Tell me something I don’t know
I’ve listened to Japanese music for probably 9/10 years now. They didn’t get the brainwashing in too early, but it’s there all the same.
I’ve actively considered myself a fan of various artists for 6/7 years. It’s a bit of a scary thought.
But there are still some things I can’t wrap my head around.
A year ago I made this post commenting on the very immature nature of fandom. It’s been a year, and fandom is still immature. To date, two of the most viewed posts on this blog are still the first two parts of my report on AAA at Otakon. (If you really must know, the top viewed post is the one on my descent into the Arashi fandom. A full year later, and it is still considered a “descent” instead of an “ascent.”) Unfortunately, one of the things that also made the most lasting impression was the backlash on icy over who it was Hidaka was referring to when he mentioned meeting two girls the day before the concert, and both her report and mine mistakenly assumed it was Paulina and her mother instead of Meg and Amy.
I can understand it if it had been the two girls in question (or their friends) who were angry over their moment being appropriated by us, but they weren’t. In fact, they and their friends were amazingly nice about the mistake – and I’m still glad that said backlash never landed here. This is the ideal situation for fandom interaction, when respect is both given and received in all cases. icy suffered the wrong end, but there were also other strangers who spoke up in her defense against the troll.
With the recent appearance of Sho at the New York Comic Con to promote the Yatterman movie being hyped so much all over the Arashi fandom – and I have to admit that I wasn’t planning on bringing this up at first because I did not go – I saw lots of excitement, lots of comments on “how to be a good fan”, and a lot of unhappy and envious remarks as well. (I’m still surprised at the complaint from a person in Japan of all places.) With the knowledge that those attending and those in the immediate area were lucky, excitement was at an all time high.
And then the news came that perhaps Sho might not attend the panel and autograph signing after all. The anger on NYCC’s blog from the Sho fans was beyond ridiculous, especially as one of the first rules of conventions is that nothing is definite. Somehow this eventually settled as NYCC made their best efforts to console the enraged Sho fans who posted – and they were still woefully underprepared for the mass of Sho fans (which I now call the Yattermob) that crowded the Jacob Javits Center, such that many fan reports are also tinged with discontent. Not just at how Sho being in America was handled (There are a number of remarks along the lines of “It hurt that there were all these people not knowing who he was” or anger that Sho was held as less important and I die of embarassment inside because as lovely a man as he is – Mr. Sakurai is not the most important person in the world. Sure, he has lots of fans – but he’s nowhere near the level of Superman and Batman and never will be. It’s a Comic convention, not an Arashi concert, and there’s no reason to feel you got conned because he wasn’t the main event for everyone else. Also, I just really wanted to use “con” in a quip of some sort.), but also at… other fans?
There’s the tales of certain overexcited fans (though for the life of me I cannot find these uchiwa and present stories) and the now infamous-response to the “Will Arashi perform in America?” question (some fans apparently took it on the level of Sawajiri Erika’s “Betsu ni,” if you need a reference) even though the focus of his appearance was clearly meant to be Yatterman – as pointed out by both fans who did and did not go prior to the event. Uh, hey, so whatever happened to those important life lessons on being a good fan?
And the crazy thing is, there is also bitching over people – and this had nothing to do with Sho’s appearance at the con other than they were at the same place. This baffles me so much. You’re all fans, so of course you’re going to be there – if you don’t like someone that’s understandable, but then just don’t associate with them. There’s no reason to badmouth them for just being at a place you showed up to as well. I mean, the wank tales of Usagi Kou scare the shit out of me, but I didn’t mention seeing her at Otakon even though I sort of jumped inside after realizing “I saw her. This person is real. Oh crap.” Because it really had nothing to do with my experience other than giving me a mini (Pink Sugar) Heart Attack.
Of course, it’s only the bad parts that stick out. I’m sorry to the girl whose brother was hurt in the crowd-pushing; I’m sorry to the girl who thought Sho was fake and felt disappointed because of it; I’m sorry to the many of you who likely feel that Friday was not worth it. And yet on the other hand, I point out to you – hey, you got to see him. For however few the minutes were that you were a screaming fangirl or giddy and about to faint because he was there in the same building, or breathing the same air as you, you saw him. I’m sure if nothing else, this is a memory that will last for at least the next two years, if not the rest of your fandom.
TL;DR – WE LIKE THE SAME THINGS, THERE’S NO REASON TO BITCH EACH OTHER OUT OVER IT. FOCUS ON THE GOOD, PLEASE. Also, you were damn lucky to go – I live in NYC and had prior responsiblities so I couldn’t make it – and see him at least, and now you can be less annoyed by the flood of con reports because you’ve got a con report of your own to share! Me, I’ll be sharpening a knife over here to greet you with the next time something happens in the city.
Okay, so I had rage over this that needed to be let out. You may be able to tell because Gackt’s Jesus with its headbang-ability got looped about 98324 times as I wrote this post. I’m also waiting to hear from a friend who went – and not for Sho – about the Yattermob. Next.
