More Fangirling for Sorimachi Takashi

Matapos kong panoorin ang Beach Boys, hindi pa rin ako nakuntento at dali-dali kong sinimulan ang Dream Again kung saan bida muli si Sorimachi Takashi (ng buhay ko ;)). Tungkol ito sa isang “retired” professional baseball player na nais matupad ang kanyang pangarap na makapaglarong muli ng baseball, ngunit bago pa man siya nakagawa ng kahit anong hakbang upang mapalapit muli sa kanyang pangarap ay nabawian siya ng buhay. Kung kaya’t nang siya’y maging ispiritu na lamang, sinabi sa kanya ng “heaven’s guide” na maaari siyang bigyan ng isa pang pagkakataong mabuhay para matupad ang kanyang pangarap, ngunit sa katawan na ng ibang tao, at hindi niya pwedeng sabihin sa kahit sino kung sino siya talaga kasi kung mangyari ‘yun, ay bigla na lang siyang mawawala at ‘di na makakababalik muli.

Mag-E-English na’ko dahil medyo mahirap mag-fangirl ‘pag Tagalog. Hehehe.

Sorimachi Takashi is a little older in this drama (of course, since it was shown only last year) as compared to Beach Boys and GTO, which were shown in the late 90’s. So naturally, Sorimachi Takashi looks slightly different. He doesn’t have that kind of face some actors have where their age doesn’t show. But I think Sorimachi-san pulls the early 30’s off well. He looks just right–too old to be a teen idol, but young enough not to be labelled an old man. Hence, I still like him. 🙂 Anyway, this drama is also a bit different from those I usually watch, which are school dramas (as in dramas set in high school (college, tops)). This one is about people who work in the office, and about, er, sports, which if you know me, you know I’m really not interested in. But it seems that Sorimachi Takashi and sports are an inevitable combination since all his roles involve showing off his physical strength somehow — he was a professional swimmer in Beach Boys and a karate expert in GTO. I guess they’re really banking on his physical skills ‘eh? Why would anyone cast Sorimachi Takashi and not have him do lots and lots of physical activities? That would be a complete waste of talent.

Anyway, I’m getting off-topic again (although since I’m really just spazzing about Sorimachi-san then I can prett much say anything I want). The point is that I realized that I would probably watch just about anything if it has one of my favorite actors in it. I actually attempted to watch The Ring again, just so I could see Matsushima Nanako. (Note: I only saw the first 15 minutes. I got too scared and turned the TV off after that. I guess I’m still not over that movie, after 5 years. Haha!) Although I’m doubting if I can take Fulltime Killer and that other Sorimachi movie that’s set in traditional Japan (like the Tokugawa era or something). I guess we’ll see in the future.

So far, I’m liking Dream Again. 🙂 It’s probably something that a lot of other people will find boring. I’m already on Episode 6 and there are so far no big scandalous memorable scenes, or anything really really funny. There’s nothing all that notable about it and if you’re not a Sorimachi Takashi fan, you probably wouldn’t be all that interested. But I’m not saying that it’s a bad drama. Actually, the conflicts that they thought of are pretty good– how the new person Sorimachi-san becomes is this “evil” company president who his lawyer ex-girlfriend goes up against in a lawsuit, how he suddenly gains an illegitimate daughter, and how he’s suddenly so out of shape to be able to qualify for any pro baseball team. It’s all very interesting and fun to watch, but I guess because it’s a lot more serious than GTO and Beach Boys then it doesn’t really give a lot of chances for me to spaz like a ditzy fangirl. But oh well, I love Sorimachi Takashi anyway.

I love dramas. And I realized recently, that I love different kinds of dramas, too. I used to think that I only liked those that involved love stories, but after watching Beach Boys, which hardly has any romantic arc, I discovered that I could like stories that don’t involve love as well. 🙂 (And that dramas that are only about love stories can get boring after a while, too.) I’m really liking how I’m finding out more and more things as I watch more and more of Sorimachi-san and Kubozuka-san and Tamaki-san and Yamapi-kun (Yes, he’s kun because *sigh* he’s unfortunately younger than me). I’m happy I’m a fangirl. 😀

Summer’s Over!

Well, it’s been over for at least a month, but according to the Beach Boys, summer ends when you want it to, or when you really feel like it’s over. As for me, I guess it just ended today. The 1st of July. (Technically, it’s July 2 now, but I haven’t slept yet so I’m considering this as July 1st still.)

For one thing, today’s the official start of the fiscal year. I don’t want to explain all the details (I think I’m not allowed to anyway), but that’s sort of a big thing in our office. And I did kind of tell myself that I’d definitely make this fiscal year better than the last. So technically, I should be starting to get better right now.

