Arashi

Arashi

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sakurai Sho - The Adorkable Honor Student with A Versatile Rapping Voice

Now it's time to present Arashi's resident intellectual: That's Right! Sakurai Sho-kun!

Sakurai Sho: every girl's dream senpai.
He graduated from Keio, and yes, you can watch him interview famous people and commentate on serious real-world news items every Monday on News Zero (if you live in Japan, that is). He's probably the one in Arashi that would look most in place in a salaryman suit, and there's no denying that he has superb work ethic as both a newscaster and an entertainer. In fact, he is known for being a workaholic just like MatsuJun; he reads three newspapers a day to keep up with current events and writes all the rap lyrics for Arashi songs. His co-workers at News Zero have revealed that he always prepares very thoroughly before interviewing anybody. But you'd be in for a big surprise if you think Sho's just a straight-laced Mr. Goody Two Shoes who always gets A's on his homeworks. See below.


Oh the many things Sho gets up to with the appropriate prodding from Arashi.
Within Arashi, Sho acts as a bridge the solemn and the frivolous. One moment, you see him being the perfect MC, introducing guests and saying all the right prompts to the audience in his proper newscaster voice, and the next moment, he's being dumped in a pool of freezing ice water for his cluelessness towards women. There exists a term in the fandom called ShoFail, and it's exactly what it sounds like: Sho failing at various (mostly physical) tasks. It's a major source of hilarity in all Arashi bangumis, and the other members love to remind him of it.

Basics
Born January 25, 1982, in Tokyo. Is the second oldest in Arashi and often referred to as the "Mama" of the group due to his motherly guardianship over the other members. His father is a politician and his mother a university professor as well as a heiress. Sho has one younger sister and one younger brother. He entered Johnny's in 1995 and was a very popular junior by the time Arashi was set to debut, earning the admiration of Matsumoto Jun and several of his other kouhais. He attended the prestigious Keio University and graduated with a degree in Economics in 2004, making him the one with the highest level of education in Arashi. At 171 cm, he is the third tallest in Arashi (after Aiba and Jun). Nicknames: "Sho-kun" is a common one, though Aiba and occasionally Nino will call him "Sho-chan" too. Arashi members usually do not use his surname when addressing him, but other people (like guests on the shows) will call him "Sakurai-san" or "Sakurai-kun." Apparently he is called "Keio boy" too, but I've only seen this in fandom. A recent nickname is "Candle Sho," which came up on VSA when the Nazodi cast members revealed that Sho liked to light candles in his dressing room during the shooting.

Appearance
Sho is, as Ohno once said, an "ikemen." For those of you who don't know what an "ikemen" is, it basically means a good-looking guy, though usually not in the aggressively sexual sense. I tend to equate ikemen with "pretty boy" in my head, though I'm aware that's probably not the strictly accurate definition. Sho, though, is definitely an ikemen.

18-year-old Sho. Just look at those beautiful features!
Sho has big round eyes that can contort themselves into any range of emotions, but unlike Arashi's other big-eyed man Jun, Sho's eyes are gentler to look at, even when he's putting on the aggressive sexy act (like in T.A.B.O.O. Oh God. Can you guys imagine what it'd be like if Jun did T.A.B.O.O?! *nosebleed*), and they are more on the intelligent, thoughtful side most of the time. His eyebrows are probably my favorite features though. They are forcefully arched, though not as aggressive as Jun's they certainly give him a look of refined beauty. Personally, I love Sho's eyebrows more than Jun's! Sho also has a very unique mouth. His teeth have been described as "chipmunk-like" and one does tend to notice how his upper teeth jut out ever so slightly. It's not unattractive, just gives his otherwise gentle face a bit of force and manliness.

Sho in red with super sloping sholders!
Picture credit from baidu forums
 http://tieba.baidu.com/f?kz=1071187635 
We cannot talk about Sho's physical attributes without touching on "sloping shoulders" or nadegata. He is endlessly teased about this by Arashi, by fans, by other actors; he even teases himself about it! Now let's be clear, nadegata is not really an unattractive thing per se, but many people in East Asian cultures tend to think of it as a physical flaw, especially in men, because it means that the person doesn't have well-developed shoulder muscles; therefore sloping shoulders are often considered "unmanly." However, a lot of people also find the more effeminate scholarly looking type of man attractive, so the matter of sloping shoulders really just boils down to personal preference. Many people (like Horikita Maki) even think that Sho's sloping shoulders will make him more suitable for wearing traditional Japanese yukata/wafuku!

