Sunday, June 15, 2014

Aiba-chan - Every Girl Needs a Friend Like Him

Unnecessary newsflash: I'm in love with Aiba.

A sign of Aiba-chan getting comfy: when his socks are half-off ^-^

Heh, tell me something I don't already know, right? 

Well, anyways, after watching two nights of 24時J家が生で悩み解決できるの (2014.04.02 and 2014.04.09, if you're curious), I have come to the conclusion that there is really no part of Aiba I don't like. 

And I promise this post won't be just about me flailing over Aiba. I promise. Really. I will restrain myself, hard as it might be to do so.

Aiba and Ohkubo
As always, a bit of background first: this is basically a live talk show that aired for two weeks in April, where various Johnny's talents call people who have submitted their "worries or troubles" and try to talk them through it and help them solve their problems. Wednesday nights were hosted by Aiba (if you're curious about the other hosts, see these magazine scans) and his category of "troubles to resolve" was Women's Troubles. The whole thing is broadcasted live at night with Aiba sitting in a snug little room in Tokyo Tower. And he has a co-host, a little banana puppet called Nanana. The first night, he also had a special guest, who I recognize as one of the older female comedians Ohkubo something something... (><)... Ah, she's guested on Himitsu no Arashi-chan before, and I've seen her on other shows too. Anyways, she's supposed to offer her wisdom to Aiba as he tries to, in turn, give advice to various women on their problems. I'm going to skip over the first night because I thought the second night was way more interesting. But there were some good moments the first night, too, like when a woman submits a "trouble" saying that she's worried because she's the only one in her girl group who has never dated another person before (Aiba totally bonded with her as they both joked about being the one "left out" of their respective groups re: blood type and place of birth), or when another woman admits that she is not sure whether she should pursue love anymore since she has "stalker-ish" tendencies (read: she broke up with her ex because she just had to go through all the texts on his phone), and oh yeah, the best one: when a mother wants to ask Aiba if it's okay for her middle-school aged (13-14 y/o) son to keep taking baths with her. Nanana-chan got our darling Aiba to tell everyone when he stopped bathing with his mother (sometime in elementary school) and even inquired as to whether certain errm physical changes had occurred by the time Aiba was thirteen (at least that's what I think he was saying; I watched the first ep unsubbed, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Nanana's words were "Was there anything that looked and felt like me?" I DIED the first time I heard that, and then rewound to listen again because I really wasn't sure if I heard it right lol).

Nanana's obscene gesture after he asks if Aiba found a "Nanana-like thing" on himself at the age of 13. Aiba covers the puppet with his paper and yells at him to "Stop this joking around!"

Oh, and I have to include this shot, too, because haha... those pants do not look flattering on Aiba (and we all know he has such a cute little butt under all that, too ;P). I hope Jun caught this moment.

Now, this show isn't too visually exciting. It's just a man and a sock puppet doing a phonathon to random women in Tokyo, right? No smacks on the head, no skinship, no ridiculous monomanes or games or those other random skits that seem to serve the sole purpose of getting Arashi to revert to mental ages of fifteen. Aiba Masaki without the rest of Arashi is nothing new, but even on shows like TSD and Manabu, the words "Aiba" and "baka" seem to go together; his tennen-ness, his innocence and obliviousness set him up to be one of the industry's most darling bokes, but this show is different. This show is actually going to let Aiba be serious and deal with some real business. It's completely unscripted, and being on the phone for most of it means that Aiba's charm needs to come out of his words alone. It's not going to be about the props or the gestures; it's going to be about the messages he delivers, about his thoughts and opinions, and despite his heavy presence on TV, we actually don't get to see this "toned down" side of Aiba very often. Which is why I love this show! I felt like we were talking to the real Aiba, the Aiba who is thoughtful, mature and supportive, who we see hints of but never quite get the full dose of, and I liked what I saw. Two nights of this live broadcast and yes, I am now even more convinced that Aiba Masaki is the world's most perfect man.

The second night, the producer and staff decided that Aiba didn't need a guest to help him, and so he was all alone with Nanana. Before they started, Aiba remarked that he would try his best on his own, as he had depended rather heavily on Ohkubo-san's wisdom last time. And boy, did he shine on the second night!

We start off with my Sakuraiba heart fluttering as Aiba tells Nanana how clueless he feels about all the stuff gong on behind the scenes during a live recording, and how he usually depends on Sho to deal with all of it. Haha, well, Aibaby, you finally realized how much you rely on Sho, ne? *smiles inside*

Then there's a little good-natured dig from the man to the banana.

