Japanese Christmas playlist

Now we are in December I thought to myself: I want to do a post about Japanese Christmas songs! I’m not sure I know that many, and most of them I know are from idol groups, but well here is my list~

Many probably don’t know about this Arashi song (I didn’t at least), but as I searched to see if Arashi had a Christmas song hidden in their discography, I found this! Ano Hi no Merry Christmas (あの日のメリークリスマス) is a light, typical Arashi song. Nevertheless, it’s a Christmas song and it has sort of grown on me, after having listened to it a couple of times. I would have liked some solo lines, but apart from that it’s a nice jingle for Christmas~

This is a song I know well, having listened to it many times. As always Buono! produces some great pop-rock tunes and this is no exception. I love Winter Story‘s catchy and groovy sound, as well as the brilliant chorus. A Buono! classic of mine and a great song to make me in mood for Christmas!

I can’t forget to include Momoiro Clover Z’s crazy and energetic Christmas song Santa-san! From the first time I listened to this song, I was hooked. It’s such a great, funny song with a lot of small gimmicks. Here I’m thinking of things like Reni’s ii toko (“good qualities”) dance for Santa Claus (or whatever it is) and a mentioning about Australian Christmas being in midsummer, which results in a throwback to their summer song Coco☆Natsu (ココ☆ナツ)(haha), so crazy!

This year Momoiro Clover Z’s “little brother” group DISH// (under Stardust) has released a Christmas single, nearly as crazy as Santa-san. Itsuka wa Merry Christmas (いつかはメリークリスマス)is a funny rock/pop song with fresh voices from the group’s young members (15-18 years old). Like Momoiro Clover Z they sure like to make funny gags during their songs, which I really like about this group. I also like the message of this song, which is wishing for a girlfriend from Santa Claus in order not to be lonely on Christmas eve (lol). DISH’s members always seem in desperate need of one, even though they are all quite handsome! That I find very ironic. Then again it’s just a song, and an entertaining one at that.

This Christmas song by actress Maeda Aki is from her album Winter Tales, and is the only song of that album which isn’t a cover of previous Christmas hits, I believe. I think it’s a nice “gentle” song (like the title Fuyu Fuwari ふゆふわり, meaning “gently winter”) which a  lot of bell chimes, beautiful violin and Aki’s sweet voice to top it all. I like this actress a lot, as well as this Christmas song.

I love this Christmas love ballad by C-ute! I like Aitai Lonely Christmas (会いたいロンリークリスマス)so much I even listen to it when it isn’t Christmas (haha). It’s such a catchy song and the chorus is easy to remember too~ I wish C-ute could make songs like this again. It has a strong setsunai (“wistful/yearning”) feeling to it right? I kind of like that type of songs. I guess it’s because we all yearn for that special someone during the holidays (sigh).

I know this isn’t a song sung by a Japanese person, but Canadian René Simard released many Japanese songs as a child, and I like his song Christmas Tree (クリスマス・トォリー)a lot, so thought I would include it in my list. René has a nice heartfelt voice and delivers yet a beautiful song to enjoy during Christmas. He has released a lot of other Christmas songs in French as well as some in English I’m sure. So if you like this song, you should check his other songs out (even though they are old)~

This is such a happy song from Hey! Say! JUMP about having fun in the snow with one’s sweetheart (or that’s what I gather at least). I’m not sure it’s a Christmas song, but the theme “snow” is enough for me to make it so (haha). I love the intro line: masaka, yuki da! (“no way, it’s snowing!”). That line always make me in a good mood. Not that I’m too fond of snow, but I guess we all love the magic of the first snow of Christmas right?

I had to include Nino’s Winter Song as well. Nino is my favorite member from Arashi and I just love this beautiful Christmas ballad from him. I only have the version recorded from his radio show Bay Storm, and I’m not even sure if it’s been released anywhere else. He should totally release this on an album though! My favorite part of this sweet song is when he ends the song with the line: Merry Christmas to you, Merry Christmas to you~

Fairies has also released a Christmas song! Sweet Jewel has a very uplifting feeling to it and always make me in the mood to be productive (haha). Fairies always knows how to make very girly, yet stylish songs. That’s what I love about them. In addition, the PV for this song is so glittering and pretty, you should check it out if you haven’t!