And yet another physical feature that is a much discussed topic is the amazing abdomen of Sakurai Sho. This guy has abs. Maybe not like the Calvin Klein model's chiseled abs, but certainly very noticeable nonetheless. We all saw those an.an. photos (see below if you haven't). Once again, heavens bless an. an.!

Perhaps the most treasured issue of an an ever.
Sho's muscles and bare chest and his role as the rapper make him the "manly one" in Arashi. And he's certainly not shy about showing this all off. Just watch any performance of TABOO, or even in the earlier days, his solo in the 2003 "How's it going" concert had a pretty suggestive video of him in a bathtub, too. His muscles are on display in pretty much every concert. Whenever Arashi members wear some sort of matching costume, Sho's is usually the one that is the most "bad-boy" in a tank top while the others might be in T-shirts. Though we all know, thanks to Nino's incessant teasing, that Sho's muscles are just "air muscles" and can't win in arm wrestling when he's pitted against his bandmates.  

Sho in a tank top for "Love Situation" in the 2007 Time concert.
Sho looks pretty good, in general. He had a bad-boy Yankee phase back in the early 2000's when he had bright long golden hair, an ear piercing and a belly button piercing. He hasn't sported the gold hair since taking on his News Zero gig; I guess for practical purposes it is better if his hair stays a professional black. And his piercings have also disappeared. Even in those an an photoshoots, we don't see the piercings! Sho-kun is way past his bad-boy phase, though he can still definitely sound bad-ass when he raps, and some of the lyrics he write for Arashi's recent songs (like the rap in PARADOX, for example) are pretty racy in a mature way. His body proportions are also pretty great, I would say only second to Aiba's. That's why I really love seeing Sakuraiba in photoshoots. Sho also has lovely slender legs that any girl would kill for, and he's cosplayed as a maid before, showing off those lovely legs. I bet the ratings for that episode of Shukudai-kun hit the roof.

Sho & Jun, a beautifully enigmatic relationship in Arashi. 
Personality
I always find myself comparing Sho and Jun in my head when it comes to personality, because they have both changed so much since the early 2000's, and because they're both more on the serious mature side now. They are also both workaholics, and are known for going to great lengths to perfect their work. And of course, they both did the nude photoshoots in an an and are seen as manly sex symbols in Arashi who both like to play with Aiba (sorry, my shipper self coming out!). They are still very distinct personalities, though. Jun's more romantic while Sho's more comedic; Jun's quietly contemplative while Sho's mind whirs as he talks nonstop with his colleagues. Jun is like that dark handsome stranger that comes to you in the mysterious night to sweep you away while Sho is more like the white knight in shining armor that gallops to you on a straight sunlit road. That is the best simile I can come up with.

Sho sported quite the "yanki" cut.
When Sho was a junior, he was known for being "fashionable," and allegedly (from Kanjani 8 members and Okada Junichi of V6) started some fashion trends within Johnny's like the sportswear trend. He was certainly looked up to a lot as a Jr. (technically he and Ohno were called Sr's in the years directly before debut, but to keep things simple, I'll refer to all pre-debut Johnny's as Jr's), and enjoyed considerable popularity. If they ranked Jr's, Sakurai was definitely in the top ten, and was pretty close to the other most popular members like Takki. It is widely known that Jun had a little crush on Sho when they were teens, and hung out with him (and the corresponding senpai group)more than with people in his generation like Nino and Aiba. Sho's described as being very caring towards his kouhais, encouraging Jun to finish high school after their debut, and inspiring many others after him to go to university. However, teenage Sho also had quite the temper, and kouhais like Jun would sometimes wilt under his wrath. Case in point, during one of Arashi's early stints on Utaban, Sho revealed that Jun had once called him at 4 am in the morning, on a day when he had a lot of work and didn't get to sleep until around that time. Jun grinned and explained that he had confirmed with Sho's manager that Sho was still awake at that time. Sho just threw him a glare at the Utaban panel and retorted, "I could kill you!" a few times. Jun shut up immediately. Even now, Sho has had a couple of "scandals" where he was reported to treat fans rudely when they started crowding around him and snapping photos at a train station. But everyone has bad days, and fans can be pretty aggressive at times; we all know that Sho has always been very grateful to his fans and will go to great lengths to make us happy (I mean, he is probably one of the hardest working members of Arashi!).

