[blog] Arashi. Hawaii. Sugoi.

“Let’s go back to ’99!!!”

When Sho said that on MUSIC STATION last night, I wondered where I was on Sept 15, 1999, when Arashi debuted on a cruise ship in Hawaii.

Fifteen years later, last week, they returned to their “birthplace” aboard a helicopter–well, technically a plane but you get the drift.

Ah, I still have the Hawaii hangover as if I was there myself.




Truth be told, I never thought their 15th anniversary celebration would turn out to be this memorable and meaningful. Every year, we greet them “happy anniversary” and celebrate in our own little ways, proud of the fact that the Johnny’s idol group thought least likely to succeed has exceeded everyone’s expectations–including theirs–and how.

But it was this photo of Riida on the first night of their concert that made me realize the significance of this celebration like a giant wave on Waikiki beach toppling me over with the impact.


photo 1


“We can reach this far…because of the staffs, and more than anything, the fans. Thank you so much!” – Riida (2014.09.19 speech; cr: @FindAiba)

Ohno is not the crybaby in the group, he is  known to be spaced-out and just chill. So for Arashi’s leader to cry like this, it only shows how much this event means to him and to them all. But as Sho said, only the five of them will understand the full significance of going back to Hawaii. It was the place that changed their lives forever after all.

Well, Hawaii has changed the fandom in a way too. I have never seen such “fan coverage”, if we call it that, in my nine years as a fan. Sightings during rehearsals were not just accounts but accompanied by photos and even recordings; same with the concert. For a fandom that has learned to live with the strict rules of J&A, this was an exception indeed and until now, I am torn between being happy and shocked. But we all know this may be temporary considering they were overseas without the protective mantle of their rules in Japan. I can only hope it is temporary because I do not want the Arashi fandom to be afflicted with the common diseases of fangirling that can be destructive.

On the other hand, I also hope that J&A could open up more when it comes to Arashi. Hopefully, Hawaii will just be the start of another round of overseas shows. Everyone has been hoping for Arashi Around Asia part trois for years. While I do get how difficult it is to bring them out of Japan for concerts–one saw how meticulous constructing their Hawaii stage was and how hands-on they are with their shows–sooner or later, they’d have to step out of their comfort zone. Once that happens, I can see a new era opening up for Arashi.

“We’re only based in Japan, so why would anyone know about us?” – Riida (2014.09.19)

I don’t have doubt that Arashi knows there’s a whole world waiting for them out here but to quote Sho again, they are a group that never took shortcuts to get to where they are now. And I am sure that’s how they want things to continue, taking each step at a time.

“Most people said that we, Arashi, are good friends. But 15 years ago, if we didn’t lean on one another, if we didn’t support each other, maybe we can’t stay this long. Fifteen years or later, starting from tomorrow, please take care of us again. Thank you so much.” – Sho (2014.09.19 speech; cr: @FindAiba)

In the meantime, it’s enough to know that their hard work, sweat, blood and tears in the last 15 years have paid off. Arashi has not just climbed up the idol ladder but it has grown into a powerful franchise all its own.

“Thank you for coming all this way to watch our concert. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to do it in such a nice place. Thank you for all the chances you give us to sing, to show up on TV, to have concerts.” – Nino (2014.09.19 speech; cr: yarukizero)

I am also grateful for Uncle Johnny not just for choosing these five dorks among many hopefuls, but also for writing that kanji that has become not just a logo of the group, but a symbol of the wind (kaze) that continues to prop up the mountain (yama).

“Thank you for giving us the wind to keep going and giving us your smiles and your power. If you weren’t here, we couldn’t do this.” – Jun (2014.09.19; cr: yarukizero)

As a famous fandom quote says: “I may not have been there from the start but I will always be there until the end.”

