I have to thank Mayu and Miri again, for luring my sister into idol fandom on the Monday before. Because of it she wanted to see at least Rhymeberry again soon. An opportunity arose on Wednesday, only made known to us by a flyer Miri was distributing at the event last time. The live we would attend therefore turned out to be a great new experience, something I haven’t even thought possible with idol groups.
But let me first give you an account of how the time before the above mentioned live took place. As we had time that day (and have been awake early – to our standards) we spend the time from noon to early evening in Odaiba, where I showed my sister around so she could get acquainted with the area that would soon become the location for TIF. This turned out to be necessary on the actual day of the festival, as my sister would then be too tired to go early for it with me and instead happened to arrive much later, therefore having to find her way around herself. But that is not a story for this post. Another reason to go there was the announcement of Stella Beats performing that day at the stage which would later become the My Navi Stage at TIF. I inquired Marty about joining us for it but if I remember correctly, he had other plans. When we reached the stage though, instead of Stella Beats members of Idoling!!! appeared. The reason: I simply confused the dates! Stella Beats would perform the next day! Well, sharing so much time with guys like Caio or recently Shaun, whose post speaks for itself, finally made me fall down to their standard. The misconception could have been fortunate if Mayu would have been in the line-up, but to our disappointment she wasn’t around. Instead we watched the show with only half interest, using it as preparation for enduring the heat, we would experience soon. Anticipation is something different! After the live we checked out DiverCity were I bought me a fan shirt of Risa from Denpagumi Inc. at the Village Vanguard shop. Nice!
When we were finished with strolling around in Odaiba we were heading for the small festival we wanted to go for, which was situated in Shinjuku. Here I showed my sister the huge Godzilla statue on one of the skyscrapers. (Thanks to Caio for showing it to me last time.) As it was still time we searched for a café and had quite some trouble to find one. Finally the time for entry approached and we could make our way to Shinjuku LOFT Bar. Here a festival named “Yuyake Note” (Sunset Note) would take place, featuring the following groups:
Maison Book Girl
I knew Maison Book Girl from being the opening act during the Three-Man-Live I have been to on January 2nd. It was also the same event were I saw Rhymeberry live for the first time. 8mm was another collaboration of Miri, that my sister found out before. No other info was known to me. Oyasumi Hologram I knew by name, but never listened to them. PaiPai Dekabi was completely unknown to me. But the fact that concerned me the most was the small venue itself. It was basically just a bar, with a reclining area on one side and a small stage area at the other. Nothing more than to fit 50 people, at most. I was looking around the place to find another entrance but it was fruitless. The only thing that reassured me being at the right location was the small amount of people wearing fan shirts of Rhymeberry. So to avoid any suspicious behaviour, we just ordered some drinks and put ourselves near the small stage area, feeling a bit out-of-place as foreigners here.
Soon the lights went out and to my surprise musicians with acoustic guitars came out, accompanied by the members of Maison Book Girl. Now it dawned me, why the small space: Tonight would be only acoustic lives! It may sound strange, but this was something unthinkable to me, considering the meager voices of idols in general and the fact, that dancing was completely omitted here. I only remembered Predia selling an acoustic live DVD but never had a chance to see it. This evening would turn out interesting, I was sure of it. The only distraction though was a metal band performing in the Shinjuku LOFT and its sound could be clearly heard in the LOFT Bar, but nothing too major which would interfere with the performances.
Maison Book Girl started by reading from a book, the members alternating after several sentences. This took at least 5 minutes of the clock. No idea what they read, so you can imagine how much it has bored for me. The subsequent live though was the best of the evening in retrospective, as the acoustic guitar was played very audible, supporting the singing voices perfectly. During the later shows guitars often were much too quite and the transcription from electric to acoustic seemed not really worked out by the instrumentalist. Anyway, Maison Book Girl delivered a nice performance but the restrained, partially indifferent attitude of the girls on stage put me off a lot. Still a nice listen.
Next on the schedule was Rhymeberry already. They went even further with the instrumentation and had a whole band backing them, consisting of two guitars, saxophone, drums and even keyboards. As far as I understood, those were professional musicians who had their own band. How they happened to perform for Rhymeberry escaped my understanding but I am sure they told us that they couldn’t practice much before. The result wasn’t that bad though but what became obvious is that Rhymeberry’s hiphop sound is not anyway as good in acoustic as it is electric. The beats of the drums can’t compare, the other instruments lack in density and Miri’s strong voice overpowered the sound; a stark contrast to Misaki, who in my ears has still a lot to work on. Still it was an experience. On Youtube there is sadly no video with acoustic content. I post therefore the recent single Mirrorball in all its full sound glory – fantastic number!