This is the theme song from Morimoto Shintaro’s movie Snow Prince and is such a beautiful Christmas song! I love the piano play in the background, as well as the Snow Prince choir’s young adorable voices. I totally wish they could have been a permanent group, but unfortunately they only released this single. And I wish Johnny’s would do other songs like this too. It’s so precious!

I know this isn’t an official Christmas song maybe, but I always found it very Christmas-like for some reason! Apart from that, I see the light ~Bokutachi no Stage~ is one of my favorite Sexy Zone songs. It was included on their first single and also features the very young fresh voices of Marius and Sou (I totally miss their voices now! *cries*). I would have included their more official Christmas/summer song Sexy Summer ni Yuki ga Furu (Sexy Summer に雪が降る)as well, but Soundcloud wouldn’t let me upload it (buuhuu).

So these were my suggestions for Japanese Christmas songs (which aren’t covers of English ones). I hope you enjoyed and if you know some other good J-Pop Christmas songs, don’t hesitate to mention them in the comment section below~
And let’s hope Soundcloud doesn’t delete my uploads.


Ender’s Game

I’m back! Recently I received this comment on my profile from a reader, writing he hoped I would start posting on my blog again. Which made me really happy! So I told myself, you need to start blogging again! So now this turned out to be a very long blog post (as always). But hope people wants to read it anyway (haha). still-of-asa-butterfield-in-enders-game-(2013)-large-picturesThe day before I finally got to watch Ender’s Game in the cinemas. I read the book, the movie is based on, back in early spring this year, and have been waiting for the film release ever since. The reason why I even got motivated to read and watch Ender’s Game, was because of Asa Butterfield. I got to know this actor through Hugo, which I also watched in the cinemas and p1452560417wrote about on my blog (you can read the post here). I was really impressed by this actor’s abilities, but I also fell for his British’s charm and stunning eyes, I guess (haha). His eyes are really incredible!  So I have this habit, when I like a specific actor, and I find out they are appearing in a new movie which is based on a book, I very often end up reading the book. I guess it’s because I’m inpatient, so it’s a good way to kill some of the wait.

6a00d83451d01069e2019104700459970cSo I read the book and was thoroughly impressed. I usually never read sci-fi stories, but this wasn’t really about that. It was about so much more!  I felt like it touched on some really deep topics on the human psyche. Just Ender’s thoughts alone were so complex and adult-like, even though he wasn’t more than between six and ten (I think?) in the book. I also enjoyed the whole tactics’ part, always waiting to see what Ender was able to come up with next.

But what I really loved about this book, was how simplistic it was written. I had just been reading Game of Thrones before this, which contains endless details of character’s clothes and sceneries, which sometimes really feels like overkill. So it was really nice to read something compact and different like Ender’s Game. But generally, I found it interesting to follow Ender’s character development throughout the novel. One was always fearing for him to give up or to go insane of the pressure from Battle School training. And Ender’s internal fights, trying to avoid becoming like Peter, his sadistic violent brother, but also trying to fulfil the enormous task on his shoulders, which sometimes calls for cruelty. But yeah, this was just such an intense story! Can totally recommend it.

still-of-asa-butterfield-in-enders-game-(2013)-large-pictureeSo after having read the book, I was really looking forward to watching it as a movie. For example, how were they going to shoot the battle room scenes, the violent content and the mind game? Let alone the big finale! But when the trailer came out, I could see this movie had a pretty nice budget, so I relaxed. However, after Ender’s Game had its release in America, I still needed to wait almost a month for it here in Denmark. In the waiting time I couldn’t help reading some reviews and looking at the ratings, which made me a little bit nervous. The reviews seemed to be only so-so, as well as the ratings. But I still said: you need to watch it for yourself to decide. Which I’m glad I did!

