Well, it’s been TEN YEARS! Ten years! I started this blog January 4th, 2008! And this little milestone coincides with H!P’s TWENTY YEAR anniversary! How insane is that!? That was not planned, but I think it’s really awesome.
And, as per usual, I COMPLETELY MISSED IT!
So let’s just make this my tenth anniversary…uh…YEAR.
(Warning: this is gonna be long and about Isilie more than idols – you’ve been warned.)
I think it very Isilie of me to have completely forgotten about the milestone of ten years of H!P blogging. I’ve missed my “anniversary” basically every single year for the past nine years. That’s pretty ridiculous. It suits my personality very much. An anecdotal example: on my birthday a few years ago, I met a friend for coffee. She was sitting at a table with a small bouquet of flowers. The first thing I said was, “Oh! Who gave you flowers?” She just burst out laughing and handed them to me.
*takes a bow*
It’s not that I’m particularly humble; it’s just that when I started this, blogging wasn’t anything more than an outlet for my developing fandom. Blogging wasn’t a viable profession yet either. It wasn’t common to start a blog and be able to make money from it or promote it on social media and so forth. I still have no idea how to “promote” this site, which is why after ten years my hit counter is still so damn low (although I’m pretty sure that sucker reset some time in 2011 and I can’t figure out how I managed to erase three years of hits – this is also very much like me).
So, every time I’d hit another year anniversary, WordPress would remind me and I’d think, “Oh, I better post something.” Then I didn’t. Even if I vowed to remember, I wouldn’t.
Besides, I don’t consider anything less than a decade an achievement; my first year, sure, but my seventh year? I don’t know. Doesn’t get me the way ten does. And I didn’t even think about doing this for an extended period of time. I just started a blog one day and kept on going. Each New Year I was more concerned with getting out a previous-year-review than anything about my anniversary.
I can’t give you stats, because I don’t know where to find them and it’s been so bloody long, I probably managed to reset them anyway (damn weird hit counter thing). All I can tell you is, my blog got pretty much its only hits when I was featured on Dolorous Haze, International Wota, or Idolminded. I didn’t really think about promotion, so it was mind-blowing to see my daily views go from 9 to 510 in one day (estimates, but those were the kind of leaps it would make).
Those sites are gone now and I still haven’t really promoted my site beyond tumblr. I think aside from laziness on my part (which is a huge part) Itsumo Genki still feels like it’s mine and mine alone. I mention I have a blog, but I haven’t showed any of my friends or put a link on my Facebook. I’d like to remain anonymous, first of all, but I also don’t see the point. My friends don’t even know what H!P is, nor do almost any of them understand why Japan (never mind its crack-tastic music) appeals to me so much. If they do like anything Japanese, it’s usually anime, or aspects of ‘kawaii’ culture.
And rereading my entries from ten years ago just makes me cringe. I’d like to think I’m a better writer now, but back then I just spewed out whatever and made a lot of pic-spams. There was so much I didn’t understand about idols too. Oh, and let’s not even mention the four or five “series” attempts that went nowhere.
I think my fandom experience is very insular compared to most bloggers. I think most people “get into” a fandom through others that lead them to a community. My brother introduced me to the media but not the community and I still have no idea where to start. I’m not afraid of flames exactly (though someone called me ‘dipshit’ once, because I called Kusumi Koharu tone-deaf); it’s more of a feeling of being overwhelmed.
I lean towards introvert in real life (although I’m often told I don’t seem like it) and online I’ve become a lot more cautious about things like forums and chat-rooms. It’s not that I don’t find other opinions interesting, or that I resent them; I just never knew where to look to find them. Plus, even if I do find a forum (Hello!Online for example), where the hell do I start when they’re on page eight billion of any given topic!?
As far as interacting with others in this community, the closest I get is commenting and I don’t do that as often anymore (a terrible habit). I may be a veteran blogger, but I’m certainly a noob when it comes to the ‘culture’ of Western fandom. My assertions about how people are feeling on a topic come from the blog posts I’ve managed to find. It used to be way easier with Idolminded, but I can’t rely on it anymore. I still have no idea where to look. Morning Musume is my main focus, and it’s incredibly hard to find blogs that still care about them, let alone devote posts to anything other than simple release information.
The blogs that got me into writing about idols no longer exist (or they have migrated to platforms I know nothing about and haven’t bothered leaving links), but they set my standards pretty high. I don’t mind short posts, or random rants, or even “look at this pretty stuff”, as long as somewhere along the way, somebody states an opinion and explains it.
It’s important to develop a style of expressing yourself. I don’t care if it’s similar to other people online; often one learns style by mimicry and that will almost always lead to something original. Having strong opinions, or a great sense of humour, or both, makes your blog much more readable and a lot more engaging. Also, rage is more fun than disinterest. If you have zero interest in a single, or you just thought it was boring, why bother posting about it (unless your M.O is to post about every single release/event)? I don’t post about things I have no feelings about.
I think blogging has gotten a lot more commercial (here comes the old-lady rant, folks): it used to be that one would make a blog simply to fan-gurl, over-analyze, or pic-spam, for the sheer joy of it. Once social media “hits”/”likes”/”shares” became social currency, people seemed to stop writing anything more than 100 words about anything. I stubbornly write hundreds and hundreds because that’s just how I write. If you have zero attention span, odds are you checked out of here a long time ago.
Anyway, I think I covered much of my fandom history in other posts, but I will say that Yossy is still number one in my heart, and I have never recaptured the adoration I felt for her in any other idol. I think Momusu, as a group, has evolved to the point where they stand out as individuals, but their unity and devotion of this idea of ‘Morning Musume’ creates an endearing girls-club atmosphere. That simply didn’t exist in the past. When they were big, they were all these giant personalities competing for camera time. They didn’t carry the weight of a legacy. It was ‘stand out by any means or you’re invisible’ whereas now it’s ‘stand out in harmony with the other members, because you’re Morning Musume’.
I’m not saying competition is gone, but I do think unity is more of a priority than it’s ever been. Maybe it’s left-over from Platinum gen, or maybe just a product of time. My other great idol-related love is Arashi and (aside from being male-idols, who can basically keep going till their 80, if they’re pretty enough) their main attraction has almost always been a devotion to the idea of ‘Arashi’. That’s part of where their bond comes from. Certainly, they get along and have known each other for ages, and all wanted to succeed (if only for the fans), but it would never work if they didn’t think about Arashi as an important entity that they represent.
Morning Musume is the same: it had its hey-day (Golden Era), its slump (Platinum Era), and its rebirth (Robo-Musume) and now members all seem to understand that group harmony works best. They’ve celebrated 20 years as an ever shifting, ever evolving group, and O.G members frequently blanch at how relaxed and comfortable the girls are with each other. There is still a rigid hierarchy and an unshakable work-ethic, but the members are all working for the same goal, not simply a bunch of cliques vying for camera time. You might hate that, but at least it means that when Momusu performs, you don’t feel like it’s Riho and her backup dancers, or Ai-Winky-Crack-a-thon, even though we still have leads; it’s Morning Musume.
They remain and will likely always be my favourite group in the girl corner of Idol-pop. I don’t care that most of the people that started blogging when I did have checked out. I also don’t care that real-life ‘adult-ing’ has taken up the majority of my energy, time, and head-space. Until I’ve checked out completely, I’ll post when I feel like it.
I thank anyone and everyone who has stuck with me, or even just drops in now and then to read a bit.
When I do post, I do my best for you.
Part two soon!