Saturday, November 16, 2013

Another Cake Day!? Is This Real!?

You want to know what I did two days ago? I went to my Wednesday classes, came home, and made cupcakes! Why? Because the celebration of the Wonderland's second Cake Day deserves cupcakes! Too bad I couldn't actually write about it on the actual Cake Day because I was so busy! I had a short story to finish, a bunch of stuff in my classes was going on, and I was at the theatre all evening for dress rehearsal! When I came home, I practically fell into my bed! So I guess you could consider this a belated Cake Day celebration post... but look! Cupcakes!

I made them with love. And stuff.

Two years. Sitting here typing this post, I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that I've kept up blogging for two years. Hell, one year was surreal enough for me! I've always had a very hard time committing to a hobby; I have this tendency to hop back and forth between activities whether it be singing, playing the piano, writing a story, etc. When I started writing on the Wonderland, I honestly had no idea that I'd be able to keep it up for so long. The fact that I have, save for a few hiccups, is utterly astounding to me. And what's amazed me even more is that I still love doing it. It never feels like a chore, or an obligation, but something that is genuinely fun. I absolutely love writing about Japanese pop music, I think even more than I did when I first started. Originally, I just wanted an outlet to improve my writing, a sort-of practice area where I could just write whatever and not have to worry about anyone grading it. However, the Wonderland has done more than just help me improve my writing (although believe me, it's helped a lot).

Writing on the Wonderland has given me the opportunity to explore so many different idol groups and even learn a little bit about Japanese pop culture (and Buddhism!). Two years ago, basically the only idol groups I followed were H!P, AKB48, BiS, and Tokyo Girls' Style. But now? I can count at least ten groups off the top of my head that I've discovered since 2011. And that's not even taking into consideration the J-pop artists outside of idol pop that I've gotten into! I genuinely don't think I'd be anywhere near as passionate about music or writing had I not created the Wonderland. And I think I've become much more accepting of other people's musical tastes; I used to have a hipster-type mentality towards music. Now I just try and be cool with other people's personal music tastes. I mean, I listen to music sung in a language I don't even understand. Writing on the Wonderland gave me an outlet to express that love for J-pop, and a chance to connect with people who shared the same feelings I do about it.

But I think the best part about the Wonderland is you guys. Half the fun of writing all these posts about J-pop idols is hearing your responses and your own opinions. There have even been several times when you guys taught me a few things I didn't know! I know I have a rather hard time replying promptly to the comments I get, but just know that I read and appreciate each and every single one of them. Commenting can be a nerve-wracking thing to do, especially if you're introverted. So for you to reach out and write a response -no matter how brief- to something I've written is so considerate and I thank you for doing that. I try to keep the atmosphere on the Wonderland as open and accepting as possible, and I appreciate that you guys are so encouraging and nice. I know that my opinions aren't always the nicest, and I thank you all for still being open-minded and mature enough to respond to them with respect.

On the Internet, where so much as whispering an opinion can get twenty people harping on your back, civility is a precious, sometimes fleeting thing. Pop by any J-pop forum to see what I mean. The Wonderland has always been a kind of safe haven for me, a place to retreat to when I'm totally stressing out or just want to write. I'm thankful that all of you readers, whether you comment or not. I said last year that the "Wonderland" in Nia's Wonderland referred to the crazy world of J-pop idols I'd fallen into. But now I think it's more than just J-pop idols; it's you guys. You wonderful, wonderful people are just as much a part of the Wonderland as all the groups I review. Whether you're a frequent commentator, a random passerby, the fact that you have taken the time to look at what I've written leaves me thankful beyond words. For that, I can say I adore each and every one of you. I know I'm not exactly Sylvia Plath or Oscar Wilde, so I thank you all for putting up with my rants, my ramblings, my feelings, and most of all, my writing.

Speaking of my writing, according to my stats, these ten posts are my most viewed posts:

The screenshot's dark because...? I don't know Blogger's being weird again.

