CK has visited Japan so often, it’s nice to see that a slice of Japan has come to him. Specifically, he attended the J-pop Summit in San Francisco’s Japantown to see DANCEROID perform, particularly Aikawa Kozue. And while he also ended up seeing the AKB48 documentary, he doesn’t write about that as much as he does about the various Kozue events he managed to attend throughout the weekend.
It’s a fun romp and CK’s strong sense of narrative from his overseas travelogue are served well here in his hometown. Things turn a tad convoluted as he tries to juggle AKB and Kozue events, but he keeps it clear for the reader. Also, there’s a strong sense of continuity with his past travels, as he writes of meeting fellow travelers at different points, including someone he encountered in Japan and folks from Stage48.
What I found most interesting, especially given last night’s Noteworthy about Perfume444 and the right attitude about idols, was the closing paragraph. Here’s the first half of it:
People always ask me how I get so lucky with these special relationships I seem to have with certain idols. And the answer is simple, persistence and repetition. Idols meet so many fans that it is hard for them to remember each one. Only with Wasamin did I ever have a mutual “love at first site” experience with an idol. The rest I have had to work at. They see me once, i am forgotten two minutes later. but when they see me enthusiastically coming to see them over and over they get that I really am a fan, and they begin to get comfortable.
Notice the difference between CK and Perfume444? First, CK goes to the idols, attending the venues that they designate. It’s a case of Muhammud coming to the mountain, whereas Perfume444 expects the mountain to come to Muhammud. Yes, some idols came to CK’s proverbial backyard, but he still had to make special efforts in order to meet up with them. Second, there isn’t an iota of entitlement in how CK describes his experiences: he works for it, he makes his presence felt repeatedly, and simply hopes his target idols eventually begin to recognize him.
Last but by no means least, CK doesn’t come across as desiring to become THE fan, to take on some individual importance that surpasses the level of fan – just a very dedicated one that his idols can be “begin to get comfortable” around. He doesn’t want his ass kissed, doesn’t want any special treatment – he just wants that spark of recognition one would have with an acquaintance.
It’s great to see the idol world in Japan and Korea makes it way to the United States – not all of it, certainly, but enough to make overseas fans more excited and feel more involved. This can only help spread the word and generate more fans, and hopefully they’ll be as able ambassadors for wotadom as CK has been.