Oh AKB48, the emotions you stir within me. I crumble, in a manic depressive mass, before your sequins and ultra-kawaii-organ-grinder-monkey-outfits. Honestly though, what’s with the tiny hats? I never quite know what to do when I hear an AKB48 song; projectile vomit, strangle kittens, or tap my foot and sing along. Now wait a second, just hear me out.
From a musicians point of view AKB48, like all pop groups, is a hot, steaming, pile of くそ that is even less palatable than 納豆(nattou). For the record I play guitar, piano, drums, bass, harmonica, and dabble with the violin. I’m not saying they don’t have talent, just that they are performers and not artists. Artists create, performers replicate.
From a business point of view I think the group is genius. They are the perfect storm of a money generating juggernaut. For Yasushi Akimoto the group is equivalent to owning his own mint. With 2011 record sales grossing $200 million in Japan alone, they should rename the group The First Bank of AKB or AKB Financial.
From a cultural point of view I’m glad they exist. They are interesting, strange, quirky, unique, and a creation that could only ever be 100% made in Japan. U.S. and U.K. producers must be pulling their hair out screaming, “Why didn’t we think of that?” But I believe AKB 48 is something that could only be conceived in the pink, bubbling, kawaii-cauldrons of Japanese culture. For me AKB48 is in the realm of Rubix Cube, Slinky, Silly-Putty, stuffed animals, and yo-yos. Can the world do without them? Of course, but who would want to! If you want to use the world “novelty”, go ahead. In reality I like to imagine myself as an evil mastermind and AKB48 is my personal samurai sword wielding, 短いスカート wearing, merchant-death-squad. Did I just say that out loud? Woops.
Given the views presented above, why am I wasting my time talking about something I find about as interesting as coiled metal flopping down stairs with minimal velocity? I’m doing it because AKB48, and a large portion of their fans, speak, read, write, and are Japanese. No way, for realzies? For realzies. Regardless of your views on the group we can all agree on one thing, their blogs kick ace for learning Japanese. Because of the unquenchable thirst AKB fans have for talking about the group you’ll always have fresh material. Another thing is the blogs are good reading for both guys and gals. I mean who doesn’t like cute girls. Be honest fellas its nice looking through a girly magazine one and a while, meaning all the time. These blogs are just like magazines. Lots of nice pictures break up the Japanese which is great if your still learning because it prevents frustration and offers some contextual help. Below I’ve posted Yuko Oshima’s personal blog. Other than being one of the more popular members, says wikipedia, I chose her for no particular reason. I’ll be honest though, she’s just darling. God, I’m nauseating myself. But really she is a very pretty girl, just look at her blog. “Youuuu, you got what I neeeeeeed. But you say he’s just a friend, and you say he’s just a friend, Oh baby youuuu…….” Sorry, that was a reading from the book of Biz Markie.