Back in 2003, after years of only patronizing telenovelas coming from South America, the Philippines opened its doors to Asian dramas. ABS-CBN, a major tv network, decided to buy rights to air Meteor Garden in the country. Despite it being placed in an afternoon time slot, its ratings were so high, everyone talked about it. Needless to say, Meteor Garden became a huge hit – it became a phenomenon. It also opened my eyes to Asian dramas in general.
I watched any Asian drama that I can get my hands on. Be it Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean or Japanese. I have a special love for Japanese dramas because not only it reminds me of animes (which are a long time obsession of mine) but because they are shorter and always a lot funnier.
One day, I decided to watch Gokusen. I like the premise of the series. A young woman coming from a Yakuza family becomes a teacher of the most notorious and rebellious students of a private school. And then I saw Sawada Shin and I was a goner. He’s the hottest and coolest guy I’ve ever seen and all I can think of is how can I make this person my husband. I’d like to dedicate my whole life to him. But then Gokusen 1 ended and I was majorly disappointed that Gokusen II didn’t have him as one of the casts.
If I can’t get more of Sawada Shin then I’ll get more of the actor who played him. I’ve found Kimi wa Petto and although he doesn’t look like the Sawada Shin I knew, I was taken in by him nonetheless. Momo is the cutest ever. I’d like to have him as a pet too.
After watching Kimi wa Petto, I was even more determined to know all aboutMatsumoto Jun. I learned he is a part of this group called, Arashi, but I didn’t pay too much attention to that. More than anything, I just wanted another drama of him.
And then, voila! I heard the news that he will be playing Doumyoji Tsukasa in the Japanese live action adaptation of Hana Yori Dango. I am a huge fan of the Hana Yori Dango franchise, I’ve started with Meteor Garden then the anime then the manga itself. So just imagine my surprise at that news. My fandom is colliding. (And that is like a dream come true for any fan).
As soon as it was available online, I ordered a DVD of the series. I enjoyed and loved it so much. I didn’t expect Matsujun to act like that, he was so good! He was amazing! Sawada Shin will be just my lover, Momo will still be my pet and Tsukasa will now become my husband. Haha.
While I was watching the series, I was taken in by the theme song. I was like, “wow, this is pretty cool. I need to have an MP3 of this song.” So I researched for it and found out that it was “Wish” and it was sung by Matsujun’s group, “Arashi.”
I downloaded the promotional video and it was so cute. So Christmas-y however, I couldn’t decipher very much the other members. Not only I was focusing on Jun too much, the PV was a bit blurred too. Then I proceed on looking for their other videos and stumbled upon their very first video, A-RA-SHI. They were young, vibrant and I really like the song. Next up, I found Jun’s solo in their 2004 concert, “La Familia.” This video did it for me. This is Jun’s best performance not to mention, best song that (as I found out later) he wrote himself. The other members showed up near the end of his performance and he pointed at them while singing the line “my friends…” I find that really sweet and when I look at the other members, I realized that they’re cute too.
I started listening to their songs, started to get to know the members, memorize the lyrics of their songs. I even spent 2 days listening to one song and getting their voices ingrained to my brain. So that when I listen, I will know who sang this line and that line. I watch their variety programs and was forever trapped in the fandom.
The rest is, as what they say, history. Arashi sank their claws into me and I’ve never been more glad and proud and happy to get to know such an amazing group. Because of them, I also got to meet a lot of people. Strangers who eventually became real life friends.
I may never get to meet them in real life but their influence on me was so great, I’ll carry it for the rest of my life.