On this day an Idol Koushien at Shinjuku Blaze happened, one that was sold out very quickly, but were I was able to not only get tickets for myself but also to provide Marty and Caio with those. Aren’t I great? Every effort paid out though, becoming one of the best experiences in my idol fandom. Not the best, then as I mentioned, Caio was present 😛 Just kidding. Seriously I had much fun and the line-up was very neat and well scheduled. Well, until the final shows started, which will become obvious when I show you the time table for the events. For your convenience I took the effort to contrast it with the event schedule. Conflicts will appear more obvious this way.
|12:00～12:15||Malcolm Mask McLaren|
Malcolm Mask McLaren
|14:40～15:10||Party Rockets GT|
|17:35～18:05||サンミニ||【17:30-18:30】||Party Rockets GT
I marked all the groups I was interested in seeing on stage with red colour. Those groups I hoped to avoid I marked in blue. I just can not stand those in one way or another. As you can see, until 17:35 it was a pleasant schedule: some live of interest, some event of interest – both without interfering each other in an unmanageable time period. Then it slowly took a turn for the worst, with the Party Rockets GT event scheduled at the same time as the San Mini and Lyrical School performances. But those two are only side interests and not that much important to me, so skipping them didn’t matter too much. Also the event provided me a perfect opportunity to escape the PassCode show. With the last four groups on stage containing three of my most favourites thinks may look pleasant on first view, but I have no respect for BiSH and the worst issue comes into play after the live performances would end: All the four groups plus two others would have their events at the same time, with maybe only San Mini having a low amount of fans present. A word about the events in general that day: Don’t expect many photos in this post, as most events I took part in either offered no chekis or I was unable to do them because of scheduling constraints.
I will get in detail later. Now let us keep the chronology and start at the beginning. As I wanted to see Petit PASSPO, I enforced Caio and Marty to arrive early at the venue as well. Of course this still lead to me being first at the location. My time waiting was occupied by talking to some random Japanese fans, who hadn’t acquired a ticket in time. I felt so superior, but at the same time feared they would lead me to a dark back alley, to beat me up and steal my tickets, lol. Caio was the second to arrive and – oh wonder! – he was even on time. Soon after we were joined by Marty and went inside, making ourselves feel like home, meaning putting our luggage into a corner of the venue. During the run of the festival, we often separated, following each our own way, just to regroup ourselves for certain occasion or running into each other by chance. Malcolm Mask McLaren was again nothing that caught my interest, but I stayed inside the hall to wait for the following group – Petit PASSPO.
I am still no fan of them but considering they are so close to their big sister group, often performing together with them, it wouldn’t make sense to disregard them. The songs are more or less average, but actually fun to take part in. When they came on stage therefore, I kept myself away from the stage, but tried to participate in the fan chants as much as possible. Their set list is still very much the same than the last time I saw them perform anyway. Caio stood next to me and was only concentrating on his mobile phone. Marty was nowhere to be seen, probably hitting the bar. After Petit PASSPO left, Devil ANTHEM. performed but although the music wasn’t to bad in parts, the very young members felt out of place. So rather than watching further me too went for the bar in the lobby, to redeem my drink ticket and watching the preparations for the first idol events. As expected Marty was there and the lobby was crowded with people.
With me getting bored soon I decided in joining the Petit PASSPO event for the first time, just to do something productive. From the displayed merchandise I purchased the new single and a photo set, to enable myself for an akushukai with Riko and one cheki with Eri. When I stood on the sidelines, waiting for the koubetsu akushukais to begin, free group handshakes were performed and it became a hard time to convince the staff, who wanted me to join it, that I had no interest. It wasn’t much the fact that I had nothing to talk with them, but my reason was simply that I hardly know their names and I am not that big a fan, as I mentioned already. So I refrained from even trying to meet all of them. Koubetsu akushukais soon began and although I told the staff about my choice being Riko, he pointed me to the …err… black member, who was showing a bright smile. But no chance of convincing me here: I had bought the handshake ticket for the sake of speaking to Yukki‘s sister, so I stood firm.
Riko was equally as friendly and contained as her sister and asked me first if we should talk in English. I declined as what I wanted to say was pretty easy to convey even in Japanese. I told her that I am a fan of PASSPO and that my favourite member was Yukki, showing Riko my IC-Card with the Yukki sticker put on it. She showed surprised, but to not make it just a talk about PASSPO, I began praising Petit PASSPO as well. To my relief the talk time was over then, as I had nothing to add. Instead I started waiting again, this time for the cheki session. Here it went without problems, Eri being nice but saying close to nothing. I had no chance in agreeing on a pose, then as soon we were positioned for the photo, Eri made the heart pose and I had to obey. That moment it became obvious to me that interacting with idols I don’t really care about is meaningless.
