Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Happy Birthday, Yumi!

由美-chan: お誕生日おめでとう!!

Happy 33rd birthday, Yumi! Here's hoping that your 34th year is as fun and exciting as the previous 33.

Andrew at PuffyAmiYumiWorld has drawn up a special card that he's sending through the Puffy AmiYumi MySpace page and the BBS - I've written my wishes there as well.

By the way, that cake is from Pink Cake Box. Pretty nice one, eh?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

New English Interview on JaME World

PUFFY's English-language marketing is definitely ramping up in anticipation of the honeycreeper release. There's a new interview up at JaME World, a site that I'd honestly never heard of before but which exists to promote Japanese artists in the west.

The interviewer obviously knows a bit about their music and asks quite a few questions; I just wish Ami and Yumi weren't so tight-lipped with most of their answers. My favorite answer is when they're asked to provide some "funny or weird" anecdotes about any of their music videos:

Yumi: "I did bungee jumping for the first time in my life for the shoot of the ELECTRIC BEACH FEVER (Nagisa ni Matsuwaru Et Cetra) video in Thailand. I swore to myself that I would never do it again."

The video in question:

If you missed the link above, you can read the full interview here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

iTunes Top 38

I just thought this was interesting, is all - my top 38 "most played" iPod songs (38 because that's what would fit on screen for a screenshot). I always thought my tastes were a little more varied than this. Click the image to open the full size version.

Apparently, I favor female leads!

I guess you can also take that as somewhat indicative of my favorite PUFFY songs. Though this is by no means definitive; I still listen to CD's in the car, for example, and Paramore, Foo Fighters and Kaela have all gotten a lot more car stereo play in the past few months than PUFFY. (No offense to PUFFY, but I do listen to other things!) I also carry a full stock of PUFFY CD's with me, so no doubt various songs have been listened to more than shown here.

By the way, PUFFY apparently just finished recording one song in Los Angeles, and their latest English staff blog post mentions a mystery person they were recording with who's "always funny". Gotta be either Butch Walker or Andy Sturmer, don't you think? (I'm nostalgically hoping for the latter... no offense, Butch!)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Lavshuca's Spring 2008 Campaign

No idea how long this has been up - I swear it wasn't there when I checked the site a couple weeks ago. So maybe I'm a little late with this, but hopefully not. Lavshuca's got a new TV ad starring PUFFY and some new wallpapers up, among other things. I gotta say both girls look fantastic, though I still can't really get used to this style on them.

Check out the site here. I'll be adding the wallpapers to my official wallpaper post as well.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Music Fighter 01/11/08

Last week, the Japanese TV program "Music Fighter" had sort of a retrospective on some of their favorite moments from the show in 2007. PUFFY actually made it in there twice. I actually missed their first appearance when it was on originally, though some of you may have seen it - but they also do what seems to be a little follow-up after the clip, which is new. The clip and follow-up are below.

The second appearance I posted here before, but again, there's some new footage of Tamio Okuda afterwards that some of you may be interested in.

The first clip is actually a little disturbing!

I love how mortified Yumi looks. I feel a little bad for her!

I wish I could translate even a little of this, but I honestly have no friggin' clue what they're saying. Maybe later!

Well, it's later. I can give you the gist, at least. Yumi apparently is not familiar with too many Japanese comedians, so Ami wanted to introduce her to one. She chose this guy. So this is basically a big joke being played on Yumi. In the follow-up segment, Yumi says she really didn't know what to do; her reaction was genuine.

That's about all I got...

Honeysweeper tour goods on sale via the internet

Unfortunately in Japan only, but then I know I have a lot of Japanese readers. If you missed out on seeing PUFFY on their Honeysweeper tour, you can now pretend you actually attended one of their concerts by buying various tour goods from Sony's official internet retail site Rocket Express. Fool your friends!

(Yes, just like I'm doing with my tour goods.)