“Even if you’d come to know of us at different timings, you found out about it. You must have thought these guys were interesting and that maybe you’d try to support them. But we made it to 15 years. How was 15 years for you? For us, it was great. For me…  with these four, it makes me really, really happy. As team Arashi, we’ll make new path.” – Jun (2014.09.20 speech; cr: yarukizero)

The beauty of Arashi is because it can be anyone’s story and yet, it is theirs. The pains, the joys, the sacrifices that they have to make and that which we can only imagine, the triumphs, and yet in the face of all that, in their 15 years and counting, their feet are still planted firmly on the ground. No airs, just the friends, dudes, brothers, sons and grandsons–bakas if you may–that people treat them as.

“With the five of us… together.. I want to keep going forward as five, so please support us.” – Aiba (2014.09.20 speech; cr: yarukizero)

As we saw on MUSIC STATION last night, even during circumstances when it was impossible for them to be physically together, they made it possible even if it entailed a standee Nino (when he was in Hollywood filming) and hologram Sho (when he was covering the Beijing Olympics).


photo 2


And as they always remind us, Arashi is made up not just by their staff and the five of them, but the sixth member too. That is, all of us fans.

I end this post with one of my favorite pictures from Hawaii (thanks @jhingnigami). It shows a sun-kissed Arashi, all grown-up and chill, so unlike the uncertain but eager-to-please debutantes that they were 15 years ago. It shows not only the path that they have walked but the quiet assurance that they have gained their own place under the J-pop sun.


photo 4

Lastly, it is interesting how they chose to start their 16th year with the song Season.

While holding on to those memories
We’ll keep walking
Now inside my eyes, that shining dream will be there
Always and forever

Source: yarukizero

It’s like their grown-up selves telling us that everything that has happened in the past 15 years are carved in their hearts but they will keep on walking and taking their dreams with them, like they have always done.

I can only imagine how Riida must have felt overwhelmed that he was moved to tears, looking back at the 15 years they have gone through together.

Thank you Hawaii. Thank you Uncle Johnny. Thank you Arashi.

I love you bakas. Itsudemo. Itsumademo.

[While we await the release of the Hawaii DVD, NHK will show “Arashi LIVE & DOCUMENT ~15-nenme no Kokuhaku~’” on November 7, 10pm JST. Hopefully by then, we will know who will host Kouhaku.]

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18 thoughts on “[blog] Arashi. Hawaii. Sugoi.

  1. I have to say this first~ I really love reading your blog..you always have nice words to them but not to the loint that you sound like an scary obsessed fangirl~ LOL =)

    i think their hawaii concert is a really great way of celebrating their 15th anniv, not just only for them but also for the fans. Arashi came back where it all started and get to do one of their wish: to have a concert in a smaller venue or crowd (i think it was aiba who mentioned this b4). This is a treat for fans since it is a very intimate concert and they can see them more up close. Ohh how i envy those fans who came to see them in hawaii >__< I think the boys are more emotional for their 15th conpared to their 10th anniv. No one thought they'll reach their 10th but hey look! They celebrated their 15th to one of the most special place for them. 🙂

    During the concerts, I was stalking twitter & tumblr and imagine my surprise when i saw pics and videos. It is very rare for J&A concerts to have fan recordings so I was really torn how to feel about that. I was happy and thankful seeing glimpse of their hawaii con but sad too because the fans are breaking the rules. Although, i can't blame the fans for taking pics since especially when it was their first time seeing them live and being the concert not in Japan. Let's face it though, if that happens in Japan there's a great chance that they'll be thrown out of the venue given how obvious they are taking pics. But also, the fans who uploaded pics didn't deserved the backlash they faced. Why do some fans can be cruel??? That's i what i dont get on any fandoms~ tbh, i love reading con reports more than seeing the pics..

