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Aishwarya Rai (Aishwarya Bachchan)

Aishwarya Bachchan (Aishwarya Rai) was born on 1st November 1973. Aishwarya Rai (Ash) is one of Bollywood's pre-eminent leading ladies. This Indian darling burst upon the world stage when her striking beauty, poise and commanding intelligence won her the Miss World crown in 1994.

Rai was born in Mangalore to Krishnaraj Rai and Vrinda Rai. Her family belongs to the Matrilineal Bunt community of Mangalore. She has one elder brother, Aditya Rai who works in Navy and has also co-produced one of Rai's movies, Dil Ka Rishta. At an early age her parents moved to Mumbai where she attended the Arya Vidya Mandir high school in Santa Cruz. Rai then entered Jai Hind College at Churchgate for one year, and then moved to Ruparel College in Matunga to finish her "HSC" studies. She did well in school and planned to become an architect and went on pursuing studies in architecture. She can communicate in several languages, including her mother tongue Tulu, as well as Hindi, English, Marathi and Tamil. She started studying architecture but gave up her education to pursue a career in modelling.

Ash won the coveted Miss World crown in 1994. Soon after this she pledged to donate her eyes after her death. She went on to become the brand ambassador for brands like L’Oreal, Pepsi and Coco Cola. She struck a pose for many international magazines like TIME and was also voted one of the most attractive and influential women by several polls. She is the first Indian actor to be part of the jury at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. She has appeared in The Oprah Winfrey Show, Late Show with David Letterman and 60 Minutes. She was also the first Indian actress to be replicated in wax at Madame Tussaud’s Museum in London.
She was briefly involved with actors Salman Khan and Vivek Oberoi before marrying actor Abhishek Bacchan, son of the iconic Amitabh Bacchan and Jaya Bacchan. They were married in 2007.

Film Career

Aishwarya began her career in the film industry with a Tamil film Iruvar in 1997 which was a hit as opposed to her Hindi film Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya with Bobby Deol. She won the Filmfare Best Actress award for her next Tamil film Jeans, which was also an entry to the Oscars. In 1999, she gained recognition in Bollywood with hits like Taal and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, in which she played opposite Salman Khan and Ajay Devgan, her role as Nandini fetching her the Filmfare Best Actress award.
In 2000, her Tamil film Kandukondain Kandukondain, saw a good turnout. She took on the role of Shirley, Shah Rukh Khan’s sister in Josh and then played his love interest in Mohabbatein which won her a nomination for the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress award. In Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai, she played Preeti Virat, a rape victim and was considered for the Filmfare Best Actress award. The year 2001 was a quiet year for Ash.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas (2002), in which she played Paro with Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit, was an instant blockbuster. It also received a special screening at the Cannes Film Festival. She won the Filmfare Best Actress award. In 2003, she acted the part of Binodini in a Bengali film Choker Bali which was based on a novel by Rabindranath Tagore. The film was nominated for the Golden Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival.

The year 2004 saw Ash in her first English film, Gurinder Chaddha’s Bride & Prejudice, an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. Her performance as Neerja in Rituparno Ghosh’s Raincoat was praised. This was followed by her second English film in 2005, The Mistress of Spices with Dylan McDermott of The Practice fame. Her dance sequence Kajra Re from Bunty Aur Babli became one of the most popular tunes of the year.

She had two films out in 2006. Umrao Jaan with Abhishek Bacchan failed to do well while Dhoom 2 where she played Sunehri and shared a ‘controversial’ liplock with Hrithik Roshan was a big hit. In 2007, she played Sujata opposite Abhishek Bacchan in Guru, based on the industrialist Dhirubhai Ambani which was very successful. Provoked which was based on a real episode of domestic violence, won critical acclaim. The other English film The Last Legion did not do so well.
Jodhaa Akbar, released in 2008, in which she acted the part of Jodhaa Bai with Hrithik Roshan was average while the sequel to Sarkar, Ram Gopal Varma’s Sarkar Raj in which she plays a CEO alongside Amitabh Bacchan and Abhishek Bacchan, is said to be one of her best performances till date.

Aishwarya has lined up quite a few films for 2009. Among them is the English film, The Pink Panther 2 with Steve Martin, the Hindi film Ravana and the Tamil film Endhiran.

Other work

In 1999 Rai participated in a world tour called the Magnificent Five along with Aamir Khan, Rani Mukerji, Akshaye Khanna and Twinkle Khanna. In 2003 she became the first Indian actress to be a jury member at the Cannes Film Festival.

In 2004 she travelled all the way to Siachen Glacier, which at a height of 13000 ft is the highest battlefield in the world, to boost the morale of the jawans for a special New Year episode on the NDTV show, Jai Jawan.In 2005, she became a brand ambassador for Pulse Polio, a campaign established by the Government of India in 1994 to eradicate Polio in India.

In February 2005, Rai performed at the HELP! Telethon Concert to help raise money for the victims of 2004 tsunami earthquake in company with other Bollywood stars.

In 2006 she appeared at the closing ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, as part of a performance showcasing Indian art, on behalf of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, to be held in New Delhi.In 2008 she along with her family laid the foundation of a special school for underprivilged girls in the Daulatpur village in Uttar Pradesh.The school will be made by her family and is going to be named after her.

In Summer 2008, Rai joined her husband and father-in-law along with Preity Zinta and Ritesh Deshmukh, Shilpa Shetty on the Unforgettable World Tour. The first leg of the tour covered the USA, Canada, London, and Trinidad. The second leg of the tour will most likely happen by the end of this year 2008. Amitabh's company AB Corp Ltd. along with Wizcraft International Entertainment Pvt. Ltd are behind the concert.

Other Achievement

Rai has been the most popular face of Indian cinema globally. In 2004 she was chosen by Time magazine as one of the World's "100 Most Influential People", and appeared on the cover of Time magazine, Asia Edition in 2003. She was the subject of a 60 Minutes profile on 2 January 2005, which said that "at least according to thousands of Web sites, Internet polls and even Julia Roberts", she was "The World's Most Beautiful Woman". In October 2004 a wax figure of Rai was put on display in London's Madame Tussaud's wax museum. She was the 6th Indian and the second Bollywood personality after her father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan to get this honour.

In 2005 she became a global brand ambassador of L'Oreal alongside Andie Macdowell, Eva Longoria and Penelope Cruz. The same year, a special Tulip in Netherland was named "Aishwarya Rai" after her. Rai became the first Indian to appear on such shows as Late Show with David Letterman, and was the first Bollywood personality to appear on Oprah's "Women Across the Globe" segment. In 2005, Harpers and Queen's list of 10 Most beautiful women in the world ranked her at the 9th spot.

Personal life

Aishwarya has previously dated Bollywood actors Salman Khan and Vivek Oberoi. She is married to Indian actor Abhishek Bachchan who is three years her junior. After much speculation concerning their relationship, her engagement to Abhishek Bachchan was announced on January 14, 2007. The announcement was later confirmed by Amitabh Bachchan. Rai married Bachchan on April 20, 2007 according to traditional Hindu rites of the South Indian Bunt community, to which she belongs. Token North Indian and Bengali ceremonies were also performed. The wedding took place in a private ceremony at the Bachchan residence Prateeksha in Juhu, Mumbai. Though the wedding was a private affair intended for the Bachchan and Rai family and friends, the involvement of the media turned it into a national extravaganza.


Happy Birthday (2009)
Saamna (2009)
Sarkar Raj (2008) - Anita Rajan
Jodhaa Akbar (2008) - Jodha
Provoked (2007) - Kiranjit Ahluwalia
Guru (2007) - Sujata
Dhoom 2 (2006) - Sunehri
Umrao Jaan (2006) - Umraao Jaan
Bunty Aur Babli (2005) - Special Appearance (Song)
Shabd (2005) - Antara Vashisht
The Heart of India (2005) - Mumtaz Mahal
Bride & Prejudice (2004) - Lalita Bakshi
Khakee (2004) - Mahalaxshmi
Kyun...! Ho Gaya Na (2004) - Diya Malhotra
Raincoat (2004) - Neerja/Neeru
Chokher Bali (2003) - Binodini
Dil Ka Rishta (2003) - Tia Sharma
Kuch Naa Kaho (2003) - Namrata Shrivastav
Devdas (2002) - Parvati ('Paro')
23rd March 1931: Shaheed (2002) - Special Appearance (song)
Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin (2002) - Komal Rastogi
Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam (2002) - Special Appearence
Shakti: The Power (2002) - Dream Girl
Albela (2001) - Sonia
Mohabbatein (2000) - Megha
Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000) - Meenakshi
Dhaai Akshar Prem Ke (2000) - Sahiba Gareval
Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai (2000) - Preeti Virat
Josh (2000) - Shirley
Mela (2000) - Guest Appearance
Sanam Tere Hain Hum (2000) - Special Appearance
Ravoyi Chandamama (1999) - Special Appearance (Song)
Taal (1999) - Mansi
Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999) - Nandini
Aa Ab Laut Chalen (1999) - Pooja Walia
Jeans (1998) - Madhumitha/Vaishnavi
Iruvar (1997) - Pushpa/Kalpana
...Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya (1997) - Ashi Kapoor

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Angels & Demons Movie Review

Angels & Demons is an American movie in 2009 which was adapted from Dan Brown's novel of the same name. It is the sequel to The Da Vinci Code, another Brown film adaptation, even though the novel Angels & Demons was published first and takes place before the novel The Da Vinci Code. Filming took place in Rome and the Sony Pictures Studios in Los Angeles. Tom Hanks reprises the lead role of Robert Langdon, while director Ron Howard, producer Brian Grazer and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman also returned.

Tom Hanks reprises his role as Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, who once again finds that forces with ancient roots are willing to stop at nothing, even murder, to advance their goals. What terrifying discovery would make the Vatican turn to Robert Langdon, the man who cracked history's most controversial code? When Langdon discovers evidence of the resurgence of an ancient secret brotherhood known as the Illuminati "the most powerful underground organization in history" he also faces a deadly threat to the existence of the secret organization's most despised enemy: the Catholic Church. Upon learning that the clock is ticking on an unstoppable Illuminati time bomb, Langdon travels to Rome, where he joins forces with Vittoria Vetra, a beautiful and enigmatic Italian scientist. Embarking on a nonstop, action-packed hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, deserted cathedrals, and even to the heart of the most secretive vault on earth, Langdon and Vetra will follow the 400-year-old Path of Illumination that marks the Vatican's only hope for survival.

