Archive for the ‘Iwasa Misaki’ Category

Concerts, Iwasa Misaki Picspam From Wasamin’s 3rd Concert at Yomiuri Otemachi Hall

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As I have mentioned on my concert reports, one of the features of Wasamin’s solo concerts is the opportunity for fans to take photos during part of the show.  Wasamin even roams the entire venue and poses for fans while she sings, so you have an excellent chance of getting some choice photos, even if you aren’t seated close to the stage.

So this post is what I think are the 30 best shots I took at the concert, ten from each show.  I probably took between 50-100 pics at each show.  I deleted a bunch that were blurry, or didn’t come out right, and probably kept around 25-30 from each show in total.

 

CK in Tokyo

Concerts, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki 3rd Solo Concert at Yomiuri Otemachi Hall, Tokyo (2017/07/22-23)

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Iwasa Misaki 3rd Solo Concert at Yomiuri Otemachi Hall, Tokyo (2017/07/22-23)

It’s about time that they decided to let Wasamin have more than one solo concert per year. Actually, if you count her ‘Acoustic Love Live’ shows, as well as her solo concert coming up this September, that makes six solo concerts in 2017 (Well, eight. Since this was three shows) This show was announced at the end of Wasamin’s January concert, and we knew that this venue was about half the size of Asakusa Kokaido. But what we didn’t know until we received our fan club mailers was that it would be three separate shows. One on Saturday, and two on Sunday. We also found out that they would once again be offering “Ichigo Seating,” which are not only the best seats in the house, but also offer some kind of special bonus. Ichigo Seats are 3x the price of the regular seats, so would it be worth it to spend so much on tickets to three shows???

Since I am a Wasamin fan, one would think that answer would be simple. But many people, (including me) questioned whether or not the Ichigo Seats were worth it at the last show. The bonus “rehearsal and high touch was kinda short, and rushed. Not to mention we get to shake hands with Wasamin all the time for the price of a CD. So at the end of the day we paid a big premium to be guaranteed the best seats. Also, they were offering a discount if you bought ‘regular’ seats to all three shows. Ultimately, I bit the bullet, and my devotion won out. I headed to the post office and paid to apply for Ichigo Seats for each show. It would take almost four months to find out if I won, and where my seats were. Which brings up another little ‘issue.’

Random Lottery?

One would think, since it was ‘supposed’ to be a lottery, that our Ichigo seats would have been scattered around the front section. But they really weren’t. People who won front row seemed to get it for all three shows. People with sixth row got it for all three shows. I was third row center, for all three shows. I think they need to do something about that. Not that it’s a big deal, since it is a small venue, and third row is still VERY close to the stage, but it doesn’t seem completely fair. Oh, and I don’t think it was favoritism either, since some of the biggest spenders at her CD events did not have front row. But let’s talk about the Ichigo Bonuses.

Ichigo Bonuses


Ichigo Seat Badges, hand-signed!

Each show had a different Ichigo Bonus to go with the premium seating. Obviously they wanted to make sure fans wanted to enjoy all of the bonuses, since if they made them all the same it might cause people to just buy one. The Saturday night bonus was a “Post-Show After-Party” where we would also be getting to take some kind of personal video with Wasamin. After the show they led us into a medium sized conference room, where they had snacks and water for us to enjoy while we waited. They asked us to get into a loose circle (there were around 50 of us) where they explained what would be happening. Eventually Wasamin came in, followed by her manager, Ichikawa-san, and a cameraman. (By the way, they were filming everything around this concert, including the fans outside the venue) Wasamin went into the center of the circle, and started asking us how we liked the show. We basically chit-chatted about the songs she hose, the costumes she wore, and whatnot. After a few minutes it was time for the ‘video shooting’ The way it worked was that in groups, we formed semi-circles of 15 people, and then Wasamin made a short speech, and then came around and gave each of us a quick ‘Thank You’ message. Here, check it out…

“Uhh, Hello Wasamin!” After this we got back into a circle, and Wasamin started asking us about the Ichigo Bonus. She said that she had read some of the comments online last January where people questioned if it was worth it. So this time she said she really wanted to do something worthwhile for the fans. Furthermore, she said she would do her best to think of something really fun to do the next day so we all felt good about spending so much money on Ichigo Seats. After that, we said our goodbyes, and she left the room, with us being allowed to leave a short time later…

The Sunday morning bonus was similar to the Ichigo Bonus we got in January, an opportunity to watch some of the rehearsal and soundcheck. Only this time, instead of being delayed at the end of the event by the press, she did her press interviews before the rehearsal, which ultimately caused us to be a half hour late getting in, so it was a good thing this was being done two hours before the show. The other bonus was that we would be getting to take a group photo with Wasamin on the stage, which we did in three groups.

The other nice thing was that we got to see MORE of the rehearsal. In January it was a quick MC, one song, and done. This time it was two longer MCs, and two songs. So a bit more…

For the final bonus on Sunday night, we got to enjoy a second encore. This was really nice too. Wasamin’s family was in the audience for this show, and also stuck around for this. When the show ended, they told us to stay in our seats while the rest of the fans filed out. Then after a 5-10 minute break the lights dimmed and the curtain opened again. It was extremely intimate, quite like one of her mini in-store lives. After a quick talk, the first song she sang AND performed on guitar was Nada Sousou. After this she once again brought up the Ichigo Bonuses, and asked us if we thought they better than last time. She also asked us which one’s were our favorites. (I chose Saturday night) After that she asked us if we were going to her September concert, or her October dinner show, and then she finished by performing Kikyou. So at the end of the day I think they did a great job making sure the Ichigo Seat bonuses were worth our while…

Outside The Venue

Yomiuri Otemachi Hall is actually upstairs in the main offices of the Yomiuri Shinbun in the business district near Tokyo Station. It was the weekend, so the neighborhood was pretty much deserted, and most of the restaurants were closed. The nice thing was that the building is directly over Otemachi Station, which also happens to be on the train line by my apartment, so very easy to get to and from. On the third floor waiting area, they had placed all of the flowers, as well as one table where you could pre-order Wasamin’s upcoming CD. Then on the fifth floor they had the goods tables, a small bar, and a booth to buy ‘day of’ tickets since none of the shows actually sold out. I actually bought one of every souvenir they had on the first day. However, they had a different acrylic stand for each day, so most fans lined up the second day just to get the second stand. Also, they ran out of L-size T-shirts the first day, so some people had to wait until the second day for that too. In addition, they were offering an autographed Saba Kaido clear file if you pre-ordered the CD. At first I bailed on this, since I already have multiple autographed Saba Kaido clear files. But when I saw that it was a new version of the clear file, I broke down on got one on the second day.

You can see the goods on this post in the Wasamin thread on Stage48…
http://stage48.net/forum/index.php?…asa-misaki-wasamin.1886/page-145#post-1344620


Fan Club Flowers

Also, they had a huge film crew for this show. It was almost as if they were filming a documentary, as they seemed to be filming everything going on the entire weekend, both inside and outside the venue. Even when the fan club members decided to take a group pic after the show, the camera crew ran out and recorded us doing it. However, they did cause one big issue the first evening. When we got into the venue, they had cameras and crew set up in a lot of seats. Unfortunately, people bought tickets for these seats, and they were GREAT seats. At first they were telling people where they could sit further back. But the fans were not going to accept this, and eventually the camera crews were all moved somewhere else. Ultimately it caused a fifteen minute delay to the start of the show. This didn’t seem to be an issue on Sunday though, as the cameras were back to their original positions. In fact, for the last show I was right behind the cameraman, and could watch his monitors with all of the camera angles.

The Setlists

They promised that all of the setlists would be different, and they were, although not completely. Some of her singles moved around the setlist, and they changed the songs during the guitar segment, and the ‘roaming around the audience’ segment. Oh, and they also added Seto no Hanayome to Sunday’s performances due to the death of singer/songwriter Hirao Masaaki, who many of you may know as one of the judges on the AKBingo! DIVA Championships.