I would use Blogger's stats to list my most viewed posts, but then I noticed that the views Blogger listed don't match up with the actual views for each post. It's like it stops taking count on certain posts after while. I don't know, Blogger's kind of glitchy with its domain. Like how every time I try to upload my list of most viewed posts, it automatically darkens the picture! So in case you can't see, these are my ten most viewed posts:

1. The Many Things That Have Gone Wrong with Kasai Tomomi's Career (2712)
2. Sexy PV Week: AKB48 (2419)
3. The Disappearance of Watanabe Mayu (1618)
4. Front Girls I am Not Okay With (1607)
5. The Dark Side of Bikini PVs: AKB48 (1443)
6. So You Wanna Be a Youtube Idol? (1300)
7. Perfume JPN Tour Setlist! (1120)
8. The Sunny Side of Bikini PVs: NMB48 (1063)
9. Merry Christmas to You! (1016)
10. So Long to Musical Creativity for AKB48 (1005)

I'm honestly really surprised that my Kasai Tomomi post has the most views. I mean, I could kind of see it around the time it was viewed because the news was so current but even now, this post is still one of my most frequently viewed posts. I guess my writing was okay-ish in it, and I can't say I'm complaining that it's gotten so many views! I can see why my review of Heavy Rotation has gotten so many views, and I'm really pleased with that! I actually tried really hard to write about Heavy Rotation from my own angle, without letting all the other opinions and theories about the PV cloud my judgement. And finally having the chance to write about such a talked-about idol PV was pretty fun! All the Sexy PV Week posts were fun to write, so I'm happy that people like reading them, especially Heavy Rotation! It probably helps that the title has the word "sexy" in it... I've noticed in my weekly traffic search terms what frequently comes up is "akb48 sexy." Surprise, surprise, right? It does make me wonder just what kinds of people frequent my blog sometimes...

Speaking of AKB48, half the posts in this list are about AKB48 (or another AKS group). Including my super-old reviews of Manatsu no Sounds good! and Nagiichi; I can't say I wouldn't like to go back in time and rewrite those had I known they'd be so popular! I kind of wish there was more Perfume in this list but oh well! Their stuff gets a pretty decent amount of views on the Wonderland too! And AKB48 is such a popular group right now, it's only natural that writing about them garners a bunch of views! The only two editorials up there are Front Girls I am Not Okay With from way back when and the Youtube idols post. I admit, I kind of want to rewrite the former, just because I think I can back my opinions up much better now! And I'm very pleased that the Youtube idols editorial has gotten so many views; I worked my butt off to write that one. I admit though I still cringe every time Beckii Cruel's Tumblr pops up as one of my traffic sources; oh well, I guess I'll never live that post down!

As exciting as that is, this little bit of statistics got me even more ecstatic:

See that number at the very bottom? You know, that quintuple-digit number that shows that as of November 2013, the Wonderland has broken 100,000 views? That's right, as of now, the Wonderland is a 100K kind of blog! Don't think so? I got my first spam comment today! How crazy is that!? I kind of had a feeling I'd break 100K this month, but now that it's really happened... I don't know how to feel! I guess I don't feel any different? Well, that's not quite true; I'm ecstatic! Do you know want to know how many views I had around this time last year? Roughly 23,000. Do you know what that means? In the past year, my little blog has gotten 77,000 hits. At the end of 2012, my only hope for 2013 was to miraculously break 50,000. But to break 100,000!? Like I can see that happening with other blogs but my little blog!? How!? Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful beyond words, but such a large number seems weird for my blog...

Really I have you guys to thank for having this happen. Slowly over the past year, I've started averaging more and more hits each month, all thanks to you guys being kind enough to read my reviews and editorials and other miscellaneous posts. So I want to ask you guys is there anything I should do to celebrate achieving 100,000 views? Like should I hold a contest or something along those lines? I can't really do a giveaway, but maybe something that will still allow me to give something back to all you beautiful people who support my blog. You know, how Chiima from Okay! Musume Time did her PV Request thing! Of course, I probably wouldn't do that; I have enough PVs as it is to review and I've got something planned for December involving PVs. But maybe an Editorial Request thing? I'm always getting comments about how I should write more editorials; the trouble I have is finding what to write about! However, doing this would allow you guys to requests aspects of idol culture for me to write about! That's just a thought. Here are a few other things I thought about doing to celebrate:

- Review requests: Not necessarily PV requests, but just allowing my readers to request a group for me to look at, whether it be for one of their singles, an album, etc.
- Re-evaluation reviews: Where I look at one of my earlier reviews (I'm talking 2011/early 2012) and write a more fleshed-out review
- Editorial requests: As stated above, I'll leave myself open to talking about idol topics you guys want to me to talk about (i.e. the no dating rule, wota pandering, etc.)
- Blogging spotlights: The gift that gives to others! Basically it'd be just me highlighting a few personal favorite idol blogs and showing how amazing and awesome they are
- Video/audio chat: Opening a chat room and letting anyone whose interested join and all of us talking about random idol topics (and Perfume!)
- Perfume stuff: Just... Perfume. That alone is enough for a celebration! Oh, I know! One of you could sneak me into Japan and give me a ticket to their Tokyo Dome concert!

