Jun. You never stop growing, don't you?
When I think of you these days, I think of the segments and nicknames you inspire: J. 'This is MJ'. 'Quiz Matsumoto Jun'. All jabs at your seemingly larger-than-life image but, rightfully, also an homage at how comfortable in your skin you are, how you've grown to be so.
At 35, you don't pointlessly strive for superficial coolness: you instead settle into those huge smiles that take over rooms. Stages. Arenas. Domes. Your smile can power up countries. Your softness and your confidence, an arrow to all our hearts. You laughing at yourself gets to us just the way it did when you started doing it again. When you just started being you. Oh, Jun.
When we hear of you these days from your homeboys, it's about how tough you are on your managers, how you expect precision, and just, more. Whether it's just about getting the right steak sauce or having at least one manager in the waiting room at all times, you leave no room for sloppiness. Your bandmates like to poke fun at your steadfastness and ~a t t i t u d e~ but really, it's their hearts on a platter, just loving you and admiring you from the best distance—one between members.
At 35, you don't feel the need to tiptoe around perfection. You demand it. You own your job and simply outclass everyone. Matsumoto Jun as an idol is on a league of his own, and man have we got some receipts for it. The members probably have more.
When we read reports of you attending your juniors' concerts, and how you give them constructive criticism but also promote their songs, it honestly feels like an affirmation of everything we have ever believed of you. That you will always be the nice and kind Jun that Nino loves to brag about. That you are a good person.
At 35, Jun, you are as generous as ever, tending to the next generation of idols. You and the rest of Arashi are carving out a path that they would be proud to walk on, and I am so unbelievably proud that the boys I loved from when stockings on heads cracked them up are now the daisenpai. It's wonderful. Idols from other companies, heck, even other countries, look up to Arashi.
"Matsujun", as a legend, is fed simply by how you choose to live your days: with hard work, with pride, with joy. With much love. I entrust Arashi in your hands, I don't have any second thoughts, and no doubts. Your love for Arashi is clear as day.
Jun, you are your favorite heliotropic flowers: joyfully growing towards where the light is.
Here, after being your fan for more than a decade, and now, as I soon step into my 30s too, I want to say something:
It's been an honor to grow up with you, Jun-pon.
Let's continue to grow better, stronger, kinder! (You lead the way, and I'll trailblaze my own path too.)
You have always been an inspiration. Easy on the eyes too.
Let's shop a lot, travel, work hard, and celebrate life's small and big wins with the ones we love, shall we?
Happy 35th birthday, Jun. ♥
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Previous Jun Birthday Posts (if you are so inclined.)
28, 29, 30