Monday, September 2, 2013

A small yet important chat with Ai-chan

Well, it's been one year.
One year of nothing H!P.
No cons, no events, no blogs, nothing.
Then a dream. A very vivid dream.

Ai-chan came to visit me....in my kitchen...wearing her High-King outfit.
How I remember all of this is a mystery still. We had a brief chat and I can remember every word, every gesture, everything. Here's our convo:

Ai: Hi!
Me: Hey!
Ai: How are you doing?
Little busy, yourself?
I'm.....all right.
Don't look all right.
I'm okay, really.
K, not gonna push ya.
It's just, I'm worried about you.
What for? I'm fine.
You say that, but you miss it.
I don't miss it. I've moved on from HP.
You've got a hole, I can see it.
...I'd make a witty retort but you know I'm a gentleman.
Har har. I'm serious. You miss the girls, you miss translating.
The girls? Yes a little. Translating? Not a chance. Nice not having to put in hours of work for something no one reads.
I read them.
...
You haven't updated your blog.
Got nothing to say right now.
You haven't read mine either.
As much as I love looking at you, there's only so much of your daily outfit and today's parfait posts I can handle. Put up something opinionated and I'll take a look.
My posts are good! They're creative.
Ai-chan I've been in Japan's JHS. Creativity flew out the window along with self-globalization and individuality.
Point, but the fact is you still miss reading...and your Japanese is slipping.
It's not slipping, it's just plateau-ed and I'm too busy to study more.
Orly? Is that why this conversation is in English?
My head, my rules. No point in convincing me to get back into HP. I'm too far gone.
Seems weird you fell off the wagon despite being in the same country as us.
Meh. Sickeningly ironic isn't it?
Not too hard to jump back on. Events are coming up.
Mm-hmm and how should I pay for them? You got a ATM on that gorgeous body of yours?
You stole that from Robot Chicken.
Spending money I don't have on girls I barely know while sneaking around the wife doesn't sound like a good plan.
You make it sound like we're call girls.
Give me a risk-benefit ratio and woo me.
Uh, I wasn't so hot with numbers. But check this out!
Why are you holding a blue platypus?
Don't look at me it's your party. Probably reminding yourself to buy that ICOCA.
Oh right. Thank you subconscious.
He's easier to convince than you.
He's irrational and impulsive and probably trying to figure out the best way to get under your...hat...Stop changing the subject.
Very well, you were obviously happier when you were active. You still listen to Buono on your way to work, you always check the magazines with Airi on the cover, you always stop by our section at Tower.
I'm gaming on the train and don't bother to change my playlist. Airi is in EVERY mag I pick up, and the idol section is right by the registers. The bros at Tower know what they're doing.
Your bros made you laugh. ... They've updated. You should check them out. I'm still on the radio and TV occasionally. Check me out too.
...
You know what I mean. Just start out small. A little at a time. You might like the new girls. Riho is still adorable.
Ah, cider.
See, you do miss them. No need to spend your hard-earned on anything yet. Read the blogs, listen to the new singles, watch YT, talk with your bros. It will help me stop worrying about you.
Little minx, guilt-tripping me.
Mwahaha. Now wake up and get your butt to work. Support my kohais.
Typhoon today.
K, I'll tell you all about my outfits for the week...

And then I woke up.
So, guess I'm back in. Passively-active so to speak.
Start off with the youngin's talk in Nishinomiya Gardens. I shall enjoy!

Monday, September 3, 2012

2012.09.02 Buono! at Namba HATCH

I gotta say...Buono is my favorite act to see live.

There's just this sense of pleasant unexpectedness when a group has a live band behind it. To me at least, it feels like how a real concert should be. Don't get me wrong...I enjoy MM and C-ute concerts a lot but with Buono, there's so much more energy and flow.

Take for instance the MCs...they're like 100x better with a live band to follow up. On one, Momo meant to say "For the next song..." but mistakenly said "For the last song..." to which Maimai the drummer did a nice rimshot with a fake lead-in into GO!GO!ゴーダ which got laughs from everyone including the members. That kind of dynamic really helps the concert come alive. It makes me appreciate the group even more.

