Friday, August 28, 2015

Shinohara Ryoko to star in FujiTV Autumn 2015 drama "Otona Joshi"

Shinohara Ryoko will be starring in the FujiTV Autumn 2015 drama "Otona Joshi" which is due to begin its run from October in the Thursdays 10pm timeslot. She plays the role of Nakahara Aki, a 40-year-old woman who along with her two other friends Osaki Moeko (Kichise Michiko) and Sakata Midori (Suzuki Sawa) cope with their unsuccessful romances and support one another through the journey to find happiness. The script will be written by Ozaki Masaya who was also responsible for the NHK morning drama "Ume-chan Sensei".

Aki looks like a very capable career woman on the surface but is the type to do everything for her boyfriend and yet always ends up with nothing. When she gets dumped, the common remark made by her ex-boyfriends is that she can survive without a man. As such, Aki can only pour out her true thoughts to her buddies and her pet cat. One day, Aki is transferred to a new department to work on a romance-related mobile app and has to approach scriptwriter Takayama Fumio (Eguchi Yosuke) for help. However, he has his own unique views on romance and an odd temperament thus he refuses Aki's offer. This sets them against each other but they gradually become interested in each other over time. Meanwhile, Moeko is actively searching for a marriage partner and meets Kurita Junichi (Tanihara Shosuke) who is the president of Aki's company and a well-known playboy. The two of them get involved in a romance tug-of-war to see who will have the upper hand in the end. Midori is a divorcee who has to support her three children.

Source: Sanspo 1 / Sanspo 2

Kuriyama Chiaki suffers compound fracture to her right shin due to fall

Kuriyama Chiaki has been hospitalised for a compound fracture in her right shin due to a fall as reported on 27 August. According to insiders, Kuriyama had a dinner meeting with her agency staff at a restaurant in Tokyo on 25 August but slipped when she left the place due to the wet ground as it was raining at the time. She did not consume any alcohol during the meal so was sober when she fell. The staff then sent her to a hospital where she was diagnosed to have suffered fractures in 2 leg bones which supported her shin. She underwent a surgery on the following day and is expected to be hospitalised for three weeks. It is unknown when she might be able to return to work but it is said that such fractures take about 2 months to heal.

This is the first time Kuriyama has to take an extended break from work since she made her debut at the age of 5. Filming for her current drama "HEAT" was wrapped up on 22 August so her injury will not affect the broadcast schedule.

Source: Sanspo

Kataoka Ainosuke admits to dating Fujiwara Norika

Kataoka Ainosuke posted a message on his blog today to announce that he is currently dating Fujiwara Norika. In the blog post titled "Truth and feelings", Kataoka expressed his wish to convey his thoughts and the truth to his fans and everyone working with him so that was what motivated him to pen his feelings in the blog. He stressed that Fujiwara was never the third party in his relationship with former girlfriend Kumakiri Asami even when rumours of him cohabiting with Fujiwara first came out in May this year. Kataoka stated that he has never loved nor dated two women at the same time so far and apologised for the inconveniences caused to Fujiwara as they had been merely good friends up to that point in time. It was only until recently that they started dating especially after she provided support to him while braving through the two-timing controversy. He said that he won't be that thick-skinned to ask for everyone's support but since he and Fujiwara are both single and already in their 40s, he asked for privacy and space to allow their relationship to develop as time progresses.

Source: Oricon 1 / Oricon 2

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

"MOZU" spin-off drama SPs to be shown via TBS and WOWOW in November 2015

TBS and WOWOW will be working together again in the new "MOZU" spin-off drama SPs which are to be shown in early November 2015. The lead in the SPs will be Osugi Ryota played by Kagawa Teruyuki who left the police force due to his distrust for the authorities and opens his own detective agency in the movie version of "MOZU" to be shown in cinemas from 7 November this year. In the spin-off drama SPs, Osugi's relationship with his wife Keiko and daughter Megumi (played by Horiuchi Keiko and Sugisaki Hana respectively) will be featured while he also gets help from his information provider in the police force Narumiya Keisuke (Ito Atsushi) to solve the cases he takes on.

In the first SP titled "Utsukushiki Hyoteki Hen" (The beautiful target), Osugi is hired to be the bodyguard of big-time actress Shiraishi Yuri (Iijima Naoko) after she receives a death threat. The story describes the battles between women in the entertainment circle and how Osugi tries to protect Yuri from an unknown enemy. Yuri's agency boss Ueda Kanae will be played by Katagiri Hairi while her manager Takenaka Satomi will be played by Misaki Ayame.

In the second SP titled "Kudakareta Kako Hen" (The crushed past), Osugi receives a case where the client Koike Risa played by Hayami Akari claims that her supposedly dead younger sister has reappeared and hires him to investigate a mysterious facility. While being reminded of why he had quit the police force during the course of the investigation, Osugi teams up with his former buddy Mishima Akifumi played by Kiritani Kenta to look for the suspect Sato Tsuneyoshi played by Urai Kenji.

Source: Oricon

Movie adaptation of Yoshida Shuichi's novel "Ikari" featuring a star-studded cast

The movie adaptation of Yoshida Shuichi's novel "Ikari" (Anger) will be directed by Lee Sang Il and features a star-studded cast including Watanabe Ken, Moriyama Mirai, Matsuyama Kenichi, Ayano Go, Hirose Suzu, Pierre Taki, Miura Takahiro Takahata Mitsuki, Hara Hideko, Ikewaki Chizuru, Miyazaki Aoi and Tsumabuki Satoshi. Filming for the movie began from 8 August and there are three stories set in Chiba, Tokyo and Okinawa.

In the first story set in a fishing port at Chiba, Watanabe plays a employee there named Maki Yohei whose daughter Aiko (Miyazaki) starts dating his new colleague named Tashiro Tetsuya played by Matsuyama. However, as Tashiro's background is shrouded in secrecy, Maki finds it impossible to trust him with Aiko even though he is hoping that her relationship will turn out well. Watanabe commented that this is the first time he is playing a role who finds it so difficult to trust another person so it's a very challenging experience for him. Meanwhile, Miyazaki and Matsuyama who are also working with Director Lee for the same time, commented that even though their respective roles are difficult to play, they are enjoying the filming process as much as they can.

In the Tokyo story, Tsumabuki plays the role of Fujida Yuma who works at a major advertising firm and unwittingly starts living together with Onishi Naoto (Ayano) who he met by chance one day. As compared to Yuma's openness towards Naoto, the latter behaves strangely in the daytime which leads Yuma to become suspicious about his new friend. Tsumabuki who had read the novel before, commented that he had always wanted to play the role of Yuma and is eager to put in his best performance.

As for the Okinawa story, Hirose plays Komiyama Izumi who shifts there with her mother and is on a walk on a deserted island where she meets Tanaka Shingo (Moriyama) who is living alone there. Despite meeting each other for the first time, they become good friends as they can speak about anything to each other. However, Izumi happens to meet with a mishap when she visits Naha with her classmate Tatsuya. Unable to deal with the guilt he has towards Izumi, Tatsuya goes to Tanaka to confide in him and unexpectedly finds out that the latter had actually witnessed what happened. Hirose said that after reading the novel, she was so fascinated by Izumi's role that she volunteered to take part in the audition. As for Moriyama, he said that his role is one who is unable to deal with pain and anger so he hopes to show the silent treatment of these emotions through his acting. The role of Tatsuya will be played by newcomer Sakumoto Takara who was chosen from 1,200 applicants during an audition.

Co-stars in this movie include Pierre and Miura who play the police detectives looking for the criminal involved in Izumi's case, Takahata who plays Kaoru who is an acquaintance of Naoto, Hara who plays Yuma's mother and Ikewaki who plays Aiko's friend Asuka.

Filming is expected to be wrapped up in mid October and the movie is due to be shown nationwide in autumn 2016.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Yamamoto Koji reveals the surprising story leading to his marriage with Horikita Maki

Yamamoto Koji who got married to Horikita Maki on 22 August and made a surprise announcement on the same day, appeared in a video interview shown during the 24th August broadcast of FujiTV programme "Tokudane!" where he revealed the surprising story of his relationship with his newly-wed wife. According to Yamamoto, when they had met on the set of "Atashinchi no Danshi" six years ago, he had become attracted to her because she was serious and mature beyond her age. Although he tried to ask for her contact details, Horikita kept rejecting him and even gave him the phone number of her agency on purpose. When asked to go out for drinks, she would reject him flatly. Even after they worked together again, Horikita was still very cold towards him. Nonetheless, Yamamoto refused to give up all these years and there was finally a breakthrough this year when they worked together in the stage play "Arashigaoka"