Amazingly, this Angels and Demons, the Da Vinci Code sequel starring Tom Hanks, has received a surprisingly good review from the Vatican. The Church officials condemned The Da Vinci Code on its release in 2006, calling it "an offence against God" because it was based on the premise that Jesus married and fathered children. They banned the film-makers from shooting the sequel inside the Vatican, forcing director Ron Howard to reconstruct the settings in Los Angeles.

However, in its first pronouncement on the film, Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano described Angels and Demons as "harmless entertainment which hardly affects the genius and mystery of Christianity". While the "gigantic and smart commercial operation" is filled with inaccuracies and stereotyped characters, the camera work is "splendid", Howard's direction "dynamic and alluring" and the reconstruction of St Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel is "magnificent".

The film's success should prompt the Church to rethink the way it communicates its message, an editorial in the paper added, pointing out the"simplistic and partial" representation of the Church had captured the public imagination.

"It would probably be an exaggeration to consider the books of Dan Brown an alarm bell but maybe they should be a stimulus to rethink and refresh the way the Church uses the media to explain its positions on today's burning issues."

Cast :

* Tom Hanks reprises his role as Professor Robert Langdon, a Harvard University professor of symbology.
* Ayelet Zurer plays Vittoria Vetra, a CERN scientist whose antimatter experiment has been stolen by the Illuminati to be used as a bomb.
* Ewan McGregor plays the Camerlengo Patrick McKenna.
* Stellan Skarsgård plays Commander Richter, head of the Swiss Guard.
* Pierfrancesco Favino plays Inspector Ernesto Olivetti of the Gendarme Corps of Vatican City State.
* Nikolaj Lie Kaas plays Mr. Gray, an assassin who believes he is working for the Illuminati.
* Armin Mueller-Stahl plays Cardinal Strauss, elector of the conclave.
* Thure Lindhardt plays Lieutenant Chartrand, officer of the Swiss Guard.

Despite of the controversy, I personally think Angels & Demons is surprisingly a good movie. The movie hangs loosely on the actual novel itself. Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon (Hanks) jets off to Rome after the Pope's sudden death and the re-election through Papal Conclave. Arranging all of this is the carmelengo, Patrick McKenna (McGregor). However, he soon learns of a new threat, one that involves a secret brotherhood making its presence known, an anti-matter time bomb that Vatican City is now targeted with and the kidnapping of four cardinals. Langdon, using his intellects (and trust me, you'll be hearing a LOT from it) is given the task of finding and rescuing them using the mysterious Path of Illumination. Aiding him on the quest is CERN scientist Vittoria Vetra (Zurer), who is also the co-creator of the anti-matter.

The movie itself runs at an uneven pace. One minute Langdon and the Swiss Guard are speeding to save a branded cardinal, the next minute he bores you with pointless information about every random object he passes, evidently slowing the book's much anticipated action/thriller sequences down. It makes for an interesting read on paper, but on screen it can go either way.

The character's are decently written onto the big screen. Ewan McGregor does a convincing performance as the quiet but knowledgeable Patrick McKenna, famous accent included. Tom Hanks is slightly more agile, intellectually and physically, since his last performance in the mediocre Da Vinci Code. Stellen Skarsgard plays Commander Richter, the straight-faced leader of the Swiss Guard. Unfortunately, neither his nor Ayelet Zurer's performance are worthwhile ones, and instead of playing a part in the story, they are just kicked aside as assets.

However, Angels & Demons accomplishes what DVC could never; a thrilling fast-paced movie filled with satisfying explosions, beautiful recreations of St. Peter's Square and Basilica (including many of the churches) and a pulsing bomb counting down the midnight hour. Ron Howard does a decent job at directing this second Langdon adventure, this time taking in much criticism and almost completely exchanging the boring dialogue for tense chases.

So overall, a good movie to be seen this year.

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Boys Over Flower OST

For you guys who loved Boys Over Flower very much (a korean TV series which was the korean version of Hanayori Dango in Japan and Meteor Garden in Taiwan), here is the tracklist of the official soundtrack of the series.
The official OST of this Boys Over Flower series consist of 13 songs. I provide the download link too. Just click on the title. So Enjoy the songs !!!

Boys Over Flower OST :

01. Paradise (flower boys OST Main theme) - T-Max
02. I'm Stupid - SS501 내 머리가 나빠서
03. Do you know - Someday 알고있나요
04. Stand By Me - SHINee
05. Lucky - Ashily
06. Starlight tears - Kim Yu Kyung
07. A little - Seo Ji Young
08. One More Time - tree bicycles
09. I Know (Saxophone Instrument) - Lee Jung Sik
10. Dance with me (Inst.)
11. Blue Flower (Inst.)
12.So sad (Inst.)
13.Opening Title (Paradise intro) - T-Max

Related Article :

Paradise Lyric & English translation by T-MAX
Boys Over Flower (Boys Before Flower)

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Coldplay are a British alternative rock band formed in London, England in 1998. Coldplay never intended to become England's favorite rock & roll sons when their signature rock melodies ruled the charts throughout 2000. The Brit rock quartet -- composed of Chris Martin (vocals/piano), Jon Buckland (guitar), Will Champion (drums), and Guy Berryman (bass) -- yearned to mess around a bit, plucking their own acoustics for fun while attending the University College of London. All had been playing instruments since their early teens and had been influenced by the likes of Bob Dylan, the Stone Roses, Neil Young, and My Bloody Valentine.

Coldplay secured a permanent position in Britain's music elite by writing beautiful, simple songs that gently pulled at the heartstrings of a nation. Somewhere in between the confident, vulnerable guitar playing of Jonny Buckland, the melodic bassline of Guy Berryman, thoughtful drumming of Will Champion, and lead Chris Martin's stark, tenor vocals are answers for the soul. Although melancholy stands behind every Coldplay song, each one is also steeped in an unusual and sincere optimism rarely found in English bands. Songs face an inevitable sadness and yearning - a little thing called being real - to get to a better place where the truth held firm in pure emotion is pivotal. Songs like the remorseful "Trouble," with its memorable piano-line, the lonely "Spies" and mega-hit single "Yellow" reveal a hybrid of lyrics that can only be described as joy and remorse, all wrapped into one. "We just want the songs to reflect reality," says Chris.

In doing so, Coldplay may well be the most profound British act to emerge out of the millennium thus far. No one is more surprised by their popularity than the band. Who knew such an austere and tactile musical existence would lead to such greatness? Yet it has.

It all began when the members of Coldplay met in 1996 - their first week of college (University College London). Two and a half years later, they had their first official band session - a rehearsal in Jonny's bedroom in January of 1998. Jonny and Chris had been working on songs since they met, but the other two members hadn't really been around much until Guy joined the band to play bass just before dropping out of engineering school. The other two stuck with their studies, while also pursuing music.

Will, also still in school, loved playing guitar but was persuaded to become Coldplay's drummer so the band could play their first gig (at a Cuban Caf?at a festival for unsigned bands called "In The City" in Manchester) in late 1998. They had just six songs written including "Don't Panic" and "High Speed" - now found on Parachutes. They soon released 500 copies of an EP called Safety (financed by their now manager, Phil) and released the single "Brothers And Sisters" on a small English label called Fierce Panda, after which the UK label Parlophone signed them in 1999 just before final exam time. As they say, the rest is history, or in the stars, or whatever. In any case, another EP on Parlophone, The Blue Room, followed, as did the single "Shiver."

Before the band, lead singer/guitarist/pianist Chris Martin grew up in a close family from Devon, England. In fact, he still lives at home as the eldest of five kids raised by a teacher mum and accountant dad, where he started bashing out tunes on the family piano at an early age. Typical of the first-born, he is an over-achiever and self-proclaimed worrier. Although anything to do with "injustice" will rile him up, no one can accuse him of being the typical tortured and drunken English musician since he rarely drinks, never smokes and admits life can be pretty damn good. He's a shy product of boarding school where he soon graduated to the guitar and has been in bands since the age of 15. He considers the big three in music to be: Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Tom Waits. Oh, and the Flaming Lips aren't bad either.

Lead guitarist Jonny Buckland doesn't think he's a very good guitar player, but the rest of the world begs to differ. He was born 22 odd years ago in London, then his family relocated to Mold, North Wales when he was just four. Jonny first picked up a guitar at the tender age of 11, encouraged by his older brother who was a huge My Bloody Valentine fan. Both boys grew up in a house filled with Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix from their dad's record collection. Yet it wasn't until Jonny discovered The Stone Roses that he started taking the guitar seriously. People describe him as shy and nonchalant, but he argues he's just happy to be quiet.

Bassist Guy Berryman was born in Scotland, although his family later moved to Kent, England where he started to collect rare groove and funk records when all the other kids were into indie rock. He started playing bass at age 13 and is still inspired by a love of those early records.
Words like "calm," "reliable" and "enthusiastic" are used to describe drummer Will Champion. He was born in Southampton, England to teacher parents who encouraged him to spend his formative years learning to play a variety of instruments including guitar, bass, piano and the tin whistle. He had never played drums before joining Coldplay but was so musically inclined that he quickly caught on. "He's very quiet and very wise," says Chris about Will. "As a musician, he's got the most amazing sense of melody. He can play just about anything ... and he can do little impressions. He's good at entertaining people."

When the band went into the studio early last year with co-producer and engineer Ken Nelson to record Parachutes, they agreed that nothing would go on the album that they all four didn't agreed on. This led to a fierce and gut wrenching recording session that the guys thought might be their last. Songs ended up veering from fragile to forceful, from understated to epic, all-the-while carried by Chris' gorgeous vocal range and endearingly bashful lyrics. On a bittersweet morning in May, the album was finished.

No one predicted that just a short time later, Parachutes would debut at #1 and continue to hover in the Top Ten Charts for the remainder of the year. The band was also nominated for an esteemed Mercury Music Prize, received the Q Award for Best Album, signed to an American label (Nettwerk America/Capitol) and were exhausted by year's end from endless promotional duties and touring. Having been tirelessly in the spotlight for months now, the members of Coldplay are reticent to talk about themselves - subscribing to the school of thought that "those who say less tend to be wiser." Yet what they have to say can be heard in the music, which speaks louder than any words spoken ever will.

