Archive for the ‘Iwasa Misaki’ Category

Events, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki Mini-Live at the Oedo Hawaii Festival, Nihonbashi (2018/07/14)

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First of all, let’s all congratulate Wasamin, for this weekend she surpassed 500 singing events. She has been a soloist for 6 1/2 years now, which means she has averaged over 75 mini-lives per year. When you think about it that’s pretty incredible, eh? So…

Wasamin omedetou!!!

 

So it should be no surprise that Wasamin was quite busy this weekend with five mini-live events at three locations. Saturday was in Central Tokyo, Sunday in Western Tokyo, and then jumping up to Sendai for the Monday Holiday. I was only able to make it to the Saturday event since I had concert tickets for Sunday. Technically, I could have made it to her late performance in Western Tokyo, but I didn’t want to travel an hour and change to just see the last show.

I arrived at the Oedo Hawaii Festival 90 minutes early since I was supposed to be meeting friends there, and Minyo Girls was performing 40 minutes before Wasamin on the outdoor stage. I looked for exit B6 at Nihonbashi Station, since that’s where the Belle Salle building was, and to my surprise, the stage was practically IN THE SUBWAY STATION! It’s another really cool aspect about Japan. At many of the stations, the surrounding buildings and stores have underground entrances in the station, so you never have to go outside. It’s nice during extreme weather, and some of them have very nice restaurants and shops. Anyway, the Belle Salle exit opened up into a large stage area, flanked by a row of restaurants and a department store. Since it was the Hawaii Festival, most of the performers were performing the Hula and Ukulele music. I’m not not sure how Enka fits in, but whatever.

One of my two friends showed up, and we went upstairs to watch Minyo Girls on the outside stage. You can read my report of the Minyo Girls performance on the previous post, but suffice it to say it was scorching outside. The girls were definitely suffering. The members who dared perform (three of them cancelled out) were gulping down water every chance they had. I didn’t stick around for the chekis and stuff, instead going back downstairs to wait for Wasamin where it was MUCH cooler…

Oedo Hawaii Festival Setlist
1. Saba Kaido
2. Koisuru Natsu no Hi
3. Natsu no Tobira
4. Ryoshuu
5. Sado no Ondeko

Wasamin threw in an additional song since it was a festival, and due to the heat she themed it out for Summer. That’s good since both of those ‘Natsu’ songs are fun to hear her perform, and of course most of her MCs involved the oppressive heat outside.

She has been consistently wearing her Royal Blue Kimono for a while now, but this weekend changed into some lighter colored outfits I would imagine to be more comfortable. She wore a light blue Kimono at the Hawaii fest, and switched to an off-white Kimono in Western Tokyo.

Since I was sweaty from the heat, I decided I didn’t want a shamekai, instead just getting one ticket for a handshake. I happened to be wearing a Hawaiian styled shirt, which I pointed out to Wasamin. She asked if I bought it in Hawaii, although I actually purchased it in California. But I told her I do love Hawaii and had been there on multiple occasions. My friend, who is a Sasshi fan, asked her about the ‘Trip to Hawaii’ she supposedly won at the infamous 2010 Aki Matsuri Concert. She confirmed what we all know, that she never received her trip. My friend offered to get Sasshi on the case for her, but Wasamin was like “No, no, she’s not involved!” LOL.

My other friend didn’t make it, oh well. But Robert and I took off right after our handshakes to go to Oktoberfest which was nearby. We were excited not only for the beer, but for the Austrian party band, which we had seen before and really liked. In fact, we ended up hanging out with the band after their performance. So it was a long day.

Oh, and here are the setlists for her Western Tokyo lives (I haven’t seen the Sendai setlists posted yet)

Fuchu Setlist 1pm
1. Saba Kaido
2. Blue Light Yokohama
3. Ryoshuu
4. Sado no Ondeko

Fuchu Setlist 3:30pm
1. Mujineki
2. Ihoujin
3. Osaka Rhapsody
4. Sado no Ondeko

Wasamin is spending the next two weekends in Gifu, Nagoya, and Shizuoka, although she has her Chiba “challenge campaign” sandwiched in there too. However, the first half of August is filled with Wasamin events around Tokyo. So plenty of opportunities to see her if you are in town.

CK in Tokyo

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Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki 7th Single (re-release) Pre-order Mini-Live at Aeon Mall Kita-Toda. Saitama Prefecture (2018/07/01)

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As far as Wasamin goes, absence definitely makes the heart grow fonder. It had been two weeks since I saw her ‘Virtual Reality’ concert in Yokohama, and her schedule over the next month or so was peppered with events in Kansai, Chubu, Tohoku and Kyushu. Not to mention, I missed out on her Ginza Enka Fes. appearance since I had class that evening. So I had earmarked this event as a “must-go.” After all, I live close to Saitama, so this was just a short train ride away.

I decided to head out early, figuring I could possibly reserve a seat for the event, and get lunch in the mall. (I was really in the mood for cold udon) BTW, Summer has finally “arrived” here in Tokyo, and the last 3-4 days have been hot, humid, and windy. With that in mind, instead of wearing my Wasa-gear, I decided to wear some of my lightest clothing. I wanted to be as comfortable as possible, especially since the mall is a bit of a trek from Kita-Toda station, so I knew I would be walking in the heat. I arrived just before noon, and immediately scouted the place for lunch.

What I didn’t take into account was the special event going on at the mall.  This was part of the reason Wasamin was invited to perform at this venue. They were holding a “Niigata Fair” to promote Niigata tourism. I guess they felt Wasamin’s 7th single, Sado no Ondeko, which is about Niigata Prefecture, would be appropriate for the event. Makes sense. So Wasamin was only part of the promotions going on in the mall. They had all sorts of games, other performers from Niigata, and of course….mascots.

It’s funny watching kids react to mascots, they either love them, or they are scared to death of them. That tall one with the mustache seemed to be the best at scaring the heck out of the little kids. There was tons of screaming and crying going on, LOL. Anyway, since it seemed like the local geriatric crowd had camped out most of the seats for the day, I camped out in a cafe until showtime. (I have a ton of Kanji to memorize by tomorrow) Wasamin was doing two mini-live performances, and here are the setlists…

14:00 Setlist
1. Hatsuzake
2. Koisuru Fortune Cookie (Enka Ver.)
3. Toshishita no Otokonoko
4, Ginza Kankan Musume
5. Ryoshū (New c/w track for 7th single re-release!)
6. Sado no Ondeko

16:20 Setlist
1. Saba Kaido
2. Ringo no Uta
3. Gakusei Jidai
4. Niji wo Watatte
5. Osaka Rhapsody (New c/w track for the 7th single re-release!)
6. Sado no Ondeko

Six songs! Wasamin has been doing these ‘extra-long’ setlists a bit lately. Not every time, but usually when it is some kind of special promotion. She sings songs #2-4 in a row, without an MC, so ultimately she does the same amount of talking as a 4-song setlist. Plus, she sang two of the c/w tracks from the new single. Osaka Rhapsody is particularly fun. Not to mention, Niji wo Watatte and Ginza Kankan Musume are among my favorite songs she performs, so all in all it was a great set of songs today.

