The Merciless YouTube

When you access YouTube while you’re logged into your Google account, the video-sharing site gets information on you based on historical views and recommends videos that it thinks you might like to watch. Among the recommendations, there is one row that reads “Watch It Again,” which displays a carousel of videos you’ve watched in the past.

Recently, while browsing, I saw a couple of videos I wanted to watch again. I clicked on one of them and after viewing it, I returned to the main page again to access the other video. But the Watch It Again section wasn’t near the top and I didn’t want to scroll indefinitely to look for it so I clicked on History on the left panel to access videos I’ve played.

As I scrolled through the list and saw a couple of Hamasaki Ayumi videos I watched some time last year while I was still with M, I decided to play them again and got hooked to the songstress’ performances once again.

With my newly bought Chromecast, I opened up a mixed playlist of her live performances and let it run on the TV. The playlist had a mix of her old performances while she was still the young powerful entertainer and more recent ones where some notes clearly went flat. Nevertheless, there’s just something about her that makes it a joy to watch. More than just a singer, Hamasaki’s an entertainer and a true talent. The joy of watching her perform made me open up Ticket Pia’s page to search for her concert tickets and I was considering getting them, so as to catch her at least once before she can no longer perform. But the dates are either not very good, or the location is too far from the Kanto region. I shall think about whether I’ll catch her current tour.

Hamasaki was born in 1978, 5 years earlier than I. She debuted in 1998 at the age of 20 when I first began listening to JPop, and I recall that it was a very late debut for a singer even at that time when the very popular Speed members were merely 12-13 years old.

As I commented to myself about her younger, fresh and innocent, and very stylish self transforming into the veteran today with an aura befitting someone who has weathered life’s trials and challenges, having a presence emanating a different kind of quality, I realized such collections of an artiste of our time is also a reflection of how much we have aged. Turning 39 this year, Hamasaki is like mirror reminding me I’m in my mid-30s, and for all I know, half my life might’ve already been gone.

It’s easy to comment how much a celebrity has aged, but when we think about it, it is also an indication that we have aged as much. Such is the merciless time capsule of YouTube.

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