During my trip preparations two events were made out as highlight for me: Next to the big One Man Live from Bellring Girls Heart at Tokyo Dome City Hall it was this day – with a small festival featuring several of my other most favourite groups.The most exiting one definitely PASSPO, with PiiiiiiiN and Party Rockets GT in the line-up as well. A great addition for me was also Ayumikurikamaki! Since the release event two years ago in Nagoya I have never met the group again and my only other live had been their performance at TIF last year, though from far away. To my dismay I was already certain that even today I wouldn’t be able to meet them, as the time table was much too compact. But at least I wanted to take part for their live, if possible. My assumptions would later been proved to be on spot!
Before the start of the festival, me and Andy went to Yokohama and were later joined by Tsutomo. It was a pleasant trip of sight-seeing with good weather, Chinatown and Go-Kart on the rooftop. Returning to Shibuya for the festival was quicker than anticipated, as the Rapid Train only needed maybe 20 minutes? Something like that. This enabled us to give Andy a quick look-around at Shibuya Crossing and to collect Marty in front of the venue. It became amusing, when a bunch of four foreigners were approaching the admission staff. I was expecting to see them break out in cold sweat any minute.
Anyway, here is the line-up of the festival. The events for each group would be held right after their performances and as you can see I didn’t exaggerated on the time constraints. Additionally the events for PASSPO and Ayumikurikamaki were basically at the same time, with the majority of fans present at the venue being those of AyuKuma, thus making the task of participation even harder – and let to me skipping it.
18:00～18:10 sora tob sakana
18:40～19:00 Party Rockets GT
19:25～19:45 lyrical school
One thing turned out positive though: The three P-groups I cared about the most were all assigned for the exact same event booth, the one right at the exit for the lobby! So switching between the lives and events was, relatively, easily done. And boy, this really became important.
The first two groups were of no interest to anyone. Petit PASSPO was nice to see again, but equally unimpressive. I noticed though that several other foreigners were present at the place, some even occupying the centre front during for most of the festival, proving their lack of manner. Finally though Party Rockets GT appeared, time for me and Tsutomo to push our way to the front. The interest wasn’t too bad this time, although only a few were visible fans of the group. Nevertheless we found ourselves good places close to the stage, near the centre.
As it could be expected, the set list only consisted of four songs – the three from their recent single plus Let’s go! This made it pretty difficult to participate for me, as I never experienced the newer songs live before and Let’s go! has always troubled me, being already much too complicated to follow. I need songs that allow simple shouts and clapping, like MIRAIE or KASABUTA. Nevertheless the show was enjoyable and the gazes of the members were among us.
After the live was finished, we four went out in unison for the event and a good amount of people was gathering there. Not sure if Marty was participating but me and Tsutomo bought tickets – him to talk to Nanase and Ayumi, me buying their recent fan shirt, which is so simple and uncreative I even forgot to take a photo of, but it came with an all member handshake. Below you find a photo, PRGT together with Up Up Girls wearing the white fan shirt. Beside the all handshake I was happy to notice that today not only chekis were offered but even signs. So I bought me two cheki tickets for Haruka and Ayumi and decided on getting me a sign by Haruka, my first of any Party Rockets member.
No individual handshakes were offered. But you get decent talking time when doing a cheki. It began with the handshakes though and I met first with Ayumi. Lovely girl was promptly greeting me in English, telling me it was nice to see me AGAIN. That is the spirit! I apologised for not having been able to attend their One Man the weekend before. As Nanase next to her was free already, Ayumi told her the fact that I was at their show before, thus I had to continue straight away with Nanase now, to which I said that I like her smile on stage. Those two really are the “Happy Girls” of Party Rockets GT. The talk with Himeka was funny as I greeted her in very polite Japanese, saying “Gokigenyou Hime-sama!” (A sentence she probably hears from every second fan.) She acted surprised, asking me (in English) if I really think that she looks like a princess. Haruka was next, appearing more friendly than usual. I praised their new songs, especially Dream on Dreamers. Fumika told me upfront, that she remembered me, immediately started to think about something to say in English – which failed completely. Only sounds of frustration (for finding no words) left her lips. So the “talk” became not very informative, but at least funny to watch her struggle. When I was leaving, she was at least able to say “Please… Again”, followed quickly by the Japanese expression “mata ne”. Another group handshake completed, with rather good results.