That said, it was two hours of Momo, Miya and Airi awesomeness.

The gear


Distribution was pretty uniform. I think Airi had a slight lead but I'm only judging this from the ground floor. I couldn't really see up to the second floor very well. Tons of female Miya fans though...tons.

Band was pretty solid the whole time too. New guitarist Mariko (aka Okaasan) did quite well especially on acoustic with Urahara. Given that I was close to her I was probably the only one that payed attention. She was good for the rest of the songs but seemed to lack the energy. Come back Junko~   I was hoping Eji would go a little crazy like prior concerts but she kept it pretty tame sadly.

New songs were really great. I had them playing the whole time I ride the train to get familiar with them. Seriously blows you away to watch them live.

Only downside to the concert was Miya singing Blue-Sky-Blue solo. She did a fine job with it no doubt, but it's just not the same. It's probably my favorite song from them. I seriously get chills when I see Momo singing "Nagai nagai michi no tochuu de samayoi tsuzukete mo." I was really looking forward to hearing it truly live from the three of them. So when I heard Airi's MC about intro-ing the next solo songs, I was pretty crushed. By the time Airi came out in her new hot-pants outfit I perked right back up and had completely forgotten about it. Such awesome power she holds.

Also, the Pizza-la DJ didn't really have to be there imo...

Surprisingly, Momo wasn't as spazzy this time around. Was kinda shocked to see a mature Momo giving well-timed comments and appropriate jokes. Although the Miya-Momo MC skit about not doing her best at anything was pretty hilarious. After they sang 初恋サイダー and 恋愛ライダー back to back, a few of the wotas were alternating サイダー and ライダー calls. Also pretty hilarious.

Finished up with Bravo☆Bravo and I was swinging my towel like a maniac. After everyone threw their towel straight up, some Miya fan threw his jacket up too. It had some writing on the back which I couldn't see really well but I know it did have something to do with "marry me."

Fantastic concert and can't wait to go again. Buono saikou!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

2012.08.23 S/mileage Handshake Event

Howzit!

First off, let me say that I finally got internet last week. Sweetness.
However, I couldn't use it since I had to go back to Hiroshima for family stuff. Unsweet.

Now I am back and I can post about what's been happening.
First up, S/mileage's handshake event in Senri.

Since Kansai doesn't get too many events like Tokyo, I try to go to as many as I can. And considering that Senri is on the outskirts of Osaka proper, I thought it was pretty cool they would come out there to do it. On this particular day, I had work so I asked to block off some time to make it. Standard format for a handshake event:  a mini-live and handshake for three different times. I could make the second show if I worked early morning and late night after. So work-show-work. Totally worth it.

Having gone to the place before, I knew the layout and where to go. It's in the center of the mall in an outdoor courtyard. The day before the live, the staff was setting up the stage and tents for the girls and to sell the CDs. They had benches arranged in the center area which made me wonder what kind of live this was going to be. My first thought was, "Maybe it's for the girls to stand on so they can see?" but the day of the live they were gone, so I'm guessing they were for weary mall customers wanting to rest.

Due to work I missed the first half of the 1:30 show. I jammed over to the CD booth (which was completely empty) and got handshake tickets for the 1:30 and 3:45 lives. As soon as I got to the floor, I threw my bag down and jumped to the new song Suki yo. (Btw my bag hit someone but we were both too excited to care). Song is good so make sure you guys buy a copy!

Announcements before the handshake

The MCs were the usual talk about the new single and how they worked really hard on the recording. Meimei stumbled a bit but it was all good. They finished off with Bijin Mama (I think? it was a while ago) which caused a lot of the Nyonsama wotas to go to the back and start doing the Matrix. Hella hot to be wearing the jacket but they didn't seem to mind at all. We had about a five minute break before the handshake so all the wotas went in droves to the nearest shade. Chatted with a few of them before they started calling us to line up. Since I got my ticket so late, I was almost the last one.

