gambitch - now available in blue Our constant efforts to reinvent ourselves reveal how much we fear our own images.
Friday, June 09, 2006
Today is the 9th, and tomorrow is a special day for a person who has had a special influence on my life. She doesn't actually know me; she's a Japanese artiste who has never heard of me, and I am just one among her many fans, even today. But she has a very significant impact on me. And so I want to dedicate most of today's post to her.
Matsu Takako, born on 10 June 1977. Stage and television actress, singer and writer.
I first saw Takako in a television drama somewhere in the mid-90s or thereabouts. Back then, I didn't have a very strong impression of her, as she was part of the supporting cast in the show. But her acting and character did register on my radar as interesting. What was particularly striking was how she never seemed to put on a bad face in the show. There was something of a smile-like look, even a wry one, when she was upset. It looked strange at the time, but then, I didn't understand anything then (and I still don't).
Since then, Takako went on to get roles in a number of Japanese dramas, including Long Vacation and Love Generation. Love Generation was a milestone work for her, because that was, I think, the first time she worked together with Kimura Takuya. They went on to become the best on-screen lovers - somehow they always go together very nicely. Of course, off-screen, Kimutaku is married to someone else, and Takako never actually fell in love with him. But that's another story.
I got to see her sing for the first time on the solitary occasion she was on the Kouhaku Uta-gassen as a singer. (She co-hosted it as leader of the Red team a couple of years before that.) The song she sang was Yume no Shizuku, and I was absolutely captivated by that song. I hunted high and low for the CD single for that song, and eventually I found it. Then I found the MTV, and I loved that too. I didn't understand Japanese then (and I still don't, not very much), so I went all out to get friends to help me translate the lyrics. That too absolutely caught me.
So that was how I went back and looked for her older works, and how I went on to buy her later works. Not to mention catching her on the small screen when she appeared in various dramas. HERO was particularly striking, because that's the first time I saw her throughout the show in glasses, and in coloured hair worn in a different style. She used to do long hair all the time until she cut it around 2000/2001? Omiai Kekkon saw her in shorter hair, and holding up the show quite a bit by herself (with all due respect to Yusuke Santamaria, who did pretty well to use his non-pretty face look).
Just what is it that drew me to her on, well, second or third sight? A fellow fan on the Internet described it, to paraphrase, as such: "She is not stunningly beautiful on first sight, but the thing about her is that her image somehow lingers and stays. It's like a presence that reminds you in the subtler ways, so that you gradually warm to her, and the feeling softly but steadily grows. Before you know it, she's deep inside you, singing with a voice that echoes from well within. She becomes, in a manner of speaking, a part of you, and never goes away."
... Quite a description, I know. And that's what Takako's impact has been on my life.
Some describe her voice as healing, and some say her beauty has a common yet classy touch. She's a girl for the literary and intellectual guys, the ones who are absorbed by her soft and quiet warmth. Yet at the same time, I can't help but be reminded of her slightly more giggly, innocent moments, like when she dressed up in that magician's outfit in one Love Generation episode, or the strangely adorable seriousness, like in most of the earlier episodes in HERO. It was later in that show that we saw a different dimension to her character's personality, and by then she was giving us another set of expressions.
There's an expressiveness about her that doesn't require very much exaggeration. That's why I'd go for her over this Ayumi person any day. Ayumi is just overdone and over the top. I'm one for subtlety, even though I can be pretty open and out-and-out quite often.
... It's just that there's a very different side to me that not many people know. Everybody sees me as some Mr. OTT (Over The Top). Yes, I am a bit - okay, very - OTT at times. But I can't be like that all the time; it does exhaust, you know. The other me doesn't show up until I'm away from hard, solid work, and by then you usually don't see me.
