That day became the first time of were I did something like venue hopping: Changing places several times to see performances of different group, just staying at one venue as long as the live and event of the group I wanted to see lasted, to then go for the next live somewhere else in town. I also did a lot of those the following and I can say: I hate it. Don’t know how other manage that, but going back and forth long ways (I went Ueno – Shibuya – Akihabara – Shibuya – Ueno) didn’t let me enjoy the lives that much, as I subconsciously felt always under time pressure. And sticking to one place only for a short amount of time, (2 hours at most) makes it hard to settle in and get in the mood for a live. I rather prefer staying for hours in the back or at the bar and watch what is going on. But why did I repeat this process again and again? It is the only way to make sure to see some groups on my trip, that otherwise would have been complicated. It paid out in most cases, as I will report here soon. Still, it keeps being exhausting. Maybe when traveling under more pleasant weather conditions it becomes better to endure? I have my doubts…
Anyway that day I started with going for Shibuya Sound Vision in the late morning hours, to secure myself a ticket for a festival, which wasn’t that interesting in general as it consisted mostly of a lot small, boring (to me) groups. But Party Rockets GT would perform there. It has been nearly a year since I saw a proper live by them. I don’t count TIF, as there they could only performed with other idols on guest vocals. It would also be the first time seeing the new members and maybe I could partake in a suitable event. Caio‘s blog promised a lot of changes to it – for the better – and I wanted to experience it myself.
11:30 Triangle Lovers 11:40 唯瀬愛結 11:50 do Me baby 12:05 Flying Marmeid 12:15 白星☆ウィクトーリア 12:25 パチ☆スター 12:35 （調整時間） 12:40 ゆるっと革命団 12:55 ぽんこつマシンガン（赤マルダッシュ☆） 13:05 プリティグッド！ 13:20 ベースボールガールズ (Baseball Girls) 13:40 Malcolm Mask McLaren 13:55 ANNA☆S 14:15 （調整時間） 14:20 gra-DOLL 14:35 まどもあ54世 14:50 loop 15:05 キャンディzoo 15:20 横浜CLEAR’S 15:35 With Love 15:50 （調整時間） 15:55 i*chip_memory 16:10 TOKYO喫茶 16:20 君と僕、ときどきメランコリック 16:35 センチメンタルウインク 16:50 SnowDrops 17:10 ULTRAGIRL 17:25 （調整時間） 17:30 meltia 17:45 Devil ANTHEM. 18:00 re-2 18:15 ドリームステーション (Dream Station) 18:30 上月せれな (Koizuki Serena) 18:45 オトメブレイヴ (Otome Brave) 19:00 （調整時間） 19:05 Feam 19:20 PPP!PiXiON 19:35 Party Rockets GT 19:55 Chubbiness 20:10 東京CLEAR’S
Beside Party Rockets GT there was slight interest in Do Me Baby, who I remember as decent from some live back in the days, but I arrived only after their show. Instead I had to endure groups like Malcolm Mask McLaren, Baseball Girls and AnnaS – so leaving the venue soon for an event more to my liking was not hard. I had my ticket for later re-entry, also needed to eat something quick, so got on my way to Akihabara.
Here, as I described in a former post, I already purchased tickets for an In-Store Live by Lovely Doll. This time no running around was needed between the two Sofmaps, to find out the right place of the performance. I did that already enough that day… Although I went for Lovely Doll, the only reason for going there was seeing Yuririn again. She really is a lovely idol and her reaction back then at TIF was more than enough to further support her in the future. This is a rare case for me, as I usually don’t just care for an individual idol in a group. Also although I enjoy most of the music by Lovely Doll, after the member changes I lost my interest in meeting with the group for events. If it wasn’t for Yuriko I am certain that I would have already skipped to just listening to them.
Showing the staff at the elevator my entry ticket I went for the seventh floor. Here already a bigger group of fans assembled. After some waiting time staff called out for numbers and in groups of ten, people were lead to the stage on the eighth floor. The small venue was similar to Akiba Cultures Theater, with its row of seats in front. As I am not that acquainted with the groups new songs and therefore its chants I chose myself a seat – in the second to last row on the furthest right side.
The Live soon began and as expected, most of the songs performed were new or hardly known by me. Good choice for sitting down. It also seems they did a Christmas song, which was really good, but I wasn’t able to understand clearly. Anyway I could get out of it, that a new album will soon be released! Yay! About time. During the live Yuririn was often looking directly at me, so I struggled hard to participate, but I still can not endure idol gazes for long, nevertheless they are gladly welcome.
