A-Pop Wrap-up: Goto Maki’s Mother Dies, Kara Returns, AKB48’s H!O Invasion..

The following are items in the world of Asian Pop that I’ve found significant enough to blather about ~_^

J-pop Artist Goto Maki‘s mother dies, suicide/accident?
Goto Maki, former cutesy Hello!Project member turned sensual Rhythm Zone soloist and Queen Bee, is understandably mourning the loss of her mother after a 3-story (7-meter) fall from her home in Edogawa, Tokyo, Japan — a coincidental death considering Maki’s father died from fall in 1996 while mountaineering. A witness prior to the fall (a patron at a nearby tavern) claim she had inebriated and been going on about wanting to end it all, over not being able to see her jailed son as much as she’d rather — but otherwise had been known far and wide as a memorable, cheerful and amicable woman who was (I presume) otherwise healthy and spry. I actually haven’t seen much coverage of it on many other Japan News sites, though. The Hello!Online fansite and forum had a large article about the incident including two videos of Chinese and Japanese coverage, and is being updated as new details roll in.. including mentions of the situation from other H!P members’ blogs. I honestly can’t imagine, and wonder how much out of her busy schedule she’s going to be able to postpone?

Kara To Return To The Spotlight Mid-February
English-speaking fan conjecture and sites like AllKpop.com are abuzz about Korean girl-pop group Kara will be returning to the spotlight with a mini-album — much to my delight ~_^ SNSD is releasing a full-length album, Oh! on January 28th, and Kara’s mini-album is due after the Korean Lunar New Year (“Seollal”) holidays (Feb 14), so the two will likely be having a promotional show-down of sorts, despite their reported themes being fairly dissimilar. It’s been suggested (in comments) that Kara’s theme will be about the strong-type of girl, while SNSD will feature cutesy-ness. Japan has taken up interest in Kara lately, and there’s supposed to be a Kara-featured promotional event on February 7th. Either way, I’m glad to get some more video =D

AKB48 Gradually Expresses Hello!Online Tracker Dominance
Mariko Shinoda- and Oshima Yuko-related TV spots, Majisuka Gakuen rips and translations, and AKB48 member solo discs have been cropping up some much on the H!O tracker that I’m beginning to wonder if Hello!Project has fallen a bit out of the spotlight as far as the flagship Morning Musume is concerned. What I think H!P really has going for it these days is S/mileage, a four-member, cutesy, high-pitched youngster group (moved up from Eggs), that really seems to be bringing back a lot of the youth image H!P once had — an image that initially tugged me into the group when most of the members of MoMusu was less sensual with its focus. There’s not a lot of content about this S/mileage popping up, though, and AKB48 content hounds are jumping at the opportunity to take up that slack it once held firm.

Karabase: My Upcoming Wall-base and Icon/Avatar-base Fansite
I’m in the process of creating a simplistic fansite for Kara (and perhaps a few other bands in the sideline, but foremostly and heavily Kara content) from screenshots I’ve begun to take myself on my new widescreen monitor, from giant high-quality PERF and MV rips to make the process of enterprising designers of wallpaper, forum signatures, and icons/avatars easier. I don’t plan on making any of such things myself — just providing the “bases” for them (originals, later modified for more specific purposes). At the moment, I’m hunting up a quick method of creating thumbnail images, as I’ve got over a hundred 1920×1080-pixel screenshots of Kara’s Wanna MV. One shot is so good of Park that I made it my wallpaper, despite being a bigger Hara fan, it’s almost like I’m cheating on her =P Announcements on its address will appear later ~_^

NYR: Complete/Progress One Art Per Week #3

For better context of what these NYR posts mean, see this intro post.

For week three I half-dreamed an lovely intro scene for a short story, although I haven’t come up with a title yet. It’s about a wealthy traveling gentleman in 2000s America, who, when passing through a small town, is confronted by a local crazyman who insists he “approach the gate.” The gent’s name is Robard Longneck (perhaps a Native-American-given title) Pierce, who dresses in stylish men’s formal around the clock and drives an unspecified late-model muscle car “of a white so menacingly bright you can scarcely detect where its hull begins or ends,” is immediately intrigued by the suggestion and makes a note of it. Stopping by for some full-size powdered doughnuts, he mentions the invitation sidelong to a local baker, to find out where one such gate might be. “Gate End, without a doubt. Ask the kids out front where it is,” says the baker, and the loitering youths at first prefer not to reveal their hangout/makeout locale, but with a simple exchange of information valuable to them, it is reveal Gate End is at the end of Longneck Path, a lengthy but well-populated residential strip that branches into rich neighborhoods, middle-income domiciles and lesser-fortuned modesty, before ending with a long straight road (often used for drag racing) that leads to an immense, Tolkien-calibre cast-iron gate. Only one car ever passes in or out of it, at night, a car so dark that no one can detect its curvatures — although the creaks, pops, and gallops of a wooden horse-drawn carriage loudly crescendo preceding its arrival in either direction. Further intrigued, Robard seeks out the crazyman for more information, without success. Must he simply arrive at the gate for it to open? Neither unruly teen, nor self-appointed daredevil propped up by liquid bravery have been able to set foot within 10 yards of the gate without experiencing a compulsion that I must turn back so convincing that to continue forward would call into question their own self worth. Might Robard be able?

Also for week three, I’ve been amassing dozens of TVrips and such of my current crushy subject, K-Pop group Kara (and unstoppably cute member, Goo Hara, specifically) to create a plainish fansite primarily featuring high-def screencaps for free use as bases for icons, wallpapers and such. I plan to host the site on my under-remodeling hub-domain, thehomeland.org (at which can be found a few of my other completed short stories).

And lastly, filed under the Now That’s An Idea stage of development, is to.. develop a strategy guide for a particular series of Facebook game apps along the lines of Godfather, School of Wizardry, World War, Pet Wars, and City Life (which appear as if they were made from an identical cookie-cutter program with graphics and colors swapped out for different themes) over which I’m currently hooked.

Lots to do!