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Sho, at the start of a man

When I first got into Arashi, I was only in it for Jun and ignored everyone else. I used to go on YouTube, search Arashi and the way I was focused on Jun it was like the other four didn't exist. Slowly, as it was inevitable, I discovered the charms of the others and, ultimately, the magic that is the five of them together, which has kept me in the fandom for good. In the case of Sho, it was his arms. Those muscles! Because until just recently, muscles were one thing Jun was seriously lacking. (That man was all skin and bones, it scared me! I wanted to shove food down his throat and fatten him up so badly.) I'll admit I have even had wild fantasies in which I was held by those strong, muscular arms. This was after the everyone-but-Jun-is-ugly phase during the time I was just getting to know everyone else and was, "They're all adorable! Who do I choose?! I CAN'T CHOOSE!!" I finally settled on one Matsumoto Jun though he and the rest of Arashi now all hold more or less equal pieces of my heart.

But to be honest, even with his air muscles (as I eventually found out they were. Lost to Nino? Seriously?) I couldn't completely like Sho. If, last year, someone put a knife to my throat (I don't know who. Someone crazy) and forced me to rank the members of Arashi in order of most like to least like, while I would be in agony trying to rank the middle three members (Jun would, of course, be first), I would place Sho last without a second thought. If I were in the same situation now, I'd probably be killed. I have finally accepted Sho and I have his Tokudane interview to blame thank.

So why couldn't I completely like this man until this interview? The fact that he raps could have been a factor. I have never liked rap and to this day, Sakurap is one of the few raps I tolerate and, in some songs, even enjoy (PIKA☆☆NCHI DOUBLE). I have always seen Sho as a family man and because I'm so suspicious of everyone nice, it seemed to me like he was trying to show off by making himself look like this sweet and perfect guy. He continually mentions his family in interviews, whether it be a family trip to celebrate the new year or dinner with his parents. It was only after that particular interview that I finally accepted that this is what he is; a man who deeply values family.

"Having a wife, she's dressed in a wedding gown, walking down the aisle. I don't really have such an image. But family, having children, going to the park, laying down the blue sheet. I long for such a day."

- Sho, Tokudane interview, 29.11.2011


Also, I was worried that Sho would become too popular for Arashi. That he would one day leave the group because he could make it on his own. It's been rumoured that Sho is the most highly paid in Arashi and has one of the biggest salaries in Johnny's, which is understandable because he has his newscaster job and probably gets royalties for his rap lyrics. But Sho assured me that he would never even consider quitting Arashi.

"It has to be five people, I can't imagine Arashi with anyone missing. If someone quits and we become four people, it's not Arashi anymore."

- Sakurai Sho


So I have thrown all my dislikes away and finally admitted to myself that I love Sakurai Sho. Still, remnants of my old love-hate relationship with Sho remain. You see, even now, Sho annoys me. He is too perfect. Perfect idol. Perfect newscaster. Perfect husband when he becomes one and then, perfect father. He can do everything and does it well. Don't get me wrong, I love him but where is his shortcoming? Are not we all flawed? That is what makes us human. Some may argue that he is bad at drawing but his drawings never fail to induce laughter, which makes him a perfect comedian. Others may argue that he has sloped shoulders, but that makes him the perfect victim to endless bullying. Others still, that he stumbles on his words, but that only makes him perfectly adorable. Because even though his body is stiff and he has zero athletic abilities and he complains that he has no hobby and he is afraid of heights, he still tries hard and I find that perfectly admirable. Not only that, I admire his eloquence, how he has to make sure his meaning is conveyed properly to the interviewer, the way he plans his days and actually sticks to the schedule, the way he is good with kids, how he is hard on himself when playing the piano, his crack faces, his snoring (wait, are these even admirable traits? There is clearly something wrong with me), his chipmunk cheeks, his two front teeth, his "MAXIMUM umai", the way he looks good in glasses, that he brought a tube thingy to Arashi's training camp so as not to bother the others with his snoring but it ended up producing a miraculous sound instead, and probably a lot more that I can't name right now. A better word is probably envy. I guess I have always been envious of Sho. On his 30th birthday, this is what I've come to realise.

Lastly, there are a few things for which I am grateful to this perfect creature. The man himself will never read this but if I post it, at least it's out there and, in my mind, that's as good as message conveyed.

