29 June 2007

reasons why

i received some emails after my post about smap. some were really encouraging (arigatou!), and some had questions. questions about whether it was even "healthy" that i am so in love with smap at this age.

if it makes me happy then why not? i don't have a problem with it and i don't care what you say.

i love smap and takuya and here are my reasons why.

1. they love to make fun of each other, and themselves

and that's why i love them so much. even my parents, who can't stand that i spend so much on them, watches their shows with me sometimes and they laugh too. they have no problems with picking on each other's weakest points, and making it a laughing matter. and they do all sorts of impersonations. and it's always hilarious!!!

here's a clip from santaku, an annual 3 hour show of takuya and sanma, one of japan's top comedians. they are great friends and that's the only reason for the show. they meet and do stupid things. last year, they decided to imitate beyonce in one of her videos. we're talking about a 33 and 50 year old guy here. it started out with takuya being the director and sanma being beyonce, but roles were switched sometimes when takuya had to "show" him how to do it.

i've watched and rewatched this show a million times and can never get enough.

then there's shingo who had a character (for a tv show) called shingo mama, that became crazy popular. he continued with that character for many years before he had to stop because he said he was becoming too woman. haha! everyone loves shingo mama. she's so funny!!

and one of my favorite episodes of smapxsmap was the one-time sma-court. where they decided to pick out problems with each other and "sue". it was so freaking funny!! *warning, this is almost the entire episode, so it's pretty long. but it's worth the watch if you have some time!*

2. even hollywood loves them

i can't tell you how proud i am of them. they have group or solo shows on tv, everyday of the week, be it starring in a drama, or hosting a program, or doing a variety show. their weekly smap program, smapxsmap (read smap smap), has been on air for 10 years now, and averages ratings of above 20%, sometimes as high as 27%. in fact, because smapxsmap has its time slot at 10pm on mondays, and it's usually a drama starting from 9pm before that, you are considered to have "made it" as an actor, if you make it into a monday 9pm drama.

they have a cooking segment in the first half of their show, called bistro smap. then it's usually different skits, before a talk and song session at the end. almost every hollywood star would go on as a guest in smapxsmap when they go to japan. why? because smapxsmap is a program that reaches out to people of all ages, male or female. it's the best publicity.

here's a list of some of tinseltown's A-listers who have been guests.

michael jackson, janet jackson, madonna, will smith (at least twice), whoopi goldberg, cyndi lauper, cameron diaz (twice), jude law, black eyed pea, fergie, justin timberlake, backstreet boys, the stylistics, the temptations, the supremes, stevie wonder, haley joel osment, quentin tarantino, david beckham, daniel powter, nicholas cage, elijah wood, tobey mcguire, james brown, richard gere, jackie chan, jean leno, destiny's child, lenny kravitz, tom cruise, steven spielberg....... and these are just those i can remember.

i mean, madonna and michael jackson!!! i don't think i've ever seen them even appearing on variety shows like that!! i'd never seen madonna laugh like that before, especially when shingo danced hung-up for her. and michael jackson appearing on the show was just amazing.

i tried to find a clip of shingo auditioning for madonna but couldn't. but you can watch her in bistro smap.

tsuyoshi, who speaks fluent korean, has been doing extremely well in korea. takuya and shingo have also made it to cannes!! takuya went once before; i think it was last year, for his role in 2046, directed by wong kar wai and starring some of asia's biggest stars like gong li, xhang ziyi, maggie cheung, faye wong and tony leung. this year, takuya and shingo went to cannes, each with a movie in hand. takuya went for hero, a movie remake of the drama, which set a record in japan's tv history with ratings as high as
36.8%. shingo went for saiyuuki, also a remake of the drama, about the monkey god.

3. takuya is so bloody gorgeous

here he is, singing his song, "ha" in concert. he did a jazzy version and i loved it.

if i remember he was also levi's first asian model for its engineered jeans campaign some years back.

i also found this video that a fan made of takuya. ohhh he has the nicest smile.

i mean, shit, have you ever seen anyone so darn sexy?

but after all these years, it's come to a point where i've grown to love all 5 of them. because of their different personalities, because they are doing what they love, with people they love. it's so refreshing from the usual western crap where stars are so fake, you don't know if it's the image or the real person you're looking at.

4. he picked me up when i was down

it was this song, "shiosai" (meaning, "the sound of the waves"), that i listened to nonstop when i was having my own problems. it helped me get back on my feet in so many ways.

5. "sekai ni hitotsu dake no hana"

which means "the one and only flower in the world" was named 'song of the year' in japan... for two years. it's a song about not having to be the number one in everything. why do we humans have to fight for everything? we're all different, and we should celebrate that, but yet we all want to be number one. we're all just one flower in the world, but we have different kinds of seeds. to make that flower bloom, it's enough for us to just do out best. whether we are a big flower, or whether we are a small flower, as a flower, not one of us are the same. we don't have to be the best; we're special just the way we are. we should aim to be the best unique individual that we can be. the only one.

this song had a huge impact on japan, when it was released. it was phenomenal. japan was in an economic slump. there was also the iraq war, and the japanese people used the song as an anthem, a plea for peace.

this song was also selected as the wake-up call on the space discovery mission STS-114, on flight day 13. some jails in japan are currently using this song as an anthem, where inmates sing it daily/weekly. the song has made its way into some textbooks, and some schools are also singing this song as their graduation song, in hope that their students will grasp its message, and go out into society and be better men and women.

6. i love their songs

they aren't really good at singing. takuya and shingo are quite good. tsuyoshi and goro are pretty alright. nakai, one of japan's top tv hosts, appearing on tv almost everyday, has spoilt his voice from all his hosting. he tries, but sometimes it doesn't go too well. as for their dancing, err, let's just say it's a known fact that they aren't that good and they don't hide it, but rather make fun of it. they can't syncronise and goro is usually half a beat too slow.

but hell, they started showbiz 20 years ago (shingo, the youngest, was just 10!!). it's not about having to perfect their singing or dancing like any other pop group anymore. they've gone past that.

if you go to their concerts, most of the audience are women. some of them have grown up with smap, and now bring their daughters along. smap concerts are a family event. grandmothers and grandfathers go too. families go together. most of the dads i see know all the songs as well as i do. in recent years, they even closed off sections of the venues just for male fans. and there are usually tons of celebrities who attend their concerts as well.


because it's pure entertainment. they don't just sing and dance, they have a talk session, and they put up a real show. a 3.5 to 4 hour concert. i've been to so many concerts in my life and theirs' have got to be the most fun.

here are some of my favorite songs (that i could find videos for!)

freebird, original smile, orange (this is like a cult song in japan. just about everyone i know sings it in karaoke.), zutto zutto ("forever"), dawn, easy go lucky, summer gate, yozora no mukou ("beyond the night sky" - another song also in textbooks all over japan), and arigatou ("thank you"). freebird and original smile, are must watches!! they just make me so happy!

oh god i have so many other reasons, but if you've even gone this far, i'd say most of you are bored by now. heh heh.

peace and smappin' love,