Yes, I will add to the birthday spam/ frenzy that is Ohno turning 30 today!
It’s a major turning point when your all-time favorite boybander turns 30—it’s a significant threshold to cross! Especially when you started out thinking how alien, and honestly, how unthinkable and tacky it was taste-wise to fall in love with and be a big fan of a boyband, a Japanese boyband at that. I’ve always been critical of things I read or listen to, I never thought the day would come that I’d be this irrationally head over heels over anything. But to those who know and have been baited into this never-ending love-fest, Arashi is an exception. The absolute exception. I’ve learned that you can’t put a critical appraisal on something that makes you happy! If it’s something that makes you grin stupidly or laugh like there’s no tomorrow, the way Arashi does, then it can’t possibly be a bad thing right? I’ve gone way past caring, and my friends have already dejectedly accepted my obsession as “Nina’s happy place”, understanding that it will still be quite a while until I get sick of it. (But yes, they all still groan when an Arashi song comes up on my iTunes.)
If Arashi is my happy place, then Ohno Satoshi is the sunlight that permeates through everything within it. In all my years loving Arashi, I don’t think I have ever written about Ohno solely, despite him being my favorite and all, and it’s such a crying shame! Today, he is turning 30, which makes me feel kind of dizzy because frankly, that’s not a man who looks (or acts) like he’s 30! But now is the perfect time to declare to the world why a now 30-year-old boybander has so caught my attention and enraptured my previously reluctant, boyband-snobbing heart.
No, he is not handsome at first glance. But the thing about Ohno is, when you let him get under your skin, he will never leave your thoughts. Ohno is addicting; he sneaks up on you unexpectedly. The first thing you notice is how his crystalline voice pops right out of Arashi songs, and how his dancing is graceful, sharp, and quite frankly, just beautiful. I won’t go out to say that he’s the best dancer or singer I’ve ever come across, but he’s definitely a standout among Arashi (even when he's trying to downplay his skill so as not to overpower the others), and especially among other boybands, Japanese or not. In variety shows, he's this float-y, spacey kind of character, but when referred to, he always has a hilarious unexpected one-liner up his sleeve. He doesn't need to talk much, but he's hilarious when he does. But Ohno’s charms go beyond that. He possesses a rare natural magnetism few performers, or in fact, people in general, possess. Ohno may be known for being the leader of Arashi by virtue of not doing anything leader-like, but it’s in his personality to have people following him and leaning on him without them realizing they do depend on him quite a lot.
It’s a mixture of that quiet confidence, and having no need to prove himself to anyone else other than himself: that's what makes Ohno able to look at the bigger picture. His strife is internal, and he only ever battles with himself, not caring at all about how other people see him. This is why he seems to be lax to other people at first glance, but also the reason why he is a good artist. (And of course, if you’re an Arashi fan, when we refer to Ohno the artist, it’s not only the dancing and singing, it’s also his “real” art: the sculptures, the drawings, the paintings.) Innate talent is so compelling and such an amazing thing to behold, and Ohno Satoshi is the perfect embodiment of that statement. I think I died a million times over when he got the opportunity to put up an exhibition for his artworks and share it with his fans; Freestyle was such a breakthrough. Finally, people saw that he wasn't just a dopey character in the group of five; he also happens to be a well of surprising creativity and natural artistic ability. That is, of course, not counting his singing, acting, and dancing. In an interview, Nino fondly said, “I think he’s the most talented among us,” then remarked jokingly how unfair it was for Ohno to be that talented while having such a laidback, lax, and “eco” disposition. Mabo (Masahiro Matsuoka of the sempai group TOKIO) once remarked how "scary" Ohno's eyes became when he got to act with him in a stageplay. Mabo said that it was tiring to act with Ohno because he becomes so intense and in character. Yoko (Yokoyama Yu of Kanjani8) also said that Ohno is a genius, someone who rarely makes mistakes when the camera is "on", which was surprising to Yoko because Ohno seems so laidback to him, normally. There are many who will testify to the surprising nature of Ohno Satoshi when he is in his element; he is someone who lives for art, performance, and creating, even if he doesn't look the part.
He is the core of Arashi, the silent, steady, and ever-reliable guiding presence that keeps them together. There are no fights and ego-touting among the Arashi members simply because of his existence, Sho (or Jun?) once said.
Of course, we know that our boys have the biggest degree of respect for each other and hate conflict; they are all the type to back down if a certain disagreement will lead to unpleasantness (they’ve said as much in interviews) so I really believe it when they say that they’ve never had a fight. Ohno is the synergetic presence among all the five that ties it all together, and even though he says that he doesn’t do anything leader-like, he is the one who sets the tone for their group’s comfortable, warm, and gentle friendship. You can see it in their interactions, his gentle smiles at the other four, the way he lovingly acts as the boke to their endless teasing, just, in everything, and god, it sure does warm a fangirl’s heart. You just know that they’re all genuinely close-knit, even eleven years down the road. Ohno loves Arashi as much as everyone in Arashi loves Arashi! A fangirl can’t ask more from Riidaa, yes?