With an approximately 40 minutes duration the live was longer than expected and right after the girls left the stage the event was prepared. As usually I took a place at the back to first get an impression in how it will be organised. Actually quite clever, as I observed, then the staff formed individual lines for each of the seven members and used the row of seats to direct the fans accordingly. I could watch over this some time as at first the all-member handshakes and photos would begin the event. When individual cheki shooting was starting I waited a while until the biggest flow of Yuririn-fans was finished, queued up and that made my way on the stage. It became a very pleasant meeting, with Yuririn obviously happy to see me again. For the cheki she came very close, basically leaning on me. I even had her hair in my face. There are worse situations I can think of though 😛 She mentioned our seeing each other at TIF and praised me for wearing her fan shirt to todays live, the one I purchased back then with her present at the buppan table. Later, when I went up to Yuririn again to get my cheki signed, I noticed her nice smell. It came out to be hand cream. Impressive was her still remembering my name, though she had to reassure herself how it was written.
In summary, Yuririn is definitely an idol I should try to see each time I am in Japan. She deserves any effort. Luckily for me I would even have a second chance to see her again, although I couldn’t go for Lovely Doll‘s Christmas Live, neither their next In-Store Live or their New Years show. But I will get to that in time.
After the show the contribution to another idol-related event was continuing. I was approached by a Japanese fan, who was collecting photos and congratulation writings for Yuriko’s birthday one month later. He spoke some English, so it was easy to follow his guide. Because of the suddeness I couldn’t think of a good line, so I wrote something in easy English. But I was happy to have been able to contribute to some fan celebration present to one of my favourite idols. This won’t be the last time on this trip.
During the event I was under time pressure, then as it turned out, my favourite Predia member, Matsumoto Runa, was present at the Noodol Café, just some blocks away. I have never been there before so I wanted to use this opportunity to check it out. I found it while walking through a slight rain, only to be greeted by some sort of vending machine at the entrance. I had no idea how the system works there, only that there would be three girls, who are contracted at Platinum Passport agency, with whom you could chat while they were preparing you either a cup of noodles (hence the name) or serve you a drink. To don’t embarrass myself by having no clue, I wasn’t picking a drink button with a cheki of one of the present girls on it, but a free one – in the hope of it being no-talk. The arousing chants of the people around told me otherwise – I couldn’t have been more wrong! Then right away after I collected my ticket, the staff immediately showed me to one girl, who was unoccupied and I had to talk with her. Apparently the button had the function of talk-with-a-random-girl-which-is-the next-available. Fantastic! It turned out the worst it could get: The girl saw me and exclaimed an audible “Aah!”, combined with a shocked expression, making everyone around laugh. Her first question was as expected: “Do you speak Japanese? I can not speak english.” Her disappointment, as I denied. She then poured me my cola, to kill some time, just to realise that in her shock state she forgot to start the timer. Now only the three minute talking time would begin. We began easy: She asked from where I am, I asked her her name, which was Juria. I then asked her occupation and got the reply: Race Queen. Now it was my turn in being disappointed. What can I, with my limited Japanese and her none-existent English, hope to talk about? Silence. As she thought that I didn’t understood her, she then showed me photos of her on her mobile phone. That was nice. But not nearly long enough to kill three minutes with it. Silence. As she mentioned before of being a former idol, I asked her if it was fun. She affirmed. Silence. She then asked me about the Noodol Café and how I knew it. I told her I like PASSPO and Predia, while pointing at Runa (she was occupied with another guest, so no contact was made). Also that today is my first time at the café. “Aah…!” Silence. We both caught us watching at the timer. Embarrassed smiles from both of us and finally – 0:00! We said goodbye and I am quite sure that both of us felt relieved! To play it cool, I stayed for like ten minutes at the café, sipping my cola slooowly and observed the chats of the fans with Runa. It seems you can collect points for going there frequently and therefore are allowed to do more, then I saw fans talking for way over three minutes with her and some even took chekis. Meanwhile Runa was not even once lost her concentration to the fan presently talking with her. So my last hope of her at least seeing me was crushed, though at the same time I was a bit proud of her professionalism. It didn’t matter in the end, as I would see Runa soon enough some days later.
Now I hurried back to Shibuya again, for some more positive encounters hopefully. I arrived early enough for the performance of Koizuki Serena. Decent sound, but too average in my opinion. As a solo artist she also felt lost to me on the big stage. Otome Brave was kind of enjoyable, Feam was boring and PPP!PiXiON became a nice memory. I was surprised how much the group had changed since I saw them last time in March, now only consisting of three members and being far less popular now than their little sister group PiiiiiiiN, which they once promoted. They don’t fit my taste in most regards but I can still enjoy their lives.