Next came the solo idol PaiPai Dekabi. Not sure if that is the right transliteration of her name, but it is what Google Translate tells me. Anyway, I don’t really care, as for me she is an idol to forget about. Her singing and songs were mediocre at best. Curiously her performance that night can be found on Youtube and I am nice guy enough to post it here in my blog. Make your own evaluation of her.
Now 8mm (pronounced “hachi-miri”) appeared on stage, the collaboration of Miri from Rhymeberry and Hachigatsu-chan from Oysumi Hologram, hence the name of the group. In musical terms it was similar to Miri’s other collab with Mayu but what really drew me in was Hachigatsu-chan’s soothing voice. I saw and heard her for the first time and was immediately impressed by it. I also liked her demeanour, appearing not introverted but for a lack in better wording, like a normal girl – and rather natural, without the fake grace or craziness that many idols (need to) display. The music was mediocre, as I found the guitar too far in the background to provide strength for the sound, but I am sure that it is much better on the studio version. Sadly it wasn’t available. Still Miri again displayed her skills and Hachigatsu-chan added a nice contrast to the rapping parts. Their performance was also caught on camera.
The final stage was assigned to Oyasumi Hologram. Here Hachigatsu-chan appeared again, this time with the second member of the group, Kanamiru. The latter being the complete opposite in terms attitude and looks, the perfect example of the aforementioned “craziness” with her trendy hangover-make-up under the eyes and extroverted behaviour on stage. The latter I only got to know by watching Youtube-lives later. Her stage presence is overwhelming and she must be half-vampire. Her voice is much more girly and similar to regular idols in that regard but it fits the group sound a lot. In fact I began to like her voice even more than Hachigatsu’s. Infatuation changes fast. The main part of their performance appeared on Youtube as well and I am happy to present it to you. It was in my opinion the best of the evening, good singing and great guitar work.
Their usual sound something that reminds me of the indie/alternative rock scene of the Nineties, something I was very fond of until I discovered idol music. I am glad that with Oyasumi Hologram I found a group that shares this style. Something else must be added: The group as well as fans are very lively and reminds me of other “underground” rock idol groups. But what I like the most is the fact that they are “free-style” idols – hardly doing any choreographed dance moves on stage, just moving around it freely. I would love to see much more of that in idol shows. One reason I love PASSPO and Bellring Girls Heart, as they allow more freedom in performance, though not nearly as much as Oyasumi Hologram. I will absolutely follow the group in the future. I post a video here that shows one of their recent sets. Don’t wonder about Hachigatsu-chan being alone at the beginning. Apparently Kanamiru arrived to late at the venue but joins for the second song already.
The live was short but neat and right after the events were prepared. Me and my sister stayed at our location (it had a table) and watched what was going on and where the Rhymeberry stand would be established, as my sister wanted to join the event. Meanwhile two females from the audience were passing again. They crossed my way that day several times and one of them must have known me, as she obviously talked with her friend about me before and everytime she walked by she nodded her head to me. I had no clue about her as her face was mostly covered by a big hat. So I can only assume that she saw me in one of the prior shows I visited that trip. Anyway, we were lucky and the Rhymeberry stand wasn’t put far from us. I let my sister try her luck on her own but she failed and I had to come to her support and had to explain to the staff that she wanted a cheki with both members of Rhymeberry. Misaki, shy as ever, sat smiling on a chair behind the table whereas Miri started chatting with my sister already.
Next to Rhymeberry the event of Oyasumi Hologram was on its way. They had a table with merchandise and the two members did chekis. As I got bored by just watching others doing events I took a look at the CDs and bought two of their singles. The shirts weren’t that great and as I still didn’t know the “real” sound of the group I wouldn’t have wanted to purchase fan shirts of someone I may not like by close examination. Their live though was good enough to make me optimistic about it, so I bought me two cheki tickets, which were rather cheap. I don’t like taking chekis with random idols. They should mean something to me and be someone I want to continue supporting in the future.
