shige x camera = otp

Films 2015 / Drama List

Last Updated: May 26, 2015

At least 10 previously unwatched movies a month in 2010 2011 2012 2014 2015.
Feel free to recommend movies, I'd really love it. (No film school stuff though, got those pretty much down pat because I studied film at uni. No "The Ring"esque horror films too. Just, no.) Anything that struck a chord, in any language, and preferably well-made, do tell.

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Also, Japanese dramas watched, in alphabetical order. I'd love recs too!

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from april 4

𝐓𝐮𝐧𝐚 𝐒𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐰𝐢𝐜𝐡 𝐢𝐧 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐓𝐢𝐦𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐏𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐦𝐢𝐜

Hello Nina from the future. This is how you felt on April 3, 2020, in the middle of a pandemic.


Whenever I wake up, it almost feels like just another day: the warm sunbeams slatting through my east-facing window, the reliable chug of my old AC, and the parched feeling in my throat. The messages on my phone say otherwise. It is not a normal day, and hasn’t been, for what, 18 days now? I’m nearing the point where I’m used to waking up to a global pandemic silently raging across the world.

But not yet. Not quite yet.

Pre-COVID-19, I was never the type to scroll through my notifications first thing in the morning. However, the updates now serve as anchoring of sorts. I’ve subscribed to a Telegram group named ‘PH Coronavirus Updates’, and the numbers rising up every morning sets off a chain reaction in my body: cold anxiety of the hypochondriac kind, a heavy unease, and finally, at around 8:30 am, an unsettling calm.

The day has begun. There are no noisy tricycles roaring outside my window, no people walking on the streets.

Manila is on lockdown, thoroughfares drained of its buses, jeepneys, and throngs of people. We are not going anywhere.

There is a virus waiting to jump to the next susceptible person.

It’s still time to get up.

I take a shower. 10 am, I wake up my laptop and get to work. Slack pings, left and right.

I’ve been on a remote work setup since November, so working from home didn’t present a psychical rearrangement to me as it did to a lot of people. But ultimately, it’s the loss of escape that changed how work felt like: no more jaunts to a coffee joint to hunker down on a brief, no more skiving off to the beach to clear up the week’s mental detritus, no dinner with friends to feel sane, no more yoga at a high-rise building and picking up fresh produce afterwards to get energized.

No need to disassemble the crassness of my privilege: I’m well-aware, thanks.

This won’t be the place where I list down how I’ve helped out other people during this time, or how I stand with the truly disenfranchised and condemn every anti-poor decision our government has made. We can all police—or better yet, inspire—each other to not be trash human beings at this moment in history; certainly, a new kind of social media morality has arisen from this pandemic, for a reason.

“This is so unprecedented.”
“Weird fucking times, love.”
“Grabe ‘to.”

In all the political filters, dogmas, and other belief systems we may view this global pandemic with, in the end, we are all subject to it. COVID-19 has birthed a kind of solidarity we couldn’t have imagined just a month ago. This is history playing itself out even as we scroll to the day’s developments.

We will remember this time—this *will* leave marks.

I am sitting here, with the guilt of material blessings, doing what I can to help, but also reckoning with what’s going on within me. When you’re hemmed in by the walls of your home, there is nowhere to look except in the crevasses of your brain, and no one else to move among apart from the people you live with.

At home, well, everyone’s home. As there are 19 people sharing one roof, this enhanced community quarantine has thrown us together in closer proximity and for longer stretches of time than we’re used to. Palitan talaga ng mukha.

It’s interesting how we find new ways of being with people we already live with. To make this time bearable, yes, but also as a natural consequence of being quarantined together. The green walls inside our home almost feel like they’re melting and shifting to accommodate the novel ways we’re moving around and living within it. Like it’s breathing with us through endless afternoons and silent nights.

Previously ignored nooks and crannies finding renewed purpose: the little stair landing with old books is now our resident teenager’s TikTok spot (or whatever kids these days do on their phones.) A sad, ignored corner in the garden is now where 4 year-olds Saige and Steph gather rocks to throw a measly foot away. The garage is now emptied of anything with wheels, and dad and I have dragged our battered but precious, long-armed Ilocano silyon chairs to preside over the area. It’s now where everyone convenes at 4 pm: for coffee, for an errant breeze after a whole day of melting in summertime Manila, for a repetitive but still satisfying collective cooing over Enzo, barely two months old.