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Saturday Night Setlist (7/22)
01. Mujineki
02. Kanashimi Honsen Nihon Kai
MC (Wasamin winging it)
03. Ginza Kan Kan Musume
04. Shitamachi no Taiyou
05. Nangoku Tosa wo Ato ni Shite
MC (Monthly challenge campaign)
06. Yume Shibai
MC (More on the challenge campaign)
07. Omoidezake
08. Futarizake
09. Hatsuzake
MC (VTR Highlights of Wasamin ‘Love Live’ show in May)
[Next segment on guitar]
10. Misaki Meguri
11. Kandagawa
12. Ito
MC (Introduction of photo shooting session)
13. Momen no Handkerchief
14. Watashi no Aoi Tori
15. Heart no Ace ga Detekonai
16. Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide
17. Koi no Dial 6700
MC (End of photo shooting)
18. Nora
19. Ihoujin
20. Ajisai-bashi
21. Moshimo Watashi ga Sora ni Sundeitara
End of Main Show
(VTR- Deleted scenes, making of Saba Kaido PV)
EN1. Tomonoura Bojou
EN2. Gomen ne Tokyo
MC (Wasamin 4th concert will be held February 4th at Ebisu Garden Hall!!!)
EN3. Saba KaidoShow End

Sunday Matinee Setlist
Ichigo Seat Holder Special Rehearsal Setlist
(All Ichigo Seat holders got to take a group shot with Wasamin before the performance)
R1. Saba Kaido
MC: (Congratulations to Ichigo Seat holders. Wasamin didn’t realize the ichigo rehearsal bonus was two hours before the show, LOL. I guess that’s why there was a 20 minute delay)
R2. Mujineki
01. Gomen ne Tokyo
02. Kanashimi Honsen Nihon Kai
MC
03. Ginza Kan Kan Musume
04. Shitamachi no Taiyou
05. Nangoku Tosa wo Ato ni Shite
06. Yume Shibai
MC (Monthly challenge campaign)
07. Seto no Hanayome
MC (Looking for audience members who came from far away)
08. Omoidezake
09. Futarizake
10. Hatsuzake
MC (VTR Highlights of Wasamin ‘Love Live’ show in May)
[Next segment on guitar]
11. Thank You
12. Kaze ni Naru
13. Ito
MC (Introduction of photo shooting session)
14. Shochuu Omimai Moushiagemasu
15. Natsu no Ojousan
16. Natsu no Tobira
17. Toshishita no Otokonoko
18. Aoi Sangoshou
MC (End of photo shooting, goods presentation w/ discussion of which colors represent which singles)
19. Nora
20. Ihoujin
21. Ajisai-bashi
22. Mujineki
End of Main Show
(VTR- Deleted scenes, making of Saba Kaido PV)
EN1. Moshimo Watashi ga Sora ni Sundeitara
EN2. Tomonoura Bojou
MC (Wasamin 4th concert will be held February 4th at Ebisu Garden Hall!!! Also, it is decided. Official song penlight colors are: Mujineki=white, Moshisora=skyblue, Tomobojo-red, Hatsuzake=green, Gomen ne Tokyo=yellow, Saba Kaido=dark blue)
EN3. Saba Kaido

Show End

Sunday Night Finale Setlist
01. Tomonoura Bojou
02. Kanashimi Honsen Nihon Kai
MC (Wasamin winging it)
03. Ginza Kan Kan Musume
04. Shitamachi no Taiyou
05. Nangoku Tosa wo Ato ni Shite
06. Yume Shibai
MC (More on the challenge campaign)
07. Seto no Hanayome
MC
08. Omoidezake
09. Futarizake
10. Hatsuzake
MC (VTR Highlights of Wasamin ‘Love Live’ show in May)
[Next segment on guitar]
11. Marunouchi Sadistic
12. Silly
13. Ito
MC (Introduction of photo shooting session)
14. Dancing Hero (Eat You Up)
15. Watashi no Aoi Tori
16. Shoujo A
17. Playback Part Two
18. Kazari Janai no yo Namida wa
MC (End of photo shooting)
19. Nora
20. Ihoujin
21. Ajisai-bashi
22. Gomen ne Tokyo
End of Main Show
(VTR- Deleted scenes, making of Saba Kaido PV)
EN1. Mujineki
EN2. Moshimo Watashi ga Sora ni Sundeitara
MC (Wasamin 4th concert will be held February 4th at Ebisu Garden Hall!!!)
EN3. Saba KaidoIchigo Seat Members Exclusive Bonus Encore Performance
EN-2A. Nada Sousou (on guitar)
EN-2B. Kikyou

Show End

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It had been a while since many of her fans had seen her perform live, aside from her performance in the play she did in Osaka, since she hasn’t really had any CDs to promote. But many of the fans remarked after the first show that there was something slightly different and more professional about Wasamin’s performance. Her singing was top notch, and she was also using her body in a much different way. You could tell it was having a positive effect on her singing.

One of the other features of the three shows was that she wore different costumes for the guitar and audience photography portions of each show, which was also a nice touch. Speaking of that, like I mentioned before she switched up the songs she performed on guitar, and the songs she sang when she roamed the audience. These are the highlights of the shows because they are in many ways the biggest surprises of each show, seeing what songs she will perform. I must admit I was shocked when she performed Sailor Fuku wo Nugasanaide and Koi no Dial 6700, not to mention Shochuu Omimai Moushiagemasu. She also had a few nice choices for her guitar songs, including the Leo and Sheena Ringo songs. Wasamin still has some work to do on improving her guitar work, but it is neat to see her on stage doing her best every time.

Of course they also had a photo-op portion of the show, where fans were free to take photos. I put a couple of examples on this post, but I will try to do a photo collection post here a little later. They also announced Wasamin’s 4th concert will be taking place on February 4th in Ebisu, not to mention she will be doing a Winter ‘Love Live’ show in November. So lots of concerts to keep the fans happy.

Oh, and a couple other cute stories.
1) Wasamin’s family are usually in the audience for her big concerts. For this show they came for the last performance. However, it was the first time I have ever seen Wasamin address them in the middle of the show. While she was performing in the audience, as she passed them she stopped, pointed and said. “It’s my Mom and Dad!” Cute!
2) this will be good for those of you going to see her in San Francisco, but part of one of the MCs was to talk about the goods. All of us really like the penlight which has a preview function where you can scroll through the colors without changing the color of your glowstick. During the third show we were having races to see who could change their glowstick to a specific color the most quickly. But in the second show Wasamin decided each of her singles has a distinct “Official Color” So here they are…
Mujineki=white
Moshisora=Light Blue
TomoBojo=Red
Hatsuzake=Green
Gomen ne Tokyo=Yellow
Saba Kaido=Blue

Anyway, you guys going to her San Francisco show can have fun with that. But be sure and tell them how you found out.


(This was the first photo we took, the one with her manager we took later)

After the shows the fans took one last group pic, which Wasamin’s manager joined in on, and then we went on our merry ways. Overall the shows were a lot of fun, and to me they never got boring, especially since she switched up so many of the songs. Next up for us is her September concert in Chiba. But in the meantime she will be doing a bunch of promotional appearances in late August to promote the ‘memorial’ release of her 6th single. So plenty of Wasafun in the wings

 

CK in Tokyo

Iwasa Misaki The Umezawa Tomio Special Theater Troupe Special Performance, featuring Tegawa Toshimi and Iwasa Misaki…Live at Shin-Kabukiza, Osaka (2017/06/18)

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The Umezawa Tomio Special Theater Troupe Special Performance, featuring Tegawa Toshimi and Iwasa Misaki…Live at Shin-Kabukiza, Osaka (2017/06/18)

There was no way I was going to miss Wasamin performing in a play….

This was the first time since I believe 2012 since Wasamin has performed in a play like this. And in that performance she mainly sang. You have to go all the way back to 2009, when Wasamin was cast as one of the main supporting characters in AKB Kagekidan: Infinity for her last significant stage acting role. I actually saw Infinity twice. Once with Sae and Yukirin as the main characters, and then the other version with Akimoto Sayaka and Takamina. In fact, for anyone who has the DVD, I am in the audience (8th row center) for the DVD performance of the Sae/Yukirin version. Moreover, it was at that play that I got to have my first ever significant conversation with Wasamin. Wow, so many years ago!