I pre-ordered 3 copies of the upcoming release, one of each type. I am in sort of a quandary with these pre-orders. The new release is scheduled for August 8th. I have (extremely) tentative plans to go to California in August. and since I live alone I cannot have CD orders coming to my house just after I leave town. So I have been ordering for “pick-up” rather than delivery. This means I am going to have to trek all over the place to get these singles at some point. But I’ll deal with that when the time comes. I used two tickets for the first event, and got a two-shot…

Wasamin asked what the pose was, and I mentioned it is part of her Sado no Ondeko routine. Afterwards, I mentioned I have three big Kanji tests tomorrow, and I had been spending most of the afternoon studying in the cafe across from the stage. When I came back to use my last ticket, I showed her all of the practice kanji I had been writing. She immediately pointed to 歌手 (Kashu) and said “That’s me!” I told her that when I think of the “song” kanji, I think of her standing in front of two microphones. In the meantime her manager said that was a lot of kanji to learn. Don’t I know it! Anyway, Wasamin wished me luck on the tests tomorrow. After a quick trip into Aeon Market to grab a few things, I sat down and watched the mascots while waiting for Wasamin to finish her handshake event, and then we all headed back to the station, and home.

As I said, Wasamin is spending a lot of time out of town this month. But checking her schedule, she is performing at the Hawaii Fest in Tokyo on the 14th (along with Minyo Girls) Plus, I am pretty sure I can make it to her ‘last’ Challenge Campaign event on the 25th. According to Ichikawa-san, they are taking a temporary hiatus from the monthly challenge campaign, although I got the ominous feeling that it will be quite a while before she starts doing it again. We’ll see. She has one other Tokyo event in July, but I think it conflicts with some other event I have tickets for. Nevertheless, at least I will be seeing her every 10 days or so, just enough to keep things fresh.

CK in Tokyo

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Concerts, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki Live at DMM VR Theater, Yokohama (2018/06/17)

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I’m sorry this report is so late. It has been an extremely hellish week.  But better late than never, right?  Last Sunday NagaraGroup organized a live “triple-header” at DMM’s Virtual Reality Theater near Yokohama Station. Hayabusa, Minyo Girls, and Wasamin were all performing separate concerts. Naturally, I bought tickets for both the Mingaru afternoon show, and Wasamin’s evening finale. (I will write a Minyo Girls concert report separately)

The shows were kinda close together, so after taking chekis with the Minyo Girls, it was almost time for the Wasamin Goods Booth to open. All three groups were debuting new products at this show, each with one particular unique item. Hayabusa had a new T-shirt, the Minyo’s had a new oshi towel. And Wasamin had a very interesting selection….


Wasa-Pillow!

All the groups also had postcards with a “changing” image on the front, and a small plastic uchiwa. Of course I ended up buying all of the new goods for both groups, as well as an advance ticket for Minyo Girls’ concert in July. Eventually staff started queueing us up to head into the theater.


The Postcards and Uchiwa

My ticket was for the 6th row on the right side, not quite as good as my 5th row left side seat for the Minyo show. One of the big things I was wondering about was how they would incorporate “Virtual Reality” into a live concert. I got my first preview in the Minyo Girls show, and while it was kinda cool, I wasn’t completely amazed. I assumed that the VR in the Wasamin show would be something similar, but I am pleased to say that there was a significant difference. Now if you are wondering about this VR stuff…

What happens at a ‘VR’ theater?

It’s pretty much the same concept they use at Hatsune Miku’s concerts. There is a huge screen at the back of the stage, and then an ‘invisible’ screen in front of the stage. In addition, there are two tall screens on each side of the stage to give it almost a cineramic feel. Unlike Miku, Wasamin is actually standing on the stage, but everything happening around her was VR. In fact, they did a great job of working the effects “around” Wasamin, but before I get into those kind of details, the setlist…

1. Moshimo Watashi ga Sora ni Sundeitara
MC (Introduction)
2. Anko Tsubaki wa Koi no Hana
3. Momen no Handkerchief
4. Hatsuzake
5. Ii Hi Tabidachi (original artist: Yamaguchi Momoe)
MC (Introduction of the ‘Seasons’ Theme)
6. Natsu no Tobira
7. Koisuru Natsu no Hi
8. Blue Light Yokohama
9. Kamome ga Tonda Hi (original artist: Watanabe Machiko)
MC (Blue Light Yokohama is standard for all her Yokohama appearances)
10. Nada Sousou
MC (Goods Introduction)
11. Matsu wa
12. Toki no Nagare ni Miwo Makase
13. Cosmos
14. Ryoshuu
MC (Talk about her ‘Love Live’ acoustic shows. This show was done in place of it)
15. Saba Kaido
MC (Wasamin notes that she had lots of Winter songs to choose from)
16. Kita no Yado Kara
17. Ettou Tsubame
18. Tsugaru Kaikyo Fuyugeshiki
19. Kita no Hotaru
MC (Asking for feedback regarding the VR effects)
20. Mujineki
EN1: Sado no Ondeko

Setlist

First, let me say how unbelievably awesome this setlist was. Wasamin themed everything to represent the four seasons. There was a song section for Spring, Summer, Winter, and Fall. The other cool aspect of this show was the nostalgia factor. Many of the songs she performed were from her first solo concert. I was so excited when she announced Anko Tsubaki as her second song. Same with Koisuru Natsu no Hi, those two songs were among my favorites at that show three years ago. There were also a lot of songs from her 1st album. So not only did it bring back memories of the concert, it also brought back memories of her 1st album release tour, which is such a fond memory for me.

The VR Effects

Interestingly, Wasamin only used the effects dung 4-5 songs. However, they did a great job of 1) working the effects around her 2) theming them out for the song. For Moshisora it looked like she was standing on clouds while she was singing. During Saba Kado it was like she was underwater, with a school of fish circling around her. Unlike Minyo Girls, who used the effects on most of their songs, but it wasn’t as strategically good.

MCs

Wasamin has become a lot more irreverent and goofy during her MCs. She also interacts directly with the audience a lot more. However, the funniest MC of all was her introduction of the goods, particularly the pillow. Actually it was called a cushion, but Wasamin was not bashful about how one might use it, and even implied fans should “sleep with it’ so they can wish her a good morning when they wake up. That said…

I did take Wasamin’s advice, but apparently I am a restless sleeper because when I wake up in the morning “Wasamin” is always on the floor. She will not be happy if she finds out I push her off the bed in my sleep, LOL.