foto-el-juego-de-ender-19-323Finally being able to watch the movie in the cinema, sitting in the soft armchair, watching the movie start, felt so surreal. I don’t know, I just felt that I’d been waiting forever to watch this, especially with tumblr previews as a constant reminder! (haha) Somehow I was surprised to hear Asa’s narration in the beginning of the movie. In the movie’s trailers it’s always Harrison Ford narrating, so that was a nice surprise! I must say the beginning of the movie was a little too fast-paced to my liking, but I’m happy they didn’t soften up the scene with Ender kicking Stilson. That scene was brutal! Asa surprised me with his intensity too, as he actually turned out quite scary in that scene.

peter the tormenter 01But I would have liked to see a little bit more of Ender’s relationship with his siblings Valentine and Peter. Especially the parts from the book with Peter tormenting Ender, was too short in the movie and didn’t leave a big enough impact I think. But then I know from the book, how Peter’s actions traumatized Ender, but I don’t think other viewers would catch it as well.

a2e2a33d-29bd-408d-8a98-bbf5f736c1f1_EG_036_EG27_11261RHowever as soon they went to the Battle School, everything pretty much went in a good direction. I think they were pretty true to the book, and for example picked just the right battle room scenes from the book, to show the development of Ender’s abilities, properly. The scene with Ender unexpectedly joining the battle, even though his army leader forbid it, was so cool!

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Asa looked so bad-ass, souring through the battle room nailing the opponents of the other team like a pro, in a surprise attack. Also the formation battle scene was so well done! Felt almost the same excitement in that scene, as when I read it in the book. And we saw Bean being flung through the room in a rope too! Just a great scene. Calendar-Scan7But I also liked  how they did the scenes with Ender and Petra. For example the scene were they practiced some martial arts together. I don’t remember that being in the book, but I like how they added that to give the movie some more warmth.

Additionally, I was really impressed by Moises Arias playing Bonzo. Even though he was really small of height, he still managed to produce a menacing, frightening aura, as well as some intense looks that could kill! (haha) The famous bathroom scene for example, Arias really gave me the chills. Fortunately they didn’t go overboard with that scene, but still kept it effective.

The mind game scenes, were to some extent well done too. The animation was good and was quite like I had imagined it to be. Especially the animation of Valentine was impressive! Also the music in the scene Ender followed his sister into the ruins, was pretty strange and spooky. I liked that! But I just wish the mind game scenes could have been longer though. They didn’t really dig into the deeper meanings of the game and the resulting nightmares it gave Ender about his relationship with Valentine and Peter. But there probably wasn’t time for that, I know… But I really liked that part of the book.Ender Peter Valentine

Also the scene where Ender quits Battle School, goes back to Earth and finally sees Valentine again, just didn’t feel as powerful as the book. The lack of scenes in the beginning of the movie, showing his strong relationship with his sister, made the reunion seem a bit tame. I also think they didn’t emphasise Ender’s extreme transformation in that scene enough either. In the book Valentine barely recognizes her own brother, and he even scares her a bit. That was non-existing in movie, so I hope the DVD release will have some “extended scenes” to make up for that! (In my dreams, I know).

I liked the following scenes with Ender going to Command School though. I remember I had a hard time imagining how the school must look like in the book, with few details to describe it apart from it seeming “alien” to Ender. Anyway, they did a really good job with the details in that place, making it seem really cold and strange to the audience. I also found the simulation tests really impressive. It felt like watching the ultimate video game of the future (haha). So cool, but I think they could have emphasized the extreme training a little bit more, as that was very intense in the original book. But the ending scene totally made up for that, if you ask me.