    I have this conspiracy theory, i think Johny-san tested the international fans for this hawaii concert. But i think we kinda failed because until the FC members arrived there were still avail tickets.. 😦

    Sorry for the long comment 🙂 one last thing, my girl hawaii version is pure perfection!!! So inlove with it!! I need the hawaii con dvd asap!!! I know we have the mste version but i also want to see the con version 🙂


    • LOL it does take a lot of effort to keep myself from sounding like an obsessed fangirl LOL

      I wasn’t aware that there was a backlash those who uploaded pictures faced. or were you referring to the first night? I can just imagine the shock of some but I can’t blame the fans either. if they were able to get away with it at the concert, what will stop them from uploading it on SNS, right? they were stricter on the second night though. and yes, I prefer reading comprehensive concert reports more that provide insights on what happened. I am always curious about BTS and context and I can just wait for the official pictures or news coverage, and yes, DVDs for the photos and videos.

      thank you for the comment! I love reading long comments that open up about the topic at hand.

      btw, did you see that video recording of My Girl taken from outside the concert venue?


    • P.S. I think the extra tickets you mentioned, they were the ones released locally (Hawaii). the promoter released 4,000 tickets more and that’s what were still being sold on top of the 15,000/day. actually, there’s a controversy on that now because some Japanese fans were angry, and rightly, so since they had to buy very expensive travel packages.


      • Sorry for te late reply 😉

        There were some disagreement among the fans on twitter & tumblr, regarding the uploaded pics. Some fans (who werent able to attend) say that it’s ok since there were really no instructions not to take pics on the 1st night so it is ok for the uploader to share them. Some fans, including myself, are not really happy with it since J&A have a strict rule regarding pics uploaded online. And i admit, i didn’t want johny-san to get mad, my happiness depends on his decisions! LOL! Though i admit it’s really nice to see a glimpse of the concert before the release of the dvd 🙂 fans were still able to take pics on the 2nd night though~

        I was actually expecting a lot longer reports on news so i was actually disappointed when they were almost the same..BUT i felt better a few days after since we got a DOCUMENTARY!!!! I hope NHK wont disappoint us fans with the footage! I want to see their preparation from the day they decided they want to have the con in hawaii~ i demand to much! Hahahaha ohhhh and not just that we also have the VSA special 😉

        Ohhh~ so there were additional 4000 tickets per night? So in total there are 19000 fans per night?? Wowwww! I actually understand the japanese fans wrath regarding the package tour price~ but at least they had arashi on plane~ at least their voices! And listened to another ‘secret talk’ 🙂 I think JAL had fun doing business with johny-san! Kidding aside, it was their choice to go to hawaii to watch arashi live. It’s already a given that it’ll be expensive so i really don’t see the need to complain about it. You have a choice and you chose to spend that amount of money 🙂 even if there is no package, hotels & airlines will increase their rates since they knew there will be a flock of japanese tourist in hawaii for those dates..but at the end of the day, all those fans who attended had a great time and that ‘s the most important thing~ 🙂

        I saw the my girl fancam taken from the beach! That was really awesome and what a dedicated fan! Hahaha like you i am inlove with the hawaii version! Thank god they decided to perform it on music station so we have clearer mp3 now for that hahahaha


      • I’m guessing part of the reason why the Japanese news reports did not show much about the Hawaii preps and cons is because of the NHK documentary. also, VSA and SHIYAGARE are doing their Hawaii SPs just as Sho’s and Nino’s shows are so they want to keep some suspense maybe? lol

        nope, the 4,000 tickets are for both nights. which means 2,000 extra tickets per night.

        I do understand J&A’s rules and have learned to live with them just like the rest of the fandom. I guess they just didn’t expect that kind of behavior in Hawaii, which may also impact on their future decision to hold concerts overseas. we know how Johnny’s can be overbearing and heavy-handed with their rules but that’s also the reason why the agency has managed to survive all these years in the cut-throat world of entertainment. and I much prefer having clear-cut rules like this because it saves the fandom from too much drama and headaches lol


  2. Thank you once again for sharing your thoughts on this. Like you, I appreciated the comprehensive reports of the concert. As a new Arashi admirer, it was a thrill for me to get the insights/stories of the other fans who were supporting them throughout the years. As this was my 1st anniversary concert as a fan. At the start, I was feeling rather sorry that I wasn’t there with them during the previous years, but with Jun’s message, I now know irregardless of the timing when I became a fan, I can now be certain that I will be with them in the future.