Chris admits that the last track on the album, "Everything's Not Lost," is the message of Coldplay's entire work up until now. The song says that when things happen to you in life, your first inclination is to think everything's terrible, what's the point? Then you realize the point is simply that - that it's not that bad and you have to keep going. Finally, you come to realize that life is good. Look for Coldplay to embark on their first-ever American tour in the beginning of 2001.


Coldplay, a British alternative rock band which formed in 1998, released four studio albums, five extended plays, twenty-two singles, one live album, and one compilation album. Coldplay's first release, the limited demo Safety, was released in 1998, and their debut studio album, Parachutes, was released two years later, in July 2000.

Coldplay have sold over 50 million albums, and are also known for singles such as "Yellow", "The Scientist", "Speed of Sound", "Talk", "Violet Hill", the Grammy Award-winning "Clocks" and "In My Place", and the two-time Grammy Award-winning "Viva la Vida".

Main Releases

* Viva La Vida - Prospekt's March Edition 2008
* Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends 2008
* X&Y 2005
* Live 2003
* A Rush Of Blood To The Head 2002
* Parachutes 2000


* Prospekt's March 2008
* Lost! 2008
* Violet Hill 2008
* Talk 2006
* Fix You 2005
* Speed Of Sound 2005
* Brothers & Sisters 2004
* Trouble (B-Sides) 2004
* Trouble 2003
* The Scientist (B-Sides) 2003
* In My Place (B-Sides) 2003
* Yellow (B-Sides) 2003
* Clocks (B-Sides) 2003
* Moses 2003
* I Ran Away (1) 2003
* I Bloom Blaum 2003
* Animals 2003
* One I Love 2003
* 1.36 2003
* Crests of Waves 2003
* Shiver 2000
* The Blue Room 1999


* Total Dance 2009 2009
* 2009 GRAMMY Nominees 2009
* NOW 10th Anniversary 2008
* 2008 Olympics 2008
* The Most Relaxing Piano Classics Ever Made 2008
* Ultimate Grammy Collection: Contemporary Rock 2008
* The Bakers Arms Dozen 2007
* Now That's What I Call Music Vol. 61 (Disc 2) 2007
* Now That's What I Call Music Vol. 20 2005
* The Best Acoustic Album in the World...Ever 2005
* Help: A Day In The Life 2005
* Now 19Now That's What I Call Music Vol. 19 2005
* Six Feet Under - Vol. 2 2005
* Garden State 2004
* 2004 Grammy Nominees 2004
* Pure Moods: Celestial Celebration 2004
* Now That's What I Call Music Vol. 13 2003
* Got Hits! Perfect Pop Album 2003
* The Chillout Lounge [Buddha] 2003
* Igby Goes Down 2003
* Now, Vol. 11 2002
* Maybe This Christmas 2002
* Ultra Chilled 03 2002
* MTV2 Handpicked, Vol. 2 2002
* Capitol Records 1942-2002 [Deluxe Box Set] 2002
* Video Music Awards Latinoamerica 2002
* Chillout 2002: The Ultimate Chillout 2002
* Ultra Chilled, Vol. 2 2002
* Roswell 2002
* MTV2 - Handpicked 2002
* Spin This 2001
* Now That's What I Call Music Vol. 6 2001

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Boys Over Flower 꽃보다 남자 (Korean Version of Hanayori Dango a.k.a Meteor Garden)

Boys Over Flower 꽃보다 남자 (or Boys Before Flower) is a korean version tv series of Hanayori Dango in Japan and Meteor Garden in Taiwan. After the mega popularity of Meteor Garden first in Taiwan back in 2001 and then subsequently Hanayori Dango in Japan in recent years, Korea is also set to have its very own version of Meteor Garden in 2008. Popular Japanese anime, Hanayori Dango was adapted into a Korean drama. The Taiwanese Meteor Garden and Japanese Hanayori Dango version of the television drama has achieved phenomenal ratings during its run and the Japanese version which was shown on cable television achieved pretty good ratings and earning lots of fans in the process.

The plot is about a middle-class girl, Geum Jan-di, becomes admitted to a rich, prestigious school known as Shinhwa. The school is filled with rich people who can afford to go there. She becomes admitted after saving a student from committing suicide. At the school, she meets people with various personalities. There are the mean girls, fake friends, and last but not least: The F4. The F4 consists of 4 people: Goo Jun Pyo, Yoon Ji Hoo, So Yi Jung, and Song Woo Bin. Goo Jun Pyo is the leader of the F4 and is also the heir of the Shinhwa group. At first, he insults and makes Geum Jan-di's life miserable after she humiliates him. The only person who seemed to have sympathy for her was Ji Hoo, who saved her numerous times. However, as the drama progressed, Goo Jun Pyo developed feelings for Geum Jan-di. It turned out to be a twisted love triangle between Geum Jan Di, Goo Jun Pyo and Yoon Ji Hoo.r of the F4 and is also the heir of the Shinhwa group.
At first, he insults and makes Geum Jan-di's life miserable after she humiliates him. The only person who seemed to have sympathy for her was Ji Hoo, who saved her numerous times. However, as the drama progressed, Goo Jun Pyo developed feelings for Geum Jan-di. It turned out to be a twisted love triangle between Geum Jan Di, Goo Jun Pyo and Yoon Ji Hoo.

Cast :

* Koo Hye Sun:
Jan Di is from a poor family with a fierce and weed-like determination. She first liked Ji Hoo, who was the only one who showed any compassion while she was bullied. Eventually Jun Pyo begins to fall in love with her, and as he expresses his feelings towards her, she gradually begins to reciprocate those feelings. Jan Di later is determined to pursue the medical industry after realizing she can't swim because of her shoulder.

* Lee Min-ho:
Jun Pyo is the hot-headed leader of F4. Exasperated by Jan Di's act of defiance, he makes her a target of bullying. But as time passes, he begins to admire Jan di's determination and will and falls in love with her. He is the heir of Shinhwa Group, and after his father passes away, he inherits and begins to run the Shinhwa Group along with his mother.

* Kim Hyun-joong:
Ji Hoo is a calm and soft-spoken boy who likes to play the violin, piano and guitar and conduct an orchestra. Seo Hyeon was Ji Hoo's first love, after she helped him overcome trauma after the death of his parents when he was little. He attempts to fight for Seo Hyeon's love by following her to France. When he comes back, he has already realized that he had fallen for Jan Di. However, Jun Pyo has already announced his love of Jan Di. Ji Hoo decides not to betray his friend by trying to fight for Jan Di. He is a grandson of Korea's former president.

* Kim Bum: (소이정)
A playboy who often flirts with girls, Yi Jeong is himself a reputed potter. He is from a family of well-known artists, who own an art gallery exhibiting national treasures.

* Kim Joon: (송우빈)
From their origin in the underworld, Woo Bin's family now runs a prominent construction business. The family owns real estate throughout the country.

Geum (금) Family:
* Ahn Suk Hwan: Geum Il Bong (금일봉)
* Lim Ye Jin: Na Gong Ju (나공주)
* Park Ji Bin: Geum Kang San (금강산)

Gu (구) Family:
* Lee Hye Yeong: Gang Hui Su (강희수)
* Kim Hyun Joo: Gu Jun Hui (구준희)
* Jung Ho Bin: Jeong Seongrok (정성록)

* Han Chae Yeong: Min Seo Hyeon (민서현)
* Kim So Eun: Chu Ga Eul (추가을)
* Lee Shi Yeong: Oh Min Ji (오민지)
* Lee Min Jeong: Ha Jae Kyeong (하재경)

Mean Trio (Jin Sun Mi):
* Gook Ji Yeon: 최진희 (known as Ginger)
* Jang Ja Yeon: 박선자 (known as Sunny)
* Min Yeong Won: 이미숙 (known as Miranda)

Other characters:
* Jung Ui Chul: Lee Min Ha / Min Jae Ha
* Kim Min Ji: Jang Yoo Mi

Differences between the other versions

* In the Taiwan Meteor Garden version, Jan Di's character was an only child. In the Japanese and Korean version, she has a younger brother.
* In the Taiwan Meteor Garden version, the heroine attends college. In the Japanese version, the characters are in high school in season 1, but F4 (minus Domyoji) attend Eitoku University in season 2. In the Korean Boys Over Flower version, the characters are also in high school, but the F4 move on to Shinhwa University from episode 13 onwards. Shinhwa High School and Shinhwa University are located within the same campus.
* In Taiwan Meteor Garden and Japanese Hanayori Dango version, Jan Di’s character was already studying at the school for rich people. In Korean Boys Over Flower (or Boys Before Flower) version, Jan Di was admitted after saving a boy for jumping off the roof of Shinhwa High School on a swimming scholarship.
* In both Taiwan Meteor Garden and Japanese Hanayori Dango version, the relationship between the two characters: Sojiroh and Yuki ( also known as Yi Jung and Ga Eul in the Korean version) is only hinted. But in the Korean Boys Over Flower (or Boys Before Flower) version, the relationship between these two is gradually developed throughout the series, being a significant plotline instead of a subplot.
* Akira, the fourth member of the group, seems to be the youngest in Japanese version, and is unknown in Taiwanese version. In Korean Boys Over Flower (or Boys Before Flower) version, Song Woo Bin seems to be the oldest of the four.
* The Korean Boys Over Flower (or Boys Before Flower) version also explores into Ji Hoo and Jan Di's relationship more, much more strongly than the Taiwanese and Japanese version.

Continue Reading “Boys Over Flower 꽃보다 남자 (Korean Version of Hanayori Dango a.k.a Meteor Garden)”  »»

Fast & Furious Movie Review

The Fast & Furious (which also known as Fast & Furious 4) is the fourth film in The Fast and the Furious film series. The set was taken between 2 Fast 2 Furious and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift sequel. Fast & Furious 4 was released in the United States on April 3, 2009. The plot connects with the original film of the series from which Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, and Jordana Brewster reprise their roles. The film was directed by Justin Lin, who also directed the third installment of the series, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.

The opening sequence of his "Fast & Furious" is an amazing adrenaline rush. Dom (Vin Diesel) and his girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) highjack a cargo truck careening down a ravine in the Dominican Republic. Dom, unflinchingly guts out a crazy maneuver that saves himself and Letty from fiery death.