Thank you for your raps. Thank you for your fail. Thank you for being the responsible one. Thank you for being Arashi's shadow leader. Thank you for widening Arashi's reach through your newscaster job. Thank you for making sure the rest of the guys eats proper meals. Thank you for challenging your fear of heights to make Arashi's concerts greater spectacles. Thank you for paving the way for idols to pursue a higher education. Thank you for loving Arashi. Thank you for your beautiful piano at Kouhaku. Thank you for being Arashi's MC. Thank you for your big heart that is willing to do anything to bring everyone laughter, even if it's at your expense. Most importantly, thank you for not quitting like you originally wanted to. Arashi wouldn't be the same without you.

Happy Birthday!

















































































How I love that they did this ♥ XD

In which a red bicyle was almost stolen

I used to dream every night. Weird wonderful dreams. Lately though, dreams have been rare. My nights are black and full of nothingness. Maybe this is a sign of growth. This morning, however, I decided to sleep in and it was a good decision because I was visited by a dream.

There is a park in front of my real house but the park was closer to, right in front of, my dream house. I was walking toward my house. The gates were wide open. There was a man in the park desperately trying to pull off a piece of metal from the playground equipment. I quickly averted my gaze, wanting nothing to do with him. The moment I got home I closed the door shut. Then I remembered the gates, open and inviting, and our bikes, unlocked. I opened the door and just at the right time too for the man, having failed in his original pursuit, was already in the front yard, inching his way toward our red bicycle (which, in real life, is actually blue). I shouted and he hastened in a last desperate attempt, pulling the red bicycle with him. When he reached his motorcycle, parked on the corner of the street, he realised there was no way he could make away with our bike. He ran from bike to motor a few times, undecided, until my yell made him give up and he sped away on his motorcycle. I retrieved the red bicycle, wheeled it home and locked the gates.

Slightly disturbing dream. I'll be sure to lock the gates from now on.

An afterthought: dreams are known for mixing up reality but could the blue-turned-red bike have been my subconscious celebrating Sho!month?

Fire and Ice

I know, it's late for a new year post. I can give all sorts of irrelevant excuses as to why I'm so late, or I can give one good reason for posting today. I choose the latter because it'll be quick and easy. Today, I'm going to grandma's where there is no internet. *gasp* So it's my last chance to make a first post of the year within the first week of the year. I decided to kick off 2012 with a poem from a favourite poet of mine (not that I know of many poets).

Fire and Ice
BY ROBERT FROST

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

What I love about Robert Frost is his knack for rhymes. How he can make a verse rhyme and still make profound sense will forever leave me wondering in awe. Anyway, I thought this poem would be a great way to start 2012, the supposed end of mankind. What shall finish us off, fire or ice? In this poem, Frost alludes to the age-old question of whether it is better to burn to death or freeze to death. I don't want to think about dying so I've changed the question slightly: Is it better to be extremely hot or to be extremely cold? (I remember reading an interview where Arashi was asked something similar.)

Let's weigh the pros and cons.

1. When I'm hot, I sweat. When I'm cold, I shiver.
Sweat is smelly so one point to ice.

2. Too much heat makes me feel lethargic. Lack of heat makes it difficult to control fingers, thus difficult to work fiddly things.
My overall productivity is probably higher at high heat. The lethargy is most likely self-induced. One point to fire.

3. Being hot is really uncomfortable. Being cold hurts (toes, fingers, nose, ears).
I guess anything is better than physical pain (although after a while you'd go numb and not feel anything at all. But then there's the risk of frostbite and amputation) so one point to fire.

This is hardly a well-done or scientific analysis but I'm going to stop here because I can't think of anything else. The end score is 2:1 to fire. I guess I'd much rather bear with a heatwave as opposed to surviving the Arctic cold. But, really, this is a matter of preference, which differs with individuals. I said I didn't want to think about it but this just popped into my mind: If I burn to death, I will turn to ash, carried by the wind to places I'd never been to in life. If I freeze to death, I will be preserved for, if not forever then at least, a very long time. Both are quite romantic.

What a pessimistic first post of the year, talking about death. I didn't mean to. It just happened on its own. A bit of good news: it's Sho month!

