Come Back to 19 with The Tomboys

Previously, The Fifth Parlour has introduced the cool and charismatic J-pop girl group, The Hoopers. This time, let’s welcome the youthful, bubbly and talented girl band, The Tomboys.

The Tomboys is a rising band which takes pride in creating their own songs. Do not be deceived by their names, the girl band consists of four cheery and cute members with an average age of 20. Despite their young age, the group has already held concert tours all around Japan and collaborated with ex Sex Pistols bassist, Glen Matlock, to prepare for their latest tracks. Please Remember Me is their latest single from their 2nd mini album Come Back to 19.

The Tomboys (from left) GG Wakana, Madoka, Hina and Non

The Tomboys first debuted under NoName when the members were 14 years old. Yet at a young age, all four members were already equipped with performing skills. Their latest mini album Come Back to 19 was inspired by their own personal feelings and attachment as they enter the age of 19. This album was intended to record their ups and downs when they were 19 years old and hopefully, allow them to capture the best moments of that age.

Despite debuting at such a young age, The Tomboys expressed no regrets. They remained unison in replying that performing has always been their dream hence they are working hard to achieve and excel in what they are doing. They also cherish other group members and remain grateful for the opportunity to come together as a group to make music. One cannot help but see the maturity and determination they possess, even at such tender age.

When asked to describe themselves in one word, here’s what The Tomboys replied. GG Wakana chose “Green” as she loves the colour green. Madoka chose “Clumsy” while Hina decided on “Stubborn” as she is pretty strong-willed and determined. After much hesitation, Non admitted that “Silly” might be most appropriate.

Credits: The Tomboys

And for curious fans wondering why they were called The Tomboys, their band name hopes to reflect the lively and dynamic performance they would deliver on stage. Hence naming themselves as The Tomboys allow them to break free from their feminine or “cute-looking” appearance.

The Tomboys is currently promoting their album Come Back to 19 before hitting back to the studios for more creative songwriting and preparations for their subsequent activities. We are definitely hoping to see more of their performances and possibly, an opportunity for them to meet their fans in Singapore!

The Fifth Parlour would like to thank Hyper Japan 2016 and The Hoopers for the interview opportunities.

Introducing J-pop’s dynamic Girl Power: The Hoopers

Japanese music has been reigning the Asian music scene with new concepts of idol groups and refreshing combinations of music genres. In recent years, girls groups representative of these unique characteristics of J-pop are rising in popularity.

The Fifth Parlour had the opportunity to meet and interview The Hoopers!

The Hoopers with (from left) Haruki, Sena, Makoto, Mirai, Yuhi, Mizuki, Cecil and Tsubasa

The Hoopers first started in 2014 through an audition. Eventually, the group expanded with 8 members and became widely known for their tomboy style inspired from The Takarazuka Revue. In fact, all members of the group are fans of Takarazuka! During the interview, Cecil, the youngest member, was also quick to be the first to acknowledge her love towards Takarazuka since young. It later became a driving factor for her to join and enjoy The Hoopers stage performances.

For non J-pop fans, Takarazuka style may be a new concept. However, Takarazuka has been around in Japan for years and became internationally acclaimed for its extravagant performances. Women dressed in masculine or neutral outfits has also greatly influenced the music industry and perceptions of gender-blending in Japan.

During our interview with The Hoopers, the members appeared to be shy. It contrasted greatly with their performances on stage which is often known to be energetic, lively and powerful. However, as the interview progressed, the group began to shine as each member showed their unique colours and portrayed their bubbly personalities and humour. Here is what they have to share about their own members, starting with their youngest and most cheerful member, Cecil. While she may appear to be carefree, Cecil was described meticulous and always consider others before herself. The group chose Haruki as the best member to embody the tomboyish style of the group. Off stage, Haruki also assumes the role of a mentor who monitors their group performances and points out areas of improvement.

When asked which member appears to differ the most on- and off-stage, The Hoopers pointed out to Sena. Sena was described to be energetic on stage but when she steps away from the limelight, she becomes really quiet and often drifts into her own world reading manga. On the other hand, Tsubasa was described to be the member who remains true to herself on- and off-stage. At the mention of Tsubasa, Cecil took the opportunity to express her gratitude towards Tsubasa for offering great advice to her when she was troubled with doubts and uncertainties.

The Hoopers with (from left) Cecil, Haruki, Sena, Misuki, Yuhi, Mirai, Makoto and Tsubasa

Moving on, The Hoopers chose Yuhi, their sub-leader, as the coolest member and “the mother” of the group who takes great care of all the members. However, Sena shared that Yuhi may at times be pretty silly with her jokes. The group also nominated Misuki as the most hardworking member in the group and Mirai as the most serious member in the group due to her responsibility as the group’s main vocalist.

Last but not least, the group was eager to about share about the eldest member and their group leader, Makoto. Despite her age and position, the members were enthusiastic to share stories about her cute personality. In fact, Makoto receives the honorary title of being the member with the “youngest mental age”!

Since their debut, The Hoopers have released five singles which made it to the top 20 of Oricon Weekly Single Chart. Last September, they released their latest album FANTASIA and received increasing attention for their symphonic and power metal genres.

In the new year ahead, be sure to catch rising J-pop groups, The Hoopers. It will be another year of girl power for them!

The Fifth Parlour would like to thank Hyper Japan 2016 and The Hoopers for the interview opportunities.

Hyping up for Christmas at HYPER JAPAN 2016 in London

Where else would be a better festival to celebrate the uniqueness of Japanese culture than to attend the annual HYPER JAPAN Festival! This year, the festival was back at Tobacco Dock, London.

Fans attended interactive activities lined-up back to back over the past weekend and even got to meet some of their Japanese idols like The Hoopers, The Tomboys, Shohjyo-tai and many other performers.

Through the Meet & Greet sessions, fans were able to purchase merchandises off the table and have them autographed by the idols. That was not all, fans were able to interact up close with the members. For UK fans, these sessions must have been a dream come true!

Moreover, participants of the festival were able to learn more about the Japanese culture through various workshops and appreciation events such as 3D latte art workshop, sake appreciation, calligraphy writing, a Japanese fashion show with special appearance by Fuki and even an opportunity for them to showcase their own cosplay costumes in the COSParade!

Concurrently in different venues, there were also live performances of judo, Japanese traditional magic and remixes of folk songs by NeoBallad.

And if you are feeling hungry or yearning for something to eat, fret not as the basement stalls offered a wide variety of Japanese snacks like takoyaki, udon, macarons with unique Japanese flavours and and and so many other Japanese dishes to choose from!

Thinking of getting a souvenir or gift for christmas? Well, HYPER JAPAN Christmas market offers a wide variety of Japanese-related gifts for one to browse through. This year, with the ongoing craze over Pokemon Go, many stalls were selling Pokemon merchandises, including christmas tree decorations to add some cuteness to the festive mood. Anime or manga lovers can also expand their collections with the purchases of figurines, paintings or even merchandises like samurai swords from the festival.

Does not it seem like there was everything for everyone, everything Japanese for a special gift this Christmas?

HYPER JAPAN Festival 2017 will be back at Olympia, London, between 15th and 17th July.