Mealtimes are like save points in a game now. We’ve always had dinner together as a family, even pre-pandemic. But something about having all our meals together has reconfigured how we make sense of a day. Asking someone to “please pass the patis” (mmm delicious assonance) is not just passing the patis now: it’s grounding, a sign that you’re in the same boat with these people, it’s breaking bread together in comfort, because while tomorrow feels pregnant with uncertainty, tignan mo, may sawsawan pa rin na nagpapasarap ng kain natin.

Speaking of breaking bread: I want to touch on Mum making me a tuna sandwich using Gardenia Classic bread, which on any given day I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. Yes, that’s not the most politically correct thing to say about Gardenia right now, I’m well aware. Yet after a day filled with a ringing sense of anxiety and unending work, nothing has ever felt more delicious. I don’t remember the last time my mom has made me a sandwich (she’s certainly not behooved to do so, and I wouldn’t want to make a sandwich for someone gustatorily fussy as me either) but somehow, in the time of a global pandemic, it’s just a new normal. A magical new normal.

There are other moments.

My Kuya walking in circles around the garden with a backpacked Saige, looking for non-existent frogs. The strangeness of our dining table littered with laptops. Spending a day on my friend’s island for hours on Animal Crossing: a virtual otherworld bridging Chicago and Manila. Sitting on the silyon with dad, realizing we have the same shaped feet. Santino asking me about quarks and rhizomes and all things my adult brain has neglected. Watching my friends learn new skills, despite everything: cooking, handstands, knitting, triple crossover hops. My sister breastfeeding Enzo in one hand, and organizing her staff via email on the other. The ritualization of our afternoon coffees. Zoom video workouts with friends. The handwashing singalongs. Ate Melai thoughtfully adding soil to my jade plant after it fell off my window sill (I had a ridiculous mini-breakdown, sue me). Mom preciously asking where she could procure ripe mangoes in the Merville Facebook group, because Saige’s been craving for some mango shake.

The crawling of time. Pockets of time, moments, really, to remind us what to treasure in our life once we’re all let out of the house again: blessings and essentials.

But don’t get me wrong, this period of time doesn’t and won’t look the same for everyone, and nothing about what we’re facing now is inherently romantic.

Nina from the future, these happened too:

There are daily wagers taking it to the streets because they are sidelined and hungry. There are government officials mishandling billions meant for aid and still fumbling with most of the logistics, two weeks in. There are households supporting weary frontliners. There are frontliners, depleted in all aspects yet reporting back for duty the next day. There are families separated by various circumstances. There are people mourning a beloved one, when just a month ago, they were healthy, whole, and right beside them. There are cancelled weddings, sporting events, concerts, and other things that made life something to look forward to.

There are business owners poring over Excel sheets wondering about continuity and how to keep their people employed. There are people alone in silent condominium units. There are 8-people families wedged together in tight, airless makeshift houses no bigger than a fourth of a classroom.

There are people with mental health conditions struggling to make sense of this seemingly alternate universe turned canon. There are immunocompromised people wondering anxiously if their unopened groceries will be the one thing that delivers the final blow.

There are dead people.

And there are people fighting for their lives, not just socially distanced, but in pure isolation, struggling to do the most basic and elemental function to our existence: breathe.

That’s all we can do, to begin with, even as we live with the dark realities of this pandemic. Breathe, and allow love and kindness to suffuse our thoughts and actions.

In the time of pandemic, a kindness to one is a kindness to all.

However it looks like for you, I hope that your April 4 comes with a little bit of hope. We crawl ever closer to a day where this will become something we won’t forget, but still put behind us.

If you are infected, I hope that you recover. If you are suffering and hungry, I hope that help comes soon—we’re fighting to get supplies to you. If you are tired of taking care of other people, I hope you find some rest, in any way that you can.

