Around this time of April, the cherry blossoms1 are beginning to disappear, petal by petal.
I haven’t been spending much time blogging since I came back from Lenten fasting. That’s because things got in the way and, well, you know the deal. 😅
My dad just returned home from his solo trip2 in France and purchased some “Made in France” goods. More on this one at another entry, perhaps.
Give Progate a try if you or if you know someone who’s interested in getting into web dev or web programming. They’re very low key compared to Codeacademy and Udemy, but I think they deserve some recognition in the web dev/programming learning platform. Looking forward to seeing more of what Progate offers in the future! ☺
Another challenge to tackle
So, I’ll just admit that I haven’t been following my so-called “new diet routine” back in the early 2010s right after I was discharged from the hospital. My weight has been fluctuating, and even though my part-time job involved a lot of physical work, it seems that I end up eating so much again and worse, I end up taking long naps right when I get home. I seriously need to stop and go back to that “new diet routine” again.
I actually bought basmati rice from before and thought about going back to eating quinoa again, but it’s been difficult, especially if I’ve become too lazy to cook lately and that the rest of the family members still continue on eating the same types of dishes as always but in small proportions. Let’s just say, my body hasn’t been acting normally with the food and I end up eating a lot for lunch and very little at home.
I’m diabetic, but I love food so much, it’s so difficult to give up certain types of food. It’s very difficult to give up on the carb-filled foods, especially when you grew up eating them in the first place and then just get accustomed to them. I have to look back and retrace my usual food habits. I haven’t eaten fast food for so long, I’ve always eaten as much fresh foods as I can, and yet there’s a side of rice or bread that’s sitting there along with it.
Proportions don’t work for me anymore. I need to find another alternative but I don’t have the budget for them (as organic foods are expensive). I have to go back to my Kindle eBooks and re-read those diet books that I downloaded from some years before. I need to do a total detox. 😫
I even purchased both the Nom Nom Paleo cookbooks from before, but my motivation to cook had been on the negative level for the longest time. 😥
How (J-Pop) fandom has changed…
… especially when social media suddenly becomes a norm for every single person on earth, which includes celebrities, idols, artists, musicians, you know, people in the entertainment industry. It’s a good thing… a VERY good thing, actually. 😅
I used to cringe at the thought of social media, most especially with Facebook. I was okay with Twitter and YouTube than when they first came out, but around that time, my J-Pop fangirl days had been dwindling,6 and before I know it, I realized that the worse of the worst types of fangirls had taken over and I had been low key ousted LOL. 😁
So, fast forward to some ten years later, and here I am, back again. Only this time, the methods of communication and connection within people had gotten closer through social media. I have been avoiding Facebook to be honest, mainly because it’s not quite a good way to connect with fellow fans (long story on this one), plus my Facebook wall has been infested with so much unnecessary drama from some “friends” that even I was getting in the bad mood for no particular reason.
And so, because of social media, everyone can now connect with each other. This also means, even celebrities, idols, and those you’d never thought would never meet (one way or the other) are there, whether you’re keeping an eye on them for some news about their work, news about a bit of their life, or just a few tweets of thoughts here and there towards a particular subject or two. Still, with so many fans following them, you knew there was no way that particular celebrity would notice you, not even once, not even a like or a retweet or a share. No way…
No way… right?
“Silent MADKID Fan”? Yeah right. 😅
If you haven’t read my previous post dated April Fool’s Day/Easter, I’ve written a pretty long section about MADKID, an up and coming J-Pop boy group that I declared that I would be a “silent fan” of.
Let’s just say, four days after I wrote that entry, well… things happen… on social media… just keep on reading. 😅
YouTube is where it’s at!
YouTube definitely is a wonderful platform. There are other online video platforms around the net, but YouTube is the universal one. In the J-Pop industry, sadly, not all record companies or even talent agencies would even bother showing off their talents and their music to the world because of their nitpickiness (is there such a word?) with copyrights.
One such talent agency7 recently opened their very first YouTube channel for their trainee idols, Johnny’s Jr. And still, Johnny’s still do not promote their seasoned talent (ARASHI, for example) on YouTube and those (fans) who do upload any of those videos can get caught with a “cease and desist” warning or else their accounts can get suspended/banned.
There are other record labels (Avex Trax, for example) who would upload teasers of their artists’ music videos. It’s a promotional tactic in which if you want to see the entire music video, you would have to purchase their CDs that includes the movie tracks of that said music video, possible music videos of the song’s B-sides, and even the BTS (behind the scenes) videos too. Even though today, CDs aren’t as bestselling as they used to because of platforms like iTunes, Amazon Music, and Spotify, the Japanese music scene still rely on the CD sales because of the extra goodies you won’t find on those online music subscription platforms.8
In the case of YouTube, if you like a video, you wouldn’t mind leaving a comment letting the people behind those videos how much you enjoyed and like them. Just leaving a comment may seem pointless, considering that everybody else leaves a comment and (probably) are saying the same thing as you. However, if you’re a foreigner who leaves a comment (in English) in a J-Pop video uploaded by either the official record label or talent agency or a fancam uploaded by a Japanese fan, there is a small chance that you might get noticed by the uploaders themselves.