Which of her songs have stood out for me? I can think of a few. There's the first one I heard, Yume no Shizuku. There's the one that came two singles later, Sakura no Ame Itsuka. Going back, there's that one where she's silent outside but crying out loud deep inside, entitled I Stand Alone. Another one that hit me was Stay With Me. Going forward in time, Koishiihito was light and dry, while there was an airy fairy-ness about Hana no Youni (which until recently was my mobile's ringtone). And there are so many more...
Takako just switched back from Universal-Polydor to BMG, where she first started. And she's released an album too. I just bought it, but didn't have the time to sit down and listen to it. I feel guilty about that. I don't know why, but I do. It's almost like forgetting to pick up the phone when someone of personal importance calls.
So I just thought I would take this chance to say this:
Happy 29th birthday, Takako! May your life be full of smiles! gambitch [
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Looks like the illness bug's floating around. That, or someone's really succeeded in punishing her body just a little bit too much.
I'm not exactly getting the right amount of sleep either. But frankly, I don't care about that now.
So this means there's a piece of work that suddenly has to come my way. It has to, because I don't think it's fair and right for someone who's ill to be doing work. I'd gladly take it in the meantime. I'm the iron man, remember?
Sure, it means I have to readjust all sorts of things in my working schedule today. But those readjustments are not that consequential. Worst comes to worst, I'll just take some of my regular work home.
But that's temporary. What's a more permanent concern is getting that body punished by all the work. Don't be so hard on yourself; leave that kind of thing to me. Masochism and you don't go.
The arrhythmia is arresting... gambitch [
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Believe it or not, yesterday, I walked home. The walk lasted about 40 minutes, and had the desired effect of quite immediately putting me to sleep.
Sealed memories, frozen in the chambers of time...
I'm back already from the overseas assignment, in case anyone wondered.
(I guess not, given how nobody EVER comments here. Where's the interactivity?)
Anyway, my hair's a bit on the long side now. I'm definitely going to trim off the sides and back soon, at the very least. But before I go do that, anyone has suggestions on how I should wear my hair? gambitch [
Sunday, June 04, 2006
I'm currently overseas for a short while on assignment. Actually, the assignment itself just finished not long ago. So now I've got time to scribble a little.
Watching the game was, on the overall, painful. At the end of it I'm left with mixed feelings about the way it played out. Sure, we won. That's an undeniable fact. But we won a game that, hand on heart, we shouldn't have. We never deserved it until the shootout came along. That's as simple as it gets for me. Winning only allows us the cheap excuse to paper over what are pretty big cracks.
And that's why I came out hitting pretty hard in my first draft. I know you're not happy. But I needed to come out with at least half my guns blazing. I did warn you, and you did say okay. Maybe you saw this coming from me. If you did, that's brilliant anger management, even if it's my anger, not yours.
But you know how, sometimes, you make it difficult for me in the oddest of ways? It really was difficult. I was torn between any number of things. The need to tell the truth, the need to provide some kind of constructive feedback, the need to avoid lulling anyone into the complacency that would inevitably arise from focusing on the victory without examining how it happened. That, lined up against just doing another public relations exercise.
I could have killed my conscience and focused on the win. I could so, so easily have. All it required was for me to sell my soul. But I can't bring myself to do it. I'm a harsh critic. Hell, I'm harsh on even myself! How bad can it get?
But that's that.
It was, all said and done, a bad game. But a good day. The train ride was particularly pleasant as I tried to think happy thoughts, and generally managed to do so. Didn't hurt having my MP3 playlist on, complete with Takako's lovely voice. She really is lovely, I am not bluffing you. Lovely in that light manner, like the dry, slightly powdery sakura petals as they fall and brush across your face. Yet sometimes so powerful and moving from deep inside.
And that had me thinking happy thoughts.
But my thoughts for the night were sad, as I wrote on something I wished I could figure a better way to describe. Better on so many levels. But I couldn't.
That's why I came out firing in that draft. And that's why I know you had a painful time reading it and trying to edit it. In the end, you figured it was better to throw it back to me.
Now I'll have to see what I can do. gambitch [