The Mystery is Solved

I read Lawak Kampus sometimes. They're in the front seat pocket of our car so I take them out to pass the time during long journeys (like to Kelantan. That's 8 hours!). One thing that has always got me wondering is the use of "Trimas" in place of "Terima kasih". It was obvious to me that the author was trying to get "Trimas" trending but I couldn't figure out where it came from. Then yesterday, I had a light bulb moment.

Thank you. Thank. Thanks.

Terima kasih. Terima. Terimas. Trimas.

Yay!

A Nightmare

My friends were talking about dreaming they were collecting SPM results (oh, the horror). This must be their influence. Yes, this is their fault. Last night, I dreamt I collected my results. It was terrifying. I got 6A. Please don't let it be true. Please please don't let it be true.

Cooking Failure

Today is a rare occasion because I woke up early! I hope that this will continue tomorrow and the day after that and become a normal occurrence. So I was feeling rather accomplished and proud of myself and in a general good mood, decided to make breakfast (the meal I usually miss). I was making scrambled egg. As I was beating the egg, I thought it smelled oddly sweet. Then to my horror, I read the milk carton I had just emptied into the egg and realised it was strawberry milk. The end result was a pinkish-orange sweet fluffy thing that wasn't inedible.

Ohno kills me

I was watching the episode of Arashi ni Shiyagare where Takenaka Naoto guested. I wouldn't have guessed from his role as the strict and severe father in Freeter that he is such a comedian in real life. As funny as he is, and as good as Jun looks in his hair, Ohno really stole the show for me. He had already showcased his cuteness earlier in the episode with his slow reaction timing and I died a little then. But the real deal was when someone made an innocent request.



And then he did his impersonation and I died at the cuteness that is Ohno Satoshi.



Look at him! Hugging that pole while he laughs. It's too cute. And then someone makes another innocent request.



Of course, the man in question is flabbergasted.



But being the good sport that he is, he rises to the occasion. And Ohno just can't take it.


 
He crumbles from the hilarity and I melt from the cuteness.

It's from the 2011.08.06 episode. There's also a funny bit at the beginning where Jun has a rare tongue slip and calls Ohno, Otou-san.

Freedom, Boredom and a Few Tips for EST

It's only the day after SPM ended and I'm already extremely bored. I didn't even feel like posting today but I forced my lazy butt to do this because I feel guilty about not doing anything at all. Listening to Energy Song~Zekkouchou Chou~ has lifted my mood considerably though.

Yesterday I took my last paper, EST (English for Science and Technology). It's not the most popular elective but if you are good in English and in the Science stream I really recommend taking it. It's the kind of subject you can sit for without having had formal lessons although being taught properly by a teacher is always better. For anyone who is taking EST, I thought I'd give you a few tips; some words of wisdom from someone who's gone through it. I’m not the best but I’ve learned from my mistakes and hopefully, three months later, I’ll find that I’ve come out victorious.

1. Look at the table first and then read the article.

This is where I really stumbled at first. I used up way too much time in Section A that I struggled in Section B, which is where you need time. In EST paper 1, Time is Gold. You cannot afford to waste even a minute. The suggested time for answering Section A is 30 minutes but through this method, I was able to finish it in 15 minutes. That’s a valuable 15 more minutes to work on the report. If you look at the table first and find out the information you need from the article, you will only need to read the article once. You already know what piece of information you need so as you go through the article you can underline what’s important. If you read the article and then look at the table, you will have to reread the article to extract the information you need. Reading the article twice, maybe even three times, is where you might lose time.

2. Plan your report.

This is a given. In SPM, they don’t give you sheets to answer on. They give you a booklet which you answer in and hand to the invigilators at the end. I asked for extra sheets during my paper but I was told they don’t provide extra sheets (maybe the invigilators I had weren’t prepared. I pray you’ll have better luck). So I scribbled my points onto the question page itself but during Trial SPM and school examinations, where we were provided with extra sheets, I used one sheet of paper to plan my report on. Jot down anything that comes to mind. Anything. It might not seem like much but it will help the ideas flow out. The topic that came out yesterday was ‘robots’. I had researched on genetically modified food and alternative sources of energy and electricity and was completely expecting any one of those topics to come out. I felt doomed. Then I remembered an article I read over at Tofugu about evil Japanese robots. Of course, writing about evil robots is unlikely to earn points even as additional information. But after that I was able to come up with good points so write down anything. It helps!

