Archive for the ‘KissBee’ Category

KissBee, Yuki Himeri Kiss Bee’s New Single, and Himeri’s New Group

0 Comments

I am beginning to notice a new trend in the idol industry, at least with the groups I follow.   FES☆TIVE just announced on their blog that they will begin promoting an upcoming single next week.  What’s interesting is that they just released a single last week.  Not to mention the single they released this past Summer.  That’s three within a six-month period.  However, they are not the only group in my personal ‘stable’ that is employing this “rapid-fire” single release schedule.  Two weeks ago KissBee began promotion on their new single, this coming about a month after releasing a single, which came right after a single release in the Summer.  In the case of KissBee, this means fans will be enjoying a full schedule of mini-lives leading up to the early December shipping date.  And of course this also means the fans will be repeatedly doing pre-orders for the handshake tickets, and whatnot.

KissBee’s promotion started on the first of October, and according to their website there will be upwards of thirty promotional events over the next 2+ months.  Personally, I have gotten off to a semi-slow start, as tonight I went to just my second event of the promotional period. (They have already done around 10)  This is somewhat by design, as I do try to pace myself with idol events these days.  They are just murder on the wallet.  Not to mention Wasamin just scheduled a slew of new events I need to pay for, and let’s not forget AKB’s 50th single.  So it never ends…

KissBee’s upcoming single is called “& Peach.”  It is a cute song, and has an interesting beat to it.  In fact, so far I really haven’t heard the fans make up any sort of chant to it, as the beat and melody do not lend themselves well to fan participation.  What’s also interesting is that the costumes they are wearing are sort of an amalgamation of the costumes of their last two singles.  The dresses look exactly like a black version of the costumes for “Dokkin Fuwaffuu,” and they are wearing black wigs, ala “Labyrinth”  It’s a cute look, although the dresses look kinda basic.

The two events I went to were both at event spaces I am well familiar with.  Last Thursday they appeared at HMV & Books in Shibuya, which is also a known haunt for Wasamin, FES☆TIVE, and Chaki.  Tonight they were at HMV ALTA in Shinjuku, which is a REALLY cool used vinyl record shop right across the street from Shinjuku Station’s East exit, and one of my good friend Frank’s favorite haunts when he is in town.  I had a nice seat at Shibuya, but I got to Alta a little late, and could only watch from the very back.  The bad vantage point was compounded by the fact that it was a narrow space, and they let the ‘photo otaku’ position themselves right in the middle.  This made it very hard to watch from behind them.  It was kind of annoying.


Oh, and in three singles I am still yet to win an autographed poster.  This was won by another Tanifuji fan.

Of course when I go to watch KissBee, I am mainly there to watch my favorite member, Tanifuji Misaki.  I also like visiting with Maeda Reon, who is one of their newer members.  I hadn’t seen either of them in over a month, so I got nice smiles from both of them when they spotted me.  I should also note that Misaki-chan is in a new Fall drama, which had its first episode last weekend.  I watched the first episode, and was really impressed how much screen time Misaki has in the show.  She isn’t the star, just a supporting character.  But the show has a great cast, with Sho Sakurai from Arashi, Seto Koji, who was “Kamen Rider Kiva,” Morikawa Aoi, who has been in tons of dramas lately, including ‘Prison School’, which is one of my guilty pleasures.  If you get a chance, check out the show!

At Shibuya I did my usual 2-shot cheki with Misaki, and a regular handshake with Reon.  However, Reon has been out sick, and wasn’t at ALTA, so I used all of my tickets on Misaki-chan tonight.  Last week I had told Misaki that I was a big fan of Seto Koji, and that I was looking forward to the show.  She was surprised I was a fan of his.  However today I gave her my thoughts about the show.  I mainly told her I was happy that her part seems to be at least somewhat significant.  Here are the chekis…

I have only seen Reon once since she was out sick today, but she was fairly genki last Thursday, which is interesting since I think that may have been the last event she attended.  Anyway, Reon is a real sweetheart, and she really goes the extra mile with her fans since she is not nearly as popular as the other members…yet.  Here are the two signed photos I received, once from each of them.

and a Reon ‘live shot’ (with Sakura-chan)

Of the 30+ events on their schedule, I will probably go to around 1/3 of them.  We’ll see.  In the meantime I have pretty much an open weekend coming up, and they have a bunch of appearances scheduled.  However, next week I will be busy with an onslaught of Wasamin events due to her concert DVD release, as well as her solo dinner show.

