cypros: (Little frog)
[personal profile] cypros
I have to thank [livejournal.com profile] karasu_0 for her comment in a post of one of my friends. That comment awoke in me the need to express some things about that particular matter. That's the reason of this post that originally was a reply to her but that ended up being so long as to make me move it in here.

Please allow me to tell you that what follows it's just my personal point of view and that of course I don't intend to change yours. These are just some things I wanted to express after reading your comment Also I should warn you that passion and reason form a strange mixture inside me and make me what I am. Being passion what won me over in answering you, I'd like to apologize in advance if any of my remarks or the way they were put into writing, bothers you in any way.



Let me begin by saying that I honestly envy you. You're fortunate not being the worrying kind as me and many others seem to be. We would be much more happier if we followed your advice and stop making such a fuss about these things. And surely, there are more pressing things in life to worry about, that a bunch of guys we just look at from afar. It's also lucky that you think it's all right to worry about other matters, because I must confess I was worrying about not being allowed to get worried... in general :p

Anyway and, even I have tried my best to apply that wise advice and not to keep my mind occupied in such things... I keep worrying about them... As Valmont would have said... It's beyond my control. Though here I must contradict you, even if it bothers me.

Firstable... they are not my idols. That word... idols, makes me cringe incontrollably everytime I hear it. Of course I have had my amount of musical groups, actors, etc., that I have liked in the passing years, but never did I consider them that. Just people that happen to offer me something I enjoyed.

As for the boys, and from the first time I layed eyes on them some two years ago, neither have I seen them as such. I began by liking what they did and ended up loving what they are. That's their magic. That appart from their work in itself, they're able to bring something much more important, deep and fulfilling, that is happiness, not an easy thing in our days, I should say.

In my case, they helped me through difficult times, putting smiles in my lips, making me laugh and cry and turning my life into something colorful, in spite of what surrounds me daily.

And this takes me to the second thing I feel compelled to punctuate. Thanks to what they gave me, of what I sense in them, I feel as if they were close to me as friends or family, as strange as that may sound. Believe me, I'm the first to be surprised, as never before did I cared so much about people that wasn't personally involved with me in this way until now. But that something inexplicable is their gift, and what makes them so special and precious. That quality of making people care deeply about them and feel for them when something hurtful may touch them. So now you can understand or so I hope, why some of us keep being concerned about them.

Sadly, that makes me go to my third remark. You say we shouldn't get caught up for what tabloids or some fans say about them. Well, I really don't care a bit about what a nonsensical tabloid chooses to say or about what a part of fandom do to have some kind of twisted fun. What I feel concern is about the consequences that those rumors, insults and criticism may cause to them, even if they have been in this business long enough as to have developed some kind of protective shield.

But even they surely are used to all this, they're still "human" and thus, susceptible of suffering when knowing about all this trash created at their expense. And that's what worries us, that's what we don't like. The consequences.

Nevertheless and in spite of it, they have been able to protect their inner self. That's their power. That in spite of being in the position they are, in a company that cut them the possibility of live their lives as they please and constantly scrutinized and criticized by a part of the fandom and the media that I really don't understand, but that seem to take pleasure in spreading whatever trash they find and to enlarge it a bit more, they're able to keep being themselves, to be still natural and true, to give what they can and what they are and to keep going on, no matter what surrounds them.

That's what really means to be human and what explains what my friend really tried to say. To want them to be human is not a personal expectation. The use of that expression simply means we just want them to be what they really are -themselves- and not some kind of manufactured dolls. "We want them" to be free to look, talk, do and be what they are, and not some product merely aimed to sell millions of DVDs or CDs, a cover without anything inside and nothing real to offer. Even more, we want them to have the freedom to decide what they need or want for their lives, and not to be under the dictatorship of an old guy that believes himself to be god, with full authority to decide upon the lives of others.

Freedom... you say it clearly. They're not allowed to do this or that, as in the shows or wherever. I don't feel concerned about what they cut or not, but by the fact they are forced to censor themselves in their lives, which is quite shocking, at least for me, and really quite dangerous and disgusting.

