Through the years: Ayumi Hamasaki

Recently the biggest news in the Japanese entertainment industry is Namie Amuro’s retirement on 16 September 2018. Namie Amuro was one of the few pioneer artists part of the J-wave fever from the late 1990s to early 2000s. This got me thinking about one of my favourite Japanese singers of all time, Ayumi Hamasaki.

It is no surprise to all my friends that I am a HUGE (MEGA) fan of Ayumi Hamasaki. I was first introduced to Ayumi when my mom bought me her “Loveppears” album for my 12th birthday. I remembered deciding between buying Max (it was a girl group who used to be in a band with Namie Amuro, but whom I have not heard of their songs. I only wanted to buy the album because of its beautiful cover) and Ayumi’s album, but my brother told me that his friend bought Loveppears and it was very nice. This album was considered her third highest selling album.

The thing that attracts me to Ayumi Hamasaki is she writes all her lyrics. When I listen to her music, I can hear her sincerity and her lyrics touched my heart. I was really in love her and everything she endorses or wears. I was just packing my room recently and came across everything I have collected when I was an obsessed fan. I used to keep magazines (as she regularly appears on ViVi deji diary), however when she released a photo book on the entire deji diary, I decided to throw those magazines away. Although there are slight regrets but I don’t have space to store them. So I had to endure the heartbreak to throw them away.

I have decided to post this to share my little humble collection of Ayumi and this will be like a post I can look back on a few more years. I hope she does not retire soon because I have not watched her concert irl (except A-nation 2014). However there has been news recently that her other ear is going deaf and I hope she gets the needed medical help if not she may have to retire soon too.

So here goes…

My albums

These are all her albums I have taken at that time. I have not taken a recent one but I will do so when I am spring cleaning my room again. My favourite album here is LOVEppears (my first CD from her).

I do not have the habit of collecting singles because I was a poor student and could not afford getting them shipped from Japan, Singapore CD shop has quite limited selection so I try to limit myself to ones I found the cover nice or I really love the song. My favourite single was M because I thought she looked absolutely stunning in a wedding dress.

This is not an updated photo of her concerts. My first concert VCD was her first concert in 2000, I got the silver version and realised she had a part 1. Some of these were birthday presents from bestie.

These are her remix album. My favourite is the ayu-ro mix.

These are all her MVs. I have not taken these out to watch for the longest time because it is so convenient to catch them on youtube now. The one on right was like a mini movie for her single Voyage.

These are her collection albums. ABest 1, ABallads (this is my favourite because the albums has her songs, but sorta converted into soothing ballads). ABest 2 (the top 2) were my birthday presents from Bestie.

This was released on September 10, 2008 to commemorate her tenth anniversary with Avex. It compiles all of her singles from 1998 to 2008, with one new track. My version of this album has a photobook. When I buy a CD, I have a habit to listen to every track to make sure my CD was alright. So I was listening it with my sister and she was impressed I could named every song. Well, I mean…I am not a fan for nothing right?

This single was released on April 8, 2008, exactly ten years after her debut single, Poker Face. The reason why I got 2 covers? It featured two new recordings of her second and fifth singles, both released in 1998, “You” and “Depend on You,” respectively. I am a sucker so yes, I got both versions because FOMO. I think I have an extra one of this cover – cannot remember which one though, because it was the Japanese version.

Again, the dual cover because this single was released in two versions: “Days/Green” contains an updated “Love: Destiny”. “Green/Days” contains an updated “To Be”. So with the FOMO mentality, I got both versions.

My scrapbook

I started liking Ayumi when I was still in primary school, so naturally I am not a rich kid to be able to buy her merchandises. So I did it through more affordable means like newspaper articles, magazine clippings. After a while, all of these articles started to pile up but I was most unwilling to throw them away, so I decided to cut them and stick it into my file.

I am usually thankful to my dad and cousin who would tell me there is an article on her ad. My cousin would be nice to cut it out to keep for me so I can add to my file.

I would usually go to Ayumi fan pages to look at what people post, especially her concert merchandises and always wished I could get them too.

Hence, I was thrilled when I realised that Yesasia actually sells them. I got 2 t-shirts and some concert goodies there.

I would cut the article out, then figure out how to arrange it so that the whole news could fit into 1 A4 paper or 2. A lot of precision cutting and patience needed.

Ayumi visited Singapore for the first time in 2002 for MTV Asia Awards. Almost wanted to skip school to see her but my parents would not allow it. So only manage to see the photos taken online – at that time, internet was not like these days. it was not easy to use the computer – I could only borrow my brother’s computer for like 1/2 hour.

