Looking back on a former favourite group

I’m not really that sure on why I’m posting this, but I wrote it, so I might as well.

I was thinking today that it was about time I wrote another blog entry to keep on track with my 8 a month, but somehow this wasn’t what I was expecting to talk about. I went on Youtube today to watch Gingadan’s PV, and I used a “mix” link because it was easier than searching for the song, and I could see it was the first one. What I didn’t expect was that the song that was played was a song by a now disbanded group who I followed and loved before I came to Japan and my first few years in Japan. It was hard to even watch.  Somehow while I was writing this I didn’t name the group or its members at all, so I’m going to keep it that way. If you’ve known me a while you might know who I refer to, or you might just know who they are in general, but their name will not appear here.

Sometimes, people move on. This is something I moved on from. I’d done it with things before and I’ve done it with things since. But I never experienced the harshness I experienced with losing this group with anyone else, and after how I felt seeing that PV after so many years, apparently it still kind of hurts even now.

I always consider the way I became a fan of this group really strange. My 8~10 year old neighbour was in my house watching videos on Youtube on my phone and whatever she had been searching for eventually led her to their debut single PV. She wasn’t expecting it and was so shocked to see something unfamiliar she tossed the phone to me and I caught a glimpse of the video. Out of curiosity more than anything I hunted for it again and managed to find it, and from then I became their fan.

That was June 2011, and in October that year I moved to Japan. I still remember the first time I met them at their release event for their third single that December. It was my first ever event in Japan for anything, and I couldn’t quite believe that I had met these boys I had been watching on my computer for the past six months.

Years before Gingadan even existed, it was for these boys that I would travel back and forth from Tokyo for. Whenever they had a single, I would go to as many of their events as I could. I generally always went to their events in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. I have so many good memories from these times. At one in Nagoya, my favourite member spoke to me from the stage in English (he always claimed to be good at English and he wasn’t perfect but he tried hard) and we had a random conversation in the middle of their MC time. One member would always grab my hand so tightly during the high touch moment and speak to me in super broken English. I was lucky to get anything out of one of the other members.

My biggest memory was at their 1st anniversary event when my favourite member stood on stage and confessed that he had thought about leaving the group so many times because when they came from Korea to Japan he felt so out of place and missed his friends and family so much. He said he had talked to their leader so much and had been so comforted that he’d been able to keep going. As someone who had also moved to another country, I related to it so much and I remember how much I cried as he was speaking.

I don’t remember when exactly it was, but one day an announcement came that he was leaving the group. He was clear that it wasn’t his choice and that he had to leave to go and do his military duty in Korea. After all he’d been through with the group he was forced to leave them after all.

Honestly, after he left, nothing was the same. It wasn’t even just because he wasn’t there. Around the same time they changed management and their once “2 mini lives followed by a handshake, high touch or sign event” turned into no mini-lives and generally just a two-shot with one member. I loved all of the boys but I no longer had a favourite, and I missed those handshake or high touch events where I could see them all. I missed spending the day in a shopping mall seeing them perform. I didn’t want to travel to Tokyo to get one two-shot. I went to their events if they came to Nagoya, but I stopped travelling to see them. It wasn’t an excuse, I truly wanted to see them. They were just no longer making it worth me spending my money.

When they finally announced they were disbanding so three out of the remaining members could go and do their military duty, I was so far removed from them that I couldn’t even bring myself to be super sad at the time, especially since everyone knew it was coming eventually. More than being sad that they were disbanding, I was annoyed. On their website the members all posted a personal message to the fans thanking them for their support up until then. Their former member did not get asked to contribute a message, and he actually vented his own frustrations about that on his Twitter. After he’d made us promise to wait for him to come back, after we’d all held signs saying the group would always be 5 members, it was kind of a harsh end.

Before disbanding they did a final tour. I made the decision not to go. I can honestly say that I regretted it so much. The show was to be very long and therefore the tickets cost a lot of money, and it was between that or putting the money towards a big and expensive trip. On the day of that concert, I actually walked by the venue they were playing in completely by accident. They were playing their PV on a monitor outside and I couldn’t even watch it, I just kept walking and told myself I had made the decision I had to make, but inside I felt so sad. Thinking back, the choice I made was a good one but I didn’t feel it in that moment.

Nowadays, a couple of them are doing solo things. The other three formed another group. I’ve moved on and I’m not interested in following them individually if they aren’t as five any more. I still have their music on my phone and their CDs on their shelves, and I have a little origami star in a jar that they hand made and handed to all the fans at their 2nd anniversary event. It’s nice to remember sometimes and maybe not so nice to suddenly miss them.

That’s my reminiscence finished for the day.

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