I don’t know why I’m writing this post, boredom probably. Anyway, since Dave did one of these I figured maybe one of you might be interested in hearing about my tragic teenage years. God, I was such a fuck up now that I think back on it.
Anyway, brief introductions are in order I suppose. My name is Garry; I’m not sure how long I’ve been writing for NSK (it feels like years already), I do the “All Night NSK” podcast with Yoshi along with a bunch of miscellaneous articles on the site. I’m Scottish, my oshimen is Matsui Jurina and I like long walks on the beach and candlelit dinners for one. To most of you I’m probably “the guy who hates AKB48” or some variation thereof and this is my story.
It’s hard to really pinpoint when I got into Japanese music, pop-culture, whatever. I grew up watching the 4Kids dub of the Pokemon anime without really ever realizing that it was either dubbed or originally Japanese. Yes, collective facepalms all round on that one. I also watched Yugioh, Dragonball Z/GT and all of those “classics” during my formative years so I guess I inadvertently stumbled into liking Japanese pop-culture by complete accident.
I suppose it’s time to dredge up painful high school memories because that’s where the next part of this tale takes place. I should explain first that high school in Scotland works a bit differently than high school in the States. Scottish high school lasts for 4-6 years and you start year 1 at the age of 12 and you either graduate at 16 or 17/18 depending on how much you want to succeed or fail at life (I did 6 years and still failed so it’s not a set rule). Other than that it’s still the same bullshit but with less stabbings and shootings.
Okay so I enter high school at the ripe old age of 12 and to say I wasn’t prepared is an understatement. I focused way too much on my grades and got super stressed out, it also didn’t help that I had the misfortune of being bullied towards the end of my first year. This lead to me ditching school for most of my second year and being diagnosed with depression and all of that good jazz. The depression remaining an ever present monkey on my back to this day.
During that period I started to really get into heavy metal music, pretty much playing up to every internet born stereotype you can imagine (not that I’d know, I hardly used the internet until I turned 13). During my love affair with heavy metal music I discovered a Japanese band by the name of “Dir en grey” who blew my mind with the crazy shit that went into their albums and live performances. From there I discovered “the GazettE”, “D’espairsray”, “X-Japan”, etc and I was well on my way to developing a passion for Japanese music.
I’d say I was about 16 when I started to get really into anime and sadly I also fell into the trap of playing up to all of the otaku stereotypes under the sun. Naruto was the absolute best thing ever, etc, etc. It’s really quite cringe-worthy now that I’ve actually developed a good taste in anime. Anyway, I discovered internet radio during this time too and finally got my first taste of idol music.
So here I am listening to some anime radio station or other and for whatever reason, on comes this song called “Mini Strawberry Pie” by some group called “Minimoni”. It was super catchy and upbeat, a stark contrast to the loud and abrasive sounds of the heavy metal and visual kei bands I’d been listening to religiously for almost two years at that point. I really liked the song, I went and downloaded the single from some random Japanese music blog or other and didn’t think anything more of it. In hindsight I was a super dumb kid.
Things are slightly hazy around this point so I want to say we jump forward around two years to either my fifth or sixth year of high school. At this point I’d developed a rather apathetic outlook towards my studies. I’d also transitioned out of my heavy metal fandom and become a huge punk rock fan and remain so to this day. Bands like Alkaline Trio, Rancid, Anti-Flag, Strung Out, etc gave me high energy music with catchy vocal hooks (see where this is going?) and a support system as my feelings of disgust for politicians and the 9 to 5 life began to develop.
Around this time I also started to play a lot more video games. I had always played games in one form or another (Mario on the original Game Boy, FIFA on Playstation, WWE on Playstation 2, various Pokemon games on Nintendo handhelds) but this was the first time that I’d really taken more than a casual interest in them. As a result of various Google searches I ended up on Justin TV at some point towards the end of….2009 I want to say. I browsed around the gaming section for a while until one day I saw a channel called “4playerjapancast” which I figured meant they maybe focused on Japanese games or something. Boy was I in for a surprise.
I realize that this post is getting rather long (ladies?) so basically I watch this “4playerjapancast” stream, discover this whole idol deal and from there that these “japancast” guys have a website and later a podcast. I spend a long time just casually lurking their website and listening to a podcast here or there without really knowing a whole lot about what’s going on. Slowly but surely I started learning more and more and towards the end of 2010 I started feeling confident enough to start leaving comments on the site without worrying too much about making an arse of myself.
Along the way I’ve even managed to pick myself up an oshimen (although I had no idea what that was at the time). Her name is Matsui Jurina, she is a member of SKE48’s Team S and AKB48’s Team K and she’s just plain awesome. I first saw her in that one AKBingo episode where she all-kills a team of AKB members in a series of challenges. I had zero clue what SKE48 was at the time and I figured she was just some random no name AKB member they were promoting. Now I’m a massive fan of SKE48 so you all can blame Jurina for destroying my AKB48 fandom before it ever really got going.
I continued commenting on various posts on the “Japancast Academy” website, being a total try hard in the process of attempting to impress random people on the internet. Looking back on some of my comments is rather embarrassing but oh well, we live and learn. Eventually “New School Kaidan” announced that they were looking for community members to submit articles and I figured I might as well give it a shot. Writing was always my strongest attribute in high school and I was really enjoying talking about idols at this point so it was a match made in heaven.
In the end I sent in around three articles in the space of a month. Again I was trying far too hard to impress but I guess it paid off in the end? I honestly have no idea what these guys were thinking when they took me on but I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity. Now I write a ton of content each week, podcast every now and then and work with a great group of people.
I’m also thankful for our community. Sure you guys are lazy as hell when it comes to commenting on posts and sending in site feedback but you’re all great to talk to on Google Hangout, in IRC, etc. I’ve met so many great people through this site, something I never thought would come from me writing about idols on the internet. Even if you don’t agree with some of the things I have to say I still appreciate all of you.
Well there you have it, “NSK Origins: Garry”. For all of you who made it this far, I salute you. Sorry if it’s a bit all over the place but I’m trying to recount the last 10 years of my life so things are going to be a little jumbled. Still, hopefully this was insightful or something and not a total waste of your time.