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rinarin_0

I have finally tried going to a JE concert by legitimately hitting a ticket ballot through the fan club membership (of my sponsored friend), so I’d like to make use of this experience to answer some frequently asked questions I’ve encountered from the comments in the previous journal entry I posted regarding the international FC membership sponsorship.


DISCLAIMER: Everything I wrote here is based on my own experience, and may not be applicable as a general rule. Don't rely on it too much, and just use it as a possible basis when you make your own decisions in the future.


FAQ #1: Do I have better chances of hitting tickets if I apply for lesser tickets? It sure is easier to get one seat than get 4?

FAQ#2: Is it true that those who just joined the FC have better chances of hitting tickets than those who have been FC members for a long time?

As a background, I joined the Arashi FC in November 2015 while my friend joined in February 2016. We were just 3 months apart in starting our membership, and we both applied for the concert ticket balloting. I applied for 2 tickets for the December leg of Tokyo Dome, while she applied for 4 tickets for the November leg of Tokyo Dome. I didn’t hit, while she did.

The number of tickets balloted for DOES NOT affect your chances of hitting.

The duration of membership DOES NOT affect your chances of hitting.

I often hear comments like “you’ll have better chances of hitting tickets if you apply for just one or two tickets compared to applying for 4.” Well, our experience proves that wrong. The balloting system is fully computerized and randomized, so it’s based purely on LUCK. And, my friend and I are both new members to the FC but I didn’t hit a ticket. So, better let go of those myths when you place your ballots. If you don’t hit, you just weren’t lucky enough. It wasn’t because you were greedy in applying for 4 tickets, nor because you had been an FC member for ages. In fact, I know of someone who has been an Arashi FC member since 2014, and she has tried hitting for a concert ticket twice (2014 and 2016). There also is someone who has been an Arashi FC member for 8 years, and she hit 3 times out of 8, including the most recent Are You Happy? Dome Tour.


FAQ #3: Do I have better chances of hitting tickets in the provincial venues than in Tokyo?

I know of 7 Arashi FC members (including myself) who placed ballots for this concert, 1 placed for Fukuoka, 1 for Sapporo, and 5 for Tokyo. The one who placed for Sapporo was able to hit, the one for Fukuoka didn’t, and 2 out of 5 who placed for Tokyo hit tickets. What does that mean?

The venue also doesn’t really matter so much.

Although it is true that statistically speaking, there are fewer who would ballot for Sapporo than Tokyo, but I reckon the difference is insignificant. The capacity for Sapporo Dome is smaller than Tokyo Dome as well (40,572 for Sapporo Dome vs. 55,000 for Tokyo Dome). If you guys have mathematician friends, maybe you can ask them to compute the actual chances. But really, it’s pure LUCK. It would be better to choose the venue to ballot for based on the dates of the concerts (if it falls on dates you can come to Japan), availability of places to stay, and the estimated total cost for your trip. You may also want to take into consideration the other places you’d want to visit (like if you want to go to USJ for example, then better choose Osaka Kyocera Dome).


FAQ #4: I am registered as an FC member under the same address and phone number with my sponsor/friend living in Japan. Do we have lesser chances of hitting if we both apply with the same personal information?

This, I cannot answer. Even the concert staff at Tokyo Dome honestly told us that she has no idea if it has an effect on the balloting system. To be honest, my friend and I were concerned about this as well, so I asked my colleague at work to be her sponsor instead, just to have a different address and phone number.
My friends and I are planning to apply for ballots with the same address next year, and see how it turns out. Although we chickened out this year (out of desperation), we’ll see if we can prove/disprove the myth next time. The concert staff pointed out, though, that those who join the FC as a family (obviously with the same address) with children who are too young to own a cell phone, are registered under the same contact details but she can’t determine whether that causes any technical glitches in the balloting system.


FAQ #5: I am planning to go to the concert with a friend, if either of us get lucky in hitting tickets. Is it true that I shouldn’t write her name as an accompanying in my ballot, and vice versa?

I have no idea where this myth came from, but I did encounter this question a lot. You see, the Japanese people value honesty above anything else. So, I’d suggest you write down everything honestly and transparently. You wouldn’t want to risk losing the precious ticket you hit on the very day of the concert, just because you wrote incorrect information in your ballot application. You’ll never know when they’ll check your IDs and such. The concert staff are equally strict to foreign and Japanese fans. I’ve seen a lot of tickets being invalidated because of dishonesty.

