Three Prominent Girls from Niigata Urged People to Stop Listening to Nothing but Idols

The Three Girls from Niigata
The Three Girls from Niigata

As you might have realized, idol groups, especially female groups, are sweeping across Japan, gaining firm hold in the J-Pop market, and gradually exporting their genre to the world. In the midst of it, normal females are not getting the attention they deserve from the increasing number of males worshiping the idol groups. Three prominent girls from Niigata; Nao, Megu, and Kaede; openly articulate normal girls frustration to the media. These three girls outline some behaviors of idol fanatic males that are incomprehensible, like spending a lot of money to buy merchandises, choosing to buy CD-s (often same title CD-s, often to support the group’s ranking in the music chart) instead of digital copy, crazed on the opportunity just to shake the hand of the idol member, and supporting the idols with such fanaticism; even as they fully realize that those idols are not going to be their girlfriend or wife. These girls also point out that idol fanatic boyfriends should have given more attention to their “real” girlfriends, since those girls care a lot for them, unlike those idols who might not even notice them.

Their full statement can be seen with translation on the report by carlenne in her blog.

And this is the footage taken by the media:

Did I not mention it before that it is a music video? And these three prominent girls are, in fact, members of the same idol group? My bad! 😀

Yup, this is another song by Negicco titled “Idol Bakari Kikanaide”, which is not a new song, but I’m just recently into Negicco, and I think I want to share this song that I think really hook me up. The lyric of this song is really interesting; they are explicitly criticizing their own fans. And guess what, their fans will sing along this song in live events, especially the “Zanen” part, which roughly means “how unfortunate!” directed at their own selves. How interesting!

A little digging in the internet provides me with some more interesting information regarding this song; this song is produced by a well-known producer, Yasuharu Konishi, an ex member of a famous Shibuya-Kei crown jewel, Pizzicato Five. This fact strengthen the notion that Negicco is really chosen as the spearhead of Shibuya-Kei revival in Japan, distinguishing themselves from ordinary idol groups. They even released a limited 7-inch record edition of this song to attract people back to the old-fashioned unique medium.

“It’s like a dream come true to be able to write a song for Neggico. When I saw connie (Negicco’s producer) for the first time in Niigata last year, I begged for a 7in analog release and for me to write a song for Negicco. I can’t believe you remembered it, let alone made both of them come true. And having met all 3 members of Negicco for the first time in March, they were so blindingly charming. I was moved by the fact that they had perfectly learnt my song, despite the fact that I had given them the song only 3 days ago. They were so cute. I’ve played this monumental song close to a 100 times at home already. I always dreamt of writing a song for an idol from when I was a high school student. I want to take this song and make him (myself in high school) listen to it. It was like, ‘the Kyohei Tsutsumi inside me’ burst out of me. This is rock n’ roll! It’s destructive! Hope you enjoy listening to it.”

-Yasuharu Konishi (coutesy of Barks Japan)

What do you think of this song? I, myself, find it cozy and fun; the “Idol Bakari Kikanaide” and “Zanen” part are catchy; and my head replays this song often in random times.

You can buy their song here.

So, maybe you shouldn’t listen to idol groups too much, but if really want to, listen to Negicco!

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Negicco and I

The truth is, Negicco are an anomaly in the Idol scene: in thirteen years they could have reached any milestone a standard Idol group dreams of, but at the same time, as local idols, they reached a national (and also global) fame that no other group in their category ever achieved, dancing, singing, crying and smiling for thirteen years, something that most of the Idol groups out there can only dream of. And despite their conservative, sometimes rebellious approach towards the Idol scene, they probably represent the most natural and human form of it, something that after all these years, judging from the tears they shed everytime they’re in front of their ever-growing fanbase, is finally starting to pay off.

– Alex Shenmue, landofrisingsound.com

Negicco
Negicco: (from left to right) Kaede, Nao☆, Megu

Negicco is an idol group from Japan. There’s a lot of idol groups in Japan, so what makes Negicco different from, let’s say, the famous AKB48 and its family? I like the way tokyogirlsupdate compares Negicco with the newly announced NGT48. In short and my own way of rephrasing the article, 48 group is like McDon*ld’s, a multi million dollars restaurant chain with well-known reputation, expanding to many regions and yes, a lot of people loves it, and they know what to expect from a McDon*ld’s restaurant. On the other hand, Negicco is like a famous local restaurant, it’s a local favorite, and tourists come from many regions to eat there; the restaurant makes the town famous and the town supports the restaurant.

That’s Negicco. Negicco is a local idol group from Niigata and its members: Nao☆, Megu, and Kaede live and grow in Niigata; almost all locals, from kids to elders, have known them or at least have seen them. Negicco was conceived to promote local product, Niigata’s green onion to be exact  (“Negi” means “green onion leek”, “Negicco” roughly means “green onion leek girls”), and for more than 10 years (born on 2003) Negicco has never stop using negi as it’s symbol or promoting Niigata. You saw it right, more than 10 years! That’s a very long journey of an idol group, not to mention without backing of huge agency.

I stumbled upon Negicco on Youtube.

I guess that video really moved me. I tried to search more for Negicco on the web after that and listened to their songs. Their story is what affects me the most. Look at the facts facing them in the past and you will agree that this group is nothing but a joke. Starting with their name;“People won’t take you seriously when you’re dancing with vegetables,” one of the girls said in an MTV81 Interview. Then don’t forget that they were contracted for a month and never really meant to stay longer than that. Many years without huge popularity gain, performing almost solely on small stages, and a member quits; seriously, disband sounds better than continuing the humiliation of this harsh reality. But here they are; standing strong for more than 10 years and getting a nationwide coverage. With the youngest member is well above 23 years old, Negicco is refuting one of idol culture’s most seemingly unshakable beliefs; idols have to be high school girls, and Negicco is gaining vast ground in what was supposed to be a young girl’s game. In 2010, Negicco won the local idol award U.M.U; in 2011, they joined T-Palette, Tower Records’ indie label; in 2014,  they got 5th place in weekly Oricon ranking (daily 1st place) for their single “Hikari no Spur”; and in 2015, their second album “Rice & Snow” received critical acclaim, with one writer calling it one of the best albums of 2015.

They have pierced the shroud of improbability with their never-give-up attitude and now they are shining so bright.

Their light touch me. I want to write again. I know that Anton World has been around for 6 years and it has not been getting better at the very least. I know it has not been receiving update regularly, in fact, more than one long hiatus have plagued this world. I know my posts quality has not been improving. I know I have been too lazy to write and making a lot excuses not to write. But Negicco has inspired me to continue. Negicco has inspired me to hope for a bigger stage. Now, I want to write to inspire, like Negicco. I will become a better writer. I will write more. Even if it So, please, whoever you are reading this, please accompany me in this journey; give me your advice, counsel, comment, and criticism. And to my future self, if you are reading this post again, I hope you are not giving up, and I hope this post will give you a spark of courage to face whatever you are facing in your time.

“People won’t take you seriously when you’re dancing with vegetables,” one of the girls said in an MTV81 interview, and Negicco’s rise has been as inspiring as it is completely improbable. That they started out as “local idols” yet their latest music video was shot all the way over in Finland is just one of many wholly unlikely details that have come to characterize Negicco’s career, and so the fact that they’ve been positioned as the spearhead of an unexpected Shibuya-kei revival is perversely unsurprising – when everything about the group’s history has been completely absurd, it only makes sense that they would be put in such a far-fetched situation. After all, if a group has survived for 12 years since being started for the express purpose of selling vegetables, isn’t anything else trumped by default?

memoriesofshibuya.wordpress.com

“Isn’t anything else trumped by default?”

Bonus clip:

They look so cute and innocent, are they not?

Tanggung Jawab Siapa?

Anton’s note: this zealous post was written on December 25th, 2009. What was the motivation behind it? It escaped my memory.

Sebenarnya, tanggung jawab siapakah tindakan seseorang? Siapa yang harus menanggung konsekuensi tindakan seseorang? Umumnya, jawaban pertama untuk pertanyaan itu adalah: orang itu sendiri. Tetapi kemudian persoalan akan menjadi semakin sulit saat orang yang melakukan tindakan itu adalah suatu elemen dari sebuah kelompok atau hirarki tertentu. Jika tindakan itu adalah hasil sebuah perintah, maka orang yang memberikan perintah bertanggungjawab atas tindakan itu. Tidak, bahkan apapun yang dilakukan oleh seorang hamba (mungkin halusnya bawahan) adalah tanggung jawab dari tuannya (mungkin kasarnya atasan atau ketua atau kepala). Karena itulah, seorang tuan harus memiliki kontrol yang kuat terhadap hambanya sehingga tidak “kecolongan”, sebab tuan itu akan dihukum oleh tuannya (otoritas lebih tinggi) jika hal itu terjadi.

