Before I forget, that word that Starrynight mentioned that means "looks like Amuro Namie" is amura. It's a play on her name. According to my Japanese friend it's somewhat derogatory, and implies someone who is a wannabe.

I was introduced Amuro Namie (her name just sounds weird to me when it's not in the Japanese order) a few years back when a Japanese friend of mine lent me a few j-pop CDs. Besides an album by SPEED and Every Little Thing's Time to Destination, she lent be an Amuro Namie CD whose name escapes me.

At the time, I didn't think too much of it. It was okay, but I liked the ELT CD better. It was fortunate that I listened to it though, because it led to an odd experience during the summer of 2001, which I spent living and working in Oita, Japan.

I was walking home from work through the galleria that runs through the center of town. It was getting sort of late, so the bustle of pedestrians had decreased enough for the muzak echoing through the narrow boulevard to be clearly audible. It was a good 10 to 12 minute walk from my work to the bus stop where I caught my ride home, so I tended to zone out a bit as I walked. After a while I noticed myself humming along to the music. I realized that I knew the song, but I couldn't remember the name, or who it was by. It was one of those really frustrating times where it was just on the tip of my tongue.

So, after a while, I finally remembered that it was "Never End" by Amuro Namie, my favorite song of hers. I was happy to finally know, but I realized that during the time that I was humming along, and trying to remember who it was, I felt very good because it was something familiar to me. It reminded me of the time that I first listened to it at home. At at time when I was feeling very lonely, homesick, and very out of place, hearing a muzak version of a hit song by one of the most popular aidoru in Japan made me feel right at home. Such a trivial occurrence was of surprising emotional significance to me.

So, that's the story of how Amuro Namie touched my life. If you have the means, I recommend checking out "Never End". It's really quite good.

One other Amuro Namie-related thing happened to me in while I was in Japan.

I was having a discussion with one of my coworkers about how important local celebrities are to the Japanese. For instance, DoCoMo has different advertising campaigns in different parts of Japan, each using famous local aidoru. It actually extends beyond celebrities; local products and festivals are also great sources of pride for Japanese. Anyway, we were discussing what various parts of Japan were most famous for, and I asked what Okinawa was most famous for.

Without hesitation, my coworker said, "Amuro Namie".

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