Post-show Meet & Greet

One semi-gaffe before the show. There was a handshake event scheduled for after the performance, but they didn’t put out the pre-order sheets until after everyone was lined up to get into the venue. Some people left the queue to buy CDs, but most people figured they would do it after. This resulted in a huge queue to purchase CDs after the show. It was also a well-attended event, meaning the queue to meet her was very long as well. In fact, they asked us all to ‘matome’ our tickets instead of looping the line. Ultimately it took me 45 minutes to purchase CDs, and get to the front of the handshake queue. I had two tickets, good for a 2-shot with the special “Instagram” board they had prepared for the event…

Anyway, I told Wasamin how nostalgic the show was, and it reminded me of her first concert, as well as her old release tours. I also mentioned the memory of her crying in the middle of performing Koisuru Natsu no Hi at the first concert. It’s an amazing moment in the show (If you have seen it) which I am sure she remembers too. As I exited the handshake ‘room’ the line was still almost down to the street. I thought about waiting for everyone to finish, but it was late, I was hungry, and had a long ride home, so I bailed…


Fan Club Flowers

All in all the show was a lot of fun. The VR effects were a unique experience, and the concert hall itself was really nice. It’s cool that Wasamin is trying different things, instead of the same stuff over and over. I don’t mind that she didn’t do a ‘Love Live’ this Spring. Makes it more special. This Fall she is going to do a concert at an Onsen in Kansai, which seems like it will be a lot of fun too. In the meantime Wasamin is going to be doing a lot of appearances outside of Tokyo. She is in Niigata and Ishikawa Prefecture this weekend. She is going to be in Kobe next weekend, then Fukuoka. She does have a Saitama event squeezed in there next week, which I am planning on attending. I should be able to see her at least a few times in July.

 

CK in Tokyo

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Events, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki 7th Single Chara-Ani Cheki Event at Tokuma/Nippon Crown Headquarters (2018/06/16) Plus, a Special Gift from Wasamin!

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While most everyone was busy with the Sousenkyo, I got busy with Wasamin’s 2-shot event.  But first, look what I received in the mail!

It’s our commemorative photo package from the Bus Tour last month, complete with full group pic, small group pic, and a thank you note…

 

This is a really nice touch provided by the fan club. I am always excited when I see an envelope in my mailbox with the Wasa-Min fan club logo.

Also….

One last very important announcement…

Wasamin has started a new blog on Ameblo, which will replace her LINE blog.

https://ameblo.jp/wasaminnn

Let’s see if she posts here more often than she did on LINE.  Anyway, on to the main subject of the post….

 

This was the second of two events of this type she had scheduled in support of Sado no Ondeko. The first one clashed with the HKT48 Shamekai event, so I was only able to make it to the last of the three slots. This time I had tickets for all three slots of the event, so I was ready for the full experience.

They announced via the Tokuma Records twitter account that there would be “on the day” tickets available at the event, so technically anyone could come whether they preordered via chara-ani or not. I’m not sure how many people show up solely to take advantage of that. I think it is mainly an opportunity for the people already there to get additional tickets. Also, the scuttlebutt around the event was which fans would be missing (and thus probably attending Sousenkyo) There were a few notable fans not there, although quite a few of the known 48-group fans among the Wasa-faithful were there. Anyway…

It was the usual setup. The anonymous record label building located somewhere between Osaki and Gotanda Stations. We are basically confined to two rooms on the third floor. The room with the queue, and then the other room with the queue directly to Wasamin. When I arrived, some of the fans thought I would be at Sousenkyo. I replied “What’s a Sousenkyo?” LOL. BTW, I arrived with 3 tickets, but ultimately ended up taking five chekis. Here are the pics, and a little bit of commentary for each one.

Slot One

For some reason this particular handshake is sort of a blur for me. Perhaps because I hadn’t eaten all day. But I think we were discussing her new blog. I was telling her that although I could read her LINE Blog. I always got an error when I tried to comment. She asked me if I am able to comment on Ameblo, which I can. (Although I will need to figure out my password, I haven’t used it in a while) Oh, and before I left I purchased two more tickets, one each for Slots 2 and 3. After that I was off to lunch.

Slot 2

Just as I walked into the room with Misaki, she was having a bit of trouble with her costume. So Ichikawa-san was adjusting it for her. I turned my head and exclaimed “Wasamin abunai” She didn’t notice at first, but Sasou-san, who was taking photos, was laughing. Eventually Wasamin saw what I was doing. She asked me what pose, and I asked her if there was a pose for “UFO.” (The Pink Lady song) She kept laughing at the way I was saying it. (like “oooh-fou”) and kept replying “It’s yoo-fou” I said in America it’s U-F-O, which she said she knew. Anyway, that’s the pose we came up with. She sang that song at Ebisu in this outfit, which is why I came up with it.

I told her I received my photo package from the bus tour, and that the picture of her in the tea outfit is really cute. I suggested some sort of “tea pose” and this is what we came up with.

Slot 3

The classic “heart pose” When I walked in I said that I recognized the outfit she was wearing, but I couldn’t remember where I saw her wearing it. It must have been on Twitter, or Showroom. Afterwards I showed her that I had my ticket for tomorrow’s concert in Yokohama. So she said “Okay, see you tomorrow.” But I have one more ticket!

For the final pic I thought the infamous Dandy Sakano “Gets” pose would look good. And actually, I kinda like the way it came out. Before I left I was telling Wasamin (and Ichikawa-san) that I was reading the “Thank You” not she sent with the Bus Tour Photos, and that I noticed the Keigo in the letter, which I explained is what I am currently learning in Japanese. I gave her some examples of what I remembered off the top of my head. She said she was really happy my Japanese was improving. I told her I am doing my best. And with that I was done.

If I went straight home, I would have been back in time for the SSK announcements. However, I decided to do a little shopping instead, so I got home sometime around the Undergirls announcements. Tomorrow I will be heading out to Yokohama for both Wasamin and Minyo Girls’ concerts at the DMM VR Theater. I have no idea how this is going to work since I have never seen a concert done with “Virtual Reality.” But the preview Wasamin tweeted looked interesting. Anyway, I am looking forward to it.

CK in Tokyo

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Events, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki 7th Single Karaoke Party at Big Echo Ikebukuro (2018/06/02) ~Singing a Duet With Wasamin~

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Some of the most fun times I have had as a Wasamin fan have been with the special events you can send away for with the inserts in her releases. Back in 2016 I won her BBQ Party, which was the Grand Prize in her album insert. Last year, for Wasamin’s 6th single, I won the second prize which was the Karaoke Party. With Sado no Ondeko, I again won the second prize, which again was the Karaoke party. Yatta!

Now I have to admit, when I filled out the postcards I was really aiming for the Grand Prize, which was another BBQ Party. So when I received my winning postcard in the mail there was a slight tinge of disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to win any prize, since the “real” prize is spending time with Wasamin. However, the BBQ party I attended was so much fun, and the food was so abundant and good, that I was really hoping to go. When I filled out the postcards (which had to be mailed like three days after the single released to be eligible) I was tempted to apply for the BBQ party only, but I threw in a few applications for the Karaoke Party…just in case. Ultimately, I’m thankful I did that, or I may have been shut out entirely. Anyway…

I arrived in Ikebukuro and Big Echo around 10 minutes before “doors” opened. It was at the same location of last year’s karaoke event. The lunch I had before the event wasn’t totally agreeing with me, so I was hoping the unlimited Oolong Tea would help settle my stomach down. We were led in groups to the basement hall, where there were four tables set up for eight people each. I took a seat at the far end of the first table on the right. After being served our first round of drinks, Wasamin’s assistant informed us that Misaki-chan would sing a first round of songs. Then we would play janken for the opportunity to sing a duet with her, after that she would take requests. Oh, and the people who sing with Wasamin would also get an autographed Sado no Ondeko poster and clear file. Two things I already have, but oh well. Anyway, she led off with these two songs…


clear file

1. Natsu no Tobira
2. Goodbye My Love

I just happened to watch Wasamin’s 4th concert DVD before I left, and when I got to the part where she sang Goodbye My Love I thought this would be a great song to duet with her in the unlikely event I win the janken. So while I love that she sang it, it kinda threw me for a loop. After the second song, Wasamin was talking to some of the people who came. When she came to me she asked how her English was, and I told her it is becoming very good. She also asked if I would say the English lines of Goodbye My Love for her, so I repeated them back in my California accent (actually, most people say the origination of my speaking style is quite confusing, and sounds like it could be from a few different regions of America) Everyone got a big kick out of it.