If you are mourning the loss of a loved one, I hope you remember them in all their humanity, and take that with you as kindling maybe not to move on (because they will always be etched in your soul), but to do better as a human being. Not soon, but somewhere down the line.

I hope we take with us the lessons of this strange season, and pull humanity forward again, with scientific sobriety, and a heart that beats for everyone.

I look forward to tasting the salty tang of seawater on my tongue again. Sharing dessert with a friend, mask-less and cozily attached at the hip. Jumping in time to a beat during a concert, feeling the music around other people. Dressing up. Doing groceries without the tedium of social distancing and controlled lines. Walking outside to get coffee, and appreciating the smooth, bittersweet pull on my senses, finally in the company of other strangers.

It will come.

For today, we just support our frontliners, wash our hands, and stay in.

April 4, 2020: we breathe and live on.
cute jun

behold, the you of today

27th of January.

It means something now. Last year, it was the first day of my unemployment after quitting a job that I loved (despite all my complaints about it) and leaving a team that I was more than fond of and really nurtured and cared for. It also happened to be the day when Arashi announced their plans to go on a hiatus, a decision that took me months to process and accept. Somehow it felt like my own mortality eating at my heels—a feeling, I'm sure, that only Arashi fans will understand in its entirety. Their hiatus announcement had the instantaneous effect of making us all wonder where all the years went, and how a presence that's seemingly so stable and omnipresent in our lives can disappear just like that, like a scaffolding crumbling right under our feet.

When you grow up loving someone or something who has also been growing up and older alongside you, the deadline to their existence as you know and treasure it also marks the unforgiving creep of age and time on your end. That's a long sentence for a tiny sliver of truth. Nostalgia is a potent side effect, but it's not just limited to that. There's also the inescapability of the tides changing, of chapters predictably but hurtfully closing.

So yes, me quitting my job and Arashi's hiatus announcement was a whole tail-end January pas de deux coalescing into an outsized amount existential worry.

Anyway, 2019 was really a "fuck everything and just go" kind of year. I mean, I quit my job with no plans. It was one of those decisions that I knew I just had to make, because if I stayed any longer, it would only have been because of comfort and complacency, two things I cannot accept as reasons in this season of my life. But it still stands that I feel like I only inched forward, in terms of personal progress. Maybe it's egotistical to have expected a whole evolutionary leap from myself in just a year, but with the way I upended my life, I felt like things should have changed more drastically. Again, I know it's all on me. I need to be kinder in my confusion, yes. I need to give myself credit for still trying out the opportunities that come my way, no matter how glacial the pace forward is.

I just want to give myself an even wider berth this 2020, but also apply just the right pressure. I don't have to evolve like a fucking Pokemon but I still need to constantly ask myself questions, to probe where it's distinctly uncomfortable, to reassure myself whenever I feel like it's a pointless exercise. And also, I need 2020 to be

A year of learning how to focus.
A year of tapping into deeper beauty, of articulating the locus of near perfect moments.
A year of mending all the tiny threads that have come undone, mentally speaking.
A year of just living on, just like all the other years, but hopefully with more awareness.

Nina, you're not fucking up. You're just a WIP. Please remember that. 
shige x camera = otp


I don’t know why I’m putting so much pressure on myself to figure out what’s next. The breadth of options is ironically making me feel like there isn’t a place for me. I just feel so shell-shocked.

I applied to a job that’s maybe a couple of steps above my experience just to see how I would measure up. Found myself vaguely confident when I met the owners. It was like because I didn’t care at all, in the ways that matter, I became more confident. But in a hollow way lol. They confirmed my worst suspicions by actually offering me the job: that I can mime a life pretty well. In a twisted way, it’s almost like I’m just doing this to comfort myself? That even if I want out of this industry I can still fall back on it. Which is terrible, I know. And no, I’m not taking the offer. It’s just that I’m so wildly unsure about how valid my next step is. Valid in the context of how I’ll value it, personally and intrinsically. I’m just so paralyzed by fear that this adventurous, non-traditional route I’ve gotten myself into with so much aplomb won’t make me happy in the end.