During the preparations for the stage play, Yamamoto wrote a total of 40 letters to Horikita but she did not replay to any of them. In the end, Yamamoto decided to give his contact details to her instead of waiting for her to give him hers before the end of their stage play's run. He thought that everything was over by then but was pleasantly surprised when he finally received a message via LINE from Horikita. However, there was no way for him to meet her directly even though he was deeply encouraged by her first response in six years. Just then, Yamamoto got wind of news that Horikita was heading to Kyoto for work and on the spur of the moment, bought a Shinkansen ticket to Kyoto just to try his luck. He thought then that if he managed to meet Horikita on that same train, it must be a sign that they were meant to be. Fortunately for him, he did meet Horikita on that same train and proposed to her with a ring that he had prepared in advance despite the fact that they had not even started dating. As such, strictly speaking, the couple did not date for a single day and got together with the intention of getting married.

At the time when "Arashigaoka" was being performed in May, there were indeed rumours in the media of Yamamoto expressing his interest in Horikita but she had brushed him off. Especially when Horikita's reputation of being a tough nut to crack in the romance department and how unhappy and critical she was said to have been when her colleague in the same agency Kuroki Meisa got into a dekichatta kekkon with Akanishi Jin, her acceptance of Yamamoto came as a big surprise to everyone. Yamamoto had a fairly long string of romances with other female celebrities such as Matsu Takako and Suzanne in the past.

Soon after the proposal on the Shinkansen train, the couple began living together early this month. 5 days before they submitted their marriage application, Yamamoto wrote another letter to Horikita to ask for her hand and she finally replied for the first time in the affirmative.

Yamamoto commented that during the interview that he never expected his one-sided love to be requited one day and finally felt like reality sinking in when he sees his wife at home now.

Source: Nikkansports / Sanspo / Sponichi

Monday, August 24, 2015

Karina to make her return in TBS Autumn 2015 drama "Kekkonshiki no zenjitsu ni"

Karina will be making her return to dramaland through the TBS Autumn 2015 drama "Kekkonshiki no zenjitsu ni" (The day before the wedding) starting in October in the Tuesdays 10pm timeslot. Her last leading role was in FujiTV's 2011 drama "Watashi ga renai dekinai riyuu" while she also appeared in the same TV station's 2013 drama "SUMMER NUDE". She plays the role of Serizawa Hitomi who works as a project leader in a real estate company and is due to be married to a doctor played by Suzuki Ryohei. However, just 100 days before the wedding, she is diagnosed to be suffering from a brain tumour. Just then, she also reunites with her mother played by Harada Mieko who she had not seen for 28 years since the latter eloped with another man. Despite their distant relationship, Hitomi's mother's unconventional way of encouraging her to overcome the odds spurs Hitomi not to wallow in pity and try to be positive about her situation. Hitomi's father will be played by Endo Kenichi.

Filming is due to begin in early September.

Source: Nikkansports / Sanspo

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Extravaganza for the senses from Japan - Takizawa Kabuki in Singapore

Note that this review was posted on my other blog "Shoku / Shisou / Seikatsu" and I am reposting this here in case those who do not follow that blog may wish to read about this Japanese stage play recently staged in Singapore. I wrote this the following date after I attended the opening night's performance so at this point in time, the show's Singapore run has already ended.

In the past year or so, we've seen some Japanese stage productions being brought to Singapore e.g. the Ichikawa Ebizo kabuki shows which will be back again in a few months' time at Marina Bay Sands' Mastercard Theatres. In case you haven't heard about this, Takizawa Kabuki starring Takizawa Hideaki is one of the stage productions which you can probably never get a ticket to in Japan (well, almost to that extent unless you are a member of his official fanclub) because it's very sought-after. As such, bringing this to Singapore is big news, not just for the local community of Johnny's fans but also for the general public who may be keen to catch what the hype is all about. This marks the first overseas performance of a Johnny's stage production which makes it more memorable as it coincides with Singapore's 50th birthday and Shochiku's 120th anniversary.