I’ve attended 3 JE concerts so far, and for all instances I had stand seats so our IDs were never checked, but I read some articles that said they were stricter for arena seats, and the staff could approach you and check for IDs randomly. So better be safe than sorry!


(added 11-29-2016) There is a specific rule on applying as the ticket owner and as an accompanying audience for the concert ticket balloting. There won't be any ticket balloting anytime soon, so I'll get back to the details in another post. Will make a link here once I've posted it. :-)


I hope I have clarified some matters regarding the concert balloting system. To sum it all up:
1. Honesty is the best policy
2. Concert ticket balloting is based purely on LUCK
3. It helps to have many friends who can ballot extra tickets for you, so that if you don’t hit a ticket yourself but your friend does, you can share the luck and attend the concert with her (or him), and vice versa.

Being able to attend your favorite artist's concert is really awesome. I was just a non-FC member and a dreamy hopeful a year ago, and I never thought this day would come when my dream would finally come true. All you need is a little push and a few extra bucks to spare in joining the FC to get your own chance to hit tickets, or a little help from those who are living in Japan to share their extra tickets with you. I'm sorry if I make this sound easy, and it indeed is not easy (I've never hit tickets myself). But, NEVER GIVE UP. I was surprised to see how numerous were the foreign fans attending the concert. Just take that extra mile, make friends, and hope for the best. ;-)
 
 
rinarin_0
26 November 2016 @ 11:58 pm

I have been silent for the past 5 months simply because I was preparing for something great to happen, and I didn’t want anything to jinx it…

Yes, I finally went to an ARASHI concert!!!!!

My friend was so lucky to hit 4 tickets to the Nov. 20 show at Tokyo Dome, on her first year of FC membership! It was literally a miracle!

The childhood friend I “sponsored” as an international FC member of Arashi, hit 4 tickets to the Arashi Dome Tour 2016-2017 Are You Happy? (yes, we are!) and so I was very lucky to accompany her to the show, along with one more childhood friend and my colleague at work.

It was the most dreamy 3 hours of my life. I still can't believe I saw Sakurai-kun in the flesh (although from a distance).

I will make a fan report soon... Currently I am preoccupied with preparing for a major exam so it may take a while.

I hope I can see them again next year!!!


Happy 36th birthday Riida!!!
 
 
rinarin_0

WARNING: This is not a concert report. Just a journal of my experience. ;-)
If you want a concert report, I suggest you read the post by himitsuru here:http://himitsuru.livejournal.com/32318.html

It had always been my dream to be able to watch a concert of a Johnny's group, and I was very lucky to be given the opportunity to fulfill that dream with the Tokyo Dome concert tour final of no less than NEWS, a group I've known and liked since I was a college student (that's about 10 years ago when they were still a 8-member group!).

I would like to take this opportunity to thank himitsuru for taking me to this awesome concert with her. She was the lucky girl who hit the concert ticket, and I was the lucky one to be introduced to her as a fellow Pinay (and a Cebuana too!) Johnny's fan working in Japan. I hope to get the chance to go to more concerts with you, himitsuru! XD

I've witnessed the line for the concert goods a few years back for a Tegomass concert (I was just a passerby back then) so I knew how long it could be. And so I started my concert experience a day prior to the concert date by lining up to purchase the concert goods beforehand. I bought a pair of binoculars at Akihabara earlier that day, and rode the JR Chuo Line to Suidobashi station, the nearest station to Tokyo Dome (Kourakuen station for those taking the Tokyo Metro). The shop opened at 11:00, but I wanted to avoid the opening rush so I started lining up at around 15:45. The flow of the line was smooth, and I was able to purchase my set of goods after lining up for an hour. I got myself a tote bag, pen light (this is a MUST), towel, group clearfile (since I don't have a specific favorite in the group), and pamphlet. I was contemplating on buying a jumbo uchiwa but as I mentioned earlier I don't have a particular favorite... And they didn't have a group uchiwa. So I wasn't able to choose whose uchiwa to buy (I narrowed it down to Koyama and Tegoshi but wasn't able to make a final decision). I then went home feeling satisfied and ready for the concert the following day.