What works is the dynamic chemistry of Diesel and Walker. Diesel is not breaking new territory. He plays to his strength as the powerful dark hero, who follows a code of honor. Paul Walker is a pleasant surprise. He infuses a force and charisma in Brian O'Connor. Walker has become a stronger actor since "The Fast and the Furious". This time around he and Diesel are true screen partners. Theirs is a partnership of friction, brotherhood, and ultimately of respect which grounds "Fast and Furious". In one scene former girlfriend and Dom's younger sister Mia (beautiful and strong Jordana Brewster) asks why Brian (Walker) let Dom (Diesel) go 8 years ago. Brian tells Mia it's because Dom taught him: "Nothing matters unless you have a code." Brian also confesses that he is still trying to find his own code.

After Dom's stunt in the Dominican Republic, the authorities are closing in on him. To protect the love of his life, Letty (Rodriguez), he leaves her the money and disappears. However, while in exile Mia breaks the news to Dom that Letty has been murdered back home in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, FBI Agent O'Connor is hunting down the mysterious drug cartel kingpin Baraga, who is able to move large shipments of narcotics across the border with his elite drivers. Brian is also tracking down Dom, who he knows will come back to Los Angeles because of the personal tragedy.

Dom returns home just flying under the FBI radar. He has Mia show him where Letty was killed in a car crash. Dom discerns that Letty was brutally murdered, and that the murderer left a distinguishing signature. Mia pleads with Dom to let this go: this will not bring Letty back. Dom sullenly declared, "It's already too late." He intends to kill Letty's murderer and find the man ultimately responsible. All paths lead to the mysterious Baraga. So Dom and Brian's destinies collide as they compete as drivers for Baraga's right hand Campos (slick John Ortiz). That race too, is another spectacular mind blowing ride through the trafficked streets of Los Angeles.


* Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto: An auto - machinery mechanic and elite street racer from the United States. Dom is wanted for committing numerous semi-truck hijackings. At the start of the film, he is living in the Dominican Republic and hijacks fuel trucks to earn money. Dom drives a Chevrolet Chevelle SS and later in the movie, his resurrected Dodge Charger which appeared in the first movie.

* Paul Walker as Brian O'Conner: A former police officer, auto mechanic and talented street racer. Brian is now an FBI agent hot on the trail of the Mexican drug lord Arturo Braga. Brian drives a Nissan Skyline GTR R34 and later drives a Subaru Impreza WRX STI throughout the movie.

* Michelle Rodriguez as Leticia "Letty" Ortiz: Dominic's girlfriend who lives with him in the Dominican Republic at the start of the film. Her murder at the hands of Braga's organization is what spurs Dominic on to seek revenge. She drives a 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner

* Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto: Dominic's younger sister and love interest of Brian. She reunites with both men when their paths cross over the Braga case. Mia drives a JDM converted Acura NSX.

* John Ortiz as Ramon Campos/Arturo Braga: Initially portrayed as a liaison for Braga's organization, he eventually reveals himself to be Braga himself. A powerful drug cartel leader who recruits street racers to move heroin across the US-Mexican border.

* Laz Alonso as Fenix Rise: An enforcer for Braga who is responsible for Letty's death. Fenix drives a Ford Gran Torino.

* Gal Gadot as Gisele Harabo: A liaison for Braga who eventually sides with Dominic after he saves her life and helps him and Brian locate the drug lord. Gisele drives a TechArt GTsport.

* Jack Conley as Penning

* Sung Kang as Han Lue: One of Dominic's crew in the Dominican Republic who appeared in this film's timeline sequel, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. Han talks about moving to Tokyo when the heat comes down. He says to Dom, "Heard they're doing some crazy shit in Tokyo".

* Don Omar as Rico appears in the beginning and the end

* Tego Calderón as Tego also appears in the beginning and the end with Rico

* Brandon T. Jackson as Alex

Continue Reading “Fast & Furious Movie Review”  »»

L'arc-en-Ciel (Laruku)

L'Arc-en-Ciel (ラルク アン シエル ,Laruku an Shieru, "The Rainbow" in French) is a Japanese rock band. Formed in 1991, L’Arc-en-Ciel is one of the most popular rock bands from Japan. The band consists of vocalist hyde, leader and bassist tetsu, guitarist ken, and drummer yukihiro, who replaced drummer sakura in 1997. At their start in Osaka, Japan, they previously had guitarist hiro and drummer pero. All four members are established composers which adds to the variety in their songs. Their music ranges from ballads to hard rock to light pop-rock tunes

1991–1996: Early Career

In 19th February 1991, bassist Tetsuya Ogawa, later band leader, recruited vocalist Hyde along with guitarist Hiro and drummer Pero, and formed a band under the name of L'Arc-en-Ciel. After a year of gaining notoriety in their hometown of Osaka, Hiro left the band on June 12, 1992. Tetsu convinced his friend Ken Kitamura to quit his university studies (he was an architecture major at The Nagoya Institute of Technology) and join the band as the guitarist. Pero soon left the band on December 30, 1992. In 1993, a new drummer, Yasunori Sakurazawa, joined the band.

On April 1, 1993, the band released their debut album Dune under the indie label Danger Crue. The album was a success and rose to number one on the Oricon indies charts, catching the attention of some major labels. In 1994, L'Arc-en-Ciel signed on with Sony's Ki/oon division, releasing their second album, Tierra that same year. Heavenly followed in 1995. True, released in 1996, became their first number-one, million selling album.

1997: Sakura's departure

In February 1997, drummer Sakura was arrested for illegal drug possession (heroin). He officially quit the band on October 4, 1997. This proved to be the lowest point in the band's history. When news of Sakura's arrest became public, there was an immediate official response and CDs were removed from the shelves. "The Fourth Avenue Cafe" for Rurouni Kenshin was immediately replaced with former theme "Heart of the Sword" after only six episodes of running time. Their next single "The Fourth Avenue Cafe" was postponed. It was eventually released in 2006.

Over the next few months the group continued to be featured in magazines, but only as a trio. "The Zombies", which was notionally recorded as the "copy band", sang their songs. They also covered Marilyn Manson's "Irresponsible Hate Anthem". The return from the break was marked by the appropriately named Reincarnation 97 Live in Tokyo Dome, with their new drummer, Yukihiro Awaji (former drummer with Zi:Kill and Die in Cries). The first concert in Tokyo Dome had an attendance of 56,000, which sold out in four minutes, a record at that time.

In 1997, "Niji", the first single after Sakura's departure, was released with Yukihiro listed as a supporting member. Not long after the release of the single, Yukihiro was signed on as the official drummer for L'Arc-en-Ciel.

1998–2000: Blockbuster success

Their 1998 single "Winter Fall", became their first number-one single on the oricon charts. They released the album Heart in February 1998. Ark and Ray were released simultaneously on July 1, 1999, and became the first Japanese albums to be released simultaneously in many other Asian countries. Both topped the Oricon music charts, with Ark occupying number one and Ray at number two. The release of ark and ray marked the high point of the band's career, with each selling over two million copies.

Real followed in 2000, which was the last CD of new material for some time, although many more compilation and remix albums would follow. "Stay Away" from the album Real was featured in Drummania 4th Mix, making the song playable on the machine.

2001–2003: Go to solo projects

The compilation Clicked Singles Best 13 was released in 2001, with twelve songs chosen by fans online in Asia and an additional thirteenth song, "Anemone". L'Arc-en-Ciel's last new song before their hiatus, "Spirit Dreams Inside -Another Dream-", was released on September 5, 2001. The song was adopted for the closing theme song to the movie Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.

After "Spirit Dreams Inside", the band went on a hiatus as the members began working on various solo projects. Hyde released two solo albums (Roentgen and 666) and starred in the movie Moon Child with the popular Japanese soloist Gackt. Hyde also played the part of Adam in the movie Kagen no Tsuki (Last Quarter), based on the manga by the same title. Ken founded Sons of All Pussys with L'Arc-en-Ciel's former drummer Sakura. Tetsu started Tetsu69 and Yukihiro sang with Acid Android.

2004: Comeback and U.S. concert debut

In June 2003, L'Arc-en-Ciel performed a series of seven concerts in Tokyo called the Shibuya Seven Days, during which they announced a new album for release the following year. The band released "Ready Steady Go" in February 2004, its first single in more than three years. The song was used as an opening for a popular anime series, Fullmetal Alchemist. It topped Oricon weekly single charts. A cover of the song is used in a video game for the Nintendo DS called Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan. The single was followed by "Hitomi no Juunin", in early March. The album, Smile, was released on March 31. Shortly afterwards, on June 2, 2004, the single "Jiyuu e no Shoutai" introduced P'unk-en-Ciel, a partial change, for the first time on CD with "Milky Way".

On July 31, 2004, L'Arc-en-Ciel made their North American concert debut at the anime convention Otakon, held annually in Baltimore, Maryland. Approximately 12,000 people attended the concert, which was held at an outside venue for the first time in Otakon's musical guest history, at 1st Mariner Arena. They were also the first Japanese act (and to date, the only) to perform at the Arena. On May 31, 2005, Tofu Records, Sony Music Japan's U.S. label, released the much-anticipated DVD of the Otakon 2004 concert Live in U.S.A. On June 25, 2007, L'Arc-en-Ciel signed a deal with HMV America.

2005–2006: Asia live tour and solo projects

In 2005, the band released various singles, including "Killing Me", "New World", and "Jojoushi". These were later featured on their album, Awake, which was released on June 22 with twelve tracks, including "Lost Heaven", the closing theme of the Fullmetal Alchemist movie. The band's single, "Link", released on July 20, 2005, was also featured in the movie as the opening theme, which was included by their next album Kiss.

In August 2005, the band went on their Awake tour, which was limited to Japan. The tour featured displays of anti-war sentiment, reflecting similar lyrics of the songs of the album. The Japanese Awake tour was followed by the Asia Live 2005 tour, with performances in Seoul and Shanghai, closing with concerts in Japan. Japan's two concerts took place at the Tokyo Dome.

Following the Awake and Asia Live tours, L'Arc-en-Ciel's members turned their attention back to their solo projects. Tetsu began recording with a new band called Creature Creature. Yukihiro rejoined Acid Android, which released its newest single, "Let's Dance", on April 5, 2006. Acid Android joined Mucc, another Japanese rock band, to perform two concerts in Shanghai, China in April of 2006.