If you have an ideas about what I could do, I'd love to hear them! And if no one's down with a celebration, I don't have to do anything! These are just random ideas, and I can always celebrate by having a one room disco in my own privacy.

Celebrations or not, being able to keep this blog going after two years is what really warms my hart. I don't know how long I'll keep running the Wonderland, especially since I'll (hopefully) be in college next year. I have to keep telling myself that life in college is very likely going to be different from life as a high school student. I don't really know how yet, but I don't know how much free time I'll have in college. In a dream scenario, I'd still be happily blogging away and cranking out new reviews every month. And I sincerely hope that I'll be able to do so! But I always like to keep an open outlook toward the future. Who knows? Maybe next year I'll have to depart from the Wonderland and go to different places. I hope not, but I like to maintain the outlook that through a series of convoluted miracles, there's some kind of future out there for me. Still, if staying in the Wonderland is not in my future, the two years that I've been doing it have been divine, and I hope that all my readers feel the same way. It's really hard to explain in just my words how much you guys mean to me, and how much I love writing. Funny, the writer seems to have forgotten how to write! I will say this: I highly encourage anyone whose reading this to start an idol blog. It may seem kind of weird, and your earlier posts may sound amateurish, but the more you do it, the more fun it gets. My Wonderland is wonderful, and you guys, my Cool Spuds, my Wonderlings, are what make it so wonderful.

I wish I could personally thank each and every one of you for supporting the Wonderland. Just know that I love you all, and I mean that in the most non-creepy way possible. So thank you. It's been a great year on the Wonderland with you guys.


  1. For me, a perfect gift would be the great comeback of the Capsule Time Reviews!!!! Looking at past Perfume PVs were great and I could see them with an expression on the face! Of course, you could expand the concept and review other groups, like Morning Musume( come on, you never thought over the 5 or 6 costume changes on LOVE Machine just for the fanservice?) or ºC-ute ("oh, we're in love so we will put somebody's clothes to dry on this warm paperboard sun" on Massara Blue Jeans), or even make a review of idols from the past(like the original Kono Machi)!

    1. Ah yes, I'd love to see the Time Capsule Reviews come back too! I admit, keeping them on time was the hard part for me. I'm considering bringing them back in 2014 and just doing one every two months. I'd love to start them back up again, if I can find the time alongside all my other things I have to write about! And I like your idea of throwing other groups into the mix; that gives me an idea I may expand on in the future...

  2. I would like to see some gender breakthroughs, what about a male group/idol review?

    1. Maybe! I don't really have much interest in male groups but if you have any specific groups you'd want me to review, I can totally do that!

  3. I really love the idea of having a chat together about Perfume, there aren't too many bloggers who talks about Perfume so much (my feels about Perfume ;;;;;;wwwwww;;;;;)

    Please keep blogging, and congrats to having a wonderful blog

    1. You know, there is a Tinychat and Chatzy on Tumblr for Perfume fans! That's usually where I got to talk about Perfume (but we get off-topic a lot...). You're welcome to join us! Of course, we don't get on either one that often... Which is why I would very much like to organize a chat! And if we get enough people who'd be down for that, I'd love to talk about Perfume with you and some other people!

      Thank you for comment, I appreciate it very much!

  4. My requests:
    Sexy PV week with Koda Kumi
    When you review the janken single PV type out the full title any time it's mentioned
    RandomJ x Nia collaboration
    An editorial on how Michishige's singing ability is the reason Morning Musume's rise in popularity
    Ayaman Japan full discography review

    My actual request:
    Perfume Complete Best time capsule review

    1. - I'd have to have Sexy PV MONTH for Koda Kumi
      - Well, spelling out the full title would increase my word count...
      - Who is RandomJ?
      - Maybe Sayu's voice killed all the eardrums of Momusu's fans so they can't tell the difference between on-key and off-key vocals!
      - No. Just no.

      When you say Perfume ~Complete Best~ I'm assuming you're referring to the entire album, right? Because I'm totally down with reviewing that when I have the time.

  5. Congratulations on coming this far!

    I was wondering, have you heard of the indies technopop idol Curumi Chronicle?

    Since you're a Perfume fan, you'd probably enjoy her music. I'd love to read your thoughts on it some time!

    1. Thank you! I HAVE heard of Curumi Chronicle; a friend on Tumblr is a huge fan of her! I'd just forgotten what her name was so thanks for reminding me! I really like her music so I'll definitely keep an eye out for her next release to review!