They don't have everything from the tour, but they do have the PUFFY the Monster shirt pictured above, as well as the official tour shirt, the key holders and the towel.

Interestingly, they're also selling concert shirts from the Tamio Okuda vs. PUFFY doubleheader at Zepp Sapporo, if you'd like one.

If you don't live in Japan, well, you're probably SOL. Some of you may have a Japanese shipping address that you can use, in which case go for it. I'll be trying it a bit later myself for the Monster t-shirt, which wasn't available at North American shows, though I'm not sure if Rocket Express accepts non-Japanese credit cards. (My guess: no.)

Keep in mind that Japanese shirt sizes run very small, even compared directly against the same size in the US. (In other words, a Japanese large is about the same size as a US medium.)

By the way, I've got a special video treat for you guys hopefully later today, if YouTube ever decides to finish processing my upload.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Ami's Blog Post - New Album in the Works! (For this year?!)

The last bit of "news" I wanted to post tonight is a brief look at Ami's blog post dated 1/09 - the English translation of which is both cryptic and mysterious!

First, if you're unlike me in that you don't check Amigator and all the staff blogs every day, you should do so now. Here's a link for my Japanese readers, and here's one for the English speakers. Not to discriminate or anything - if you're Japanese and speak English, feel free to read the English version and vice versa.

This was her first post of the year (she's since written two more short ones). Most of it's pretty standard stuff, but two bits of fairly big news seem to be contained in the last two paragraphs (one of which you know already if you've read the Shojo Beat interview):

a) PUFFY are back in the recording studio, (as predicted) and
b) There is something "really special" coming from the band.

That second part is a bit confusing, if you read the English version of the post. Here's the translation:

Since 2 years ago, the Puffy team has been enjoying the tough times and really appreciating each day while of course we complain every now and then but finally as we enter year 2008 I think we're close to being able to provide something really special.
AmiYumi don't usually think about what will happen in the future, especially cause you don't know what to expect in this industry but
I hope you all (and of course us too) do the best to create and save lots of OP(Omoide Point = Memorial Moments).

For any Japanese speakers out there, this is the original:


I asked my wife to look at it, and as usual she says Ami's non-standard Japanese is really hard to translate. But apparently, she's basically saying, "Over the last year we've been working really hard, and now we're going back into the recording studio. We hope we can finally bring you guys something really special on our new album. And we hope you like it, even though we haven't started it yet." I'm not sure that's all in that paragraph; some may have been in the paragraph following.

The official translation is a little off - Ami was talking about the past year, and while I don't see the standard word she usually uses (アルバム), my wife assures me she specifically mentions a new album. So, I'm not to blame if I'm wrong here! But I gotta believe what she tells me.

I'm a little surprised they're starting work on another album so soon, but not entirely shocked. These girls just do not waste any time. What I am a little taken aback by is that they've all but announced it before honeycreeper has even seen a US release. Perhaps that's why it's not in the official translation. Anyway, I'm sure we're all looking forward to it.

Shojo Beat Music Contest - Vote for Puffy AmiYumi!

The news is suddenly coming fast and furious after a little period of quiet - I've got more to post today, and I'm not even sure I'll get to it all until later tonight.

For now, though, you should know that in addition to the interview and cover story, Shojo Beat has also included Puffy AmiYumi in their third annual music awards. It's up to you to vote for them, so head on over now and do so. They're nominated in the "best pop artist" category. Vote here. They're giving away a few copies of Dance Dance Revolution and a bunch of song downloads to some lucky voters (picked at random), so there's some further incentive for you.

I gotta say they seem to have made some strange choices for some of the other nominations, but I guess they're Japanese artists that are popular in the US rather than in Japan. (Still, Chatmonchy doesn't even make "best all girl band"?! wtf? It's not like there are even that many popular bands that fit that category there...)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Official Site Refresh

PUFFY (and their alter ego Puffy AmiYumi) refreshed both their English and Japanese official sites today with a photo that suggests that the Shojo Beat cover was not just a one-off taken by the magazine - looks to be part of a new campaign of some sort. They don't refresh their official site imagery for nothing, and certainly not just to celebrate a US magazine cover.