Hyde composed "Glamorous Sky", the theme song to the film adaption of the manga Nana starring pop singer Mika Nakashima. It was the first time Hyde composed music for another vocalist. Hyde's latest solo album, Faith, was released in Japan on April 26, 2006, accompanied by a five month tour throughout Japan between April and August of 2006. After signing on with Tofu Records, four small concerts were scheduled in San Francisco and Anaheim, California in the United States. Hyde made his U.S. debut in July of 2006, the first of L'Arc-en-Ciel's solo projects to extend internationally. On August 23, Ken released a solo single entitled "Speed".

2006–2008: 15th anniversary and Europe concert debut

On November 25th and 26th, 2006, L'Arc-en-Ciel played two shows at the Tokyo Dome to celebrate their 15th anniversary, entitled L'Anniversary. It sold out in two minutes, breaking their former record. A poll was created on the official website during the weeks before the concert which allowed fans to pick which songs they would like to hear at the event. The concert was later shown on the WOWOW channel on December 23, 2006. It was also broadcast on February 8, 2007 on Korea MTV.

L'Arc-en-Ciel later recorded the song "Shine" to be used as the opening song for the NHK anime, Guardian of the Spirit. They kicked-off their Mata Heart Ni Hi Wo Tsukero 2007 tour in Japan. L'Arc-en-Ciel released the single Seventh Heaven on May 30, 2007, which topped the Oricon charts. The song My Heart Draws a Dream, used in a Subaru commercial, was released as a single on August 29, 2007, and made the #1 spot on the Oricon charts. The song Daybreak's Bell was used as the first opening for the anime Mobile Suit Gundam 00. It was released as a single on October 10, 2007, topping the Oricon weekly charts as well. From November 14 to December 25, 2007, there was a limited edition single titled Hurry Xmas, along with two new DVDs coming out in September and December, titled 15th L'Anniversary Live and Chronicle 3 respectively. Their new studio album Kiss, released on November 21, 2007, debuted at the number-one position on the Oricon charts.

L'Arc-en-Ciel performed the Theater of Kiss tour, which was held from December 22, 2007 to February 17, 2008. The song Drink It Down, used as the Japanese opening song for the PS3/Xbox360 game Devil May Cry 4, was released as a single on April 2, 2008, and topped the Oricon weekly charts. The band went on the Tour 2008 L'7 ~Trans Asia via Paris~ which covered several major Asian cities, as well as Paris, France. On this tour a definite live show hiatus until 2011 was announced. L'Arc-en-Ciel media continue to be released, a double A-side single, "Nexus 4 / Shine" and a DVD, Tour 2007-2008 Theater of Kiss were released on August 27, 2008.


P'unk-en-Ciel (パンク アン シエル ,panku an shieru?) is an alter ego of L'Arc-en-Ciel. Introduced in 2004, Hyde takes over guitar, Ken the drums, Yukihiro plays the bass, while Tetsu performs the vocals. P'unk-en-Ciel's songs have a more punk sound and their music is usually heavier and faster with a different tone due to Tetsu's vocals. Hyde wears a pirate patch over his left eye in P'unk-en-Ciel performances. Yukihiro is known to wear a gas mask; however, this has only been seen once at a live concert during their Smile tour in 2004.

Each member is called in capital letters Tetsu P'unk, Ken P'unk, Hyde P'unk and Yuki P'unk. Each member produces one song of their choice, and they alternate their productions.

P'unk-en-Ciel is the revision of D'ark-en-Ciel, the former being a special event that took place during the early L'Arc-en-Ciel years when Sakura was the drummer. The only material released from them is the 18-minute B-side "D'ark-en-Ciel" found on the (then) unreleased The Fourth Avenue Cafe single.

Their songs are recorded and used as B-sides on singles from 2004 and their performances can be found as extras on Live DVDs. They also featured television personality Sayaka Aoki with their song "Round and Round 2005".

Performed songs

Their recorded versions are:

* "Milky Way" found on the "Jiyuu e no Shoutai" single (Produced by Hyde P'unk).
* "Round and Round 2005" found on the "Killing Me" single (Produced by Ken P'unk).
* "Kasou Heisei 17 Nen" (Flower Burial 2005) found on the "New World" single (Produced by Hyde P'unk).
* "Heaven's Drive 2005" found on the "Jojoushi" single (Produced by Yuki P'unk).
* "Promised Land 2005" found on the "Link" single (Produced by Tetsu P'unk).
* "Honey 2007" found on the "Seventh Heaven" single (Produced by Ken P'unk).
* "Feeling Fine 2007" found on the "My Heart Draws a Dream" single (Produced by Yuki P'unk).
* "Natsu no Yuutsu (夏の憂鬱) [Sea in Blood 2007]" found on the "Daybreak's Bell" single (Produced by Hyde P'unk).
* "I Wish 2007" found on the "Hurry Xmas" single (Produced by Tetsu P'unk - it also has a PV).
* "Dune 2008" found on the "Drink it Down" single (Produced by Ken P'unk).

P'unk-en-Ciel can be seen on live on:

* Smile Tour 2004 DVD performing "Milky Way".
* Asialive 2005 DVD performing "Round and Round 2005".
* Are You Ready? 2007 Mata Heart ni Hi wo Tsukero! (またハートに火をつけろ!) DVD performing "Honey 2007" and "Feeling Fine 2007".
* Tour 2007-2008 Theater of Kiss DVD performing "Natsu no Yuutsu (夏の憂鬱) [Sea in Blood 2007]" and "I Wish 2007".


* Hyde – vocals, guitar
* Tetsu – bass, backing vocals
* Ken – guitar, backing vocals
* Yukihiro – drums



* DUNE (April 27, 1993)
* Tierra (July 14, 1994)
* heavenly (September 1, 1995)
* True (December 12, 1996)
* HEART (February 25, 1998)
* ark (July 1, 1999)
* ray (July 1, 1999)
* REAL (August 30, 2000)
* SMILE (March 31, 2004)
* DUNE 10th Anniversary Edition (April 21, 2004)
* AWAKE (June 22, 2005)
* KISS (November 21, 2007)


* Clicked Singles Best 13 (March 14, 2001)
* The Best of L'Arc-en-Ciel 1994-1998 (March 19, 2003)
* The Best of L'Arc-en-Ciel 1998-2000 (March 19, 2003)
* The Best of L'Arc-en-Ciel C/W (March 19, 2003)


* Ectomorphed Works (June 28, 2000)


* "Floods of Tears/Yasouka" (/夜想花, November 25, 1992)
* "Blurry Eyes" (October 21, 1994)
* "Vivid Colors" (July 6, 1995)
* "Natsu no Yuutsu ~Time to Say Goodbye~" (夏の憂鬱 [time to say good-bye], October 21, 1995)
* "Kaze ni Kienaide" (風にきえないで, July 8, 1996)
* "Flower" (October 17, 1996)
* "Lies and Truth" (November 21, 1996)
* "Niji" (虹, October 17, 1997)
* "Winter Fall" (January 28, 1998)
* "Dive to Blue" (March 25, 1998)
* "Shinshoku ~Lose Control~" (浸食 〜lose control〜, July 8, 1998)
* "Honey" (July 8, 1998)
* "Kasou" (花葬, July 8, 1998)
* "Snow Drop" (October 7, 1998)
* "Forbidden Lover" (October 14, 1998)
* "Heaven's Drive" (April 21, 1999)
* "Pieces" (June 2, 1999)
* "Driver's High" (August 11, 1999)
* "Love Flies" (October 27, 1999)
* "Neo Universe"/"Finale" (January 19, 2000)
* "Stay Away" (July 19, 2000)
* "Spirit Dreams Inside -Another Dream-" (September 5, 2001)
* "Ready Steady Go" (February 4, 2004)
* "Hitomi no Juunin" (瞳の住人, March 3, 2004)
* "Jiyuu e no Shoutai" (自由への招待, June 2, 2004)
* "Killing Me" (January 13, 2005)
* "New World" (April 6, 2005)
* "Jojoushi" (叙情詩, May 18, 2005)
* "Link" (July 20, 2005)
* "The Fourth Avenue Cafe" (August 30, 2006)
* "Seventh Heaven" (May 30, 2007)
* "My Heart Draws a Dream" (August 29, 2007)
* "Daybreak's Bell" (October 10, 2007)
* "Hurry Xmas" (November 14, 2007)
* "Drink it Down" (April 2, 2008)
* "Nexus 4"/"Shine" (August 27, 2008)

Continue Reading “L'arc-en-Ciel (Laruku)”  »»

Cai Hong (彩虹)Lyric by Jay Chou

This Cai Hong (彩虹) lyric by Jay Chou is a pretty good one. The meaning is so deep and the song is nice too. You can download the song here. (for reviewing purpose only, if you like the song, please buy original CD and cassete). This Cai Hong song is taken from Jay Chou album in 2007 called "On The Run". And this Cai Hong song was the one that make a big hit in this album. You guys should listen to this song too.
If you want to know the profile of the singer, Jay Chou, you can read it here. And below is the lyric in chinese word, pin yin and the english translation too.










