2014 was a difficult year to look back on for me, not because it was a difficult year per se, but more because at first, I couldn’t remember a great deal of it – I’ve been so busy, I either forgot something that happened, or felt it had happened last year! Still, after a few trips down memory lane and some looking back, I finally managed to drag up some of the happenings of 2014, with both Idols and my personal life.

Let’s get the boring stuff out of the way first and tackle:

The Personal Life!

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2014 was a year where I grew, if you ask me – I did things that I would have never done before, and through the experience I gained, I think I became a more mature person, if only by a little bit. One of the goals that I set last year for myself to do this year was to go on a trip to Holland to see my friends, face to face, for the first time – and so, in June of this year, I took my first plane to Holland where I was able to finally meet the friends I had been talking to for four years, and experienced my first trip abroad.

And, honestly, Holland is really beautiful – even though I spent two weeks there, I know I want to go again, not only to see my friends again but also to experience the culture and beauty of it all. It really was worth saving for, and I am happy I did it, because it was a first experience for me, but one I realised I want to do again, and soon. Hopefully, next year!

Visiting Holland was one of the biggest things for me this year, though other things happened too – my latest nephew was born in the middle of the year, I was able to help out a small film crew I have worked with before once again, however this time I was wearing a costume and playing a background character, and I was able to go and meet my friends from my old hometown for my best friends 21st birthday party, where we were reunited with a friend we haven’t seen in five years.

For the summer especially this year, I was extremely busy, and very preoccupied with different activities. Of course, it was all worth it!

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The biggest thing, aside from Holland, to happen to me this year however is starting University; officially, I am a student again, however I now live in student dorms rather than with my family, so the change was one of the biggest in my entire life, let alone a year – going to University was really scary, and I cried. A lot. I was terrified of leaving my family, mostly because I didn’t know much else, however if I could go to Holland, then I told myself I could go to University.

And I honestly really love it.

Since coming to University, I’ve done more than I would have done living at home with my parents – I write a little for the Campus newspaper, I go to Society Socials, my friend invited me to the Diwali festival which I experienced for the first time ever, re-discovered my love for writing poetry, and I go out, have fun, and a lot more, as well as assignments and homework. Basically, I am doing a lot more outside of the internet, something I couldn’t really do where my parents live, which explains why I have not written for Selective Hearing as much this year, or my own blog even. But, as Greg and Steve have told me before, in their own wise ways; Life is more important.

And yes, it is.

Still, even with my semi-hectic life, I had to get some Idol goodness in there, right?

2014: The Idols!

Whilst I love my Idols and what they give me in terms of music and cuteness, I have to admit that this year, my interest in Idols has been rather low, and that is due to doing much more than normal this year – that said, I do not regret putting my interest in Idols at the back of my mind – but no matter what, there was one Idol group that I could not stop following.

That group was Houkago Princess.

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I have been heavily invested in HouPri this year, reading their blogs, following them on Twitter and basically keeping myself updated as much as I can – why? All for the sake of wanting to be updated, really, though also because I really like this group; they make me happy, and I get so much joy from finding out little tidbits of news, and then sharing it with friends who also like the group. It is this joy that reminds me of why I love Idols, actually, and following HouPri from 2014’s beginning until its end has been a joyful one, though sad at times too; this group has had its fair share of withdrawals, graduations and dismissals.

Still, the group has stood strong this year, and my love for them has only grown ever-stronger as well. They also look more stable now with their current lineup, looking the best they have yet; hopefully they stay like this for a while, because I seriously like this version of the group!

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All that said, even when my main focus concerning Idols was on HouPri, I don’t think anyone could ignore the fact that this year, Michishige Sayumi graduated from Morning Musume, Hello! Project and, surprisingly, the Entertainment Industry altogether, at least for an indefinite period of time. This was, for me, one of the biggest events of the year in terms of graduations – the end of an era was coming, and the last member of the Platinum era was going to give her final hurrah. For many of us, Sayumi was the last little bit of the Morning Musume we knew.

When I watched her Graduation concert through a live stream in November, I sat there and cried. Sayumi was never one of my favourite members, however when I realised that she was leaving it really got to me, because I had always seen her as the member that was ‘there no matter what’, so when I watched her final concert performance, my emotions got the better of me.

Towards the end of this year, a young woman I consider to be a Top Idol left the Idol World, and I am still not over it. Not really.

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In general this year, there were a lot of graduations and disbandment’s in the Idol world. Oshima Yuko graduated from AKB48, with Takamina announcing her own graduation for next year. Momotaro from Fudanjuku left the group back in October to pursue other things in her personal life, whilst Idoling!! has lost two members and Houkago Princess have lost six of theirs. One of the more shocking departures for me this year though was Ono Erena’s announcement that she was leaving the Entertainment Industry. I’m still feeling it.

Bump.y also announced their disbandment this year, with all of the members ‘graduating’ the group back in June. BiS have also officially disbanded this year, as have Aither, Watarirouka Hashiritai 7 and DiVA, and many other groups, too. Much like last year, this one has been rife with graduations and group disbandment. Of course, this won’t end come 2015, seeing as a few more disbandment’s are lined up…

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Speaking of which, one of the happier announcements of the year I heard was that Berryz Kobou had announced their break-up and departure from Hello! Project come 2015. In general, the only thing I find appealing about Berryz is their music, and that’s usually the instrumental (as I can’t stand Risako’s vocals) so when I heard that they were going to part ways, I was rather happy about it. I’ve had my speculations for a while, and honestly, it’s been a long time coming – they haven’t looked happy with their activities lately, all apart from Yurina that is, and it feels like they’ve all stopped caring at this point, so I’m glad they won’t be doing anything come 2015. Granted, Momoko’s in Reboot: Country Musume and Maasa’s going to be a Stage Mom, but in terms of activities as Berryz… well, I’m glad they are going.

I’ll miss their music, but as Idols, I won’t miss them.

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In terms of the rest of Hello! Project, there isn’t much to report other than that the new members within Morning Musume, Country Girls and old-S/mileage are cute. Oh, and that S/mileage are now called ANGERME, which is quite possibly the funniest name I have heard from a Hello! Project lineup since… well, since another funny-named unit. Seriously, it’s the greatest thing to poke fun at, and I can’t wait for more terrible names to come out of Hello! Pro in the future!

Ending Note:

There is a lot that happened this year, both in my personal life and in the world of the Idols, but this pretty much sums up my year for me. Though my interest in Idols was less than apparent in 2014, I still noticed that for all groups involved, it was a good/bad year in terms of gaining members, losing members, disbanding groups and announcing plans to leave respective groups or to completely leave a project. It has been a rocky year, if anything, and I am pretty sure that next year will be just as rocky.

Honestly, I am ready for 2015 and what it will bring me in the form of Idols; 2015, Bring it ON!