I left a comment on one of the MADKID fancams and I got a response from the fan (who was actually a traveler from Europe) who took the fancam and we ended up following each other on Twitter. We got to know each other a bit more through DMs and then learned that the guys of MADKID do tend to connect and communicate with their fans whenever they can, whether if it’s in one of their live street performances or on bigger venues. The fan herself even had a chance to communicate and speak with them herself.
If you were in my shoes at that time, you would get curious about the group, right?
I’ve declared from my previous entry that I would be a silent fan for a variety of reasons. One of them happens to be because I am actually afraid of joining the (global) fandom itself because of the messy past I had as a J-Pop fan 10-something years ago with ARASHI. I don’t want to experience the same thing with the global fandom for MADKID, which was my initial thought. That was the intention in the first place. However, even just one small comment on YouTube or even a small tweet (with tags) or a mention, things can change a bit.
When she and I got to know each other more, she noticed my Twitter profile, mainly my home location. She saw me that I’m from the San Francisco Bay Area. She then directed me to another person who knew the MADKID guys more9 than she does, and that close friend happens to live across the SF Bay from me. A local fan! 😄
My curiosity got the best of me about MADKID. It’s gotten to the point later in which I can no longer be silent.
Again, social media is amazing.
Boba tea shots… Is there something wrong with Instagram?
One thing I like about Instagram is that if your account is public, and you post a lot of photos that are NOT selfies, you do get likes and compliments from other Instagram photographers. Some of them start following you also. But still, a like or a comment is more than enough to be recognized that there is someone out there who is interested in your Instagram shots (that are NOT your selfies) and that they appreciate your mobile photography work.
I do post up a couple of selfies here and there myself, just to “promote” the products that I use (mainly cosmetics and beauty products and sometimes clothes), but I’m also a hobbyist photographer myself, taking photos of places, landscapes, food, some (lettering) art, and other odd things that pretty much has got nothing to do with myself. When I mentioned earlier about getting likes and praises from anybody on Instagram, that anybody can include fresh and upcoming celebrities.
… especially when they’re photos of “odd things.” In my case, my boba tea pics or any other pics that are related to boba teas. We all love boba teas anyway, so why not share some? 🥤
When I noticed that my old (as in months old) boba tea pics have been receiving some likes from one and a few users, sometimes you get curious who those users were and why they would just “randomly” like my months old boba tea pics. Maybe they’re boba tea lovers or something. Turns out when I checked their Instagram accounts, these guys were more than just boba tea lovers.
One of those boba tea lovers happens to be one of the members of MADKID. 😄 I decided to follow him and the official MADKID Instagram account and the rest of the members too because of that.
Because I’m a somewhat awkward new fan then, I was too shy to leave comments, so I just complimented them with likes on their pics instead.
The fifth member, Lin, would rather you follow his SoundCloud and listen to his own tracks, demos, samples, and he also forwards recommendations from other great independent artists and songwriters too. This is all of his solo work, they have nothing to do with MADKID10, this defines and establishes him as a seriously legit songwriter from the lyrics to the composition. If you enjoy his music, want to talk about his music, have recommendations of other (underground) music, artists, or songwriters, give him a holler. Anything else other than that, don’t bother him.11
But that’s why there’s five of them. You can drop by the other four and say hi. They may be busy, but when they do get some time to check out their social media accounts, you will get noticed by at least one or two of the members.
The most powerful social media platform that you can get really noticed by at least one of the members in a short time? There is one: Twitter.
… even an automatic notification tweet from YouTube can get you visibly noticed… in a few seconds!
If you think YouTube and Instagram would actually get you out from your “silent fan” shell, there’s even a more powerful platform that can break your shell for good: Twitter.
Most J-Pop artists and idols have Twitter. Many of them have Instagram accounts too, but the most widely used social media that many of these J-Pop celebs would use is Twitter. It’s quick, convenient, and easier to manage. I happen to like Twitter myself too. Don’t even bother with Facebook, they’re not going to be there.
After I downloaded all of MADKID’s songs on both iTunes and Spotify, I often would go back on YouTube to watch their music videos and even their earlier work.12 I’ve left a few comments here and there, but didn’t even bother actually liking the videos. So, I started liking some of those videos, and making sure I had Facebook and Twitter syncs checked, so that other than just saying “I liked a video from YouTube,” I wanted everybody on my friends and followers list to see it and check them out.