After the handshakes were over, Tsutomo went to take his cheki with Nanase and Ayumi, whereas I went on with Haruka. I suggested a simple pose, lacking any motivation to put effort in any of those for the whole day. So be prepared to see – nothing special. I just hate posing! When done with the photo I asked Haruka if she remembered me. Her spontaneous reaction was telling without a doubt that she doesn’t. Nevertheless she told me in a very exaggerated way that she remembered. When I expressed my doubts about it and even called her a liar (in cheerful manner, of course), her silence was the last prove. At least I knew now. We still parted in good mood though, don’t worry 😉 When I later returned for the cheki sign, I had nothing more to tell. Haruka was the same. But when it came to my name, she didn’t understand how to write it, so I asked her to lend me her pen and wrote my name in katakana on the backside. She laughed about that and copied it right away herself.
Not sure if I can call my meeting with Ayumi much better. Talking in English was definitely a plus and after I suggested a nonsense pose and Ayumi asking me about it, I told her right away, that even I didn’t know and added, that I hate posing. She admitted to me that she thinks so as well. (If true, it must be tough for her being an idol.) We continued to chat on, with me telling her that it was very pleasant to talk to her. Until suddenly the staff appeared, saying something that I interpreted as request to end the talking soon. I asked Ayumi about it, if it was already over and she confirmed it. Damn, time flies with idols when you can understand each other. In my mind I also decided to consider Ayumi my favourite Party Rockets member now. Haruka sure doesn’t mind, with not knowing who I am 😉
Tsutomo seemed to have a lot of fun, too. His interaction with Nanase was very entertaining to observe, with Nanase being flirtatious all the time while Tsutomo appeared shy next to her. Also when he was talking to Ayumi, he seemed to enjoy it, doing some K-Pop pose and getting MUCH MORE interaction time with her than I was allowed to. Also Tsutomo, despite wearing their towel, neither did see the live of Lyrical School nor participated in their event. Big win for Nanase! Deservedly so, than as we both were staying until the end of the event, the members later walked by and bid farewell to the fans around, Haruka being more reserved, Fumika cheerful, Himeka showing a big grin to me and Tsutomo – but nothing compared to Ayumi and Nanase, who both specifically waved and talked to us and Tsutomo even getting friendly punches by Nanase. That the latter is still not his favourite of all idols surprises me.
When the Party Rockets GT members were away, me and Tsutomo rushed back to the venue, then I already heard PiiiiiiiN performing, probably even missed their first track. Nevertheless I could find a very good place – right in the field of vision of Ayano – to enjoy the rest of the show. To my further joy it became apparent that Ayano was taking attention of me. Lovely! And I also had the feeling of Ami and Arisa noticing me. Whatever.
After the Live finished I immediately went into the lobby to wait for the event of PiiiiiiiN to start. Luckily only LinQ was performing – nothing I would miss. While waiting, the members of Callme walked by and I remembered TIF 2014, were I got my first T-Shirt sign from Mimori. I never came to really like her then Dorothy Little Happy was never constant in their musical output and with the split-up soon after I lost complete interest in either, DLH and Callme.
The members of PiiiiiiiN didn’t need long to appear and I was also soon joined by Marty and Tsutomo. Again I can not tell if Marty participated, but Tsutomo would, talking to Arisa again. I was the one who introduced him to her and I still crack an evil smile when I think about it, lol. I wasn’t sure what and with whom I wanted to talk today, but when I approached the merchandise table, one of the shirts caught my eyes immediately: The birthday shirt of Ayano (Hers was just a little over a week ago.)
And wow, its design is close to perfect. The front displays not only the name of the member and that of the group (though poorly visible), it also provided a very nice picture of Ayano! The back was similar to my liking: Group name, Japanese letters, a date. It will definitely become my most worn shirt during PiiiiiiiN shows from now on – if no other group of importance to me is performing at the same location, of course 😉 I really dislike wearing fan clothes for a specific group or idol, when other groups I support are present and able to notice it. Hence why I sometimes wear usual clothes on many chekis and keep the fan accessory for One Mans and such.