Lastly, as you say, I didn't know anything about how business run in Japan until I met them. And frankly I'm not "hiding behind my finger" -such a little place to hide, in my case-. I learnt how it works as I kept following the boys and it pained me and shocked more and more as I deepened in that knowledge but, never, ever, did I looked the other way. It simply happens I can not do much about it, being just a foreign fan. But among the few things I can do there's my concern and my effort to expose what I feel about it whenever I can, by writing or talking with other fellow fans that share my view.

So I don't just seat back and enjoy. Together with that I protest, I worry, I care and I try to say what I feel. They deserve it and it's also my way to thank them for what they give me everyday.

Don't worry, all this doesn't come in the way of how I love them. It will never do. So no need to let go off them -I could never do that, or confound that rotten business industry with them in themselves-, so no need to cool off either. They'll keep making me happy, besides anything else.

And for that and all I said before, I will keep worrying about their own happiness... As you now know... it's beyond my control ;)

Date: Monday, 28 January 2013 20:41 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karasu-0.livejournal.com
(that indeed was long XD)

I think I may have been sliightly misunderstood (or maybe I didn't phrase things well in that comment), but I will reply for the sake of discussion. also I want to point too that everything below is "just my personal point of view and that of course I don't intend to change yours". :3 One thing this fandom has taught me all this years is to accept other people's opinions and views no matter what.


First of all I must say that like you, I'm a very passionate person about the things(and people) I like. Maybe too much at times :p But, on the same time I'm a very, very realistic person. Stone-cold even. I accept the facts as they are, I don't try to sugar-coat or beautify things in any way and generally I'm a borderline pessimist. XD That sadly applies to fandom as well. :p

And it's not that I don't worry about things or in our case them. It's just that life gives you enough bullshit to worry about and fandom should be a place of happiness and way out of your problems, not yet another source of worry. Worrying or not worrying enough about someone you haven't met and don't know personally(in our case an artist) has nothing to do with how much you like them,imo.

with that said....

they are not my idols
I was using the term loosely(and in the general sense), kind of how the Japanese use it to refer to people who sing and dance and appear on tv(and most of the time are either from JE,AKB or HelloPro). :p I don't refer to Arashi as (my) idols either; they are just my favorite artists ,and favorite people.

In my case, they helped me through difficult times, putting smiles in my lips, making me laugh and cry and turning my life into something colorful, in spite of what surrounds me daily.
ditto. it might be a huge cliche at this point, but it applies to most of us. I've found out about them in a very difficult point in my life and thankfully they have turn it around,help me through a lot of things and made it so much more meaningful and bearable.

I feel as if they were close to me as friends or family, as strange as that may sound
it's not strange. :p and I bet most fans feel(or want to feel) like that. The thing is...they are not? They are just people you see on TV or magazines or during their work(concerts/etc). No matter how "close" that makes you feel to them, it will never amount to how you would feel if they actually were your friends.

as never before did I cared so much about people that wasn't personally involved with me in this way until now.
me neither. for example, when Jun had that small car accident a few years ago, I didn't sleep until we had official info that he was ok.

I feel concern is about the consequences that those rumors, insults and criticism may cause to them
I'm sure they're big boys now and can take criticism of any kind at this point. I want to believe that growing up in the make-you-or-break-you environment of the entertainment industry has probably made them quite thick-skinned? and when you say consequences, what kind of consequences do you mean? monetary? physical? psychological?

they're still "human" and thus, susceptible of suffering when knowing about all this trash created at their expense
and exactly because of that, they have friends and family and people who support them in difficult times, that a few hundred thousands fans "worrying" is not gonna affect them in any way. They might appreciate it but it's probably not gonna matter much.

Date: Monday, 28 January 2013 20:41 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karasu-0.livejournal.com
[part 2 XD]

The use of that expression simply means we just want them to be what they really are -themselves- and not some kind of manufactured dolls.
yes, but the thing is we can't talk for them. We don't know at all how they really are or how they feel, and what kind of image they want to project to the outside. They might be the nicest people(and I personally choose to believe this), but you can't just dismiss the possibility they could also not be, and "themselves" could turn out to be sth you don't like.