Na li you cai hong gao su wo
Neng bu neng ba wo de yuan wang huan gei wo
Wei shen me tian zhe me an jing
Suo you de yun dou pao dao wo zhe li

You mei you kou zhao yi ge gei wo
Shi huai shuo le tai duo jiu cheng zhen bu liao
Ye xu shi jian shi yi zhong jie yao
Ye shi wo xian zai zheng fu xia de du yao

Kan bu jian ni de xiao wo zen me shui de zhao
Ni de shen ying zhe me jin wo que bao bu dao
Mei you di qiu tai yang hai shi hui rao
Mei you li you wo ye neng zi ji zou

Ni yao li kai wo zhi dao hen jian dan
Ni shuo yi lai shi wo men de zu ai
Jiu suan fang kai dan neng bu neng bie mo shou wo de ai
Dang zuo wo zui hou cai ming bai

You mei you kou zhao yi ge gei wo
Shi huai shuo le tai duo jiu cheng zhen bu liao
Ye xu shi jian shi yi zhong jie yao
Ye shi wo xian zai zheng fu xia de du yao

Kan bu jian ni de xiao wo zen me shui de zhao
Ni de shen ying zhe me jin wo que bao bu dao
Mei you di qiu tai yang hai shi hui rao
Mei you li you wo ye neng zi ji zou

Ni yao li kai wo zhi dao hen jian dan
Ni shuo yi lai shi wo men de zu ai
Jiu suan fang kai dan neng bu neng bie mo shou wo de ai
Dang zuo wo zui hou cai ming bai

Kan bu jian ni de xiao wo zen me shui de zhao
Ni de shen ying zhe me jin wo que bao bu dao
Mei you di qiu tai yang hai shi hui rao hui rao
Mei you li you wo ye neng zi ji zou diao
Shi wo shuo le tai duo jiu cheng zhen bu liao
Ye xu shi jian shi yi zhong jie yao jie yao
Ye shi wo xian zai zheng fu xia de du yao

Ni yao li kai wo zhi dao hen jian dan
Ni shuo yi lai shi wo men de zu ai
Jiu suan fang kai dan neng bu neng bie mo shou wo de ai
Dang zuo wo zui hou cai ming bai

Tell me where the rainbow is
Could you still give me back my wish
Why is the sky so silent?
All of the clouds are running to me

Is there a mask for me?
Recalling too much of the past words can accomplish nothing
Perhaps time is a kind of antidote
And also the first poison I'm taking now

I could not see your smile, how can I sleep well
Your silhouette is so close to me, yet I cannot embrace it
Without earth, the sun can still circle around
Without reasons, I also can walk alone

You want to go away, I know that is very easy
You said dependence is our obstacle
Even if we break up, but couldn't you not receive my love
Assuming I'm the last to understand

Continue Reading “Cai Hong (彩虹)Lyric by Jay Chou”  »»

Ayumi Hamasaki (浜崎 あゆみ)

Name : Ayumi Hamasaki a.k.a. Ayu
BirthDate : 2nd October 1978
BirthPlace : Fukuoka Prefecture
Zodiac : Libra
Blood type : A
Height : 156 cm
Weight : 40kg
Measurement : 80-53-82
Favorite Female Entertainers : Keiko (Globe), Rie Miyazawa, Seiko Matsuda
Musical Influences : As a child I listened to rock music (Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple), influenced by a relative. Now I like listening to soul music such as Babyface and En Vogue.
Favorite Actors : Nicolas Cage, Rie Miyazawa
Favorite Movies : The Bodyguard, Betty Blue, Leaving Las Vegas
People I Respect : People who have things I don't have.
People I Dislike : Liars, people who don't say hello.
Current Interest : Collecting white things for my room
Favorite Food : Biscuits (maybe my staple diet!), cakes, chocolates, kimchee (Korean marinated cabbage)
Favorite Things to Read : Most of the fashion magazines. Modern-language translations of the Manyo tanka poems are especially interesting. Poems of Natsuo Giniro, Mitsuo Aida, etc.
Lessons : Piano, Japanese calligraphy (5th rank), abacus calculation, Japanese flower arrangement, Kumonshiki study system
About My Lyrics : I like to try to view my own and my friends' experiences objectively, and put my honest feelings into words. If I write when I'm low, it will be a dark song, but I don't care. I want to be honest with myself at all times.

Ayumi Hamasaki (浜崎 あゆみ ,Hamasaki Ayumi, 浜崎歩) born October 2, 1978 is a Japanese singer-songwriter and former actress. Also called Ayu by her fans, Ayumi Hamasaki has been dubbed the "Empress of Pop" due to her popularity and widespread influence in Japan. Born and raised in Fukuoka, she moved to Tokyo at fourteen to pursue a career in entertainment. In 1998, under the tutelage of Avex CEO Max Matsuura, she released a string of modestly selling singles that concluded with her 1999 debut album A Song for XX. The album debuted atop the Oricon charts and stayed there for four weeks, establishing her popularity in Japan.

Because of her constantly changing image and tight control over her artistry, Hamasaki's popularity extends across Asia; music and fashion trends she has started have spread to countries such as China, Singapore, and Taiwan. She has appeared in or lent her songs to many advertisements and television commercials. Though she originally supported the exploitation of her popularity for commercial purposes, she later reconsidered and eventually opposed her status as an Avex "product".

Since her 1998 debut with the single "Poker Face", Hamasaki has sold over 50 million records in Japan, ranking her among the best-selling singers in the country. As a female singer, Hamasaki holds several domestic records for her singles, such as the most number-one hits, the highest sales, and the most million-sellers. From 1999 to 2009, Hamasaki had at least one single each year top the charts. Hamasaki is the first female singer to have eight studio albums since her debut to top the Oricon and first artist to have an album debut at number-one for 11 consecutive years.

Childhood and early endeavors

Born in Fukuoka Prefecture, Hamasaki was raised by her mother and grandmother. Her father had left the family when she was three and never again came into contact with her. Because her mother worked to support the family, Hamasaki was primarily taken care of by her grandmother.

At age seven, Hamasaki began modeling for local institutions, such as banks, to supplement the family's income. She continued this career path by leaving her family at fourteen and moving to Tokyo as a model under SOS, a talent agency. Her modeling career did not last long; SOS eventually deemed her too short for a model and transferred her to Sun Music, a musicians' agency. Under the name of "Ayumi", Hamasaki released a rap album, Nothing from Nothing, on the Nippon Columbia label. She was dismissed from the label when the album failed to chart on the Oricon. After this failure, Hamasaki took up acting and starred in B-movies such as Ladys Ladys!! Soucho Saigo no Hi and television dramas such as Miseinen, which were poorly received by the public. Growing dissatisfied with her job, Hamasaki quit acting and moved in with her mother, who had recently moved to Tokyo.

Hamasaki was initially a good student, earning good grades in junior high school. Eventually, she lost faith in the curriculum, thinking that the subjects taught were of no use to her. Her grades worsened as she refused to put her mind to her studies. While living in Tokyo, she attempted to further her studies at Horikoshi Gakuen, a high school for the arts, but dropped out in the first year. Because Hamasaki did not attend school or have a job, she spent much of her time shopping at Shibuya boutiques and dancing at Velfarre, an Avex-owned disco club.

At Velfarre, she was introduced to her future producer, Max Matsuura, through a friend. After hearing Hamasaki sing karaoke, Matsuura offered her a recording deal, but Hamasaki suspected ulterior motives and turned the offer down. He persisted and succeeded in recruiting her for the Avex label in the following year. Hamasaki started vocal training, but skipped most of her classes after finding her instructors to be too rigid and the classes dull. When she confessed this to Matsuura, he sent her to New York to train her vocals under another method. During her foreign sojourn, Hamasaki frequently corresponded with Matsuura and impressed him with her style of writing. On her return to Japan, he suggested that she try writing her own lyrics.

1998–1999: Rising popularity

Hamasaki's debut album under Avex, A Song for XX (1999), was "unassuming": its singles were not major hits, and the tracks, composed by Yasuhiko Hoshino, Akio Togashi (of Da Pump), and Mitsuru Igarashi (of Every Little Thing), were "cautious" pop-rock songs. However, Hamasaki's lyrics, introspective observations about her feelings and experiences that focused on loneliness and individualism, resonated with the Japanese public. The songs gained Hamasaki a growing following, and the release of the album was a success: it topped the Oricon charts for five weeks and sold over a million copies. For her achievements, she earned a Japan Gold Disc Award for "Best New Artist of the Year".

With Ayu-mi-x (March 1999), the first of a series of remix albums, Hamasaki began moving beyond the pop-rock of A Song for XX and began to incorporate different styles including trance, dance, and orchestra. Composed by Yasuhiko Hoshino and Dai Nagao (of Do As Infinity), the singles released later that year were dance tunes and earned Hamasaki her first number-one single ("Love: Destiny") and first million-selling single ("A"). Her second studio album, Loveppears (November 1999), not only topped the Oricon charts, it sold nearly 3 million copies. The album also showcased a change in Hamasaki's lyrics. Though the lyrics of Loveppears still dealt with loneliness, many of them were written from a third-person perspective. In support of Loveppears, she held her first tour, Ayumi Hamasaki Concert Tour 2000 A.

2000–2002: Commercial peak

"M", the first song composed by Hamasaki under the pseudonym "Crea", shifts to a relative key, like most of her self-composed songs.
From April to June 2000, Hamasaki released the "Trilogy", a series of singles consisting of "Vogue", "Far Away", and "Seasons". The lyrics of these songs focused on hopelessness, a reflection of Hamasaki's disappointment that she had not expressed herself thoroughly in any of her previous lyrics and a sense of shame of her public image. Likewise, many of the songs she wrote for her subsequent studio album, Duty (September 2000), involved feelings of loneliness, chaos, confusion, and the burden of her responsibilities. She described her feelings after the writing as "unnatural" and "nervous". The musical style was darker as well; in contrast with Loveppears, Duty was a rock-influenced album with only one dance song, "Audience". Duty resonated with fans: the "Trilogy" were "hit singles" ("Seasons" was a million-seller), and the album became Hamasaki's best-selling studio album. At the end of 2000, Hamasaki held her first New Year countdown concert at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium.

In 2001, Avex forced Hamasaki to release her first compilation album, A Best, on March 28, putting the album in "competition" with Hikaru Utada's second studio album, Distance. The "competition" between the two singers (which both claimed was merely a creation of their record companies and the media) was supposedly the reason for the success of the albums; both sold over 5 million copies. In support of Duty and A Best, Hamasaki held a tour of Japan's domes, making her one of few "top-drawer" Japanese artists to hold a concert at the Tokyo Dome.
In light of the September 11 attacks, Hamasaki updated the cover of I am...(2002) to represent peace. (Note the dove.)

I am... (January 2002) marked several milestones for Hamasaki. Hamasaki increased her control over her music by composing all of the songs on the album under the pseudonym "Crea"; "Connected" (November 2002) and "A Song Is Born" (December 2001) were the exceptions. I am... also showed evolution in Hamasaki's lyrical style: it was a retreat from the themes of "loneliness and confusion" of some of her earlier songs. Moved by the September 11 attacks, Hamasaki revised her vision of I am..., focusing on issues such as faith and world peace. "A Song Is Born", in particular, was directly influenced by the events. The single, a duet with Keiko Yamada, was released as part of Avex's non-profit Song+Nation project, which raised money for charity. She also dropped the planned cover and opted instead to be portrayed as a "peace muse", explaining,

I had a completely different idea for the cover at first. We'd already reserved the space, decided the hair and makeup and everything. But after the incident, as is typical of me, I suddenly changed my mind. I knew it wasn't the time for gaudiness, for elaborate sets and costumes. It sounds odd coming from me, but I realize what I say and how I look has a great impact.