Could this be the start of their US marketing? Are they going all traditional Japanese on us? Might not be a bad move - it's not like they can hide their origins, and Japan in general has been hot in American pop culture for a few years now. Still, this is pretty far out for the kind of band they are, so I'm not entirely convinced that this is really the image Sony's going to promote for the album here. But if not, then what's it for? What are they promoting? (Remember that both territories got the same site update too, not just the US.)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

PUFFY on the Cover of "Shojo Beat"

PUFFY have announced via their various blogs that they've made it onto the cover of US-based magazine Shojo Beat's next issue, due to hit newsstands on January 15th. I don't know much about this magazine - it's not really my kind of rag - but apparently there will be a pretty extensive interview to go with the cover shot.

Not quite as much of a coup as when PUFFY made the cover of PAPER magazine - and I think that's really more the audience they should be cultivating (ie. people like myself) - but still, a US magazine cover is a US magazine cover. I'll be picking it up to see what they have to say, even though it's definitely not the sort of thing you'd see me buying in a normal month. But hey! You never know, maybe it'll enamor me of the shojo anime scene. (Probably not.)

I will say it's interesting to see that "Baby the Stars Shine Bright" - the clothing store/label featured in the awesome Tetsuya Nakashima film Kamikaze Girls (aka Shimotsuma Monogatari) - is advertising to westerners on the Shojo Beat web site. Everything in the universe is all tied together!

By the way, does anyone know if is correct when it says Csaba Csere - the grey-haired, balding journalist of the last three decades at Car & Driver Magazine - is also the editor of Shojo Beat??

UPDATE: At least part of the cover story interview, if not all of it, is now on Shojo Beat's web site here. Thanks to Andrew at for the heads up!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Saku Saku Morning Call

For some reason, most PUFFY fans in the west seem to know quite a bit about their variety show "Pa Pa Pa Pa PUFFY", which ran from 1997 to 2002 (with a special revival show last year) and featured Ami and Yumi interviewing, playing games with and playing tricks on various musical and other guests.

Not many western fans seem to know about their other early-career show, though: Saku Saku Morning Call. This show began in 1997 and actually continues to run today, albeit without PUFFY and under the simplified name "Saku Saku". (Kimura Kaela also hosted it for a while.) But Ami and Yumi were "founding members".

I can't say I watched this show when they were on it, but apparently it was formatted similar to other Japanese morning shows, with weather and interviews and whatnot, just with a music slant. PUFFY seem to have mainly appeared live on Fridays, where they would do some little skits or activities like this:

They're making "takoyaki" in that clip - octopus balls. Popular in Yumi's hometown of Osaka, although Ami seems to like them too.

Interestingly, you can find PUFFY's May 1997 schedule of public appearances (along with other Hit & Run artists), including Saku Saku Morning Call, here. Amazing that it's still up more than 10 years later!

I've only ever seen one other clip of PUFFY on Saku Saku Morning Call, and it had Ami and Yumi doing the weather - like real meteorologists! It was pretty amazing, but I can't seem to find it at the moment. I believe it was actually after they had left the show, and they were guests on the weather segment. On what show in the United States would you see a famous pop band subbing on weather reporting duties?

GLAY's Teru Faces Negligence Charges

According to the Mainichi Daily News, GLAY member Teru, better known to PUFFY fans as Ami's husband, faces negligence charges in connection with a traffic accident that resulted in the injury of a bicyclist.

Doesn't sound like it was too serious, and thankfully the cyclist is okay, but she did take "about 10 days to heal". More info here.

UPDATE: I originally missed this, but according to gossipy site Japan Zone, Ami was in the car at the time of the accident.