This day I kept free for meeting up with Caio, already early in the day. I skipped the Hachake Tai Bounenkai for it, but oh well – I prefer going for lives. Every other idol event where the focus is not on the performance but rather on communication, I feel out of place. In my opinion this is something to be enjoyed by the Japanese fans.
Nevertheless the day wasn’t without idols – on the contrary. Initially we planned to go for the restaurant of Yuuka’s family but she tweeted me about it being closed for an unspecified time, as the air-condition need to be repaired. Damn. Instead me and Caio therefore met in Ikebukuro (I think) and decided to go for the Afilia Saga café there. Caio planned this either way, as one of his most favourite idols, Louise, was present, celebrating her birthday. As she also will graduate early 2016, it would even be his last chance to meet her. But Caio wouldn’t be Caio if he didn’t forgot to bring a present for her. I won’t comment further on that mistake…
The visit there was okay despite me feeling out of place at maid café’s when there is no maid to talk to (in English) or at least having a good amount of attention from them (my experience in Osaka back then will probably be a singular occassion). The food was good but much too small amount. Cocktails were nice though. The café itself had a strange layout, looking similar to an auditorium at an university. I don’t know how to describe it better, so I put up a photo:
The maids did there best not to concern themselves with us – and were successful in that approach. We always had to call on one of them passing by when we wanted to submit an order. Actually the only maid that was nice to us was the one who cashed in our bill and escorted us to the exit. Maybe she was nice because we left already??? Hmm…
But at least Louise came over to the table – next to us and when she recognized Caio and greeted him (Congratulations, mate!), he was able to deliver a joke. (Read Caio’s blog post for a more detailed description on that.) Luckily Lousie felt obligated to visit us properly some time later, after we were close on giving up. Most of the conversation I could follow, but my attempt to stay out of the conversation, to give Caio a proper chance to engage in a chat with her, was undermined by Caio himself, in putting the focus on me by telling Louise that my favourite Afilia Saga member is Maho. No further commentary on that action…
Well, Louise feigned interest, asked about me and showed obvious confusion by my refusal of buying Maho‘s bikini DVD. Me on the other hand had no real interest in conversation, as Afilia Saga is not my group. I like to listen to their music and watch them perform, but otherwise have no interest in them. So some quick topics were exchanged and that was it. Too bad, there was no option on the menu for getting chekis with Louise. Some customers were able to but it seemed they purchased some way overpriced stuff for it.
Still, Louise was very nice, despite her visible tiredness for staying that long at the café that day, and I agree that she is one great (and good looking) personality. The idol world will surely miss her!
As both me and Caio had no idea what to do next I was able to convince him of attending the mall live of several idol groups at Sunshine City. Amongst groups/interprets like Siam Poptune and Shinozaki Ai, Stella Beats would perform there soon, as part of their CD release event. Watching Idol shows at a mall from the balcony was a new experience. The sound was surprisingly good and the complete view on the stage from above a much welcomed difference to the usual, enabling you to follow the group choreography nicely. I noticed though that I was not familiar with Stella Beats new line-up and songs. They changed a lot from my last time seeing them perform, which was in March 2015.
With the help of Caio I was able to pre-order 2 CDs later on and took part in the event. I decided to get a cheki and sign with Mana. As she speaks English we switched between languages quite often. I was surprised to find her accent pretty thick. She didn’t remember me so topics and reactions were the usual – ‘Oh, Germany!’, ‘Flight must be tiring.’ and so on. The cheki was a nice idea from Mana though, making use of the Christmas decoration on the stage.
Much more fun was the next session that would occur soon: The performance and event of PiiiiiiiN. I didn’t even need to buy merchandise as Marty handed me four event tickets yesterday for my own personal use (Thanks!). In retrospect I should have bought, and used, more tickets that day as PiiiiiiiN would change their event system afterwards because of higher demand due to increased popularity, making cheki shots a rare event and instead offering group and individual handshakes only. Chekis will now be limited to smaller events and their regular lives.
Anyway the live was interesting as apart from one song they performed only new ones. I can’t say that I was amazed by those. They were missing in power and had no edges. It was obvious though, that the songs now featuring much more individual lines by each members, instead of the reliance on unison singing. Most songs are putting the focus on one or two members specifically. I find this to be a nice progression, similar to PASSPO‘s. Still in musical terms the latter are more suitable to my taste, as they are far heavier in sound. Me and Caio had our fun during the live though, waving my fan towel of Ayano around. As expected, she hardly looked at us, at least not noticable – in stark contrast to Arisa and Rizu though, who several times took attention.
After failing in convincing Caio to participate at the event, who took a liking in Arisa and Runa – I wanted to give him a ticket for free – me alone went for it. The first thirty minutes of the event could be used for chekis, so chose to use three tickets, one each for Ayano (of course), Rizu (of course) and Arisa, as I remembered her fondly from TIF.
Ayano, which whom I used my fourth ticket for the sign later on, greeted me as usual – calling me by name and telling me ‘Long time, no see’, but in a very calm manner, which displayed understated enthusiasm. I totally lacked in understanding most of our conversation, which made Ayano display a pitiful face. I dislike this mimic of her and noticed it for the first time she doing that with many people during conversations. But Ayano showed honest happiness when I confirmed her question if I would stay in Japan for their big 2nd Anniversary Live at Akasaka Blitz on January 3rd (hence the 1.3 on the cheki). I was also able to show her Caio on the balcony, telling her I brought a friend to see PiiiiiiiN for the first time. Her reaction was less enthusiastic as you would expect from an idol, but I understand: It showed her some infamous kimoi wota 😛
My meeting with Rizu was, as most of my meetings with her, an experience. She was talking so much and so fast, I had to tell her two times to speak more slowly – of course she totally ignored my insertion. But what I could make out of her machine gun speech: Rizu greeted me by name – I am still surprised she is alway remembering it – and she told me of having seen me on the balcony during the show. With that kind of attention for me she could easily become my favourite member in the group, if Ayano wasn’t that great of an idol as well.
My talk with Arisa went nicely. I don’t really know what to talk with her, but I really like her attitude – always wearing that bright smile. So I used that detail and told her “Anata no egao suki desu.” I forgot her exact reaction to it – embarrassment clouded my memory, I guess – but it was very positive. Arisa is just lovely. Again the female staff failed in taking a proper photo, leaving much too big space on it. Women. If they are not idols, they are pretty useless… 😉
Afterwards me and Caio stayed to watch the event coming to an end, giving us the opportunity to see the fans displaying a small congratulations procedure by handing each member flowers in their assigned colour – in celebration of the 2nd Anniversary (which was the day before). As Caio had a long way home and having to work the next day we then parted, in the knowledge of meeting again soon, for a festival that also had PiiiiiiiN in its line-up. Although he wasn’t that convinced by the group itself, Caio at least took a liking to the goofyness of Arisa. This motivated me to think of an evil masterplan in getting him to talk with her then. Hehehe…