I reckoned that the shirt would be around 3,000 Yen, so I also purchased some photo sets. I am not sure of the correct amount but I believe it were just two. But the shirt was actually having the price tag for 5,000 Yen (!!!) to it, which meant in the consequence that I now had more event tickets to spend as I needed. Not sure about it anymore, but there is the possibility that I gave one or two tickets to Tsutomo, who was still reluctant towards a chat with Arisa, not wanting to add another idol to his favourites. Anyway, apart from the usual suspects to interact with – Ayano and Rizu – I also decided on talking with Arisa and Runa, the latter I haven’t spoken to in ages.
Starting with Ayano, who welcomed me by name as usual, I at first apologised to her for arriving to late for the live of PiiiiiiiN. Of course I didn’t mentioned Party Rockets GT but instead opted for blaming my trip to Yokohama. Then the staff was ready to take the photo. The pose was again an issue but I spotted the nearby wall and wanted me and Ayano bot leaning against it. She misunderstood though and thought I was going for a kabedon(?) cheki, hence her posture. At least it was something new to my collection. I probably asked further about her guitar skills to continue mentioning their regular live the next day, which I wanted to attend, but was afraid of not finding the venue, as Ebisu is quite new to me (I exaggerated for the sake of communication.). Ayano encouraged me to try my best and to certainly attend the live tomorrow. Well, I did and this topic would arise again that day between us, but more of that in my next post.
Later during the sign session, after I was done taking chekis with the other members of my choice, I asked Ayano if it was okay that I was taking photos with other members as well. Her reaction was told with a firm voice and even – in English (!): “Okay. All member… is love.” She even wrote it down on the cheki. THAT was funny – and reassuring at the same time.
Rizu was the next to talk to, this time it even went pleasant. As usual she greeted with much vigour, shouting “Hisashiburi” to then stop, as she forgot my name. Instead she said something I couldn’t understand, but it made the staff laugh. I didn’t mind at all and refrained from telling her my name again. This I would have considered obtrusive. Anyway, I continued with determining that I had last seen her at the 2nd Anniversary Live, where Rizu already had her short hair-cut. She agreed and of course wanted to know what I think of it. After short contemplation, while making her turn her head around to appraise the hair, I decided to stay with the truth and said she looked good, but that I prefered her longer hair style. To my dismay my Japanese skills were to few to explain it more precisely. Back then Rizu‘s hair was much shorter, especially around the ears. Now it grew out and it really does suit her. Still, longer hair is the best, isn’t it Re-Re? Rizu‘s reaction was unrecognisable to me, but we ended our talk on friendly terms 😉
Arisa had less people waiting for her. Tsutomo was right before me so I was able to observe what was going on. I won’t spoil his story but they got along VERY well. When it became my turn to talk with Arisa, who was recognising me as well, I apologised to her too, for it being my fault that my friend is liking her. She was giggling. Pose was my “idea” again, to get it over with. Otherwise Arisa was her lovely self, sweet smile and everything.
My last member to talk too (For the chekis. Later I talked with Ayano during the sign session, as I mentioned above.) became Runa, because of the fact that I had only talked once to her over an year ago, during one of my first events with PiiiiiiiN. Since that time Runa developed to one of the more popular members, with a good voice (for an idol). No wonder Marty bought her fan shirt 😛 We started with the pose, this time I let the idol choose. Runa then mentioned that she considered me tall, asking about my actual size. I told her, to which she responded me hers (it’s 1,60 m). What came after it I forgot…
I couldn’t stay until the end of the event this time, as the live of Ayumikurikamaki had already begun, me having missed their first song already, but I was able to enjoy the rest of the set list. Still I consider Ayumikurikamaki as one of the best live idols. They emanate so much energy, perfectly fitting to their great rock songs.It was lots of fun and regrettable that I couldn’t take part in their event at all.