As the title suggests, the show is centred on Takizawa Hideaki who is part of the duo Takki & Tsubasa. For those who are longtime J-drama fans, I believe you would remember seeing him in hit dramas such as "Majo no Jouken", "Antique", "Strawberry on the Shortcake", "Taiyo wa Shizumanai", "Boku dake no Madonna". He's not as active in the drama scene in the last five years though with an average of just 1 drama series or SP annually but has built up a respectable career as a stage actor with his "Takizawa Kabuki" and "Takizawa Enbujo" series.

Honestly, I think it is more difficult for someone to succeed at stage because you've got to be able to attract people to keep coming to the theatres to watch you and they've got to pay for that as compared to turning on the TV to watch someone in a drama which is effectively free-of-charge. As such, it may seem on the surface that Takizawa is not seen as often in the limelight as compared to his hey days as one of the most prolific Johnny's Jr members before his CD debut, I still think that his career is doing pretty well because to have sell-out shows like what he's doing now is not an easy thing to achieve. Indeed when I compare him to those days when he was very sought-after in the drama scene, the Takki I saw last night in the opening performance of Takizawa Kabuki in Singapore was like a totally different person. He has matured so much in terms of his acting and stage presence that I think the change in his career focus from dramas to stage did him a lot of good. There's really too much stereotyping in dramaland that the same actors keep doing the same type of roles and don't get a chance to try new things and improve. Being thrown into the deep end of the pool i.e. being the lead in a stage play turned out to be good for Takizawa after all.

In case you think that this is just about the traditional type of kabuki like what is seen in the Ichikawa Ebizo shows, you'll be quite surprised to find that Takizawa Kabuki isn't quite the same. Indeed, there are kabuki elements in the show but I think that there is another alternative interpretation to the title. As the Japanese term for kabuki is made up of three kanji characters i.e. 歌舞伎, if you break them apart, it actually means song, dance and craftsmanship. Being from Johnny's, there is this familiar element of song and dance synonymous with concerts from Johnny's groups which you can see from the show. However, to convey the message of spreading traditional Japanese culture to the world, the wa in the song and dance is evident so you get an unique blend of modern and traditional. Coupled with the fine arts on stage in terms of backdrops, design in terms of costumes and character design and the precision in set changes, the end product is thus Takizawa Kabuki.

I don't know if you have bought your tickets by now but I sure went to a fair bit of trouble trying to get a good seat. Once news of the ticket sales were released, I went to the MBS site and was quite surprised to see most of the best seats in the VIP reserve taken up. Are fans really that quick in purchasing the tickets or were most of the seats taken up by sponsors? From what I observed last night, it seemed to be the latter as there was practically a full row of seats empty in the section which I've circled in red in the seating plan posted here. Even the seats beside me were empty for some reason, That was truly a waste because I know of many people who would have wanted to come for the show and yet these expensive seats were left empty. Perhaps the organisers should have opened up more seats for sale because there is indeed a market for Japanese entertainment like this but maybe they were a bit too cautious in this debut run. In my case, I was seated in the red circle area just beside the controls station (indicated by the blank space) and could see first-hand the numerous panels and buttons used to control the audio and visual effects on stage which was rather interesting to look at. I think the sound artist was quite conscious that I was looking at the panels but once the performance started, I didn't have time to keep peering over. Although I was concerned at first if I was seated too far from the stage, it turned out to be really good since it was slightly elevated (wouldn't be blocked by the heads of those in front of me) and I was still near enough to see Takki flying above me. Yes, that meant a close-up of his face in front of me. Imagine seeing this person live for the first time after looking at him through a TV screen since more than a decade ago. For someone who's not really a fan, it was already quite overwhelming and exciting. I think that his fans might have suffered a minor heart attack when he was flying just metres above them. ^__^

There is a reason why I've circled some of the seats in the seating plan. The red circle represents the section where you can literally pick up gold from the sky. There is a scene where golden "coins" confetti would be scattered from the ceiling so people in the red zone would get most of the confetti. Despite so, those in the blue zones and those upstairs may also get some scattered ones depending on the aircon's wind direction. There are actually two patterns of the confetti i.e. the normal version with a rougher texture as shown on the right of this photo and the special type with the name of the play written on it. It may not be easy for you to find the special version but do keep your eyes open while the confetti is scattered so that you may grab one with the words written on it. Even without the special version, you can still pick up the remaining confetti after the show (assuming you are seated somewhere that the confetti doesn't fly to) but you have to be quick because there is keen competition for this "special memento",

Another piece of advice for those attending this production is, you either have to go in early to buy your merchandise or be prepared to wait for a long time after the show. As there is only one counter with 2 cashiers, this is somewhat inadequate especially when you see the number of people in the queue and there were many who bought multiple items which I assumed were for their friends who couldn't be at the show. For one copy of the catalogue, I had to queue for an hour and was about to give up if not for the thought that I won't be able to find this elsewhere if I left the queue then. It's also better to use cash as the credit card and NETS machines take ages to connect to the system so you'll be left waiting for long. Items available are unique to the Singapore show i.e. the show catalogue (SGD 28), the 10th anniversary DVD (SGD 50 - region 3 but may not work in Japanese DVD players though since Japan uses region 2), towel, chopsticks, fan and postcards. Sorry for not listing the prices of the other items because I forgot about them. Anyway, just based on my assessment of the catalogue, you should get this especially if you are a Takki fan. There are lots of nice photos of him in various costumes and poses and to cater to the Singapore fans, all content is in English. Just an observation here, it seemed quite obvious from the English interviews that the answers were given in Japanese so there were some parts which were quite awkward when read in English. Not that I really mind because I appreciate the effort that they took for the non-Japanese-speaking fans but it's just a occupational hazard I have when it comes to less-than-perfect translations. The good thing arising from this queuing saga though was the MBS staff who were professional in directing the crowds so it wasn't as messy or chaotic it could have been. However, they should have left the aircon on because it was so hot and stuffy in the lobby. In conclusion, to avoid missing the show's beginning or having to queue for an hour after the show like what I did, it's best to plan your time accordingly.

In order to avoid spoilers for those who haven't seen the show yet, I would not go into details on the content. As for my views on the show, I think it excels especially in the conceptual, audio and visual departments. Takizawa who is the lead star and director of this show, used the four seasons to link the segments in the show so as to show the beauty of the seasons and Japanese culture. Visually, it was extremely stimulating with a lot of effort put in and precision displayed in executing each move and stage change. For example, a simple scene such as slashing someone with a samurai sword would probably be shown as a splatter of blood on the projector screen but Takizawa Kabuki does it with such an impact that there was a collective gasp of amazement from the audience when that very same scene was shown in such a memorable manner. You've got to see it for yourself to experience that effect. In terms of the music used, it had moments of strength and gentleness nicely mixed together and was so synchronised with the performers' movements that you wouldn't feel that the selection of music was done in a haphazard manner and disconnected with the performance.

And since this is the first time that the show is being performed in Singapore, Takizawa and his crew made sure to include Singapore elements. I won't go into details about this but kudos to them for taking the effort to do so. The performers also tried hard to use English in some segments. Although I appreciated their efforts, I think it's OK to cut down on that and focus more on their performance because it seemed like they were quite stressed about using English that it was barely understandable at times. It's OK to spare them from that stress and do the bare minimum instead i.e. greetings in the local language. Besides, it was already made clear at that time when tickets were on sale that there are no English subtitles for this show so it shouldn't matter so much to the audience whether the cast spoke in English or not. There were however a couple of songs where the lyrics were translated into English but by far, I think even for those who don't know Japanese, they would still be able to enjoy the show since a lot of the content does not need words to explain it.

In case you are wondering about why the picture above shows everyone looking downwards after the end of the performance, that's because we were all looking for gold literally i.e. the elusive gold "coins" confetti which I described above. However, the staff tried to usher the audience out of the theatre soon so you've got to be quick if you want to find that special version.

In conclusion, this show was better than I expected and if it is to make a return to Singapore, I'll be sure to catch it again since I don't think I'll be able to secure tickets in Japan ever unless they open it for public sale. If you are interested, the show runs till this Sunday so you may wish to grab your tickets soon. Do share with me your thoughts if you have watched this show.

Yamamoto Koji & Horikita Maki get married after dating for 2 months

Yamamoto Koji and Horikita Maki got married on 22 August and released their fax statements to the media through their respective agencies on the same day. The couple who are 12 years apart in terms of age, last worked together in the stage play "Arashigaoka" in May this year and soon begun dating in June. They started living together in early August and got married in just two months.