And next, my Elementary 2 Japanese classes have finished. Just last Saturday in fact, and earlier today a representative from the school called me and asked if I was going to continue studying Elementary 3. I said I was, and she said for me to bring my tuition fee this Saturday, because that’s when the next class will start. I don’t get a break at all! But I guess that’s fine, since it’s a language anyway, and you’re really supposed to be learning things continuously.

I also finished the “summer edition” of my office’s unofficial newsletter. For those of you who don’t know, I actually “run” a blog that reports the events of our team (and another department who we’re friends with) in our office. It’s unofficial, and it’s mostly about our birthdays or trips to the beach or wherever, but it’s fun nonetheless. And there are some funny articles about life, and whatnot. Not all of them are written by me of course. We get contributions from the other members. I actually mainly am just the one to post them on the internet, and I take care of the horoscopes, but anyway, the point is that whenever I finish an issue, I do feel a bit proud of myself, for having been able to organize all the information. And this latest issue was particularly difficult for me, because so much has happened in the past month (make that 2 months), that I didn’t know how to consolidate everything into just one issue. Although it’s technically supposed to be a weekly newsletter, but alas, work got in the way, and some personal matters (which mostly refers to my laziness), so I was only able to finish it now. But I think my officemates are pretty happy about it. Maybe you’d like to give it a look, too. It’s in here.

I guess the second half of the year has begun, so everyday we’ll be a little bit closer to 2009. Gah. 2009. It’s such a big number ‘eh? I’m not really fond of this “transition period” in the year, because it also means that it’s nearing my birthday (which is in September), meaning I’ll be a year older again, and that always sucks, since I have a Peter Pan complex and I don’t care how many people older than me tell me that I’m still young. I’m way too old in my opinion. Way too old for my state of mind. I still feel, think, and act like I’m 13. Can’t you tell?

Actually the reason I wrote this entry (and titled it this way) is because I just finished watching Episodes 1 to 12 of Beach Boys (1997), the drama which starred Sorimachi Takashi (Yes, the GTO guy), before he became GTO. It also stars Takenouchi Yutaka, who happens to be the actor who’s got a picure on Fuyutsuki’s wall. (Fuyutsuki is the love interest for GTO, by the way.) So now, I totally get why that poster’s such a big deal in the GTO drama. It’s like an inside joke of sorts, which you probably would’ve gotten if you were Japanese, and you watched the dramas during that era.

I really want to write a review on Beach Boys, but somehow the words to describe it escapes me. Why is it so difficult to talk about beautiful things? I was complaining before on how the summaries for Beach Boys in the drama websites and forums are all so vague. But I know now why they are. It’s because it’s really hard to explain. I think, it falls under that category “everyday drama”. You know, the kind of show where you think nothing’s happening because everything seems so normal, but when you stop to think about it, you’ll feel like you’re learning life’s secrets? Japan has a lot of those things. Not just in TV dramas, but in their books and movies as well. And in manga and anime. I think that’s why I like Japanese shows so much. But I won’t talk about that right now. I won’t be able to stop.

So, Beach Boys is a summer drama (I mean, it’s about summer), and I’m quite happy that I watched it when I did–during the transition period from summer to rainy season. 🙂 Oh, and I’m happy it won Best Casting during the time it was famous. Because as I watched it, I really felt that the casting was great. The chemistry between the actors (and not just those in the lead roles) was absolutely perfect. You would totally know them, and feel like their friend. Not many dramas can do that. But this one really did.

Anyway, sorry if this entry feels disorganized, the ideas disjointed. I always have a hard time writing, or talking, when I finish watching something really really good. Add to that my love-hate relationship with the 2nd half of the year, my anxiousness on starting a new lesson in Japanese, and all the worry about the things I should’ve done but didn’t because I just watched Beach Boys instead, and well, yeah, this kind of entry is what you get. So I’ll end this now before I embarrass myself more.

Happy 2nd half of the year everyone. If the first half sucked for you, then here’s your chance to make 2008 a great year still. 🙂 Good luck to all of us.


Also, just a tidbit of news: I just found out that the artists Jon Zamar and Syeri Baet tied the knot (as in got married) last Saturday!! 😀

So, I’m not really close friends with them, but I’ve seen them around in conventions and have had a conversation or two with them. I think Syeri still recognizes me but she’s probably forgotten my name, which is okay really, since I don’t see her that much anyway and the last time we had a conversation that was more than two sentences long was way way back; 5 years ago at least.

That’s actually why I’m happy to hear they’re married, because when I was introduced to them, they weren’t even a couple yet. Just two artists in the same circle, and I was one of the first witnesses to their budding relationship, was even one of the people who teased them (well, I teased Syeri. Jon and I aren’t close at all. I don’t think he knows me.) about it. And now, some years later, I find out they’re married! It’s so cute, right?! 😀 I wish happy endings for everyone!! 😀

(This is just a rumor, I think he proposed to her in last year’s Komikon. Or was it the year before? Or was it the day before last year’s Komikon? Ah, whatever. It was around that time.) 🙂

The Teacher Who Saved My Life

Of course, it’s not as dramatic as how he saves the lives of the students in his story, but I think GTO (Great Teacher Onizuka) came to me at just the right time. 🙂

You may or may not have noticed it, but I’ve been feeling down the past couple of days (weeks, months, year…). But now, I’m feeling a lot happier, and it’s all because of Eikichi. Or, Onizuka-sensei, I should say. Not because he’s my sensei, but because I also learned some things from him. Is it weird to feel like just one of his students, despite my being no longer in high school, and not actually having the problems that his students have? Well, even if it is weird, I still feel happy about it now, that even if I just saw him on a TV show, even if he’s fictitious, he still had an impact on me. It’s not just real people who can influence you after all.

Sorimachi Takashi as Onizuka Eikichi is ❤ ❤ ❤ . I cannot say it enough. Maybe I’m giving the show too much credit and it’s childish to say I learned a lot from it, but I’m honestly grateful for this series, because although it’s nothing profound, it was able to help me cope up with things going on in my life, that I have very much difficulty dealing with. I’m not saying it solved all my problems, but you know what I mean, right? Surely there have been TV shows and movies and songs and other works of art that, although aren’t all that great, or deep, were able to speak to you still, and make you think, even make you act a certain way.

I’m glad I only saw this now, and not when it was at its peak (when it was shown in the late 90’s). I don’t think I would’ve appreciated it this much if I’d seen it then. Maybe it’s fate? Or maybe, for the first time, time is cooperating with me. Maybe fate enlisted its help. (Because I’m fate’s best friend. If you know me personally, you’ll understand this statement. If not, er, maybe you can just ask me next time because it’s too long a story to put here.)

Point being, I really just want to say

ARIGATOU GOZAIMASU ONIZUKA-SENSEI! 😀

Poisoned

Today is the 3rd day that I’m listening only to Poison by Sorimachi Takashi AKA the theme to GTO (Great Teacher Onizuka) Live Action Series. Okay, okay, I listened to his other song last night (in YouTube), but only to know how his voice sounds like when he’s singing something else. I haven’t listened to any other artist since. And so, I think something is seriously wrong with me. 😕

I don’t know what it is. Admittedly, GTO is not the best drama I’ve seen. Sorimachi Takashi is not the best artist I’ve known. Poison is not the best song I’ve heard. But for some reason (maybe the combination of all three) I’m so obsessed with all of it, and everything related to it. Like Matsushima Nanako. She’s the lead actress in GTO, and is Sorimachi Takashi’s wife, so I’m researching about her as well (even considering watching Ringu again, just to see her! (And you know how scared I am of Ringu.)). And the rest of the cast, Kubozuka Yosuke, and Oguri Shun, although I’ve known about them for a long time, it’s only now that I’m really curious about what’s happening to them. (It’s easy in the case of Oguri Shun, hello, Hana Kimi. But Kubozuke Yosuke doesn’t have as much exposure.)

Anyway, this is probably going to be my review of the drama series. I just finished watching it last night including the special episode), but I still haven’t seen the movie yet (I’m saving that for later). Reading the reviews of GTO, I can understand why most people give it a 10/10 score, or say it “The BEST DRAMA EVAR!!!” For most people (at least those on the internet, and aren’t Japanese), this is the first J-drama they’ve seen. So naturally, they’ll fall in love with it, just like how I fell in love with Hana Yori Dango (because that’s the first J-drama I’ve watched). It’s got the right elements to make a good show after all– quirky characters, interesting situations, unorthodox ways of solving problems, and a love story between two people unlikely to get together in real life (in this case, the goody-two-shoes girl and the bad-boy). But other than that, I think the reason that this is one of the greatest series ever (I read somewhere that when the last episode was aired in Japan, it was the most watched show on TV ever in Japan’s history), is because they hit everything, every aspect, perfect.

The co-teachers, for one, are all very interesting both individually, and as a collective. Onizuka had a line that went “So there’s bullying among the teachers, too.” I think it’s just so clever that they chose to show the different sides of the faculty as well, rather than having everyone gang up on just Onizuka, because they showed everyone’s individual reasons for not liking him, it makes their ploys to get him fired all the more believable. The only one I don’t understand really is the director. I mean yeah, she’s unorthodox and that’s why she hired Onizuka, but I kind of wished that she treated the other teachers fairly. It’s maybe because of her favoritism that the others really hated Onizuka. In this aspect, I like what they did better in Dragon Zakura, wherein the director was so sad about her husband’s death that she made weird decisions that no one could understand. That was more believable to me.