We wonder who Sho has on speed-dial in his private phone.
Sho is "the smart one" in Arashi, as he did graduate from Keio University and can put on the best "academic face" due to his abilities as a newscaster and MC. He's even interviewed a Nobel laureate before! He keeps up with current events and is probably the member who is most associated with professional roles outside of the entertainment industry. His image is the most clean cut in Arashi, and he has not had any major scandals with women. Even his dating life is pretty low key (yes yes, I know these new rumors of him and Kitagawa Keiko are out there but come on, if I could have a penny for every time a male celebrity is "romantically" linked with his attractive female co-star *rolls eyes*) and he certainly divulges very little in terms of either words or actions. I also get the feeling that though he is very social, his most intimate friends are not in the entertainment industry but are rather people he knew from way back since childhood (he was in the escalator school system in Japan, which meant that he attended Keio's kindergarten through to the university level, like many of his friends, so they must have known each other for very long). This is pretty different from Jun, who everyone knows is intimate with stars like Oguri Shun, Ikuta Toma and Matsuda Ryuhei among others. Aiba and Nino are obviously best friends, often hanging out together in private (sometimes with Jun too), and Ohno is just not that social with anyone in general. While the other four members obviously have may interactions with other Johnny's and actors/actresses in private, Sho discloses very little about his private interactions, except that he goes out to dine/ travel with his "friends." Once, when asked who he hangs out with in private, he replied that he'd been with a lot of athletes due to his role in interviewing many of them for the Olympics. Clearly, Sho's social circles are a little more varied than the other Arashi members, and that may contribute to his clean-cut image.

Sho (center) can't bend, so Arashi helps
him loosen up for their yoga session. 
Despite his propriety, Sho is frequently the good-natured target of may of his bandmates' jibes and teases because, well, he just isn't the best at physical tasks. He's stiff and inflexible, and seems to have worse hand-eye coordination than the others. Nino and Jun love to express their doubts whenever Sho seems overly confident in a VSA task. He's also pretty bad at drawing, a major source of amusement for the other members and probably a national joke in Japan. He can't cook very well, either, though there are a few episodes where he manages to pull off some simple dishes. And he's big old scaredy-cat when it comes to heights and strange animals like snakes or camels. He tends to yell "Kowaii!" a lot (it means "Scary!"), and in a pretty girly way too. Remember that time he had to go on a roller coaster for one of their variety shows? He spent the entire time shrieking "My organs are floating! My organs!" But he is, like a true professional, able to suppress his fear of heights enough when his work requires it, like when he had to be suspended in mid-air by wires for Arashi's 5x10 concert in Kokuritsu. He admitted he was really scared up there, but somehow still managed to sing. Sho also has these running gags/lines he likes to repeat. One is where he shows his biceps, slaps them and yells something like "kochi kochi!" (I'm really not sure what it is he's yelling, don't quote me on that! All I know is it's hilarious.) Another is when he tastes something and reacts with "maximum umai!" This he often does at the behest of Nino. For some reason, it's super funny when Sho says "maximum."

Another thing the members love to make fun of Sho about is his utter failure when it comes to dating problems and women. Let' just say that he is not the smoothest person when trying to hit on someone. He is prone to give less than satisfactory responses in the Moteki Arashi, Dame Arashi segment on HnA (the one where one member falls into ice water at the end) when asked about what sorts of dates he'd go on, or how he would confess his feelings to a girl etc etc. But even before that, his lack of relationship savvy was exposed in Shukudai-kun whenever they had to do the corner where each member pretends to give a speech to a "girlfriend" on a given topic (e.g. how to make up after a fight? how to confess to the cute cashier girl? how to confess to a co-worker?). He pretty much fails at every turn. It's adorable to see his dejection at the audiences' many negative votes. But of course, I bet that our Sho-chan has no problem getting girls in real life; he frequently shows up on magazine polls as "the ideal husband" or "the ideal son-in-law." Interestingly enough, he and Ohno also usually score quite high on "most attractive Arashi member to transvestites/gays" too.