In Horikita's statement, she mentioned that she and Yamamoto first met about 6 years ago through work but only became attracted to him after working on the stage play "Arashigaoka" where she got to know him better. As such, this was what led to them getting married eventually. She ended her statement by asking for everyone's support as they begin life as a married couple.

Meanwhile, in Yamamoto's statement, he revealed that they had submitted their marriage application on 22 August which he saw as a necessary step to fulfill the responsibilities needed of a man. He mentioned that he met Horikita while filming the 2009 drama "Atashinchi no Danshi" but it took them about 6 years before they reunited in the play this May which led to the start of their relationship. Yamamoto asked everyone around them and Horikita's fans to continue supporting them as the two of them embark on a new phase of life hand-in-hand.

Source: Huffington Post Japan / Oricon / Nikkansports

Friday, August 21, 2015

Mukai Osamu to star in TV Asahi Autumn 2015 drama "Isan Sozoku"

Mukai Osamu will be starring in the upcoming TV Asahi Autumn 2015 drama "Isan Sozoku" (The family who fights over the inheritance) which will begin its run from October in the Thursdays 9pm timeslot. The drama which is written by Inoue Yumiko, features Mukai as a medical intern named Sato Ikuo who marries into a matrillineal family in the funeral business and gets embroiled in the fight for the inheritance. Despite being subjected to verbal abuse by his in-laws and other members of his wife's family, Sato has no interest in joining the fight for the inheritance and also can't be bothered about the workplace politics at the hospital he works at. As a result of his reluctance to get involved in the controversy, it gradually brings about a change in his in-laws' family.

This will be Mukai's first leading role in a TV Asahi drama and his first playing a son-in-law. His wife Kaede will be played by Eikura Nana who was divorced at the young age of 23 and is doted on by her grandfather who is the chairman of the family business Kawamura Memorial. Sato will then be Kaede's second husband. Having worked with Eikura many times, Mukai said that he is at ease working with her and feels that their collaborations so far will help them play a married couple well this time.

Co-stars include Kishibe Ittoku who plays the father-in-law of Sato and had also married into the family like him, Ito Shiro who plays the grandfather of Kaede, Yo Kimiko, Muroi Shigeru, Itaya Yuka, Kishimoto Kayoko, Suzuki Kosuke and Watanabe Ikkei.

Source: Sanspo

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

HIRO & Ueto Aya welcome the arrival of their first daughter

EXILE's leader HIRO and actress Ueto Aya welcomed the arrival of their first daughter recently as announced through their respective agencies on 19 August. In the joint statement, the couple thanked everyone for their support during Ueto's pregnancy and that both mother and daughter are doing fine now. However, they did not reveal any details about their baby e.g. the date of birth and weight at birth due to privacy reasons. There are also no plans to hold any press conferences in future to discuss this matter.

Hiro and Ueto got married in September 2012 and she announced her pregnancy on 12 April this year while filming the TV Asahi Spring 2015 drama "I'm Home".

Source: Oricon

Feedback needed on new blog layout

As you would have noticed, I have changed the blog layout and background which features autumn colours and leaves with effect from yesterday. It's been a long time since I've changed the blog template so I'm hoping that this will improve your reading experience with a refreshed colour scheme. It would be great if you can leave some feedback in the comments section on how you feel about the new format and suggest anything that you would like to see here. No promises that it can definitely be implemented especially if it's something really complicated technically but I can certainly do with some comments from time to time. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Aragaki Yui & Okada Masaki to star in NTV Autumn 2015 drama "Okitegami Kyoko no Biboroku"

Aragaki Yui and Okada Masaki will be working together in the upcoming NTV Autumn 2015 drama "Okitegami Kyoko no Biboroku" (The memorandum of Okitegami Kyoko) which will be shown from October in the Saturdays 9pm timeslot. The drama which is based on the novel by Nishio Ishin, features Aragaki as Okitegami Kyoko, a private detective who is able to solve her cases on the same day she receives them but forgets everything by the next day. She meets Kakushidate Yakusuke (Okada) who has been unlucky since young and always suspected of being the culprit whenever bad things happened around him. Although Kyoko keeps forgetting about him, Yakusuke finds himself increasingly drawn to her and tries hard to make her remember him.