Afterwards I cautiously entered the venue again, to not receive a shock by the sounds of Especia. Luckily their set was about to end and I anticipated the performance of Mizuta Mari, former member of Pla2me, to witness how her solo efforts took off. Caio helds her in high regard and promised something exceptional, while he had already went into the centre of the crowd. I awaited her, together with Marty, further in the back. I first wanted to listen to her. Then Mari appeared on stage, with the tip of her hair dyed in red colour. A great outfit completed the look, one that fitted perfectly the electronic based songs that I was about to hear. It didn’t take long for me to soon join the centre crowd as well, and hell – It was fun! Mizuta Mari was the real successor of Pla2me, not the overdrawn POP, who rather falls into cheap BiSH antics. Sorry Saki. Caio wanted to join the event of Mari later on and I decided to take a look too then.
But the Mizuta Mari event wasn’t yet to be executed. Instead me and Caio recovered in the back of the venue, to soon join the crowd for Party Rockets GT again. With Mari happened to be great, what was coming for me would become even better. When PPP!PiXiON was leaving the stage me and Caio pushing our way as far to the centre as possible, fearing no stupid fan behaviour, as Party Rockets GT is not known for such. We soon would find out though, that fans of the group weren’t present in a large number, something about to happen with the venue being sold out so quickly. So when Party Rockets GT appeared on stage, basically just Caio and me where doing chants, Caio obviously in much more diversity, as I have no clue of this Fiber, Cyber, Diver, Whatever shouts. I am more for the “Wooh”, “HEY” and shouting the member names. Near to us though was a Japanese fan present who also participated to the fullest, obviously happy about us helping out, as the rest of the crowd was rather quiet – or shall I say clueless? It was great fun to me, especially as they began their set with Kasabuta, my favourite track by them. Soon after it continued with Miraie, a song loved by all fans of Party Rockets GT. A side effect of being in the centre and making the most noise were the constant observing gazes by the members on stage, making me think if they were happy to see us or rather afraid of the foreigners, lol. I would find out soon enough, thus continued to enjoy the attention.
After the live was done, Party Rockets GT left and we – me, Caio and Marty – decided on taking a break, therefore leaving for outside to supply us with some (alcoholic) beverages and food. While taking our time with pleasant idol-centric chatter, we had to make way for some girls leaving through a door behind us. Those girls turned out as idols, who had finished their performance and were leaving for home; before that supplying themselves in the next door Family Mart as well, discussing their further schedule with their management – so by chance we discovered the entrance/exit for them to the Blaze. I must remember that *snicker* Sadly no idols of interest for either of us were turning up. On a side note I shortly talked with Keitaro, a Japanese idol fan I met during Hyper Live in London. I was impressed of my skills in recognising him immediately. Later I would even talk to Rick, a fan from Finland that I also met first at Hyper Japan, though having seen him already in Paris at Japan Expo one week before. The world is small.
We got back inside for Baseball Girls, if I am correct, as Marty kind of likes them, whereas me and Caio were looking out for the Mizuta Mari event. I was on the verge of participating as I really enjoyed her live, but chekis weren’t possible and her event basically consisted of talking with her – for an unlimited amount of time! As Mari had no staff with her (without agency), she had to handle everything alone. (See Caio’s blog post for details on it. It increased my respect for Mari‘s devotion to her job!) So instead I stayed away in some rare unoccupied space of the lobby to observe Caio, impressed how the minutes were running by without Mari making any attempt of stopping, contrarily holding Caio back from leaving her side. At one occasion though Caio directed her attention to me, telling Mari about me (even telling her I am from Germany) which led to her enthusiastically waving at me. I politely bowed back to her, but in Caio‘s opinion showed too less emotion, which wasn’t my intention. Seeing Mari talking so intensely with Caio made me feel out of place, depriving Caio of his enjoyment, when instead me would become the focus. I also remembered Caio‘s own contained reaction, when I showed him to Ayano of PiiiiiiiN a few days ago 😛 Just by watching though I noticed how much of a great idol personality Mizuta Mari is. To my rehabilitation I have to add that Mari continued to look at me every now and then, with me responding with smiles and even waving.