3. Do not read your report as you are writing it.

Maybe this is a problem that only I face but I have a habit of reading what I’ve written after I write every sentence. What I do is I write and then I read everything from the beginning and write some more and read everything again. This isn’t much of a problem in the English or Malay papers because we’re given plenty of time but like I said before, in EST paper 1, Time is Gold. So as much as I want to, I refrain from reading my report as I’m writing it. I say “as I’m writing it” but the truth is, I have never finished my report with time to read it afterwards. Just as we’re told that time is up, I will be hurriedly writing “Written by, ……. binti ……” After you have your report planned out, just write and don’t stop. If you are good in English, you won’t have to keep stopping to think about grammar, which is why I only recommend taking EST to students that are good in English. I write very simple sentences because it takes time for me to construct complex sentences. But if you’re confident, go ahead.

Paper 1 is definitely the biggest hurdle. Paper 2 can be wordy and confusing but for someone with a good foundation in English, answering 30 multiple choice questions in 1 hour will be easy enough. I struggled for a long time with Paper 1. I got depressed at my inability to score high. Being down in the dumps, feeling like a dunce is not great. That’s why I did a lot of self-reflection to find out what I was doing wrong. The result was the above three things. I realised I wasn’t stupid. I just didn’t know the technique. Knowing how to answer really helped me a lot and I hope it will help you too.

SPM Week 3

The worst is over. This was by far the most restless week of SPM. Mostly due to my laziness. Actually, entirely due to my laziness and preference for last minute studying. Fortunately, I had those study group (study date?) sessions with my friend where we extensively went over Chemistry. As a result, I found Chemistry extremely easy. I felt very confident leaving the exam hall. I had to warn myself not to lose it and get all big headed.

Biology is a different story. It completely brought me back down to earth. Paper 1 was easy. Paper 2 was definitely the hardest paper so far (not counting Sejarah because I've just lost all hope that I don't even want to acknowledge it). I'm confident that I didn't do terribly. It's an almost certainty that I will get an A (whether that be A-, A or A+) but it's absolute certainty that I will not be receiving the Biology award. I'm disappointed that I will be disappointing my Biology teacher. She has such high expectations of me because I was kind of good during Form 4 but it was obvious I'd gone down a bit in Form 5 because everyone else was starting to get good while I stayed the same, which is not good because you're supposed to improve over time. Even so she still thought highly of me. I'm sorry.

For most, that's it. Freedom at last. But I am one of the ambitious that decided to stick it out with EST (English for Science and Technology). It's definitely not the most favoured of electives. But it does have its merits. For one, I've heard that to study in Australia you have to have taken EST. I've also heard other stories of students that have done decently in SPM, not awesomely with flying colours, but managed to get accepted into Engineering beating other hopefuls who did amazingly, with flying colours, just because they took EST. So EST might be an advantage.

Three weeks down. One to go. One subject left.

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SPM Week 2

Since I posted something at the end of the first week, I feel like I should follow it up with another post at the end of the second week. Although the second week isn't nearly as exciting as the first with Sejarah over and done with.

Pendidikan Islam went over well. I felt like there wasn't enough time though. I think I wasted a few minutes reading the Quran excerpts and Hadith. The next paper, Additional Mathematics, was OK. I don't dare to say it was great because while I found it easy, many other people found it hard. Maybe I made a lot of mistakes..?

And then Physics. Oh, how I love thee. Electromagnetism didn't come out! In fact, I'd say most of the objective and structure questions were Form 4 topics. Yay! Because I don't like Form 5 Physics. Of course,the great thing about Physics paper is that they give you a choice between Form 4 or Form 5 topics for the essay questions. I did look at the Form 5 questions but ultimately it was Form 4 for me. For Paper 3 I had hoped that the design-an-experiment question would be something easy like inertia or momentum or elasticity but light came out. So I answered the Form 5 question, interference of water waves. I drew a horrible likeness of a ripple tank but I labelled it properly and all. I hope the marker understands.

That's two weeks down. Two weeks to go. Three subjects left.

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