Finish line

13.11.2016

On this day Party Rockets GT held a two part festival at Shibuya ASIA of which they were the host of, under the name “Rockin’ Together”. The first part was started by an Opening Act, a group called 高橋優里花 with ミラクルキャンディーベリー (Miracle Candy Berry), consisting of very young members and its leader having the last show with them, to continue in another group soon. Then the festival was started by a 30 minutes set of Party Rockets GT, who were then followed by 30 minutes each of Ange Reve, Idol Renaissance and Tsuribit. The second part was similar, just with the addition of Palet, the Opening Act being a solo set by Kurumi of Devil ANTHEM. and Party Rockets GT would now end the show as the last act. As you may realise by this line-up, I had a tough time lasting through the other groups, as they were mostly not the type of idol groups I prefer to listen to. The after show events would therefore have to compensate for it.

I made the mistake to only buy me four random chekis when the first part ended, because they would be sold out for the second part, thus leaving me only the option to buy the only other merchandise available: The shirt of the group. At least it was the white coloured version, that I couldn’t get last time. I did only chekis the first time, starting with Ayumi of course. As we did one of the hand motions of Have a nice Party as a pose, Ayumi wanted to know if that was my favourite song. I haven’t actually thought about it but as I still regard KASABUTA as my favourite, I told her so. She mentioning then that it was lucky for me, as it was part of the set list before.

For the second member to take a cheki with I decided on Nanase, as I wanted to tell her something I prepared. As she often told me that she saw me in the crowd, I made a role reverse, quoting the idol phrase “Thank you for taking a look at me everytime.” She laughed and returned the compliment.

After the second part I bought the shirt as explained, giving me three event tickets. So I had to participate in the group handshake, which became far quicker then at the last instance. But I like the chance to interact with all members, as I prefer to uphold a connection with the whole group. Disregarding most of them just for one favourite member is rude in my eyes. With Nanase I was just joking around, whereas Ayumi wanted to know if today was my last day to see Party Rockets, but because of the quickness of the handshake I couldn’t really explain, so I told her to see her soon (for the cheki). For Himeka I prepared a Japanese text on my mobile phone, basically stating that she does a good job as an idol. Tsutomo confirmed to me later that the sentence was completely wrong, as the phrase I used isn’t used in Japanese, but Himeka reacted first surprised, but then pointed at herself, exclaiming “You mean me?” and than thanked me with a bright smile. So I assume Himeka understood either way, or she really is that good in her occupation, lol. Haruka I tried to tell, that today would be my last time for seeing the group and she affirmed to having understood what I said. But then it became Fumika‘s turn and here it really became fatal for me not having more tickets for a cheki with her later. Then as we talked Fumika said something to me in Japanese which sounded like ‘Hawaii’, leaving me totally clueless. She then thought quickly and said, this time in English “Yesterday… See”. I feigned comprehension as I was forced by the staff to leave. After some contemplation I had an idea of what Fumika was trying to tell me: She saw me yesterday at the high touch event of PiiiiiiiN! But instead of ‘High Touch’ she said ‘High Five’ (= hence me hearing ‘Hawaii’). Great, with me not having more tickets and already having promised Ayumi to meet for the cheki, I couldn’t make sure, if my deduction was correct. Mental note: Look out for idols next time, when you pass Takeshita Street!

14.11.2016 – 16.11.2016

A series of three consecutive days of Bellring Girls Heart named ‘Shallow Grave’. All shows taking place at Shibuya WWW X. Each day a Two Man with another group. It became so great, especially as it was totally unexpected, with the dates only having been announced the week before.

For the first show I met with Garry, a guy from Scotland who has been on his first idol trip. He joined today’s show but he to had to leave a bit before it was starting, to buy himself event tickets for a Tower Records release event the next day. He told me later though, that he made it in time, only missing the first half an hour of Maison Book Girl, who were today’s guest. On the second day (15.11.) it would be Lyrical School, on the third (16.11.) Yanakotosottomute (short: Yanamyu), a sister group of Bellring Girls Heart.

As I wanted to not repeat the same mistake I have done during Moechi’s up-coming graduation  back then again, I decided on the 14. to talk with Mizuho instead Ayano. Of course her lane was even longer that day than usual, and me, having to get my cheki coins from my bag first, was one of the last in line, making it impossible to later join the queue for Ayano. I wished her a nice graduation and thanked her for her time as idol, the usual stuff. Mizuho listened eagerly as always and also replied some random English as always. Nothing special, but I felt satisfied by fulfilling my obligations to Bellring‘s last remaining founding member. If I had known though, that she wouldn’t actually graduate end of the year, I would have talked with Ayano instead.

At the second Bellha show in the row it was great in the aspect that I realised how much more enjoyment it brings to meet a lot of the regular people and friends there. I also finally spoke to Ayano  again. As Lyrical School was the other group that day performing with them, I suggested a rap pose. While I mentioned that tonight’s show was very emotional because of the songs that were chosen and Ayano couldn’t understand at first, she he teached me the Japanese word for “emotional”, hence her writing on the cheki. It was a really nice nice atmosphere with her today.

I was quicker finished in the Ayano queue as usual, so I used the extra time for meeting with Kanra again, to whom I suggested a pose by pointing upwards, shouting “Mite, ooki Tsuki.” (See, the big moon.) At that time a visibly bigger moon had appeared in the night sky and Kanra tweeted about it few days before. I have told her that I never actually saw the moon though. When Kanra questioned why, I replied, that I probably need new glasses. As usual she couldn’t understand me, so in her desperation she called out for help to Yuu, who kindly translated my words then, lol. Now she finally laughed. So in the end it all went well. Not everything though, then although I gave Kanra two coins, she forgot to sign the cheki. The translation situation confused her too much apparently. Also at the time of the photo shooting she didn’t look upwards as I have told her – the compulsion of idols to always look into the camera. So vain…lol

The third day featured Yanamyu with Bellring Girls Heart. It would also become my last live of the latter this trip. I wasn’t too impressed with Yanamyu. Musically I can appreciate them, but their vocals are too low key in the overall mix and neither member emanates any personality for me. Just blandness. Anyway, at this show Bellring started selling hand-sell tickets for their last big One Man BABEL, happening on December 22nd. As I already had booked my trip for that time and the tickets actually displayed an image of the group, I couldn’t resist to buy it, although having already bought a ticket few days before at the conbini. With the image it is so much cooler, lol. And I also got a lower entry number that way. When I met Ayano that evening – who was lovely as always – I told her that today was the last time we see would each other, as I would fly home soon. But I added that I would return end of the year for BABEL. Her reaction to this was nice: “So this isn’t goodbye then. We will see each other again soon.”, accompanied by a cute smile. I didn’t let myself distract me though, but instead told her in jokingly fashion to hurry up with signing the cheki, so I would be able to buy the ticket already! She laughed and then displayed great enthusiasm in following my order, signing with “Let’s meet again.”

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By the way, the same evening was the One Man Live by Oyasumi Hologram. I would have went there, if no Bellring Girls Heart live would have been then. I was glad it was the case, though also for a different reason: The One Man of OyaHolo lasted only for about one hour! A One Man Live, only one hour? What the hell! Also the set list they have done was mostly consisting of their more electronic songs, so I wouldn’t have had much fun there. Therefore Thank You Bellha! You offered me the much better enjoyment!

17.11.2016

I met with Garry in Shinjuku the evening to first take a quick glance at the Tower Records and to kill some time until the live of Neu-chan began that I wanted to go for later. Coincidence allowed it that Tower Records still sold some older version of an JyuJyu fan shirt, still as a duo. But it came in white, so it was very fitting for a live of Neu-chan.

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While I checked my Twitter I noticed that Tsuzuki Kana did an event that day, working as a bar keeper. It was quite an effort to find the bar, which was really tiny and hidden on the 3rd floor of some building. Two other fans of hers have already been present, but Kana‘s puzzled face when seeing me was amazingly funny. You could easily see her surprise when she recognized me. We spend some nice time there, drank some good sake and had some pleasant conversation with her, well, me mostly, as Garry didn’t know her. We talked about France, my sister, TIF (she seems to be there this year) and about her favourite BiSH member LingLing, as Garry brought this up. The best part came when I mentioned that I wasn’t able to see a live of hers as the schedule was very difficult. Kana then told me right away about her next live on the up-coming Sunday. I put down a note of it and made a promise of my attendance. She was pleased and expressed her gratitude. Curiously we happened to talk about her hair-cut, with Kana explaining that many consider it strange. She became very pleased when I affirmed to her that its style reminded me of what I would expect to see in France. After an hour we left, me having to hurry to my live in Shibuya. Kana showed us out and handed me a flyer of her Birthday One Man Live two months later. Too bad her birthday is end of January, not December.