"We want them" to be free to look, talk, do and be what they are
we want them to have the freedom to decide what they need or want for their lives
and again, that's what "we want". we have absolutely no idea what they want. what they really want for themselves. God forbid, they might do want to "be under the dictatorship of an old guy that believes himself to be god", coz that gives them work and they do seem to like their job a lot, so they might not see it in such a bad light, like we do. :p

they are forced to censor themselves in their lives
I don't really think they are forced..and I don't quite understand what you mean by "censor" in this context, but isn't it a common practice of famous people around the world to want to keep private things private no matter what? There's obviously influence from the management, but I don't see what's the problem with them keeping their private life to themselves. any and all of it.

It simply happens I can not do much about it, being just a foreign fan.
what would be different if I you were a Japanese fan? :p

So I don't just seat back and enjoy. Together with that I protest, I worry, I care and I try to say what I feel.
not saying you shouldn't; as ginger mentioned to one of her replies "everyone's take on the fandom is different" and we all react differently to the various aspects of it.

So no need to let go off them -I could never do that,
never, never say never. I have met a lot of great people in the fandom who were saying the exact same thing, but they gradually just faded out and left the fandom altogether after some time. :(( (by "time" I mean a few months to a couple of years)


anyway, that's about it I guess XD good talking to you ^^

Date: Tuesday, 29 January 2013 16:39 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cypros.livejournal.com
Hello,

Glad you felt like answering this really long post. Indeed it was... I have never been very good in writing short answers or posts and for that I apologize ;)

I also ask you to forgive me in advance, as this comment to yours will be long too XD

I also like to debate about the things I love. I guess it is in my nature and it helps me clear my mind and thoughts, gain some distance about them and share different points of view. And I'm also one to respect other's opinions, though pointing out mine in the process ;)

We are alike then, in the way we approach the things we love, in a passionate way, though the difference between you and me is that, even I have also a very rational part that analizes everything impartially, I can not be totally stone-cold, as you say you are.

But that doesn't mean I close my eyes to reality, far from it. I'd sometimes wish I could do otherwise but I always see the things the way they are, no matter how hard or awful they are and I'm not one to embellish them. Maybe that's the reason I feel more affected by them. I don't know if I'm a pessimist, but surely I'm realistic. And of course, that applies to fandom too.

I know life is already too hard and complicated and with enough awful things to worry about as to add more with something like this. And I can not agree more with you in what you say that this should be a place of hapiness and not another source of concern. But it seems I can not separate one thing from the other... Cause and effect... Because I love them and they make me happy, I can not help but worry about their happiness and well-being.

And you're right, I haven't met them personally, they're not related to me in a true way, but they've become such an important part of my life that I can not feel otherwise. And I have to desagree here, because I believe I worry so much because I like them so much. If I didn't, I wouldn't feel the way I do, I think. And I really are convinced one leads to the other.

Date: Tuesday, 29 January 2013 16:45 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cypros.livejournal.com
About what I said on the expression "idol". Sorry if I missunderstood the way you used it. Maybe it's my Spanish mentality. Here in Spain we don't use such an expression in the way Japanese do and the way fandoms work is quite different, so I always find it difficult to reconcile that Japanese view of celebrities in my mind with what I'm used toand it really makes me uneasy.

And as you say, for me Arashi is a group of normal guys, that happen to be very talented in singing, acting and entertaining, with the adding extra of knowing how to share that warm and generous something they all carry and that we all feel.

You're right and it seems many people have the same experience about them helping us through difficult times. Another quality they have. I don't know if they do it consciously, but it exists and it's a bless. As I told you yesterday, they always achieve with me the difficult task of making me forget the hard things and to change my mood in an almost miraculous way. Something I still marvell at and for what I'm deeply thankful. I'm glad they helped you too ;)

Of course I perfectly know they are not in fact real family or friends. If there's one thing I have always been very aware of, it's the line between real life and people that are not in that sphere. But the feeling remains the same, no matter that. I feel them close and again I'm sorry to desagree with you -that's what's interesting about debating, isn't it?-, in that I don't just consider them some people I watch in shows or performances.

