2013/11/09 Setlist, Iwasa Misaki “Request Covers” Promotional Event @ Ito-Yokado Department Store in Nishikicho, Saitama
Special Opening Act, the karaoke stylings of Jumbo Kobayashi
BTW, I attended this event with Andy, and my friend Daryl!!!
2. Nagori Yuki
Outfit: White Kimono w/ Fiery Red @ Purple Print
Note: Grand prize won by the guy sitting next to me during the show
Handshake: (won 2-shot) I told Wasamin her Kimono was beautiful. She asked “Aren’t I beautiful?”, to which I responded “of course!” I also told her that Jumbo was my new twitter friend (I attempted to follow him on twitter the previous night, but his account is protected. He came over to me while I was in the handshake queue to tell me that he approved my request )
1. Toki no Nagarene Miwo Makase
2. Blue Light Yokohama
Outfit: Pink Kimono w/ Black Pattern at the bottom (hawt!)
Handshake: (won sticker) She said I was cute. I told her she was cuter. But she said I was cute too. I asked her if she was happy about the tremendous turnout, and thanked her for finally singing Blue Light.
Note 1: My friend Claudia from Italy is now living in Tokyo, and showed up at the end of the 2nd event, in time to see Wasamin going up the escalator in her Kimono. She looked starstruck, and thought Wasamin was beyond adorable. I was so proud!
Note 2: Between shows I was walking through the food court, and a little old lady came up to me, pointed to my Wasa-shirt and exclaimed “Kawaii, ne?!”
1. Nada Sousou
3. Akai Sweet Pea
Outfit: Light Blue checkered dress w/ Pink scrunchie, Tan thigh high boots
Handshake: (won postcard) I basically introduced Claudia to her. Gave Wasamin her name and told her she was very nervous.
Note 1: Jumbo was excited not only was San Francisco and Hong Kong in the house, but now Italy was in attendance! Wasamin is truly an international star!
Note 2: I won the postcard, but Claudia got the 2-shot…on her first try! My tally was now 12 handshakes w/ 4 each of the stickers, postcards and chekis. Yep, right on average.
Note 3: Wasamin delivered a message to me via Claudia. “Please teach Chris Japanese so we can have more conversations” It tugged at my heart that Wasamin really wants to talk with me more, but our language barrier limits what we can really talk about. I wanted to cry when Claudia told me that Not to mention she had just performed Nada Sousou, which brought me to near tears the first time I heard it. Yeah, I was an emotional wreck for the third performance.
* I had now heard every song on the album performed live
That was the first time I had heard Tsugunai live. It is a great song, so chalk it up as another of my faves. As for Blue Light, it got a huge reaction when she announced it. The fans had noted all day that it was the only song not performed so far. Not only did Wasamin do a flawless job, she actually riffed on the second chorus. I was so impressed that she was confident enough to play with the song on the first live performance!
I think I love that song so much because it really has a sexy vibe to it. Really neat to hear Wasamin sing a song like that!
Note: Crowd was by far the biggest of the week. A majority of the seats for the 11am event were taken over an hour prior to the show. 2pm show was absolutely packed to the rafters. Handshake session for the 2pm show took over 45 minutes, 5pm event’s handshakes took about an hour. (they had traditionally been around 30 minutes)
It wasn’t that Wasamin hurt my feelings, but there is so much I would love to say to her but don’t know quite how to say it. But if there is a will, there is a way. I had a trick up my sleeve for the last day…
Anyway, the final event was upon us. It was going to be bittersweet. I wasn’t sure how I was going to handle it, as I was already a little bit choked up…
The Wasa-faithful were already strategizing for the final day. Fans from afar were making the trip early in the morning too. It was going to be great!
Iwasa Misaki “Request Covers” Release Week Event FINAL, 2013/11/10 at Ito-Yokada in Ageo, Saitama
It was a very emotional day for so many reasons. What Wasamin said about our language barrier was still haunting me. I knew I wanted to give her a gift and a letter, so I was nervous about that. Plus it was the last day, and I wasn’t sure I will get to see Wasamin again this trip. It didn’t help that I was listening to Request Covers on my ipod, and found myself in tears on the train more than once.
Switching gears, I forgot to mention after the Saturday night Wasa-performance I had dinner in Shnjuku with Darryl and Andy. It was an awesome Katsu place. I headed back to my hotel via the Chuo-Sobu Line, which passes right by Tokyo Dome. At Suidobashi station about a million teenage girls boarded the train after watching the Kanjani 8 concert. We were packed in like sardines! But a lot worse places to be than crammed in a train with a bunch of wild young girls!