    For me the only dark clouds in this rainbow filled anniversary, was when I read of the challenges that the concert attendees had (cutting lines, security, etc) and afterwards the backlash for the people who uploaded pics and videos of anything related to the concert. I’m new to how J&A enforces their rules, but it’s understandable that fans started to panic since J&A threatened not to release the concert DVD if the pics and videos were not taken down. IMO, it seemed that it was their tactic to use fans to police other fans. But some fans got carried away thus some harsh words were given out. I do hope it was just scare tactics, since I’m already decided to buy the concert DVD!

    Anyway, at the end of the day the most important thing was the fans enjoyed every minute of the concert and I’m sure their love for Arashi transmitted itself to the members. I think that’s why Riida got so overwhelmed with emotions (Jun and Aiba were a given as I’m coming to see that they’re the cry babies of the group 🙂

    If I ever meet Uncle Johnny, the thing I want to ask is – among all the Jrs. why these 5? Why did he think it would work? There were so many Jrs. to choose from and these kids had different personalities that in normal situations they would be already at each other’s throat. But instead here they are 15 yrs later and still going strong…like what Nino and Jun said Arashi is family to them and for Riida they are of a different world in which only the five of them can belong to.

    Apologies, for this long comment. It now seems I can talk about Arashi all day! 🙂


    • your comment made me teary-eyed esp that question you want to ask Uncle Johnny coz that’s also what I want to ask him. I guess he is not Johnny Kitagawa for nothing, for the past how many decades (three?), he has been Japan’s producer of male idols, the ikemen that would become the country’s top actors and singers. he must have seen something different with these five and now we see the proof of that.

      “using other fans to police” hmmm that never occurred to me but it seems like it. fans have been scarred by what happened in December last year during the Christmas exhibit at Johnny’s. coz of the Arashi photos uploaded on SNS, J&A closed the Arashi exhibit. I’m not sure though if the agency would really use a DVD release as a threat since it would mean revenue loss.

      one thing about the Hawaii concert, they had many local staff (it would be expensive to bring Japanese staff even for those supervising the queues) and I think that’s where the problem came from. maybe lack of proper briefing. I read some accounts were the local staff were rude and blase towards the fans’ complaints. I felt bad for them but as you said, what’s important is everyone enjoyed the show and that Arashi healed whatever negative feelings they had.

      thanks for commenting!


  3. Hi! I haven’t read the whole post yet! But just wanna drop a quick comment to reply to this statement for LOLs:

    “I wondered where I was on Sept 15, 1999,”

    It’s so awkward and strange to think that I was actually just 5-years old when they debuted ><

    Anyway, thanks in advance for this post, I can't wait to read it! And I really hope we can watch this concert in DVD!!!!


  4. I’m so glad I know them, really :)) They are my first idol group I fall in love with (or should I say the first real person because it’s always been an anime/manga character for me).

    Beside Ohno, the other are crying too at the first night, or so I heard the report from. It’s overwhelming that Sho who usually so composed cried, this 15 years memories must come up at once. Well, Nino too actually. This two person rarely openly cried so it’s a shocked for me. Beside, I think Nino must be really suffering there because of his back pain problem.