Sho is incredibly caring, and I mentioned earlier that he is sometimes referred to as the "mother" of the group. There was once on AnShiyagare when he was scooping rice into bowls for the members during the ending segment in a very motherly way, such that Nino starting calling him "Kaa-san." Indeed, there are times on arashi shows when the other four act like unruly kids and Sho becomes the sighing mother who has circles run around her as she tries to bring them to order. Sho takes care of the other members in more subtle ways too, and even if he doesn't hang out much with them in private, he nevertheless shares that unique Arashi bond of friendship that is in many ways stronger than conventional friendships.

Note that the captions under these two screencaps are figments of my overactive imagination!

Add caption
 In 2008, when Ohno's big scandal broke, Sho would often cover for Ohno during interviews and when they guested on shows. Like when they were on Heyx3 when the scandal was running at its peak, a rather dazed and withdrawn Ohno was asked about his various projects and it was Sho who automatically answered for his leader, smilingly talking about his art exhibition and the new Maou drama, and even making a light joke about his new hairstyle. Sho is great at reading and creating an atmosphere, and he smoothly directed the cameras to his face when he knew that Riida needed some relief from the spotlight. When the MC's jokingly asked why Ohno wasn't speaking for himself, Jun simply replied that they were Riida's back-up support and Sho quickly followed with a comment on Ohno's habitual drowsy disposition. Later, when a "dream analysis" of Ohno revealed that he was feeling insecure about himself, the members all seemed a bit subdued (especially the usually naughty Aimiya pair who would not miss a chance to have a friendly dig at a bandmate) and unsure of what to say. Again, it was Sho who swooped in to point out that Ohno had nothing to feel insecure about, that he was the best at singing and the best at dancing. Riida had a gratified smile on his face at this bold show of support.

The graphic below is not my best work, but I've watched this episode so many times, and maybe I've read too much into it, but I really believe that Sho and Jun were actively trying to cover for Ohno. I don't think the MC's were really intentionally being mean; they were just doing their jobs trying to get Ohno to advertise his new drama and play, but the Arashi members all knew that Ohno just needed more space, not more publicity. Anyways, this is what my brain comes up with at 2 AM...


Sho is, as I said earlier, a bridge between the serious Arashi and the frivolous Arashi. There's a reason Sakuraiba and Sakumoto are my favorite combis, and that's because Sho works so well with either of them! I love seeing his almost Aiba-like childish side come out, like when he does his "Chesuto!" cries to pump himself up, but I also love when he and MatsuJun are paired to do stuff in VSA together, because they both have this knowing smirk on their faces that tell us they know they're going to rock the socks off everyone.

Talents
Sho (right) as a newscaster on NEWS ZERO.
Sho is, in general, a pretty professional guy. There's a reason (apart from how good he looks in a suit) he keeps getting cast as the "salaryman" type in CM's and even in the Arashi TV movie "Saigo no Yakusoku." He can speak very intelligently on a variety of topics, handle topic transitions tactfully, and give the appropriate reactions to any words flung his way. All of this makes him an excellent MC, which is a role he plays within Arashi and sometimes elsewhere on his own too. Whenever Arashi are onstage or on camera talking freely with each other, you can bet Sho is the one guiding the conversation or at least the one getting it started. This is true of Arashi concert MC's, and of the shows Arashi no Shukudai-kun, Arashi ni Shiyagare, and VS Arashi. You'll see him step up to act as spokesperson when Arashi are on other programs like Music Station, too. The other members have also revealed that whenever they have magazine interviews, the staff usually just hands Sho a tape recorder and tells him to get the Arashi conversation started. Sho's just got an expressive voice, great intonation, and great enunciation, which is not actually something that anyone in the showbiz can really boast of. Even in Arashi, Riida mumbles a lot and Aiba trips over words in his excitement. Sho's skills as an MC have really been recognized, as he has gotten the newscaster gig at News Zero, been invited to cover the Beijing/London Olympics, and served as MC for singing shows, too. It also really helps that he's the only member who can speak conversational English, having studied it in earnest for some time after graduating college. He also knows little snippets of Mandarin, having studied it a bit in high school.

Sho may not be excellent at sports; he has neither stamina nor strength, to be absolutely honest. But there is one sport he is good at: soccer! He frequently scores perfects in the Kicking Sniper game on VSA and he's shown off some of his soccer skills on Arashi ni Shiyagare too! Surprisingly enough, he also seemed to be able to pick up fencing quite naturally on AnS when members of the Japanese Olympic fencing squad came to visit. So perhaps we shouldn't give up hope on Sakurai and his "perfect body."

