Bit slow but thought I’d load up some info for fans, credit to Scanation Singapore. I’ve been lagging behind the scene recently, thanks to work and exams. Terrible, but what can you do?
…I officially admit it. I’m a fangirl. I can’t deny it! It’s probably a bad thing, and I really do have to stop, especially since the holes this being-a-fangirl-thing is burning in my pockets have started to expand…
Still, the CNBlue showcase in Singapore was pretty awesome and totally worth the SGD $88 (+$2 booking fee + $1 collection fee) I spent on a Category 3 seat. The showcase was held at NUS’s UCC (University Cultural Centre…ahhhh…fond memories there…) and since I knew the layout pretty well, I managed to wrangle really decent seats for Category 3 (Row V, just in front of the sound control box).
The showcase was meant to start at 3 pm but, naturally, started late. Still, it lasted a solid hour and a half, so I wasn’t too fussed. As usual, lots of screaming randomly when stagehands ran off the stage, or media were snapping photos onstage, and when the stage blacked out. Hilariously, there was this guy who yelled, “YONGHWA!!!” as the stage blacked out in preparation for their showcase, and there was a split-second of stunned silence and then everyone in the audience broke out laughing. It was mean but…fanboy much?
The boys sang quite a few songs, which I don’t quite remember the order of. I think they started with Let’s Go Crazy, and went on to Love Revolution. They were going to sing I’m A Loner when Min Hyuk discovered an issue with his ear-piece and had to get the technicians to fix it, so lovely Jong Hyun entertained us with a verse of Sunday Morning (by Maroon 5) until Min Hyuk’s ear-piece was fixed (and even during the song I’m A Loner, the technicians came running on stage to try and get it fixed!).
After that, they sang Love Light and Love, and then they broke for an interview session. The interview session basically consisted of the host asking them questions that fans wanted answered, like – “Will you ever write a song for boys?” (The fans’ response to that was hilarious) – “Have you tried Singapore’s chilli crab?” (Answer: Heard a lot about it, and we have a ‘schedule’ to go try it out) etc. Lots of fans were randomly screaming SNSD out whenever Yonghwa tried to answer any question, which was on one hand, vaguely annoying, and on the other, quite entertaining especially when you monitor his reaction, which was a mix of exasperation and resignation. (They did that when he was asked, “Which artist, Korean or otherwise, would you most like to collaborate with?” and wisely enough he answered, “Jason Mraz.” Since Mraz is a favourite of mine, Yonghwa gets brownie points. Min Hyuk has all the rest of the brownies for being so hot with the drums, and Jong Hyun has a couple for being able to sing. Jong Shin is…just…Avatar. LOL)
They ended off the interview by granting fans’ “wishes” like getting hugs, receiving autographed CDs, being serenaded by the boys and receiving a “personal item” from each of the boys (a shirt from Jong Shin, a guitar pick from both Jong Hyun and Yonghwa and a pair of drumsticks from Min Hyuk). Speaking of the guitar picks, both Jong Hyun and Yonghwa kept tossing theirs out to the audience in front and then having to surreptitiously sneak another pick out from their back pocket. Then the fanclub surprised them with a cake, and a fanvideo, which was sorta sweet. After which the boys went off-stage and we almost thought that was the end of the set…but fortunately it wasn’t.
They came out to finish off the showcase with I’m A Loner (Burning Version), One Time and Now Or Never. When they were finally done, a lot of people were really reluctant to leave, since…y’know…it’s possible they could come out for another set…except, nah. They didn’t. Still, the showcase was awesome, I got kickass videos (they banned videography but seriously, how the hell will you stop 500-over insane fans from whipping out their cameras?) and some really fantastic close up pictures (especially considering how faraway I was sitting). Ran out of SPACE on my memory stick midway through the interview (which was a damn pity!!) but at least it meant I got to enjoy the rest of the songs without having to worry about recording them since…well…it wasn’t like I had anything to record with.
I’ll probably put the videos up on YT but make them private so if you want to watch them, please PM me or leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. In the meantime…
Having spent weeks hearing rave reviews about the film Inception, it was inevitable that I forked out cold, hard cash to watch it. If you haven’t watched the film, and you don’t believe in spoilers, please leave now. You have been warned.
The plot has been outlined pretty well in Wiki, so I won’t reiterate too much of it. Suffice to say that, despite the heavy metaphysical philosophical rhetoric, the movie actually managed to work in a pretty decent balance of humour. For example, when the team enters Level 1 of the dream world, in Yusuf’s dream, it rained really hard and several members of the team pelted Yusuf with “drink much?” / “need to pee much?” comments, which made me snort in laughter. Then came Arthur’s dream, where when Fischer’s guards are looking suspiciously at him and Ariadne, and Arthur tells Ariadne to “kiss me”. When she finishes and pulls back and says in an accusatory tone, “They’re still looking!” Arthur shrugged and said, “Oh well, worth a shot.” …the look on Ellen Page’s face was priceless. I think I started laughing even before Arthur finished the sentence. She looked torn between wanting to murder him and not quite hating the kiss.
Beyond the dry wit, quick pace, and
mindfuckery conundrums of the film, there are some interesting things that could be up for debate… (Conspiracy) Theories & Thoughts
There are several fascinating levels the film explores, both of the state of being ‘awake’ and ‘asleep’. These are not new – there is nothing more the human mind loves than dissecting what ‘truth’ is…or could be. A few films come to mind, like The Matrix, Dark Knight, Momento, Shutter Island (yes, I know I’ve been listing most of Nolan’s previous films sans the first).
There’s been a fair bit of heated debate over the ending of the movie, which is left open to the audience’s interpretations, which of course means that there are several approaches to this.
The ending most people hope for, I think, is the one where he has returned to reality, and has reunited with his children, since there is a hint of a wobble with his ‘totem’.
Then you have the cynics who argue that as long as the ‘totem’ spins, he is trapped within his dream.
There’s evidence to support the latter rather than the former, but it is not the end that interests me…but the start of the movie, and its middle. Before I go on to those though, let me first sound out my conspiracy theories on why I am leaning on the side of the latter.
First of all, the children. The faces of the children, whom he never sees in the construction of his dreams, is shown at the end, and that is how he is ‘released’ by his dream into his reality…says the happy version. However, the children that he ‘sees’ and greets excitedly in the garden begin in exactly the same pose, and gestures that he last saw them in…repeated throughout the film. Which begets the question if he’s truly ‘seeing’ them…or merely continuing the dream process and tying himself to his constructed dream world through ‘memories’ that he has built. The children look exactly like he left them. His house. His room. The light in the garden. The knife on the table. Note the grandmother, who is supposed to be ‘taking care’ of the children do not appear in this ending. Grandfather, for whom he feels tied to because he was the one who had introduced him to ‘dreaming’, takes her stead to welcome him home from the airport and introduce him to the children, thereby disrupting him just as he was about to determine if he was in reality…or dreaming.
When Cobbs abandoned the spinning top, running towards his children, he has reached his ultimate goal, his ‘final destination’, and it is at this point, I think, where, whether or not this is the state of ‘dreaming’ or being ‘awake’ he is content to tie himself to this level.