Janken for a Duet with Wasamin

Okay, now on one hand I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to do a proper duet with Misaki-chan. On the other, it is kinda worrisome. What song can I sing with her? Which Japanese song do I know well enough to sing? We went through three rounds of Janken. The first guy picked a cute 80’s or 90’s pop song. Not sure what it was, but the chorus has a bunch of lines like “Co-co-co-co-coconuts, I-I-I Love You, Sekushi Island” or something like that. The second guy chose Temodemo no Namida, after Wasamin asked if he was coming to her event on Sunday, and he admitted he was going to the AKB event at Pacifico. She gave him a bit of crap for it, but little did she know there were a few people in the room (including myself) with the same plan, LOL. After the third person won (and chose a relatively new song by one of the artists who happened to be on Utacon with Wasamin a couple weeks ago) I figured oh well, at least I will get a photo that looks like we sang a duet. That was until Sasou-san announced one more round of Janken…

Now I had managed to get myself eliminated on the first round of each previous contest. But in this last contest I happened to win the first round. Okay, not a good chance of that happening twice, right? Wrong. I won again. It was down to four of us, and we kept deadlocking for like four rounds. But eventually, it came down to two of us. The guy I was going against was behind me, and I literally had my head down looking in the opposite direction, so I was going strictly by Wasamin’s reaction only. And after SIX times drawing the same thing, who won? This guy did, that’s who. It was a moment of panic, as I didn’t know what I could sing, but I went up to the stage anyway…

Wasamin asked me where I was from, and his time I said California while hearing a couple people uttering “Itabashi” from the tables, a longstanding fan gag, LOL. I explained to her that I originally wanted to sing Goodbye My Love, but she already sang it. She offered to sing it again, but I pointed out that the karaoke script had no small Hiragana over any of the kanji, so it might be too difficult. Then it dawned on me, and I told her the time I was on Fuji television and sang Mujineki, so I would probably be able to sing that okay, It was settled. As someone in the audience pointed out, this was “Chris-san’s Challenge Campaign” LOL

So we sang together, and it was absolutely incredible to stand up there and sing a full song with her, and it went so well. I aced the first verse, had a tiny bit of trouble on the second verse, and was fine on the end. Every time I would look over at Wasamin she was staring into my eyes with a warm smile. I wanted to just stare back at her the entire time, but I had to look away to see the lyrics. By the end, Wasamin was surprised, as were the other fans, and probably more than anyone else, I was surprised. I had such a feeling of joy as she nodded in approval and gave me a thumbs up. Wasamin handed me my prizes, and I sat back down.


poster

She went around taking various requests from all the fans, and decided on the 2-3 songs she was most comfortable singing. Then finally she performed Sado no Ondeko, and that ended the event. We went up one by one to say goodbye, and take a commemorative cheki. I had originally planned on presenting her with a small gift, but then I thought maybe I would take a photo with the prizes. The problem was whatever I posed with needed to be small since we were supposed to be doing a singing pose with the microphones. At the last minute I decided on the gift after all…

I am taking a Kanji intensive course, and last week we did a little bit of calligraphy. This was one of the two kanji I chose to do. Look familiar? It’s “IWA,” as in Iwasa. Needless to say, Wasamin really liked it. After we took the photo she handed it back to me, but then I asked her if she wanted to keep it. She was like “Really?” I explained that I had another one with the Kanji for “HASU,” so it was okay. Wasamin handed me a small gift pack of senbei crackers. They look like they might be spicy. I hope they are! After that I headed to the bus stop, and back to my place for a relaxing Saturday afternoon.

This totally goes to show that everything happens for a reason. If given the choice now of having the experience I had today,or taking it all away for the BBQ party, I would without a doubt pick this experience. It was like 4 minutes of nobody else in the world except me and Wasamin, and it was awesome!

CK in Tokyo

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Events, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki 4th Concert DVD Release Week Event Report (2018/05/26-27)

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Wasamin crunched her concert DVD/BluRay promotional events all into this past weekend, performing twice each on Saturday and Sunday at various Enka Record shops around the Tokyo area. I had quite a busy schedule myself, with tickets to AKB’s handshake event from dawn till dusk on Saturday, then Minyo Girls’ one-man live Sunday morning. As a result I could only make it to the last event on Sunday afternoon. Nevertheless, I do have the setlists from all four events since Wild-san made the trip down from Shiga to support Wasamin’s release. Wild-san keeps detailed tabs on how many times she has performed every song in her catalog, and presented Wasamin with a gift commemorating her 300th performance of Mujineki, which took place at Yoro-do in Asakusa today. Interestingly, Wasamin sometimes makes fun of Wild-san for always taking notes at her events. She has occasionally turned to him and said “What are you writing???” LOLZ. Anyway, here are the four setlists…

Saturday 12pm Ongokyu-do, Koiwa
1. Hatsuzake
2. Toshishita no Otokonoko
3. Yume Shibai
4. Sado no Ondeko

Saturday 3:30pm Tenmori-do, Kameido
1. Saba Kaido
2. Tokyo no Bus Girl
3. Kukou
4. Sado no Ondeko

Sunday 12pm Yoro-do, Asakusa
1. Mujineki
2. Ringo no Uta
3. Yume Shibai
4. Sado no Ondeko

Sunday 3:30pm Mitsui Music, Minowa
1. Saba Kaido
2. Gakusei Jidai
3. Kukou
4. Sado no Ondeko

So the funny thing was that Minyo Girls’ one-man live today was literally right down the street from Yoro-do, where Wasamin was performing. Unfortunately both shows started and ended at roughly the same time, so it was impossible for me to see both. On the other hand, it saved me from having to buy too many copies of her concert DVD. But I didn’t want to blow off her entire weekend, and I had yet to purchase a DVD version of the concert. So after Minyo Girls finished up, I walked down toward Senso-ji temple to have lunch, and from there I would take the train to Minowa. After I finished lunch, I noticed that Mitsui Music, the Minowa record shop where Wasamin was performing, was technically on the same street that I was eating lunch on, albeit pretty far down. I decided to make the 20-25 minute walk. I was early, and had plenty of time anyway.

