Wednesday, 1 January 2014

The Liebster Awards 2013

Admittedly, 2014 has already reared his curious little head but whatever - that's really not the point.

From what I can tell, The Liebster Awards is basically a way of promoting lesser-known blogs. Or just making people answer questions. Or something. I don't entirely get it but it's a nice idea.

There are a bunch of rules but they involve nominating 11 other blogs and...I don't even know that many. And the ones I do know were already nominated by the blog who nominated me to begin with so...I'll have that to skip that part.
However, I will link back to the blog who nominated me and answer the questions. Basically, I'm a suck for questionnaires and nothing can ever change that. End of.

Anyway, let's get to the point.
The lovely person who nominated me is none other than Chiima of Okay! Musume Time!
Her blog is basically what inspired me to get back into blogging (though I wound up abandoning it due to my computer being made of hate and pain and evil and the tears of kittens), and she has supported me the most. I'd like to take this moment to thank her for everything she has done for me, in terms of blogging or otherwise.

Moving along, I shall now answer the questions she provided. Here we go~!

1. How did you find Idols, and what got you into them?
Well, aside from a very short-lived interest in PUFFY as a child, sparked of course by Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi and Teen Titans (I still rather love the latter), the first Japanese artists I got into were Hirano Aya and Chihara Minori and, to a lesser extent, Sugiyama Noriaki. In other words, I liked Seiyuu. Eventually, I moved onto J-Rock, specifically Nightmare (thanks to Death Note). I got really quite into Visual Kei and J-Rock as a whole, with my favourites being Miyavi and GACKT. GACKT, of course, has remained my favourite artist (pfft, favourite person) ever since - GACKT as a living, breathing organism and a unrealistically lovely entity is very important to me, and has had a huge influence on me for the past five and a half years.
So, I went on like this for a few months until, as per my elder sister's recommendation (as she had been listening to Japanese music a few years prior to me), I started listening to Morning Musume - I had already nicked her MP3 Player on a few occasions just to listen to the two W (Double You) songs she had on her MP3 Player (Ai no Imi wo Oshiete and Robokiss). I actually remember the very first time I properly listened to Morning Musume too. It was 2008 and I had been putting music onto my MP3 player (a measly thing, only held about 250 songs - my current MP3 Player is full at 1973 songs)- I wanted a few more songs to fill up the space that was left after having filled the thing up with J-Rock and Animusic. I asked my sister for suggestions and, of course, she said Morning Musume and W (Double You) - I downloaded Onna ni Sachi Are and Koi no Vacance. Unfortunately, it turned out that there was something wrong with the W song so that kind of fell flat. But, I still hadn't listened to Onna ni Sachi Are - I was going in blind. You see, though, the reason I was filling it up was so that I had music for the drive to France, as we were just about to go there for a family holiday. Waiting for the ferry in the dead of night, I finally reached the end of the playlist and came upon Onna ni Sachi Are. From that moment forth, I was sold. So, basically, Onna ni Sachi Are and the ever glorious vocal chords of the grand Takahashi Ai are what got me into Idols. Even so, it was until a year later that I finally realised that Ai was my favourite female Idol.

2. How long have you been blogging for now?
Ooooh, let's see. On and off, I have been blogging since 2008 - I started with meagre little excuse for a blog, to which I downright refuse to link, though I promptly realised that it was nothing short of a disaster. So, that's a good five years. Though, I have never successfully managed to keep blogging actively for a significant amount of time - unless Tumblr blogs count. So, yeah, I basically have nothing interesting to say here. Oh dear.

3. Think of a random Idol song. The first one that pops into your head, what is it, and what do you think of it?
GIMME LUV by KAT-TUN, because I watched a new performance of it earlier and it has been stuck in my head since. Though, given that I'm in the middle of listening to Placebo, the chances of something less typical of myself popping up were already slim. Anyway, I do rather love this song but it's far from my favourite KAT-TUN song, and it's certainly not in my Top 3 for the Kusabi mini-album - which doesn't say much because it is an all-round very strong mini-album anyway. Though, it's sort of sad because, well, there's no Koki. The wound is still fresh! It's definitely the kind of song you would expect from KAT-TUN but maybe to a fault? That is to say, it's good but it's nothing particularly exciting. It didn't really bring anything new to the table, which is why other songs like FANTASTIC PLANET, PHOENIX and FIRE & ICE are the ones that stood out to be on the mini-album (and let us not forget MONSTER NIGHT, which is a work of pure genius, thank you Ueda).