During these two years in which I have watched so many ancient shows and other things with them in, that I have listened to what they said and see what they did, I felt as if I was watching the story of their lifes in some way. I'm the observant kind and thus I have observed and go further than the mere surface. There's much you can learn in observing people. And maybe it's this what made feel closer and which helped me know a bit more about them than what's apparent.

As for the way I so much feel them and worry, I'm glad I'm not the only one that do so when something happens to them, as the accident you mention about Jun. It's all coming from the same issue we're talking about. It's all in the way we love them. And I dare to use this word, "love" because it is the way I feel it, even if it can sound to you a bit extreme. Believe me again if I tell you it also sounded to me so at times. But it is what it is and I'm now fine with it, even if it means I have a difficult time when something comes to them.

Date: Tuesday, 29 January 2013 16:58 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cypros.livejournal.com
As for the criticism issue, I wasn't refering just to how they take it personally, sorry about it, I should have expressed it better. I also was refering to what could entail for them regarding the company's reaction, publicity contracts or other works that could get compromised for those stories circulating freely.

Japanese people are quite special in image matters and those things and, even if they're not true, they could really harm them at the end. So this means yes, I see they could affect them in their spirits for example, but also in their future. Also in monetary terms, but that really is less important than the other aspects, at least for me. It's hard to work the way they do and have all that jeopardized by some irresponsible rumor circulating about them. Appearances are important in Japan, as I said, and specially in Johnny's and they could see themselves involved in a problem without even being responsible for it. Quite unfair.

I also know they have families and friends that can be there for them when they so need it. But I can not help to have the feeling that in a way they're more lonely than an average person. Blame it on my motherly nature, I don't know, but specially in the cases of Nino and Ohno, I see them as quite solitary, private and not very inclined to share their worries or chagrins with many people, but instead, to swallow them all.

Maybe it's also the Japanese character, not very inclined to show feelings and that interprets being opened and talk about these personal things as a weakness, but that's the way I see it. I can not explain it any better, please forgive me.

But sometimes I see them tired or not well and I wonder why their mothers for instance, are not putting some sense in their heads -and I know they're grown ups but mothers are always mothers no matter how old you are :p-. And telling them to eat properly and rest as much as they can and forget about that stupid obsession of being thing as a leaf.

That's just an example but it goes too with other things that make me look at them attentively and ask me if they are all right. Well, this is also the way Spanish mothers are, and maybe I'm being too Spanish on this :p but it's something I really can not understand.

So yes, you're right, surely the worries of some fans won't change the way they feel but I have the impression that at least we can cheer them up a bit when they know about how we take interest in them, when that interest is genuine, in case they're all alone in his personal problems. Sorry if these last paraghraphs have resulted a bit messy and difficult to understand but it's complicated to put this into words for me.

Date: Tuesday, 29 January 2013 17:16 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cypros.livejournal.com
And here comes a matter I have talked about with ginger a lot of times. When we first started liking them, we always ended up commenting on how we enjoyed the way they seemed to be, their dorkinnes, their apparent natural self, etc., and at one point she began asking me if I though all that was true and not an image they just projected to the exterior. I thought about it for a time and I reached the conclusion that you can fake a character, a pose or a facade for a time, but not for so many years straight, without giving hints of a different nature. Surely they hide things, they don't show it all, and they'll have their flaws, their bad days, their bad moods, as anyone else, but I truly believe that what they let us see, is part of what they are.

I specially think on ancients shows, where they were just kids, doing strange things, in a moment they could act more freely, not being very famous and with those late hour shows and I'm convinced they were just being themselves. And if you look at them, they have just become a bit more serious -not all the time, fortunately-, and serene, but they keep acting more or less the same way.