Just one “like” on a YouTube video on an underrated but worthy music video from a J-Pop group or artist and then have an automatic notification tweet appearing on your Twitter account can get you noticed— by the staff of the group/artist you follow or by the group/artist themselves.
(Yuki liked this notification tweet!)
Or better yet, tweet something about the group and/or their music and tag them related to your tweet. Sometimes it helps to mention the Twitter accounts too. When I did this the first time, I wasn’t expecting anything. Maybe a fellow MADKID fan (Japanese or global) would notice it, but as proven here, I’m wrong again. 😅
Just don’t tweet and tag them with something pointless and stupid though… an example of that: re-tagging the members on a retweet coming from their official Twitter account that has their official pics of them. The official account already tagged the members when they post these, so please don’t retweet and re-tag them. 🙄
(Yuki and Shin liked this tweet!)
MADKID (and the members) aren’t the only ones who will notice you on Twitter. For instance, J-Pop R&B/Hip-hop queens, FAKY, will notice you too!
That’s the power of social media, everyone! It truly is an impactful tool, one way or the other.
Don’t underestimate the mobile-only social media apps!
Last, but not least, what finally got me out of my “silent fan” shell are two particular mobile-only social media apps. Well, one of them anyway. 😅
In case you haven’t heard of this (I actually haven’t heard of this either until recently), let me introduce to you the first mobile app that every fan of whatever (J-Pop, K-Pop, anime, TV show, whatever) should download: Amino Apps. (available on iTunes, Android, and on Amazon Kindle)
So, Amino is kind of like Facebook pages, but a whole lot more elaborate. You can create Wiki pages of your favorite subject, have public and private chats among your fellow fans and enthusiasts, escape away from your personal blog to “hide away” your fandom and write your blog entries over there (but it’s difficult, since there’s no PC version of this app…), and discover more great artists and subjects among your fellow fans too. I joined the J-POP Amino group in there, and you can check out (English-translated) info about the groups and artists you’re curious with, even MADKID.
That same local MADKID friend and I met up on Twitter and directed me here to join like-minded enthusiastic overseas MADKID fans like myself. There aren’t very many of us, but hopefully, we’ll increase in numbers, little by little.
There is one more mobile app that I’ll be introducing, and this particular app officially broke me out of my “silent fan” shell.
17 (17 Media)
If you’re a global fan, this would be the app that you should download.
17 is a Taiwanese live streaming app in which everybody (yourself included) can do your own livestream, check out other livestreamers, watch them, share photos, etc. They’re kind of like Instagram lives and Facebook lives, only a lot more elaborate. Why? Because, as a livestreamer, you can also generate some revenue through some interesting goodies.13
The app is available to everyone around the world, but because this is based in Asia, only two countries are the most prominent among regular live streamers here: Taiwan and Japan. When I mentioned “everybody can do your own livestream,” that includes, yes, celebrities and idols.
Four of the five14 of MADKID do livestreams at least once a week. Sometimes twice a week. Sometimes more than that. But of course, that also depends on where you live, as you also have to check out the time zones too.
Living on the West Coast U.S. (PST/PDT), it’s quite easy for me to catch their livestreams. Most of the time, they will start their livestreams around a few hours before midnight Japan time (about 5:30 a.m. – 6:00 a.m. PST/PDT time), sometimes they will also come online during late afternoons/early evenings Japan time (about 12:00 midnight – 1:00 am PST/PDT time). Who knows, if you’re a recent fan and would like to get to know them a bit more aside from the profiles, you might discover who your favorite member (oshimen, ichiban, bias, etc.) may be.15
What about the language barrier? I’m happy to let you guys know that you shouldn’t worry about the language barrier too much… that is, if you can speak the most basic English. If you’re not that fluent or proficient in English, even if you’re writing, the guys won’t know how to answer you, let alone giving you some attention.16
Among the five of them, four of them are pretty proficient in English if not fluent,17 but one18 is doing all he can to communicate with the global fans too. In my case, because I’ve gotten rusty with my Japanese,19 I’ve used whatever Japanese I can remember or simply appear on my mind from out of the blue and mix it a bit with the English to communicate. And, it’s pretty effective too.20
But, don’t get your hopes high though. Sometimes, they’ll be doing something that you would feel blessed to witness, which means they won’t be reading and answering fan comments. Sometimes, they’ll be doing a mini live acapella singing.21 Sometimes, they’ll be working out or do some kind of physical training.22 Sometimes, they’ll be doing some dance covers or dance practices too.23 Most of the time though, they will always be sociable and just chill and talk with you guys.24
Before you do download this app, be sure your phone or tablet (iPhone, iPad, Android-based phones and tablets) meet the requirements. This sucker can suck 3GB memory, which my cheap Android-powered phone would sometimes heat up, and that I had to delete most of my apps in order to support 17. Very well worth it though!
