About Shamisen

Shamisen is the site owner, administrator, and basically the guy responsible for keeping this place running. His interests include aviation and anime. He is perpetually in a strange mood…

Requiem for a Friend

Duncan      December 31 1996 - July 15 2013

December 31 1996 – July 15 2013

This morning I awoke to an empty house. For the first time in almost seventeen years, my friend and constant companion is not here. Just before eleven am yesterday, he made the journey from this world to the next. When trying to find the words to describe him I came across a couple of quotes, I’d like to include them here, they speak well.

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” – Anatole France

“He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe him to be worthy of such devotion.” – Anonymous

Rest well old friend, you were loved and cherished by many.

Scandal: Their Fifth Anniversary

In August 2006 four young ladies: Haruna Ono, Tomomi Ogawa, Mami Sasazaki and Rina Suzuki met in an Osakan vocal and dance school.  As they became friends, they decided to form a band. On the 21st of that month they formed Scandal, and they started performing at Osaka Castle Park.  The rest is becoming history, as they say.

Today we celebrate their fifth anniversary and take a brief look at this self proclaimed “Most Powerful Japanese Girlie Pop Rock Band.”

First let’s introduce the band.

Haruna Ono–guitar and lead vocals, born August 10, 1988–is the leader and oldest member of the group. Her philosophy is to spotlight each member of the group in every song or performance. This way, no one person gets the all the attention. In my opinion it’s worked quite well.

Tomomi Ogawa–bass and vocals, born May 31, 1990–does quite a bit of the song writing for the group and adds her playing expertise along with her stunning vocals to each song.

Mami Sasazaki–vocals and lead guitar, born May 21, 1990–shows extraordinary guitar playing and an intensity on stage that I’ve not seen in ages. Her solos are something to behold.

Rina Suzuki–drums, keyboard and vocals, born August 21, 1991–is the youngest member of the group and the most outspoken in interviews on and off the stage, besides being quite a drummer in her own right.

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Irony by ClariS

Irony, the opening to Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai, is a song recorded by the singing duo known as ClariS. This group consists of two high school students named Kurara and Arisu. Uploading their own songs to anime websites led to their debut and signing by Sony Music Entertainment.

Very little is known about the history of these two artists. Any photos are actually anime portraits from a “well-known illustrator.” The mystery surrounding these two–along with the haunting tune shown above–has generated quite a bit of speculation. What I know is that, besides Irony, they have also recorded a song called Connect. It’s the opening theme to Mahō Shōjo Madoka Magica, which starts showing on Japanese TV on January 6, 2011.

There is also a website dedicated to the group: the ClariS Official Website.

Wherever their paths lead them, it is this authors hope that they have an enjoyable and fulfilling career.

Assembly and Paint in Less Than Three Minutes

Most of you know that, besides anime, my other passion is aviation. It is my first passion, because it existed long before anime was dreamed of. This video gives you a glimpse of what is involved in the final assembly and painting of a Southwest Boeing 737-800.

The subsections arrive by rail at the final assembly plant next to Boeing Field Seattle, Washington and then the fun begins. I know that an in-service overhaul of this airplane takes six to eight weeks to complete. I’ll use those numbers as a guideline as to how long this process takes. So the next time you see one in flight or ride on one remember what it takes to make one. And that video doesn’t even show the full construction. All the subsections–fuselage, wings and tail surfaces–are assembled at the other Boeing Commercial Aircraft Company plants or come from other subcontractor facilities world wide. They took months to complete on their own. Did you know about 50 gallons of paint are used to paint a typical 737? Once the paint is dry, it will weigh approximately 250 pounds.

So many things we take for granted today were only the dreams of visionaries 50 years ago. In this season of dreams, my present to you is another look at the other part of my world. Although I’m fashionably late, enjoy a look as this modern marvel springs to life.

Minako Kotobuki’s Sharp Galapagos Ad

With “Irony,” the opening theme from OreImo, playing in the background. Minako Kotobuki, (Tsumugi Kotobuki in K-ON!) introduces us to the new Sharp Galapagos, a media tablet, that according to the video can be used anywhere to do just about anything. The tablet went on sale in Japan on Friday.

In this video she gives us her feedback on the device. It looks like she’s having a great time too. Now a lot of us don’t understand Japanese, but with Minako as the sales representative, I do believe the Galapagos will be a smashing hit. I wonder if there’s an English version?

Happy Birthday Minori Chihara

A very happy birthday to my voice.

The staff of Project Haruhi wishes Ms. Minori Chihara a very happy birthday and many more to come.

Although primarily known as Yuki’s voice, Minori has have a very prolific musical career as well. I’ve posted several of her songs, but this is one that I haven’t shared with you yet. This selection is called “Shijin no Tabi” (“Travels of the Poet”). Listen for yourself below the break!

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I’m Not Sure What to Expect From a K-ON!!! Film

Editorial Comment

The final K-ON!! episode announced that a film will be produced. I can’t say I’m surprised, but I am somewhat disappointed. Do we really need this?

KyoAni has done it again: they gave us a repetitive and boring second season that didn’t live up to the first, just like Haruhi, and then tried to win back our favor with a film announcement. Bah! Why waste our time and money with a subpar TV anime season when KyoAni can give us better material on the big screen? MERCHANDISE is the answer. It’s all for one and one-thousand yen for a Mio doll.

Is this the future of anime? Do the studios care about nothing but merchandise and ticket sales? Substance, story and plotline don’t matter anymore? I certainly hope not… but given what I’ve seen lately, it’s hard to be optimistic.

I’ve said on the podcast that K-ON! had all the material to do a third season, provided it focused on the light music club and its new members. Will this film be about Yui and company, or the new band under Azusa’s tutelage? Will the girls finally realize their dream of playing at Budokan, or just sit around drinking tea? If this just winds up being more of the same pointless filler we got for much of the second season, they just shouldn’t bother making this film at all.

Here’s to the K-ON!!! movie. I hope you live up to the hype.

Need More K-ON! Music? Try These Seiyuu Solos!

With the second season of K-ON!! in the can, many of us are already starved for more peppy after-school music.  Aki Toyosaki, who is the voice artist of the character Yui Hirasawa, has released two singles over the past year, which is old news. However, Minako Kotobuki who plays Tsumugi is releasing a solo of her own. This I find rather surprising. Since I don’t think Minako’s done a solo, in the series that is, it will be interesting to hear what she sounds like without the other four members of H.T.T.  The links listed below the photos will take you to CD Japan where you can hear forty-five second previews of the songs that Aki and Minako are releasing.

More after the break.

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The Confessions of Aya Hirano

Editorial comment

Here I was hoping Aya was on the road to normalizing her career, but that notion seems to be in my dreams. In reality, her career is becoming a large looming uncontrollable nightmare. Her recent revelations about her love life have caused quite a stir among her fans, creating lots of unnecessary and ultimately harmful drama. How Aya is coping with this is something we’d all like to know.

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