How glad was I when at last we landed at Narita Airport? You can’t imagine. Now we only had to buy a bus ticket. As we had time (check-in starts only at 15:00) there was no need for Narita Express. The ride was uneventful and boring but we got released near our hotel and could check-in right away. We didn’t last long in our hotel room, as there was a tight schedule already: I needed to go to Shibuya Tower Records to collect my ‘Kasabuta’ Singles I preordered at the last Idol Koushien on August 1th to take part at the Party Rockets event. Then we had to hurry to Akihabara for the Akiba Cultures Theater, where Party Rockets would again hold one of their Monday Shows. Afterwards I still had to decide if I would go to Predia later on, also performing at Akiba or visit PARMS instead. I wasn’t sure about it yet.
Luckily we had time as the first thing that happened in Shibuya: I lost my way. I never approached the Tower Records straight from the station. In the past I liked to frequent the HMV right there – good old days. Therefore I took the wrong turn now. But after some contemplating I found it. Luckily it is not far away. In my mind I already prepared my limited Japanese knowledge to ask for the CDs but this wasn’t necessary: After greeting the girl at the information (and received a bright smile. THAT is the attitude I was missing from Korea!) and showed her my preorder document she already knew what to do, grabbed a box from the ground and handed me the three versions of ‘Kasabuta’, Type A, B and C. First task accomplished. My ‘Himawari’ singles from the PASSPO event in Osaka by the way never made it per postal delivery to Caio. At least he received the ones form Nachu’s seitansai, so I can collect at least some of them later on my trip from him.
Now the trip to Akiba. How satisfying that I knew the way from last time and didn’t even need to think twice. Buying tickets went smoothly and me and my sister took place at the back row. This time I didn’t want to sit to their performance. Party Rockets music is not suited for this! The place was far from sold out but better received than the last show of them I went for. The mood and interaction of the audience left nothing to wish for. The girls wore the same black ‘Kasabuta’ outfit as in summer, which is a good thing. Setlist was nice, missing ‘MIRAIE’, but their repertoire is much extensive nowadays. This became obvious in one of their announcements: They will release their first album in Decembre this year, with re-recordings of their past songs, so that it will become songs of the remaining three girls! Exceptional news for me! Hopefully this and their first One-Man-Live in Novembre will become a great success for them.
Where Party Rockets are already on par with established idol groups is their handling of merchandize: Me and my sister bought each the new fan shirt. Finally it wasn’t all that pink as its predecessors and doesn’t have this cute, but unmanly, kitty on it. I am always astonished how wotas can wear pink clothes so non chalantly. But this purchases doesn’t provide you with event tickets. Instead you have to buy (group) akushukais directly for 500 Yen, or buy one(!) photoset to get one cheki with a member of your choice, but for the price of 3,000 Yen. These terms are even tighter than PASSPO‘s. Signatures are also out of reach. They only do that at special occasions, like preordering the ticket for their One-man already and you are able to get a T-Shirt sign at the concert. Well, as I don’t see them that often, I am hardly at risk to spend to much money on them in that way, so it doesn’t bother me that much. And at least their akushukais are worth the price, as they aren’t Up Up Girls speed, but more like 10 seconds for each girl. Enough to share some words, or as in my case today, give Akari a present. I have no real oshi in the group. Because of only having three members nowadays, it is quite easy to follow all of them. But I saw one of their showrooms a while ago, and during some English lessons, Akari made some funny mistakes in it, and I exploited this for a joke present. During the handover their was no time for her to take a good look at it, so no idea if the joke came across. And I again had enough on my hands in following the Japanese conversation anyway and in consequence find a fitting reply every now and then. But talking went relatively smooth. All of them were greeting me with a ‘Thank You’ first; don’t think they remembered me from last time though, but a huge step forward from then, as they were quite reserved back than. With Akari I again experienced how different her vibe is: On official occasions, when she needs to behave in a serious manner (or in the ‘Kasabuta’ PV for example), she comes off very stern and aloof. But when you see her on their showroom or like today’s events, you recognize that in reality she is still a cheerful child, much more suitable to her age, and much more likeable. That is why I can never really decide on oshi’s until I get to know the girl directly and over a certain period of time. I can not understand, how people can do this just by looks. Haruka was more difficult to talk to. Not because she is odd or something, but her looks resemble the perfect Japanese girl for me, with her slender figure and the long black hair, its front straight cut. But Perfection repells me. I could just tell her that I enjoyed the show a lot and looked forward to their album. Fumika was last and this time I made sure to only talk in Japanese with her. After the normal stuff I told her that I will see them again at Idol Koushien. This was more for me, as the time schedule for Idol Koushien became pretty tough, but I that way I forced myself to see Party Rockets no matter what. I sometimes need this type of self induced pressure. My sister by the way didn’t participate. It was her first Japanese idol experience and a bit too much for her already. But she would get used to it, I can foreshadowing that. I also didn’t got me a cheki ticket. I wanted to start slow with my money and had the chance of doing that at the Idol Koushien a few days later anyway.
I must insert a short paragraph regarding my oshi in Party Rockets, because Shaun was questioning me about it. As I stated before, I have non really and in general don’t need one. Be it an idol or a regular music group, I can follow both just for their music, regardless of their members, graduations, scandals, or whatever. T-ara comes to mind here, a Korean idol group I adore. In that cases I just choose a favourite member plain and simple for economical reasons: If you only follow one girl, you only have to buy her specific merchandize and decide for akushukais with her, if the tickets herefore are limited for example. Like with Naosuke of Babyraids. Of course I often have favourite members in a group, but that doesn’t mean I consider them my oshimen, as in my conception, an oshi is more than just your favourite group member. Such an idol should make an impression on me no other member of the group can, and not just because of her looks. And you must be sure to support her no matter what. And as stated with Akari above, I have to know the idol for quite a time before I make such a decision.
So to answer Shaun’s question: I am on my way to consider Akari my oshimen in Party Rockets, because she is very lovely with her childlike behaviour, represents the colour yellow (this becomes important in later posts) and specifically giving her a present gives my no other choice, right? And I exclude Haruka, because she is the leader and therefore too much in focus – I prefer less members which are less focus. Though I doubt that in a group of three this is a factor. Fumika is the youngest member but actually the most sympathetic. Still Akari comes across more adult, which I prefer.
Predia or Alice Juuban? What will it be next?
The answer awaits you in my next post!