I also feel like I can’t tell anyone about any part of it. It’s not shame exactly. But it’s just so hard to concretize in words. I don’t want to talk about sorrows I have no words for. I want to reach out but I have nothing to show for it, nothing to say.

Always this high-functioning despair. So constant, a bed fellow doused in the familiar scent of a fabric conditioner, my own punishing sixth sense.

I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m doing enough. If I myself am. If this pursuit is enough. If I can. If I’m willing. If.

I’m exhausted.
ohno will be forever adorbs

Standing on the Minamihama shore with you, in white

It's not a storm if it doesn't dampen every square inch of your soul. If it doesn't drag you down with its weight, with the certainty that you will feel soaked with what keeps you alive, with what nourishes you.

It's not a storm if a fierce, blazing sunshine does not appear the day after. Because it always does.

It's not only a storm. It is the storm. Inside you. With you. Always.


front seat

When I stepped out of the house, it smelled like impending rain. You know the one. That mix of heavy earth, and temporality. The deliciousness of being weighed down. I relaced my Chucks and took a deep breath in. It took courage to be on my way to you, frankly. But when I saw you again, it just felt...

...natural. Not like pulling teeth (like I feared, because dredging up feelings from the past almost always feels like that), or like walking into a lair of self-conscious dread. The moment you leaned over to open the car door from inside felt weirdly like a homecoming. I've seen you do it so many times before. I've smelled it too. Whenever I settle in the passenger seat, the whiff from when you leaned over always lingers around. You still use Wood Sage & Sea Salt. How many bottles has it been since the last one I gifted you? Five? Four, if you don't do that wasteful walk-into-a-perfumed-mist move anymore.

It wasn't so bad, sitting in your car. It felt like the contours of your leather seat has muscle memory, like somehow it still supported my thighs just right, and embraced the shape of my back. Comfort. Your smile looked like you were comfortable too.

You made it feel good. Not that I expected anything else, not that I expected to be held again, or hold you, conversely. It didn't feel like solace. It just felt like meeting you, yet again. The fond tug on my bangs. The scritch of my palm against your undercut. The smell of your nose (do people smell noses like I do?) The expanse of you, when I fold myself into your nooks and crannies and your chest and the part where your shoulder meets your neck. The little stories that would've been incomprehensible over text. The music. The feeling that the city moved around us versus us moving within it. We walked, but it seemed like the streets and lights arranged themselves to look like the night was ours. Yes, this is the vanity of being wrapped up in a moment, together, but it really did feel like that. Meeting you, right down the middle, and finding that the embers never really cooled off.

(...or if they did, that we had the ability to light them up at will.)

I mean. I like the me when I'm with you, always have. It doesn't have to mean anything more, apart from what it meant that day. You just kept nodding yes when I ran off with all those words. And when you hugged me before I got off the car, I could tell that we both felt light. It wasn't an ominous moment.

To marks and all. To sparks that never die, but don't have to be pursued. To our own paths, newly emboldened.

When I got home, it finally rained. Like the heavens held their breath or something. There was no need, though. 

Real talk

I haven't smoked a cigarette in years.

The past few weeks, I've picked up the dirty habit again. Nothing quite close to how it was back then, but a couple of sticks a day can be a slippery slope. To be honest, it's just the stress of making a wrong decision. I'm not going to bore myself with the details of a dismal reality I've been living in for just a mere month, but for the sake of a Future Version of Nina perusing this, I'm just reminding you that you took the wrong job.

It's not a total disaster. You're paid too well, like, six-figures well, you're still being creative, you're shuttling back and forth to Singapore, you're an integral building block of ramping up the business (or so your boss tells you). But the late hours are draining you--the 2am calls servicing clients like, say, from Los Angeles who are selling ethical bamboo sheets and pillowcases. Not fun. What is there to do when stress is bearing down your neck and there's no one else awake while you have to take those calls? Smoke.

I honestly hate relying on it as a crutch again. But it just got me thinking that I'm at least at that level of adult where I know it's a habit that doesn't serve me, and is only a reactionary mechanism to get through the day. To be completely fair to myself, I've buckled up and handed in my resignation last Thursday. And I know I can easily quit cold turkey again. I've been without it for 4,5 years and I didn't really miss it. It's just suddenly got to me how I could literally change myself, change my environment, if I so will it. At one point you just get so sucked up in your own life that you forget that you could actually turn things upside down at any point, you just have to do it. The key is to decide on doing the right things. And I guess that's not always clear.

