A quick update given the barren sort of atmosphere around here:

First of all, though it may not seem like a lot to some, I’ve officially surpassed 500 views on this blog and I wanted to thank everyone who’s ever read so much as a single post here for helping me to reach that milestone. Yes, even the many Googlers seemingly desperate to spoil themselves on the plot of Kokuhaku. I think I’d continue to write even without these views, but they definitely keep me aware of my audience, and it’s a relief to know that I have one. ♥

Life hasn’t been the best for me recently. Any time I’ve tried to write something in the past couple of weeks, the wind was promptly taken out of my sails, so to speak. I have, however, been focusing on a different project in an effort to remain productive! I’ve created tokyo smiling as a place to host my translations alongside the blog I have here. I’m far from being done working on it, but I’ll be getting things posted there gradually, so please feel free to keep an eye on it. :)

Next in line is part two of my BiS introduction posts (featuring my bias, actually), so hopefully I’ll be back to updating in a few days’ time!

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In an update to her personal blog three days ago, vocalist aco of spoon+ gave us some important news: the unit’s debut album is officially set to drop as of summer 2011.

Am I ecstatic? Of course. I’ve had my eye on them since their formation nearly a year ago and I’ve been waiting for their first CD release all that time. It’s impossible, though, for me to ignore the bittersweet feeling that comes with finally getting it.

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Four days ago, I saw a movie. I’ve seen it two more times since then. I don’t really watch movies often, and I rarely find myself truly moved by them, but Nakashima Tetsuya‘s Kokuhaku, adapted from Minato Kanae‘s award-winning novel of the same name, was something else entirely.

At its core, Kokuhaku is the story of a junior high school teacher, the death of her child, and the revenge she seeks upon those responsible for it. That is, if you’re really, really trying to condense it. It’s truthfully more like a series of confessions — what the title itself translates to in English as well as the one used outside of Japan — from a number of people tied to the killing. It’s a sometimes lighthearted, frequently unsettling and ultimately extremely thought-provoking work, and its soundtrack complements this effortlessly.

So, because I feel as if I can’t address one without the other (and because I’d be the worst movie critic in the history of the universe), I wrote this with a strong emphasis on the music and the scenes that inspired the most thought and reaction in me.

There are mild spoilers past this point, so be warned.

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This is the first in a series of introduction posts I’ve been planning for the new idol unit BiS (you can read a general overview about them here).

Before I begin, I have to make it clear that Pour Lui was not an artist I discovered through a news site, random late-night browsing on YouTube, or even a recommendation from friends. Rather, the first time I saw her face was in a Twitter follower notification sitting pleasantly in my inbox, which I found highly confusing. It took about five minutes of reading her profile for it to sink in that she was some kind of struggling idol wandering Twitter and following indiscriminate people — in fact, I remember one of her earliest tweets at the time of her following me, a bashful admission of being completely lost on the service and having been blindly instructed by a friend to follow whoever she happened to see.

Actually, if I’m going to be honest, it left me in the slightly awkward position of not knowing whether to follow back or pretend not to notice she was there. I’m kind of doing this with a really unabashedly horrible group as we speak. Even so, I was greatly intrigued by the idea of interesting new artists coming to me (how incredibly convenient!), so I took the opportunity to check her PVs out.

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Sometimes even fairly mainstream Japanese music news sources can grant you a couple of interesting little discoveries here and there. Brought to my attention today, courtesy of Natalie, was Sayonara Ponytail — a group of three “mysterious girls” set to release their first album Momyu no Ki no Mukougawa on April 27th.

The mystery being that they’re apparently drawings.

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Outside of an entire troupe of Korean idol imports, it’s quite possible that MAA may have been the hottest debut to hit the Japanese pop scene in 2010. This is not to say that her sales were particularly shocking (although #158 isn’t horrible), that her music met with an extraordinarily favorable reception from the general Japanese public, or even that she was my personal favorite of the year’s new artists, as NIKIIE, of course, remains my queen. But there’s no denying that half-American MAA is getting some serious love from outside the country, a phenomenon that may best be represented through the singer’s Twitter, of all things, where she’s been replying non-stop to Western fan tweets. When you consider that her Japanese tweets are largely directed at friends, it’s a pretty strange situation that leaves me wondering just where exactly her Japanese fanbase lies.

But that’s a topic for another time, I suppose.

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Stars in the blue sky is a little place for me to talk about music and things I love. While I’d like to provide things like news and reviews here and I do plan to post those from time to time, mostly, this is just a place for my thoughts. If you’re interested in discovering not-quite-so-well-known artists and reading about them from a perspective focused not simply on their music, but also on their words and the image they portray, then this is exactly the blog for you.

If you’d like to know more about the blog and who runs it (oh, I’m Cait, by the way), please have a look at the pages near the top for that. Happy reading and I hope you’ll comment once in a while!