Keiko Kitagawa interview article in “Mini” September 2013 issue (English translation)


How do you feel about this summer’s fashion collections?

I think we’ll continue to see the same pant fashions as before – every summer it seems like denim jeans with T-shirts or blouses gets more popular. I think we’ll continue to see girls wearing skinny, straight jeans with either opera shoes or peek toe shoes too. There are lots of stylish sparkly tops to suit women of any age, which are nice in my opinion as well.

So, similar to the dress style of detective Reiko, whom you played in the movie “The Riddle is Solved after Dinner” (nazotoki wa dinner no ato de)!

There were really a lot of possibilities there, and the stylist for the show and I came to decisions together. Throughout the serialization of the drama, Reiko’s theme color seemed to be pink, lots of pink dresses, or lots of monotone outfits. I think I used to have to try on 10 or more dresses, and alternate between various styles of clothing, just so that there would be some balance in what we chose for the character to wear. We used to do the same thing with hairstyles too, so that it wouldn’t always be the same. I think Reiko’s fashion is something that can be enjoyed by regular women, as well as fashionistas, and I’m glad to say that this summer’s fashion choices are very similar in style.

In instances where Ms. Reiko wore suits or really dressed up for certain scenes, her makeup completely changed her image too. Ms. Kitagawa, have you ever taken that kind of consideration when doing makeup for yourself personally?

“Don’t overdo it” is my motto. In the morning I just wash my face, and in the evening I just take my makeup off, and maybe sometimes I’ll put some creamy lotion on my face for overnight. When I go out to see my friends, I just put on a little bit of sunscreen. I think it should be more popular to wear less makeup. (laughs)

What do you think is the secret to this series’s popularity?

I think it’s because it’s really intelligently funny. It’s refreshing to watch. It’s not just a comical farce, there’s also a lot of witty puns, plays on words, plus, Sakurai Sho’s portrayal of Butler Kageyama is really well done. Throughout the series Reiko also grows a lot as a character, and becomes more courageous. It’s entertaining to watch.

Has anything made you laugh really hard recently, either in your personal life or at work?

Since I’m not the type who gets really giggly too often, I don’t have many stories to share. But, whenever I’m feeling down, I always go out for some kind of refreshment to make me feel better. (laughs) I love sweet drinks like café au lait, or desserts like financier, though lately I’ve been really into CoCo Ichibanya’s limited edition menu, definitely check it out!

Finally, please share a message with the readers of the summer edition of “Mini” magazine!

When you are in your 20s, you can make anything you do into fun. You’re not really busy because of work yet, and you don’t have to wake up really early, so you can still stay out late for drinks or snacks. (laughs). You can go out on a drive with your friends to get something to eat if you want to, and your biggest regret is missing out on seeing a fireworks display. You can never go back and repeat any summer, so please, enjoy this year’s styles with lots of enthusiasm and love.

(Translated by Miss Dream under their ”Hire Us!” program. Paid for by this blog to the benefit of all English-speaking and English-learning Keiko fans)

Ayaka Komatsu in Neon Cho


Screenshots of Ayaka Komatsu in the 2013 direct-to-video movie series Neon Cho (ネオン蝶, “neon butterfly”) have been posted in a photoset. A sample can be seen below:

Act 1 –

Act 2 –

Act 3 –

Act 4 –

Keiko Kitagawa interview article in “Nikkei Woman” August 2013 issue (English translation)


Q – A message for the readers?

Keiko – Don’t be afraid of failing, keep trying, and have fun!

When you’re most exhausted, that’s exactly when you must move onto the next stage

Kitagawa Keiko, winner of “Miss Seventeen” when she was 17, now celebrates the 10th anniversary of her debut. This year she is scheduled for an incredible line-up of movies, music videos and a picture collection, but she responded by saying “I couldn’t decide on one thing I wanted to do more than anything else. I wake up each day thankful to have work.” So, when offered a job, no matter how small, she considers the feelings of the other person and replies to them. She takes her work seriously, so things seem to be getting easier.

“When I started working, I didn’t know my own personality well, and forced a version of ‘Kitagawa Keiko’ that wasn’t me. I got depressed when I couldn’t get the jobs I wanted or my photos turned out badly. I thought, ‘I lost my way’. But no matter how hard it was, I always got up the next day in front of the camera again. And as the days go by, suddenly you turn around and realize: when you’re most exhausted, that’s exactly when you must move on to the next stage. Now I know who I am better, and I don’t have those troubles anymore. If you take 100 people you find 100 different ways to live, and that’s where our personalities come from. And doing what’s natural for you makes you who you are. But before I understood that, I worked myself to exhaustion.”

What makes her happiest is “hearing the impressions of my fans after they see my performance. After the drama ‘The Riddle is Solved after Dinner (nazotoki wa dinner no ato de)’ was aired, I met a grade-schooler who called out to me ‘Reiko m’lady!’ When the next movie comes out in August, I wonder what I’ll hear on the street.”