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The festival that Neu-chan appeared in contained only female solo idols, but all of them of the mediocre pop type, hence it was good I arrived only later to have missed out a few of them, with Neu only appearing as the one before last.

Line-up:

鈴木花純(テレジア)
ねうちゃん
西恵利香
ハッピーくるくる きみとうたたね
星名ふみみ
2&
武井麻里子

The music of Neu-chan was a welcomed change in tune. Though not less poppy, it at least is composed of unusual structure diversion, providing a sort of psychedelic feel. Sorry I can not link a video, as I don’t know of any online. When  arrived I dropped my drink on the floor, cleaning it up with paper towels I got me from the bar. Embarrassing. For the live I was easily able to get close to the front, enjoying a relaxing live, lasting for approximately twenty minutes. Neu additionally joined the stage for the last act (I forgot who that was.) to announce a collaborative show, happening a few weeks later.

For the event later the lane for Neu was long and slow, fans easily getting over two minutes talk time with her. Good thing for them, but for me far too much. At least I could connect to our last conversation about JyuJyu‘s Hong Kong trip, after we did a pose I decided. When asking how the trip was, Neu excitingly told me that she liked Xiao Long Bao. Further she acknowledged the JyuJyu shirt I was wearing and I was happy about her reply to my inquiry if “Neu-chan” continues to perform as solo act. She would. Sure, her solo work is quite difficult to get into, but I am confident that with an expanded track record I would really come to appreciate it.

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On a side note, today’s staff was someone I never saw before with JyuJyu or its related artists. Lucky for me, as that day a DVD with the live recording of one Neu-chan live was sold and I got it for free – oversea fan bonus! lol

18.11.2016

Nothing much went on, as curiously no interesting idol live was going on, though its being a Friday. I therefore met with Garry again, for a short visit of Akihabara and the Noodol Café, to provide us beforehand with event tickets for tomorrows PASSPO 7th Anniversary Outdoor Live. Also I post some photos I took some days ago, when I was out with Tsutomo. I forgot to include them the last time.

19.11.2016

Today finally the big sold out live of PASSPO was held. As it was performed outside of Tokyo at Kokukoen in the Saitama Region I got on an early train, in part to be in time for the merchandise sales, as I was interested in the announced calendar for 2017 – in vain though, then as it turned out it was just postcard-sized, so I didn’t buy it.Finding the venue in the larger park area was actually pretty easy, as PASSPO posted directions on Twitter, completely with pictures of the several marking points. A nice idea. Good job, girls!

Neither Tsutomo nor Garry were present just yet, so I had no other choice then to wait near the station despite the cold: The whole week and the day after had been sunny and warm, but of course not the day of the Outdoor Live. Figures… Instead I bought me the new star-shaped a light stick, which was defect… Not my day in terms of sales. I use this spot to post the shirts I bought on this tour, though not on that day, but actually already in Utsunomiya. The Morishi Birthday Shirt of course as present for my sister.

When Garry eventually arrived we walked around the park and got in queue. Although our numbers were close we had to wait in different “pockets”. Also we failed in agreeing on our choice of seats, so it turned out that he was sitting on the upper left side, whereas I took a seat on the right, reserving one for Tsutomo who arrived at the last minute, as usual, lol.

The live was starting with PASSPO as idols, then a longer band set with the girls on their instruments, to return for idols again later.The choice of songs was without surprises, me especially happy about the inclusion of Baby Jump and the rare performance of Fairy Tale as the concluding song. The band set also made the improvements of the girls on their instruments apparent, them showing much more comfort with it. But one negative thing has to be mentioned: In my opinion the live was too short, with only close to two hours of performing time. For the facts of it being not only the Tour Final nor the first Outdoor One Man in the groups history,  but especially their 7th Anniversary of PASSPO‘s foundation.  I expected more.