    Since someone has mention about some backlash, I’m overwhelmed by so many leak for this concert too. From rehearsal photos, videos to the first day concert. I mainly stalking instagram, and some rude fans behavior makes me sad. A few people who posted the photos there are not Arashi fans, just some local people who got the hype for Arashi Blast and decide to watch the concert. They know nothing of JE rules and some people just write “please delete” or “it’s breaking the rules”. They become confused and so backlash begin. Different countries, different rules. I saw Hawaii local news write about not allowed to take photos/videos but I think some people just not saw it or ignored it. And after the first day end, rumor about no DVD is come up. Some people who are a member of JE fanclub said that there is no official statement from JE about not releasing Hawaii DVD but some fans just scared about the possibilities didn’t check if it’s real or not.

    btw, NHK special program seems like a must watch :))


    • I know how it feels for not knowing the rules… my friend and I got scolded too in my first year as a fan after we saw Arashi in Gwangju. we didn’t know the J&A rules then lol

      yup there was no official statement from J&A on photography but they did put up a notice on the second night. I think they were not expecting the rampant taking of photos and videos. I can just imagine Uncle Johnny facepalming and saying “this is why I don’t want to take them out of Japan!” LOL


  5. I’m having Hawaii withdrawal syndrome too though i didn’t actually go there hahaha seriously, like many people, I’m having Aiba Masaki fever! hahaha~ One part, I’m proud of them for doing event outside Japan, but a tiny piece of me quite scared how the outside world would perceive Arashi. On one hand i hope they will be super famous outside Japan, on another hand i hope it will continue to be a fandom so hard to take a peek into. I guess I am afraid that it will change Arashi, though I do want them to be more successful and widely known. Okay, now I don’t know what I’m saying haha..it’s like looping right.

    About the rules breaking, i do understand how the international fans actually wanted to share with their friends that didn’t make it to the concert, but the numbers of photos are too much. I got quite a shock myself. Though I am guilty of peeking through almost all that have been uploaded ^^;;. I just hope it won’t change the fact that they will come out with the DVD. And about the photos, I think there are people taking advantage of selling those rehearsal pics…sadly. Which i find inappropriate, really.

    About backlashing…I sympathized with one girl because her phone battery of out, she didn’t manage to delete the pics and video immediately, and when she finally able to turn on her gadget, she get over 100+ messages telling her all sort of thing. Remind her to delete the photo, i still can understand, but those who put her down by telling her she didn’t deserve to be Arashi’s fan is too much! Fuh~ what a long comment. Sorry~ 🙂


  6. Your opening question. I am wondering that a lot too: why didn’t i know them earlier, why didn’t i like them earlier? The former is probably due to JE’s ‘exclusiveness’, while for the latter, it happened at the right time i guess? I first heard of Arashi through Hanadan (which i never fully watched btw) but only came to like them when i rediscovered them several years later. I love everything about them now but not sure if the ten years ago me would appreciate their antics then.

    I feel that this Hawaii concert is another milestone in their career — they’ve grown from reluctant members to proud members of Arashi. I usually avoid concert reports so as not to get myself spoiled of any possible surprises but i hunted them down this time xp. And with the number of pics and videos circulating online, it’s as if i was there in person indeed. The feels are indescribable. I didn’t expect the members to be that emotional, but maybe by coming back and performing at their debut place at this time and stage, it seems as if they’ve come full circle and realized how far they’ve come…

    And yes, i agree with what everyone said regarding the pics and videos. I totally understand their excitement and the urge to capture the moments for memento but also worry that it’ll affect how Uncle Johnny view international fans and deprive us of any other possible international concert in the future. I have yet to attend their concert ;_; and i think theirs would be less of a dream if it weren’t in Japan/a need to ballot.

    That said, i couldn’t really fault them. It’s exasperating to see fans breaking rules, yet… that’s how i rediscovered Arashi — through (subbed) videos uploaded onto streaming sites. Without those, i don’t think i’d ‘know’ them till now, so yeah…

    Anyway, i am amazed at how you have so many things to write about the group. You are so knowledgeable! I enjoy reading each of them 🙂


    • there’s a time for everything and as you said, you may not have been able to appreciate them had you started following them back then. and as the fandom saying goes and I paraphrase, it doesn’t matter if you weren’t there at the start, what matters is you’d be there till the end.