5 Questions to Keiko

Q – What are your beauty secrets?

Mae-kun warm ups! It’s something Keno Maeda of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp baseball team developed. You spin your arms and shoulders super much, it gets rid of swelling in your head and shoulders. Look it up and try it yourself!

Q – What would you do with a million yen?*

I’d like to travel more. Go to a country I’ve never been to and sightsee. Right now I’m interested in Spain. Also if the DVD sells well, I want to go see Takurazuka, I love it!

Q – How do you approach someone you like?

I can’t approach them (laughs). In middle and high school I was in all-girls schools, so my feelings for men…What I mean is I worry about things like “if I give him my address, is that a confession of love?” So I usually keep those thoughts to myself.

Q – What do you do to pass the time?

Whenever I’m home I’m doing at least two things at once. For example, whenever I take a bath, I’ll usually also clean while I’m in there, and then vacuum while I’m drying off! Since I have a cat, I cannot miss daily cleaning.

Q – How do you manage your schedule?

Because I have so much to do all the time, I write down deadlines, dates, and my to-do list items down on paper and post them throughout my room. I guess you could say I waste a lot of paper. (laughs)

*Blogger’s note: one million yen is approximately US$10,000. Considering that Keiko likely earns at least several times that for even a 30 second commercial, it is not an amount that would fulfill any of her bigger dreams. Therefore, the magazine interviewer’s choice of amount is odd. That being said, it does affirm what many Keiko fans already guessed: what prevents Keiko from travelling the world for leisure is not lack of money, but lack of time.

(Translated by Miss Dream under their “Hire Us!” program. Paid for by this blog to the benefit of all English-speaking and English-learning Keiko fans)

Keiko Kitagawa video tribute


A video tribute to Keiko Kitagawa.

Keiko Kitagawa interview article in “Weekly Big Comic” 2013 August 12 issue (English translation)


Keiko Kitagawa interview article in “Weekly Big Comic Spirits” 2013 August 12 issue (English translation)

“Keiko Kitagawa – 10th Anniversary of an Honest Face”

The first appearance of the spirited actress, Kitagawa Keiko!

This year marks the actresses’ 10 year anniversary in the industry. To commemorate her 10th year anniversary, a photo book called “27” is now on sale to the public, and we hope you’ll enjoy it!!

Due to her overwhelmingly good looks, “Pretty” is the first word that comes to mind when admiring her! She’s admired by women as well of course by men. In her latest photo book, we’ve captured many of her “honest” moments on camera, please be sure to pick up a copy!

Q – What are your thoughts on reaching your 10th year anniversary in the entertainment industry?

Keiko – When I think about it I realize what a fun time it’s been, and also how long it’s really been. I had to use all my power to get to this point, and I would say in these last 10 years I’ve developed a lot of self-confidence. I’ve been giving it my all, so I guess you could say I’ve hardly noticed that 10 years have passed (laughs)

I just take each day as it comes, 1 by 1, and next thing I notice, a year has passed. Then two years pass. And now it’s been 10 whole years. When I hear that it’s already been 10 years, I think that’s a really long time, but then I consider that it’s probably gone by so quickly thanks to all the fans out there who have been supporting me and cheering me on.

Q – Since the movie “The Riddle is Solved after Dinner” (nazotoki wa dinner no ato de) will be coming out soon, could you please share some highlights from it with us?

Keiko – Well, to be honest, the scale of the production made it feel on set like we weren’t really just doing a movie. We filmed on a luxury liner and the photography for the promotions was taken by really high end companies. The costumes were especially gorgeous. I felt really nervous running around wearing such expensive jewelry worth millions of yen. I almost had to remind myself to be fearless like Reiko. (laughs)
Unlike the drama, the movie version focuses almost exclusively on the relationship between Reiko and Kageyama, and the mystery they uncover. What I want everyone to notice is the bond that develops between those two characters.

Q – In celebration of the 10th year anniversary since your industry debut, in your new photo book that’s on sale, do you have a particular image that is your favorite?

Keiko – I always try to do my best during all of my photo shoots and sets, but, I think for this session my favorite image is one they called “Honesty”, it really took me back to my roots when I first began work in the entertainment industry as a fashion model.

The photos were taken mostly on location at a set in Paris, a city which I absolutely adore. I got to stay there all throughout the photography sessions for this photo book, and my family was with me as well. While I was there I did a lot of clothes shopping! I got addicted to Paris fashion. My favorite fashions look that I found there were in my new red pumps, a new trench coat with outline stitching around the borders, with rolled up jeans.

Q – What are your most recent private passions as of late?