The outlook inspired by the September 11 attacks extended beyond I am.... In 2002, Hamasaki held her first concert outside Japan, at the MTV Asia music awards ceremony in Singapore, a move interpreted as the beginning of a campaign prompted by a sluggish Japanese market. At the ceremony, she received the award for "Most Influential Japanese Singer in Asia". In support of I am..., Hamasaki held two tours, Ayumi Hamasaki Arena Tour 2002 A and Ayumi Hamasaki Stadium Tour 2002 A. In November 2002, as "Ayu", she released her first European single, "Connected", a trance song from I am... composed by DJ Ferry Corsten. It was released in Germany on the Drizzly label. Hamasaki continued to release singles (all of them remixes of previously released songs) in Germany on Drizzly until 2004.

After performing at the 2002 MTV Asia music awards, Hamasaki felt that by writing only Japanese lyrics, she was not able to bring her "message" to other countries. Realizing that English was a "common global language", she used it for the first time on her next studio album, Rainbow (December 2002). Though she did not compose as much as on I am... (only nine of the album's fifteen songs), she was still heavily involved in the production. The album was stylistically diverse; Hamasaki included rock- and trip-hop-influenced tracks as well as "summery", "up-tempo" and "grand gothic" songs and experimented with new techniques such as gospel choruses and the yells of an audience. The lyrics were also varied: themes in the album included freedom, the struggles of women, and "a summer that ends in sadness". "H", the album's second single, became the best-selling single of 2002. Hamasaki starred in a short movie, Tsuki ni Shizumu, which was created to be the video for the album's third single, "Voyage".

2003–2006: Decline in sales

In 2003, Hamasaki released three singles, "&", "Forgiveness", and "No Way to Say". To celebrate the release of her thirtieth single ("Forgiveness"), Hamasaki held the A Museum concert at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium. Her mini-album Memorial Address (December 2003) was her first album to be released in CD+DVD format in addition to the regular CD-only format, a decision that came from her increased interest in the direction of her music videos. Like her previous albums, Memorial Address topped the Oricon chart and sold over a million copies. Sales of Hamasaki's singles began to wane. Although all three of the album's singles topped the Oricon charts, "&" was Hamasaki's last single to sell over 500,000 copies.

By the end of her Arena Tour 2003–2004, Hamasaki had grown dissatisfied with her position in Avex: she felt that the company was treating her as a product instead of a person. Along with her dissatisfaction over her last two studio albums (which she thought had been rushed), this led her to begin work on My Story (December 2004) early. In contrast with her previous albums, My Story had no set theme, nor did Hamasaki attempt to write "something good" or even "something that would give people hope"; rather, she simply wrote freely and honestly. As a result, the album contained mostly autobiographical lyrics about her emotions and reminiscences of her career. She approached the composition of the music with the same freedom per the lyrics. Because she liked rock music, the album had notable rock overtones. She was so pleased with the result that she declared My Story the first album she felt satisfied with. My Story and its singles, "Moments", "Inspire", and "Carols", all topped the weekly Oricon charts; moreover, My Story became another million-seller. From January to April 2005, Hamasaki held the nationwide My Story arena tour, her first album-based tour.

Hamasaki took new directions on (Miss)understood, as epitomized by the single "Bold & Delicious", a funk-influenced song that used a gospel-style chorus.

(Miss)understood (January 2006), Hamasaki's seventh studio album, showed new musical directions. Wanting to sing a tune like those of the group Sweetbox, Hamasaki obtained the permission of Sweetbox composer Roberto "Geo" Rosan to use demo songs he had intended to use in Sweetbox's upcoming album. She edited the songs to fit her personal vision, rewriting the lyrics and rearranging some of the songs. The result was more musically diverse than the previous album; (Miss)understood included ballads, funk, dance-pop, R&B, and rock songs. All of (Miss)understood's singles reached the top of the Oricon; "Bold & Delicious" became Hamasaki's twenty-fifth number-one single, tying her with Seiko Matsuda for the record of most number-one singles by a solo female artist.[56] Though (Miss)understood also reached the top of the charts, Oricon stated that it sold fewer than a million copies—Hamasaki's first studio album to do so. In support of the album, Hamasaki held the (Miss)understood arena tour, which spanned three months with thirty concerts, from Saitama on March 11, 2006 to Yoyogi on June 11, 2006.

"Secrets" was, appropriately, the theme of Hamasaki's eighth studio album, Secret (November 2006). The album also explored strong female figures, love, and sadness; songs depicted the artist's struggles and were written to encourage females. Although Secret was originally intended to be a mini-album, Hamasaki "began brimming with things to say" while producing the album and wrote five more songs.[61][fn 11] The album consisted mostly of rock songs and ballads; to complement these, Hamasaki experimented with new vocal techniques.[60] Both of the album's singles, "Startin'" and "Blue Bird", continued her streak of number-one singles: "Startin'" became her twenty-sixth, setting a new record for most number-one singles held by a solo female artist. The album also topped the Oricon weekly charts, making Hamasaki the only artist to have eight consecutive number-one studio albums. Her sales, however, continued to decline: according to both Oricon and the RIAJ, Secret failed to sell a million copies.

2007–present: Market beyond Japan

On February 28, 2007, Hamasaki released A Best 2, a pair of compilation albums containing songs from I am... to (Miss)understood. The two versions, White and Black, debuted at the first and second positions on the Oricon weekly charts, making Hamasaki the first female artist in thirty-six years to hold the top two positions on any Oricon album chart. At the end of 2007, the pair became Japan's fifth and seventh best-selling albums of the year respectively.

In support of A Best 2 and Secret, Hamasaki held the four-month-long Tour of Secret from March to the end of June. It was her first international tour, and aside from Japan, she performed in Taipei, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. Her foreign fanbase highly anticipated the concerts, and tickets for the Taipei and Hong Kong performances sold out in less than three hours.

Unlike its predecessors, the writing of Hamasaki's ninth studio album, Guilty (January 2008), was not an emotional experience for her, nor did it have a set theme. However, she said later that the album's tracks appeared to tell a story. Most of the songs were dark; the album had a notable rock tinge. It contained some upbeat dance tracks and ballads, though the latter also had rock overtones. Guilty peaked at the number-two position on the weekly Oricon charts, making it Hamasaki's first studio album not to reach the top. However, Hamasaki's first digital-only single, "Together When...", and the singles "Glitter / Fated" and "Talkin' 2 Myself", reached the top of their respective charts. A short film, Distance Love, was used as the music video for "Glitter" and "Fated". The film, shot in Hong Kong, co-starred Hong Kong actor Shawn Yue as Hamasaki's romantic interest. Guilty was later released as a digital album in twenty-six countries outside Japan, nineteen of them Western nations. That, along with Hamasaki's decision to employ western DJs such as Armand van Helden for her 2008 remix albums Ayu-mi-x 6: Gold and Ayu-mi-x 6: Silver, has been interpreted as her first step into the global market.

In April 2008, to commemorate her tenth anniversary in Avex, Hamasaki released the single "Mirrorcle World"; it topped the Oricon, making Hamasaki the only female solo artist to have a number-one single every year for ten consecutive years.[8] Hamasaki also held her second tour of Asia, Asia Tour 2008: 10th Anniversary, to celebrate her tenth anniversary. From April until June, she toured Japan, holding seventeen concerts. Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Shanghai were again the foreign stops after the domestic performances. On September 10, 2008, Hamasaki released A Complete: All Singles, a compilation album that includes the A-sides of all her singles along with previously unreleased footage from her A-nation concerts.

Her tenth studio album, Next Level, was released on March 25, 2009 in several formats: CD, CD+DVD, 2CD+DVD and a two-gigabyte USB flash drive. The flash drive edition is expected to be priced at ¥6800 (approximately USD$75).The first single, "Days/Green" (December 2008), became another number-one single for Hamasaki. The second single, "Rule/Sparkle", was released on February 25, 2009; "Rule" is used as the international theme song for the film Dragonball Evolution.

Image and artistry

Time magazine have noted that Hamasaki lacked talents such as the dance moves of singer and dancer Namie Amuro, the "supermodel allure" of Hitomi, and the "vocal pyrotechnics" of Hikaru Utada. Her high-pitched voice is often described as screechy, even by her own fans, though her music is sometimes considered one of the major forces in shaping Japan's current music trends; this has been attributed to her constantly changing image as well as her self-penned lyrics, though critics credit clever marketing strategies. Hamasaki's lyrics and image have gained a following predominantly among the Generation X of Asia, mainly because of the "conflicting or inharmonious beauty" of her fashion and lyrics; Hamasaki's fashions combine Oriental and Western elements, and her songs, unlike those of many of her contemporaries, all have English titles but contained no English lyrics (until Rainbow). The popularity of her music extends beyond Japan, in addition to Hamasaki being one of the few Japanese singers whose albums have sold over 10,000 copies in Singapore. In 2002, however, Hamasaki's domestic sales began declining due to a sluggish Japanese market and increasing piracy in Japan. As a result, she began moving toward the Asian market in 2002, performing at the 2002 MTV Asia awards in Singapore, at South Korea's "Asia Song Festival", and at a concert in Beijing to celebrate Sino-Japanese relations. With her popularity declining (due in part to the rising popularity of other singers like Kumi Koda), she made a foray into the Asian market, starting with her first tour of Asia in 2007.

Style and influence

Many of Hamasaki's songs are dance tunes, such as "Evolution" (2001), a self-composed single that also has rock elements.

Because of the widespread influence of her music, Hamasaki has often been compared to Madonna, whom Hamasaki cites as one of her influences, along with soul musicians Babyface and En Vogue and rock bands Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. She also admires Michelle Branch, Kid Rock, Joan Osborne, Seiko Matsuda, Rie Miyazawa, and Keiko Yamada; these diverse influences have led to the variety of her own music.

