My planning for the winter trip basically came to life because of several early idol live notifications: Predia announced in June that they would held a big One Man on 29.12. at Zepp Tokyo to celebrate their 5th Anniversary. Soon after (or was it before?) PiiiiiiiN made something similar, scheduling their 2nd Anniversary show also at a bigger venue, the Akasaka Blitz, on 03.01. So it now became the decision between to time frames: Either going around Novembre 28th, for PASSPO‘s tour final at Shinagawa Stellar Ball. Or going again for the Year end holidays. After some consideration the latter won because of several additional facts:
- The Year End holidays providing me extra time in Japan as I had to use fewer vacation days. (2015 in Germany there are 2 free days for Christmas and 2 for New Years.)
- Avoiding family time during the holiday season 😉
- Birthdays of Kanra (Bellring Girls Heart) and Asuka (Chu-Z)
- My believe that PASSPO or at least Hachake Tai would held some lives at well.
This alone would have been sufficient enough to convince me of traveling during the Decembre/January time frame. Then this occured: The final Bellring Girls Heart announced a series of three huge One Man’s during 2016, the first having been scheduled for 02.01.2016 – perfect for my plans! Unexpectedly Moechi also soon announced her graduation for February 2016 – even more a reason to go, as I won’t be able to see her again after that.
This in summary lead to my trip starting mid-Decembre and what I was afraid of the most came into effect: PASSPO only doing ONE(!) live event in Tokyo during the whole time of my stay! Of course there would have been the Hachake Tai Bounenkai event (involving lots of talking) and the participation of PASSPO at a festival in Osaka (too far away for just attending a Mini Live). So my only chance to see and interact with them became the first edition in their series of several Release Events, promoting their next single release (Mr. Wednesday) in the form of a “Re-Debut” (That exaggeration. PASSPO just changed their record label from Universal to Nippon Crown recently.). The good thing though, apart from the evident Mini Live: It was a free show which would be held outside at LaQua Stage. The weather that day was very warm (for the time of the year), so it promised to get very enjoyable.
Marty would join me later for the Mini Live but he wouldn’t participate in any events as he wanted to go for the One Man of Yurumerumo soon after the show. Me on the other hand arrived as soon as possible to pre-order me the single in the sufficient amount to take part in it. You can never get cheaper with PASSPO events than during release events. Though that is not a reason for me when it concerns my favourite group 😛 Much more the choice of events is special. That day they offered:
- Individual handshake
- Individual 2Shot
- all-member handshake
- Individual sign (on anything you like)
I was focused on point 1. to 4. Signs would have been nice, especially one of Annya and a photo sign by Yukki (I only have a signed shirt by her which I am to afraid of wearing-laundry). But the downside of release events where you have to pre-order is filling out a form (entirely in Japanese), including a Japanese address for the future delivery of the items by mail. I can manage the address part, putting my name in hiragana/katakana just fine – by using Caio‘s address and telephone number – he allowed 😉 The difficult part here though was the part where you had to pre-order specific bundles of CD-types to get a certain event ticket. So no “I-buy-as-many-CDs-as-I-like” to receive a number of tickets accordingly, which you could combine for the several types of events. I could understand the announcement on the blog, as it was to confusing (Type A, Type B, Type C, Individual Sheets(?) – What the heck?)
The make it short: I just put in numbers and hoped for it being right. Of course it wasn’t. To my luck the staff was very helpful. After finding out that I wasn’t understanding the system, he simply asked me what I wanted to achieve with the tickets. So I told him that I was going for (Japanese Idol Vocabulary lesson follows):
- Event / Benefits Association – tokuten-kai
- Individual 2Shot – Kobetsu Cheki
- All-Member-Cheki – Zen’in Cheki
- All-Member-Handshake – Zen Akushu
- Individual handshake – Kobetsu Akushu
Yes, I know that the translation is not entirely correct, but it is enough to tell what I want. By the way, I just took one ticket of each, to not hold up the queue any longer. Therefore I also refrained from any sign events. It was more than enough to fulfill my main purposes. To meet Yukki and take a photo with her and to meet the other members, with only a short amount of time available for talking as I had nothing to talk about, lol.
The task of event ticket acquiration was finally done, I breathed out in relief and just waited for the show to begin. As Marty soon arrived, the time passed by quickly. Also the amount of people grew exponentially, filling the place entirely. I was pleased by the big interest of people. When the show was about to start, I got into the priority viewing area (Access only when having pre-ordered at least one CD) and awaited the things to come.
Coming on stage in their recent tour outfits, PASSPO performed their standard songs, like Shoujo Hikou and Material Girl. I am not a big fan of most of their popular songs but after months of not being able to attend one of their lives, it was so much enjoyment and fun to finally take part again. The sound was rather good for this kind of place, but the nearby helter-skelter often distracted the show when it was rushing by, but also provided much laughter. Their new song, Mr. Wednesday, was as expected much closer in style to their early idol roots than their JeJeJeJet! phase, resembling Honey Dish a lot (Marty pointed this out to me), apart from the heavy guitars which are missing in the new song. But I liked it: It has a very nice guitar solo and the amount of fan involvement is plenty here with all the Ah’s and Woo’s inserted into it. So the song is great for the live experience at minimum. Have a listen to the MV. It is nicely done and displays their new outfits:
The approximately 30 minute live was over fast, the girls left the stage and preparations for the events were handled. Here I took a place afar to observe how it will be organised. I soon figured out the details. The All-Member-Activities would start – beginning with the handshake, followed by the photo session. So I got in the queue after a certain amount of people had already lined-up. It moved on pretty quick as PASSPO handshakes are in a decent speed, fitting to the number in fans. In contrast to groups like Up Up Girls. I pity their fans 😉 Thing was though: I had no idea what to talk to ANY of them, even Yukki. It didn’t helped that I still hadn’t adjusted to Japan just yet, struggling even more with my Japanese and getting into the events with idols.