As I wasn’t sure when I would be able to get out to Osaka and see the show, I did not preorder theater tickets. In fact, when the general sale went online, I continued to procrastinate. This was a major error since at some point they stopped offering the tickets online, and you could only reserve by phone. This is when things got weird. I called the theater a few days before opening night to reserve a ticket for the final weekend. However, they told me that all seats for all shows were sold out. This was odd for a couple of reasons. First off, none of the nights were sold out when I checked online a week earlier. In fact, there were very few sections even sold out. Second, the website said that tickets were available. I immediately thought that they were trying to screw me for some reason. But what could I do. The next day I received three things, a mail magazine from Nagara Pro that specifically said that tickets were available. Then, Wasamin’s manager blogged that tickets were available. And then NagaraPro teeted that tickets were available. WTF??? So this time I had my Japanese friend call for me. They tried to tell him it was completely sold out,but when we pressed them by mentioning the social media posts, they immediately changed their tune, and voila! I had my ticket!

The show ran from June 10th through June 19th, with two performances on most days. I got a ticket for the penultimate performance on June 18th. My seat was in the upper balcony, but it was first row dead center, so it would not be a bad seat at all. I was a little late getting out of the house on Sunday morning. I had planned to possibly go to Namba in the afternoon before the show, but my tardiness sorta ruined those plans. Instead I went straight to the theater. In case there were any issues with my ticket, I wanted to get them ironed out. The theater was easy to find, as it is right next to the train station. I went upstairs, immediately found the box office, and got my ticket. In fact they were already pulling it when I walked up. I guess I was the only foreigner with a ticket at Will Call. In the meantime, the matinee performance was just getting out. It was then I realized something i didn’t previously know…

This play is 3 1/2 hours!

So my backup plan was to head to Namba after the show, but the long duration of the play put the Kibosh on that, I would barely have time to get back to Shin-Osaka for a Shinkansen back to Tokyo. Bummer, but it couldn’t be helped. I instead hung around the theater, and snapped a few photos. It is a really nice place. Actually, the original Kabukiza theater is in Tokyo, and this is their satellite location in Kansai. They mainly do traditional Japanese Kabuki-style performances. There were other music artists in the cast, like Wasamin’s NagaraPro senpai Tegawa Toshimi, who played one of the main characters, as well as another male enka artist who I wasn’t familiar with. And of course you had Umezawa Tomio, who is a famous actor in Japan. Anyway, I went upstairs and found my seat. I noticed most of the Wasafans had seats on the third floor too, although a few were on floor level. Also, there were tons of empty seats. TONS!!! In fact both balconies were at less than half-capacity. So why the hell were they trying to tell me it was sold out!

It wasn’t actually a 3 1/2 hour play, it was really three different performances. The play itself ran for about 70 minutes, after which was a 30 minute intermission. They second part was a musical performance, starring Shimi-san. Wasamin was introduced by Umezawa-san, and performed Saba Kaido. After another intermission, the third part was a traditional dance performance, and the songs were also performed by the cast. Wasamin performed Gomen ne Tokyo, with backup dancers in this part. As for the play, essentially the story was about a girl who runs away from her family and elopes, only to come back years later in shame with a baby in tow, and her family’s struggle on whether or not to accept her. Wasamin played the main character’s younger sister, who loves her sister and is upset with her father’s stubborness, ultimately resulting in my favorite Wasa-line of the show. “Otousan Hidoi!!!” as she spent the next few minutes blubbering in the background. Her exclamation of that line was so cute! I didn’t understand much of the story-line, especially toward the end, but it was a mix of comedy and drama.

As for Wasamin’s singing, it was fun to see her perform in this atmosphere. The other funny thing was that I was probably the only foreigner there, and was getting more than a couple of curious glances from the obasans sitting around me. However, once they realized I was there for Wasamin, I was bombarded with a hundred questions. They were all so surprised. By the end, I was friends with everybody! After the show I hustled out of the theater, and headed back home. It had been a long day, and I had a long ride ahead of me…

Like I said before, this was the first time I had seen Wasamin perform in a play since Infinity, almost 8 years ago. So this was a very nostalgic experience for me. That was one of my big motivations for going, not to mention the fact that I didn’t want to disappoint Wasamin. Plus, it was also a really neat cultural experience. That was my first time seeing a Kabuki-like performance live. I have also been saying that I would like to attend a Takarazuka performance too. I need to check into that again!

 

CK in Tokyo

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Iwasa Misaki Catching Up With Wasamin Part Two…DVD Release Events (May/June 2017)

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In May, Wasamin fans were treated to the release of her 2nd concert DVD/BluRay, which would come out on the 17th.  Prior to that there were various ‘pre-order’ events, since Wasamin is always making public appearances.  She’s the busiest girl in show business! LOL.  But before I get into that, a little show and tell.  A few weeks ago I got a mysterious package in the mail from Tokuma Records.  Now I am keenly aware that when I see Tokuma on the return address, it probably has something to do with Wasamin.  Anyway, I opened it to find this…

That is our group pic from the Wasamin BBQ party a couple of months ago.  Neat, huh?  Now I know what you are thinking, quite the ‘sausage fest’  Yeah, it was odd.  As I mentioned on my blog post about the party, they had two seatings for the BBQ party, and for some reason they put ALL of the female winners in the early seating.  On the other hand, we were told that the girls didn’t eat very much, which is why there was such an abundance of food for our afternoon event.  Oh, and I forgot to post this on the blog before, but this is the second ‘Team Picture’ I received from Wasamin.  The first one was from the Bus Tour, and it came with a really nice commemorative card…

Anyway, back to the Concert DVD events.  As I mentioned, Wasamin did a few pre-order events for the DVD, and they weren’t limited to in-store events.  You could also pre-order it at her ‘Love Live’ Acoustic Concert.  The big benefit was that you would get a cheki and a photo for buying the DVD.  On the other hand, it isn’t cheap.  The DVD is 5000 yen, while the BluRay is 6000 yen.  Luckily, you could also get a handshake from buying copies of Saba Kaido, so I wasn’t always buying the concert.  All told, I ended up with 6 copies of the concert (4 DVD, 2 BluRay)  Three of those I bought during pre-orders, and three I purchased during release week.  Speaking of release week…

Wasamin would be doing six appearances during release week.  Five in Tokyo, and one in Osaka.  I ultimately ended up attending four of the six events, although I was late to two of them.  One of them I missed the performance entirely, and only made it for the meet and greet.  That was the evening that I also went to the Tomochin single release event, which I posted on this blog a couple of weeks ago.

For the actual release day event, Wasamin performed at HMV Shibuya, which is slowly becoming a popular place for pop artists to appear.  Just a couple of days ago I posted about seeing Chaki and YUSA here.  I have also seen FES☆TIVE perform at HMV Shibuya.  It should also be noted that this is where Wasamin had release events for her fist album, and for her 4th single, Hatsuzake.  Only those were done outside in the square in front of the building.  This also happened to be the release day of AKB48’s Sousenkyo guidebook, so many of the Wasafans picked up a copy of that.  And I also picked up a copy of Aoba Hinari’s photobook, since this was one of the few shops that was carrying it.

The cool thing was that Wasamin was promoting the DVD release by singing songs from her concert.  So we were hearing some of these performances for only the second time.  And of course since it was release day, I picked up a copy of the DVD.  I wanted to watch it that night anyway, and I hadn’t received my pre-orders yet.

Thursday was an off day for Wasamin, but she appeared at Tower Kinshicho on Friday night.  However, this was the event I essentially missed because of the Tomochin event.  I tried to make it to hear some of the performance, but I had never been to this store before, and got temporarily lost trying to find it.  By the time I found the mall and the store, I could hear the last few notes of Saba Kaido and the Wasafans cheering in the distance.  Oh well.  At least I was in time to visit with Wasamin.  But since I was totally sweaty from running around, I chose to skip the Shamekai.