4. Now think of your favourite Idol song! What is it, and why is it your favourite?
BIRTH or FACE to Face by KAT-TUN. Or 1582 by Kamenashi Kazuya. I've already written a post on why I love 1582 so much, so we won't be going there again (at least, not until I finally get round to writing a post on why I think it's totally about Oda Nobunaga and Mori Ranmaru totally being a thing, written in the voice of Mori Ranmaru - because the Sengoku Jidai is 10/10 fab go you and, also, because, face it, to think that this idol might have actually written a song from an entirely homosexual point of view is pretty interesting). As for the first two, I don't know what to say. Like, they're my favourite just because they are. Okay, no, with FACE to Face, I know why I love it so much. I love how dramatic it is, how it builds up and how the chorus hits. I mean, the chorus is gorgeous - there's so much going on but it's not messy. There's this sort of harmony that is made of all these different layers. The emotion and melody, too. Oh god, it's beautiful. As for BIRTH, I don't know what it is. It might be because it's the ending song to Yokai Ningen Bem (though, Tatta Hitotsu no Koi is my favourite drama, yet I prefer BIRTH to Bokura no Machi de). It might be because BIRTH is the first KAT-TUN single I ever had pre-ordered (not personally, since it was a birthday present). It was the first single for which I had the PVs on DVD. BIRTH's Making-Of was also the first one I watched the entirety of without subtitles. There's a lot of nostalgia tied in with this song. It's also become the song I test new headphones on because, somehow, it's a good song for that sort of thing.
If this was supposed to be my favourite female idol song then...well, whoops. Though, I will say that it's probably Onna ni Sachi Are or Fantasy ga Hajimaru by Morning Musume, or MY BOY or MIRACLE HAPPY LOVE SONG by Buono!. But I'm leaving it at that for obvious reasons.

5. If you could go to any country right now, which country would it be?
I really don't have a clue? I could go to England, London to be precise, but it's also 2AM so nah. But, obviously, I'm going to be an unimaginative little shit and say Japan. Though, I'd genuinely like to go to Japan, for reasons other than my interests. I'd prefer to go to Tokyo or Yokohama, though. Yokohama is gorgeous, okay? I'd love to see Minato Mirai 21. Even if I saw it from a distance, I'd be happy, since it makes for such a lovely backdrop. The Yokohama nightscape is definitely something I want to see at least once in my life. I'd like to go to Japan for various reasons. For one, I'd love the chance to see GACKT or KAT-TUN live, but there are other things as well. I'd love to see the castles - I genuinely love castles, no doubt because of my mum's own interest meaning that we were taken to lots of castles growing up. I've seen lots of English, Scottish and French castles, and they've all been really cool, but I'd like to see castles from a entirely different part of the world. The Japanese castles are a lot newer and Japan seem to put more effort into restoration than France (Britain are pretty serious about it, mind you), so they'd be really cool to see. I really love Sengoku Jidai stuff, as I have already stated, so it'd be cool to see if I could visit any castles directly related to that (Nagano Castle, for example). Also, the shopping districts in Tokyo are, based on photos and blogposts I've seen, pretty interesting places. I am absolutely not a weird Japan-fetishising weaboo, I will say that much - it's just a place I'd really like to go. I don't think I have skewed idea of what the place is like. Besides, it'd be a nice chance to practice my Japanese, I guess?