Anyway the first member in line was Naomin and either she was in a bad mood or she really dislikes me, as I secretly suspect. Her smile was very fake and the replies of hers without much emotion. Admittedly my input didn’t help. Not even sure what I did tell her. Must have been me appreciating the new song.
Yukki came next and was a positive progression. When seeing me she immediately greeted me with ‘hisashiburi’, shaked my right hand and insisted on doing a high touch with our left hands. Such reaction by Yukki was a first, so again I was rendered clueless of what to say. In my joyful panic I told her in English (no idea of the Japanese equivalent) “I missed you”, to which she – as professional as she is – replied “I missed you too”. These interactions are the moments I am living for – as an idol fan. Morishi exclaimed an “Ah”when seeing me and nothing better came to mind then greeting her from my sister. My sentence was completely wrong in retrospect, but she understood what I meant after some thought. Embarrassing. No idea what came after, but meeting Morishi again was good enough for me.
Now it was my turn to talk with Aipon or rather the other way around, as she needed to lead the conversation. After my nice idea at TIF I couldn’t think of anything to talk about with her. It is either having too much respect for her for being the great idol she is, or me having no deeper interest. Whatever, Aipon was very nice, asked me how I liked the song and after I praised it I was happy to change my conversation partner, lol.
Annya. That girl is great! Primary reason: She recognising me everytime. What did you thought? Seriously, my only decent conversation with her was at TIF 2014, further encounters were always quick in nature. No matter the reason, I was happy again when a loud “Aah!” escaped her lips and she stated something in the line of “You are in Japan again?”. Luckily Annya, as most of the times really, took the initiative in the conversation and asked me about the new song as well. I answered something in the way of it being interesting/funny (“omoshiroi”) which Annya seemed to understand as a reference to the helter-skelter rushing by, as she made a “Wooosh!” sound and gesture, which made us both laugh. I wonder why… Then the staff pushed me. Damn.
I was afraid of my meeting with MioMio. It is worth than with Aipon with her, though here I am sure, that he reason is my low interest in her. I respect her a lot and she is one of the most talented in the group, but still… Here again the topic of conversation was the new song. Same as before I praised it. And as with Aipon I was lucky the time for chats with PASSPO is short in nature.
Was I happy to go from MioMio to Nachu? Well, with Nachu I already reached a state of mind were I don’t care what she might think of me or if she even remembers any of our encounters. Her face told me everything – completely motionless. First I contemplated of greeting her again in French like last time, but refused to do so. I simply asked, if she wasn’t cold, as the members were still clad in their short-sleeved outfits, just covered by a small cape. Nachu didn’t really complain about it and instead changed the topic to my impression of the new song. That topic again. Same reply from me as before. Curiously she continued to talk with me, even when the staff was reenforcing me to leave.
In summary, I had better moments with PASSPO akushukais, but reactions like those of Yukki, Annya and Morishi made it all worth it. I will certainly go again (This is a warning!)
After the queue of fans for the All-Member-Handshake was finished, preparations for the All-Member-Cheki began which basically was putting five chairs on the stage and the girls positioning themselves accordingly. When it was my turn, I was able to smile at Aipon when sitting down but Annya right away began talking to me, enthusiastically showing me me the “Wednesday-pose” which I had to adapt. She put so much effort in it that she even forget to smile into the camera when the photo was shot. Meanwhile I was full of joy to know that Yukki was standing right behind me. Now I know how my sister felt when she had Morishi standing behind her over a year ago.
Now only the individual activities were left. I slightly regretted of not having bought more tickets but the outlook of talking to Yukki kept me occupied enough. Topics, think of topics to talk about. I actually forgot if I first took the photo and then talked to her, or if it was the other way round. I believe it was the latter. Anyway I thought of her playing the guitar now in the Band version of the group and commented on that. But then Communication Breakdown occurred. She ‘seemed’ to have understood that I started playing guitar, whereas I was of the opinion that Yukki was asking me how I knew about her guitar playing. I managed to save face but felt disappointed in my conversation endeavours all over again. The cheki on the other hand went much better, me telling her more or less of continuing to support PASSPO in the next year. Smooth talking is always a good option when it concerns idols.
This finished the day basically. I watched the events some further. Interesting was to see again the different amount of fans for each member. Aipon and MioMio were as always in the highest demand. Closely followed by Annya. The other four (Hachake Tai, so to speak) were in comparison unpopular, the main rush for each of them finishing around the same time. Afterwards some other fan would sporadically talk to them, but this didn’t last long. When ‘Hachake Tai‘ left I also went my way, walking around some places in Tokyo as it was still early. It was my only meeting with PASSPO this trip and the experience only left me craving for more. I hope to have more luck on my next trip. Which brings me to my updated schedule page. Take a look for further infos.