enders_game_2013-wideWhat an ending! Was very satisfied with the scene with Ender discovering the truth of the final test and the following intense showdown with Colonel Graff. Asa really impressed me once again with his acting abilities in that scene! The rest of the movie, with Ender realizing the connection between him and the formics and his new mission to save their existence, was nicely done, but of course dragged the ending out a bit. However, the scene had to be there, so I’m glad they kept it anyway.enders-game-(2013)-large-picture The movie had a very open ending, and with Ender’s Game being a series, they could easily continue the story. I’m just worried the movie didn’t do well enough on the box office, but I guess time will tell right? It would be great, but I won’t set my hopes too high. I actually even think I’m satisfied enough with just this movie having been made. I think they did a good job overall with adapting Ender’s Game to the screen. Even with a few short-comings, I think this movie lived up to my expectations. I would even say I already want to watch it again, to get more details from it, as there were a lot! And to watch Asa’s brilliant acting once more, of course.

foto-el-juego-de-ender-12-855About the acting overall, I think most actors did a good job. If they didn’t leave too much of an impression, I think it was really due to their lack of scenes. For example with Valentine and Peter, they cut their scenes very short and even removed the separate storyline they had in the book. But that was sort of understandable though, as it wouldn’t fit well with the pace of the movie. However, it’s a shame, as they had a great influence on Ender as a person for the overall storyline. still-of-harrison-ford-in-enders-game-(2013)-large-pictureAbout Harrison Ford, I think he was quite convincing as Colonel Graff and worked as an important backbone to the other young actors. Hailee Steinfeld was good as Petra too, bringing some girl power to the movie. Aramis Knight was so cute as Bean! But unfortunately didn’t get much scenes, like Valentine and Peter. I don’t think they illustrated his cleverness enough, as it actually almost matches Ender’s brains in the book. But I guess there wasn’t enough time for that (again).

But of course the person carrying the whole movie was Asa Butterfield. I think he was cast perfectly for the role of Ender. He has a very innocent look to him, with his clear blue eyes, which made him believable as the young child he was supposed to portray. However he was also able to convey the emotions and psychological pressure of an adult as well. Asa is really a talented actor. And I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him!still-of-asa-butterfield-in-enders-game-(2013)-large-picture

Why must Bran Stark be so lovely?

Hello again! It’s been ages since me being active on my blog, and I apologize for that. Well I guess sometimes you are just in some point in your life where you don’t feel like blogging or just have other things who are more important. But now I finally have some free time, after the worst exams are over. So I thought, why not?

Today I feel like writing about Game of Thrones, because I just finished the first book in the series and am currently watching the 3rd season of the HBO adaptation. I must say I’m kind of addicted to the universe lately. I don’t know, I think it has to do with a lovely actor called Isaac Hempstead-Wright and the awesome character who is Bran Stark.
got0302-0032-editgot-09622-editWho doesn’t think Bran, with his mysterious dreams and dangerous journey is interesting? Well he is certainly my favourite character in the Westeros universe! I’m a bit vexed he doesn’t get more spotlight in both the books and the series, but then of course there are over 200 characters in Game of Thrones (laughs). I must have to admit, at first I was mostly into Bran because of the adorable actor Isaac, who portrays him. Gosh, is that kid adorable! I think his hair and eyes are so cute, and then his voice is just… well, I can’t define it really. Then we were quickly introduced to his very special dreams, which of course got me very curious about Bran.
got-09873-editNot that alone, he is also the youngest person that we follow in the main storyline. He is faced with tremendous hardships with his legs becoming paralysed in the terrible fall. Most of his family has left him to fend for himself with his little brother Rickon. And now he has to make a dangerous journey to the Wall, not even knowing his family is safe. Then again, I’m aware of that all the other characters also undergo huge hardships, but they are of course also really interesting to follow. Bran just won my heart, that is all. Especially, now in season three with the addition of the new character Jojen Reed (and the handsome, talented actor Thomas Brodie-Sangster) I’m even more excited to follow Bran’s part of the story.