I arrived over 30 minutes before the event, hot and sweaty from the long walk. I toweled myself off and grabbed a cold drink before going into the shop and buying my DVD copy. It was an interesting shop. It was very old, had all the markings of an Enka shop with old Enka autographed Enka posters, but it also had a significant pop selection. There was even an AKB48 section, with advertisements for the new single. The other interesting thing about this shop was the location itself. The area around Minowa is very old. It is very close to Yoshiwara, the old ‘red light’ district of Tokyo back in the Edo period. It is also known as being a Barakumin neighborhood back in those days as well. Even today it is one of the more gritty parts of Tokyo.

The people who got their early had priority tickets for the seating, so I positioned myself far in the back. It was a small shop, so even being in the very back wasn’t too far away. Wasamin was in kind of a jokey mood, and kept laughing and giggling throughout the performance. She also had some microphone trouble in the very beginning, but one of her assistants ran up and fixed the issue before she had to sing her first line. There were a few locals in the shop, but it was probably 90% Wasa-regulars. And by the way, mine wasn’t the only Minyo Girls’ t-shirt in the audience. A few people at the Mingaru show made it over to Minowa as well. After the show, the line snaked around the store aisles. I decided to go outside and have another drink before queueing up. I was checking out some of their goods. The shop had a 6-year old Limited Box Set of Hamasaki Ayumi’s 13th album for sale. Jeez, I wonder how valuable that is? They were selling it for around 27500 yen. Eventually it was my turn, and I decided to pose with my new DVD.

First thing, Wasamin noticed my new haircut. Yatta! After Zunchan noticed it at the AKB event on Saturday, Wasamin better notice too! Anyway, she said she liked it. I told her I was more comfortable with it short. I also mentioned that I saw her performance at NHK Hall earlier in the week, which she thanked me for and asked if I enjoyed it. She also asked me if I had watched the concert DVD yet. I told her no, and explained that although I had already purchased and received the BluRay, I do not currently own a BluRay player. Now that I had purchased the DVD I could finally watch. It gave everyone a good laugh.

I only had the one 2-shot ticket, and I could tell that the shop owners were trying to shoo people out of the store once they were done, so I took off. I noticed that the Eastern terminus of the Toden Arakawa Line Streetcar was right across the street. It would take a bit longer to get home than the subway, but it is a nice, scenic ride, and it avoids Central Tokyo, instead going through smaller and interesting neighborhoods.

My next Wasamin event will be her Karaoke Party on June 2nd, which I won via the Sado no Ondeko insert contest. After that it will be her Yokohama Concert on the 17th. She also has a few mini-lives, but three of them I cannot make because of school, or the June 3rd AKB Jabaja event. I could go to the event on June 10th, but it’s at one of those out of the way malls that’s nowhere near any train station. So we’ll see.

By the way, Wasamin announced this afternoon that in August there will be a re-release of her 7th single with new covers and B-side tracks.  So look out for updates on that!

CK in Tokyo  

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Iwasa Misaki, Television Wasamin on NHK’s Utacon (2018/05/22)

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With your hosts Ogo Tomoko and Tanihara Shosuke

I love going to NHK’s TV show recordings when Wasamin performs. I have been to the NHK Kaiyou Concert a couple of times, as well as Music Japan quite a few years ago (where I saw SKE48, SDN48, Perfume, Kara, Speed, Ikimono Gakari, and NEWS, quite the lineup!) This time Wasamin was performing at Utacon, which is more of a mix of pop and traditional music. Tickets for these shows are usually relatively easy to get via the reseller shops, and they are generally pretty cheap. However, I didn’t have to worry about that this time around since one of the Wasafans had an extra ticket and asked if I wanted to come along. Score-a-rooni!

I had a little bit of trouble arranging when he wanted to meet me at the venue. At first he said 2pm, which I thought was really odd. Then he said 4pm, since according to him the show started at 6pm. Okay, I had nothing else to do on Tuesday except study Kanji, so I headed out to Harajuku and to NHK Hall, where he was waiting for me in front of the venue. I found it curious that it was kinda quiet around the hall, and when I looked at his ticket I saw that the show started at 7:15pm, not 6pm. Doors opened at 6:15pm. Why the heck were we here 2 1/2 hours before doors, and 3 1/2 hours before the show?

It turned out that it was his first NHK Hall show, so I guess he was under the impression the earlier you get there, the better off you are. As someone who has been to multiple NHK Hall shows before, I know from experience that this isn’t the case at all. In fact, the best ticket I ever got was when I showed up right as doors opened, and was far back in the queue. Anyhow, there was a small line already, which steadily got bigger as the hours rolled by. The front queue is under a bunch of trees, which was nice since Tokyo is currently experiencing a small heatwave. I spent most of the time playing Pokemon Go! while patiently waiting for 6pm to roll around. (LOL) Finally, at around 6:10, the queue began to move. We were among the first people to get into the venue. And when staff handed us our tickets, my expectations were realized, we got 3rd floor seats, albeit the first row of the third floor, so we at least had an unobstructed view. But you see? We were there 3 1/2 hours early to get nosebleed seats.

The theme of the show was a celebration of Tokyo in the 70’s and 80’s. So most of the songs would be Tokyo-centric. Among the cast were a few 70’s-80’s idols, and a few younger artists. In addition to Wasamin, the cast included…

E-Girls: who performed YMCA.
Hosokawa Takashi: has been on Kohaku 39 times since the mid-70s, and was in one of the famous Tora-san films. In fact they showed a clip from that movie. (I really want to see some of that film series! If you aren’t familiar, HKT48 did a send-up of it during their Spring Tour a couple years ago, with Akiyoshi playing Tora-san!)
Nagayama Yoko: an idol from the 80’s
Oginome Yoko: another 80’s idol
Miyama Hiroshi: A popular enka singer
Nishida Ai and Mori Konomi: who performed a duet.

There were a few other artists, but these were the most notable. Anyway, the director came out at 7:15 along with a few of his assistants, and they spent the 15 minute pre-show going over how the filming works, as well as a couple of key points where were would expected to do audience participation. We practiced our parts a few times before it was finally 7:30 and time for the show to begin….

I’ll spare you too many non-Wasamin related details. Basically the performers sang a bunch of songs related to Tokyo, inter-cut with video scenes of Tokyo in the 70’s and 80’s and old NHK Utacon clips. The main problem for us Wasafans was that aside from the short opening medley, Wasamin was largely absent for the first 2/3 of the concert. She was sitting in a gallery where the interviews take place, but she wasn’t involved in the conversation.


E-Girls

Probably the most awkward part of the show was the transition into E-Girls 2nd performance. Last week Saiji Hideki, who is well-known for his Japanese version of the Village People’s Y.M.C.A., passed away. They did a retrospective of his live on the VTR. It was extremely touching, and a couple people on stage started to tear up, especially Nagayama Yoko who was crying very hard. This directly transitioned into E-Girls, and going from such a depressing moment into such an upbeat and fun song was quite odd. If you have ever heard Casey Kasem’s infamous rant about a dog death dedication, this is exactly what I am referring to. As a former radio host, I am keenly aware of the importance of smooth transitions. This was quite the opposite.