But what matters is the group for who I did skip the event: The live (and later event) of PASSPO! It became only a short set of 25 minutes, but that already lead to stitches on my side. No wonder, when Baby Jump was the intro song! It made me crave for attending a new One Man of the group soon. I also came to appreciate Mr. Wednesday as one of their best live songs. Morishi definitely saw me in the audience, giving me a wink. In summary: It was fantastic!
For the event later I changed myself into my shirt signed by Yukki for the first time. I refused to wear it for the live as I fear with the laundry the sign will be washed out. No decent merchandise was at offer so I just bought 9 photo sets (=small and weight less). My initial plan was to do an individual cheki with Aipon that day, which would be my first, but there were many people as usual for her and I don’t really bother about her. My interaction then became the following: As there was no order for handshakes and chekis that day, I first took a cheki with Yukki, then continued handshaking with Morishi, then Naomin, Yukki in between, further to Annya, again for Morishi and grand finish with Yukki. So my handshake count became: Yukki (2x + cheki talk), Naomin (1x), Morishi (2x), Annya (1x). Marty and Andy were shocked about the amount of money I spent for it, though this wasn’t anything close to my usual interactions with PASSPO. Cheapskates.
Yukki was lovely that day, recognising me on the spot, inquiring about my sister but not mentioning anything about the shirt I wore. Nobody’s perfect. The photo became one of the worst that day, from the aspect of chosen pose. Oh well, it is mostly for memories sake anyway – “I was there!”, so to say. Instead Yukki emphasised my appearance by telling me about her being “always thankful (to me)” (itsumo arigatou). This came unexpected but was therefore even greater to hear from her. It was also the second idol this trip who said the exact same words to me (Ayano of Bellring Girls Heart two days before). Further topics became my family situation, where I explained to her about me having two sisters, which were PASSPO passengers as well, Yukki‘s guitar training and certainly much more, but I forgot the details. That “itsumo arigatou” probably send my memory into overdrive. Nevertheless all three times I talked to her became pleasant and we understood each other pretty well, much better than most of the times, lol.
Talks with Naomin and Annya were nothing too special. Naomin had put on her strained smile but was nice to talk to this time. I am not really sure, but I *believe* we talked about the upcoming single and One Man. More interesting to me was her and Morishi talking about me right after I left. Of course I couldn’t make out any of the content. Damn.
Annya on the other hand was really energetic, although having just engaged in a chat Tsutomo right before me. As several other of the present foreigners had also talked with her before, I began our conversation with “The next foreigner!” A short giggle from her and then it got too confusing for following her track. But I remember to have enjoyed it. Annya is not the easiest idol to approach but definitely one of the most interesting. If I had to choose the best PASSPO member regarding looks and personality for the general public, I would pick her over the others.
Morishi puts a smile on my face every time I see her. Her own smile is just so contagious. Add to that her openness when talking to someone, Morishi is nothing less than a natural-born idol. To my luck she inquired about my sister, as I would have skipped this topic otherwise. I would consider it bad style to talk to her about nothing else every time. This time though it was fitting, as my sister would go to Japan in Septembre/Octobre, in the hope of seeing PASSPO above all. Morishi was happy to hear it. We continued to talk about today’s live and I mentioned being pretty exhausted because of it, praising the set list, especially Baby Jump. This lead to Morishi asking me if it was my favourite song, which I denied. It is actually Tap my toe. She was pretty surprised to hear that, probably because it is a song which offers no fan participation. For the up-coming BAND PASSPO One Man I wished her the best of luck. Morishi asked if I would attend it, but I had to deny it. A real pity, as it is my favourite PASSPO variation (There are three: PASSPO, Hacchake Tai, BAND PASSPO). Instead I asked (jokingly) if it was okay for me as foreigner to attend the Hacchake Tai Restaurant Karaoke Event (don’t know how to call it) that would happen few days later at Tokyo Culture Culture. She replied with an intense “Of course it is. Please come!” The words I wanted to hear!
As everyone of my friends were already finished long ago and Tsutomo had to catch the train, we started our way home, without me having the chance to wait until the end of the PASSPO event. A pity. But in contrast to my winter trip this time I would see PASSPO, in the form of Hacckake Tai, again soon.