On the day of the concert, we agreed on meeting at the venue at 16:00, which was the time for the gates to open. I arrived at the venue on time, but himitsuru was still hurrying towards Akihabara to buy her pair of binoculars. So, I decided to walk around and check the area. The venue vicinity was huge, with many fangirls dressed up in costumes and eye-catching outfits holding decorated uchiwas of past and present NEWS concerts. I had a bit of a culture shock. :-D I didn't know these fangirls were so dedicated and prepared for the concert. Seeing them holding uchiwas made me realize that I too should be holding an uchiwa... I was prepared with the signage uchiwa we agreed to make, which says フィリピンから来たよ!(which means "we came from the Philippines!"), but I thought I should  have a member uchiwa as well. When I made my way to the goods sales area, I was surprised to see that there was no more line! But, there was a reason behind it... Most of the goods were sold out. @_@ I then realized that I made the right choice in buying the concerts a day prior. As for the uchiwa, only Koyama's uchiwa was available (this will play a role in one of the happenings during the concert)! It was a good thing my choices were narrowed down. ;-) so I bought the Koyama uchiwa and looked for a place to sit down and wait.

As I was seated in one of the stone benches, I ate the onigiri I brought with me (there will be no time for you to eat during the concert!) and sipped a few sips of water (I didn't want to add much to the volume in my bladder). Then I met Meg, one of the Cebuana NEWS fans I had the honor to meet through this concert. :-) we had a little chat while waiting for himitsuru, then himitsuru arrived hurriedly from Akihabara. We immediately took pictures, and shared with each other how excited we were for the concert with some mild shrieks and boisterous laughters. It didn't seem like it was the first time we ever met! himitsuru handed us our tickets, she met up with a few more other friends, and Meg and I entered the venue ahead to our respective seats. Our seats were what they call stand seats (we entered through Gate 40), and we thought we'd be really really far from the stage, but to our surprise the view was great! We could see the stage clearly and had a view of the entire dome. Binoculars came in handy when the boys came near, for us to have a better view of their faces, but it wasn't really necessary throughout the entire concert.

When the concert started, I had goosebumps all over my body. My dream had finally come true. I was lost for words and I silently but vigorously waved my penlight to the beat of the songs. It was such a surreal scene to see a sea of light move in unison to the beat of one song. Of course, the voice of the NEWS members were great as well. I was particularly amazed by Tegoshi's vocal prowess. I knew he sang well, but I didn't think it would sound that great LIVE. The DANCE MOVES were also great. This probably is one of the biggest difference of watching the concert DVD versus watching the concert LIVE... You can see all of them dance together from beginning to end. In the DVD of course there are times the individual members are focused, so your view of the entire group will be cut off. But, in the LIVE concert, you have the freedom to focus on what/who you want. You may focus on just one member, or look at the whole group. This was really nice. Who said Japanese boys dance like girls!!??? They pulled off those swift manly dance moves so smoothly!

I was also glad that they sang some nostalgic songs like TEPPEN, CHERISH, Akaku Moyuru Taiyou, Sakura Girl, Sayaendou, Weeek, and Koi no ABO. I was able to sing along naturally (I was surprised I still remembered the lyrics)!

The MC was hilarious too. One of the things Koyama said was related to the uchiwa experience I had... Apparently, his uchiwa was the only one left so this meant that he had the lowest sales to be brutally frank. So, Koyama said during the MC while walking down the stage with Shige (they were waiting for TegoMasu to come back from their toilet break) "If you'll buy Shige's uchiwa, please buy my uchiwa too!" XD This made me laugh so hard. ;-) I won't dwell into the details, but I somehow felt that it was a good thing the group turned into the 4-member group they are now. This is just my opinion, but they are perfect as they are. And they have grown into mature, open-minded men with a big heart. I really hope they continue to be active and spread more love to their fans all over the world.

As I mentioned in the beginning, this is not a concert report so I will not mention the details on what happened during the concert. Overall, I was really glad that my first Dome concert experience was with NEWS, and with 2 Cebuana NEWS fans who were really sweet and nice. I'm looking forward to be able to join more concerts like this in the near future! The concerts of Johnny's talents are addictive. They really have the special power to attract the loyalty and love of the fans. <3
 
 
rinarin_0

Disclaimer: Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion. If you don’t agree with me and would have wanted to say your piece, please just keep it to yourself and take it as a price you pay for reading my thoughts. (Yes I am starting on a negative tone so if you’re sensitive enough to realize the next paragraphs won’t be very pleasant, just stop reading.)

