Friday, 11 April 2014

Wandering, Off-kilter Thoughts About: Miyazaki Yuka dropping out

For a change of pace, here's a more editorial piece. I'll be talking about Juice=Juice's Miyazaki Yuka and her decision to drop out from university.

Sugoi, Yabai
So Miyazaki Yuka-nya dropped a bomb, announcing her decision to drop out of university. The rationale behind her decision was to concentrate on her idol activities. This was after a year of her juggling both her role as a student and as a performer at the same time. Her announcement comes on the heels of the new school year - the best time to make such a decision.  

Betraying your expectations in a good way
She's taking a different step from the norm. In general, 'focusing on studies' has been the bane of many an idol's career. Another possibility that was open to her would be to defer her studies. But in the end, wouldn't that still be just half-assing it?
I admire her for showing her resolve by straight up quitting. And making a public announcement on her decision to focus on being an idol. You've got to respect her for that.

Experiencing for the first time
As she herself mentions, both university life and the life of a performer was something new to her. And worse luck, both happened at about the same time. Juice=Juice started their activities around March of last year. And Yuka started with university in April. Both demand complete changes in lifestyle, and need certain time commitments. It is possible to juggle both - but it's a rough ride for someone as green to the industry as Yuka.

It's all right to embrace it
People also drew up comparisons to idols who are currently attending university. There's a handful of them in Hello! Project - off the top of my head: Airi, Ayacho, Kanon, Yurina - plus the one university graduate.

The thing is, these girls are relative veterans of the industry. The two S/mileage girls had about 4 years of being in their group before entering university. Add to that their long tenure as H!P Eggs. And the H!P Kids have been around even longer.

Individual circumstance counts for a lot as well. University doesn't suit everyone, and there's more than a handful of Hello! Project members who chose to not bother with university. It comes down to personal choice and willingness in the end.

The city will engulf you if you end up hesitating
Yuka comes from Ishikawa prefecture, quite a distance from Tokyo. Ishikawa doesn't get a lot of idol acts, so she had to move to get closer to the city. I don't know how urban Ishikawa is, but living in the big city is tough. Adding this to the pressure of work and studies, and it can't have been easy on her.

Wanting to do this and that
Age is also another factor. In the grand scheme of life, she's still quite young. There's still enough time to continue with university education later in life, if she chooses to do so. In the long run, work experience does count for more, so continuing in the industry might be a net positive.

Also, while she's young in that sense, she's pretty old for someone starting off as an idol. She took the S/mileage 2nd gen auditions and the MM 10th and 11th gen auditions. At that time, she was already near the tail end of the age requirements. So one can make an argument that her choice to leave university was to seize the opportunity to be an idol while she still can. Then, as mentioned, she has the option of going back to university once that opportunity has dried up. If it does.

Rose quartz
Just a brief aside, but another person I'm wondering about is KanaTomo. She's just graduated from high school and is at the point where she'd be considering her options with regards to education.

When it comes to school smarts, KanaTomo's considered to be one of the brightest in H!P . Yet she's a relative newcomer to the business, just like Yuka, with about a year in Kenshuusei above her. Still, I remember Duu or Fuku-chan mentioning the huge gap between being a Kenshuusei and performing as part of a major group. KanaTomo also mentioned that she had considered dropping out of high school several times due to work.

Haven't heard anything by this point, so it might be possible she's decided to stop with her education for the time being. Again, just like Yuka, she's got the time to continue if she wants to, and she seems bright enough that she'll do well.

Rise to the skies
At the end of her announcement, Yuka also puts forward Juice=Juice's lofty goal of holding a world tour. Whether that goal will come to fruition is a whole different ballgame. But by taking such a decisive action, it seems like she's got her eye on the ball. I wish her all the luck with her development as an idol.
Also, she wants to continue studying English pursuant to that goal. I'll wish her the best for that as well, though I hope that she doesn't pull an Mitsui and run off to some foreign country.
Unless it's in my neck of the woods, in which case I'd welcome her warmly.

Taken a day after her announcement (Note: it was also her birthday celebration)

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