Hamasaki began commissioning remixes of her songs early in her career, and this also influenced the diversity of her music. Found on many of her records, these remixes span different genres of electronic dance music including Eurobeat, house, and trance, as well as acoustic genres such as classical and traditional Chinese music. She has employed Western as well as Japanese musicians; among those she has worked with are Above & Beyond, the Lamoureux Orchestra of France,and traditional Chinese music ensemble Princess China Music Orchestra.
Hamasaki's live performances are often lavish productions that use "grand-scale props". Performances of "Mirrorcle World" in her 2008 tour of Asia used a floating ship.

Hamasaki has released more than a hundred original songs; through them, she has covered a wide range of musical styles, such as dance, metal, R&B, progressive rock, pop, and classical. She uses different instruments and techniques including piano, orchestra, gospel choirs, guitars, traditional Japanese strings, music boxes, and effects such as yells, claps, and scratching. She frequently employs others to compose; as she has explained, "I'm not a professional; I lack even basic knowledge about writing music." However, she started to compose her own melodies after her staff had failed to compose a tune for "M" that appealed to her. Wanting to produce works faithful to her visions, Hamasaki took control of most aspects of her artistry. I am... is representative of this stage in Hamasaki's career; she directed the production of its songs, videos, and artwork. Later in her career, however, she began delegating many tasks, including composition, to her staff.

Hamasaki is often involved in the artistic direction of her live performances; they are often lavish productions that use a variety of props, extravagant costumes, and choreographed dances. She has used large video screens, fireworks, simulated rain drops, trick stage floors, and suspended devices. She is also involved in the artistic direction of her promotional videos and tries to convey in the videos the meanings or feelings of their respective songs The themes of the videos are varied; she has made "sad and fragile" or "emotional" videos ("Momentum", "Endless Sorrow"), "refreshing" videos ("Blue Bird", "Fairyland"), and humorous videos ("Evolution", "Angel's Song", "Beautiful Fighters"). Some of her videos contain short storylines: the video of "Voyage" depicts Hamasaki as a woman in a mental hospital whose previous incarnation was a woman in feudal Japan who was sacrificed to the moon; the video of "Endless Sorrow" features a young boy living in a society where speaking is forbidden by law. Additionally, the videos of "Fairyland", "My Name's Women", and "Jewel" are among the top twenty or so most expensive music videos, making Hamasaki the only non-Anglophone to hold such a distinction.

Lyrics and themes

"In the beginning, I was searching for myself in my music. My music was for me. I didn't have the mental room to be conscious of the listener; I wrote to save myself. I didn't understand what it was to write songs. But over time I began to see many things, my influence, the responsibilities that gave me."

— Hamasaki on the new lyrical directions in I am....

Hamasaki's lyrics, all her own, have resonated among her fans, who praise them as being honest and "expressing determination". Because she has "trouble voicing her thoughts", Hamasaki uses her lyrics as an outlet; she "draws from her own experiences and emotions" and tries to put them "honestly into words". She has stated that honesty is essential to her lyrics, saying, "If I write when I'm low, it will be a dark song, but I don't care. I want to be honest with myself at all times." Because of this, she did not use English lyrics until her album Rainbow, as she had felt that she could best express herself in Japanese. As with her musical style, the themes of her lyrics have varied: although "loneliness and confusion" were frequent in her earlier albums, she has branched out to wider themes such as faith and peace; themes in her later albums have included love and the struggles of women. In addition to drawing inspiration for her lyrics from personal experiences and feelings, Hamasaki bases lyrics on sources such as historical events. The life of Joan of Arc was the inspiration for "Free & Easy", while a story told to her by her friend about a saint named Mary served as the basis for "M"; the September 11 attacks inspired "A Song Is Born".

Public image

Hamasaki's influence goes beyond music; she is often considered a fashion icon and trend-setter, a status attributed to her tight control over her image. Besides her frequent appearances in fashion magazines, such as Vivi, Popteen, and Cawaii, Hamasaki has often been lauded for her trendy choices in apparels and accessories; Oricon has repeatedly named her the "Most Fashionable Female Artist". Many aspects of Japan's fashions—including clothing, hair, nails, and accessories—have in some way been influenced by her. As with her music, trends Hamasaki started have spread to Asian countries as Taiwan, China, and Singapore. Among the trends Hamasaki has started are hime-kei (a look inspired by the fashions of 18th century French aristocracy) and chapatsu (hair-dyeing). Hamasaki's constantly changing image is apparent not only in her fashion photo shoots and commercial endorsements but also in her record covers, an element she considers essential in conveying her message. She portrayed herself as a vine-clad "peace muse" or "Greek goddess" (on her album I am...), as a "twenty-first-century Joan of Arc" (for her single "Free & Easy"), and as a "funky Lolita". Though Hamasaki portrayed herself in earlier releases as a "girl next door", she has adopted a more sexualized image since the release of Loveppears. The covers for records including Loveppears, I am..., and Rainbow feature Hamasaki in states of partial nudity, for which she has generated controversy. Hamasaki also garnered criticism after she modeled bra for lingerie manufacturer Wacoal, though most of the criticism alleged that Hamasaki was only trying to "play catch-up" with Kumi Koda, who gained popularity for her overtly sexual image.

Hamasaki has been sought by numerous brands to endorse their products. Throughout her career under Avex, she has promoted products that ranged from electronics (Tu-Ka cell phones and Panasonic) to various snack foods. Among the products she has advertised on television are the Honda Crea scooter, Kosé cosmetics, Mister Donut donuts, and Boss coffee. As well as serving as background music for television advertisements, some of Hamasaki's songs have been used as themes for video games, television shows and motion pictures, such as Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams, InuYasha, and Shinobi: Heart Under Blade. Although Hamasaki initially supported the exploitation of her popularity for commercial purposes, saying that it was "necessary that [she is] viewed as a product", she eventually opposed Avex's decision to market her as a "product rather than a person".

Other activities

Hamasaki has been described as to have a "merchandise empire," where she launched her own fashion brand, MTRLG (Material Girl), in 2001; the clothes were sold at MTRLG boutiques and at Mise S*clusive stores. In 2002, Hamasaki created Ayupan, a cartoon version of herself that appeared in a line of merchandise (mainly figurines) and in a 2003 cartoon. For her 2007 tour Tour of Secret, Hamasaki collaborated with Sanrio to create a line of merchandise, Ayumi HamasakixHello Kitty, that features Ayupan and Hello Kitty together. The merchandise included cell phone straps and Lumix cameras decorated with a picture of Hello Kitty behind Hamasaki's "A" logo; the former product was a result of a collaboration with Sanrio and Japanese fashion brand Ash & Diamonds, the latter a collaboration with Sanrio and Panasonic. She briefly hosted her own television show, Ayuready? (October 2002), on Fuji Television. The talk show, aired on Saturday nights from 11:30 to midnight, often featured her performing songs with guests, among whom were Goto Maki, Puffy, and Akina Nakamori. To promote the program (and her album Rainbow), Hamasaki opened a restaurant, Rainbow House, on Shōnan Beach; it was occasionally used in episodes of Ayuready?. After less than two years, the last episode aired in March 2004.

Personal life

Hamasaki dated singer-actor Tomoya Nagase since her brief acting career, and they publicly announced their relationship in 2001.[107] Six years later, the media circulated rumors that the couple were about to get married; however, on July 13, Hamasaki announced that they had broken up. Though Hamasaki did not explain the reason for the split, she stated that they had parted amicably and the two remained friends.

In a January 8, 2008 entry on her TeamAyu blog, Hamasaki revealed that an inoperable condition, possibly tinnitus or Ménière's disease, had caused complete deafness in her left ear. She disclosed that she had been diagnosed with the condition in 2006 and that the problem dated back to 2000. Despite the setback, Hamasaki stated that she wished to continue singing, and that she would "not give up" on her fans and that "as a professional", she wanted to "deliver the best performance for everyone".


Studio albums

* 1995: Nothing from Nothing (pre-Avex mini-album)
* 1999: A Song for XX
* 1999: Loveppears
* 2000: Duty
* 2002: I am...
* 2002: Rainbow
* 2003: Memorial Address (mini-album)
* 2004: My Story
* 2006: (Miss)understood
* 2006: Secret
* 2008: Guilty
* 2009: Next Level

Compilation albums

* 2001: A Best
* 2003: A Ballads
* 2007: A Best 2 (White/Black)
* 2008: A Complete: All Singles


Concert tours

* 2000: Ayumi Hamasaki Concert Tour 2000 Vol.1
* 2000: Ayumi Hamasaki Concert Tour 2000 Vol.2
* 2001: Ayumi Hamasaki Dome Tour 2001 A
* 2002: Ayumi Hamasaki Arena Tour 2002 A
* 2002: Ayumi Hamasaki Stadium Tour 2002 A
* 2003–2004: Ayumi Hamasaki Arena Tour 2003-2004 A
* 2005: Ayumi Hamasaki Arena Tour 2005 A: My Story
* 2006: Ayumi Hamasaki Arena Tour 2006 A: (Miss)understood
* 2007: Ayumi Hamasaki Asia Tour 2007 A: Tour of Secret
* 2008: Ayumi Hamasaki Asia Tour 2008: 10th Anniversary
* 2009: Ayumi Hamasaki Arena Tour 2009 A: Next Level[135]

New Years countdown concerts

* 2000–2001: Ayumi Hamasaki Countdown Live 2000-2001 A
* 2001–2002: Ayumi Hamasaki Countdown Live 2001-2002 A
* 2002–2003: Ayumi Hamasaki Countdown Live 2002-2003 A
* 2004–2005: Ayumi Hamasaki Countdown Live 2004-2005 A
* 2005–2006: Ayumi Hamasaki Countdown Live 2005-2006 A
* 2006–2007: Ayumi Hamasaki Countdown Live 2006-2007 A
* 2007–2008: Ayumi Hamasaki Countdown Live 2007-2008 Anniversary
* 2008–2009: Ayumi Hamasaki Premium Countdown Live 2008-2009 A


* Twins Teacher (1993)
* Battle Spirits Ryûko no Ken (1993)
* Sumomo mo Momo (1995)
* Miseinen (1995)
* Ladys Ladys!! Soucho Saigo no Hi (1995)
* Like Grains of Sand (1995)
* Gakko II (1996)
* Tsuki ni Shizumu (2002)

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