BTW, there was a 5.5 earthquake in the morning near Ibaraki. It caused everyone to be late, including Wasamin. The JR Takasaki Line, which is the main train to Ageo was running extremely behind schedule. First set got off 15 minutes late.
Nice sized crowd, but not as big as the previous day’s Nishikicho event. I guess the casuals stayed home to watch the draft? But her big fans were out in force to support her one more time. Even my friend Wild-san made the 280 mile overnight drive from Shiga!
2. Kita no Yado Kara
3. Ai no Mama de…
Outfit: Red Kimono, similar to the one on the regular version CD
2 Handshakes (sticker, sticker) Wasamin leads off with a shot to the heart…”Chris -san, you are older than my dad!” BTW, this is not true. I happen to know how old her Dad is, and he is older than me. Anyway, I have never told Wasamin my age, and most people guess I am much younger than I actually am. So I re-queued the line after I realized what she said to me to make sure she knew I was younger than Papa-Wasa.
Note: Speaking of Wasamin’s family, they have been to a couple of events in the past. Her Dad looks very young. And as far as her sisters, they all look alike. Oh, and her older sister is apparently really cute. If you mention her older sister’s looks, Wasamin gets jealous. They say her younger sister looks like Wasamin when she first joined AKB. But OMG, 3 Wasamins in one family?
1. Nagori Yuki
2. Ettou Tsubame
Outfit: Light Blue Kimono with Purple/Silver Sash
Handshake (postcard) I finally broke down and gave Wasamin a bouquet of pink roses. I was so nervous about it I forgot to take a photo of them. I bowed as I handed them to her. Wasamin, said “Flowers?, then in Japanese said “Chris-san, I really love you.” She said to me “Love is over”, and I quickly said “chigau!”
I spent the next break writing a really mushy fan (love) letter to her. I had Andy, and Calvin (a Suuchan fan who decided to check out the event) do the Japanese translation for me. It was a great relief to be able to convey some more detailed thoughts to Wasamin for once.
5pm (final) Setlist
2. Toki no Nagareni Miwo Makase
3. Akai Sweet Pea
Outfit: Cream colored one piece with brown boots. OMG, this is the sexiest I have ever seen her!
2 Handshakes (2-shot, sticker) I was having horrible luck picking chekis, so I asked one of her managers Yoshida-san to give me some luck. He shook the box and said “Chris-san, come on!” And whaddya know, I got a 2-shot! I reacted with a bit too much glee, people thought I had drawn the grand prize. Since Wasamin looked so incredibly sexy, I decided for her to do a sexy pose with me having a shocked look on my face. She looks great, I look ridiculous. I told her I was off to Hakata tomorrow and would be back in Tokyo on Friday. I told her I hoped I would see her again soon.
For the second handshakes there were two random people who were trying so hard to get our attention, so Wasamin had both of us turn around and wave. I barely had time to tell her that Request Covers is wonderful and that I love her very much. I handed her my letter, and assured her that it was “Ego to Nihongo” She then said “Love is Over!”, to which I replied again “Chigau!” She said “Please, Please?” Okay, “Love is over….wait, Love is NOT over!” I’m not sure why I did my last handshake so early in the event. I was watching everyone else for at least 45 minutes after that. I would have gotten one more CD, but I was running low on cash in pocket. And 17 copies of Request Covers is more than enough, wouldn’t you say?
It really is a wonderful CD. All of you need to pick up a copy. Then imagine Wasamin doing these songs live in a beautiful kimono (or a smokin hawt dinner outfit) That has been my week. And I will never forget it. I don’t think Wasamin will either. Same with her manager…Wasamin spent a little extra time at the end acknowledging the staff and telling us how wonderful we had been as fans. Her manager was crying as this was going on. Wasamin got a new manager recently, and this was her first release. She was really great to all of us.
And that was the end of an emotional day. I later admitted to my friends that I was on Wasa-overload, and I am afraid that I love her too much. But the rest of the Wasafans assured me that was impossible. You can never have too much love for Wasamin! They all love her just as much. But I really do adore her, and when these events come to an end it is goodbye for a long period of time. It really hurts.
But our celebratory Wasa-fan dinner at Saizeria made me feel a lot better.