The question is…is Cobbs right? Is he the one living in the real world, and is he the one who planted the idea of an ‘unreal world’ in Mal’s subconscious while they were in Limbo?
Or is he, in fact, the one who has been infected with inception, and who has created his own alternate reality with paradox-isms?
In the film, Cobb is convinced that ideas are like viruses – once you have planted an idea into someone’s subconscious, it grows like a cancer. There are several lines he repeats throughout the film…much like the lines that Mal repeats in his dream constructs, or in the shared dream constructs that his team-mates bring him through.
I think there are several plot holes in the movie that can’t be covered with logic applied in the world Cobbs inhabits. The time thing doesn’t make sense, even if I have never been very good with maths. How he is able to escape Limbo in the first place is a question – he said Mal refused to believe that Limbo was not the real world, and that they had slowly lost touch with reality. Mostly, I think, because she had locked her ‘totem’ up in her safe, and I’m assuming she was the subject, and he was the architect for their dream constructs. But, what was his totem? How did he realise it was Limbo?
On the other hand, if the whole movie was a dream from start to end, the disjointedness, and deconstruction to reconstruction of his world in an endless loop may indicate…he is in Limbo still. Isn’t he? By destroying ‘Mal’ and ‘seeing’ his children, has he escaped Limbo…or merely accepted it? Was ‘Mal’ in fact his anchor to the real world, which he has unwittingly destroyed? Isn’t it possible that the real Mal really did leave through the suicide, and this ‘Mal’ he constructed out of his own memories wanted him to leave Limbo as well by continuously reminding him of their shared dream construct?
Another interesting facet is the roles that the females play. Grandmother is an unpleasant anchor to the reality that he is ‘separated from his children’. You never actually see her, and only hear her on the phone. Hence, she is not in the ending where this reality is revised. ‘Mal’ keeps trying to tell Cobbs that his is not the real world, while he is convinced he is. If she were, in fact, telling the truth, it’s really fascinating how Cobbs ignores her, Grandmother, and Ariadne when the women try to force him to ‘see’ the ‘truth’.
I could go on forever about the dream construct, and the many layered reasons why the potential that Cobbs is in fact dreaming from start to end is really pretty high, but it kinda kills the debate to be so one-sided. So, I looked up alternative theories.
A pretty interesting one that supports him coming back to reality is that of the presence of his wedding ring, commented on by someone here, although one may also attribute that to a discordance in continuity through human error. There’s also some interesting debate about the use of Mal’s totem in the same thread, under the comments section (Comment No. 12 I believe).
The thread also includes other really fascinating theories like, maybe he performed self inception to ‘rid’ himself of the ‘guilt’ of performing inception on his own wife. Extrapolating from that, the so-called ‘dreams’ or ‘visions’ that he shows his comrades are actually his ‘reality’ and the ‘reality’ they are living in is a dream construct he has engineered so that he can relief himself of the guilt for the mistake he has made, and can return to his family’s arms. Following the same line of thought is this commenter who added that there’s a continuous time loop presented in the movie (Bryan, in that thread, said that the original comment came from him, and Slash just plagarised…just to clarify, but it’s the idea presented in that comment that I’m interested in, anyway).
A friend of mine threw out the theory that maybe, the one who performed the inception on Cobbs is the grandfather…or father-in-law. He was the one who came up with ‘an architect better than you’, the one who met him at the airport to welcome him home…and the one who called out to his children to distract him just as he is trying to determine if he’s in a dream or not. The kids haven’t aged, but they’re in different clothes as when Cobbs is in his own constructed dream world. And take note: when we are introduced to Cobbs in the movie, we begin in the middle of the story, when he is on the run. And he’s always on the run in the movie.
Too many theories and not enough time. What do you think?
Japan Pre-Travel Necessities – Transport, Accommodation and all these little details you need to know
This post has been a bit of a long time coming, due to procrastination of all sorts, but thought I’d share my 2 week experience in Japan recently, along with recommendations of places of interests to visit, accommodation, transport etc. Budget-wise, Japan’s always been expensive, and if you’re looking at a 2 week trip, I’d recommend you prepare something in the region of 340,000 yen, especially if you’re keen on shopping, and if you have to buy back souvenirs (also known as omiyage) for friends, family and colleagues.
I began my trip in Osaka, went down to Kyushuu and then hied back up to Tokyo, stopping by many places in between. For ease, I’ll split my trip into 3 parts.
Before travelling anywhere though, there’s always a need to plan and to get to know more about the country before you go, so I’ll also add a pre-travel post which will begin below.
Transport-wise, the best deal you will ever get if you’re travelling as a foreigner in Japan is the Japan Rail Pass (also known as the JR Pass). This pass can only be bought outside of Japan, if you have a foreign passport, and you have a valid airticket to Japan, so be sure to purchase this before you travel. There are many different JR passes, to cover the different regions of Japan, so always check which region you are travelling before debating which pass to get. There are also different ranges of validity, from 7 to 21 days, and usage of the pass has to be consecutive, so always check to make sure you get the right number of days to cover long distances if you are travelling inter-city/state.
The pass can only be activated in Japan, and as you have to reserve seats for certain legs of the trip, please make sure you plan your trip well. If you don’t reserve seats, there are carriages that have seats for those who have no reservations, but do consider that you may not be able to get a seat if it is a peak period etc. The pass can only be activated at certain JR stations (the passes should come with instructions when you buy them; alternatively always make sure you clarify this with the person selling you the JR pass, or check out the website). When you have the JR pass, and you want to use it to take the train, you have to find where the train staff are standing at the station counters, and wave it in their faces. Usually if you need to know train timings or what platforms to take the train from etc as well, you can ask them too, they have all the information at their fingertips, it’s amazing.
A detailed guide on how to take the train in Japan can be found here.
If you are travelling only within certain cities e.g. Tokyo, you may like to look out for day-passes instead, or just pay as you travel as it may end up being cheaper. If you’re unsure of what your best option is, try using Hyperdia to check out the different routes and timings you need to take to get where you want to go. You can also go to the tourist travel counters, most of whom usually have at least one person who can speak English, failing which, everyone usually communicates well enough using sign or body language. (Sometimes, even if you know Japanese, it pays to pretend that you have completely no clue what they’re saying. Helps with discounts. Just a headsup. Since they usually have no way of determining whether or not you really are a foreign student. It does help if you happen to have a matriculation card available to wave in their faces.)
In case you get confused, like me, when you first board a bus in Japan, all costs are distance-based. The Japanese board the bus at the back, and alight in front where the driver is. When they board the bus, there is a machine right next to the door that issues a number – that number basically tells you what stop you are getting on. Please take a ticket and keep it! When you alight at the front, you have to pay the driver and if you have no idea what stop you got on, you will have no idea how much to pay. If you have the ticket, you can wave it at the driver and he will be able to tell you how to pay. Alternatively, there is a board in front of the bus usually that tells you how much you have to pay if you get on at a certain stop. Eg. if you got on at Stop 15, and the board says you have to pay 250 yen (i.e. the board will say 15: 250 yen) if you are getting off at that stop, that’s how much you pay.