Wasamin would be making two appearances on Saturday.  The first would be in the morning out in Machida, which is in Western Tokyo.  I woke up feeling a bit fatigued, so I decided to skip making the long trip.  Instead I would just go to the evening event in Asakusa.  However, I ended up falling asleep in the afternoon, and waking up very late.  I cleaned myself up as quickly as I could, and headed out to Asakusa.  I was going to be a bit late.  The other issue was that Asakusa was celebrating Sanja Matsuri, so that could make getting to the venue from the subway even more complicated.  I made it to Yoro-do, where Wasamin has appeared many times.  All of the employees know me there, so they helped me make a quick purchase, and get upstairs to watch the rest of the show.  Wasamin was just starting her third song when I got to my spot in the back.  But I was happy I made it.

Since I was in the back, I was actually the first person to do a Shamekai with Wasamin.  I apologized for being late, and told her that I wasn’t feeling well that day, but I really wanted to see her.  She asked me what was wrong, and I essentially told her that I had a very bad headache all day.  I also told her I wanted to check out Sanja Matsuri, which was taking place outside.  Anyway, she told me to feel better.  And I immediately did since when I pulled my bonus photo, I got this!

An autographed picture.  These are not easy to win!  So it is nice to be lucky once in a while.  Wasamin’s manager congratulated me, and I was on my way.  In the meantime I took some photos and a video of the festivities outside.  I recorded a short video too of part of the procession making its way past Yoro-do, where Wasamin’s event was going on.

 

It was a lot of fun, and there was tons of great food.  Unfortunately I also felt slightly queasy, so I didn’t eat anything.  I just looked around, and then went home.

On Sunday Wasamin did her promotional appearance in Osaka, and then came back for one last appearance in Urawa, Saitama.  This is becoming a regular stop for Wasamin’s live appearances, which is nice because it isn’t very far from where I live.  In fact, she performed there again this past week.  But on this particular day I had a class Monday evening, so I would need to rush if I was going to make it from Shinjuku to Urawa in under an hour.  In fact, I had around 20 minutes to get from my classroom in Sanchome, on to the Shonan-Shinjuku Line at Shinjuku Station.  It was doable if I hustled.  Which I did, and I made it, by about 3 minutes.  Unfortunately, this train is packed like a sardine can during rush hour, not to mention I was sweaty from the brisk walk, but I would bear with it for the 34 minute ride.

I made it to Urawa around 12 minutes before the event, which would give me time to quickly dry myself off.  I bought one last copy of the BluRay, and watched the event from the back.  Once again, Wasamin was wearing an extremely cute Summer dress.  I waited for a little while before queueing up for my shamekai.

This was the interaction that I asked Wasamin about the Karaoke party, which I mentioned on the previous post.  I asked her if I would have to sing at the event, and her cryptic answer was something to the effect of “If you would like to, it would be good.”  LOL.

This was also the first time I had spoken to her since the announcement that she was performing in San Francisco.  Wasamin knows that I am from California, so she asked me if I would be flying back to the States for the event.  The truth is I really want to,  I really do.  I would be so proud to see her perform in California with a bunch of my friends there.  However, do to my schedule, it is going to be next to impossible to make the trip.  However, there is a silver lining to this, since the reason I cannot attend has to to with the fact that I was able to extend my stay in Japan through the end of 2019.  Considering that, it is a good trade-off.  So Wasamin may be disappointed that I can’t go, but she is happy that she’s got me in Japan for AT LEAST another 2 1/2 years.

And that was the end of Wasamin’s DVD promotion.  As I mentioned above, she made another appearance at Tower Urawa this past Monday, which I attended.  However, it was considered a Saba Kaido event, so there were so Shamekai offered.  But it was good to see her perform one more time before she embarks on her two week trip to Osaka to appear in a play.  I still don’t have a ticket to that yet since I procrastinated, and now I am scrambling to find a ticket since they ended the online ticket sales.  I’m not sure if I can get a ticket at the box office, or by some other means.  But hopefully I will be able to go.

Oh, and for those who haven’t purchased Wasamin’s concert DVD yet, be sure and check it out!  It is every bit as good as I remembered.  The portion of the show where she roams the audience is awesome, and it has a couple of very nice VTRs.  One is about her journey learning to play the guitar, and the other is a look back at her year since graduating from AKB.  Definitely worth the purchase!

CK in Tokyo

Iwasa Misaki Catching Up With Wasamin Part One…The Saba Kaido Karaoke Party at Big Echo Ikebukuro (2017/05/28)

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Wow, has it really been almost a month since I last did a Wasamin post on this blog?

It’s not that I haven’t been seeing her over the last month.  In fact, she released her second concert DVD, so there were those festivities.  It was just that I had planned on reporting about the DVD release in one big post,  However, I got kinda busy, then got backed up on event reports, and there ya go.  So this is better late than never.  I will start by doing a brief report about the special ‘invitation only’ event I attended two weekends ago…

Wasamin Karaoke Party! at Big Echo, Ikebukuro (2017/05/28)

This was one of the two big prizes you could win if you mailed in the contest entries contained in the Saba Kaido singles.  The Grand Prize was a “Saba Party”, which was held the week prior.  It turned out to be a Saba tasting party at a very nice Saba restaurant in Tokyo.  Only a few people got to win that prize, and unfortunately I was not one of them.  But I did win the other big prize, and that was a Karaoke party…

There were two Karaoke sessions planned, and 30 people won for each session.  It was held in the basement party area of one of the big Karaoke chains in Tokyo.  What a Wasamin Karaoke party would consist of, I wasn’t sure.  But she has held these after every single release, and the other Wasafans told me it was fun.  Since I wasn’t sure, I asked Wasamin about it at her event in Urawa a few days before.  Specifically, I asked her if I would be doing any singing at the event.  Her cryptic response did not shed any light on it…

“Do you want to sing?  Do you?  If you want to sing, it will be good!”


T
he Shamekai I took with Wasamin in Urawa, moments before we would have that cryptic convo

Obviously Wasamin’s response still left me in the dark, but no matter.  I had actually been to a Karaoke party with friends just a couple of weeks prior, so I was kinda brushed up on my Karaoke skills.  Personally, I am a mediocre singer.  Not horrible, but nobody is ever going to sign me to a singing contract.  On the other hand, I am not uptight about it.  I am perfectly willing to sing badly in front of people.  So no real worries.

I was running slightly late, but I don’t live far from Ikebukuro.  I got to Big Echo just a few minutes before doors opened, and the Wasafans were queued down the sidewalk.  I was second to last in line, so I assumed I wouldn’t have too good a spot.  We were lead in via an elevator, five at a time.  When I got downstairs I scanned the room, four long tables that sat eight each.  The two tables in the middle were pretty much filled, the table in the back was empty, but the table in front had a few open spots, including the first seat, so I took it.  This was like having front row center, cool!  Saso-san, and Yamaue-san, two of Wasamin’s assistants, informed us that we would have unlimited Orange Juice and Oolong Tea during the event, which would be around 60-90 minutes.  They also provided us with tambourines and maracas to use during the performances.

Wasamin came out in a cute little summer dress, and congratulated us for winning the event.  Meanwhile Saso-san queued up the first song,  Watashi no Kare wa Hidarikiki, which is a song she has performed quite a bit lately since she debuted it at her second concert.  She also sang Blue Light Yokohama, and another song I did not recognize.  After that it was time for audience participation.  We were going to be able to sing duets with Wasamin.  Well, some of us were…

Wasamin asked if anyone wanted to sing a duet with her.  Surprisingly, or perhaps not surprisingly, around 90% of the room raised their hand.  They had only allotted around three songs for people to sing duets, so we would have to decide by Janken.  The winners would also receive a set of signed clear files from all of her singles.  I was in a bit of a quandary, since the only rule was that whatever song we chose, Wasamin had to know it, and agree to sing it.  I am fine with singing Karaoke in English, but Japanese is another story, and Wasamin had already sang the song I know most of the lyrics to.  But hell, this was the chance of a lifetime, I would try to win, and worry about what to sing if the situation arose.  Unfortunately, I was not one of the lucky winners.  Oh well.  But the people who did win, all sang pretty well.  So kudos to them!