New J-Pop discoveries… and BTS? (K-Pop group)
I planned on introducing a few more J-Pop (boy) groups on this entry too, but my rambling about MADKID and social media went kind of long, so I’ll save this for my next entry. I discovered them because MADKID members are real-life friends or are closely connected to the members of these groups. Plus, again, the “liking” of my boba tea-related shots on Instagram played a part of it.
I’ve mentioned before that I lost touch with K-Pop since the breaking up of both H.O.T. and Fin K.L. back in the early 2000s before. Now that I’ve recently gotten back into J-Pop, found the group(s) I’ll be following in the long run, I’m very, very slowly getting to at least one K-Pop group: BTS.25
Lately, whenever I check out YouTube, I see a few recommended videos and mentions about BTS, and this is just right after watching MADKID and other J-Pop videos too. It’s common knowledge now that K-Pop is very popular around the world and all, but in this case, it’s not just any random K-Pop group that YouTube was giving me recommended videos to watch. They were all specifically BTS. Everywhere I go on YouTube, almost every single MADKID and other J-Pop boy group videos, BTS will pop up. I failed to find the connection at first, however, eventually, I discovered the reason why.
I discovered that some of the MADKID members,26 their fellow friends from a number of J-Pop boy groups27 are BTS ARMYs. Their huge number of their Japanese fanbase is BTS ARMYs. A good number of global fans who started following them are also BTS ARMYs, but I’m also hoping that they didn’t become J-Pop boy groups just because they may find some similarities28 between them and BTS.
I eventually ended up going around YouTube and watch some BTS videos, more especially the ones that one of the MADKID members29 would play in the background of their livestream. I even asked my fellow fans at Amino regarding everyone’s love for BTS. Turns out that they like BTS too, though not quite considering themselves as ARMYs. After watching some, I could sort of getting the feeling of the love and admiration to the seven Korean boys that make up the band.
Maybe I can become a silent BTS ARMY too. 😅
I think I’ve written way too much already. I’ll have a better, more “productive” blog entry after this. 😅
Till next time!
On the sidenote...
- here in California anyway [↩]
- actually my cousin-in-law went with him, since he had a business conference to attend in Paris [↩]
- Progate is a free coding learning platform made in Japan. Their “meccha kawaii” characters displayed throughout their site is a giveaway. 😊 [↩]
- Ruby is made in Japan too 😊 [↩]
- Responsive Web Design [↩]
- around 2007-2008 [↩]
- Johnny’s Entertainment, the peeps who manage ARASHI and other great and legendary boy bands in J-Pop history… [↩]
- even if that’s the case, if you live in Japan, you can still purchase or download the songs from iTunes, Amazon Music (Japan), and Spotify. You just won’t get the extra goodies only available on the CDs… [↩]
- that is, personally, person to person, IRL, you know the deal… [↩]
- There is one actually— a demo track and instrumental for “Open the Door.” You can purchase/download the track on iTunes. [↩]
- I’m not kidding when I say this. It’s the mind of an artist at work after all. I’m like that too when I’m on a coding or art-trance period. But I do highly recommend checking out his SoundCloud. Dope to the highest level! [↩]
- earlier as a group before they debuted to the mainstream J-Pop scene. [↩]
- as a user/viewer, you can purchase points, use your points to give the streamer “gifts,” and that streamer will be receiving some revenue in exchange for special recognition, attention, and if the streamer chooses, become part of his/her “gang.” [↩]
- you already know who the fifth member is, I don’t need to mention again… [↩]
- I’m leaning towards three of them… Shin, Yuki, and Kazuki… let’s just leave it at that… [↩]
- Emojis may work though… 😅 [↩]
- Shin, You-ta, Yuki, Lin— well, Lin doesn’t do livestreams so leave him alone… [↩]
- Kazuki – best if you meet a fellow fan who knows Japanese… [↩]
- I used to be pretty fluent from being a fresh college graduate some 10+ years ago… but I’ve lost touch with the language myself [↩]
- Whenever I participate in Shin’s and Yuki’s livestreams, both of them rarely, almost never, reply to me in Japanese, even though I comment/communicate with them in Japanese text… [↩]
- You-Ta and sometimes Kazuki [↩]
- You-Ta [↩]
- Yuki [↩]
- Shin, Yuki, and Kazuki would do this often, which is why I’m leaning my “biases” to the three of them. 😅 [↩]
- Their name in Japanese is Boudan Shounendan, which is the direct translation of the Korean Bangtan Sonyeondan. Japanese ARMYs (BTS official fangroup name) simply call them BTS or Bantan. [↩]
- Yuki and Shin, so far… [↩]
- I plan on introducing IVVY and GRiT on my next entry… there’s a bit of a story to this one, but stay tuned! [↩]
- I’ll talk about this at a later entry [↩]
- Yuki [↩]