gameofthroness03e07720p-editI have only watched to episode 5 of the third season so far, so I don’t know all that’s going to happen, but I find the dream sequences with Bran and Jojen really interesting. For example, if Bran actually is the three-eyed bird, will he at some point be able to fly? Well, maybe that’s a stupid question, but would be cool if he could do it in his dreams at least! I have a feeling Jojen is going to teach Bran a thing or two about it all, so am really looking forward to that. It also feels like their is going to be an exciting relationship between Bran and Jojen. Like for example, if they are both wargs they probably have a lot in common and will form a tight bond, I think. Or so I hope! (Go bromance! lol)
gameofthroness03e04720px-editI didn’t actually know Thomas Brodie-Sangster before watching him in Game of Thrones, but lately I’ve gotten quite into him. Have watched him in The Last Legion and Nanny Mcphee, and I really like his acting! As Isaac said in the Thronecast interview, Thomas has a very rich voice, and that I really think works to his favor. Of course his big eyes are very captivating too. As a side note, I marvelled at how old he actually is when I found out his age. Would you think him 23? I didn’t at least. To me he looks at most 19 (laughs). Well, that’s baby-face for you.

ariane179254_GameOfThrones_1x08_ThePointyEnd_0778-editWell to talk more about Isaac, I’m very surprised by him in the new season. Well, first of all Isaac has grown a lot since last season, but I also think he has also evolved as an actor. It’s great to see, not only Bran growing up, but also Isaac the actor who portrays him. I remember watching an interview with him, where he was constantly giggling every time he said something. He seemed so nervous and as if he didn’t feel comfortable in the spotlight. gameofthroness03e02720pp-editNow when I watch his interviews he seems much more down to earth (well as much Isaac gets) and more sure about himself. Well, I can imagine that to be only 11 and start such an enormous adventure, must be nerve-wracking for anyone. Actually I think him more healthy and sane, compared to many other child actors I’ve followed. They almost seem like adults in the way they speak and how they regard their careers! So all in all, I think it’s good to watch a natural behaviour like that.

As to go back to talk about the book I just finished today (wuhuu~). It was a long book to get through, I must admit. I love the universe, characters and story, but at times George R.R. Martin’s writing gets a little too caught up in the small details. I think that slows the story down at times, and that’s too bad if you ask me. I love how Martin does character-building though, and heavens, does he surprise! Whenever we think we know a character really well, he suddenly adds an unexpected memory, thought, incident – all to change the character’s storyline all over again. I really like that. It makes the story much more alive and intriguing in my opinion.
206GoT0259-editThere was one thing I found funny, while reading the first book, after having watched the television series though.  Even though I knew what was generally going to happen to the characters, I found myself still hoping that things would go differently for them at times. Here I’m especially thinking about Eddark Stark’s fate, Dgame_of_thrones_s02e01_hdtv_xvid-fqm_avi0145-editaenerys’ child, Bran’s legs and Jon’s commitment to the Night’s Watch. Like, Martin makes the reader so engulfed in his characters, you just keep wishing for them a better future, you know? Even though nothing can change their destined future (by the author), he still makes me hope! That was both something I found frustrating, but also amusing in a way. I guess, Martin is just a very talented writer.
ariane179254_GameOfThrones_1x08_ThePointyEnd_0762-editI have to say, even though the HBO series is absolutely amazing, the books are in a way even more amazing. When first you have let yourself be captivated by the different story-lines and forgotten everything around you, his universe is incredibly absorbing. For example, I found myself looking up ravens on wikipedia, because of a small notion about them in a conversation between Jon and the grand maester I found surprising. It just seems like this author has such a huge knowledge, to have created these books. I know this is fantasy – fiction – but still. He puts such a big effort into making his details believable and the families rich in character, I think an enormous research went into these works. Not only names-making, I mean (laughs).
ariane179254_GameOfThrones_1x08_ThePointyEnd_0840-editI have ordered the next book in the series and am really hyped to get to the part of season three now. If all goes well, I can finish book two in good time and get started on the third instalment as soon as possible. Am so excited to find out what happens in the story!

But guess that’s all I have for now. See you around~