Some additional observations. First off, the new manager…
I heard a few different explanations regarding why she had a change in managers, none of which made me any more or less worried about Wasamin’s career. I remember the original manager from the Mujineki events. She seemed nice enough. But the new one seemed especially sweet, and interacted very well with the fans. It is almost like having Wasamin’s mom helping out. In fact, all of the staff were extremely nice. It is a nice change of pace from an AKB event, where everything has to be so regimented otherwise fans overstep the boundaries. This is Nagara Pro and Tokuma Records running the event. So a different vibe. Plus, the Wasa-fans collectively put Wasamin before themselves. So there is a lot less jealousy, and more cheering each other on. For example, there are guys going to these events that buy TONS of CDs. You think my 17 CDs were a lot? A few guys bought more than that for EACH DAY. All of the fans realize this means more sales for Wasamin, so it is all good. We cheers these guys on, and thank them for being so instrumental in helping her sales numbers.
She doesn’t have a huge fanbase, so it is a lot more intimate.
A couple other observations. I mentioned before that Wasamin’s average fan has to be at least 40 years old. I’m like a young guy in that group. It is also 99% male. For some reason Wasamin hardly attracts any female fans. (if you leave out all the Obasan that show up to hear enka) Danie (Jouttex) is probably her biggest female fan, but she is very tom-boyish.
It makes a lot of sense, especially with the musical style Wasamin is striving to succeed with. But even in the beginning the older fans seemed to be attracted to her. I think it is that sweet an beautiful smile.
With that in mind, I see a lot of talk around the forums about “creepy older otaku”. But if you went to any event you would see that the older fans are usually always the most dedicated, and the most well-behaved. AKB was founded on an older male audience, and back then there didn’t have to be rules about everything because common etiquette usually prevailed. It was when the younger fans grabbed on to the group that all the crap started happening that forced Togasaki to implement a million rules for every event.
One of the many reasons I would love to see more people go to these events IN JAPAN so they can see what it is really like.
Notice the rope barrier? So close to Wasamin but there is always that fine line That said, I was surprised that her manager would quite often invite us to get in closer to one another for the shot. Here are a couple more of my cheki, “Hearto Version” and “Mujineki Posu” (I got 5 in all)
BTW, Here is the final tally of how many times each song was performed…
Ai no Mama de… 4x
Akai Sweet Pea 4x
Ettou Tsubame 4x
Nagori Yuki 3x
Toki no Nagareni Miwo Makase 3x
Love is Over 2x
Nada Sousou 2x
Kita no Yado Kara 2x
Matsu wa 1x
Blue Light Yokohama 1x
Quite funny that my favorite song, and Andy’s (Matsu wa) were the only two songs performed once. But she mentioned us as the two that came from far away to see her at least once per day. So she was still thinking of us.
I can’t believe she performed at the theater tonight after that surely grueling week. Although I think Wasamin really enjoys performing, and the adulation she gets when she does.
BTW, my big wish was that Wasamin would be at the National Handshake event next weekend in Iwate. But it was just announced that she will be performing in the theater that day. So my only chance to see her will be if I win that show. Even if I don’t win, I think I will stay in town and watch the show in the lobby.
I listened through the album a couple times again while on the Shinkansen. It is a truly wonderful CD. Her voice just does it for me…
Someone asked if the songs are true to the originals, or are they all done enka style. For the most part, they are true to the originals, but Wasamin does indeed put her stamp on them.
The next day Wasamin posted on her Ameba Blog. A couple people had wondered if the post made me cry…
It did. I really wanted to understand that one part of her post properly. Part of what I wrote in that letter was how much I want to be there to support her all the time, and how frustrating it is to only to be able to see her once in a while. Also that there was so much I wished to communicate with her, but not knowing quite how to say it when I am standing in front of her. And that my biggest wish was that we could communicate better with one another. So yes, that post spoke to me quite a bit.
I think I have sort of “graduated” in my fandom. I went to the HKT theater for the first time tonight, and watched their new Pajama Drive stage on the monitors. It was fun, but there was something missing for me…Wasamin. I think going forward any trips I make over here will be based on what Wasamin is doing, rather than AKB.
So that’s it for now. I am still enljoying the CD, and thinking about Wasamin on these long trainlines out of Shin-Osaka I DID enjoy my visit to the HKT Theater. I am truly in love with her, She means so much to me. I just long to see that beautiful smile beaming at me every chance I get
Anyway, that’s it for now. Time for sleep!
CK in Tokyo