A confession: Ohno definitely wasn't the first one I liked in Arashi. But after years and years of following them, something about him just never failed to interest me and pique my attention. What cinched it for me was when I watched him in a YouTube dolefully singing “Deep Sorrow” after impassionedly acting out his anguish at finding out that his character’s love interest left him. His acting, his singing, the unexpected and uncharacteristic way he threw himself to acting roles… that was the end, or should I say start, of it. Jun baby, I (still) love you, but Ohno was… is just hard to ignore. On stage Ohno is just so vastly different from the usual smiling, dopey Ohno I’ve been seeing on television, and it just blows me away, every single time. His "on" persona is just so amazing to witness.
A comment on the Deep Sorrow translation of taijiproject:
Yes, it was really something along the lines of he just plain stole my heart. :)
When you’re down to noticing and consequently loving his quirks, you know you’re a goner. There’s his annoying addiction to fishing (which has caused us a lot of skin-related grief when he got too dark!), his yucky long fingernails, the flipflop tan-lines on his feet, and his droopy eyebags on his left eye. There’s his nose-picking, the abnormal fact that within Arashi, he looks the most perfect in a bowtie, and the fact that he doesn't have a car driving license at the tender age of 30. Or that period when he had resin aka black stuff on his nails all the time even during television appearances and magazine pictorials because he was up all night obsessively making art, and how drawing Dragonball when he was a kid started him on that path. Or how his mother buys him his clothes because he can't be arsed to and his mom takes pity. Not to mention the fact that my heart kind of swoops and falls whenever he laughs. At Aiba, at Sho, or old uncle jokes, or at a kitten’s face, it doesn't matter. It’s the way his nose wrinkles, and the way that if you don’t listen close enough, you might just miss it, yet when you do hear it, it’s just magical. My heart just swoops like crazy when he’s laughing at probably the most stupidest of things, that’s how much of a goner I am, and have been, for the past years. Ohno is just strange and wonderful and all kinds of amazing.
No, just to clear it up, I don’t think he’s perfect. I can write a whole other post about things that bother me about him. But here’s the thing: despite all of those things, in my mind, he’s still as interesting, enigmatic, and above all things, adorable as ever. I see Ohno as stubborn on the inside, and quietly strong-willed, despite being go with the flow on the outside. Sometimes it feels like he gives up control of his surroundings and the circumstances around him; he comes off as very mellow and passive most of the time, but that's only because he's very self-assured about who he is. And that gap is just irresistible. And a bit on the delusional fangirl side: I really think Ohno's the most virile and manliest of the five, if you know what I mean, lol. Sometimes he just gives off this sudden glance or look, but hell, it's probably his dancing, that just makes you think, "Well, goddamn." I tell you, it's the quiet ones you have to watch out for!
And when it comes down to it… he makes me go, here, have my heart. HAVE ME ENTIRELY. His good sides, as well as his bad sides, make him manly to my eyes, and I guess that's what sets him apart for me. Simply put, I just really think he’s balances hotness and cuteness well, and I just can’t say no to that, ever! EVEN IF HE’S 30. HECK, HE DOESN’T LOOK 30 ANYWAY, SO IN ESSENCE, NOTHING REALLY CHANGED THAT MUCH. I think he's a great, humble, no-nonsense person, and deserves all the success he's gotten and will still get.
For inspiring us, for making us laugh, for fascinating us, for making us drool, for loving your fans - THANK YOU. I wish you health, more happiness, more fishes, more chahan, more bread, more free time to go to Okinawa to fish and eat your beloved pineapples, more success, and more love! From almost not wanting to continue with your career after your Tokyo Junior years then your two years spent solely for the love of dance at Kyoto, look at where you are now after eleven years after finally debuting as part of Arashi! Even though you've never been the type to care that much about your popularity, just look at it this way: you are so loved! I hope ten, twenty, years down the road, Arashi will still be the same Arashi that you have been for the past eleven years. Or, for as long as your heart in still in it, and I pray that will be a long, long time. ♥
On to the picture spam!
OHNO, THROUGH THE YEARS:
Happy 30th Birthday to the leader of Arashi, the fisher of… fish (and fangirl hearts),
and the owner of my usually renegade heart, Ohno Satoshi!
I love you forever!!!!!!!!!!
AND NO, YOU DON'T LOOK 30.
Not a day. (: