This trip became my most relaxed this far. In contrast to my prior trips I focused just on a small range of groups, without even caring much about missing out on others. Even skipping possible shows on some days for the alternative of doing nothing but stay at my hotel for sleeping and Internet didn’t bother me. It was very pleasant and I liked this less busy way of life a lot. To be more precise, I saw several shows by PASSPO, Bellring Girls Heart and Party Rockets GT, which I each enjoyed the most. This three groups are currently my unrivalled Top 3. Further I saw several shows by PiiiiiiiN and JyuJyu/Neu-chan, but I noticed me having less motivation for them than in the past. More on that later. Otherwise I only saw for one occasion each: Chu-Z, Tsuzuki Kana, Up Up Girls and Oyasumi Hologram. Three of them only by chance though. I didn’t attend possible One Mans of Lovely Doll, Predia or Oyasumi Hologram either, although there had been plenty of chances. But I rather went to see my most appreciated groups again or just met up with friends.
Also there have been hardly any festivals I went to, at least none of the big ones that last through the whole day. The rare occasion I attended those I only appeared for my group of interest and then left afterwards – to go to my hotel or doing something other non-idol related, refusing to wander around Tokyo the whole day to attend other shows. I observed that this doesn’t suit me, as it reduces the fun and motivation for enjoying several different groups (and probably genres) while hurrying to other locations. Same has to be said about shows of idols whose music I don’t particularly enjoy and that I rather just attend to meet the idol again and show my support. Have to contemplate on this. This became especially obvious to me for shows by JyuJyu, respectively Neu-chan. I like them, no doubt, but neither of their genre is my favourite and I have no connection to their fan base as well. I try to explain more about it later.
Otherwise I met a lot of people again, even many new faces. Like at my first morning in Japan I already met another German, Alexander, staying in my hotel. It was his first time there, he had also no idea about idols but was open-minded about it. So he agreed on joining me in attending a show by Bellring Girls Heart the same evening. Quite a tough introduction to the genre, I suppose, lol. Furthermore I met Garry from Scotland, who was also the first time in Japan, but already a fan of idols. At Bellring Shows I for the first time met two oversea fans of the group, Babatus from France (Mizuho oshi) and Chuan from Singapore (Ayano oshi). During shows of PiiiiiiN and Party Rockets GT I came in contact with other Japanese fans and met well-known people again, like Yutan, Yuu, Julian, Hideki, Satoru and – of course Tsutomo, the most important friend in Japan. Yea, it had been fun: The weather was nice most of the time, even reaching 20 degrees occasionally, I revisited some familiar places and discovered new ones, the trip never becoming too long or boring for me.
So after this dull introduction I finally start with my report! It will be shorter than usual, in part because I don’t remember too many details after approximately four weeks of idol shows, but mostly I have my next trip already on the radar, so writing more extensively is impossible. I will do my best to report on all the important aspects though.
Arrived in the morning, had to kill like 4 hours until Check-In (hate these moments), but after accommodating myself went out for the first small show: PiiiiiiiN held an album release event in Odaiba, Tower Records in DiverCity. Bought me two albums to acquire a bunch of event tickets, waiting with a handful of fans (maybe 15) and the two members of staff – one a young woman, the other visually under-aged – in the very small event area, then listening to the small set of PiiiiiiiN. I believe they performed mostly new tracks, but those didn’t resonate well with me. In part I assume because of the location and the forbidden actions for the fans (no shouting even). Lovely was the closeness to the members, who performed on the same floor level. Too bad I have no favourite member in the group anymore to really make use of this. Arisa and Ami were the members who took the most attention of me, as far as I could notice.
The best part of this event though was the all-member-cheki option. You even got the cheki on your camera/mobile phone. Never had those with PiiiiiiiN, but always hoped for it. I am a sucker for all-member shots 😉
When I approached I was received by a “hisashiburi” by all of them – everytime a nice feeling, when idols remember you. No idea for a pose (I just arrived, damnit, and was sleepy!), so I suggested the usual PiiiiiiiN pose. We had some general chat, were mostly Rizu took the initiative.
Afterwards regular Polaroid chekis were done. I had two tickets for it, so I decided on Arisa first. I used my regular “I missed your smile.” statement with her, lol. Strangely, as it happens so often, I just forgot about the most obvious topic: Congratulations on the new album release. Whatever, some things will never change.
With Rizu we tried to adopt the pose of throwing a bowling ball, because of the current outfit of them. It doesn’t become too obvious in the photo though, but nevertheless it seems – good? I mentioned of having just arrived this morning. The rest escaped me, as Rizu is too quick and hectic in conversation – makes it hard for me to follow. I liked the way she outgrew her hair though.
This became one of the most interesting days so far, not only because of seeing Bellring Girls Heart for the first time this trip but also for the fact I took Alexander with me, the German guy I met in the hotel. Other important aspects for that show became: Meeting Ayano – my favourite idol – to hand a gift to her, the first time for me to become lifted by the crowd and the first time to lift other people, something that would become a regular occasion at Bellring shows now for me, lol. It also was the first time to see Rock Maykan, but it wasn’t to hard to find, with the help of Google Maps 😉 While buying something to drink in the Seven Eleven next to it, we ran into Satoru and some other fans, with Alexander soon becoming the center of attention. He enjoyed it, even more so when the live began and he saw the Japanese fans all going crazy. He didn’t expect that.
I was surprised of myself, how fast I adjusted, this being my first real Live this trip. Meeting with Yuu and for the first time Babatus helped a lot. I feared for my glasses as everytime, but otherwise had the time of my life. I have found several good recordings of the show.
See me getting lifted:
Or here me and Alexander for the Asthma circle:
Or here we can be seen even better, even us two lifting a girl later:
The whole show in HD quality – Part 1:
At the merchandise table I bought the DVDs of the Q and B One Man Lives from this year, which I both attended. I used them for my pose with Ayano, who when I approached her, greeted me by my name. I don’t need to tell you how great that felt! Furthermore I gave her a box of German chocolate, together with my self written letter to congratulate her about her soon-to-be graduation. When I told Ayano about the letter, she jokingly asked, if it is in Japanese, as she wouldn’t understand it otherwise. Of course it was, as I expected that much. Took me long enough to copy all those Kanji, as I wrote the text on the PC first. I just hoped it wasn’t too difficult to understand with all it’s grammatical and probably vocabulary mistakes. We continued talking about her Solo plans – Ayano told me to come to see her then as well, of course, lol.
I even found time to talk to Kanra afterwards. It was the same as everytime with her: She knew my name, acting surprised to see me, with our conversation being difficult. I managed to say that I always worry about her, for remembering her leg injury in 2015, but she replied that I don’t need to worry – she is fine again. Relieve! Kanra then asked what I liked most about Japan. For some unknown reasons the conversation changed to potatoes. Hence her writing “Yakiimo” on the cheki, the Japanese word for it. By the way, Alexander took part in the event as well and took a cheki with – Ayano. This guy has taste 😉
So much for now, but the story continues soon… 😉
That day became less good in term of idols. I decided to go for a small afternoon festival in Shimokitazawa for seeing JyuJyu. Show was good, although Shirai was still someone else. Other groups present were Devil Gun and Ice Cream Suicide. Not my style, but it was nice seeing Anna, former member of Bellring Girls Heart in the latter group. Even contemplated of doing a cheki with her, as I didn’t have one with her. Instead I failed at buying me a cheki ticket at JyuJyu‘s merchandise booth, so no meeting with Neu, but at least I acquired their new single. Double a pity, as this was – supposedly – the only time I would by able to see JyuJyu.
Unbeknownst to me Chuan was also present at the show, but we didn’t knew us yet. In the evening I went out with Alexander, showing him around Akihabara. By chance we entered a restaurant, that was a sushi bar with a slight maid touch, run entirely by females. The owner knew some English and told us that this was something revolutionary in Japan and they had faced a lot of discrimination for it. As we sat right at the bar, interaction with the staff became very frequent, even though the language barrier was present. It was adorable though how we tried out each others language and we even had to teach them some German words. Lots of fun and we both loved the sake presented to us!
To my surprise it was Halloween that day – I don’t care the least of it – and it was celebrated in Japan with much intensity. Shibuya’s famous pedestrian crossing was even blocked by the police, to enable people to party outside – completely dressed in costumes. I had no time for it, as Party Rockets GT were waiting – 2 shows by them at Tsutaya O-Nest (first time there). Tsutomo wanted to join me first, but couldn’t make it because of work. He missed out a lot! This day brought back my love for Party Rockets, which had been on a slow demise after the events in summer 2015. They already impressed me on my last winter trip, but this time it became something else: The sound in the venue was fantastic, their fans never appeared more enthusiastic then that day and the first part of the sold out shows was basically a One Man Live, them performing for approximately for 1,5 hours. Their song Have a nice party became on of my favourites, with its strong blues rock structure.
During the first aftershow event I bought myself the fantastic shirt for that event. Also some Ran-chekis, random solo shots of the members. These are the smallest and easiest way to get event tickets. Events were all-member-handshakes and individual chekis. I just decided on using some of my tickets for a talk with Ayumi, saving the rest for later. It felt good being able to talk in English with her. Made things much easier as time for talking isn’t that long during chekis. She called me by my name and soon asked about my sister, who was in Japan a month ago with a friend, having seen Party Rockets GT then. This was all – for now.
The second part of the show was something else: It was much shorter, them performing the songs that didn’t fit in the first part – but the biggest difference was them wearing costumes. I must admit, some were exceptionally nice, like Himeka as the Corpse Bride! Deciding on with whom to cheki would become a difficult task, lol. But first I pre-ordered two copies of their upcoming new album, to be released 11 January. I hope that Tsutomo will collect them for me, as the second copy is for him 😉 It also provided me the necessary amount of event tickets for the second part, which now included a group shot on wide cheki – a first with Party Rockets. Before it were just the general sized chekis. But I love the bigger type for its better visibility.
When going for the group shot, all of them shouted out my name, in addition to “Hisashiburi”. Slightly embarrassing, but of course a great incident. I hated it though when all of them tried to talk to me at the same time, lol. I decided on facing Ayumi and tell her about the pose “scary face” – me attempting to do an impression of Munch’s famous painting “The Scream”, while the girls would do ghostly frightening poses. Fumika asked what I said, so both me and Ayumi explained to her. In the end, the pose at least worked with Himeka, Haruka and Ayumi, with Fumika and Nanase still fitting nicely in the picture. Himeka then demanded attention and told me – in English – that she is the pretty member, which resulted in much opposition by the other members. I was already told by the staff to leave, but still managed to reply with a “minna ha pretty”. An unison “Thank you” out of five mouths came at me.
Latter I went for a cheki with Ayumi again. Her costume was perfect for an interesting pose. This time we talked about Halloween. It is big in America (Ayumi is American on her father’s side) and she wanted to know how it is in Germany, after I had to correct her that I am not American. We continued to talk about it, mentioning Shibuya’s activities but were soon broke off by the staff.
Now I had to decide between a cheki either with Himeka or Nanase, the first because of her costume, the second because she is lovely and always shows much attention on stage. I let fate decide – whoever is free when it was my turn, would be the chosen one. For those of you who are familiar with the individual popularity of the members know that this wasn’t a fair contest at all, the result being that Himeka was occupied and me deciding for Nanase. She is always very cheerful and first forgot her accessory – the trident. Nanase told me in English “I am debil!” Sweet. I replied by praising her happiness and ever-present smile, to which she returned the favour, telling me she is happy to see me again and that she had seen me in the audience, although I stood completely in the back. I believe her, as this wasn’t the first time she mentioned it. So I said in Japanese that she is a very kind devil 😉
As I used the Shibuya station to get back to my hotel, I saw a bit of the Halloween activities there, but didn’t stay. I experienced enough happiness for a day.