I’m a Johnny’s fan so I basically consider watching movies starred by any Johnny’s talent. But I was hesitant to watch this one for several reasons… But mainly, I wasn’t sure about the selection of the cast. I’ve read the novel and the 2 actors I had in mind when I read it was Sato Takeru (as Suzuki Shingo/Shiraishi Rengo) and Miura Haruma (as Kawada Daiki/Kawatori Dai). The choice for Nakajima Yuto (22) and Suda Masaki (22) was a bit bizarre for me, since they’re both too young for the roles (the main characters are both 25 years old in the novel). I knew at the back of my head that if this novel were to be made into a movie, a Johnny’s talent will be casted… So at least I wanted Ikuta Toma as Shiraishi Rengo and Kazama Shunsuke as Kawatori Dai.

Despite the hesitation, I decided to watch it anyway. In one phrase, I was taken aback.

The novel was more subtle than how it was depicted in the movie. It was more of a slice of life kind of story in Kato Shigeaki’s words… In the movie, it was all about the darkness of the entertainment world, and the profound complexity of an artist’s psychology.

I was also surprised that Johnny’s allowed Nakajima Yuto to portray scenes with smoking, sex, prostitution, violence, and suicide. Those were the very taboo themes for an idol’s image, especially for a young one like Nakajima Yuto.

If I hadn’t read the original novel, I’ll probably consider the movie as a good artistic expression. But, since I had read the novel and I knew the core of the story was about the deep friendship of the 2 main male protagonists, I felt betrayed by how it was overshadowed by the emphasis of the filthy side of the entertainment business.

I liked the “first 62 minutes” of the movie, where the depiction of the scenes were quite true to the novel. All was well before the “trick” started. The movie production and promotion emphasized that this “trick” was an original concept and it will “betray the audience in a good way” but for me, the “trick” was predictable, and its content betrayed me in a bad way.

The cinematography was good, the tempo of the movie was also good until it got too whiney and dirty and dark on the “trick” part. I won’t make a comment on the music because it’ll take me another paragraph or two in criticizing the awful English (Ingurish) lyrics and pronunciation of an otherwise significant song in the plot.

Overall… I’ll give the movie 2 stars (out of 5). The 2 points go for the surprisingly superb acting by the 3 main actors/actress (Nakajima Yuto, Suda Masaki and Naho) and the first 62 minutes of the movie. Everything turned into a big mass of chaos afterwards.

I recommend the fans of Nakajima Yuto NOT to watch this movie (his image will be literally SHATTERED, my friends.), and for the fans of Kato Shigeaki to just read the novel instead of watching the movie. If you must, then wait for the DVD/Bluray to be released. It’s not worth the effort setting your foot on a theatre to see this one.

 
 
 
rinarin_0

A fan club membership has been a surprising necessity for avid fans of a Johnny’s artist because of the increase in the number of concert attendees clamouring for tickets.  Even the local fans have difficulty obtaining these tickets, and they resort to purchasing from the black market for an unreasonable price. The black market has been existing for ages, despite the constant reminder of the talent agency not to resell or buy resold tickets. For unlucky fan club members who cannot hit a ticket, or international fans who cannot join the fan club due to geographical isolation and the need for an address in Japan, the black market was a happy place. But alas, Johnny’s is taking action, and now they are implementing facial recognition and QR code tickets for their special events (i.e. the fan club member-exclusive events) to prevent the abuse of the black market.

As I mentioned in my previous entry, this move will prioritize the fan club members in getting a better chance to hit a ticket for the show, but in effect the international fans will have more difficulty in obtaining a concert ticket. I myself was a fan living outside Japan for so long, and I had never had a chance to attend any of the concerts because I can’t afford the price tags of the tix in the black market. Currently, I’m geographically capable of joining the fan club, so all I need is luck to hit a ticket in my preferred venue. But my close friends are left behind in my second home country, and now they are suffering from this new ticketing system.

So, I made my move in going to the Johnny’s Family Club in Shibuya to ask for guidance from the employees regarding our dilemma. I at first thought they would just cut me off and tell me to give up on letting my international friends join the fan club, but I was totally wrong. The lady in JFC was kind enough to walk me through the FC application for my friend, and this is what I discovered: AN FC MEMBER IN JAPAN CAN SPONSOR AN INTERNATIONAL FAN’S MEMBERSHIP. Yes, that’s right. If you’re an international fan, you don’t have to look for someone who can lend you a Japanese address or a cellphone number which is not used for an FC membership. You just need to find a friend who will be willing to be your sponsor for the FC membership. You will be registered with the same address and cellphone number with your sponsor. But of course, there’s a catch. But not a very bad deal at all.