I feel so much more confident in who I am now, temporary career slip-up or not. But I guess there is still fear in finding out about the extent of my agency (and of course the privilege sandwiched in between there, I'm not going to skate around it.) One of the things I frequently toy with is just moving to another country, see if a new place could just tell me what the fuck I should do with my life. But then my experience kicks in again, and I know that if I can't make it happen where I am, it won't happen anywhere else. I am who I am in any place.

I struggle with feelings of dissonance, when I consider my skill set together with what I imagine to be intangible threads of purpose. I cannot seem to find an overlap. What I crave is community, service, but above all, expression. After all these years of being in a creative profession, it seems absolutely pathetic that I've come out feeling more like a person with nothing to say. I feel like there is a core truth to me that I've been neglecting, a sort of emotional emancipation that I subconsciously don't allow myself to experience.

Is it fear? Apathy? Comfort? A three-headed monster, most likely.

I'm absolutely fine not following anybody's concept of an acceptable timeline, in terms of doing all the "right stuff". I feel no obligation to be like my peers, to get married, to have kids. At least not right now. But I also haven't made enough effort to explore what the options could be. I'm in full coast mode, simply because I can literally afford to. I know that's truly terrible, but that's what's real. And I think I just have to place myself into a position where the safety nets are, if not totally gone, then at least unreliable enough so that I could choose to take risks that will probably hurt me in some way.

I'll probably read this later on and wonder why I just didn't do something about it. But right now, I just don't know what to do. I have options, yes. But what the fuck do I do? Do you get what I mean? I just don't know. 


Wake up mid-morning, no longer to a grind, but as a gladiator in the middle of an existential coliseum; don't spare any thoughts about why, instead, move your body. Fasted, with only body temperature water swilling gently in your guts. Don't buckle; don't let your fingers do the talking; don't wake up to a jampacked feed; don't dilute what could be original thoughts to other people's cry-for-helps filtered with their aesthetic. Don't wake up to like what you don't like. Don't wake up to a life you don't like. Don't wake up to a life you don't like. This is how you find yourself quitting a job you loved because uncertainty felt like liberation; this is how you quit a job; this is how you find yourself drowning in art made by dead females you admire—I know you admire them because somewhere along the long commutes in Manila, you wondered how you could ever express yourself again. This is how you express yourself again; this is how you throw yourself back to yourself, I know you can do this. This is how you find the words, in the middle of sipping lukewarm coffee handcrafted by a stranger. This is how you navigate entering a new decade, all power, all apathy, all disdain for every person you swiped right for but will never meet irl. Listen, I hear you, but you have to wake up every day not listening to anyone else, because this was how you lost yourself before. This was how you became a grown-ass girl on auto-pilot, this was how you became distant from the putrid soil. This was how you ended up looking for solace in the colorway of a pair of limited editions; this was how you self-medicated with every glass of healthy green dross—sipping what you imagined could change your genetic expression, distracting yourself with the abstractions of health. This was how you could stomach small talk in meetings that looked important, looking in from a frosted window with a sliver of clear glass—you had good posture, your finger primed to press for the next slide, you had a point, you made it. This is how we get you out of this—you breathe like human beings have done so for millennia. This is how you breathe. This is how you never lose yourself again to fifteen seconds of uninterestingness, to overpriced farmer's markets, to representations that don't represent you and your shame and your truth and your capacity to grow through the cracks. This is how you listen to yourself, how you get rid of nihilism that depended on your next big paycheck; this is how you get rid of performing for a blue ribbon pinned on your brain for every fuckboy; this is how you grapple with the nature of your possible asexuality; this is how you own your brand of pleasure and fears; this is how you return to that 12 year-old who longed for connection in MySpace and early Facebook; this is how you live the sincerity of your status messages as an adolescent—away, brb, smile like you mean it. This is how you sift for the terroir of your soul; the time to talk to your mother and ask her, what were you most afraid of when you turned 30; did you feel like dying but also in control of your destiny; did you love my dad differently then; did love feel enough; did your c-sections make you sad and dislike yourself; did you also still feel like a child? This is how you continue. This is how you will conquer the digital boundaries of your life; this is how you will provide solace to yourself, this is how the next revolution will be fought—off the screens, ankles sunk in mud, your eyes to the sky; this is how you will make your own sustenance; this is how you will continue to move, every sinew stretched and loose; this is how you will remain honest, you will need to remain honest, you will need to say, I am afraid of becoming just like her, you will need to look into your front-facing camera and be able to see the outline of a person you feel fondness for, you will need to look away, you will need to say your truth out loud. This is how you grow.