Lalu, bagaimana cara menentukan siapakah seorang tuan ? Pada sebuah organisasi dengan hirarki yang jelas, maka pemimpin dapat ditentukan dengan mudah. Tetapi seorang tuan sesungguhnya kadang tidak terlihat dalam sebuah hirarki. Tuan, adalah orang atau kaum yang memiliki kekuasaan (power) atas para hamba. Tuan akan menentukan apa saja yang boleh dan tidak boleh hambanya lakukan, dan mengawasi hambanya sehingga tidak melakukan penyimpangan, karena dari tuan inilah pertanggungjawaban akan diminta. Dalam sebuah perusahaan, tuan sesungguhnya adalah pemegang saham, karena mereka memiliki kekuasaan paling besar. Bagaimana dalam sebuah negara?

Apakah sebuah negara dikuasai pihak eksekutif yang menjalankan suatu negara? Atau pihak legislatif yang menciptakan peraturan-peraturan yang harus dijalankan justru adalah tuan dari negara itu? Atau pihak yudikatif yang mengontrol dan mengawasi adalah sang tuan? Jadi, salah satu dari tiga pihak itu adalah yang memiliki kekuasaan terbesar dan harus bertanggungjawab? Saya rasa bukan. Karena sebenarnya pemegang kekuasaan terbesar dalam sebuah negara adalah rakyat. Sebab itu segala tindakan yang dilakukan oleh pemerintah harus rakyat awasi dan kontrol. Bukan saja karena rakyat berhak, tetapi karena rakyat, sebagai pemegang kekuasaan tertinggi, bertanggungjawab atas segala tindakan perwakilan yang mereka berikan kepercayaan.

Jadi, diam saja saat pemerintah melakukan kesalahan adalah salah. Karena dari kita pertanggungjawaban akan diminta. Selalu ingat bahwa kita bukanlah buruh yang menerima perintah, tetapi seorang penguasa negara yang pertanggungjawabannya akan diminta. Jangan bersikap tidak perduli.

Another College Day I Can’t Recall

Anton’s note: originally written on October 10th, 2010. That’s 10-10-10 ^^. Oh, and it’s actually a quite good story!

 

One evening, there was a quiz held for me and my friends by a lecturer assistant. Let’s just call this man “XL”. It was an “Introduction to Business” quiz. The quiz itself was not so hard and it won’t be the main concern in this story. It was an event after the quiz which was correlated with a rule XL has made before the quiz which will be the main concern I’m trying to tell you. The rule was: I will count until five and you will have to submit your paper before I stop counting. If you late to submit, I will cut your score. Sounded strict, but it also sounded like a bluff.

We did the quiz just like a college student should. And when the time to stop came, I stopped and went to submit my paper, just like my classmates. Have you ever seen an hourglass? It always took sometime for all of the sands to move to the other glass room. Our condition was very similar to the hourglass… there was no sands, but people. A long unorganized queue was in front of me, and XL didn’t stop counting.  I wait patiently and lined up like a civilized human should, until I reached XL. He told me I was late. Whatever. I just smiled.

I told you his rule sounded like a bluff, didn’t I? It wasn’t. He cut my score.

Cleaning Up Backlog of Posts

Konichi-negi-negi, dear readers!

I’m cleaning up my pile of drafts, so expect a blast of posts, outdated posts. But I still find those posts interesting and I hope you will find them interesting as well. So try reading them a bit and tell me how you feel about them.

Here’s an irrelevant photo to end the post:

handshake event with the idol of Kutek: Mpo
handshake event with the idol of Kutek: Mpo

Absorbed into the Kawaii Tornado

Hello, dear readers! Well, if you’re still around, I must say that you deserve an honorary citizenship in Anton World, a truly prestigious status, with unknown rights and responsibilities. I haven’t written a lot…more like an extended hiatus. I’m busy with this “salary man” life, but that’s probably just an excuse. I find writing is less charming now, especially after more blogs I have been following stop updating. But behold! I’m here now. The El Presidente of Anton World is sitting on the throne again. I will explain reason of my sudden motivation spark…in the future post 😛

Quick update on my life: still employed in milk industry (8 months, yay!), laptop got chronic illness (still love her though), new house (just a block from the old one), and currently following some idol groups, or “Japanesque Pop Group with emphasis in cuteness”, if you are offended by the word “idol”.