If you have don’t have small change, there are also machines that you can actually drop in large denominations to get small change i.e. a 500 yen coin to get 5 100 yen coins. These machines are usually on buses right next to the bus driver (which means you don’t have to worry if you can’t pay the driver in exact change). You drop in the large denomination, get the change, and thenpay the driver. (I had this really embarrassing moment where I thought the machine would automatically deduct the amount I owed the driver, and almost walked off without paying the bus driver, and got yanked back by my friend behind me.)
In case you want to see for yourself how it’s done, here is a video made very kindly by chmr103 up on Youtube, with specific instructions below the video.
If you take a tram, it’s pretty much the same distance-based cost. Same for if you are taking a train in Tokyo. Do be careful and note that the subways are different from the JR trains, and that means costs will usually differ too. May be cheaper to take a subway or a JR, you have to check it out yourself depending on your route.
Fare Adjustment Machines
If you end up taking a train and you realise you need to travel further than expected, and you need to pay more for your ticket, fear not. There is a machine called a “Fare Adjustment Machine”. You put your ticket in, they calculate how much more you need to top up, you put in the extra money, they spit out a new ticket for you to exit the station, and it’s as simple as that. You only do this at the last station where you want to exit from, by the way, in case I wasn’t clear enough about that. By the way, this is especially useful if you are travelling in Tokyo. I managed to find a video on Youtube about that too here, also by chmr103.
If you’re looking for quick recommendations on budget business hotels, there are a couple of really good ones I can recommend, and one I can personally vouch for.
There is this chain called Toyoko Inn, and they have a fair number of branches scattered all over Japan. Good thing about Toyoko Inn? They’re usually located really near a train station, which means they’re convenient and accessible. They also have a really bright blue signboard which you can usually spot from a mile away on the train, in case you get lost easily (I don’t know how many times that signboard has saved me).
Breakfast is included in the rates (and since it’s a buffet breakfast, and the spread is usually quite good, it’s damn worth the rate), and they have everything you will ever need – TV, wireless Internet connection, bathroom amenities (so you don’t need to bring soap, shampoo etc), the usual towels etc, and even a trouser press. (It is a business hotel.)
The only drawback to this hotel is that the room is really, really small. I kid you not. You open the door, and the bathroom is right in front of your face, and the bed is like, next to you. In case you can’t figure out where to place your suitcase, the hotel happily informs you with an info sheet on your bed that there is room beneath your bed to store your luggage. That said and done, if you don’t have a massive case of claustrophobia, then I strongly recommend this hotel (and even if you do have a massive case of claustrophobia, the budget rates at this hotel may convince you anyway).
The price range for this hotel, depending on location and what room type you get, is approximately about 4000 yen per person to 6000 yen per person, which is super worth it. If you intend to stay at their chain for your whole trip, get their membership card, because it gives you further discounts, and you can use it for the rest of the trip, so you’ll really be saving a lot on accommodation expenses.
The other chain of business hotel you may want to try is Sakura Hotels. I’ve never stayed there, but apparently it’s quite good as well. These are general recommendations; in my posts I’ll be talking about other places where I’ve stayed at, how much they cost approximately, and how it is like to stay there, so you can decide for yourself where best to stay.
If you’re travelling in Japan you really should be travelling light. There are some places with no escalators or lifts and if you have to heave a 20 kg bag up a flight of stairs exiting from the train station, I wish you luck. Instead of carrying around a large suitcase, my advice is to pack an extra foldable bag, so you can pack in stuff to check in at the end of your trip, like all your shopping.
My advice is to pack only the necessities. Everything else you may need, you can buy from the 100 yen shops in Japan (they’re practically everywhere). Shizuko Mishima gives a detailed packing checklist here, which I found really useful while packing.
Weather in Japan is fairly unpredictable. Umbrellas for the most part are useless if it really rains and the wind is blowing, unless you use it to shield your camera while taking photos, which is what I mostly used my 100 yen umbrella, bought from the 100 yen shop, to do. I packed a wind-and-rainproof jacket with a hood, which was a lifesaver and a bit of genius on my part.
My advice is if you’re travelling anywhere in Japan, constantly check the weather forecast online the night before, so you know what to wear and what to bring. Also, make sure your bags are rainproof, or you’re going to be really sad when it starts pouring down on you. You may also want to pack or wear clothes in layers, so you can take off / put on more clothes as it gets colder/warmer.
I have to admit, straight off – I’m a lousy traveler. I have a terrible sense of direction, and I can’t read maps. It helps that I speak Japanese, but even then, I always got lost for at least about a good half an hour to an hour before eventually finding where I wanted to go.
If you have as bad a sense of direction as me, you’re going to want to download maps from Google or some other navigational site which you trust. The biggest problem with Japanese maps is that they often don’t mark street names / small alleys…and there are a lot of those in Japan, which explains why I managed to get myself lost even armed with maps that I took from tourist counters and booths.
So it’s much safer to either travel with someone with a really good sense of direction, or maybe have a guidebook like Lonely Planet, or download your own maps. It’s a lot of work, but it beats getting lost in a foreign country where you can’t speak the language. Even if you speak the language, it still sucks getting lost. Trust me on this one.
If you’re looking for someplace cheap where you can get souvenirs in a bunch to distribute to friends, family and colleagues, look no further than the 100 yen shops in Japan. 100 yen shops like Daiso can be found in the larger cities all over Japan, and more specifically in Tokyo. If you’re desperate, and don’t mind paying a higher rate, you can also get souvenirs when you leave the airport, especially if you’re leaving through Narita Airport. Narita Airport has all the souvenirs you could ever want. My recommendation? Look out for the Rare Tokyo Daifuku (chocolate mochi). There’s 30 in a box, and it was so popular with my friends and colleagues that there were people who kept asking me where I bought it. I bought 4 boxes and let’s just say that the next time I go to Tokyo I may consider buying more than just 4.
I think that’s it for the most part, pre-departure wise. Now, for the exciting part of the upcoming post(s) – I’ll be describing some places of interests in all the places that I went to in Osaka, Kyushuu and Tokyo! Keep an eye out for Part One: Osaka.
…which seems to aptly describe how often I update my blog nowadays, due to backlog of work and other things, namely life, that seem to take up my time.
My constant regret about entering the Korean music industry so late is the number of good singers and groups that seem to have passed me by, including VIBE, since I have been recently in love with this song, as well as another called 술이야 (Liquor). Their songs are lovely, and as I have not yet heard otherwise, I have hopes of a comeback, preferably soon, since these men can sing! (If anyone knows what’s up with them, can you please update me since I would love to know, being a new convert and all that?)
Jang Geun Seok will be visiting Singapore soon on the 24th of April (argggh), if one hasn’t yet heard (I missed out on buying tickets to his fanmeet as I had been struck by the perennial flu and cough over the weekend the tickets were selling and hadn’t flipped the papers, so totally didn’t realise until after the sale was over that there were actually even such a thing! …oh the tragedy).
On the bright side, I saved a ton of money which I shouldn’t have been spending anyway, since I already busted my budget when SHINee came, and I’ve paid for the Mayday concert, also happening in April (what’s up with April man? Why’s EVERYONE coming in April? Even S.H.E.’s coming in April! …Would’ve bought their tickets but I already bought Mayday’s…the irony being that I probably know more S.H.E. songs than Mayday’s).