Inspired by Jamaica Kincaid's Girl. Art by Brian Calvin.
ohno will be forever adorbs

5 - 1 = 0 [The Equation of Love]

We didn't know that on January 27, 2019, the things that we took as regular, as a given, would suddenly become so precious. This week, my heart broke and mended in turns, and I'm just so overwhelmed.

I was having coffee with my friend, when she saw the news on her phone. Arashi, officially to stop activities on 2020. And with my heart stuck in my throat, I scrolled through Twitter. As Ohno explained what was happening in the FC video, I found unfamiliar tears streaming down my cheeks. I am not a crier, never have been—but this one caught me off-guard. I spent the next hours crying, not being able to believe what I was hearing and reading. My heart felt like it was being stabbed over and over again. For different reasons.

Because Ohno. Oh, Ohno.
Of course it was always going to be Ohno. Somehow, I've always known it in my heart.
Ohno Satoshi, the reluctant and bewildered national idol, who has still nonetheless given it his all for 20 years, and now, for two more.
How I've always wanted him to follow his happiness. And now, it's happening.
How he's finally being brave enough to put it out there.
How I can't think of anyone more deserving.

The fact that Ohno couldn't articulate what he means when he said that he wanted to be free.
That it's a desire that he knows he needs to act on, that he just knows he needs to do it. Now.
The fact that Ohno brought it up two years ago, took that time to discuss and plan his moves together with the other four, and gave us two more years. TWO MORE YEARS OF HIS LIFE.


How Ohno didn't go up first to management to discuss his feelings, he went to his members, because that's what felt natural, that's what all these years meant, that's how much he respects these four people.
How they went to each other's houses, deciding what to eat and drink, how they gave Ohno a safe space to air out his thoughts. How they hashed it out and decided it among the five of them first, because they are a unit.

The inherent trust in all of that.
The fact that even after 20 years, their relationship isn't just strictly a transactional work relationship
—they are taking it personally while dealing with it professionally.

They know what they mean to each other, how precious each other is. Yet they also know that Arashi is a whole lot bigger than the five of them now. The fact that they didn't make hasty decisions or announcements.
How obvious it is that this was carefully thought of, that they've really thought about not just their fans, but all their stakeholders
—their agency, their staff, their colleagues, the shows that they're on, all their sponsors.

The other four, how they are tirelessly and genuinely supporting Ohno.
How they never discussed the issue as four, only as five. Yes, they consulted each other, in different permutations, but never as four discussing about the one who started it. They never “left out” Leader.

How it was never up for debate that Arashi will cease to be Arashi without Leader.
Without any one of them. That there wasn't a future with Arashi if one of them was missing.

That they would always be five, and that if Leader wanted his freedom, they will walk with him hand in hand towards that.
That they will wait. That they are willingly giving Ohno the time to decide if he wants to come back, without pressure, without any time limit.

The colorful cupcakes during the press conference, oh my god. The fact that they walked in to freaking 'Wild at Heart', in light pastels and not black suits—because it wasn't a funeral, it wasn't a scandal, they were simply there to communicate their decision as straightforwardly as possible. How Nino and Sho fiercely defended Ohno from unsavory questions. How Ohno answered everything honestly. How Aiba and Jun made the atmosphere lighter, always mindful of the fan's feelings. The fact that only Arashi could pull off that kind of press conference—unfathomably making us love them even more even when they're announcing that they're going on a hiatus. Unbeatable. Class-act. Love of our lives.