Yup, that last part is probably quite perplexing for some people (maybe?). I’d like to elaborate more on it in this post (not like people really care about it anyway, I just feel like posting about it XD)

It started out with a friend I met in college. He’s a big fan of 48 groups and I noticed that he got really vocal on twitter since the end of 2014. I clicked a few links he shared and… I think JKT48’s kawaii-ness (cuteness said in Japanesque style) got me. To be frank, their songs were the deal breaker. Cheesy lyrics, repetitive melody, and unremarkable vocal quality; those factors make their songs easy to sing and replay in my mind, but most of all, their songs give youthful and innocent impressions. They sing about dream, hope, love, and other things most people think are too cheesy to speak out. And that’s why I like them! Songs like “Sonichi”, “Yuuhi wo Miteiruka?”, “Himawari”, and “Shiroi Shirt” are especially my favorites; hearing “it’s not futile”,”it’s alright”, “your hard work will pay off”, “tomorrow will be great”, etc, are definitely what I need these days and I can hear those words with every replay. Moreover, I can hear those young girls praising me in their love songs (okaaay…that sounds kinda wrong in some ways -_-).

JKT48 First Gen

Then my travel to Kawaii world didn’t stop there. I stumbled upon Sakura Gakuin, specifically their Nendo Test video, in Youtube. They are ADORABLE!!! I can’t stop watching more about them. I joined their fans subreddit, twitter, and facebook group. I know each member names (until the 2014 generation) and pretty much some part of their personality. This idol group is really different from JKT48, since there’s only 12 girls max in the group and you can grow a lot more attached to each one of them. Their shows are a lot more memorable too. Oh, and when the members graduated from ninth grade in real life, they have to graduate from Sakura Gakuin too! *sound of heartbreak and a lot of sobbing*  Check them out yourself!

 

Sakura Gakuin First Gen!
From left to right: (back) Nene-don, Hinata-chan, Suu-chan, Airi-chan, Ayaka-chan, Ayami-chan, Marippe, Raura the Panda Boss, (front) Yui-chan, Moa-chan, of course I can mention them all muahahaha…*pedo alarm

 

BABYMETAL was a sub-unit of Sakura Gakuin, but their members got graduated and now they are an independent group. BABYMETAL is AWESOME! They are the spearhead of a new genre that will shake the foundation of the world of music; Kawaii Metal. You will hate them or you will love them very much. Why? Imagine three cute young girls singing and dancing. Normal? Now, imagine they are singing Metal songs with the backing of Metal band, and one of the song’s theme is about eating chocolate and afraid of getting fat. WHAT?! Yup, that’s right. They are leading the Kawaii Metal Resistance and you can either join them or fight them.

They have been touring around the world, spreading the Kawaii Metal all over the globe. Notice that they’re not giving the goat horns sign (Metal symbol), but kitsune or fox ears sign with their hands! War is on!

Random fact: I got a pillow with BABYMETAL girls picture on it!!! (don’t tell my parents)

babymetal_2014
Violently cute!

And the most recent would be Negicco. You might not have heard about them before, but they are the one that gave me a spark of motivation to end my hiatus in Anton World. I will write more about them in a new post for they deserve their own post (or more posts). For now, just watch this:

Anton’s note: the idea for this post was actually conceived after the post “Negicco and I”, but I thought I need to give short explanation on how my life turned out. I started writing this on Saturday midnight in a very sleepy mode. I decided to post it right away and update it over and over later. It’s a style I’m experimenting on to end this hiatus. So, check out this post again in the future and it might not be the same!

That Odd One

Anton’s note: originally written in January 10th, 2014.

My junior told me a very interesting story some weeks ago; it was a story from her school day about her odd friend. Why was this person odd? Let me tell you the way I remember the two instances she mentioned to describe that person.

First story, it was an examination situation. What’s the first thing came to your mind when you hear high school examination? Cheating. And, yes, it was an organized cheating scheme. The smart students tried to finish the exam as soon as their intelligence allowed and they passed their answer to another students afterwards. This odd person refused to accept that cheating sheet and refused to pass it to people around. This odd person was quite a public enemy.

Second story, it was a normal school day. There was this particular hungry, if not starving, student in the middle of teaching session, and it was normal for school in Indonesia to prohibit food consumption while teaching session is in progress. And so the class conspired to smuggle some biscuits to this hungry student’s desk. The odd student took notice as the biscuits passed around and arrived at the hungry student’s desk, grabbed it before it was consumed, and reported the activity to the teacher. What a snitch!

Is this a kind of hero we all need in our society? The one who stand up at odds against the world.