My photocards

There used to be a lot of idol shops that sell photo cards so I am pretty thankful that I managed to get like a whole bunch of photos – includes photocards like these below and also 4R photos of her.

Little memorabilia

Ayumi had several brands that she endorses – 1 of which was KOSE cosmetics. I remember saving almost a month to get 1 lip palette and a blue liquid eyeshadow thingy (it is like a 2 in 1 product – 1 side is baby blue liquid eyeshadow, the other side is powder). It cost like $30-ish for each product. As a student, my daily pocket money was $2-$4 (I think).

I remembered being a 14 years old with no knowledge of makeup walking to a KOSE counter at BHG to buy cosmetics. The KOSE lady was super nice, she knows that I was a fan of Ayumi, so she actually gave me the pamphlets plus a life-sized poster.

Ayumi also endorsed for Wacoal and I almost wanted to buy the same bra she was wearing. I went to check out a Wacoal shop and was staring at this. There was an elderly salesperson who came up to me to tell me that this was their latest bra. I told her I was aware because I am her fan. She was super nice and gave this to me. I think maybe they were not supposed to give this to customer because I went to another shop to ask if I could have it, and the saleslady (different one) snapped at me saying it is not allowed. So, thank you saleslady 1 for making my day! :) 

My memorabilia box which contains poker cards, wristbands, photobooks and a lot more.

During 2007-ish, Ayumi introduced her Ayu-pan, which are little cartoon versions of her. These Ayu-pans were sold like gacha/ blind bag during her concerts and so these ayu-pans would be wearing the concert outfits. These was from her 2009 concert and you can see how happy I am – my cousin bought this for me via some proxy service. I have since expanded my collection when I saw a seller from Carousell selling at $2.50 each. I bought her entire collection for $30-ish.

My first live show – A-Nation 2014

I vaguely remember my sister telling me about this and I was excited because I know there are alot of artistes participating in this event. I was gushing to my cousin whether or not will Ayumi come for this event.

The reason why A-nation concert was in Singapore was probably because Avex Group was having a operation business in Singapore. I went to follow their page on Facebook to get updates on the concert. I freaked out when I saw that Ayumi was headlining the event and I was telling my cousin I have to go for this.

However during the time of booking the tickets, the ticketing system was kinda f* up at MBS side. I couldn’t secure the $248 seats because the system was damn slow…wanted to give up and just not attend. Then my cousin managed to book $198 seating because she say she did not want me to regret not going for this, plus she was my idol!!

Fast forward to 17 Oct, and I saw her tweet that she was checked in at MBS. Totally regretted not taking leave to try to see her. I was super excited and could not really sleep the night before. We went to Sand’s Theatre but sadly the merchandise was quite meh..and I got Muffler and a Uchiwa. Entered the theatre with excitement and was glad that the seat was not disappointing, we were just 6 rows from the stage. 

(All A-Nation photos was taken by my friend because I had no chance to take it since there were a lot of security around me)

The acts went on and my excitement was building up because Ayumi was the final performer. I told my cousin the night before I may cry if I see her!! Typing this makes me wanna cry now…hahaha.

Anyway before she came out, there was a video introduction and I already started tearing. I was so emotional and like omg!!! I finally see her LIVE!!! Like in person and not on TV. She sang most of her older songs and I was jumping, dancing, screaming and singing to all of her songs. I managed to grab the towel thrown by her dancers during one of the performance.

Then she started singing Surreal~Evolution~Surreal and I started crying again! I have seen all her concerts and that song was always my favourite part of the concert and I never believe I could participate and also sing it with her!! Overwhelmed with joy and tears flowing!!! I was on cloud 9!!!!

I hope I would find the time and money to watch her concert live in Japan. My obsession will never stop, she will always be my first idol and the one whom has helped me through each stage of my life.

The next thing I will probably be sharing is my obsession with The Twilight Saga. Anyway, do you love Ayumi too? Share with me your collection too!

Alicia
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Alicia

A L I C I A

Full Time Daydreamer. Makeup junkie

I enjoy watching beauty videos on Youtube. It helped me to learn the basis on makeup.

I am a thrill seeker, and I enjoy roller coaster rides. I love history and would try to visit the museums once in a while.

In my free time, I enjoy photography (not professionally), scrapbooking, playing with make up.
Alicia
Follow me

About Alicia

A L I C I A Full Time Daydreamer. Makeup junkie I enjoy watching beauty videos on Youtube. It helped me to learn the basis on makeup. I am a thrill seeker, and I enjoy roller coaster rides. I love history and would try to visit the museums once in a while. In my free time, I enjoy photography (not professionally), scrapbooking, playing with make up.
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