It may be strange to say this but Arashi are life coaches for me. Over more than a decade of following them, I have picked up lessons here and there, call it “Arashi Soup for the Fangirl Soul” if you may. More than being stressrelievers, they have made life easier to live just by showing how they handle their lives and situations.
People are people, you are you. You lose once you start comparing. (Reference: Fight Song)
Fight Song, composed by Nino, encapsulates most things that Arashi stands for: uniqueness, fighting spirit and the ability to stand up and brush oneself off after falling.
How many times have we compared ourselves to others while going through our Facebook or Instagram feeds? Social media have fed into our greatest insecurities thinking other people’s lives are more fabulous. But then we never know the struggles of others and what’s behind those curated posts. Maybe if we do, we won’t feel envious.
It’s okay to cry sometimes. It’s okay to show your weakness. (Reference: Fight Song)
We’ve seen Aiba cry while reading his now iconic letter on 24 HRTV in 2004. We’ve seen Riida cry in their 15th anniversary documentary and at the Blast in Hawaii concert. Such incidents never diminished their person and in fact made them more relateable (granted of course that we are not all a member of a national idol group who 14 years ago was just dreaming of great things, or its leader who was overcome with emotions at the celebration of their 15 years knowing at one time he wanted to quit).
Do your best with the present work you’re given.
This is Ohno Satoshi’s wisdom that the members have long embraced. When they were agonizing over their future in the entertainment industry during Arashi’s dark years when their efforts were seemingly not resulting in anything, Riida said that if one can’t be good at the task in front of them, how can they be good in anything in the future. I always remind myself this whenever I feel discontented at work. If I can’t address my current situation right away, might as well do good at it first.
Give your best as if it’s the only time you’re going to do it.
When Arashi first performed in 2008 at Kokuritsu (National Stadium), where only two artists have had the privilege to perform at until then (SMAP and Dreams Come True), they thought it was their first and last. They took many photos during their rehearsals to enjoy and preserve the moment. They gave it their all. In the end, they are the only artist to have performed there for six consecutive years until Kokuritsu closed in 2013 for renovations ahead of the 2020 Olympics.
Sure, Kokuritsu is not everybody’s stage but like Shakespeare said, all the world’s a stage and we are merely players. We can’t compare what we do to what celebrities like Arashi or world leaders do, but we all have our responsibilities to assume and expectations to manage. Routine can be tedious but knowing at the end of the day that you gave something all you got (like writing this post) can be satisfying and has its intrinsic value.
If I overcome this, I can do anything from now on.
Jun said this when he was doing a butai in 2006 and he felt that the limits of his physical strength were being tested. Sometimes, life throws us a curve ball but what doesn’t break us makes us stronger.
Instead of accumulating stress, accumulate money instead.
This is a timeless lesson from the Great Ninomiya himself, an advice from his mother that he has handed down many times on TV and in magazine interviews. It may sound materialistic but he has a point. Why build up on something negative when you can build up something positive and be productive.
Do not cause trouble for others.
This refers to their commitment as a team, knowing that one member is a reflection of the other four, and that without that one member, they are no longer Arashi. That commitment drives them to work hard, whether it’s staying healthy so that they won’t miss out on group activities, or avoiding trouble so they won’t bring problems to the group. How many times did one member have to bow his head and take one for the team? (Reference: [H Interview] The moment they feel responsibility of being Arashi.)
It can also be how they hate bringing attention to themselves when they’re out in public because they do not want to cause inconvenience to others. They know not everyone is their fan and would be happy to see them so they try to avoid situations that would cause trouble in general. While we may not be celebrities who would stir interest in public, this is a reminder to not inconvenience others, be it our friends, family, colleagues or strangers in general.
Don’t step on others to get ahead.
In one of their group interviews, Nino said they were not the type of group to step on others to get ahead. They waited for their time to come, shouldering on even if things were not promising at the time. It took them years but they made it happen.
In our daily lives, we’re subjected to certain situations that throw us into competition–getting the boss’ approval, being ahead in the coffee or lunch queue, receiving a promotion or salary raise… we all want to achieve whatever it is we have set out for. But in doing so, sometimes some people take the short cut. I am old school and still believe in meritocracy (and Arashi has set an example on this).
Don’t take yourself seriously, learn to laugh at yourself too.
The charm of Arashi is that they are self-deprecating. Even now, they still allow their senpais to tease them on TV and they’re never afraid to embarrass themselves. Sure, it’s their job to entertain, but isn’t life easier to handle when we laugh easily?
Find joy in small and simple things.
Given their fame and success (and wealth), it won’t be far off to expect Arashi to live rock star lives the way we can only imagine. Yet, their joy is in the simple things like giving one another practical, instead of expensive, gifts; or enjoying simple stuff like going to the record store or doing the grocery. While we like to say as fangirls that money can buy happiness, we also must know that happiness doesn’t need to be expensive or material all the time.
Stay humble even, and most especially, in the face of success.
“Isn’t it because we have never seen anyone become successful by letting compliments get to their heads?” – Nino (Source)
We have been witness to many who have soared so high that their fall was also so deep. Keep our heads low and our feet on the ground.
Never give up on your dreams.
Had they given up when everything was a difficult uphill climb, they wouldn’t be where they are now. In this day and age when the internet makes it easy for anyone to be a star, they show that there is still dignity and honor in working hard for one’s dreams (yes, even if they don’t show it off on social media). The same thing goes for us. Indeed, there’s a reason why their debut song says Arashi, Arashi for dream.
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