The final hours of 2005 will soon be slipping away; "Rakka Ryusui" is spinning as I write this. At this time of the year, I invariably find myself in a reflective mood.
It’s been nearly a decade since I first began accessing the Internet on a regular basis, and more than eight years since I launched my own web site dedicated to Akina. Time sure flies! (And not just when you’re having fun!)
The Internet has certainly come a long way. In the early going, Akina-related info was difficult to come by, sparse as it was. These days, there is an abundance of great content to be found on the web. And, it’s getting better all the time.
I think everyone (and especially those of us who are overseas) would agree that it’s so much easier being an Akina fan now that we have the Internet. How else could you keep up with the current news, order all the latest releases, and share a common interest with fellow fans all over the world in such a timely fashion and with so little effort? Indeed, I can’t imagine returning to life as it was before.
One of the things that has really struck me during the past 8+ years is the extent of Akina’s fan support. While I was not surprised at all that Akina continues to maintain an avid fan base in Japan and other parts of Asia, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that she has such a following elsewhere in the world.
Over the years, I’ve received e-mails from Akina fans around the globe (every populous continent–save Africa–has been well represented). As to be expected, a percentage of the individuals living abroad was comprised of transplanted Asians; yet, among the remaining people, there was nevertheless a sizeable number of non-Asian admirers.
Some of the people who contacted me were not familiar with Akina previously, but had their interest piqued after surfing my site–Akina just has that affect on people! I am happy and proud to say that several of them followed up by ordering their first Akina CDs and some new fans were born as a result. It felt good to have a small hand in helping others to discover Akina.
I’m not sure whether it was due to a language barrier, or because my web site’s design was lacking (my earlier attempts were admittedly rather weak), but there were a surprising number of people who contacted me under the apparent assumption that I was Akina. Now, I would never want to ridicule or laugh at another person’s honest feelings, but I must say these were among the most intriguing e-mails I have received to date. Included in this group was everything from personal inquiries and complements (I was flattered on Akina’s behalf), to meeting proposals (a few took it a bit further), modeling offers (a testament to her good looks), and… gulp, even a handful of threats! Of course, it’s not always easy to gauge a writer’s tone or sincerity from an e-mail. Perhaps (or hopefully, as the case may be) some of those messages could simply be attributed to someone’s idea of a joke. Either way, I’ll probably never know for certain.
I will confess that one of my fantasies in recent years has involved receiving an acknowledgement from Akina herself. I realize the chances of that actually happening are probably very slim. She doesn’t even seem to care about computers!
I did receive a few e-mails from people who have worked with her though, which is the next best thing.
But all that aside, the majority of correspondence has had the positive effect of bringing me into contact with really great people and mutual Akina fanatics (including, of course, my VAMP comrades!) ready to share the common bond of loving all things Akina. Interacting with this group has truly been a pleasure and I have made some wonderful friends in the process. In addition to being a lot of fun, I’ve learned quite a bit as well. My heartfelt thanks to you all!
Let’s have a great 2006. Happy New Year, everyone!