After the live it didn’t take long for the after show events to start. Event tickets were limited to six each turn of purchase, but me and Garry had no need for further tickets besides the ones we had already bought the day before – Garry would get a 2shot and a sign with Mio with it. Tsutomo on the other hand was buying his tickets then to later talk with Nachu. Me I decided for the group shot, that I had refrained from at the release events and a 2shot with Yukki. The group photo was quickly done, as usual, with Annya again giving me the most of attention because of her position in the setup, quickly joined by the other members to start directing words at me, so much so that I nearly missed the time for the actual shoot. Of this two facts have to be mentioned, that I realised afterwards:

  1. My first group photo with PASSPO, where all members are displayed well. None showing a strange expression and even Naomi smiles. (If you overlook the fact, that Annya‘s fringe makes it look like she has conjoined eye brows, lol.)
  2. Morishi doing a very cutesy kissing pose. I wonder if she did that especially for me. I must assume so.
  3. The most important detail: Yukki having put her hand on my shoulder! I actually didn’t notice it during the shot, but Wow! this was the first time she ever did something that “intimate”. Needless to say that I was very happy about it.

For the individual cheki with Yukki I thought about having arrived much too late when I saw the long lanes which had already formed. But instead they were only those of Aipon, Mio and Annya. I was actually surprised that while searching for Yukki‘s queue at the end of their lanes, it was actually located where the queue’s of the others just began, making me only the fifth in line for her. To my relief the lane got longer later though. Phew! The meeting with Yukki became marvellous, she obviously happy to see me. The most impressing aspect though became her constant support of my right arm with her own left. It literally felt, like she wanted to cross arms with me, but knew she was restricted to do so. Really lovely. I regretted a bit that I had no further ticket to talk with Yukki, especially in the context of the short queue. Nevertheless, I had a pleasant time and must still snigger when I look at the towel Yukki wore as protection against the cold.

Tsutomo, Garry and me finished the day by eating at a Yakiniku restaurant, where you paid just for the time, not for the quantity of food, you ate. So much second helpings of meat and refill drinks –  It was fantastic!

20.11.2016

At my last day of this trip the coldness I was exposed to at the day before became apparent, feeling ill quite a bit. Nevertheless I had promised Kana to go for her live and as it wouldn’t take too long, I took the effort to do so. Kana told me at our last meeting in the bar that the venue in Shimokitazawa Garage was new to her, which was true for me as well. It was easy to find though with the help of the mobile phone map and turned out really small. Maybe comparable in size with Akihabara Twin Box. The show consisted of 5 or 6 acts, of whom I only knew Rina Chick State, whose vocaloid songs I don’t like in the least. But she finished that day and gathered obviously the most crowd. Kana‘s performance included several Anime cover songs, at least this is what she told on stage. I didn’t know either of them. To my joy the last song was S.N.L, my favourite of hers and a nice reminiscence of the Paris days. Also Hideki was present as well.

The event became very nice, with Kana handling all of the buppan herself. No staff was present with her, so the chekis in each case were done by the fan next in line, with Kana handing them the camera each time. (Mine were done by Hideki.) It was difficult for me to find anything to talk about, so Kana had to do a lot of helping. First thing, after we done the cheki was me buying her new shirt. It was Anime style like most of her shirts are, but what can I say? I like to get me some merchandise. As I also reserved my ticket with her I was allowed to take part in a lottery. For this Kana held up a deck of cards and I had to choose one. The prices, as far as I understood, where a free cheki, a sign, a mobile cheki, additional talking time and, as I have seen it with the fan before me, a slap on the cheek(?) – whatever idiocy that is about. As I was not keen not talking or this stupid slap thing, I hoped for a cheki – and got it! Kana asked if I wanted a One Shot or a Two Shot. Of course I chose the first, as I find the latter completely useless and an  utter waste of money.

I left right away after my turn was over, to get some much needed rest in the hotel and to pack up my things. I wasn’t sad that I had to leave, as I would return just one month later. Instead I rather welcomed the short break at home, to re-collect my energy and motivation after nearly 4 weeks in Japan. My next trip would turn out to be much different!

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