 

Around 45 minutes or so in, it was finally Wasamin’s turn. What she did was kinda different. She and Fukuda Kohei, another performer, both narrated videos about different locales in Japan. Wasamin was talking about Sadogashima, which led into her performing Sado no Ondeko. They had an ‘Oni’ Taiko Drummer on stage too, which was kinda cool. But it was also kind of odd, since the theme of the show was about Tokyo, and most of the performers sang cover songs. Both Wasamin and Fukuda’s performances just seemed kind of tacked on. As cool as her performance was, I would have loved to hear her do something related to the show theme.


Oginome Yoko

Since it was a television show, it ended exactly on schedule. However, they do a couple more non-TV interviews after the show, and we get a couple more performances. Personally, I wanted to get out of there and have dinner, but we had to sit through the new singles of Nishida Ai, Mori Konomi, and Miyama Hiyoshi before our show actually ended.


Wasamin pulling faces with Nishida Ai

Ultimately it is fun to watch these shows being produced for a live presentation, the way the cameramen, directors, and staff work off-camera while the show is going on is just amazing. Granted, I didn’t enjoy this particular show as much because Wasamin was barely in it, but that won’t stop me from going to see these shows in the future if/when the opportunity presents itself. Anyway, I joined a group of Wasafans at a nearby izakaya for a post-show celebration. It was a long-ass day, and I need some rest.

CK in Tokyo

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Events, Iwasa Misaki The Iwasa Misaki Fan Club Bus Tour to Shizuoka (2018/05/16)

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I went back and revisited my post last year of Wasamin’s 2017 ‘Valentines Bus Tour’ just to remind myself of what an amazing time it was. Suffice it to say, I was really looking forward to this year’s edition. This year’s event kept with a tradition of moving further and further away from Central Tokyo. The first edition drove to various places around Tokyo, last year was the general Yokohama area, and this year we would be heading 75 miles Southwest of Central Tokyo, to Shizuoka. There we would be visiting the Mishima Sky Walk attraction, enjoying a fabulous lunch, Tea Picking, our traditional shrine visit, as well as all the fun during the bus ride. I’ll tell you right now, this year’s tour was even more special than last year’s, for numerous reasons.

I set two alarms since I didn’t want to oversleep and miss the event. Luckily, I was up at the crack of dawn, and out the door quite early. The event started at 8am in the bus parking lot at Tokyo Station. My first concern was which of the two buses I would be on, since last year I was on Bus #2, in the very back, and it felt like the 2nd bus kind of got a secondary experience. Luckily, I was on Bus #1 this time, albeit in the back row again. Although I had my section to myself, so I could stretch out. The buses were scheduled to leave at 8:30, but Wasamin was ‘fashionably’ a few minutes late. which amused most of the fans.

Bus Ride #1

Lucky Bus #1 got Wasamin on-board first. After a few introductions, where we were given a basic rundown of how the day would unfold, Wasamin had everyone in the bus introduce themselves, and then give some background of how they became a Wasafan, or why they are a fan now. There were 38 fans on each bus, so this took the better part of an hour. In fact, when we reached the mid-point rest area of the drive out, we still had five people left to do the introduction, including myself. (I was last) I essentially told the story about the first time seeing Wasamin perform in the theater in April 2009, and how special I thought she was even from that first encounter. Then I talked about meeting her in New York later that year, and that was how she became my oshimen. I know Wasamin remembers our New York meeting (she has mentioned that she does) but I don’t know if I had ever told her the theater show story before, and how I rushed back to the hotel to figure out who she was, LOL. Anyway, we were then given 15 minutes at the rest area to use the toilet, or whatever.

This was a lively rest area, to say the least. There were lots of food stalls selling melon pan, steamed buns, and meat skewers. Everyone lined up at the various booths to grab a snack, including Wasamin. Wasamin had two photographers filming her every move on this trip, so people at the rest stop began to notice. Everywhere I heard people muttering to one another. “She’s the Enka singer from AKB!” I was so proud of her. She looked so beautiful, and was catching the eye of everyone, yet she is hardly a diva, and is totally comfortable milling around with the fans, and everyone else.


Our one chance to see Mt. Fuji. No worries, I have seen it many many times.

We re-boarded the buses, this time with Wasamin on Bus #2, and proceeded 75 minutes to our next destination. For this part of the ride we were entertained with Wasamusic over the bus sound system.

Mishima Sky Walk

Mishima Sky Walk is essentially a 400 meter long walking bridge over a small valley on the opposite side of Lake Ashi from Hakone. It also provides beautiful views of Mount Fuji on a clear day, which unfortunately this wasn’t. Of course there are also food stalls and gift shops with local products. Wasamin handed each of us our tickets and guidebook, and we proceeded to the bridge entrance where we took a group shot, and then had a Wasamin photo session. The sessions were broken up into four groups, I was in the ‘kiro’ (yellow) group, which usually went second.

At this point I will mention that I kind of have a fear of heights, a concern I mentioned to Wasamin a couple weeks ago. In this case, it’s not that I feared the bridge falling down, it’s that I think I am somehow going to fall over the side. Ultimately, it ended up being quite the pleasant walk, despite the fact that the floor of the bridge was a metal grate, and you could see the valley below under your feet. Since it is a suspension bridge, it sways a bit too. There were a few fans that didn’t cross, and a few others that did, but were petrified the entire way. LOL.

Once across, Wasamin took some photos on the other side. There were food stalls here too, including a guy steam-roasting chestnuts. He saw our large group come across and immediately got to work steaming, but nobody went to his stall. Ultimately Kimura-san and I each bought a bag. Another feature of the Sky Walk is the ‘flower drop’ where you get a small wooden ‘flower’ disc and write a wish on it, then throw it over the side of the bridge. I bought a yellow one, (Wasamin’s color) wrote a small wish for myself, and a small message to Wasamin, and threw mine around mid-way, where the stream passed. When I threw it, it went into a really fast spin, and practically floated to the bottom of the valley, and I am pretty sure it landed in the water, which is what I was aiming for.

We were given discount coupons for the soft cream shop, so a lot of people lined up for that. The rest of us loaded back on to the bus for the next stop. While we were waiting, one of the fans told me he had an extra ticket for Wasamin’s Utacon performance next week, and invited me to come. SCORE! I was about to send a message out to the fans asking if anyone had an extra, so that worked out perfectly!

Soba Lunch

Wasamin was back on our bus for the ride to lunch, which took over 30 minutes to a town called Izunokuni, which is near Atami. The bus had a karaoke system, so Wasamin sang 2 songs for us along the way. First Tokyo no Bus Guide, and then Tegami (The song she sang at her most recent challenge stage) Much to Wasamin’s surprise, our bus guide had never heard the bus guide song before, LOL. The other nice thing was, Wasamin performed the 2nd song at the rear of the bus, so they were really focused on paying attention to everyone this time around.

So lunch…Actually, we were in more of a catering hall, which seems to be a regular stop for Tobu Top Tours, since we weren’t the only tour group there. We could essentially sit wherever we wanted for lunch, and our food was already set at the table, waiting for us to eat. I grabbed a spot at the end of the center table, which ended up being a primo seat later.