Keiko – That would be Takarazuka Theater! Originally I got invited to a performance by my mother, but now it’s developed into a full blown addiction of my own. The Takarazuka stage is really impressive, and the performances draw you into a whole other world. Everyone in the audience takes the performances so seriously, and the trance-like state of their devotion to the troupe really sucks you in. For myself, I want to improve my performances to be better, more like the Takarazuka ones I’ve seen, so I’m working my hardest. As fellow women, I have a lot of respect for their work!

(Translated by Miss Dream under their ”Hire Us!” program. Paid for by this blog for the benefit of all English-speaking Keiko fans)

Ayaka Komatsu in Talk to the Dead


A photoset of screencaps with Ayaka Komatsu 小松彩夏 in the 2013 direct-to-video movie “Talk to the Dead” has been posted:

Ayaka Komatsu 小松彩夏 in “Talk to the Dead”

Some pictures from the set are re-posted below:

Photos and video of Ayaka Komatsu at 2013 NYC Marathon


Ayaka Komatsu (小松彩夏) finished the 2013 ING New York City Marathon on November 3. Her time was 6:01:23. This photo was taken at the start of the run. Ayaka is to the right, and at the left is her colleague and teammate Renge Ishiyama (石山蓮華):

This photo was taken around Mile 22:

This photo was taken near the finish, and Ayaka appears to be sprinting. She is running alone at this point, the only segment that she did not run alongside Renge:

After Ayaka crossed the finish line, she decided to wait for Renge there. Once Renge arrived, the two hugged before departing together. In this video, Ayaka appears under the Foot Locker sign and is initially hidden by a guy in a grey sweater. She is clearly visible when she is waiting by the finish line:

Ayaka Komatsu in Drift and Drift 2


A photoset of screencaps with Ayaka Komatsu 小松彩夏 in the 2006 direct-to-video movies “Drift” and “Drift 2” has been posted on flickr:

Ayaka Komatsu 小松彩夏 in “Drift” and “Drift 2″

Some pictures from the set are re-posted below:

Restaurant review: Congee Delight


The strip mall located at 3555 Don Mills Road (Skymark Place) on the northeast corner of Don Mills and Finch in North York always has a Chinese restaurant serving congee, noodles, wontons/dumplings and assorted stir-fried dishes. Right now the role is filled by Congee Delight (正斗粥麵小炒), where I went for a light lunch the other day.

For a fast and filling lunch that is also economical, I ordered the Abalone Clam with Chicken Congee (鮑貝雞絲粥,$4.95) and a “Chinese donut”/”Ox-tongue pastry”/Sweet Cruller (牛脷酥, $1.50) for dipping in the congee.

The quality of the congee was good, with smooth texture and nice taste. There was a proper amount of abalone clams as well as chicken strips, so I got good value for the money. The pastry was hot and tasted great with the appropriate level of sweetness and texture. Service was quick and I must award bonus points for the congee and pastry being ready at the same time, so I was able to start with both from the beginning: had the congee came out much later the pastry would have cooled down during the wait, and had the pastry came out much later there may not be enough congee left to fully submerge the pastry.

Bottom line: Congee Delight met expectations in terms of value, quality, and service. I plan on returning to try their wontons and noodles.

Congee Delight on Urbanspoon

Restaurant review: Crêpes à GoGo


I have a strong affinity to French culture since my early days in high school. Even though it can be challenging to indulge in Gallic ways à Toronto, there are various pockets in the city that immerse one in a French vacation without leaving this side of the Atlantic. One such place is Crêpes à GoGo, which serves authentic Parisian-style crêpes in the middle of downtown Toronto’s Yorkville district.

Located at 18 Yorkville Avenue on the corner with Yonge Street, Crêpes à GoGo conjures up the image of a chic and elegant café. I was wise to have arrived a bit earlier than the lunch hour, as the place filled up quickly for those dining in. I ordered La Québecoise ($8, all prices include HST) plus a cold Limonana ($3), and took a seat where I can see the crêpes being made. When mine was ready, it was so hot and the aroma so wonderful that I took a couple of bites before remembering I was supposed to take a picture of it intact for this blog. Whoops!

The taste of the crêpe was as good as it smelled. It had the perfect level of sweetness like the ideal hot breakfast. As for the Limonana, it reminded me of the nice peppermint teas served in the meat kosher restaurants in Israel. It was the first time that I was able to experience that great taste outside that country, which was an unexpected but welcomed surprise.

My error was not ordering another crêpe for lunch, as while one crêpe filled me up for a while it takes two to sustain me throughout the afternoon. Not to mention that I could have tried another style of crêpe to see how good that is. For an afternoon snack, however, one crêpe plus a Limonana is an excellent choice.

Bottom line: J’aime Crêpes à GoGo (I love Crêpes à GoGo), and I will endeavour to have at least one crêpe whenever I pass by the neighbourhood in the future.

Crêpes à GoGo on Urbanspoon


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