In the meantime…

A couple of months ago I attended Yuki Himeri’s seitensai, which also happened to mark her graduation from the group No Plan.  At the time Himeri had mentioned she had something in the works.  That turned out to be her joining another, fairly well-known idol group called DISDOL.  This was a bit of a surprise since this group’s style is somewhat of a departure from Himeri’s ‘princess’ personality.  But I was happy that she would be staying as an active idol.  A couple of weeks ago I got a message from one of Himeri’s fans asking if I was coming to her DISDOL debut, which would be taking place later that evening at Otsuka Hearts.  I was actually at a Wasamin event at the time, but this club is VERY close to my apartment.  So I decided I would go and support her.

Now before I go into my brief report, I should note that when DISDOL announced their three new members (including Himeri) they also announced that the entire existing group would be graduating.  So it turns out that Himeri is leading the birth of DISDOL Mach-2.  In fact, both original DISDOL and New DISDOL were performing separately at this event.  So I would be getting a good taste of what this group was all about.

DISDOL has more of a hard rock edge to them.  Not that Himeri’s former groups, Alice Juban and No Plan don’t ever do songs like this, they do.  It is just interesting to see Himeri performing in black leather after seeing her almost exclusively performing in white in he previous groups.  (White was her official color in Alice Project)  But she really pulls it off well.  I think part of it has to do with her growing as an idol, and an adult.  After the event I took two chekis with her.

On second thought, she is perfect for this style.  When I first met Himeri 3-4 years ago she was somewhat of a dork.  She has that goofy helium voice, and slight discoordination in her dancing.  It was part of her charm point.  However, as she has gotten older (she is 23 now) Himeri has become quite sexy, and very hawt.  The blondish hair really makes a difference too.  And she is always so much fun to hang out with.

Just another group I need to keep track of.  I believe the original member’s will be officially ‘passing the baton’ to the new DISDOL members this weekend.  So yet another show I must consider seeing…

It never ends,

CK in Tokyo 

Events, KissBee, New Release The Kiss Bee 6th Single Promotion Tour Summary…Better Late Than Never

0 Comments

I apologize for being so late with this post, as these events occurred almost a month ago.

 

As I mentioned on an earlier post, Kiss Bee embarked on a very long, and aggressive promotional tour to sell their latest single, Dokkin Fuwaffuu.  The single comes in four different main types, and then a fifth special edition.  The single also contains a c/w which is probably my favorite song in their entire catalog, Maho Nanka Yori Fantasy.

Once again, here is the official video of the 6th single…

Needless to say, I have become a huge fan of Kiss Bee as of late, and have been seeing them as often as I can.  And with this promotion, there were tons of opportunities to see them at many free lives.  Additionally, they were offering prize drawings if you came to a certain amount of appearances during the promotion, and if you bought enough CDs.  The CD purchase requirement was ridiculously high.  I did have a CD buying card, which ended up being a souvenir.  However, I did attend enough events to be in the drawing for some pretty big prizes, like going shopping with a member, dinner with a member, special personalized audio cds, videos.  Ultimately I didn’t win any of the prizes, which were announced via a drawing on Twitter.

BTW, I mentioned the 5th version of the single, which was billed as a “Special Edition” and was being sold for 10,000 yen. (All the other editions were 1000 yen)  I’m not sure what possessed them to charge such an exorbitant amount for this version.  The CD content was the same, it had a different cover, plus a special hard paper outer cover (some groups offer these for free as a store promotion) and a 20 or so page special booklet.  Maybe it was worth 3000 yen, but 10,000?  So you may be surprised to know that I actually purchased one copy.   But why?