Next was time for requests, which was again decided by Janken since most of the room wanted to request something.  I couldn’t think of anything in particular that I wanted to hear, so I did not participate.  The first guy who won was an 85-year old fan who requested Saba Kaido.  Ehhhhh?  Wasamin was like “you know I am going to sing that at the end”  But he didn’t care.  He insisted that was his request.  Okay then.  The next guy requested Kanpeki Guu no ne, from Watarirouka Hashiritai, which also inspired a round of “eeehhhh” from the audience.  I mean the guy could have at least requested a WH7 song, right?  The next guy requested AKB48 Team K’s “Saka Agari”, now the fans and Wasamin are like “WTF???”  She was like, “Are you guys the 48-fan group?”  Oh, and although Wasamin has performed this song before, she completely forgot the lyrics, so it ended up being a bunch of mumbling and the chorus.  After the second verse, she was like “Okay, enough of that!” and stopped the song, LOL.  Mercifully, the last person chose an enka song for her.

Wasamin would perform one more song, Saba Kaido (again), before she thanked everyone for coming.  It was also announced that we would get to take a cheki with her, and get a small present, which turned out to be rice crackers with Wasamin’s name and Saba Kaido written on them.

Since I was in front at the first table, I ended up being the second person to take a cheki.  The idea was that we would pose with microphones like we were singing a duet.  Wasamin handed me the microphone, and I immediately started singing the chorus to Saba Kaido.  Wasamin was like “Wait, do that again”  At that moment she flipped on our mics and we sang Saba Kaido, well, just a couple of lines of it.  So now I can (sorta) say I did a duet with her too.  Anyway, we took the cheki, I thanked Wasamin, and I was in the elevator.

It was a fun event.  It went by kind of quickly, but it was neat to be in that casual setting with Wasamin, just foolin’ around and singing Karaoke.  I would definitely do it again, and hopefully I would get a chance to sing a proper duet with her.

Oh, and I was going to make this a dual-report post, but this is running kinda long, so I will talk about the DVD release on my next post.

CK in Tokyo

Concerts, Iwasa Misaki, Minyo Girls Iwasa Misaki ‘Love Live’ Solo Acoustic Concert at Shinjuku Sumitomo Yasuda Life Hall (2017/05/07) Plus, Minyo Girls Live!

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Iwasa Misaki ‘Love Live’ Solo Acoustic Concert at Shinjuku Sumitomo Yasuda Life Hall (2017/05/07)

This is actually the second solo acoustic live concert Wasamin has performed. The first one was back in September, which I didn’t attend since the ticket sales took place while I was in California, and it sold out before I got back to Japan. Like last time, it is part of the Nagara Pro concert series, six performances over five days at this venue. Wasamin’s show would be the finale. And unless I misread, these were among the last shows being put on at this venue, as it is going out of business later this month.

 

Wasa-Min Fan Club members were given priority ticketing, which we applied for at the same time as her July concert preorder back in March. When general sales started, we had not gotten official word whether or not we had scored tickets, aside from Ichikawa-san, Wasamin’s manager blogging that we shouldn’t be worried about it. (BTW, we have the same issue today, as the general sale for her July concerts this morning, and none of us have gotten any word back on our pre-applications) Finally, around two weeks ago, I received a special delivery in the mail. My ticket to this show had arrived. It was 11th row, almost dead center. Not quite as good as I expected given I pre-ordered, and the hall only has 20 rows. However, it is a small venue, and it isn’t like I haven’t had countless up close and personal experiences with Wasamin in the past, right? So what if I didn’t have the greatest seat this time. But before we get to her show…

Wasamin’s concert was scheduled for 5:30pm. However, there was also a matinee scheduled at the same venue for another Nagara Pro artist. And since both Wasamin and her manager have been attempting to promote this group, I decided to score a ticket. It was only 2000 yen anyway. Not to mention, I really do like Minyo Girls.

Minyo Girls ‘Challenge Stage Vol. 2’ Concert at Shinjuku Sumitomo Yasuda Life Hall (2017/05/07)

 

I arrived around 45 minutes before doors, and there was already a considerable line, which is important to note since there weren’t assigned seats for the early show. This venue is in a weird spot. If you have ever been out the JR Shinjuku Station West Exit, it exits underground into sort of a subterranean mall. The easy to miss venue was behind a shoe store to the left, near the Keio Station. Even the ground level entrance was hard to find, with just a small sing over a small non-descript door. Anyway, I scanned the line for any other Wasafans, who are known to go to Minyo Girls shows, but I only found two. Eventually we were let in, and I skipped the goods line for the time being to try and find a seat. The center section was filling up all the way into the upper half of the venue. But upon closer look, the side sections were practically empty! I hustled closer and closer to the stage. Could it be? Yes, the front row left side was available, save for the aisle seat. I grabbed the seat one off the aisle. I couldn’t believe I scored such an incredible spot given how far back I was. By the way, if you have never seen Minyo Girls before, here is a PV…

While I waited for the show to start, I wondered about the pre-show music they were playing on the P.A. It was some familiar sounding J-pop group, I just couldn’t figure out who. I tried to use Shazam, but my wi-fi wasn’t working this far below ground. Also, I noticed a bunch of fans (all in the front row) had on Minyo Girls Happi Coats. They were really sharp looking too, however I was surprised to see so many wotaku being into them. Eventually the show started…

 

I won’t bore you with too many details since this is supposed to be about the Wasamin concert, but Minyo Girls put on a really fun show. I also didn’t realize that they do have a few standard J-pop songs in their repertoire. (Those songs I tried to Shazam, it was them!) My front row left side seat was perfect, since my favorite member Yuua was right in front of me most of the show. However, it was the other girl I like, Miyabi, who kept making eye contact with me. At first she seemed confused by my presence, despite the fact that this is the FOURTH time I have seen them. But eventually she started interacting with me a little bit. Yuua, on the other hand, barely acknowledged me, or anyone else. She mainly focuses on performing. Eventually, like many NagaraPro artists, they did a photo-op portion of the show, which lasted for two songs. I took lots of pics.

As we left the hall the members were at each door saying goodbye to the audience, and handing flyers with the setlist (with which CD each song is from), and pictures of the members. Neither Yuua nor Miyabi were at the exit I chose. However, Yutori, who was the original center of the group was there. As she handed me a flyer she exclaimed. “You are a Wasamin fan, right?” Nice to see somebody in Minyo Girls remembers me. After all, I have taken a photo with Yutori on two previous occasions. I immediately went to the goods table. I wanted to che out this Happi Coat. It was exactly the same as Wasamin’s, except different color, and a Minyo Girls design. Also, it was like 40% cheaper than Wasamin’s! So I bought one, along with Yua and Miyabi button sets, as well as their first CD (which I do have, but it is in the U.S.) They gave me a cheki ticket. I went to use my ticket, but they told me it was for a full group shot only. So I went back to the goods table to pick up the other CD, which gets you an individual cheki. I thought I already had this CD too. However, upon closer inspection I realized this was a different CD entirely. It was just that the covers look so much alike. I put my Happi coat on, and prepared for my photos…

 

As I was putting the coat on, I caught someone staring at me. It was Ichikawa-san, Wasamin’s manager. She was laughing at me. So I said “Don’t tell Wasamin!” The issue was who would I pick. Originally I thought I would pick Yuua, but then Miyabi was playing with me throughout the show. Then there was Yutori, who remembered me from before. I eventually went with Miyabi.

 

Also, my group shot. Flanked by Yuua and Miyabi, nice. BTW, I attempted to talk to Miyabi about the show. However, given these girls are so young they aren’t that good at talking to their fans. That’s okay, they will get there. I was done. I would go look for lunch somewhere nearby while I waited for the evening show. I had two hours to kill…

Now for the Wasamin show…

 

I got back to the venue around 30 minutes before doors. Half the Wasafans were milling around on the street level, the other half underground. I met up with Side-san, who was collecting money for the fan club flowers. We normally don’t buy a stand like you see at most concert, instead opting for a bouquet that is sent to Wasamin’s dressing room. She posted a pic for us…

 

Eventually we were all called in to queue up. It didn’t really matter for seating. The queue was mainly to get to the goods line first. Asdie from CDs and the DVD preorder, most of the goods were leftovers from the January concert (lightstick, uchiwa, towel) as well as these phone card/cheki things that were 1000 yen each. It was quite expensive for a cheki, and I didn’t know what to do with the phone card, so I only picked one of the three different varieties.

