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[ko̞ no̞ mi t̠͡ɕi]
So … we’ve been at the halfway point for a while now. My original plan was to do this every year, and that certainly doesn’t look feasible at this point. Though getting through half the countdown in one year is some progress, I guess. The countdown covered only PVs up to and including 2007, so all the fantastic videos from 2008 weren’t included. And seeing as how this will continue on into 2009 without honoring the 2008 PVs, here’s a list of the 2008 H!P PVs that I thought were noteworthy, in alphabetical order:
- Abe Natsumi & Yajima Maimi (°C-ute) – 16sai no Koi Nante (1213 Ver.)
- Berryz Koubou – Dschinghis Khan
- Berryz Koubou – MADAYADE
- Dschinghis Khan × Berryz Koubou – Dschinghis Khan Tartar Mix (β Ver.)
- Buono! – Gachinko de Ikou!
- Buono! – Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!
- Buono! – Renai♥Rider
- Buono! – Rottara Rottara
- °C-ute – FOREVER LOVE
- °C-ute – Edo no Temari Uta II
- MilkyWay – Anataboshi
- MilkyWay – Tan Tan Taan!
- Morning Musume。 – Resonant Blue (Another Ver.)
- Shugo Chara Egg! – Minna no Tamago
- Tsukishima Kirari starring Kusumi Koharu (Morning Musume。) – Papancake
Sorry I don’t have anything more exciting. This countdown should (hopefully) pick up again in January.
… I’ve just been busy, sorry.
Busy with what, you ask?
Well … I’ve been living it up (?) as a graduate teaching assistant for a course in mathematics for computer science, taken mostly by second-year undergrads, with a total enrollment of around ~180. As part of my duties, I get to teach two sections that meet twice a week and also contribute to writing problems for assignments and quizzes. What fun!
Actually, the making-up-awesome-problems part really is fun! I managed to whip together an entire problem set on the topic of sums and asymptotic relations in which all the problems are Hello! Project-themed.
Alas, after discussion with the other staff members, we decided that while the problems were awesome and hilarious (maybe more so for me than for them), they were a bit on the challenging side, not straightforward enough, and touched on a few topics we weren’t really covering (Problem 4d in particular “would kill the students”). So it got scratched, and a more boring replacement was released instead.
But all is not lost! We’ve decided to release this problem set as optional, not-for-credit “challenge problems”, and you can try them out here:
If you wish, you can send your solutions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll respond with comments.
It appears I’m being devoured by a number of final projects/assignments (four!), all of them related to linguistics, so I decided to take some time aside to post some H!P-related linguisticizing of my own.0
This is a brief examination of the exhortative-participle construction in Japanese English (English as spoken in Japan; cf. American English or Australian English), or perhaps it is peculiar only to Hello! Project English: that is, the construction which places an exhortative particle (let’s) next to a verb in its present-participle form (as in let’s dancing) as opposed to a verb in its infinitive form (let’s dance), which is typical of most varieties of English. If we suppose that this is a genuine product of a variety of English that differs from most others in this regard, then this particular construction is deserving of continued study as part of an effort to illuminate the rules that constrain natural human languages and the processes by which languages evolve.1
I have a puzzle for you all! But first, a few quick notes regarding recent releases:
- Berryz Koubou’s Dschinghis Khan PV: This is definitely Berryz’s best video to date, and one of the freshest things to come out of H!P in recent memory. I had it on repeat for an obscenely long amount of time while I was working on the puzzle below. You can count on this being in the top 10 on the Countdown next year (speaking of which, I’ll resume this year’s countdown soon…), unless H!P manages to top this in the months to come.
- Buono!’s Café Buono! album: While waiting for my physical copy to arrive, I listened to the tracks recently floating around on the Interwebs. I must say, this is by far the best album I’ve heard in a while, and I actually enjoy every single track. To put this in perspective, almost every one of my favorite albums has a few duds. Out of the entire corpus of non-classical music I’ve ever listened to, which spans a number of diverse genres, there is only one other album for which I honestly enjoyed every single track. That album was M2M’s Shades of Purple (2000). So this is quite an extraordinary achievement for Buono!, and I’m looking forward to the group’s future work.
OK, now on to the puzzle.