I had both Tanifuji Misaki and Maeda Reon sign the booklet on the CD

The final day of the promotion was being held at Venus Fort in Odaiba, and there were two separate events.  I usually buy 2-3 CDs per event, which meant I would probably buy 5-6 on this day.  However, from all of the other events I attended, I already had six copies each of the other four versions. (Anyone want a copy, or four?)  So the way I saw it, I could spend 6000 yen, and get CDs I already had, which are essentially worthless to me, or spend a little more, get more benefits, and get something I don’t have.  Despite the fact that I felt the CD wasn’t nearly worth the price, the event tickets were.  At the end of the day, it was really no different than buying 20-30 AKB48 Theater version CDs for the handshake tickets.  Anyway…


Kiss Bee at Tower Shibuya

The final events I attended were at HMV Modi in Shibuya, Tower Records in Shibuya (where incidentally I had seen Wasamin the previous evening) Ikebukuro Seibu Department Store Sky Stage, and finally Venus Fort.  There were also events that week in Kinshicho and at Sky Tree I considered attending, but I didn’t want to overdo it.

I also want to note that Kiss Bee has a lot of very nice fans, and quite a few of them a fairly proficient in English.  I have managed to become friendly with some of them, and they have been very helpful in assisting me with understanding Kiss Bee’s event system, which at times can be confusing.  They have also gotten me peripherally involved with Tanifuji Misaki’s Seitensei committee, so I will be getting some of her birthday goods.  In fact, as I write this it is Misaki-chan’s birthday, and when I tweeted her a birthday greeting she responded a few minutes later with a “like.”  Such a nice girl.


On the roof of Seibu Department Store (by the way, a really great place to hang out on a nice day)

While I consider Tanifuji Misaki my “oshi” member of Kiss Bee, I am also a big fan of one of their newest members, Maeda Reon.  I first noticed Reon-chan smiling me at one of the early promotion  events, where she kept smiling at me.  Since Misaki-chan wasn’t there that day, I decided to meet Reon for a handshake.  From there I was hooked, and made a commitment to see both of them at each event.  My usual M.O. was to do a cheki photo with Misaki, and then do a handshake and autograph with Reon-chan.  Since Reon-chan is new, her line is usually very short.  In fact, I am usually first in line to see her.  I love rooting for underdog members, and Reon has been very appreciative of my attention.  That said, I still love Misaki-chan the most.  She is the main reason I started following this group.

So I have taken a few chekis with Misaki-chan, and have gotten a few autographed pics as well.  Here are the latest ones, from these last few events…

 

BTW, I added a couple of shots I took during the photo-op.  Misaki-chan is always a blast to do photos and stuff with because she is so silly.  This is why, so many of our pics have goofy poses and faces.  In fact, people in the industry have noticed, and she is going to appearing in a drama this coming season.

 

I also got a bunch of signed photos of Reon.  Oh, and one cheki.

That was an awesome moment.  At the Seibu event I finally decided to take a cheki with Reon.  So I queued up, then manager asked me who I wanted my cheki with, expecting me to say Misaki, but when I said Reon he had a look of genuine shock on his face.  But that wasn’t all, when the manager called for Reon she had an even bigger look of shock.  I told her that I finally wanted to take a photo with her, and she kept thanking me.  Luckily for me, Misaki was with another fan at the time, so I don’t know if she noticed, or what her reaction was, if any.  But it isn’t like I don’t take chekis with her at every single event, so…


At Venus Fort, Odaiba

Finally, at the final Venus Fort event I decided splurge on the group photo. (This was the day i bought the Special Version of the CD, so I had a lot of tickets)  It was a double prize too, since Kiss Bee Youth, their trainees, were also there, and in my photo.  But I got a good reaction from the crowd when I picked which members I wanted out front.  You can pick up to two, and the fans knew I would pick Misaki, but they all kinda “whooa”d when I picked Reon as well.

Unfortunately I am now so far removed from those events I have forgotten about any particularly interesting conversations I had with either one of them.  I know that with Misaki we have talked about her upcoming TV show, and quite often I will talk to both of them about my work/school life.  Reon-chan is currently studying Chinese and Korean, and is planning to also study English.  She sometimes integrates Chinese into her intros.