 

After taking photos of the flower stands, I put on my Wasa-Happi and headed in to my seat. My seat was next to another fan club member, Aso-san (sounds like Asshole-san, as he once explained to me, LOL) I surveyed the audience to see where most of the regulars were seated. It seemed like the fan club were all seated up to row 13 (I was row 11) After that were mainly people I didn’t recognize, and nobody wearing fan club gear. I did see quite a few people near the front who I hadn’t seen before. Wasamin’s fan club has a lot of people who don’t show up to events regularly, so it is always interesting to see who is in attendance. A lot of them also have the yellow Wasa-Happi coat too. After an opening act that consisted of this creepy juggler, clown, illusionist, plus a 19-year old make enka singer, the show finally began. Wasamin singing acapella from behind the curtain. Here is the setlist, with the original artists listed. Songs Wasamin played guitar on in italics…

1. SAKURA (Ikimono Gakari)
2. Kaze ni Naru (Tsuji Ayano)
3. Cherry (Spitz)
4. Marounuchi Sadistic (Shiina Ringo)

5. Sakurairo Mau Koro (Nakashima Mika)
6. Koi ni Ochite (Kobayashi Akiko)
7. Anata ni Aitakute ~Missing You~ (Matsuda Seiko)
8. Ano Subarashii Ai wo Mou Ichido (Kitayama Osamu & Kato Kazuhiko)
9. Momen no Handkerchief (Ota Hiromi)
10. Ito (Nakajima Miyuki)

11. Hitomi (Ohara Sakurako)
12. Himawari no Yakusoku (Hata Motohiro)
En 01. Mirai e… (Kiroro)

 

Whenever I have seen Wasamin go a guitar performance, she has always been sitting down. However, when the curtain opened she was playing while standing up. Just Wasamin, a microphone, and a sheet music stand. Her backing band consisted of a pianist/keyboardist, violinist, and a second guitarist. Wasamin looked adorable, with her pink ‘Minyo Girls-esque’ skirt, white sweater and jeweled white pumps. Although it was funny watching her play since you could tell she wasn’t used to performing this way. She barely moved, rooted in the spot in front of the mic. BTW, her guitar playing has definitely improved from the last time I heard her play in January. She makes fewer and fewer mistakes every time, although sometimes she will mess up/forget lyrics. However, I don’t know if that is a concentration thing, or perhaps it is because she is singing so many new songs. Probably a combination of both.

 

So again Wasamin did an entire MC about our Happi Coats. Last week in Chiba she was complaining that hardly anyone wears their coats to her mini-live events. But here she noted everyone was wearing them. She is like “You are supposed to wear them at everything, not just the big events!” What makes it even more funny is that the very next day she had an event at Tower Shinjuku, and only ONE fan wore their coat. She was like “Jeez, only one of you brought your Happi!?!?!?” LOLZ Later she noted that there would be no enka in this performance at all.

Some great songs in the setlist. Wasamin covering Shiina Ringo and Ohara Sakurako were highlights, and I have seen and loved her performance of Momen no Handkerchief before, but not while playing guitar. In a later MC she was discussing the fan club, and what events might be in the works. It seems another Bus Tour might be in the planning stages. Also, there was a prize portion of the show. Wasamin was drawing seat numbers out of a box to win signed guitar picks and chekis. Unfortunately I wasn’t one of the lucky winners, but the odds were pretty low. She came out for one encore song, which she dedicated to her mom for the upcoming Mother’s day. And that was the show, except for one major Wasamin faux pas. SHE FORGOT TO INTRODUCE THE BAND! We gave the band a second round of applause as they exited the stage. BTW, Wasamin and her manager apologized for this on social media later on.

 

The show was over, but there would be a post show handshake/2-shot event taking place. I hadn’t decided whether or not I would buy a DVD or CDs, but after seeing her in that cute costume, I decided to spring the the more expensive DVD to get a shamekai. The line was gigantic, going outside the venue and down to the basement level, then looping back up the stairs. I eventually decided to brave the line, since it wasn’t getting any shorter.

 

I basically told her that I loved the show and her outfit. She asked me how much I loved the show. “Was it perfect?” I said of course it was! They were trying to move the line more quickly, so I quickly said goodbye and that I would see her the next day in Shinjuku. Usually we all stay until the very end. However, theater staff began kicking out everyone who didn’t have a ticket left. So I bailed. The line was still long anyway, and it had been almost an hour.

Wasamin’s second concert DVD comes out next week. I believe it is the same day as the SSK Guidebook and Itano Tomomi’s new single. So next week she will be doing 5 events, four of which are around Tokyo. I’m not sure if I will go to all of them or not, but I will certainly be attending the release day event at HMV Shibuya. Also…

I received a postcard in the mail, and I have won a ticket the Iwasa Misaki Karaoke Party later this month. I’m not sure if this means I didn’t win the ‘Saba Party’ (I sent in applications for both) which was much harder to win. However, I’m just glad I won one of the two major prizes from the 6th single

 

CK in Tokyo

Concerts, Iwasa Misaki, News Iwasa Misaki Monthly Challenge Campaign at Shinseido Kurachi 5, Kashiwa (Chiba Pref.) 2017/05/02

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Iwasa Misaki Monthly Challenge Campaign at Shinseido Kurachi 5, Kashiwa (Chiba Pref.) 2017/05/02

Yes, it is time for Wasamin’s monthly challenge campaign. This is the event she has been doing for like a year now, and this doubled as a Pre-order event for her upcoming concert DVD, which is releasing in two weeks.

I got to the venue around 40 minutes before the event started, and was immediately greeted by another Kaigai fan. He is from France, and has been a Wasafan for around five years. But I don’t remember his name. :( Anyway, I decided that since I had brought along my Wasamin Happi-coat, I would spring for a Blu-Ray preorder, which included a Shamekai and bromide. Here is the setlist…

Setlist 13:00
1. Hatsuzake
2. Yume Shibai (originally by Umezawa Tomio, 1982)
3. Blue Light Yokohama
4. Saba Kaido

Per usual, it was a pretty big crowd at the venue, which is actually held in plain site of a popular shopping street near Kashiwa Station, so it gets a lot of passers-by. A few fans commented that Wasamin’s challenge selection of Yume Shibai was only the second time she had chosen a song that was originally recorded by a male performer. However, it has been previously covered by Naoko Ken and Misora Hibari. Wasamin did her general promotion during the MC’s, including her TV Shows, Upcoming Summer Concert, and her play in Osaka (which I still haven’t purchased a ticket for) However, she again lamented that hardly anyone wears their Happi-coat to events. She counted seven total in the audience, including me. However one person was actually wearing a yellow Watarirouka Hashiritai Happi [hehe]After the performance it was time for the meet and greet. DVD/Blu-Ray got you a Shamekai, Saba Kaido single purchase got a handshake. When it was my turn, she immediately acknowledged that I w wearing my Wasa-Happi. “Happi, Happi, I’m Happy!”


Wasamin tugging on my Happi-coat

After the photo I told her that I finally won a show after such a long time. She was like “Wow, I didn’t know it had been so long since you won! Did you see Mariyanu’s graduation?” I told her no, but that I did see Mariyannu the week before. That was my one ticket, I hung around until the lane ran out, which was like 45 minutes later. Fans kept asking me if I was going to the Wasamin events in Obama this week. However, I am going to skip it. In the meantime, one of the Wasamin “heavy hitters” had a bunch of extra prizes from the Saba Kaido promotion. Last night he sent me a PM asking me which of the prizes I got. I told him I had two pens, plus the tote bag, but I didn’t get the Tumbler. So today he brought me this!


Saba Kaido Tumbler FTW!

And finally one more announcement. Wasamin’s FOURTH CONCERT has been decided. It will be held September 23rd at Inzai Bunka Hall in Chiba Prefecture. Right now pre-order has started for the fan club. I don’t know when regular sales will start. However, Regular Sales for her 3rd concert series in July begin next week. So for people who are coming to Japan in July, here is the chance to see a great show.

Next up for me this weekend.  HKT48 Handshake event at Makuhari Messe on Saturday, followed by a Nagara Pro Concert doubleheader on Sunday in Shinjuku.  First up, Minyo Girls for the matinee, followed by Wasamin’s ‘Love Live’ acoustic concert.