Co-stars include Oikawa Mitsuhiro who plays Kizunai Horo, the boss of the detective agency cum the owner of a cafe named Sand Glass and a secondhand clothing store, Hey! Say! JUMP's Arioka Daiki who plays Narikawa Nuru, an assistant to Kyoko's work and helps Yakusuke woo her and Uchida Rio who plays Makuma Makuru, another assistant in the detective agency.

Source: Oricon

Yoshida Yo & Kimura Yoshino to co-star in Kuroki Hitomi's directorial debut movie "Iya na Onna"

Yoshida Yo and Kimura Yoshino will be the double leads in Kuroki Hitomi's first movie as a director which is titled "Iya na Onna" (The detestable woman) and due to be shown in cinemas next year. The movie which is based on the same-titled novel published by Katsura Nozomi in 2010, features Yoshida as a serious lawyer named Ishida Tetsuko who is totally immersed in her work but always has to help her distant relative Kotani Natsuko get out of trouble as the latter is a fraudster. Through each interaction with Natsuko who she deeply dislikes, Tetsuko finds herself changing unwittingly without her being conscious about it. This movie will mark the first collaboration between the three actresses.

Recalling when she was first offered the role, Yoshida said that she was very surprised and flattered because she had never worked with Kuroki before and to take on the leading role in her directorial debut is a great honour. On the other hand, Kimura had worked with Kuroki before in the 1997 movie "Shitsurakuen" but was shocked on hearing about the latter becoming a director. Despite not being fully aware of what the movie was about, both actresses took on the roles almost immediately.

Filming is currently in progress.

Source: Nikkansports

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sakai Masato & Kanno Miho welcome the arrival of their first son

Sakai Masato and Kanno Miho welcomed the arrival of their first son in an announcement released by their agencies on 13 Aug. Kanno expressed her joy and being touched by the birth and addition of a new family member. She also thanked everyone who had supported her during her pregnancy and pledged to work hard as a new mother. However, the statement did not mention the date when she had given birth. As for plans to return to work, it will depend on Kanno's health condition.

Likewise for Sakai, he also released his statement on his official website where he mentioned that the doctor had commented that it was a smooth delivery for his wife but there was so much care and effort to ensure that the process went well so he was very thankful for the work put in by the hospital's medical staff. He expressed his gratitude towards Kanno where he mentioned that although he knew from others about the pain of childbirth, he was still startled by how much she had to go through during the process and had even more respect for her who braved through it. Sakai commented that he doesn't think that he has the confidence to go through something like this and hopes to be of help to his wife as much as possible when it comes to taking care of their son.

Sakai and Kanno got married in April 2013 and announced her pregnancy on 5 May this year. Sakai is due to begin filming for next year's Taiga "Sanadamaru" in early September which is his first drama after becoming a father.

Source: Sponichi 1 /  Sponichi 2 / Sponichi 3

Suzuki Sawa & Yoshikawa Sumihiro announce their divorce

Suzuki Sawa and Yoshikawa Sumihiro have ended their marriage as announced by their agencies in a fax statement on 15 May. In the statement also released on Sawa's blog, the couple decided to go their separate ways as they realised that they have different aspirations for their future. Despite living separately since April this year to overcome their differences, the couple could not make things work and decided to end their four-year marriage. It was mentioned in the statement that they went to the ward office to file the divorce application on the same day of the statement's release and that there was no alimony involved. Despite rumours of Yoshikawa seeing another woman as reported in June this year, the couple denied that infidelity was the reason for the break-up and used the opportunity to clear things up.

Suzuki and Yoshikawa got married in October 2011 after working together in a stage play.

Source: Sponichi 1 / Sponichi 2

Status update - ただいま準備中です。しばらくお待ちください。

Hi everyone, in case you are wondering where I've been and why the blog has been so quiet of late, it's due to the fact that I've been rather busy of late in terms of work and other matters. Coupled with being unwell, I've found it difficult to write anything during the weekends when all I felt like doing was to rest and do nothing. Thank you to those who've dropped me comments asking about my status, I haven't given up or closed this blog so there's nothing to worry about. ^__^

As the title of this post suggests, there are some preparations I need to make in order to regain the usual posting pace. I'll be posting progressively from now on with the reviews of films I caught during the recent Japanese Film Festival in Singapore and dramas which I finished long ago but still haven't finished the reviews for. Last but not least, there will be lots of "overdue" news translations so don't be surprised to find "old stories" popping up here.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!