If you’ve managed to miss him in Will It Snow For Christmas? and Father’s House (WHICH ROCK HAVE YOU BEEN LIVING UNDER??!…if it’s the rock called ‘work’ I forgive you, since I can commiserate), since he only appears for a meagre 2 episodes each, then catch him in Giant instead.
The boy’s proved he’s got the acting chops – not to mention a sizzling charisma that the camera (and I) loves – so I’ve consigned myself to watching this (although the actual premise of the show interests me not at all).
This has been a lazy post, but since it is the season of Lent, I thought it’d be nice to share some giving spirit by pointing you towards Miss Glitzy‘s Let’s Care and Celebrate project, which is a cause worth supporting. The LCC Campaign for short (coined by me, as I am lazy) is her effort to reach out to women in need, as she will be collecting donations, and organising a series of events to contribute to Singapore Council of Women – Star Shelter.
Have been missing in action for a while, since it’s kind of hard to juggle eight dramas a week, on top of work, dance, Korean and Japanese classes, but I’m finally back – and mostly because today has been the BEST NIGHT of my life so I couldn’t possibly go to bed without letting everyone know!
This is old news on the K-entertainment sites like Omona by now, but just a short recap – The Esplanade (Singapore) brought in Oh Joon-Sung (Korea’s most sough-after composer/lyricist) to perform pieces that he has written for the soundtracks of several famous dramas, including: Boys Before Flowers, My Girl, Great Inheritance, My Love, Witch Amusement, The King and I, Get Karl! Oh Soo Jung, Dream, The Queen Returns, and Heading for the Ground.
This is what the blurb from the official SISTIC site says:
The Korean wave sweeps to Esplanade in February for two special evenings of songs and instrumental pieces from soundtracks of some of the most popular Korean drama series written by composer, arranger and lyricist, Joon-Sung Oh.
Considered one of Korea’s most sought-after composer/lyricist, Joon-Sung Oh, will direct his 9-piece band, Green Cacao and a 23-piece orchestra specially put together for the concert. Some of these songs will be accompanied by music videos from the dramas. Joining them will be Korean popstars Bobby Kim, Mario& and Shinee who will perform their signature tunes from the dramas, Dream, My Girl and Boys Over Flowers respectively.
So it’s not too hard to guess what I was doing tonight – I’m still on an adrendaline high from coming back from the concert.
I loved all the songs – Mario& was fantastic, Bobby Kim was great especially since he could actually speak English and we actually understood him, Oh Joon-Sung was hilarious, and if I hadn’t mentioned it by now, I’m also an absolute fangirl of SHINee, who performed two songs (Countdown in Dream, and Stand By Me in Boys Over Flowers). I’ll give a quick review of the concert (I’ll try to do the quick account on another post), which I thoroughly enjoyed and was worth the $130 I had to fork out for a Circle 1 AA row seat. The view from there was pretty good (I highly recommend either Circle 1 or Stall seats for those trying to figure out the best view for Esplanade’s Concert hall) and the acoustics were excellent. Not to mention Mario& were really strong live performers – their voices were brilliant, and basically held us spellbound. They did most of the singing – Bobby Kim came out for one song called Live or Die in Dream.
I didn’t have high expectations for the concert originally – I mean, I liked all the dramas that were highlighted in the programme, but I hardly expected to be entertained by all the “instrumental” pieces, yet I was. It also helped that they had a projection screen at the back that flashed drama scenes of whichever drama they were performing to – although there were two dramas in there that I’d never watched (amazing, considering my appetite for dramas), I determined to watch them as soon as possible. (In case you were wondering which dramas I was referring to, it’s “The King and I” and “The Queen Returns” – I’ve watched everything else.)
Oh Joon-Sung was also highly entertaining, although he spoke almost zilch English…perhaps, because he spoke almost zilch English and could only keep saying, “I love Singapore! I love Singaporeans”, to which we all cheered like mad. He also kept saying, “Thank you!” and “Music start!”, and when it came to Heading to the Ground (a drama led by DBSK’s leader, U-know Yunho), he asked us, “You know Yunho?”. Obviously, the immediate screams that accompanied that question answered it for him (I think it’s adorable how fangirl/boy-ing is internationally recognised). Upon hearing our response, he continued throwing out, “Dong Bang Shin Ki? [cue: fan screaming] Sunny? [repeat fan screaming] Yuri? [ditto the screams] SHINee? [cue: volume of fan screaming trebles! …including my own. Here, he actually had to pause for quite a while for us to calm down] Bobby Kim? [seriously I thought he said barbeque, and I bet that’s what half the crowd thought too cos there was an immediate drop in screaming…everyone was just going, huh? Why’s he talking about Korean food?]”
It’s quite hilarious because after he realised that about eighty percent of the crowd were here for SHINee, he kept telling us, “SHINee my best friend! Bobby Kim my best friend!” which was all sorts of win since everyone got worked up every time he threw out their names. (Poor Mario& just got sidelined. I honestly didn’t recognise them until I went home and pored over the programme.) There was a short interview in between, with the effectively bilingual host Li Yi, asking Oh Sung-Joon how he came up with his pieces (he told her that it was basically through experience and inspiration) and why he tries to intertwine classical pieces into his compositions (he said it was because he wanted to engage everyone faster by using something that they were already familiar with).
By this point in time, I was also really impressed by Mario& (I need to mention them, since I really do love their voices, and their live performance was just mindblowing) and Bobby Kim. Li Yi also came out to interview Bobby Kim (probably because he was the only one in there who could speak English) and the first thing she asked was, “Are you enjoying yourself in Singapore?” and he replied, “I love Singapore! [cue: fan screaming] Oh, and I love chilli crab! [cue: volume of fan screaming doubles…honestly, I was extremely pleased as well since it’s a dish we pride ourselves on.]” Apparently, Bobby Kim also realised that about eighty percent of the audience were SHINee fans because he then yelled out, “All the SHINee fans, hello!” […or something to that effect. The minute he mentioned SHINee, we lost our minds and yelled like mad, so I could hardly hear him over the noise]
After his song, before SHINee came on, Li Yi came out to introduce them. It was a bit of a joke because she barely said two words before the fans started screaming down the roof, and she was all like, “But…I haven’t even introduced them!” She then said, “For all the nunas in the crowd – I’m sure you know their song Nuna nomu yeppeo!” [Please just assume there’s consistently massive screaming going on everytime anyone even says SHINee]
Now, technically there’s supposed to be no photography or videography in the Esplanade – but c’mon. You kidding me? These are fangirls. They’re like, a right unto their own. I’d like to see the Esplanade staff try to stop a hundred people whipping out their cameras for SHINee’s performance (I think they only let us get away with it because we only did it during the last song, which was Stand by Me). Unfortunately they didn’t let us take photos (although I still did secretly…the photos came out quite badly though because I was trying to take without looking at my camera since I was afraid the Esplanade staff would confiscate my camera or something if she found out).