Mizuta Mari‘s event wasn’t long enough to avoid PassCode on stage though, so I began switching between the venue and the lobby, neither interested about what was happing on stage nor at the current events. I only watched them for a short amount of time. They still are terrible live, but to watch some trash wota behaviour was interesting. I still consider it stupid but it is funny to watch. I still remember the one event where one fan was standing on some guys shoulder, just to fall backwards to the ground. I am terrible in hiding my Schadenfreude. But it now became obvious that the shows were already delayed. This interfered with Caio‘s plans for participating in the Party Rockets GT event and seeing the live of Lyrical School. Me on the other hand was in danger of missing out on San Mini. Nevertheless we both went out (Marty too?) to realise that only group akushukais were offered by Party Rockets GT this day. I refrained from buying myself a ticket for it, not inclined of having to invent topics with all members. I didn’t include Caio into my reflection, who for whatever reason bought two tickets for the event and handed me one for me to use. This was unforeseeable and surprising, but in reality I was happy to being forced to talk with some of my favourite idols 😉 I had to respond to this display of kindness some time soon.
Curiously Caio then refrained from taking part in the event, as the lane seemed very long and he was afraid of missing the live of Lyrical School. He therefore went inside the venue already, even enduring some PassCode for it. Me on the other hand lined up and found the lane moving rather quickly, with each person getting like 5 to 10 seconds talk time with each member. When it became my turn I was happy to find Ayumi being the first to talk to. Here I could speak English and I even had something to tell to her. But before I could mention of how much I was impressed by her dance performance for that short amount of time she is in the group, Ayumi told me that she saw me in the audience. I was very much surprised by it, but this gave me the perfect groundwork for my words to her. Ayumi thanked me for the praise and – I had to move on.
Himeka received me with poltite demeanour, to speak to me in English the entire time, less good than Ayumi but nevertheless displaying impressive skills. After a “Nice to meet you.” she also added of having seen me in the crowd. Having be caught on the wrong foot by her talking English to me and her recognition of me, I could only manage to tell her, that I liked the show, to soon move on for the next member. What shall I say about Himeka? She kept her distance, reminded me a bit of a royalty that deals with a commoner (Hime = Princess), not really showing a smile but was still nice.
The contrast to Himeka then became Nanase, beaming with a bright smile on her face, nearly shouting at me “Mieta!” (I have seen you). Now I became embarrassed and could just think of how Caio would have loved this from his favourite member of the group, lol. Not sure how I continued with Nanase but I guess I told her it was much fun. Great girl. Now it came to Fumika, who was her usual friendly self, thanking me right away for being there. It bothers me of not knowing if they remember me, as finding some topics to talk about would become much easier. Not much was added to our conversation then I was already moved forward by the staff, to find myself eye to eye with Haruka. She really seemed happy about seeing me, also thanking me for my presence. Me again said that I enjoyed it a lot and when I was about to leave (staff again) she continued holding my hand to quickly tell me something in the line of “See you next time.” Nice! I must say this event turned out a success, better than expected, and resurged my appreciation for Party Rockets GT. Caio by the way could have easily joined the event too, then when I went back for the venue San Mini were still performing, making me see even three songs by them. I continued to watch the follow-up show by Lyrical School, but I don’t enjoy them as much as Rhymeberry, who in my opinion have a more rougher edge and harder sound. Most attention I spent on watching MC Hime, the former Rhymeberry member. But as she had left the group in a similar manner than Akari of Party Rockets, her performance had no impact on me.
The next great part of the festival was about to start, so I made my way to the front again, although this time avoiding the centre, as I knew well enough the fans of Bellring Girls Heart affection for excessive lifting. Instead I stood at the far right, but hear in second row. Could have been worse 😉 The same space I would also occupy during PiiiiiiiN and JyuJyu, only leaving it once to escape BiSH‘s performance. Bellring Girls Heart set list became the usual mix, them performing some of the songs from the up-coming album. Fans of the group were present in large numbers and their behaviour was like I every time. PiiiiiiiN did also perform a lot of their newer songs, this time those impressed me much more than on the occasions I heard them before. The better sound equipment at Blaze was the main reason for this. During BiSH I watched together with Caio from the back of the venue, both of us being surprised about how tame the fans appeared. Some occasional lifting, but hardly any moshing or jumping. Seriously, it shouldn’t bother them really, now that management has banned lifting from their shows a few weeks ago. JyuJyu continued the pattern of performing newer songs and here as well the sound system worked in their favour. I really liked their new tracks. Nothing else can be told about their lives. No one on stage made gestures of recognition to me and apart from advertising their up-coming One Man, neither PiiiiiiiN nor Bellring Girls Heart talked much. JyuJyu also refrained from their trademark chatter on stage.