First, the sponsor of an international FC member (let me abbreviate it as IFCM subsequently) will be responsible for any misbehavior of the said IFCM. This means that if the IFCM will disobey any of the rules/guidelines for an FC member, the sponsor will have to take the punishment as well. So, the sponsor would have to be selective in whom to adopt as her co-FC member. This wouldn’t be a problem if you personally know the IFCM and if you’re sure that he/she will not misbehave in any way.

Second, the IFCM cannot receive the concert ticket (assuming she applied for it and hit a ticket) until the actual day of the concert. This is applicable for the usual concert tickets (not the QR code ones), which are supposedly mailed to you before the concert date. The tickets will NOT be sent to the IFCM, NOR the sponsor. It will be handed over on the day of the concert, and the IFCM must bring a valid ID (i.e. passport) upon claiming. I don’t think this is much of a problem either, since you just need to be at the venue a bit earlier… I’m sure you’ll all be there way before the entrance time ‘coz you’ll be lining up for the concert goods and such. ;-) In addition, if for any reason the IFCM cannot attend the concert, no refunds will be made for the concert tickets.

Third and lastly, the application for the IFCM should be done at Johnny’s Family Club, which is located in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan. Fans from the other parts of the country file for their membership through the post office, but obviously there are no Johnny’s-related staff who can entertain you for your queries. If you file in JFC, the sponsor will be asked to fill up a second form (aside from the main application form), which is sort of like a consent form that the sponsor will be responsible for the IFCM and everything else I mentioned earlier. This is sort of like the adoption paper for the sponsor, that he/she is taking the IFCM under his/her responsibility. The sponsor will need to know the local address of the IFCM when filling up the form. Good thing I had my friend’s address in my head, since I’ve known her for almost 19 years now (yes I applied for my childhood friend).

Now for those of you who have friends living in Japan especially in or near Tokyo, what I mentioned above is probably good news. But, make sure you will become a responsible fan club member and not tarnish the name of the friend who willingly took you under his/her care. ;-)

As for those who are currently living in Japan, be selective in choosing whom you would adopt, since the point which was most emphasized when I applied for my friend was that you will be responsible for your adopted IFCM in whatever misbehavior he/she commits.

There are no additional fees in applying for an IFCM. You’ll only need the initial application fee, which is 5000. No more, no less. Oh by the way, make sure you’ll bring the exact amount, since they won’t prepare a change for you. For those of you who are thinking of turning this into a business in adopting IFCMs, let me warn you that you can’t underestimate Johnny’s and the power of technology. If they find you suspicious, you can be exiled from the fan club membership for good.

I hope this can somehow give hope to international fans, who have given up on joining the fan club altogether… You just need to have one friend, who lives in or near Tokyo, who is willing to go to JFC to file for your membership, and who is willing to be responsible for your behavior as an FC member. ;-)

I made it sound easy but I’m sure it’s not for most of you… This is just a friendly guide for those who may have a chance to put this into good use. Peace!
 
 
 
rinarin_0

Today, Arashi fanclub members received an e-mail regarding the Japonism Show ticket application... And it was not quite the usual application process the fangirls were used to, so I will jot down a few important points regarding this matter for the benefit of all.

Note: I won't be translating everything word for word. I will just pick out the important points.

1. The tickets are sold for FANCLUB MEMBERS ONLY.
-> This show is a fanclub member exclusive show, and non-members cannot obtain a ticket even as a companion of a fanclub member.

2. BOTH the APPLICANT AND THE COMPANION must be a fanclub member.

3. A fanclub member can apply for a ticket ONLY ONCE
-> This is one of the most important points, which needs emphasis and clarification. A fanclub member can apply for a ticket only ONCE, EITHER as an APPLICANT OR a COMPANION. So, the old method of applying for two seats per fanclub member to increase the chance to hit a ticket and both can go to either of the two shows does not work anymore. If your name will appear twice (i.e. one as an applicant and another as a companion), both your entries will be invalidated. :-(
-> There are 3 types of tickets, one is a single ticket, second is a pair ticket where the pair also has to be an FC member, and third is the parent-and-child ticket. I guess those who will apply for a pair ticket are friends who want to watch the show beside each other, a couple, or parent and offspring who are both grown adults. This is sort of like an all or nothing kind of ticket, where if the applicant will not hit a ticket then the companion can't watch the show as well, since the companion cannot apply as an applicant herself/himself.