So you're right, I don't know them for real, but I know what I see and that's what I see. So speaking about that thing of what we want them to be, of course I don't really know what they want, but I'm sure that what they want is keep being themselves, the part we know and the part we don't. Jeezzzz but... am I being a bit confusing today or what??? So many words and I don't know if I'm being clear in what I mean. Forgive me... maybe is that I'm not very well and expressing myself more accurately it's a bit more difficult today. But talking to you helps me forget how my body is giving me trouble ;) so I thank you for it and I'll try to go on...

Continuining with what I was saying, well yes, we don't know the exact nature of that wanting. But that's not what's important. That's just a macguffin... What's important is that they have the chance to get those wanted things. I don't need to know what it is, just know that they can.

And I don't really think they like the state of things regarding how the company works, deep inside them. Yes, their contracts allow them to work, earn money and do some of the things they like, I'm sure, but it also interferes with their personal lives in not a very fair way. How come they're not allowed to have a girlfriend, at least openly, to marry, to have kids, to live as any other normal guy? How come they can be punished, even banned if they happen to revel against those? How come they can not have the right over their works -Sho's raps, Nino's songs, Ohno's choreographies... and so on-. How come they are receiving just a salary and the big boss and the rest of PTB are the ones to keep the biggest part of the benefits they generate?

You can say to me they signed a contract and that they knew what they were getting themselves into but they didn't. They were just kids when they entered the company. It is their parents who should have watched after those things, and we don't know which kind of clauses tied them then to be even more tided up in future contracts. Forgive me again for getting a bit heated about this but for me, those are strange ways of dealing with these kind of things and that make me wonder about some peculiarities of the Japanese mentality I find hard to understand.

Date: Tuesday, 29 January 2013 17:24 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cypros.livejournal.com
You could also say they're free to go if they felt pushed to do things they don't like but the truth is they're not. If they tried to leave Johnny's to pursue their carriers on their own, I'm sure the company would try to ban them in the industry, so they could not get any work anywhere. That's what I meant by dictatorship. In Europe, the States, etc., if you're not happy with your company, you can break your contract, maybe paying something for doing it, but you're free to try your chances some place else. But I don't think the boys could do so.

And that's what "forced" means to me. I wasn't talking about how they manage their privacy. That I understand perfectly, that they want to keep their private affairs private. What I was refering to was to be free of managing those private aspect of their lifes, together with having the liberty to decide about their work. And I don't see they can do it as freely as they should. That's also what censor themselves mean to me. It's like... if you want to do that, take it with all this... If not... you won't be working again in this business, because I'll make sure you can't.

As for describing myself as a foreign fan, it was just a way to situate myself as an even more distant fan than a Japanese one. Japanese fans, or at least I see it this way, have some kind of influence when spreading their opinion on how their favourite Johnny's should be, act, etc. Quite dangerous too, if I may say so. Some of them don't like them married, looking in a way or other, acting like this or that and they say it quite loudly and sometimes I have seen their voices have change some things, not to my taste, I must say, but they did. Please I want to make clear I'm not talking about all Japanese fans, but a part of them. I have not that power of influence in anything related to them. I can not even make my opinion known. Nor that I think we should have any influence in what they do, but just stating a fact.

I know you didn't mean I couldn't say what I feel, think, etc., and I just meant that this is the only thing I can do with what I feel about it. And of course I know everyone of us have our own way to face all this ;) This happens to be mine.

Believe me please, if I tell you I try very hard not to say categorically that thing of "I'll never blah, blah". I have had my amount of phrases of these kind in the past that just came back to slap in my face ouchhh... And of course circumstances change, as well as our needs and what we go to in different moments of our lives. So probably you're right in that I should have said that, for now, I'm going to keep loving them and enjoying what they give me and not venture myself more in a distant future.

But one thing I know for sure... that for two years my liking of them has been growing and not the contrary and that in thinking of not having them there, I feel that something very important would be missing in my life, so it's in that light that I said I'll keep enjoying them ;)

Sorry for this extra long answer and for not being very coherent at times. I really am not well but wished to come and talk to you ;) Have in mind I had a great pleasure in answering you and talking about all this. Please feel free to come again when you want, if you want ;) :D

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