The outpouring of shock, but also warmth and support from everywhere.
How truly beloved they are in Japan. How fond the "Ohno's Summer Vacation" hashtag is.

Their repeated reassurances, that 5 will always be 5, no matter what.
Them acknowledging that we can react the way we need to, that we can cry, them telling us they know it will take some time. Sho's clear answers on Zero. Jun's empathetic j-web entry. Aiba's brave smile. Nino's rare tears on their first Music Station appearance after the announcement, my heart. Their bare vocals against the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.

The sheer magnitute of these two years, the fact that this is the biggest gift they could ever give us: the chance to walk this path with them in full honesty, the chance to let go but also cherish the existence of Arashi together.

How long two years is, from Ohno's POV. How he's decided to give it to us, with all his heart.
How short two years is. It sounds selfish, but oh wow. Two years.

I cannot stop the tears. I haven't been able to, for the past week.

I knew this day would come in some form, but not like this. I always thought Arashi would be like V6: stable, present, some getting married and having children, with less activities, but still there. But to have a deadline...I don't know. Two years sounds like a lot to other people, but Arashi has literally spoiled us daily for 20 years and to now have a deadline. ...well. It's painful. To someone like me who has intertwined her happiness with Arashi, it sounds unthinkable to face 2021 without them. Every so often, I panic at the thought of what happens after 2020, of what it really means to not have anything new from them.

Yes, they gave us the most amazing, and in fact prodigious, backlog and lineup of shows, music, concerts, and more through these 20 years, more than enough to go on, but my heart literally twinges at things like...there will be no more new albums. No new Ohno haircut to discuss endlessly together in the morning. No stupid VS Arashi intro chats. No more "thanks for always giving birth to me". No OT5 shoots to snicker at. No more new concerts
—that one, to me, is a gaping loss.

There are two more years, yes, and we have been so spoiled by them, so loved. But when it comes to Arashi, it seems like we will never be able to get enough, because we love them that much. And now, I just have to face that the time is limited, that I need to steel my heart, because we owe this to them, to face them with gratefulness. To be ready. To be happy for them.

I don't want to compare my fan experience to other people's
—but I have never truly moved on from Arashi. Some of you may have been with Arashi for a certain season, and you're not less of a fan for it, not at all, but I'm one among many fans who have kept Arashi in our lives on a daily basis. I planned my vacation leaves around their yearly concerts. I cried in 2014 during my first live concert, when Ohno peace-signed me from his cart, 5 feet away. I've spent a more than significant amount of money and time on them. They have become an emotional and mental crutch, and while that's not something I'm proud of, that's the truth. I think I love them too much.

To me, their announcement feels like an indirect prod to myself that, a message from Arashi saying that hey, you can go on, you can be strong. That you can live life full-throttle too, with no regrets. That it's time. And maybe it is.

Yesterday, I listened to Kitto Daijoubu. And every note transported me to that time when I was just falling in love with them—not even twenty yet, listening to them on my old iPod, feeling giddy, happy, and warm. Somehow, I feel like I'm being asked to say goodbye to that younger self, and it's bittersweet. I know that I don't have to let go of the memories, but the passage of time is alarmingly fast. And my eyes cloud in tears, for all the fun I've had thanks to Arashi, for all the friends around the world I've met (all of you, every single one of you), for the moments when they've literally encouraged me to go on, to live.

“With the same members as usual, now, at this place where we used to talk together
(Bye-bye)Burn this landscape into your heart, let's step forward to tomorrow!”

I never thought Kitto Daijoubu would ever make me cry, but here we are. Yet it holds true. Everything will be alright. Kitto daijoubu.

With all my heart, I want to send them off as five with all of my heart, my energy, my love. With a smile. In these two years leading up to the hiatus, I want to grow strong enough to stand on my own. And as I do that, to cherish every single moment left with them. With all of you, old and new friends. Let's walk this road with them.

I owe you, Arashi.

Thank you. And I love you. Always. 5 is forever my treasure number.

Do you see me, Oh-chan? I'm smiling again.