"Arashi's pretty busy, you know!!"
Nanana: So have you heard any feedback about last week's episode? Like, any words from the other Arashi members?
Aiba: Hmmm... Arashi members? They didn't say anything.... Hey, you know something about Arashi?
Nanana: What?
Aiba (turning to him): We're pretty busy desu yo~
Nanana: Ah, of course, of course!
Aiba: It may be hard to believe, but we're actually pretty busy!
Nanana (bowing and bowing): Of course, of course!
Aiba: I think the other members probably recorded the episode to watch later, but they probably haven't seen it yet.

And now, we get on to the real business.

The first case is a woman who just got proposed to. Basically, her boyfriend of six years just popped the big question, and she says that he is "like family to her" but then at the same time, her super ikemen ex also calls her up to tell her he's still in love with her. Her current boyfriend is rich and her ex is a freeter but oh-so-dreeeaaamy (apparently). Who should she choose?

To be honest, I thought something seemed a little off with this woman. I didn't like her very much, and I have a secret suspicion that Nanana-chan didn't either, because at one point during the phone call, he actually cuts in to warn her to "use appropriate language" (I think this was after she said something like "I dumped him" and maybe the word she used for "dump" was a bit too casual?). I have nothing against her predicament, really. I can understand how hard it is for one's heart to be trapped between two people, and I can also understand why economic stability would be a concern for her, especially if she, like a lot of other Japanese women, is thinking of electing to become a stay-at-home wife-and-mother after tying the knot. But I did not appreciate how immature she seemed over the phone (perhaps she was just nervous? Idk...). It seemed like she wasn't really in love with either man, because she only seemed to emphasize how one was able to rake in the big bucks, and the other always made her heart go doki-doki because of his looks. I mean, if you're wavering between two men, sure you should consider each one's circumstances and lifestyles when you contemplate which one is more compatible with you, but a bigger consideration should also be the guys' personalities and how they make you feel beyond that initial flutter of the heart that their handsome faces bring, right? I felt like this woman pretty much equated her current boyfriend with money and her former one with good looks (no, not even with love, but looks) and wanted Aiba to tell her which one she should choose.

Well, I liked Aiba's answer: "Perhaps you should re-consider whether or not you're ready to be married."

And it seemed like all the voters out there who voted on this agreed with Aiba, too, because 78% of them voted for his answer.

The lady was not completely satisfied, though. When asked (as a part of the show's routine) if she felt like her troubles were A) Completely Solved, B) Sort of Solved or C) Not Solved, she chose B). Sigh, Aiba was a bit disappointed but he's already reaching for the next case.

Case #2 is a 44 year old housewife who wants to revitalize her marriage with her husband. There's nothing bad going on, she assures Aiba, and it's not like she's worried about her husband cheating on her or anything, but she just feels like they've become a boring old married couple, and sometimes, when she sees those sexy young actresses on TV (like Dan Mitsu), she just wishes that she could regain her feminine sensuality and once again make her husband's heart go all crazy with desire. In other words, she wants to become Dan Mitsu (or Ishihara Satomi... she can't seem to decide :P).

Aiba loved this submission. His entire face was beaming after he read it out loud. "Now this is the type of worry I've been waiting for!" he exclaimed to Nanana. Eagerly, he dials the number.

"A fat version of Okamoto
The woman on the other end is giggling with excitement as she answers the phone. She seems like a pretty bubbly, happy person, and just a teensy bit embarrassed as she talks. Aiba is all smiles (of course he is! Our Aibaby loves to deal with bubbly happy people, after all *wink*) and since the lady said she wanted to become like Dan Mitsu, he jokingly asks her what her actual celebrity lookalike is. The lady is holding back a giggle as she shyly admits, "Well, I'm like a fat version of Okamoto Natsuki." Aiba (and everyone in the studio) bursts into laughter! I can already tell that our Miracle Boy is going to enjoy talking to this woman a lot. And I have to say that I really admired how he deftly he was able to lighten up the atmosphere with all these friendly jokes, because this woman's troubles were something that I'm sure hits close to home for a lot of women out there. Everyone has, at one point or another, wished that they could be sexy and alluring for the person they love, right? Even if we feel absolutely secure in our love for each other, we still get the feeling of wanting to improve ourselves (looks-wise and otherwise) for beloveds. And let's face it, the abundance of luscious, leggy actresses in the media only drives this more. But I liked this woman because she seemed mentally healthy. She was cheery, she was secure, she wanted to lose weight and look sexy, but not to the extent of having an eating disorder or something. And she was clearly having the time of her life chatting with Aiba, who pretty much grew up in a world where looking good meant everything yet still managed to stay pretty neutral and encouraging when talking her through her worries. This is what I've always imagined Aiba to be like in real life. Sure, he's one fifth of a really hot idol group and his job description includes spending a significant portion of his time posing for cameras and acting all cool (see below), but deep down inside, he's really just that simple boy-next-door who's just happy he can make other people happy. He doesn't take his success for granted, and he certainly won't ever poo-poo on your troubles, no matter how inconsequential or shallow they may seem. The woman says she wants to lose some weight, and Aiba nods into his phone, humming an understanding "Mmmhmm." No judging, no superiority, just gentle understanding. Seriously, the guy's got empathy and a heart as big as a damn metropolis. And I love him. So much. Yes. I'm tempted to melt into a fangirl puddle and yes, after watching this episode, I spent about five minutes mouthing "Marry me, Aiba." to my computer screen like I was some retarded goldfish, but this post is supposed to be about the show, so I'll stop digressing and get back to it.

Sexy Aiba. 
Because the woman had said she wanted to make her husband's heart race again, Nanana asks Aiba what sort of qualities in a girl makes his heart go doki-doki. I'm pretty sure every girl's ears shot up at that. Yes, Aiba, please tell us the key to your heart!

Aiba's answer is seriously one of the best Aiba-wisdoms I've ever heard.

"As for me, it doesn't have to be about being beautiful per se... Like if I was your husband and I found out that for my sake you wanted to become more beautiful and that you actually worried about this sort of thing... I would think that this sort of desire to become beautiful is the most beautiful part about you. Really! That's what I think!"

The woman asks, "So I don't have to worry about this?"

Aiba's voice is all encouragement as he answers, "You sure don't! If your husband knew about how hard you're trying to please him, he would totally be filled with passion again!"

(note: translations may not be 100% accurate, but I think I got the gist of it)

And then, he starts trying to come up with all these playful ideas on how to "accidentally" let her husband find out about this conversation they're having... The woman is laughing a lot over the phone and it's clear that she's feeling a lot more comfortable talking to Aiba as the show goes on. In the end, she declares happily that her worry has been completely solved!

Honki no Aiba
The third call of the night was to a woman who had just successfully lost a lot of weight, confessed to the guy she liked only to be rejected because "he didn't like fat girls." You can read the translated cap of this at transitions101 here. I don't even think I need to say outright why this instance just goes to show how sensible and deep our Tennen Darling actually is. I completely agree with Nanana-chan that Aiba's answer to the poor girl was as good as any prewritten words of motivation. Yes, every girl, whether you have weight problems or not, should have a friend like Aiba to take your side and cheer you up when others in the world treat you unfairly. Because his worldview is a simple but effective one, and his logic, despite being tsukkomi'd all the time by his band mates, is actually quite clear. And most importantly, his heart is in the right place, and he genuinely wants to put that smile back on your face, and to give you the confidence and strength you need in your moments of depression.

Conclusion: I love Aiba. The guy has to stop making me fall more in love with him every time I see him on TV. Seriously, Aiba, I'm already obsessed enough with you! 


  1. ;u; Same boat as you ;u; Thank you for the post!

    1. Aiba's profession is to steal our hearts ><!
      Thanks for reading!

  2. you've got to be the only person to literally be able to write down all my thoughts and string them into the most perfect words that i don't think i can! (wait, did that even make sense?) anyways. i agree with everything you wrote!!!!!!! sometimes i just open the video and just listening to his laughs makes me feel better already. and i was trying to imagine other members do this show, and it wouldn't work....maybe in other sections of the trouble. but aiba is just perfect for solving girls problem. lol! thanks for writing such good post!

    1. Aww thank you (>‿♥) That's quite a compliment ^^
      I really wanted to write this up earlier, because right after I watched these episodes my heart was just full of admiration for Aiba, but I didn't have time to do it until now. Thank you for reading it! I'm always glad to find fellow Aiba fans ^_^

  3. Aiba is ♡ Adore him for his sweetheart, positive personality and attitude. Love love what you're wrote here about him (and love your blog! Sorry for become silent reader) And you're right about Aiba profession is to steal our hearts, cause he steal mine XDD

    1. Hello <3 Thanks for dropping by this blog =D Glad you're enjoying your time here! Ah, Aiba... what are we going to do about our hearts, right? *sigh*

  4. Amen to this post... really that's all I can say^^