It's that time of the year again. Today, I am celebrating the existence of 5 of my most favorite people in the world. No, it's not that they share birthdays, rather today marks the anniversary of the formation of an amazing friendship and a group who will become so close to my heart.
HAPPY 5x15 ARASHI!!!
15 years ago, aboard a cruise ship in Honolulu, Hawaii, these 5 individuals -merely unsuspecting teenagers back then- made their debut and promised to create a storm throughout the world. 2 of them weren't exactly happy about being blindsided into forming a group and were actually thinking of quitting. Thank God they didn't!!! Arashi won't be the Arashi as we know today if even one member is different.
And what do you know, they're still here 15 years later and still going strong. Only a handful in the idol world has achieved such milestone as being in the business for 15 years. Sure they have their own share of scandals, declining success, low sales but they shouldered on with smiles on their faces and worked even harder. As Sho said, they "took a detour" but absolutely "didn't take any shortcuts" to be where they are now and they're proud of that.
The stories surrounding the so called "dark years" of Arashi are quite heartbreaking for a fan. I can't even begin to imagine how that must've felt for them. But no matter how difficult it became for them, they didn't quit. They just holed themselves in Riida's room and discussed what they must do for Arashi's future.
There are also countless of stories out there about Arashi helping people during hard times, curing them from depression and even saving them from suicide. Though thankfully I have never reached that point in my life, I can truly say that Arashi is like a happy pill. Their songs give warm feelings and their shows are like a burst of happiness. I can never watch any of their variety shows without smiling and laughing. It never fails to lift my mood.
I don't know what is it about these people. They're idols unlike any other in the world. The idol world nowadays is populated with perfect and flawless looking people (with heartfelt thanks to their 'doctors') who sing and dance so alike they all look like robots. But Arashi look like your ordinary people and there are a lot of times when they don't act like idols. These are the people who are so enthusiastic about a lot of things and are willing to wear pantyhose on their heads, nipple shirts and do outrageous stuff like sail a boat totally made of paper (or leaves) across Tokyo Bay or fly on a giant kite. But these stuff are what makes them different and what makes them fun.
However, that's not to say that these guys don't take their job as entertainers seriously coz they sure as hell do. They're very hands on especially during their concerts. Each member participates in planning and has a role in concert production: choreographer, rapper, merchandise designer, songwriter,and concert master. Watching an Arashi concert is a very personal experience because it's really them who makes it. I have never seen one in person but based on their concert DVDs, it must've been overwhelming during live.
But it's a well known fact that what the fans most love about Arashi is how much they love each other. Arashi is very much known because of their bond, their harmony and their extraordinary kinship that is "halfway between best friends and brothers." According to Aiba, "People always say we’re really close, but that’s really the norm. It’s a bond that can neither be called friendship or kinship, but a new genre that can only be called “Arashi.” These people who are totally different from one another and most probably won't even become friends if they're not thrown together by Johnny Kitagawa have reached their 15th year without a single fight between them. It's amazing. During their 12th year, I remember they were asked if it's true that they haven't fought since they were formed, these are what they said:
"Because the five of us all really love Arashi!" - Aiba
"Everyone's considerate and we understand each other." -Jun
"I can't remember any time that out opinions have clashed." -Nino
"If we ever did fight, we'd probably end up laughing." -Ohno
"It's a result of us respecting and accepting each other." -Sho
As this question has been repeated a lot of times, Sho and Jun also answered this by saying that "there's a gentle, slow-paced atmosphere in the group, probably because of Ohno and Aiba's presence."
Arashi wouldn't be Arashi if even one of them is missing.
So, Arashi - thank you for never giving up, for holding on, for working hard, for being awesome, for being dorks, and most of all, thank you for existing. (Though I guess, I have also Johnny Kitagawa to be thankful for that last bit.)
As usual, I'm ending this post with the words that I've been saying (and writing and tweeting) every time during their anniversary:
I may not have been with you from the very start but I will be with you forever. No matter what happens. Until the end.