I'm probably gonna mess up the order but I think it went:  Meimei, Akari, Nyon, Rina, Kana, then Ayacho. Apologies to all that like them but, I kinda flew by the second gen with a simple "Really great show. I'm from Hawaii." That got a few surprise faces. Nyonsama was awesome and I shook her hand as long as possible before getting pushed. It was my first time shaking hands with Ayacho so I wasn't really sure what to expect. She seemed to have a little anxiety when I was coming through so I thought it was the whole gaijin-hate thing. When I got there, she forced a smile and said "Thank you" in English. I told her "Thank you. I enjoyed it. Also, I like your Dessin works." *Cue deer-in-headlights face* I got a laugh from the wota behind me and a snicker from Kana. After an eternity, she finally said "Thank you" and I hopped off the stage.


Second time around I was closer to the middle

Lunched at Mos Burger and snagged another couple of bottles of water for the next show. Not a bad mini-live but I wished it could have been longer. Second time through on handshake, I got a shaka and alohas mixed with some giggles. Nyonsama was awesome again and Ayacho gave me a genuine smile this time (at least I think it was). Had to head back to work unfortunately, so grabbed my bag and headed to the nearest bathroom. By coincidence or lucky timing, I passed by Nyonsama who gave me a nice smile when she saw me. I returned it with an "aloha" which elicited a bigger smile. She's so awesome!

I was kinda depressed that I would miss the last show and go to work instead. But, I remembered that Buono! was coming to Osaka soon and that cheered me up considerably. Next post...Buono!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

MM Gaki/Aika Grad concert and the Perils of Japan

Aloha everyone (or is it aroha now?)

Back from Tokyo and had a great trip.

I shall try my best to remember everything H!P related since I did have some business to do while I was there.

Shinkansen there was fine. Got super-crowded after Shin-Osaka. All the salarymen returning to Tokyo I guess. Weird since it was late afternoon on a Thursday. Whatever. Arrived at Tokyo station and booked it to Shinjuku to meet up with zeroyon and invisibleguy (ya, the Hawaii bros together again). After about 10 minutes of mailing "Where the hell are you" back and forth we finally found each other and decided to eat. Since zeroyon knows Tokyo better, we left it up to him. His choice? Tsunku's okonomiyaki restaurant lol.

Walking through Kabukicho at night we became acutely aware of why it's the red light district. We jokingly threatened to leave invis there as kind of a "welcome to Japan." We found the place and sat down to order. The おすすめ drink was this:


You can tell it's Tsunku's place since "tropical" is rainbow colored...orz.


Ya, I had an orange one...

We had our food and said bye to the staff (who knew their okonomiyaki btw) and headed to Donki to pick up our glowsticks for the next night. Didn't do all the floors since we were pressed for time so we just snagged them and headed back.

Next day, Invis mailed me and said they were already starting to line up for goods at Budokan. Met him there and the line stretched about half way the place around and back again...and the staff had just finished setting up the tents and started putting out the boxes. Sheesh.



I had to do some business stuff so left invis to finish waiting in line and grab his goods and returned about a half hour before doors opened. Walking back I saw some awesome cosplayers and particularly a really hot Ai-chan one. Chatted a little and she asked if she could have my ticket. I politely declined while walking and she went back to her Marlboro. Love Japan!! After another 5 minutes and countless "Where the hell are you" mails, we all met up and lined up to get in. Inside, they were selling CDs and other small goods. Not surprisingly they sold out of Reina's and Gaki's PBs.

After finding my seat, everyone starting filling in around me. I had the second seat in from the aisle and was next to a pretty girl with a Tsuji bow and a hardcore Iikubo wota complete with her towel as an apron...front and back. After chatting with him, he wasn't surprised to find a lot of foreign fans here for Gaki and Aika. He was surprised that I knew the chants and could wotagei (slightly). Right after, he stepped into the aisle and said, "Just stand behind me and follow my wotagei!" Soon after the Tsuji-bow girl said, "Excuse me, I have to change my shirt." and proceeded to take said shirt off. She had a camisole thing underneath so it wasn't anything dirty. She wore Gaki's thank you shirt and pulled out her 10 green glowsticks.