I felt a little terrible because right after SHINee performed their last song, there was a mass exodus of people – because there was an autograph session with all the performers after the concert that was to last for about 30 minutes. Obviously all the SHINee fans left, and I struggled with myself for one whole song whether I wanted to leave…and made up my mind to go just as the song ended (there was only one other song left, which was Paradise and I hate that song). It was a good thing though, because I managed to rush down in time to join the queue for the autograph session – and got to meet ALL OF THEM UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL. My only regret was that Bobby Kim wasn’t there but I guess I shouldn’t be too greedy, since it was good enough I got SHINee’s autographs on my program (it has now been laminated and will be kept forever and ever).
For a good while I was really worried I wouldn’t make it, since the Esplanade shortened the autograph-ing session to 25 minutes, for the sake of the celebrities (I do think they were exhausted, poor things). Fortunately, I made it past the screen so I knew I had a damn good chance of getting the signatures, and I basically started having silent panic attacks when it was my turn to get the program signed. I wanted to say a lot to them, but my brain shut down when I saw the boys smiling in my direction (their grins are lethal). I did manage to thank Oh Joon-Sung for the concert, and said his music was brilliant (which it was, no regrets about the $130 – would’ve been worth it even without the autograph session, although the autograph-ing just made it 10,000 times better).
When I got to Onew, and he looked up at me and smiled and said, “Thank you.” I swear my heart stopped for a moment. My friends and I did this collaborative polaroid book project for SHINee in commemoration of their trip to Singapore, by building them a ‘trail of photos’ through Singapore. We even made sections specifically for each member, tabbing the colours to what they wore in Nuna nomu yeppeo.
So anyway, when Onew smiled at me, I lost my mind and shoved the book at him, to which he politely placed aside since he still had to sign my program (and then a staff took it and gave me this look…like she was frankly amazed at all the various efforts people go to for them). To be honest, the first impression I had of Onew was that…he was actually larger than I thought he would be in real life. (Makes a girl feel oh-so-secure and warm, doesn’t it??!)
When I finally got to Key, my bias, I almost couldn’t breathe – I wanted to reach out to stroke his hair because of the colours. Despite the temptation, I managed to keep my hands to myself, and then he looked up at me and said, “Hi!” in that fabulous voice of his and I seriously almost lost it. I think I was screaming inside.
Taemin was cuter than I thought in real life, and so absolutely precious – he smiled shyly and thanked me after signing my program really quickly (his was probably the fastest signature since Onew had to draw a smiley face on his, and Key, being Key, just took up the biggest space on the program and made his signature really complicated looking).
I got to Jonghyun next – and that boy practically glows. I have to hand it to him – he’s either got a better skincare routine than me…or just damn good genes (or both). As he signed my program lazily, he looked up at me and STUCK HIS TONGUE OUT (in that “Merong” manner he does in Hello Baby). I was honestly a litte star struck. Okay, a lot star struck.
When I got to Minho, I think I couldn’t stop smiling, and he was such a sweet boy he smiled back really brightly. In real life, his eyes are huge, and really, really beautiful, and his voice is quite amazing. I think I couldn’t stop saying, “Thank you very much!” to all of them.
After they signed, Mario& signed and I was a little less star struck by them (considering I didn’t know who they were – I’m sorry!! But they’re actually really fantastic!) so I managed to tell one of the vocalists, “Your voice was really good!” (or something to that effect. I honestly can’t remember after having lost my mind so many times.)
I managed to hold myself in until I left the building…and then I jumped up and down like a wayward teenager (which I haven’t been for years, unfortunately). A few real teenagers gave me this look, especially since I was dressed really inappropriately to be hopping up and down so. I realised I had a really good vantage view of them from the outside, so whipped up my camera to take one last video…which turned out to be really clear and had a really good view of them signing the last few autographs and then leaving. (Thank goodness I lost the struggle with my morals when I did, because if I left any later I wouldn’t have been able to get the signatures! Or seen them in real life!)
If you want the video, leave a comment, because I’m not sure how to load it up on my blog. If I figure it out later, I’ll try to upload the video. It’s seriously quite excellent. I even managed to capture their manager hyung, Yoonduk (I recognised him from the disastrous episode I had trying to catch them at the airport. That didn’t work very well. I didn’t even manage to get to see them at the fansigning…but this concert COMPLETELY made up for it, and was like an extra bonus I didn’t expect! I was almost ready to quit the fandom, but this has completely resuscitated me).
All in all, an excellent night – the music was the rousing, the vocals were fantabulous, the people were hilarious, and I got to meet my favourite K-boyband. I am ready to take on the world!
P.S. Will update soon with more stuff I’ve been thinking of blogging but haven’t gotten around to.
[Edit: Took down the video because I am not pleased with hypocritical fans who get on their high horses and say they will NEVER do these kinds of things due to concert etiquette…my ass. Normally I would never, either, and I’m not proud that I have done, and did, but to hurl judgemental comments like that…all I can say is, that doesn’t reflect very well on their maturity EITHER.
Have closed off all comments. Sorry, this is my world, you can listen to me rant, but you can’t rant back, thanks.]
And the boys did it again – topping the charts in Inkigayo! Except, this time, instead of Jonghyun missing out, darling Onew missed out instead…because he’s down with the H1N1.
Yep. It just FIGURES. LOL – a typically Onew thing to do. Poor boy, I do hope he’s resting well at home now.
So yet another Hyung showed his dongsaengs love by showing up during their performance – if you guessed Leeteuk (leader of Super Junior) then bingo! It’s starting to be hilarious, with all the various members of Super Junior popping up every now and then during their performance (someone commented on Omona how SHINee was starting to seem somewhat like a Suju subset which is in itself quite funny too – I’m expected Heechul to pop out at any moment now if one of the others fall prey to the devious H1N1 making its rounds in the idol world, although it’s also strange how none of the news report any of the GIRLS getting it…)
To be honest, I think they got the sequencing of the guest appearances wrong, especially if you are looking at closeness of voice quality – they should have gotten Leeteuk to stand in for Jong on Friday, and Yesung to stand in for Onew tonight! Nonetheless, totallllly enjoying the performances, especially all the SM love going around (notice that f(x) went up once again to congratulate SHINee and better yet – they even participated in the ending “Ring Ding Dong”, which is quite frankly giving me stitches in the side from laughing. I like how all of them do the hip thrust movements; Amber in particular looks like she’s loving being fierce, which I think she is).
And yes Jong returned the favour by yelling into the screen, “Onew hyung, are you watching this?” (Some Onew love! After all the love Jong was getting being sick. Good boy, Jong!)
Videos below, all credit to: Codemonmon Season 4
P.S. For all the 2PM fans out there, they’re making a comeback next week with “Tired of Waiting”, so if you’re tired of waiting, then this is good news indeed! They’re not my bias, but I do enjoy their music, so I’m looking forward to their comeback stage, even if it’s without their leader Jaeboem. (Although rumours are running rampant throughout the internet about the possible comeback of Jae for this…but I doubt it, people, so don’t get your hopes up. It’d be great if he returned, eventually, but I think he might need more time before he can scrunch up the necessary courage to face the media. The media and fans and the rest of the world can be a rather terrifying opponent, after all. Courage, my man, courage!)