I also don’t understand the need for the fandom of the younger set of Johnny’s (Arashi, NEWS, KAT-TUN, Kanjani 8, probably Hey! Say! VOLTRON too) to use the term “ichiban” in reference to their favorite member. While it literally means “number one” – what’s wrong with the word “favorite”? Or even – shocking though it may be – “I like ______ the best”? Every other fandom I have been in or witnessed does not use this term. This includes, but is not limited to: AAA, I’ve Sound, various aspects of Hello! Project, w-inds./FLAME/Lead, various anime and game series, the battle of the avex divas, Japanese actors, any participant of avex’s Girl’s Box releases, UVERworld, even the model cast of Pretty Guardian Sailormoon. And of course, the older set of Johnny’s, such as SMAP, TOKIO, and V6. (KinKi and TxT don’t entirely count because they are duos. When you only have two members to choose from it’s kind of moot to declare one of them “number one” or even really rank them.)
What is it about the term “ichiban” that makes it so special? Is it that it’s Japanese? Does it somehow make you feel more Asian if you’re not, more Japanese if you aren’t? Does it seem as cute as the kaomoji (^_^) that show up all over so-called aZn-styled MySpace pages? It’s a bit hypocritical, since in this particular blogosphere, Japanese terms are bound to pop up. But we’re not talking blog posts, I’m referring to conversations in forums and communities such as LiveJournal where there are often open forums on topics like these. I can probably only say this because I have never used the term in reference to a favorite member unless I was specifically using Japanese. That is, “Ichiban suki na member wa Nino desu!” as compared to “Nino is my ichiban!” and whatnot. It feels kind of weird to randomly insert “ichiban” in the place of “favorite” – especially when everything else you’re writing in the same sentence is in English. But I’ve seen people – both translators and fans who don’t understand Japanese alike – use it with such abandon that it’s as though the word belongs in the next version of Mirriam-Webster’s dictionary.
Or is it that fans themselves need a dictionary all to their own? Such as the term wota – despite its abundant usage in the Japanese music blogosphere, especially with thanks to sites like International Wota, I really had no clue what it meant until I looked it up just now for this post. To be honest, I actually thought it was shorthand for something like warui otaku at first and pronounced it in my head as “woe-tah”, much like how kimoi is one of Japan’s beloved abbreviations (for kimochi warui).
And while I’m at it – pairing. Coupling. Or perhaps even threesomes, foursomes, “LET’S ALL BE GIANT WHORES”-somes.
I opened up this post with the admittance that I don’t like fanfics based off real people. And by the same token, I don’t like roleplaying. On that same post, Mikiji commented with:
If people wants to write ff about them I don’t understand what’s wrong in it! I can’t just understand this thing “they are real so it’s strange writing something about them”… then what about biography…? Aren’t biographies about real people? °_° I can’t understand, aren’t we free of doing it..? And then, damn!! At school I made some essay about me, my classmates and our everyday life at school, but we are REAL people, this is just too strange, I can’t do it anymore!! XDDDDD
Even though I think in the end she realized what it was that got to me, perhaps I ought to clarify (though I think all of my approximately 5 readers also don’t need it) – fanfiction. Let’s see that again – fanFICTION. My problem with this is 100% in the “fiction” part. Though in some cases it’s 100% in the “fan” part. A biography is supposed to be based off facts on the person’s life, and as such cannot be an argument for fanfiction centered on real people.
There’s only two kinds of fanfics I can stand to read when it comes to real people – drabbles surrounding a theme (for example, and to quote a MSN conversation with Raid, “8 times Ryo ate apple pie and the 1 time Subaru slapped him for it”), and crack humor. Occasionally I indulge in a more general, cute-and-fluffy fic (such as this hamster one) – but that only lasts for so long before I feel the pain in my teeth from its sweetness.
You might argue that I would like it more if I tried it – oh, indeed I have. In high school I was going to write a Battle Royale epic featuring the students of my year. In the wFL fandom I made a half-hearted attempt at a dating-sim type fanfic with multiple options for the readers to come up with multiple endings, and never got beyond the first chapter – before any boy even showed up. No, the closest I have ever gotten to writing fanfiction featuring real people is what I’ve dished out at Fangirl Crack (Not to be confused with fan★CRACK) – where everything was both probable, and at the same time entirely not so. Where it was all quick shots of humor – and it was all very, very general.
One of my biggest problems with both fanfics and roleplaying as said real people is that so much of it revolves around character relationships of the romantic sort. To begin with, I don’t have an interest in romance, and while I have nothing against the gay sex of which so many boyband fanfics seem to be comprised, that is not the hook of a fanfic I want to read. Especially when I have real faces to put it to. You wouldn’t really want to imagine your friends having sex, would you? This is the feeling I have when reading such fanfics.
And even though I’ve never been the scientific sort, when it comes to this I feel the necessity to employ a “seeing is believing” policy. You want me to believe Nissy and Misako are actually dating? Sure, when either one of them admits it. That Nagase is only dating girls as a cover for his ~sekrit love~ with Koichi – wait, that’s going to be harder to prove. If you can even prove it at all.
Oh, don’t get me wrong – I enjoy the in-group loving fanservice that many an idol group provides. But as far as I’m concerned, fanservice is all it is. I’ve been called a lesbian by random strangers before because my female friends and I are comfortable enough with each other to stand around in public with our arms around each other, kiss, or even make boob grabs. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m interested (sexually or otherwise) in the feminine sex, though. Why shouldn’t the same hold true with these idols shoved into the spotlight?
So you can have your senseless bitching, your desire to literally live out the chorus of The Vapors’ biggest hit, and your “Ohmiya/Domotox2 are a couple!!1!!!~`!!!” But keep it in your fandom and out of my face, please, because it’s not a part of mine.