Hachigatsu-chan was the first member I talked to. (By the way, I call her with the appendix -chan as this is her official idol name.) Her English was pretty much non-existing and my comprehension of Japanese English was rusty that day, as after greeting her with an ‘hajimemashite’, Hachigatsu-chan introduced herself (which was needed as I didn’t know her name at that time), but I couldn’t really understand it as she added some unknown word(?) after her name. Finally I realised that ‘hachigatsu’ was the Japanese word for August and after telling her that, she happily nodded and the problem was solved! This affected the cheki shooting right after it, as Hachigatsu now told me in English she is happy (to meet me) and made that pose with open arms and standing on one leg! It was a bit too sudden to respond to that in myself finding the right pose, but I barely managed.
What I like about the chekis is that their photographer has a much more creative style of shooting it, trying out different angles and such. Makes the photo more lively. Our conversation continued, with Hachigatsu asking me about the basics (my country, name, etc.). Here we managed quite well to understand us and our mutual attempts in speaking each others languages (okay, mine is German, but you know what I mean) made us both enjoy the talk. Hachigatsu impressed me with her openness and was really interested in how I knew about the show that day. For this she had to ask the photographer, who seemed to be quite good in English, for phrasing the question. I was able to reply in Japanese that I have been here because of my sister who likes Rhymeberry which made her inquiry some further, asking if my sister likes idols. She seemed surprised.
The conversation was approximately two minutes, so a high value for your money, but also only possible because of the small capacity of the venue and therefore small audience. For Kanamiru I had to line-up again. She is such a stark contrast to Hachigatsu’s personality. I also had to restrict myself from staring at her teeth. She didn’t smiled and appeared reserved. I assume it is because of the fact that I am a foreigner and she was uncertain if I was there as a fan of idols or just as a tourist who wants to watch ‘crazy Japan’. At least I got that impression from watching Youtube videos and reading her tweets, as it showed and mentioned obnoxious Americans… eh, foreigners *cough*, who approached her because of her unique looks. Anyway it was time again to excel in my Japanese and I basically started in praising the acoustic set, which I enjoyed a lot (I really did!) and even called her voice beautiful. Her face stayed motionless but I could see she was listening with interest. I expressed my hope to see them again some time. When the cheki was about to be shot I was caught completely by surprise as she instigated the embrace shown on it, taking my arm to put it around her neck and doing the same herself with hers. Damn it, I am not used to such poses. Actually it was the first idol shot with that close of a contact. But I really like its outcome. She is looking like a drunk on the photo, but I am in favour of drinking idols. And it matches her hangover make-up (barely visible here). Not that she was drunk, to avoid all misconceptions!
This finished the day for me and my sister, us both reminiscing about our idol experiences that night on our way back to the hotel – exhausted but very, very happy. If you are interested in Oyasumi Hologram: They even have a soundcloud. Give it a try.
On a side note, if you ever want to meet idols apart from lives and events, several of them appear as waitresses in cafés or similar. Here are some recommendations. I have to add though, that I haven’t been able to attend any of those yet. *sweatdrop*
Chu-Z have “their” café 原宿イエロー (Harajuku Yellow) in the Shibuya district. Appearances are made known basically by Twitter announcements. It seems to work like a maid café and the girls usually appear at 19. I assume you having to pay a table charge of 3,000 Yen, which allows you staying for one hour. Not sure on that though.
Address: 渋谷区神宮前１丁目１５−４ – Map
Mizuki Yuka, better known under her idol name Yuuyu and graduated member of the group Bellring Girls Heart has opened an Italian restaurant named ‘Amistad’. It is located near Yutenji Metro station (Meguro district). As she was one of my most favourite idols, please support her by eating there! The food looks delicious. I am also impressed, how she managed to open a restaurant as she is only 18 years old. Of course I will go there on my next trip and already promised to her. If anyone wants to join me, please feel free to notify me!
Hachigatsu-chan of Oyasumi Hologram works as bartender in a club names Art Space Bar Buena. It is said that her self-created cocktails are fantastic. No idea how often she appears as bartender, but I assume chances are high that she basically works there every day, apart on days with lives of Oyasumi Hologram. The club looks interesting though, even if she is not around.
There is also an English-subtitled(!) interview with Hachigatsu on the official Youtube site.
If you are lucky you can also see performances when you are there, like these: