Singer BENI (24), who just achieved her first #1 album this past week with “Lovebox,” has been confirmed as an official Guest of Honor for this year’s Anime Expo convention in Los Angeles.
Anime Expo 2010 is being held on July 1-4 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. BENI is scheduled to perform a concert on July 3 at the Nokia Theater.
BENI, who used to perform under her full name Beni Arashiro, once attended an elementary school in San Diego, California. However, this will be her first time performing as a singer in the continental United States.
Ask me about the song that I’ve been humming a lot of lately and I’ll answer Owl City’s “Fireflies” — not! (*ahem* I’m a fan of The Postal Service.) The song that’s been stuck in my head the past week is Namie Amuro’s “The Meaning Of Us” from her newly released original album, “Past<Future” — Amuro’s first in two years.
The song is being featured as the theme song to the upcoming BeeTV drama “Onnatachi wa Nido Asabu” (the video clip above is from the drama). Unfortunately, the album hasn’t made it for sale on iTunes yet (although many of her other albums are on sale there) and being that her last album, 2008’s “Best Fiction,” isn’t up either (at the U.S. store), you’ll have to go the CD route for this one.
Ayano Uema’s sophomore album, “Majun,” is available for pre-order online at Amazon.co.jp for ¥2,000.
The listing on Amazon.co.jp gives us a peek at what we may expect out of her new album. It’ll have a total of eight tracks and by the looks of it will be, like her debut album, original songs penned by Ayano. So those of you (like yours truly) who were hoping for an album of traditional shimauta we’ll have to wait a little longer.
The CD is also available for pre-order at Takara Records stores in Okinawa.
Waiting for me in my inbox this morning was an email from Mark about a group from Okinawa named ういずあす. At first I didn’t recognize the group but upon further research (ah, googling how I love thee) I found that the trio formerly went by the name “wiz-us” (which is how the current name is pronounced in English—yeah, go figure). Anyhoo, that name was quite familiar to me because I purchased their debut single, “Toori Ame,” a couple of years ago. At the time, they were marketed as a J-pop group with an Okinawan-twist (not unlike what’s being seen in the popularity of artists from Amami-Oshima like Chitose Hajime and Kousuke Atari) by, I presume, their record label at the time SME Records. So, yeah, I was totally thrown off by the change from “wiz-us” to the Japanese “ういずあす” and how they’re now adorned in Ryukyuan costume. Checking out their profile, the change from J-pop to wherever they plan to go (O-pop? Minyou?) from here is not all fluff as all three are accomplished artists of Ryukyuan music and dance:
Rina Kinjo (22, Nago City): Uta-Sanshin (Saikoushou) for 13 years.
Reika Higa (23, Nanjou City): Uta-Sanshin (Saikoushou) for 14 years.
Ayano Oyakawa (23, Urasoe City): Ryukyu Buyou (Saikoushou) for 15 years.
Their discography (from their SME catalog) so far consists of their debut single “Toori Ame” released in March 2007 and a cover album, “Nakayukui,” released in December 2007. Looking at the discography you’ll notice the void between January 2008 to present so I’m assuming they’re going indie.
Newlywed singer Rimi Natsukawa is ready to make her acting debut. She has been cast in ‘Minami no Shima no Furimun,’ a movie starring and directed by comedian Gori of Garage Sale.
The movie is Gori’s first full-length directorial effort. The story is a comedy set in Okinawa, where both he and Natsukawa are originally from. Natsukawa plays the part of a mysterious fortune teller.
Natsukawa is also singing the film’s theme, titled ‘Unju no Furusato.’ Gori wrote the lyrics, while Kiroro’s Chiharu Tamashiro (also an Okinawan) composed the music.
‘Minami no Shima no Furimun’ will have its first screening at the Okinawa International Movie Festival, organized by Yoshimoto Kogyo. The festival runs from March 19 to March 22.
Near the end of last year, Oricon conducted a survey of 1,200 men and women, asking them which celebrities they considered as the ‘face of 2008,’ based on activity. The #1 man was Yusuke Kamiji, who mainly rose to fame as part of the boy band Shuchishin, while the #1 woman was young actress Aoi Miyazaki, the star of the NHK taiga drama ‘Atsuhime.’
On the men’s list, musician DAIGO ranked #2, followed by Olympic medal-winning swimmer Kosuke Kitajima. The rest of the list were Masaharu Fukuyama, golfer Ryo Ishikawa, comedian Sekai no Nabeatsu, Shuchishin (as a group), Masahiro Nakai, Arashi, and Yutaka Mizutani.
The women’s list placed comedienne Harumi Edo at #2 and softball pitcher Yukiko Ueno at #3. Suzanne, Maki Horikita, Thelma Aoyama, Yukie Nakama, Namie Amuro, Aya Ueto, and Perfume also made the rankings.