The lives were done and I was sweaty from the interaction and linking my arms with other fans during songs like Bokura no Basho (PiiiiiiiN) or Shoku (JyuJyu). Time for Caio, Marty and me to meet in the lobby, to get us something to drink at the bar. Meanwhile preparations were done for the events of six groups, but even though they now distributed those between lobby (San Mini, PassCode) and venue (Bellring Girls Heart, BiSH, PiiiiiiiN, JyuJyu), it became very confusing, like lanes for JyuJyu were overlapping with the main lane for BiSH, who had to queue in the lobby already, whereas JyuJyu was looping several times. Imagine the same for Bellring Girls Heart. PiiiiiiiN became a bit better organised, though this was achieved mainly by the girls standing very close to each other and some part of the area was obstructed by barriers.
But I had a problem: I needed to talk with JyuJyu, to get my cheki back from Neu. As I also had a lot of cheki coins left for Bellring Girls Heart, another chat with them would be advised. To disregard PiiiiiiiN felt also wrong, but I would have the chance to interact with them again at their One Man. Hmm, what to do? I finally made the following decision: I would first buy myself tickets for the JyuJyu event, then head for PiiiiiiiN, who only did handshakes that day, so their event should be over quick. I would then return to line up for JyuJyu If there was still time left I would be going for Bellring Girls Heart. Getting in line for JyuJyu event tickets though took longer than expected, but I got me two cheki tickets. Now I quickly hurried for the PiiiiiiiN merchandise table and was taken by surprise, as I found the Live DVD from the show I have been to in March, which was sold out during summer. Of course I immediately purchased it and got myself more tickets than I bargained for. As Caio was around I tried my hardest to convince him of talking to Arisa, by using one of my tickets. Although he refused strongly my tenacity finally won out. Marty was nowhere to be seen and probably went home already. Me on the other hand was queuing up for my first handshake with a PiiiiiiiN member, of course I chose Ayano.
It was funny, then as I mentioned before, this day wouldn’t be chekis but instead there was a group handshake (I didn’t want to particpate in) and the individual handshakes, that fans could also use for getting cheki signs on those taken at other events. I found this rather unnecessary: Why would I want a sign on a cheki, which was done during another show? I am of the opinion that both occasions have to coincide. Anyway, the funny part was Ayano, when she already saw me being the next to talk to her, she without even asking, put away her board used for the signing process. If by chance I would have a cheki with her on hand, I had allowed me the fun to display it it to her, only to add it being a joke. Ayano was in good mood and we more or less understood each other. I started off in praising the new songs and can remember that we continued talking about the up-coming One Man, me showing my excitement, she her happiness of my presence there. It was a pleasant meeting.
For my next ticket my choice became the obvious again: Rizu-sama! She too put away her sign board and received me hyper as ever, calling out my name as ever, but luckily showing more calmness then last time. She was asking me if I would go for their One Man, which I affirmed. This led to her brighten up even more and I wished her the best luck for her performance then. Now I had two tickets left and I decided to only use one of them and keep the other for the One Man, as until then I didn’t know anything about the procedures for that show. Now I had several options to choose: Riko would be nice as the leader (I totally forgot about her birthday just a few days ago), Runa I could poke fun with about English and the same could be said about Emiri. Ami was my sisters favourite member, so it would be interesting to find out, if she was remembered by her. But I decided on talking to Arisa – again the same setup as during the mall live. What to say about her? Arisa always displays one of the brightest smiles and cheerfulness of any idols I know. I would compare her with Morishi (PASSPO) or Yukino (Doll Elements) in that regard. This day was no different. I assume we were talking about the One Man as well, then later in our conversation I came up with the words in Japanese, that I look forward to see her smile then. Arisa made a very cute thinking pose by looking upwards and putting her index finger on her chin, to reply in English : “You get … smile.”, completed with an open arm gesture. Nice. I love this girl.