This might be a good time for SM to give SHINee a well-deserved break, because our boys look like they’re on the verge of collapse. Jong’s voice was…terrible in comparison to how he usually fares. And he looked like someone walked over his grave. Not a good thing. It was nice Minho got to sing more, but it’s not the same as Onew. So give all the boys a break and let them catch up on some sleep and homework and getting well from illnesses in general, SM! Please! Since, y’know, 2PM’s probably going to sweep the charts next week anyway. Since, y’know, Hottests are insane. I mean that in the nicest possible way.
So, onto Part Two of Hidarime Tantei EYE – in case you forgot, we last stopped at Hitomi’s seemingly strange penchant for disobeying command orders (for e.g. it’s written on the water fountain: Spoilt! Please do not touch! …and she had to touch it), which makes zilch sense at 51:04 minutes, but plenty of sense much later. Hitomi abandons the gushing water fountain with much gusto (her guilty face made me snort with laughter), and as she walks past the class that Ainosuke’s in, she (by habit, I suppose) glances in. (more…)
For those who know Japanese (and now those who don’t, too), Hidarime Tantei EYE is a dead giveaway to the whole premise of the story since the literal translation of the title equates to Left Eye Detective EYE (I’m not sure what is it with Japanese and the loving of English words randomly inserted into Japanese phrases when most of the time they either don’t make sense or are a repetition of what the Japanese words already mean. Case in point). Admittedly, it’s not the most original name ever, but most dramas aren’t and I enjoy them anyway, so this wasn’t much of a problem for me.
Hidarime Tantei EYE stars one of my favourite boys from JE – Yamada Ryosuke from Hey! Say! JUMP (so he’s a little too young for me. So what?), so I was already on the look out for this when news of its release was leaked online. Suffice to say that, despite the cliches in the show, it was an entertaining hour and a half. Nothing mind boggling, well, except the twist at the end. It didn’t really catch me off guard, because I was waiting for it, but I do think it was scripted and directed well enough that it’s not obvious from the start that something is wrong. (Except, well, NOW YOU KNOW!)
I was going to finish this review in one breath, but realised I was taking wayyy too long (since it is an hour and a half, and I wanted to go into detail, so I don’t think I can fit it all into one post), so I’ll be breaking this up into two parts – so if you’ve started and you want to know the end, you can either go watch the show, or wait for Part Two of this review! So, now that we’ve got all that administrative work out of the way, let’s go into the show for real:
Yamada acts as a junior high school student, Ainosuke Tanaka, who is a gifted artist, but was born with a left eye that was blind. His older brother, Yumehito Tanaka, played by Yu Yokoyama (I almost couldn’t place him, until I realised he was in Yukan Club…which isn’t any recommendation as such), is a brilliant scientist (I think he works in the field of biotechnology, but I could be wrong) and the two brothers’ parents are apparently dead since I got the impression that Yumehito basically raised Ainosuke by himself.
The drama opens on a tense moment as Ainosuke undergoes a cornea transplant surgery, and he flashes back to the moment where his brother tells him that he’d like to get the surgery done today, so that Ainosuke can finally see and make full use of his gift in art. Although uneasy, Ainosuke shrugs off the feeling and agrees to go ahead with the surgery – which is where he ends up in now.
The scene is then cut to a crime scene where police detectives Kenjo Ohuchi (played by Yasufumi Terawaki) and Takashi Kato (played by Yoshinori Okada) are first introduced. I took an immediate liking to Kenjo – it amused me greatly when he started clenching his fists repeatedly going, “I’m strong, I can do it, I’m strong, I can do it, I can catch them, I can solve the case, I’m strong, I can do it!” I practically fell off my chair laughing at the way he did it. Takashi’s aghast expression and his, “Look, I know self-hypnosis is in, but there’s a limit to these things -” that fell on deaf ears was absolutely classic as Kenjo took off by himself in order to catch perpetrators of the crime. The man seems like an idiot, but he has passion for his work, which is something I respect since so few of us do. Also, I thought the self-hypnosis thing was cute because it’s what a lot of sportsmen do – my tennis coach used to call it “self-talk”; he figures the battle is half-won if you’re mentally stronger than your opponent, and one of the ways to build up your confidence and thus minimise errors on the court is through talking to yourself i.e. self-hypnosis. So it’s, in a way, realistic.
Now that we know most of the playing characters on the field, the scriptwriters decide to hit us with a curveball, just so we don’t grow complacent. Ainosuke wakes up from his surgery, and when he sees the doctor, the first thing he asks is, “Where’s my brother?” The doctor replies, “He’s gone back first.” to which Ainosuke goes, “Huh?” (Obviously this is strange, since when would a hospital really do this?). In answer to his (unvoiced) question, the ‘doctor’ and ‘nurses’ start yanking the red curtains off the ‘walls’ to reveal:
Nonetheless, as Ainosuke walks home, he pulls off the eye-mask that he had been given after the surgery and blinks a couple of times. When the sky comes into focus, you know the operation’s been successful (so…like…maybe all those people in the room really did have some sort of medical experience?…I just shudder to contemplate what, since a few things come to mind – and none of them are complimentary).
Ainosuke runs home in delight (he lives by himself in this tiny cramped room with the smallest window in the world), and as he hangs up his clothes (he’s oddly neat for a little boy) he notices that his brother’s left a note with 2 million yen telling him, “I may not be able to take care of you for a while, so use this money well to pay for your expenses.” The note’s a little odd, to say the least, adding one more question mark to the pile of question marks that the show’s been building. The uneasy feeling that Ainosuke had at the start comes back to haunt him but he’s still a little intoxicated at being able to see out of his left eye again, so he shrugs off the feeling again and instead starts to draw (the art on display in the show’s great by the way) and continues to do so until 8 pm.
It’s a little late, so our little protagonist decides to check up on his brother and calls his brother’s handphone, which doesn’t pick up. Figuring his brother’s still working in the laboratory, Ainosuke leaves a voice mail on his brother’s phone, “I saw the letter. Is something wrong? Where did you get all this money from?”
In the laboratory, a man with sunglasses flings open the door, smiling at the eye-patched Yumehito and telling him, “Hi. I’m the killer.” When Ainosuke rings the phone, he flips it open as it starts to record the voice mail, and he looks off camera as he says with a sneer, “It’s your brother. Are you sure you don’t have to care about it?” so we all assume Yumehito’s dead and that Mr. Killer is merely jeering at his dead body. As Ainosuke continues, “Anyway, my left eye is fine. I haven’t thanked you properly yet. Thank you, older brother. Thank you.” Mr. Killer busies himself putting a bag of blood below a table, and then setting a bomb. Obviously the laboratory is blown into smithereens about 2 seconds later.
Ainosuke’s unable to believe that the explosion that occurred in the laboratory was an accident (good guess!) and begs the detectives to reopen the case, and Kenjo (passionate as always, while Takashi looks on in exasperation) promises, but unfortunately forensic evidence continued to state that the whole incident was an accident, and Ainosuke has no choice but to accept that this was an accident…or does he? As he walks home from the funeral/cremation of his brother’s body, Ainosuke knocks into a passerby blankly, who of course is furious at this and must retaliate by getting his friend to give Ainosuke a good kick in the back. When Ainosuke gets up in fury and looks like he’s about to lay a good one on them, the friend knocks him an uppercut.