      it’s a double-edged sword actually, the exposure that they get. the strict rule is a factor why Arashi continues to be million-sellers. if we can just access everything about them easily, they won’t be able to sell albums and concert DVDs. at the same time, those underground subbed versions help people get to know them. I do get where Riida is coming from when he expressed surprise on why people know them when they are just based in Japan. as they revealed in their Nikkei interview a few years back, they don’t really have plans to go international because it’s so hard meeting the demands of their domestic market alone. there was a recent issue over what Jun said in one of the Hawaii con messages that he wishes they could go to all the places they haven’t been to. I was one of those who took it as finally a sign that they’re going international but some fans were quick to point out that he meant all those places in Japan they haven’t been to. it’s sometimes frustrating to be an international fan but that doesn’t make me love them less. even just through their music and shows, they have helped me gain a positive outlook on life. and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

      I’m happy to know you find my entries informative. I follow a lot of well-informed fans on Twitter and I get insights from talking with them as well. one thing I love about this fandom, we don’t just spazz but we love to discuss things in-depth. that gives us a better understanding of the idols that we stan beyond the kira-kira costumes and the million-wattage smiles. XD


      • oh yes, that quote is gold ❤ Yup, i read about Ohno's and Jun's comments you mentioned above, and here i thought it wouldn't surprise them anymore ever since that Mannequin 5 SP episode where there was one vote coming from Bhutan even… Well, the storm they make knows no boundaries after all XD

        Yeah, seeing how many individual and group activities they have, and how they have to pre-record their shows and still do a lot of filming while in Hawaii to make up for that, i can see why holding international tours is not their priority up to now.

        I have been contemplating for the longest time now whether i should open a twitter account for that reason. News/updates on Arashi is like my morning coffee, lol.


      • come open a Twitter!!! it is helpful to keep yourself updated! I can recommend Arashi Twitter fan accounts that are very informative! XD


  7. It’s me again! 🙂 Thank goodness I have been very busy with work and school, so I didn’t have much time to lament not being able to go to Hawaii. However, in between doing homework and work, I can’t resist fishing for updates. Seeing the pictures on Tumblr and reading blog posts about the event made me really happy and at the same time very proud of Arashi. That is why I am grateful to Arashi fans like you who unselfishly devote their time, energy, and resources to keep other fans like me updated. For me, this is one of the best things in this fandom.

    The Hawaii experience has really made me realize how lucky I am to be an Arashi fan. I am so happy that they have reached this milestone, and I am sure that this is just the beginning of greater things for Arashi.

    They may had doubts about being “Arashi” in the beginning, but have lived up to their name and exceeded everyone’s expectations, even their’s. I have been an Arashi fan for almost eight years now. We all know that their climb to superstardom was not an easy one; it was full of struggles, and well, storms. I am glad that they have all survived those years and emerged stronger, better, and even closer to each other. I am so glad that Sho and Riida did not pursue their decision to quit. My life is much happier with Arashi in it. 🙂

    However, what is so touching is that they have always considered their fans as the wind beneath their wings. For them, Arashi’s success is also their fans’ success. With that, I have even become prouder to be an Arashi fan.

    I am also crossing my fingers that they will consider touring outside Japan after witnessing the outpouring of support for their Hawaii concert. For now, I’ll just wait for the DVD. 🙂


    • Twitter is sucha huge help in keeping myself updated. I just saw a tweet by amnosxmatsujun tonight about the fandom. indeed, we’re one of the most resourceful and we love to have fun. that’s why I’ve stayed in this fandom for as long as I have because I have met so many friends and generally the lack of drama.

      and yes, I love how for Arashi, it’s not always about them. they always acknowledge that they owe their success to those people supporting them, their fans and their staff. I think it was SCENE that their staff made an “otsukare” banner for them. that touched me so much and shows how much they are loved and that tells us how well they treat the people around them too. one thing I love about them is how they have stayed humble even if they have surpassed the achievements of their senpais already. that is why their senpais cannot begrudge them of their success and look happy for them as well.

      crossing my fingers too on that international tour!


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