The characters of the students are great as well. They only focused on a few of them, but let’s face it, you can’t solve each and every problem of each and every one of your students, you’ll have to prioritize those whose problems are bigger than the rest of the class, right? So for me, it was okay how Onizuka was only really close to some students, and the rest of the class just followed. Isn’t that how it is with big groups anyway?

I think that their angst was just right for their age, and their bullying, and how their feelings manifest, was all very interesting, and touching. Even their attitude towards teachers (or grown-ups in general) that developed when their friend died, is something that makes the story work. If there’s a good enough reason for it, you can justify anyone’s actions, right? Like Ashiya disguising herself as a boy, and flying halfway across the world to go to an all-boys school, can be justified by her passion and her belief that her idol shouldn’t quit sports.

The ones whose reasons I didn’t understand actually, were Fuyutsuki-sensei (Matsushima Nanako), although this could be attributed by her being confused as to how she feels for Onizuka. Maybe she did fall in love with him on sight when she first saw him at the school entrance, but didn’t know then what she felt, and that’s why she kept helping him throughout the series, despite not having a need to. I’ve always believed anyway that you’ll know that someone likes you when they do things for you that they don’t need to, i.e. Fuyutsuki-sensei prepping Onizuka for his exam, talking to the rest of the faculty to defend Onizuka’s actions, etc.

And Onizuka. His reasons for becoming a teacher was never fully explored, but because he’s already such a bold character, who’s made it clear by all his actions that he doesn’t care what anyone thinks, then he gets away with things like that. And he did say something that seemed like a reason for wanting to become a teacher: He used to be a bully in high school, and hardly attended class. Now that he’s older (and presumably wiser), he regrets not having enjoyed his school days, and so he wants to be a teacher, so he can spend more time in school. I don’t know about you, but I actually think that this reason is good enough. 🙂

My absolute favorite moments were: (Skip this part if you don’t like spoilers.)

> Onizuka and Fuyutsuki moments: Talking on the phone, chasing each other around campus, eating dinner together, Onizuka saving her from the stalker-teacher, Onizuka carrying her around… Their romance is so high school. I love it. And I give them plus points for having been able to equate a condom with romance. That’s something no other show has done. My most favorite part (apart from the cute phone call) of the two of them is the airport scene. Wah, this I guess blows my cover as a jaded cynic and lets everyone see how much of a hopeless romantic I am: I just love those big “airport” scenes. Seriously. Onizuka standing at the tarmac, shouting at the plane for Fuyutsuki to come down, and Fuyutsuki running into his open arms… Waaahh!! Would’ve been way cooler if it were sunset, but that’s already a bit much. So the way it played in the drama was just right. XD

> Onizuka tearing down the wall of his student’s house: This being the first big dramatic scene, it does a good job of establishing Onizuka’s character.

> All the Kikuchi (Kubozuka Yosuke) scenes: He’s my favorite of the students! 🙂 I loved it when he played the tape to prove that Miyabi was bullying Noburo. I even liked it when he got beat up by street thugs. Haha. I’m no sadist, but he totally deserved it, being so arrogant and self-righteous. And I’m glad he didn’t turn into a disappointing character, even until the Special episode, where he becomes the boyfriend of their classmate who became an idol (Tomoko). I think that pairing was brilliant. 🙂

> The school festival: I was actually waiting for this scene, because there’s always a school festival in high school dramas, right? I guess it’s really a big part of the high school experience, and I am so glad they saved this part for last. It was all just way way… brilliant. (Yes, I’ve run out of positive adjectives.)

And for my absolute favorite scene, I decided to post a screenshot:

Nah, I’m kidding of course. This isn’t my absolute favorite scene. But it’s just so kakkoi, I had to post it. Well, it’s my favorite in the opening credits. And that part where his back is to the camera, and he’s walking towards the school, too. That’s also a great scene. I totally loved the Opening Credits of this series. What the heck, right?! Who falls in love with the “opening credits”!?!? But… but… Sorimachi Takahshi is just so 😎 *swoons* 8) … There are no words.

So, even if I’m saying that my “unbiased” opinion is that this isn’t the best J-drama ever, I’m still giving it 10/10 because the level of enjoyment (not to mention obsession) is that high. Maybe even higher. I’ve been listening to its theme song for 3 days straight, haven’t I? 😉