CK in Tokyo

Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki 2nd Concert DVD Pre-release event at HMV Esola, Ikebukuro (2017/04/25)

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Iwasa Misaki 2nd Concert DVD Pre-release event at HMV Esola, Ikebukuro (2017/04/25)

Sorry for the break in reporting. Wasamin has spent the last week in Okinawa, and unfortunately I decided not to go. In fact, she was just in town for this event, then she took off to Osaka for the next two days. Then next week it is off to Fukui, and the Port of Obama for half of Golden Week, before she comes back for her special ‘Love Live’ acoustic concert.

Busy girl!

It was nice to be going to a Wasamin mini-live again. It seems like forever since I went to the last one. In fact, it was the beginning of April. This was a dual-promotion, where you can do a handshake if you purchase a copy of her 6th single, or get a 2-shot plus bromide if you pre-order her upcoming concert DVD release.

Actually, Wasa-management just announced a whole string of promotional events for the month of May, which means there will be PLENTY of opportunities to buy the concert release. Personally, at puts me into a bit of a quandary. Obviously I like supporting my oshimen, but pre-ordering concert DVDs at so many events is quite an expensive proposition. If I buy one at every event, I would end up with 10-12 copies, and they are 5000-6000 yen each. So I decided that I would be a bit more frugal with it. So at some of these events I will only be buying CDs, and of course there are a few events I will probably not attend. But anyway, I was excited to hear a nice Wasamin performance, and I had brought along my friend, who has wanted to see Wasamin live for a long time. Here is the setlist…

Setlist
1. Mujineki
2. Ihoujin
3. Nada Sousou
4. Saba Kaido

A couple of interesting notes. First off, they were having tons of trouble with the sound system. We got there around 45 minutes early to get a good spot, and they were trying to fix the audio the entire time. And the end of the day, they thought they had it fixed, only to have it fail around mid-way through the show. But Wasamin, ever the professional, had fun with it.

They released photos of the DVD/BluRay covers a few days ago, and they had the posters on display at the back of the stage. Wasamin hates the cover, and thinks she looks bad on it. Every time one of us said otherwise, she would argue with us.

Wasamin’s repertoire is getting so big, she is forgetting which songs come from which releases. When she introduced Ihoujin, she said it was from the Hatsuzake single, before her manager, Ichikawa-san corrected her.

One thing Wasamin has been doing for a while now is ‘playing’ with the songs she performs. That is, she experiments with different inflections, and emphasis, just to make it interesting. Tonight it was evident on Nada Sousou, where she stylized the vocals on the chorus in a slightly different way.

I did two handshakes with Misaki-chan. First I introduced her to my friend, and also told her I had been watching her TV Tokyo show every morning. For the second one, we argued about her DVD cover. Although at the end she said my Japanese is getting even better. I suppose so, if I can have an argument with her in Japanese. [hehe] BTW, we ended the show with a group shot…

It is funny, whenever there is a group shot, I am often in a strange position. Today I was on the far left. During the Hatsuzake promotional tour she was taking group shots with her selfie-stick, and kept having to redo it since she wasn’t getting me into the shot. So when they had to retake it like 8 times I thought that I may be part of the issue again. But I got in there (Unfortunately, the guy behind me wasn’t as lucky)

When Wasamin returns from Osaka, she will be working in the JOYSOUND booth at some convention at Makuhari Messe this Sunday. Then on Tuesday it is her monthly challenge campaign in Chiba. I may not go to the Makuhari thing, but I will definitely report from the Chiba event.

 

CK in Tokyo

Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki BBQ Party!!! (2017/04/08)

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Iwasa Misaki BBQ Party!!! (2017/04/08)

So after Wasamin had a one month break from hanging out with her fans, things got back into full swing this past week. She led off with an appearance at NagaraPro Enka Matsuri on the 4th. Once I had figured out that I could actually see this show, they announced it was sold out. So I pretty much gave up on seeing it. However, the night before the show they announced that there would be tickets available at the box office on the day of the show. The problem was that I as really busy this week, plus I have been suffering from a respiratory infection of some sort. Ultimately I decided to skip the show. I needed rest, and there were two more Wasamin events this week that I didn’t want to miss. So apologies since this is in reverse chronological order, but I wanted to lead off with the best stuff…

The BBQ party was part of Wasamin’s second album promotion. For those of you who purchased “Misaki Meguri ~dai 1 sho~”, you may have noticed the card included offering 4 different prizes. One of those was the BBQ party, which was limited to 26 people. Of the four prizes, this was the one I put most of my applications in for, and I won. I had no idea what a Wasamin BBQ party would be like, but I was sure of this…

Wasamin + BBQ = Good Time

And boy were my instincts good on this one. There were two seatings, 13 fans each, and I was part of seating #2, which was in the mid-afternoon. The event was taking place at Oak Village, which is a restaurant, event hall, BBQ picnic spot, and vegetable garden, all rolled into one. In fact, all of the vegetables we ate were grown on the premises.

We were greeted by two of Wasamin’s usual assistants, Yamaue-san and Saso-san, who escorted us to our tent. Yes, it ended up taking place in a tent because it was cold and rainy all day. But no matter, there was a smorgasbord of food, and three grills fired up. Plus, we were serenaded by Wasamin’s second album, and new single. Saso-san let us know that we had unlimited non-alcoholic beverages at the bar, we were also restricted from taking pictures since they were actually filming the event, although there would be times when photos were okay. But then he let us know the best news of all…

Our head chef would be Wasamin!

Actually, this isn’t really a fan club event (although pretty much all of the winners were fan club members) In fact, Wasamin wasn’t lying when she said after her graduation that her fans would be getting even better experiences. I mean jeez, she’s cooking us lunch. And she worked her butt off too. She was going from table to table. “Who wants beef?” “Who wants shrimp?” I mean it’s incredible. She has developed such a close and intimate relationship with her fan club. It is like we are all family.


This was just the first round, plenty more food came out as the day progressed

But they did not skimp at all. It was two straight hours of non-stop steak, pork, shrimp, chicken, sausage, squid, hotate, endless yasai, and a round of grilled onigiri. Every time we thought the lunch was over, they brought out more trays. So much food, and needless to say I didn’t eat dinner last night. And Wasamin never broke, she was on that grill pretty much the entire time.

At the end of the event, we all got to take a cheki with Wasamin (and her evil tongs), plus we took a group photo at the end. Wasamin commented that she thought this was one of the best events they have done, and she wants to do another BBQ event this Summer. I must agree, and I hope I can win the next one too if she does it. Although, I think part of what made this one so special was that there weren’t too many fans.

Anyway, with that event, all of the fan prizes for her album have been distributed. Those who didn’t win the BBQ, or the backstage experience at her 2nd concert got signed chekis and posters. However, now we are all waiting for the results of her 6th single prizes, which include a Karaoke Party and a “Saba Party” (None of us know what a Saba Party is going to look like, we’ll see) In the meantime….

Wasamin Monthly Challenge Campaign in Chiba (2017/04/06)

Unfortunately I rarely have the opportunity to see Wasamin’s monthly challenge campaign, since it is during the week and during the day. However, I do have time to see the April and May shows. So I excitedly made my way out to Chiba for the performance. The setlist…

1. Mujineki
2. Nangoku Tosa wo Toni Shite (popularized by Peggy Hayama 1959)
3. Tokyo no Bus Girl
4. Saba Kaido

One of the special features of this monthly event is that Wasamin sings a “new” song every time. This month was the Peggy Hayama song, which was quite intense. It showed another facet of Wasamin’s performing talent. It drew quite a large crowd too. The audience was overflowing into the street alongside the stage. After the performance, fans could get a handshake for buying Saba Kaido, or a Shamekai (and bromide photo) for reserving her 2nd concert DVD. I opted for one of each…

Wasamin remarked that it had been too long since we had talked. I told her that I had missed her, but I now felt better since we were seeing each other again. I also talked to her about her new anime character, whose name rhymes with mine. I asked her if this means we are married? She and her manager, Ichikawa-san, both remarked that they really are similar.