Finally Party Rockets GT came on and I felt the changes and the long time that had past since I last have seen them. Being a five-member group now needed the fans to adjust their chants. I was therefore completely out of the game when the usual shouting of names took place. Especially when lines were shared by more than one member, I couldn’t follow: Did they shout for both members accordingly or just for one? It also didn’t help, when the new member Ayumi would share vocal lines with Haruka, the popular founding member, as you could only hear shouts for the latter. I therefore just kept to some movements and the general shouts. How I missed the trio, and of course Akari then. But anyway, the performance on stage with five members gave off a stronger feeling and the sound was as great as ever, a welcome change of pace to the general more poppy-style idols. Only their new song (Music Video at the beginning of the post) was only average, reminding of some other song by them. As Caio found out, the refrain was very similar to the melody of Starting Line, one of their early songs.
Events for the last groups began only after the lives were finished. This brought me the “pleasure” of watching a set by Chubbiness, probably to Shaun’s envy. What is chubby about them still escapes me, but there music is the typical AVEX style, but the only decent group of that agency still is Super Girls for me. I was more surprised that the buppan later included a lot of fan service, with chekis and long individual talks. The girls even went around handing out flyers. When you ever saw an event held by Super Girls or GEM, you will easily understand my astonishment. But what do I care about Chubbiness? It now began sales of Party Rockets GT and I had no idea what to expect for today. Individual handshakes were not available. Just an all-member one. But to my joy cheki tickets were directly sold, without the need to purchase any item. They also had big bromide-pictures for signing on sale, but as for Haruka was only one photo left, I let it be. Instead I chose to buy two cheki tickets. I wanted one with Haruka, after the departure of Akari my favourite member of the group now. The other was planned for Ayumi. As there was no individual handshake ticket I hoped that there was some time during the cheki shoot to talk with her, as I wanted to see if she really was skilled in speaking English.
It took a while until the girls arrived, so in the meantime I was approached by a fan of the group, I assume the same with whom I had already talked during last year’s Year End Live. He told me he had to hurry, as his last train home was soon leaving and would just stay for one cheki (I forgot who, probably Fumika). He asked me what I wanted at the event and I explained to him. He said not to worry, there will be time to talk during the shoot. Now the girls arrived and the all-member handshake would start. All of the girls seemed to be in good mood. After the handshakes I made sure to observe how it continued. A single line was formed and chekis were done one by one, you just had to name the girl of your choice. I got in line soon and was surprised at the amount of time you could spend with the girls after the cheki was shot. Haruka had to be called to come, as before me Himeka and Fumika were in demand. She was smiling and asked right away which pose. I didn’t had the impression of her remembering me, so I suggested a ‘hashiburi’ pose. She just looked puzzled and to stop the confusion, we made a sort of victory-sign pose. I then mentioned her former much longer hair, to which she agreed and that she cut it short. Congratulating her for the new single was the last topic of us and then we parted. All in all I had a very good impression of her. Haruka was more open than in the past, obviously having grown a lot since the early beginnings of the group.
Now I queued up again and soon it was my turn to talk to Ayumi. She came right at me with an English greeting and was also asking for the pose up-front (photos had to be done quick for the single queue and only one photographer present). I told her to do the Setsuna Sora pose and had to show it to her, as she seemed confused. Finally she understood and although the staff used to take the photo too close and therefore cutting some of Ayumi‘s head, I was very satisfied with the result. I soon began to understand the reason for her confusion then immediately after the shot was done, she asked me how I know about the song. She was hugely surprised when I told her me being a fan of Party Rockets GT way before Kasabuta. Ayumi‘s English is great by the way. She speaks like a native, with a clear American accent, so easy to understand compared to its British counterpart 😛 The flow of our conversation was perfect. No need for pauses in search of words or anything. I couldn’t even bring my question to her as Ayumi continually lead the discussion, asking me about my home country and my relation to the group. If it weren’t for my loyality to Haruka I would definitely have chosen Ayumi as my new favourite. I had noticed that the other members took much interest in our conversation, having followed it with their eyes, not knowing what was going on. So when I left I could observe the rest of the members eagerly awaiting Ayumi‘s return. It was funny to see them all starting inquiring her about our chat.
The experience was great, not only the event but also the live reminded me again of why I started to like the group back then. It is a good experiences, that you can see members come and go but the essence of the group will continue to strive. More effort should be made by me to see Party Rockets GT more frequent again. Hopefully they will start to do more regular shows from now on, as the integration phase of the new members should be completed already. Another reason is Caio‘s starting fondness for the group, although based mostly on the fact of Nanase‘s inclusion, an idol he knew (and liked) from her former group. Visiting lives together with friends is much more enjoyable. As there seems to be no high quality live video of the current line-up so far on Youtube, you have to bear with this version here, where they perform my favourite song of Party Rockets GT.
As I was able to acquire tickets for an sold-out Idol Koushien some days later, one which line-up was above average, including Party Rockets GT, I was soon able to meet the group again. This time in company of Marty and Caio. Great times were awaiting me!