One of my hobbies is solving and writing puzzles, particularly the kind featured in the annual MIT Mystery Hunt. These are typically not traditional-type puzzles (crosswords, sudoku, etc.), though many of them borrow the format of traditional puzzles or combine different kinds of traditional puzzles. Generally, the puzzles come with few or no instructions (and those that are present are usually cryptic), and part of the challenge is to figure out how to solve the puzzle before actually solving it. The solution in each case is usually a word or short phrase. The entire Mystery Hunt is generally organized into rounds of puzzles, so the answers to the puzzles in each round combine to produce a meta-puzzle, and so forth.
Recently, I decided to combine my interests in puzzling and H!P and produce an H!P puzzle. The following is the result of an all-nighter soundtracked by nonstop repeats of Dschinghis Khan. I have another puzzle too, but I need to work out a few bugs before I can present it.
Buono!’s upcoming album, Café Buono!, has nine new tracks, out of a total of twelve. This struck me as quite an impressive number, so I decided to look at H!P’s total album output and see how many original tracks were on each.
I considered all official albums containing work primarily by Hello! Project artists, including mini-albums, best-of albums, and compilation albums, but not including singles, soundtracks, or remix albums. For the purposes of this assessment, “original” refers to tracks not previously released on an official Hello! Project CD, and does not include alternate versions, remixes, rearrangements, instrumentals, covers of recordings previously released by Hello! Project, or openings, endings, and interludes that aren’t complete songs. Covers of non-H!P recordings are included if the artist is the first H!P artist to cover the respective recording, since I have no easy way to determine with certainty whether a song is a cover or not.
Results appear below in Table A, sorted by number of original tracks, and Table B, sorted by release date. I haven’t double-checked these figures, so there may be some errors.
Assuming all of the 9 new tracks are complete songs (this preview suggests that at least 8 of them are), it looks as though Café Buono! beats out most of the competition. Given that the Iida and W albums consist largely of covers, and that Ai no Dai 6 Kan‘s count includes two tracks originally from a musical that weren’t released on CD, I think we can say that Café Buono! and Matsuura’s Double Rainbow tie for the title of “most original” H!P album, by number of new tracks alone, if all new tracks on these albums are non-covers.
Can’t wait … ^_^
EDIT: I just realized I completely forgot about the FOLK SONGS and Douyou Pops series. But these are cover albums anyway. I’ll fill them in later…
Further thoughts regarding that great pi sequence from Buono!’s “Honto no Jibun” PV:
To start things off, I am announcing a new award given to displays of geekiness and/or celebrations of academic topics in music releases in any format, with special attention given to J-Pop releases. Though the first couple of winners are math-oriented, this award is by no means restricted to math-related stuff. If you would like to nominate any recording, PV, concert clip, etc., for this award, please let me know.
2007 was a truly awesome year, not just because I discovered Hello! Project in July 2007, but also because within four months of my discovering H!P, H!P released two works of such overwhelmingly mathtastic awesomeness that (being a math major) my appreciation for H!P went through the roof.
So these are the first two recipients of the Excellence in Unabashed Geekitude Award. Since I have other stuff I need to be doing today, I’ll save the second for later and write up my reasons for awarding the first award now.
Without further ado, the First Excellence in Unabashed Geekitude Award goes to…
Welcome to yet another H!P-related blog. I’ve been lurking around the H!P blogosphere for the last couple of months and have finally decided to announce my existence, so here I am. Greetings. I am … uh … I have a couple of Internet handles but they date back to like high school and I need a new one. Let’s see… since this an H!P blog, and H!P is partly responsible for my coining a new word back in November or so, I’ll go with Kawaiirrhea. Here’s a definition:
kawaiirrhea (or kawaiirrhoea) [kʰəˌwaɪəˈɹiːə] n.
: an overwhelming feeling of being inundated with extreme cuteness, as often occurs in conjunction with experiencing the output of Hello! Project
(from Japanese kawaii ‘cute’ + Greek rhoia ‘flow’)
I’m a college student living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, and taking probably too many courses, so I won’t be posting too frequently, except when I’m procrastinating, which happens frequently.
I will mainly be writing about topics related to Hello! Project and to a lesser extent, other elements of the J-Pop landscape. Also, since I’m something of a (multi-disciplinary) geek, you may find random unexpected intrusions from math, computer science, physics, linguistics, or literature (or other fields). Don’t worry; it makes sense … I think.