6. What was your favourite childhood cartoon?
Growing up, I was entirely addicted to cartoons - I didn't watch any of the live action shows on Nickelodeon and Disney because I only wanted to watch cartoons (I mean, when I was about 5 or 6, before that Blue's Clues was totally my thing...even though that's mostly cartoon - as a side note, if you didn't have Kevin, sorry, but you were doing it wrong). I loved cartoons above all else and that definitely stuck, given that I'm studying animation at University (and am generally a bit of an animation nerd).
However, that being said, there is only one answer I can give to this question and that is...
The Powerpuff Girls!!
When I was a kid, I was obsessed with that show. Like, well and truly obsessed. I've talked to people about it and they've been like 'Oh, me too, it was great', but I can always tell, based on how excited they sound, that they don't get it. Okay, maybe that's unfair but, no joke, it was my life. The first 5 years of my Primary School life (which lasted seven years) were defined by Powerpuff Girls and Spyro. Everyone I knew knew that I loved The Powerpuff Girls. There was no way I was letting them get away with not knowing. I used to get the magazine and I was absolutely gutted when they turned it into yet another generic magazine for young girls that focused on all the stuff I didn't care about (make-up, fashion, boys, so on and so forth - hey, no harm to those who did like those magazines but I never cared even for a moment). I wanted a magazine about a trio of little girls that bloody well kicked ass, not this drivel! Apparently...I've never quite been able to let that one go.
Aside from that, my favourites were Xiaolin Showdown, Teen Titans (as expected, based on what I wrote earlier), Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends and Shaman King (does anime count?). And Naruto, when I was just getting into my teens. Again, I was obsessed. Irritatingly so. Naruto was, as it was for many others, the driving force behind all the embarrassing things I said and did when I was about 12. But, again, I was genuinely obsessed. I knew far too much about the series. This was obsession on a grand-scale.
My favourite character was Orochimaru, though, and, looking back on it, he's actually a really good character. Say what you want, make all the mindless Michael Jackson and paedophile jokes you want, I won't listen. Because, at the core, he's possibly the best character, in terms of writing, in the whole series. But that's just my take - I just find a lot of his psychology very interesting.
Also, if you think I'm being annoying and self-superior or whatever about the obsession thing...just search up special interests and that phrases connection to Asperger's Syndrome...that should probably explain enough.

7. Did you ever like Anime or Manga before you got into Idols?
I think there's already enough evidence in this post as it is to confirm that I did, in fact, like anime and managa before I got into idols. The anime I referred to in the previous answer were things I liked before I ever went anywhere near Idol music (after all, I listened to Sugiyama Noriaki because he voiced Sasuke). I know I'm not alone in this, but I've been watching anime ever since I was tiny. As is the norm, my first experiences with anime were Pokemon and Sailor Moon, though I remember occasionally watching Dragonball Z (my elder siblings were really into it, me not so much - I think I was too young to really get it). And, after that, there was Hamtaro and, eventually, Shaman King. And then there was Battle B-Daman, a lesser known series that my younger sister and I were addicted to. We watched it every Saturday morning at 10AM and were genuinely gutted when we went to France for the first time (not the time I mentioned earlier) and missed two episodes! No-one at school watched it so my sister was honestly the only person I knew that liked it. But we really loved it and we even got the toys for Christmas (she got Chrome Zephyr, her favourite character's B-Daman, and I got Cobalt Blade, the main character's Beyblade (I had asked for Lightning Khan, my favourite's one, but I don't think my mum (coughimeansantabecauseiwasthatage) could find it - I loved it dearly anyway). It was my Beyblade. My older sister loved Beyblade but I could never bring myself to care. For me, B-Daman was Beyblade but much better, because it was stupider and funnier and I liked the characters better. And, on top of that, I had a field day when I eventually realised (having liked it for a year or so) that most of the voice actors were in other things I had seen - I'm still not over Enjyu, the owner of the afore-mentioned Lightning Khan, being Kadaj from FFVII : Advent Children. Honestly, I watched Naruto and Neji having the same VA didn't bother me, but, even now, Enjyu just sounds odd because I keep expecting him to start crying about his 'mother' and Sephiroth any second.
Though, one of the greatest anime I ever watched prior to discovering J-Music was Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo. Don't ask any questions. Just watch it. You won't be disappointed.
And, it's worth mentioning the anime that got me into J-Music - The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. That series sort of represents a turning point in my life, I suppose.