Anyhow, Wasamin is off to Okinawa for a while. I would have loved to have gone, but it wasn’t cheap, and I do have things to do in Tokyo. But no worries, she has announced a bunch of promotional events for her upcoming DVD release. And according to her manager, we should be getting a fan club newsletter in the mail soon with so cool stuff.

CK in Tokyo

Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki First Solo Dinner Show at Hotel Rubura Ozan, Nagoya (2017/02/19)

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Iwasa Misaki First Solo Dinner Show at Hotel Rubura Ozan, Nagoya (2017/02/19)

 

Finally getting around to doing this experience post. It was a memorable evening, for many reasons. I actually contemplated skipping this event. But then I thought “Hey, this is Wasamin’s FIRST solo dinner show. I gotta go and support her on this. I booked my ticket in early January, going through the usual rigmarole of making a telephone reservation, then going to the bank and begging a manager to help me through the ATM payment process. It should also be noted that that this dinner show cost less than half of what those two Christmas dinner shows she participated in cost. So based on that, if this was even close to being as nice as those events, it would be a bargain! But I was set, all I needed to do was show up.

The other issue was that I had a huge mid-term exam a couple of days after, and I really needed to study. I foolishly figured I would bring my books to study while riding the Shinkansen. But who am I fooling? To me nothing makes a Shinkansen ride better than to have a few drinks during the trip. There would be no studying for me. I made it to Nagoya Station at 4pm, and caught the subway (The same one that goes to Sunshine Sakae) to Ikeshita Station. The hotel was just a block away.

 

I made it there early to make sure I would get in on the special PB deal where you received an exclusive Wasamin postcard. I walked into the hotel, and saw plenty of dapper Wasamin fans, but no goods being sold. I grabbed a cup of coffee from the hotel cafe, and eventually they started selling copies of Saba Kaido, which came with handshake tickets for after the event. Finally at 5pm, they opened three tables in the middle of the lobby. One was to check-in for the event. The second was to draw for some prize. (To this day I have no idea what the prize was. Needless to say I lost) and finally a third table to get the PB. The good news was, when I opened the PB it was an autographed copy. So now I have THREE autographed Wasamin PBs. A short time later we were escorted upstairs to dinner….

 

To my surprise, we were not eating dinner where the show would be. It was merely a dining room, quite a plain dining room I might add. Also, there were two separate dining rooms. Most of the Wasamin fans were in Dining Room #1. However, I was one of a small handful of Wasafans that ended up in Dining Room #2. Not that one room was better than the other, it was just that most everyone I am friends with was in a different room. The tables were nice, and there was nice, soft, classical music playing. But it was just a plain room, without any character. Also, the lights were much too bright. But I could deal with that as long as the food was good.

 

Once we sat down the attendant immediately took our drink order, also translating it into English for me. However, I am well familiar with how Beer, Wine, Tea and Juice are spelled. We would get one drink for the dinner. Fortunately, if you ordered a beer they brought a nice sized bottle. So I had more than enough. The next fun for me was to figure out what we were going to be served. It is a fun little sport, and good for Japanese practice. Anyway, I figured out about 3/4 of it before the appetizers came.

 

 

Overall the food was very nice. My favorite was definitely the Cauliflower Potage. It tasted perfect, and had little chunks of cauliflower at the bottom. Also, that Oyster Gratin was quite nice. As for the main course, it wasn’t going to win any awards for presentation, but the mix of flavors was quite satisfying. Also, the dessert was really pretty. During dinner I was tweeting pictures of the dishes and my thoughts. Remember I said that.

After dinner there wasn’t much time before the show started, we were taken to another room on the opposite side of the second floor, a huge room with nice lighting, and nice tables. Jeez, this would have been the PERFECT place to serve dinner. Much nicer than those dining rooms, much better ambiance, and we all would have dined together. But whatever. The show eventually started. Here’s the setlist…

Setlist
1. Hatsuzake
MC (Welcome, Wasamin inquiring about dinner)
2. Koisuru Fortune Cookie (Enka Ver.)
MC (So where did everyone come from?)
3. Itako Hanayome-san
4. Toshishita no Otokonoko (Wasamin begins walking around the room while performing)
5. Watashi no Kare wa Hidarikiki
6. Blue Light Yokohama
7. Tokyo no Bus Girl (Back to the stage)
MC (Wasamin complaining about having hay fever symptoms)
8. Wakare no Yokan
MC (Event promotions)
9. Ikegami sen
MC (More event promotions and upcoming TV appearances. This was a LONG MC)
10. Kita no Hotaru
MC (Group photo with the audience)
11. Saba Kaido (end)

 

The setlist was slightly reminiscent of her January concert, as a few of these were songs she debuted at that show. The crowd was really rowdy at the outset, which prompted Wasamin to wonder how much alcohol we all had before the show. But the funniest part was during the second MC. Wasamin asked how many people in attendance were actually from Aichi prefecture, and a few rais their hands. She asked if anyone came from Kansai, and a few raised their hands. When she asked who came from Kanto, most of the room raised their hands. So that was funny. but then you could hear a few of the Wasamin fans in front mumbling my name. Wasamin is like “Nani??? Kurisu??? Doko desu ka?” Wasamin starts looking for me in the crowd as the lights came up slightly. Oh god, this is embarrassing. She spots me, and asks me in English, “Where are you from?” My answer???

ITABASHI!!!!!!!

The entire room, including Wasamin bursts into laughter. Glad I could be part of the act, Misaki-chan! She should make me a permanent part of the act, then I could travel with her. BTW, later she asked how many people were seeing her live for the first time, and quite a few raised their hands. So that is very cool. Wasamin continuing to build an audience. She asks that at pretty much every event. Anyway, that was the show. Very nice Wasa-performance, despite the fact that she was slightly under the weather, which might explain why she seemed so sedated at her mini-live in Urawa the next day. Before the last song we took a big group pic, although they needed to take two to get the entire audience into the shot….

 

the handshake event started pretty much immediately after. I had one ticket. I didn’t want to stay too late since I had to get back to Tokyo. When I got up to Wasamin I reiterated that I am from Itabashi, and not America, since I’m not much of a Trump fan.

Wasamin: “You don’t like Trump?” (That’s the second idol that had me mistakenly pegged as a Trump fan)
Me: No, I don’t. But I enjoyed tonight’s dinner.
Wasamin: I know. You liked the soup, right?
Me: You read my twitter? You saw all of my photos?
Wasamin: Yes, I saw them.
Me: (laughing) Wasamin!!!

That was it. I gathered my bags to leave. As I was heading downstairs, it dawned on me that I paid Wasamin a big compliment on twitter that evening. I wondered if she read that. So I headed back into the event. The goods table had ONE CD left, so I bought it, and I got back into the queue. I had time…

Me: So you read my twitter, right?
Wasamin: Yes!
Me: I said something good about Misaki-chan, you saw my dessert photo?
Wasamin: I saw it!
Me: I said the dessert was beautiful, just like Wasamin!
Wasamin: Hai! (Wasamin kinda blushed and gave me the “I’m cute” pose)
Me: Oyasuminasai!

Okay, now I felt complete. I headed back to Nagoya with one of the other Wasafans (the one who informed me of the last-minute Urawa appearance) and finally made it back to my apartment shortly after midnight.

So, for now we have a bit of a break in Wasamin events. Well, at least I do. Misaki-chan does have the NagaraPro Okinawa Trip coming in about 6 weeks, and she does have the Tokyo NagaraPro Enka Festival next month, which I cannot attend due to schedule conflict. However, here is what’s coming up for Wasamin:

April: NagaraPro Enka Festival in Okinawa, and Tokyo
May: Special “Love Live” solo live
June: Wasamin will be performing in a play for 10 nights at Shin-Kabukiza in Osaka
July: Wasamin 3rd Solo Concert in Tokyo
Monthly: Challenge campaign in Chiba
Pending: For those of us who applied, we are waiting for the results for her three special events from her single and album (BBQ Party, Karaoke Party, and Saba Party, dates tbd)

and I am sure there will be plenty of random mini-lives scheduled. When you are a Wasafan it is an almost weekly experience. I am sure we will be getting a newsletter soon, with plenty more stuff to apply for.

 

CK in Tokyo