4. The ticket will be a DIGITAL TICKET (QR code), with FACIAL RECOGNITION.
-> The application should be done either through a cellphone or a PC, but the PC is for application only. The ticket will be sent to a cellphone unit, which has to be brought on the actual date of the show for entrance. There are no details on the actual application process since it starts on the 16th yet, but they require each applicant to upload a recent picture (taken within 3 months of application), which will be used for the facial recognition on the actual show. Complicated much…

Personally, I think the intention was good to prioritize the fanclub members in getting a better chance to hit a ticket for the show, and preventing reselling of the tickets with insanely high price tags by opportunistic sellers… But as an unintentional effect, the international fans will be suffering from the complexity of the application process… :-(
 
 
rinarin_0
25 January 2016 @ 11:20 pm
Just want to greet Sakurai Sho a Happy 34th Birthday! :-D

I was planning to write a longer greeting but... I'll just keep it simple. ;-)

He's aging very gracefully! ;-)
 
 
rinarin_0
I didn't realize it has been a whooping year since I last posted anything on livejournal. >_<
Since I now have a laptop with decent wifi connection, I shall be a bit more active in the cyberworld... Although I've been saying the same thing over and over for the past years and end up posting only one entry per year. Hahaha

So the year is now 2016 and I spent my new year back in my first home country after 18 years away...
It's taking time for me to relearn my culture here, and one of the hypes for the new year is the new year greeting card or "nengajo."
Since it's only been 4  months since I got here and I haven't been in touch with my childhood friends, as expected I didn't receive many nengajos... In fact, I only received 3. But the 3 meant a lot to me.

One nengajo came from a family friend. It always amazes me how they constantly communicate with us and treat me like a part of their family. They are closer to me than my actual relatives here. The message in the nengajo really touched my heart, and gave me the energy to push forward in achieving my dream.

The 2nd nengajo came from the post office. They were wise enough to choose the "national idol" or "kokumin-teki aidoru" as they call it here, ARASHI, as the PR models for sending nengajos. The commercials on TV were hilarious yet you'd somehow want to give nengajos to your family and friends. On it was a picture of the 5 members of Arashi sporting monkey ears (since it's the year of the monkey this year) and saying あけましておめでとうございます! Simply adorable. :-)

Lastly, but definitely not the least, the 3rd nengajo I received was from the Arashi fanclub, which I recently joined. It was my first time to join a fanclub of an artist, since it is also my first time to be back as an economically-independent working citizen. This nengajo made me smile from ear to ear. Although I know the nengajo is just one of the perks of being a fanclub member and it doesn't actually come from the boys themselves, the feeling of belonging to a fanclub and being appreciated to be a member was a new experience for me. I definitely recommend that a fangirl would join the fanclub of her most beloved idol group. ;-)

Happy new year everyone! I hope we all will have a great year ahead of us. :-D


Credits to the owner of this photo. :-)
 
 
rinarin_0
25 January 2014 @ 08:57 am

happy happy birthday to my ideal man 櫻井翔さん!! :)

you'll forever be my source of inspiration and joy... ;)

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rinarin_0
12 January 2014 @ 10:06 am


I went to watch this movie in the theatre yesterday... And I was pleasantly surprised at many points. :)

First, a hollywood movie with a Japanese plot was at last made with a FULL JAPANESE cast. No koreans, no chinese actors. Purely Japanese (except the starring Keanu Reeves, who was supposed to be a half-English half-Japanese to begin with so it's just right that they cast an American actor). I really loved the fact that they got an all-Japanese cast. I can feel the respect. Kudos to the casting team!

Second, I was surprised at how the Japanese cast spoke in English! i didn't know there were that many Japanese actors who could speak discernible English! I'm a Japanese myself and I know for a fact that most of us can get high marks in TOEFL but can't actually speak the language properly for the native speakers to understand... So this was really a pleasant surprise. Ignore the slow talking. At least they were able to articulate with minimal accent!

Overall, as a movie, I would give it 3 stars. Personally, I really loved the fact that they placed emphasis on the Japanese code of honor. As a Japanese, I felt proud. The computer graphics were really good too. BGM was also great. The action scenes and cinematography was great as well. The story itself was a little too predictable. The starring characters weren't given much character exposure and development. The costumes, make-up, hair, and setting was too over-fantasized (if there's such a word) and modernized, too far from the reality. But I guess it added beauty to the cinematography overall.

It was a nice no-brainer movie for a great date with my mom. ;) It also made me feel proud of being Japanese. I do recommend this movie to be seen in the theatre if you have the time to visit one. :)

Oh and for Janiwotas (Johnnys fans), Akanishi-kun does get a fair screen time. ;)

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