He sees flashbacks, or what looks like it could be flashbacks/forwards/insights into another dimension and as he blinks in pain, he wonders what the hell all those meant and what relation they had to his brother. The next day, at school, we are introduced to another lead character, Hitomi Sayama (played by Satomi Ishihara), who is a teacher (or rather, I get the idea that she’s also a nurse, since she seems to be in charge of the sickroom in school; I’m not sure what the Japanese schooling system is like, and man, why don’t we ever get these here?).
Just as she’s deep in the midst of recounting her bills (as though that would make a difference), she hears noise outside the window, and so she goes out to take a look, and who else would it be but our Ainosuke getting into trouble once again, and being beaten up?
Hitomi yells at the boys to stop, and rushes out of the sickroom flailing her arms, and the boys take off (only, I think, because she’s a teacher and could give them black marks for beating up a fellow student, and not because she looks lethal, since she strikes me as scary as, say, Paris Hilton could look in a furry pink coat). She helps Ainosuke up and brings him to the sickroom, applying medication on him, and since she is a teacher first and foremost, she asks Ainosuke what happened, guessing that it was related to his brother (since his matter had been discussed in the teachers’ morning meeting).
She rattles on about how she’d like to make the sickroom a resting paradise for those between school and home (you get the feeling she’s a slacker, right there), and then realises our dear boy isn’t listening. The bell rings, and he goes off to class, and she goes back to calculating sums – except she gets a shock when Ainosuke calls out, “Sensei (Japanese for teacher). You know a lot about the human body, right? After a person gets a cornea transplant, will the memories of the ex-owner of the cornea be transplanted along with the cornea?”
To which she goes, “Huh?” (A normal reaction.) And he goes, “Well, my left eye is generally useless, so I underwent a cornea transplant. But from then on, I could see…” Hitomi, “…see…?” Ainosuke, “Some strange men. Wearing masks. A sticker of a chicken and a pig, and some numbers I don’t understand. And a bundle of money stored in a safety box.” And Hitomi dumbly repeats (like a parrot), “…A bundle of money?” Ainosuke gives this little snort and goes, “Never mind. I was a fool to ask you.” And as he strolls out of the sickroom, Hitomi dumbly repeats, “..A bundle of money that you can see with your left eye. A bundle of money. …a bundle of money…A BUNDLE OF MONEY??!” (Light finally clicks on in that empty head of hers I see, LOL).
He’s made a number of these drawings (as many as the number of flashbacks he’s seen), and he’s trying to figure out what they actually mean, and what his brother had gotten himself into to get himself killed (since there’s no way he figured that was an actual accident). Just as he is musing over this, class is dismissed and he prepares to go home – except he hears this hissing, “Ainosuke-kun!” and when he turns around he sees Hitomi clutching the edge of the classroom door, beaming at him.
As they walk down the hallway, or rather, Ainosuke strides really quickly down the hallway and Hitomi’s practically skipping to catch up to him, Hitomi’s trying to convince him that she’ll help him figure out the mysteries of what the images he’s been seeing through his left eye really mean. (It’s really funny how she let slips, “Especially the money – I mean, your brother’s death is important to you. And you’re my student.” It’s a running gag through the hour and a half, how she switches from being a teacher to being someone really money-minded back to a kind-hearted teacher)
Ainosuke shows Hitomi the note his brother left him (once again, Hitomi’s fixated on the money HAHA) and when he’s about to go off in exasperation, Hitomi’s all like, “Wait, what are you planning to do?” Ainosuke, “First, go to the place where my brother really lived.” (Since he found out that although his brother said he was living in the company’s hostel, he really wasn’t.) Hitomi, “And have you figured out how to do that?” Ainosuke (rather cautiously), “Er, no. I thought I would figure it out somehow.” Hitomi, “Leave it to the adults to do this sort of thinking!” and she gleefully slings her arm around Ainosuke’s shoulder. (Poor Ainosuke! He keeps trying to get rid of her, but she hangs on to him like a bad smell.)
It turns out that Hitomi’s great idea is to ask the police detectives for help, and Kenjo immediately agrees. While he’s looking up the address for her though (his computer skills = zero, which means he takes ages retrieving the information, not to mention the other officers are occupied trying to crack a laptop that was left behind by some high profile criminal) someone else, a police woman with a really bad smirk which should have alerted Hitomi and Ainosuke but didn’t, gave them a different address to look for. The duo thank her, and head off for the address stated on the piece of paper. (LOL I died laughing when Kenjo comes back, saying the only address he’s got is the company hostel one, only to look up and realise that another couple was sitting in the sofa that Hitomi and Ainosuke had been sitting in, and he’s all like, “Where did they go??!”.)
However, just as they are debating whose house this is (Ainosuke: “It could be the bad guys’ nest,”), they hear someone unlocking the main door to come in. Hitomi and Ainosuke immediately dart into one of the other rooms, and Mr. Killer comes in (so now we know that Ainosuke’s right, and it was a place belonging to the criminals – although Ms. Smirking Police Woman should have given viewers a headsup).
He introduces himself to the empty room, and hits a button on the wall to bring the curtains down, before sitting down on the sofa for a smoke. As he lights up, and lets out a breath of smoke, he calls out, “Come out. I know you’re here.” Ainosuke has a feeling that there’s something he’s missing, and that he needs to see now, but he puts his hand up to his eye and realises he needs to get hit before his eye will show him anything (man, the scriptwriters needed to throw in this bit of sadism, didn’t they?) so he asks Hitomi to punch him. Hitomi doesn’t want to do anything of the sort, but socks him a good one when he provokes her.
Ainosuke stumbles through a door, and lands on the carpet of the living room, where Mr. Killer is sitting. Just as he expected, his left eye does its flashback thingamajig, and he sees more images (which he doesn’t understand, and neither does the audience at this point). As his eyesight focuses back on the present, he sees Mr. Killer standing in front of him. (What I don’t get is why Mr. Killer doesn’t realise that he was punched, which is why he came flying out of the door in the first place, which means that there is therefore another person in the house?)
Everything Mr. Killer says just strengthens the conviction that Ainosuke has that his innocent brother had been murdered for being involved in some criminal case (he’s a third right, there). In fury, Ainosuke staggers to his feet and goes, “Was it you? Was it you who killed him?!” and lunges towards Mr. Killer. (Can’t say our boy’s very smart.) Mr. Killer dodges the lunge and instead punches him in the face, so he finds himself on his back in the space of 10 seconds. Again, more flashbacks (since he’s just been hit) and while he’s still groggy, Mr. Killer taunts him, telling him, “If you continue being like this, your brother’s spirit won’t be able to rest and rise to heaven.” Fueled by more anger, Ainosuke gets back up on his feet and tries another lunge (dear boy, if it didn’t work the first time, you need to find another way to bring the man down, not repeat your mistakes) and Mr. Killer catches him in the solar plexus (damn that’s got to hurt) with his knee and punches him a third time. (Man, all Ainosuke’s getting out of this is pain.)
