the second generation members of ANGERME encouraged her to finally think for herself and not the group.

The plan to graduate has been discussed since last year, and it was decided between both Wada and staff members that she would graduate in 2019, which marks the 10th anniversary of S/mileage's debut, the group that would eventually be known as ANGERME. Of course, Wada Ayaka has assured fans she aims to stay in the entertainment industry, and asks for everyone to watch over her for the next year.

Having served as a member of Hello! Project since 2004, Wada Ayaka was one of the founding members of the 'Egg' system within Hello! Project, as well as a founding member and leader of S/mileage, which was later re-branded ANGERME in 2014. She has participated in numerous plays and units including Shugo Chara Egg!, Lilpri and Peaberry.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Thinking About: Ogata Haruna's Graduation Announcement

On March 27th, 2018, Ogata Haruna - a 12th generation member of Morning Musume '18 - announced that she would be graduating from the group on June 20th at the end of the groups Spring Tour. She will also be graduating from Hello! Project, but not necessarily the entertainment industry, in order to pursue a further education.

Ogata was introduced to the group and Hello! Project in 2014 alongside fellow 12th generation members Nonaka Miki, Makino Maria and Haga Akane. She has since performed in 7 single releases (an eighth to be released), one studio album and one mini-album, as well as a handful of digital singles. She has also participated in a 12th generation radio show, as well as hosted the show Hello! Athlete Megami, which focuses on up-coming female athletes.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

The Knock-Off Compilation - A Look at 'Hatachi no Morning Musume' by Morning Musume 20th (Mini-Album Review)

You would think that, after seeing how much effort H!P put into making this cover, I would be well aware of the effort they put into compiling and creating this album? Well, clearly I was blind with faith, because I honestly did not see this shit coming.

Way to throw yourself in the deep end after a 3 month absence, Chii. URGH.

After being away for this long, it's weird to come back to reviews. I really don't know where to begin, how to write, or how to word, even. I just feel lost, and because of that feeling, it took me a fair while to actually complete this piece. That, and I didn't want to sit through the songs all over again because...

Well, I don't like this mini-album. I doubt I'll ever keep that a secret, either.

I'm not going to get into the nitty-gritty until the review itself, but honestly, I wanted to come back to this blog in such a positive way, only to decide 'Yeah! Let's review the mini-album I hold contempt for!' because, why not? It seems I thrive on being negative, yet in actuality, it's because I really did want to review something a little negatively after being so positive with reviews on Selective Hearing recently. So the desire to review this came to me and here we are. Reviewing this.

I put myself through so much pain -sobs-

Actually, I admit that I had high hopes for this album. I really wanted it to be good, and when it was released I was so excited, which is probably why my disappointment and disgust for it is so high now. If I hadn't set my standards to the sky, I feel like I would have been a lot more lenient with it, but... no. I just had to want it and crave it, to a point where I was practically gnawing my arm off in anticipation for the damn thing. So, when it did drop, I dropped, too.

It's a long fall from the sky, y'know.

Kay, I need to stop talking now, because I'm boring you, and I'm boring myself.  Hopefully I don't piss too many people off with this review, because I know that a lot of people adore this mini-album, with me being one of the few exceptions to that rule. So in advance: This is only my opinion, so don't take it to heart. I only wish to express it as best I can, without neglecting the good points as well. But, don't expect me to change my mind, either - I can hear the songs loud and clear, and for me, they just never worked out. At least a majority of them didn't. Some definitely shined here, but the ones I don't like, it will be pretty clear. You have been warned.

Right, it's time to kick-start this review. I'm ready to get through this and end my time with the mini-album, but the question is this: Are you ready?

Let's march on and read. Any bets for the songs I'll love? Place them now, or forever hold onto your cash. (Actually, that's the better choice. Don't bet, kids)

Monday, 2 April 2018

The Blog Awakens

I swear, this one is for real.

It’s been a while, guys. Not that long I suppose, but being away for three months is still a great deal of time when you don’t pop in to say ‘Hello’, or offer a little nudge as to when you might return. It’s already April now, and so far I have said nothing about my return to blogging, or even my departure from it. Well, not publicly, at least.