Before returning for JyuJyu now, I chatted a bit further with Caio, teasing him about Arisa of course. While waiting in the queue I checked my event tickets again and through that realised only now, that tickets for PiiiiiiiN were only valid until 31.12.2015! Damn, this means today would be the last time I could use it. Caio was too far away to call him for help, so I tried my luck in convincing the guy waiting behind me, if he would keep my place in the meantime. Although I didn’t even nearly know how to express that thought in Japanese, he soon understood after showing him the event ticket and some hand gestures. Fantastic! So I went back for PiiiiiiiN and just chose the member who had the shortest queue. It turned out to be Arisa and Ami, as expected. As I just talked to Arisa, I went closer to Ami to get a better look on the distribution of the lanes. Coincidentally at this time no one was waiting for Ami, so she saw me, made an inquiring gesture if I wanted to talk with her and after I confirmed she pointed me a few meters away before her, to wait there until the next row of fans were metered by the timer. She did all that with a smile. I did as I was told, we smiled at each other and when the clock was starting anew, I approached. Ami very soon remembered my sister and asked me therefore if I knew her. She even still knew the name of my sister. I was impressed. I confirmed her question and greeted Ami from her (thus provided me the reason for talking to Ami). She was happy and we parted by telling to each of us that we would await the other at the One Man.
With this my PiiiiiiiN interactions for the day were concluded and I happily return for the lane of JyuJyu – until I realised how slow it was. During the time I talked with Ami, the guy who kept me my place in the queue had only advanced for two steps, with a loop still being ahead. This in fact gave me the opportunity to get in a chat with Rick, who was observing the events from a place close by (Caio had already left as he needed to catch his train for home), but it robbed me of the chance to talk with Bellring Girls Heart now. I didn’t had the insolence to talk again to the guy behind me. Instead I endured my fate, while it hurt me to watch the Bellring event, without partaking in it – so near, though so far. To give you an impression of the time it took for the lane of JyuJyu: When finally Moechi, as the last member, ended her event, I still had half the distance to overcome until the start of the queue. Movement kept slow and my only fear was the event becoming discontinued. To my relief this didn’t occur and I was asked by the staff about my choices.
As the staff of JyuJyu was nice as ever, I enjoyed explaining him that I wanted to use one ticket for Neu and one for Shirai. (Many people by the way did individual chekis plus the group cheki.) As Neu was free right then, she became the first I talked to. Recognising me she appeared very kind and while contemplating about the pose I had an idea: A repetition of the holding hands/look in the eyes pose I did with Tsuzuki Kana just recently. Neu didn’t mind at all, so we took our place, only to bump my head on the low ceiling that was protruding above me. We both began to laugh and all seriousness was gone between us, instead it lead to a pleasant atmosphere. I tell you, being able to look Neu-chan directly into the eyes – heaven! Now the staff was asking if I wanted to have my cheki now or wanted it decorated by Neu at home. Now Neu raised her hand to her open mouth, looked at me with big open eyes and uttered a shy: “Wasureta!” (I forgot). Oh my god. She wouldn’t have forgotten to bring my cheki from a few days ago, the one I told her to return to me at this Idol Koushien, the reason I stayed in the queue and that led to the decision of skipping the Bellring Girls Heart event? She really wouldn’t. She did! I asked her about it and she again confirmed it, apologising as well. I only shaked my head in disbelief and mumbled to myself “Neu-chan, Neu-chan,…”, which words she immediately began to repeat, with an apologising gaze. Well, nothing you can do about it. I therefore told her, while pretending a sigh, that now I have to see her again. She laughingly agreed.
Shirai was right next to us, so the staff just pointed me towards her. I was immediately won over by her, then in addition to a bright smile (we are talking JyuJyu here, so such smile is rare) she even called out my name, to which I showed surprise and asked her how she remembered. Shirai just replied, that we just saw each other at Tokyo Kinema Hall. We then right away began posing and me again suggested it, wanting her to lean on the wall, with a sad gaze to the ground. She first assumed that I wanted her to take the same pose that I asked of Neu at Tokyo Kinema Hall (that I can not show you for obvious reasons), putting her fisted hands to her eyes as well, but I could explain what I wanted to her very easily. After the cheki was done, and for no other topic coming to mind, I began to show my appreciation for their new songs. They really impressed me and I was looking forward to the up-coming album already. Shirai seemed pleased to hear this and thanked me enthusiastically. We then said goodbye to each other, then still not knowing about Shirai‘s soon graduation decision a few months later. I will miss her a lot. She was one of the rare cases, where my affection for the music was equally as high than for the idol herself. Not only that she was cute, but her whole demeanour and personality always made the best impression on me.
Being the only one left from our group of friends I left the venue, in my mind being certain that this day had become one of the best idol experiences so far in my life. But there would still be days ahead of me on this trip, also filled with idol events. But this stories will be told at another time.