8. What was your best subject in school?
That depends - primary or secondary?
Either way, the answer's are simple enough.
In Primary, my best subject was, without a doubt, story writing. We did it every Tuesday, except for when I had this one teacher who found it boring and would sometimes make us do PE instead. A lot of people loved this because they liked PE (since it was hardly PE in Primary) and weren't very good at story writing. However, I hated PE with a passion and loved story writing more than any part of school. Ever. And it was definitely my best subject. That, and reading. But, like, I got Star Writer (and you got this badge, it was great) quite a lot. I was one of the best spellers in my class and I was known for writing particularly long stories. Okay, they were never all that long, but they were normally longer than everyone else's. I know it's quality over quantity but I think that, at least when you're that age, it's impressive enough that you can get that many words down in a couple of hours. I mean, it was actually super rare for me to ever finish because I had (had? HAD? Let's try have) a terrible habit of going off on tangents. But I always really loved story writing. I actually remember the first story I ever got Star Writer for - it was a two-sentence long story about how I went to see The Emperor's New Groove. It was honestly something like 'I went to see The Emeperor's New Groove. I really loved it', with an awful little drawing of Kuzco as a llama. In Primary 1 you basically had to spell everything right in order to get a Star Writer and I think it's rather good for a four-year-old to spell Emperor, no?
As for Secondary, it's French. No doubt about it. I got an A in Higher despite only having studied the bloody thing for about five minutes. I'm not even exaggerating. I really like the French language so I just sort of picked it up and it stuck. And that's why I'm quite good at French and Japanese (I suppose, given that I'm entirely self-taught but know quite a fair bit of Japanese), but I could never quite get my head around Spanish. Spanish never interested me as a language in the same way. But, seriously, I'm really good at remembering French. One week, I didn't go into school because I needed to get these folios done for my Uni applications, while everyone had been told the date of the Higher French speaking exam (which is marked internally so it's separate from actual exams), which had been the following Monday. They all had a week to study while I, oblivious to this (I knew it was coming up sometime soon but not that soon), drew portraits of singers I liked and watched Tim Burton films. I came in on Monday and it turned out my exam was really early, as one of my classmates kindly informed me. I had to go there and explain that I hadn't studied it at all. The head of the department was really annoyed, saying things like 'I thought you wanted an A' and 'This isn't good enough'. Even so, they agreed to reschedule the exam for Wednesday - I only had a day and a half to memorise the entire passage, which was pretty lengthy (especially since I, queen of the tangents, had written it). So, how did that go? I'll just say that my individual grade for the Speaking Exam was an A, and, as I said before, my overall grade for the class was an A. I got, like, 90% on the speaking test, so, joke's on them really.

9. What is your favourite book? Have you re-read it?
It's a toss-up between The Book of Dead Days by Marcus Sedgwick and every book in the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness. Though, I've never re-read either of them. I did attempt to re-read the former earlier this year, not having read it in about three years, but got distracted halfway. But I do flick through it every so often and I still feel the same way about every scene as I did before. As for the latter, I only finished the last book this August, and the books were far too emotional to pick up again so quickly.
Currently, though, I'm reading Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman and, even though I'm not far in, I'm in love with it. The Marquis de Carabas is bloody brilliant too. I have no idea but, in my head, he looks like a weird mix between Kefka from Final Fantasy VI and Zhang He (as he appears in Dynasty Warriors), only black (since the character is canonically black and I don't go for this whitewashing bullshit).

10. If you were in a Zombie Apocolypse, who would you ally with? It can be anyone, from fictional to real, to someone you do or do not know! Choose wisely!
Oh. Ooh. Uh. Zhang He (again, Dynasty Warriors version) because he could probably just hack half half of them to daft, spreading strangely optimistic anecdotes about beauty and grace as he went. Genesis Rhapsodos from Crisis Core : Final Fantasy VII because he's like GACKT but with the ability to set people on fire. Because I'm assuming he has his materia, obviously. Ichabod Crane (as he appears in the Tim Burton film), because you kind of need the archetypal nervous guy - but this one has survived the undead before, and seems to have read miraculous healing abilities. Major Motoko Kusanagi (Ghost in the Shell), because she's strong, a great shot with a gun and, given that she's a cyborg, isn't susceptible to infection. Caius Ballad (Final Fantasy XIII) because, come on, he can turn into Bahamut and he's super strong. Also, I'm pretty sure he, like, doesn't die so, you know, he sells himself. And, I think that's probably it. But that's a bloody good team, if you ask me. And, yes, I have decided that real people aren't good enough for this. I could maybe give GACKT a pass because he'd probably do okay. And a world without GACKT is a silly, silly world.

11. Would you ever volunteer for the Hunger Games?
No. Na-uh. No way. I'd be dead in a second.

So, that's that, right? Well, now, I'm just going to take the opportunity to say that I'm going to try and revive this blog. But this is all for now.

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