Cold soba, tempura, sushi, soup, veggies, and green tea jello. Quite the bounty, eh? The tempura was served with green tea/salt, which from what I understand is a popular local condiment. Everything was delicious, and we all finished rather quickly, which gave us time to go the local gift shop in the regular restaurant, where Wasamin was having lunch with staff. One of the fans, whose name I always forget, came out with an interesting looking bottle. What was it? Unagi Cola??? It has Unagi in it??? I had to try this, so I went inside and bought a bottle.

All the fans were crowding around me. “What is that? Unagi Cola? How does taste?” To be honest, it just tasted like cola. But it ultimately got me a lot of attention, so well worth the purchase. After that we headed inside the dining hall, where we would be getting an impromptu photo session with Wasamin…

 

I strategically placed my Unagi Cola bottle right at the edge of the table. The first person to notice it was the photographer, and then Ichikawa-san (Wasa-manager) who came over to take photos, ask what it tastes like, etc. Wasamin was moving from table to table, posing while asking us about lunch. I got awesome closeups since I was in the first seat. And, I got a special pose…

Yes, that Unagi Cola was a wise purchase indeed…

Tea Picking at Kuraya-Narusawa

A short ride away we arrived at the site of our tea-picking experience. Before leaving the bus we were given a bandanna, and a bag to collect tea leaves. This was also our chance to take 2-shots with Wasamin with her wearing her tea-picking outfit. The tea fields were up on a hill, and had a beautiful view of Fuji…on a clear day. Today was really hazy.


Looking thoroughly confused, not sure which leaves were the right ones…

They didn’t really give us much instruction on tea picking, so I kept asking everyone around me if I was picking correctly, and getting laughed at each time. People were like “What the heck are you picking?” and removing half the leaves from my bag. Ultimately people threw a bunch of handfuls in my bag. I guess I will make some tea with it eventually. To be honest, I was kind of distracted as I had noticed that the property also housed a microbrewery called Hansharo Beer. I was more excited to visit the gift shop than anything else. So I headed back down the hill.

Wow, I would have loved to buy just about everything in that store. They had just about everything tea or wasabi related imaginable. Tea tasting, green tea soft cream, and of course Hansharo Beer! Ultimately I picked up a 4-bottle variety pack, along with a few Wasabi related items. I really wanted to buy the fresh wasabi too, but their graters were kinda pricey, and I had already spent quite a bit, so I passed.

Mishima Taisha

Back to Mishima, where our last ‘event’ would be a visit to a traditional Shinto Shrine to pray for Wasamin and her fans. We did the same thing last year on the tour to Yokohama. Ya know, it is this moment, watching Wasamin praying, that I really get that at the end of the day she’s just a human being with hopes and dreams, just like the rest of us. Anyhow, it was a short ceremony, and we all got a small cup of sake at the end. After a few minutes where everyone bought fortunes and charms, we re-boarded the bus. BTW, my fortune was kinda mediocre. The fans I asked either said “slightly taihen” or “it’s okay” Anyway, I tied it to the wall just the same hoping that it will bring me good luck anyway.

The Ride Home

Once again, Wasamin split the ride home between Bus #1 and #2, we got the first leg. We had been running around 20 minutes late all day, so we would only have a short stop in Ebina for a toilet break, and for Wasamin to switch buses. For starters, Wasamin went around the bus asking various people what they thought of the trip. When she came to me, I told her that I was happy because I had a delicious lunch, bought a lot of omiyage, and got to be with Misaki-chan all day. She asked about the omiyage, and when I showed her the beer she said “You really like beer!” She was referring to the conversation we had a couple weeks ago, when I told her about going to a bunch of Golden Week beer festivals. Wasamin also mentioned to me that she had been reading my twitter updates on the trip all day. Afterwards, she was speaking to the woman who was also in the back of the bus, and sat down in the seat right next to me. My first reaction was to move in order to give her some space. But then I thought “What the heck am I doing? Wasamin sat her cute little booty right down next to me!” So I stayed right where I was.

Next was janken for prizes. She had 10 signed clear files with unique messages, plus a personally signed 2018 Calendar. Unfortunately I didn’t win, but I did come close on the second round of Clear Files, losing on the final round. Misaki-chan rounded out this leg of the trip with more karaoke. Unfortunately a lot of the songs we were requesting (including my request of Niji wo Watatte) weren’t in the system, so Wasamin ended up singing a lot of songs acappella. Finally, as we left the bus we were given a thank you card from Wasamin, as well as Wasa-chocolate (and a gift of green tea from the Tour Company)

For the rest of our bus tour, we were treated to a karaoke performance by our Bus Guide, who was a total doll. Bus #2 got an older guide, we got the cute, idol-level guide. Finally a few fans did Karaoke before we arrived in Tokyo. We all said our goodbyes outside Tokyo Station, and went our separate ways.


Our idol-caliber bus guide

Summary

Chalk it up to another incredible 10-hour experience with my favorite girl in the world. Everything about this event was an upgrade from last year. The bus rides were more evenly distributed, had more activities, and she paid attention to the people in the rear of the bus too. We had more interaction with Wasamin, more photo-ops, and it was a beautiful place to take a bus tour. Wasamin is a wonderful host, and it seemed as if she had as much fun on the tour as we did. I know I had a blast, and I look forward to whatever the next big event is.

Actually, my next ‘big’ Wasamin event is her karaoke party, which is in three weeks. But we also have Utacon next week, Wasamin’s DVD release weekend, and the concert at DMM VR Theater. So lots coming up!

CK in Tokyo

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Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki/Minyo Girls Joint Mini-Live at Aeon Town Kamisato, Saitama Prefecture. (2018/05/06)

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Part 1 of 2

So I had a change of plans…

Originally I planned to hit Wasamin’s Saturday Event in Yokohama, and skip the Northern Saitama event since 1) Kamisato is friggin’ far from Tokyo, and 2) The Mall is not near the station, and there is no bus that can take you there. However, as I was going through the schedules of the various groups I like, I noticed that Minyo Girls was also performing at Kamisato on Sunday. Ahhhhhh, it’s a dual-live event. That changed everything! Although I did have tentative plans to go to the various Golden Week festivals in Odaiba on Sunday, I decided to skip them since I was getting both Wasamin and the Minyos in one shot.


Minyo Girls

By the way, although I didn’t go, I still have the lowdown on the Yokohama appearance. Wasamin hinted that she would be doing more than the usual four songs at the Yokohama events. Here are the setlists from Saturday…

2:30 Setlist – Yokohama
1. Hatsuzake
2. Koisuru Fortune Cookie (Enka Version)
3. Ihoujin
4. Blue Light Yokohama
5. Kukou
6. Sado no Ondeko

5:30pm Setlist – Yokohama
1. Saba Kaido
2. Heavy Rotation (Enka Version)
3. Toshishita no Otokonoko
4. Niji wo Watatte
5. Yume Shibai
6. Sado no Ondeko

So on Sunday I knew I had a long ride ahead of me, and the first Minyo Girls event started at 11:30am, so I headed to Akabane Station around 8:45am. By the time I arrive there were no Express or Rapid trains leaving until 9;40, so I grabbed some breakfast at the station while I waited. The nice thing, despite the 85 minute ride, is that it was only one train. Or so I thought, I didn’t realize the train split in half around halfway there, and I was in the wrong half of the train, so I had to hoof down the platform to the other side. Aside from that, it was a smooth ride. My next dilemma was how I was going to get to the mall. According to the map, it was a 2.4km walk. Not too bad, except I only had 30 minutes to get there. Luckily, there were a couple of other Minyo fans on the train, and we split a taxi. I made it on time, yatta!