Well it's definitely a return and not a departure, at least, because I always planned to come back on April 1st. I won't lie and say that the thought of quitting never entered my mind - it did - but I also anticipated my blogs awakening on tApril 1st as well. Because of the nature of the day itself, I also wanted a light-hearted return, but because I am actually terrible at making jokes of any sort, I thought that a simple 'I'm baaaack' would suffice. Plus I'm a fool anyway, so it all worked out in the end, for the good or the bad. 

In short: I'm back to blogging, and in my haste to return, I want to explain in a little more detail as to why I went into a sudden Hibernation period, and a few more things like what this break has given me in terms of growth and rest. All that boring stuff.

A lot went on on the day I chose to go into Hibernation mode, more than I was willing to reveal in my Hiatus post. There were things I needed to process, things I wanted to plan, and of course, things I needed to do. I didn’t really want to throw so much into one post, so I left it at me being stressed. Stress was certainly a big part of what made me go into Hibernation mode, but everything else that had happened in my life - as well as things I wanted to do away from O!MT - only added to it, making smaller issues and plans come together in a big ball of problems that I had to tackle. So I halted the blog, and the breathing period I have taken until now has helped me greatly, allowing me to finally put things into perspective and see what I should do to keep this blog - and my love for Idols - alive.

Of course this break has done more good than it has bad. It’s allowed me to figure things out and see where I wanted to go with my blog, whilst also allowing me to understand that blogging is not the sole reason why my love for Idols is so strong. Actually, I think that this is the most positive discovery since taking time away from here, because before this, I felt that my connection to Idols was there solely because of writing so much. I’m happy in the knowledge that my love for Idols goes beyond the pages and posts I have accumulated here, and that this adoration for music, J-pop and Idols has grown even more despite being away from Okay! Musume Time. I’m here for the long-haul, whether I write or not, and that’s a wonderful realisation to have.

There has also been the positive boost in my work and home life. I’m sleeping a lot better now (but not always), and I’m doing so much better at work. Without focusing on my blog so much, there has been a lot less worry and stress on my mind, and I am a lot more relaxed. Taking this into account, I’ve realised I should probably not blog as heavily as I tend to, or push myself into doing so much in such a small frame of time. It might be hard to follow through, but I think it’s a mature decision if I can implement a healthy blogging regime into my lifestyle.

I’ve also been able to focus a lot more on other things in my absence. Though I am not posting as much as I would like on Selective Hearing, I have certainly spent more time planning posts and thinking about other things to do with the site. There has also been a spike in my YouTube activity, something I didn’t anticipate, but it was a delightful change of pace. I am not the most reliable in either my blogging or video activities, so to see myself working harder at my channel was refreshing and fun. It’s something I want to continue even after returning to my blog.

Of course I’ve had my down moments. This period of Hibernation was nice to have, but it did lead me to thoughts about closing Okay! Musume Time down for good. It’s not the first time I’ve thought it - it’s a frequent consideration - but I know that doing such a thing would only make me unhappy. Besides, it’s not the right time, and I’ve already made some plans for the blog. They aren’t exciting in any way shape or form, but they are things I hope to try.

There are other parts about the Hibernation which were hard, but I won’t go into them. I am happy to share things with you - you are my friends and dear Readers - but there are some things that are better kept to myself.

And that’s it. These are the things I needed to say. There is more I could write, plans and ideas, notes and thoughts that have crossed my mind about the future of this blog, but that will all come in due time, perhaps in a Blog Update. For now this will have to do. I don’t want to overwhelm you, and I don’t want rush everything in one post. I hope you understand, and I hope that this post has cleared up a few things for you.

Now it’s time to return to the blogging game. I admit that I am not 100% sure about coming back this soon, but I also know that if I don’t do it now, I will probably never come back, so I made a choice to return in April so that I wouldn’t become too comfortable in a life without this happy space. There are still things I need to figure out of course, both in blogging and in my personal life, but those decisions and ideas will come to me at a later date. For now though, I want to try and do what I can to keep this blog alive whilst leading a happy, healthy life away from it.

And finally, a word to the few who have been awaiting the blogs Awakening: Thank you. I’m sorry it’s been so quiet until now, but it’s time to write again. I hope you enjoy the things that come your way.