And just when we think Ainosuke’s on the brink of death (which technically, he was), Hitomi gives a good kick from behind to Mr. Killer’s most sensitive area, which leaves him clutching his groin in pain, paralysed as Hitomi grabs Ainosuke and runs off. (Oh, so now she turns up? Where was she the first two punches, eh? Also, I can’t believe no one thought of grabbing some furniture – they must have left something one person could lift up) Hitomi calls the security/ police telling them they’ve met some suspicious figures in the apartment as they run down the stairs and out into the sunlight. In the meantime, back in the apartment, a woman slowly approaches the prone Mr. Killer. “What a pity. I had high hopes for you. No matter how perfect the crime, if someone like you is involved in it, it will be ruined.”
Late at night, and it’s back at school for Ainosuke and Hitomi (plus scene of Yamada’s nude upper body!…although the boy is only 16, so it feels like a crime just to be looking, but hey if they’re putting it out there…) as Ainosuke changes out from his school shirt into his – well, it looks like his school’s gym shirt to me. Either that or the boy has a limited wardrobe. Hitomi gets off the phone and stares at her trembling fingers with a wry sort of smile. Ainosuke comes out from the curtained-off area where he was changing, and realising that Hitomi looked rather strange, he comes forward to ask, “Are you okay?” (This was very sweet, albeit I kept thinking, OH NO! A teacher-student secret love!…but fortunately, no, it never came to that, phew)
She tells him she’s fine, and that the police called to tell her that there was no one in the apartment by the time they reached it. She hesitantly adds, “Shouldn’t we stop investigating?” to which Ainosuke says, “…No.” She sneaks a look at him and replies with a sheepish sort of smile, “We could really be killed.” to which Ainosuke replies, “I won’t be stopped. No matter what, I want to know the truth behind my brother’s death.”
She walks over to his bag, saying, “Where’s that sketchbook where you drew all your flashbacks?” So saying, she rummages through his bag, and pulls the sketchbook out, adding, “Let me photocopy this, so that way, even when the two of us are apart, we can do our own separate investigating.” Ainosuke looks at her and, in his very perceptive teenage way, tells her, “Stop forcing yourself, Sensei. To me, my brother was my only relative in the world, but you’ve never even seen his face. There’s no need to risk your life for a person like that.” Her only comment to this though is, “What are you talking about? I’m a teacher. Of course I’ll try my best, for my cute students.” Ainosuke seems a bit lost at how to retaliate, and so he decides to cut it short by saying, “Anyway, let’s head home for today. There’s been so much happening lately, I’m feeling a little confused.” He grabs his stuff, including his sketchbook and heads off. Hitomi is left staring blankly at the photocopier.
I liked this scene a lot since you could tell that, even though Hitomi has a debt problem, and it seems as though she’s nothing but a money-grubber, she’s actually a teacher who puts her students first when push comes to shove (as it does here). More on that, later too.
The next day, just as Ainosuke is walking into school, Hitomi grabs him and hauls him off to the sickroom without letting him go to class, and sheds some light on this matter. Apparently the woman’s done some pro investigating into the sketches he’s drawn, and come up with some amazing results (on her pink laptop no less).
Of the four sketches that Ainosuke drew, Hitomi’s managed to do a direct match for three, and there’s only been three bank robberies anyway, so Hitomi figures that the last bank is a futuristic match for a last bank robbery. She wanted to find which particular branch it was, but since the bank’s branches numbered over 300, she didn’t have enough time to do the matches (man, I don’t know what kind of computer skills she has, since I wouldn’t have been able to do the matching either), and she’s all like, “Why don’t we use this computer to do the last match?” to which Ainosuke coldly replies, “Forget it. I give up. I want to go for classes properly.”
As expected, Hitomi’s confused by this change of heart and goes, “Huh?”, but Ainosuke continues, “I’ve changed my mind. I give up. Anyway I don’t really want to know the truth of the matter.” to which Hitomi despondently replies, “…but that bundle of money…” (HAHAHA) When Ainosuke stops to go, “Huh?” in return (I love the mirroring here), she slaps her hands on the table and goes, “Have you thought about the fact that the robbers could be making their rounds to this next bank soon? Since we know, shouldn’t we at least make an effort to warn them in advance? In that case, we could even be rewarded!” (Her money-mindedness amuses me.)
Ainosuke’s all like, “But…I don’t need any rewards. (HAHA) Anyway, I give up. I’ve made up my mind. I. GIVE. UP.” (LOL, I love how he practically yells and punctuates the last bit, just in case she doesn’t get it that he’s apparently giving up.)
The bell rings, and Hitomi’s walking down the hallway muttering to herself, “I don’t want to go to the meeting. I want to go shopping, but I have no money. And that kid’s annoying.” As she walks by a broken water fountain, bearing a sign, she pauses.
END OF PART ONE.
I’ll elaborate more on Hitomi’s strange idiosyncrasy later, which only seems strange now, but makes a lot of sense later as a plot device. The writers who wrote this drama weren’t too bad. On the whole, the drama was entertaining; I don’t particularly feel for this show as much as say, Buzzer Beat, or even Tantei Gakuen Q, but I suppose just watching the special may not be enough to fully flesh out the characters and plot yet. Amazingly enough, although Hitomi seems like an annoying character, and she would usually be the kind who makes me want to drop dramas like hot potatoes, Satomi pulls her role off quite well – to the extent that I found myself actually liking Hitomi for some strange reason. Perhaps it’s because Hitomi pulls some damn straight punches (always important in a woman). Perhaps because even though normally she panics and is very annoyingly girly, when it comes down to the crunch, she’s got some pure guts. I find the contrasts in her behaviour understandably realistic (even though others may disagree; please, feel free) and very charming. I’m a little disappointed in Yamada – I do think he can do better; in fact I wish they’d, please, put him in some different roles. I think he’s getting stereotyped here, like Oguri Shun was (and in fact, still is).
There’s about another 40 – 50 mins of the show left to cover, so I’ve stopped right in middle, and will continue shortly once I have time.
By the way, Shoukoujyo Sara is out, for Shida Mirai fans. I’m downloading the first episode, and will probably do the review for that (at least), so keep an eye out for that too! Many dramas coming my way suddenly….
For those of you who were despairing over ever finding a HQ version of the Ring Ding Dong MV (I was desperately trying to download it off Youtube, but SMEnt locked it, so it was a no-go), here’s a link I found after vicariously trolling the net: Ring Ding Dong MV HQ. Rejoice! I have no idea who loaded this up, but kudos to you, please tell me if it’s you so I can credit you!
By the way, after looping RDD, and laughing uproariously at the “Cola cola cola cola fantastic” chorus – I’ve only just come to realise it was always meant to be rocka rocka rocka rocka fantastic! …FAIL. Goodness. I still think cola sounds closer to what they’re saying. Also, does the song not sound like a remix of Crazy Frog with Bhangra beats? It makes for a rather Bollywood sort of feel, but very catchy, so all’s well!
Also, to top it off, photos & gifs from the Omona community – I love all you guys, you’re awesome.