I’m going to skip the Minyo Girls portion of the report, and focus on Wasamin (I will post about the Minyos in their thread) For starters, here are the setlists for Kamisato…

1pm Setlist – Kamisato
1. Saba Kaido
2. Ringo no Uta
3. Shitamachi no Taiyo
4. Sado no Ondeko

4pm Setlist – Kamisato
1. Mujineki
2. Gakusei Jidai
3. Yume Shibai
4. Sado no Ondeko

Kamisato is just below Gunma Prefecture in Northern Saitama. In fact, there were a few big Wasamin fans from Gunma in attendance. I had never met these guys before, but one of them, Tanaka-san seemed to know who I was. He also knew @Tensai from TV. Ultimately, he ended up being my buddy for the day.

During the first performance Wasamin was asking where everyone was from. Some of the locals kept looking at me expecting me to say something, but I kept quiet. I always say now I’m from Itabashi, LOL. Wasamin also forgot her little cheat sheet that she used to talk about her upcoming appearances and stuff, so she had to wing it. Ultimately she told everyone to just check her website, LOL. She also talked about how often she has performed at this mall. For me, it was my first time seeing her here, but according to fans she has performed in Kamisato on six different occasions.

They had a weird system for pre-ordering at the sales desk, although they were offering free shipping. I had already pre-ordered four copies of Minyo Girls’ new single, so I decided to be frugal with Wasamin and skip the Concert DVD preorder. Instead I bought three copies of her 7th single, which afforded me one shamekai, which I use in the first set, and one handshake, which I did in the second set.

Wasamin and I doing one of the poses from her Sado no Ondeko routine, although I have it totally screwed up. Afterwards I told her that I knew from memory all of her promotions that she was supposed to do. However, as I rattled them off I forgot one of them, which she reminded me of. But I think she was impressed that I knew most of them. The TV appearance, the radio show, the upcoming play, the Yokohama concert, and some Karaoke event she is part of. For my handshake she asked me if I enjoyed Minyo Girls, it was just then that she noticed that I was wearing a Minyo Girls T-Shirt. Jeez, Wasamin, I have worn it to your event at least 3-4 times! Ichikawa-san was laughing since she is well aware that I am a Minyo fan. I whispered to her that I also have a Minyo Girls’ Happi coat. Anyway, I told her that I had an extremely fun Golden Week, and told her a little bit about my adventures in Odaiba last week before my time was up. Wasamin was like “too much beer!”

After the event, the fans who drove carpooled some of us back to Jimbohara Station so we didn’t have to take the big walk. Since this was the end of Golden Week, the train was packed with people returning to Tokyo. Suitcases everywhere. It was a local train too, so it took extra long. But I finally made it back to Akabane around 7pm, had dinner, then went home and crashed out!

I’m skipping Wasamin’s two events next weekend. Saturday she is in Shimotsuma, which is on the outskirts of Ibaraki Prefecture, and just too difficult to get to without a car. Sunday she is performing in Akita Prefecture, which is almost to Hokkaido. Not to mention I am going to AKB’s Shamekai event that day anyway. So my next Wasamin encounter will be her Bus Tour on the 16th! After that, just waiting on her concert DVD release week schedule.

CK in Tokyo

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Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki 7th Single/4th Concert DVD Mini-Live at Elumi-Konosu Mall, Saitama Prefecture (2018/05/04)

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If you look at a map of the major JR Lines from Tokyo through Saitama Prefecture, you will find that almost every station has a big mall either very close to it, or attached to it. I was thinking about this as I was traveling on the Takasaki Line today. There are NINE Stations on that line from Akabane to Jimbohara where Wasamin has performed. If you add the other major trains that travel through that area, you can add around 6 more stops. It is safe to say that Wasamin has heavily promoted herself throughout the main Saitama corridor.

This is not the first time Wasamin has performed at Elumi-Konosu, although it was the first time I had seen her there. The mall is actually connected to Konosu Station. Go out the station gate, and there’s the mall. It wasn’t the most lively mall, although I wouldn’t call it empty either. It just seemed as if there wasn’t much of a selection of shops, so nobody would really go there merely to browse around. The stage setup was in the center court, against the escalators and opposite the food court. A great place to attract passers-by and casual onlookers for her two performances. Most of the locals had camped out the seats early, so many of the Wasafans stood in the back, including myself. I was also happy to see Wild-san, who had made the trip from Shiga Prefecture, and well as Mizuyu-san, who hadn’t been to an event in a while. Here are the setlists…

Setlist 13:00
1. Saba Kaido
2. Tokyo no Bus Girl
3. Kukou
4. Sado no Ondeko

Setlist 15:30
1. Mujineki
2. Ringo no Uta
3. Yume Shibai
4. Sado no Ondeko

The audio system sounded terrible. This was probably another situation where the mall demands the volume be kept at an unreasonable low level. Quite odd since their ads promoted many musical appearances in the coming weeks. But it also sounded quite muddy too. I think it was affecting Wasamin a little bit too as she got a tiny bit pitchy a couple of times, which is unusual for her.

I decided not to do any preordering of the 4th concert DVD today, instead buying CDs. I ultimately went for a 2-shot in the early event, and a handshake in the second.

Wasamin and I doing a pose from Sado no Ondeko. Anyway, I decided to tell Wasamin all about my first ever trip to see a Japanese Major League Baseball Game. I was also relating the story of how I got to go onto the field take a photo with all of the mascots after the game, including the Phillie Phanatic, who was there as a special guest. Wasamin has performed at Maiji-Jingo Stadium before, so she agreed when I said I thought it was a very nice venue.


I took this while in queue for the photo. They are sending me the pic later.

For my second visit I showed her a picture of the mascots. (Not my group shot, they haven’t sent it to me yet) But I wanted to show her the Phillie Phanatic since he looks almost exactly like SLYLY, the mascot of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, who Wasamin has also taken a photo with. Finally, I wanted to confirm the radio show Wasamin was going to be on. I thought I heard her say “Rajio Beverly Hills,” and I was right. When I told her that Beverly Hills is the town I grew up in, she asked me how to pronounce it, which led to the always hilarious Japanese trying to fake an American accent, LOL.


Wasamin and SLYLY back in 2014

Wasamin has performances in Yokohama on Saturday, and back up to Saitama Prefecture on Sunday. Her appearances on Sunday, and the following Saturday in Ibaraki are both at malls in extremely remote locations that are very hard to get to. No train, no direct bus. So I am probably going to skip those. I will probably hit tomorrow’s Yokohama events though. After that, next up is Wasamin’s Bus Tour to Shizuoka. That promises to be a lot of fun!

CK in Tokyo

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