For those who live in the Western Hemisphere as well as Japan and Korea, all the kids head back to school (though some even go back to school at late August?).
But for some of us, I look forward to a Sweet September. It marks the the end of summer, literally, and in to the cooler, slightly gloomier season. It also marks somewhat a beginning for us as well. For one thing, my mother’s birthday is coming up on the 16th. Though it’s not that important to many of you, any person’s birthday regardless whether you know that person or not personally is still an important event. It just marks another year of that person living to this very earth.
For all the nutty and stormy ARASHI fans out there, the 16th is also an important day. It is also the 10th Anniversary of the group being together and in the industry for straight ten years. Of course, for us on the other side of the globe, that would be the 15th. The five destined boys chosen by the J-Man himself appeared on a cruise ship bound for the Aloha State of the U.S. of A and declared its official debut as a new boy group to entertain the masses in song, dance, action, and freestyles on the 15th of September, and thanking the dreaded time zones, that same day is also the 16th of September for those who live in the Eastern Hemisphere, not just in Japan. It feels as if it was just yesterday that these dudes debuted from innocent-looking timid young boys to full-pledged professional men.
Japan is really awesome— rather the Japanese people— at keeping their favorite artists at bay and on the limelight regardless of their age and their level of popularity among the fans. Of course, every single year, there’s always someone new debuting in to the industry for the new young generation. If you notice, as senior groups such as ARASHI continue their success from time to time, not only that they grow up but the fans who followed them from the beginning also grow up with them as well. Take SMAP, TOKIO, KinKi Kids, and V6, for example. They may not have a bigger presence in famed idol magazines such as Wink Up!, Myojo, Duet, Potato, and so on as they used to during their fresh and young years, but everywhere else in every medium, their dominance still continues. Remember, idol magazines are just a small niche in media and advertising. They are not necessarily a huge portion of an idol’s (or an idol group’s) presence in the limelight. In fact, with today’s latest technology, the world (wide web) pretty much dominates the entire media genre over radio, TV, and print (magazines included under print you know). People around the world stumble upon them at some fan site or at some official news and entertainment site and BAM! They are discovered by a wider audience.
When I started building my massive ARASHI fansite back in 2002, I gave the name Rising Storm. The “rising” part stately means that this group is still new despite that they have been out for two years and eight months since their debut year in 1999 but at the same time their presence is gradually rising to the point where they can even reach the legendary idol group level. It used to be hosted under a personal domain before I eventually moved it to another server and another domain, amnosNET. For those who have no clue as to what that domain name means, AMNOS is a secondary name for ARASHI, consisting of the first letter of the members’ surnames (Aiba, Matsumoto, Ninomiya, Ohno, Sakurai). I still refer to them as AMNOS from time to time as part of my writing style whenever I write about them.
After I took my one-year hiatus from ARASHI fandom, closing down (or rather abandoning) the entire site altogether, I already had a feeling that ARASHI already reached the level of legendary idol group, at least in my opinion. When I came back, my gut feeling was right. I already felt it before I even went on hiatus when the top-grossing J-drama Hana Yori Dango TV mini-series aired and the charismatic yet clumsy rich kid Tsukasa Domyouji (portrayed by youngest member Jun Matsumoto) hooked so many fan girls around the world to ARASHI. My favorite member is/was Sho Sakurai back then, but I did watch the series anyhow because I was familiar with the manga series released in the U.S. under the literal translated title, Boys Over Flowers. (not to mention the Taiwanese drama Meteor Garden, based on the Hana Yori Dango storyline) Afterwards, the rest is history.
Like the rest of the world, ARASHI is not a perfect group. The group altogether as well as each member went through many troubles and struggles, but regardless they all got themselves together and stand up and face these challenges. If they didn’t then they would not still be together until today. The members are becoming somewhat active at appearing at other places outside Japan when time permits. What can I say? The storm continues to rise up and invading your land with their greatness, awesomeness, and their prominence.
So, here’s my hats to you, AMNOS. May you have many more years to come until the right time to end arrives. My mother’s birthday is my only reminder of your anniversary date and I thank fate for that. It felt as if it was somewhat of a calling for me that I had some kind of a mission to make your presence known around the world starting with the world (wide web). I’ve done it with Rising Storm/amnosNET. Somehow I brought other fans to make their marks in the world (wide web) and create more sites dedicated to this kick-ass stormin’ group. I sometimes wish that some of these sites would promote you in a much more positive light because you dudes don’t deserve in becoming well-known based on these horrid controversial events and ugly stories written by the tabloids. You dudes do not belong to the fans. The fans belong to you. Know what I’m saying?
Happy 10th Anniversary, dudes! Continue on using your mad skills and powers to knock your fans down and knock your haters out! More power and mad props to you!