In Arashi, Sho is the designated rapper, and since "Kotoba yori Daisetsu no Mono," he has personally penned all Arashi's rap lyrics, some of which are pretty sensitive and poetic. His rapping voice is very versatile. He can do the tough-guy rap, where he sounds rough and coarse and full of swagger. He can also do a smoother, more R&B style rap that's less in-your-face. Sometimes, you can catch him rapping closer to his speaking range (like in "Still...") in a more melodic style of rap. And Sho can sound like pure sex when he decides to give us some seductive rap, like in the newest "PARADOX". Whatever style of rap he chooses to do though, 'Sakurap' is one of the highlights of Arashi's music.

Compared to his rapping, Sho's singing is less scintillating and more... safe. His vocal range is not the widest, and he cannot reach powerful high notes like Ohno or Nino. Even though he can rap in very low ranges, he usually cannot sing in those ranges. But when he is in a comfortable pitch, his voice doesn't sound bad. He can pull off the standard pop songs as well as some sweeter sounding numbers like "Kono Mama Motto." But personally, I always look forward to the raps more than the singing in a Sho-solo. His dancing is also not particularly remarkable, because his body is just so stiff! He had trouble doing yoga on one episode of Shukudai-kun and even though Sho has an excellent sense of rhythm and swagger when it comes to dancing, he just does not have the same degree of control over his body as someone like Ohno does. But as I said, he is nothing if not professional, and when he dances, he somehow always manages to look incredibly good even if his technique is not all there. And as a bonus, Sho also plays the piano quite well, having learned it from a young age. On Kouhaku 2011, he played the accompaniment to "Furusato" on a piano that was rescued from the ruins of the earthquake in March and repaired for the stage. His bandmates sang the touching little song. You can often see Sho playing piano aristocratically in the dramas he stars in, like in Yamada Taro Monogatari, or in NazoDi.

Sho (center) and Arashi in some rather characteristic poses during the 2007 Time Con.
Sho has been very active on the drama scene in recent years, and his acting is well received. Notable dramas include 2011's Nazotoki wa Dinner no Ato de, which was successful enough to spawn a SP, some short spin-off scenes and a movie. In NazoDi, he plays a cheeky crime-solving butler to a detective heiress, often able to deduce the culprit based solely on his mistress's grudgingly-given accounts of  her investigation. Sho also played a main role in 2010's Tokujo Kabachi, where he was the hot-headed, naive and somewhat clumsy legal assistant who tries to use his knowledge of the law to help ordinary people gain justice. The best part of this drama is his electrifying chemistry with Horikita Maki's cool-headed, manipulative character; she almost makes me think she's Nino in female form pulling prank after brilliant prank on Sho throughout the drama! Recently, Sho has won awards for his role as the controversial (and bordering on insane) tutor Yoshimoto in 2013's Kazoku Game, a somewhat disturbing probe into schoolyard bullying and dysfunctional families in modern Japan. His first really prominent role in a drama was probably Bambi in 2002's Kisarazu Cat's Eye. KCE is a wacky drama with just that hint of depth that makes it non-frivolous enough that it sticks to your heart even after ten years. The main character is played by Okada Junichi of V6, and he has terminal cancer; however instead of wasting his last few months away, he decides to do all these outrageously hilarious crimes with his friends on a ragtag baseball team so that he can live life to the fullest before he dies. Bambi (Sho's character) is the golden haired "babyface" of this group, and even though it's just a supporting role, Sho really stood out in the drama. The drama that made me really fall in love with Sho was 2009's The Quiz Show 2, where he plays an amnesiac quiz show host who is manipulated by the show's vengeful producer (played by an excellently cast Yokoyama Ryu of Kanjani 8) to rediscover his traumatic past episode by episode. It's a dramatic thriller, and I cried bucketloads of tears during the last two episodes. And also worth a mention is Sho's double-starring drama with Nino, Yamada Taro Monogatari, which had charming characters that made up for a rather random plot. It's the only time two Arashi members have had lead roles in the same drama, and how we hope that it's not the last (someone give us Sakumoto in some fun bantering roles, please!). Sho doesn't really play romantic roles, no matter how much we wish it, but much like Ohno, he sure looks irresistibly cute in an earnest way whenever we get a little smattering hint of romance in his dramas. He really plays the "clueless in love" type to perfection. Nevertheless, Sho can do comedy just as well as drama, and he's even done a "sort-of" action movie (Yatterman; watch it if you like seeing Sho look ridiculous in superhero tights), too, so you could say that he is comfortable with the major genres of Japanese drama (other than romance, that is).

Clockwise from top left: 1) Butler Sho in NazoDi; 2) Bambi Sho in KCE; 3) MC Kamiyama
from the Quiz Show 2; 4) Mimura Takuya from Yamada Taro Monogatari; 5) Sho invites you
all to watch his dramas! 6) Legal Sho musing on his screw-ups in Tokujo Kabachi!

And to end, I can't resist putting in another graphic just to remind us how adorable of a fail our Keio-boy is.

Clockise from Top Left: 1) Sakuraiba failing at criss-cross jump rope;
2) Sho despairing at yoga; 3) Sho frantically running in the white goo
(he lasted about 5 seconds); 4) his god-awful confession scenario.

12 comments:

  1. thank you for sharing your information bout arashi. i like the way they protect each other, specially when it comes on questioning ohno"s leadership.. arashi's bond in friendship is much stronger than in any other group. (that's my opinion, well, i love arashi) they are mostly looked like brothers. i love them all. i guess, a should learn more about arashi before i call myself a FAN..

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    1. Hey. thanks for reading this long post! I'm glad it interested you. There is just such a TON of information about Arashi out there (they've been on TV and magazines since the mid-1990's after all), I'm sure you'll find no shortage of interesting things about them.

      I love how they are like brothers too :) It's not everyday that you see such a cohesive group in the world of showbiz :)

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  2. I was actually looking for more information, unfortunately, some of them were written in japanese specially videoclips and other interviews. By this year, they are celebrating 15yrs. I felt sorry to myself because i missed out 14yrs of their existence... Im glad that I've found your blog, it helps a lot to know more about arashi.. (uhm, sorry if I had bad english) Thank you very much for that.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoy reading my random posts :)
      You should join LJ for more Arashi material :-)

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  3. I love every post you have for ARASHI. I read about Matsumoto Jun and Sakurai Sho and it was my favorite. All of your posts/blog about them are well-informative and really reaches the heart of us Arashi-fans. Arashi is my most favorite Asian boy-band / group of all time. Thank you and please keep on posting more about them.

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    1. Thank you for this lovely comment!! I feel so loved <33 and it's always nice to find others out there who share my passion for Arashi! I'm glad you enjoyed what little I can give back to the fandom =P

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  4. Thanks very much for these compiled info. I'm a Sho-ichibaner and I honestly think I know a lot about the man, but reading this page literally placed Sho in a whole new light. I particularly love that bit where you compare Sho and Jun's personalities. It's so true - Jun is on the romantic, dark and mysterious side while Sho is more of a knight in shining armor + horse. I honestly enjoyed reading this. Thanks very much for your hard work!

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    1. Thanks for reading this long and rambling post! I'm glad you found it so informative, though I'll admit that of all five members, I probably know of Sho the least since he's never been my ichiban and I don't often seek his solo interviews/shows to watch. Still, I guess I garnered enough Sho-knowledge from my Arashi OT5 obsession haha ^.^

      I do often think of Sho and Jun as foils to each other, and it's nice to see that the metaphor resonated with you, because I honestly don't think I know how to describe the difference between the two otherwise.

      Thanks for reading, again, and leaving such a lovely comment =D

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  5. This makes me want Sho kun as a brother.

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    1. I agree whole-heartedly <3 He would make such a lovely brother!

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  6. I love your post.. Make me miss arashi so much..
    Got caught with kpop stream for awhile

    Yay for sho-chan, my most favorite member. The smrt one, but can also be the silliest one. Love him, from the first time I know arashi.

    Can I ask you where can I watch their show? Specially with English subtitles. Thank you

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    1. Sorry it took me so long to reply to this! Thank you for your kind words <3
      I don't usually watch Arashi shows with English subtitles. I actually usually watch them raw or with Chinese subs (because I think Japanese translates better into Chinese than English). I believe there are a few communities on LJ that provide Eng subs, though due to their rules and wishes, I obviously won't name them here. Hope that helps!

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