During that whole time, people were walking by handing out glowsticks. I was asked again and again if I had green and purple ones and every time I said that yes I had some of both. Again and again they asked me specifically. Eventually, the wotas around me would shout out, "YES! HE HAS THEM!" and start laughing. It got to the point where I took them out of my bag and held them in front of me so that they would stop asking.

Concert was awesome. The whole 11th gen audition was a surprise. The wotagei-ing wota in front of me was shocked the most I think. He pointed at Tsunku, turned around at me and said in perfect English, "Is he serious!? That's fast!"

During the ceremony, the hardcore wotas would hold up their glowsticks for the entire thing. By the time Gaki did hers, one guy's arms were shaking so hard I thought they would fall off. Lucky for him, the bro in front of him supported his arms and held up his own as well. Very cool.

After, we parted ways since invis and zeroyon had a C-ute con to go to. I had Tokyo Disney Sea lol. No sign of Gaki sadly.

Good con and fun times with everyone. Can't wait to do it again.

So now the second part of my title.

Perils might be a strong word but whatever. First one is gaijin abuse. I've read and heard horror stories of singling out gaijins and denying them services or assaulting them. In the one month I've been here, I've been clipped twice by punk a$$holes on bikes and twice by a car side mirror. It's not like the streets are too narrow. There is like half a meter of space between me and the road yet they still swerve to get me. It's not a small town and there's a handful of other foreigners here so I it's not like they've never seen one. Lingering anger from WWII? High school losers who think they can be cool? Hard to say...

For the second one, I'm gonna put a disclaimer on it since some people may find disgusting or offensive, so read at your own risk. First night in Tokyo, I was riding with Invis back to Shinjuku. Thursday night and heading to one of the most crowded spots in the city. Packed train to say the least. We were near the end of the car and probably five feet from the door. Invis got off (after some pushing) to transfer and left me to get off at the next station. Once the train started moving again, a pretty OL (who was by the door mind you) started pushing her away back towards me. Not the excuse-me-pardon-me little duck and tunnel move. No, she was shoving salarymen left and right. She settled in front of me and turned her back to me just as the train stopped. Doors opened and with everyone baby-stepping out, the OL kept looking over her shoulder to make sure I was behind her. The mob formed around us and just as I was stepping off, I was crotch-glomped. Not a quick hand-brush...a full-on grab-hold-squeeze. Brain didn't really have time to register since I was being pushed off by the backlog behind me. We went to separate exits but she never looked back after. I put this as a peril since it would be if the roles were reversed. Some of my female readers (do I have any female readers??) should be aware if they find themselves in that situation. Also, guys should be cautious in case it wasn't the OL that did it...yikes.

This last one really hit home for me. Even though Japan is considered one of the safest countries, there is still crime. On the shinkansen back, I was reading the news snippets that scroll by on the display at the front of the car. One said that there was a stabbing on a Tokyo Metro platform in Shibuya early in the day. Took me a second but I thought, "Wait...me and my family were on a metro platform in Shibuya earlier today...holy crap!" I checked the news website and sure enough, same metro line and same platform. We left about 20 minutes before it happened. Scary.

Stay safe people!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

着いた!!

Made it to Japan finally. After a nine hour flight and a four hour train ride, we are now settled in. We had six carry-ons plus a carseat so it was pretty hard to get on and off. Not to mention I was dead tired from not sleeping this whole week (only caught about an hour and half on the plane).

Immigration was a breeze. I thought the officer was gonna give me a hard time but I guess since it was so late, he probably just wanted to get me through and go home. Since I have a 配偶者ビザ  it's pretty straightforward and allows me to work in any field anywhere in the country. Hooray.

First order of business is the 外人登録書 which I have to get in less than two weeks. How convenient that the regional immigration office is in Hiroshima city...which is where MM will have their concert on Sunday hehehe.


Time for some lunch at Mos Burger. Latez!