Now that Kiss Bee’s current promotion has ended, I am kinda talking a short hiatus.  In fact, I have sorta taken a hiatus from all of the groups (except for Wasamin of course) just to save money.  It isn’t cheap to go to a lot of idol events.  Sometimes I allow myself to splurge a little and have fun, but sometimes I take a step back, and try to live a bit more frugally.  In fact, sometimes it makes some of the members more excited to see me, when I haven’t been to events in a little while.  Sawabe Rion from Tokyo CLEARS even mentioned it once, that when she didn’t see me for a while she would wonder about me.  Though at the moment, I am really in the mood to see Minyo Girls, so…

CK in Tokyo

 

Events, KissBee Kiss Bee’s Big Push for Their Upcoming Single, Live in Ikebukuro and Saitama. (August 2017)

0 Comments

When Kiss Bee put out their promotion schedule for their upcoming single, I am aghast to see how many live appearances they had planned.  Not only that, there are additional events that didn’t even make it on to that original schedule.  Obviously Kiss Bee’s management are truly committed to making the new single, Dokkin Fuyaffuu a big success, an even bigger task since it is releasing opposite AKB48’s 49th Single.  But whatever, there’s room for more than one idol group in this world…obviously.  BTW, here is their new single PV…

 

————————————————————————————————

Ikebukuro (2017/08/08)

So checking Kiss Bee’s appearance schedule, I noted a few possibilities, beginning with their free live at HMV Isola in Ikebukuro.  This is one of my ‘go-to’ places for mini-lives, since it is quick and easy to get to from my apartment.  I got to West Ikebukuro early to grab some dinner, and I was pleasantly surprised to find the Oedo Beerfest going on in the park across the street.  I did grab a couple of beers (including one called ‘Vanilla Ice Cream IPA’) and made note to come back the next day to enjoy the festival properly (which I did, LOL)  But for this day it was about seeing Kiss Bee, so upstairs I went.

It was the typical Isola setup.  I have actually seen Wasamin here on multiple occasions, as well as FESTIVE and Chaki.  I bought three copies, with the intention on meeting at least two different members, and grabbed a spot around four-back from the stage, which was good since the place really filled up by showtime.  That of course was after I got all of my Kiss Bee promotion cards stamped.  I have one card where they mark all of the CDs you purchase, and another for each event you go to.  You need to purchase A LOT of CDs to win anything with that card, so I will probably just keep that as a souvenir.  But for the event card, I may come close to filling it up.  We’ll see…

This was supposed to me a “mini” live, but they ended up performing for over 50 minutes.  And if you include the pre-event rehearsal, which they do in front of the fans, over 55 minutes.  So this was almost like a small concert.  So the fans really got bang for their buck, or at least for the CDs they purchased.  Afterwards it was time for perks, which always starts with a free high-touch for everyone in attendance.  After that, they offer three perks, in order.  The first is a Group-Shot, which costs four tickets, then a cheki (2 tickets), and finally a handshake/signature (one ticket)  For the signature you can have the member sing a cheki, a cd, or she will sign and give you a photo.  So the system is fairly easy, although I think it’s kinda steep when a signed cheki ultimately costs 3000 yen, which is why most of my chekis with Misaki-chan are unsigned.

When I purchased my CDs, I originally planned on seeing three different members, but ultimately I used ALL of my tickets on Misaki-chan, one for a cheki, and another for a signed photo.  Oh, and a funny thing happened.  When my turn came to do the cheki, Misaki-chan, said “Hi Chris!  Chris is your name, right?  I thought so.”  Like with Miyabi from Minyo Girls, I had never mentioned my name to Misaki before.  In fact I think the only one in the group I had ever said my name to is Reon, but I had a sneaking suspicion how she knew it, which was confirmed at Saitama. (part two of this post)  Anyway, my cheki and autographed pic.  Since Misaki likes making weird faces on stage, I kinda like to do the same with her in photos…

During the handshake Misaki asked me where I was from, and I told her about the festival outside.  In fact, when the event was over I headed back down to get one more glass of that Vanilla Ice Cream IPA, before jumping on the bus back home.

———————————————————————————————

Saitama (2017/08/15)

So my three-week vacation is turning out to be a total idol fest, despite the fact that Wasamin hasn’t been performing locally at all.  That will change next week when she does her new single promotion.  But for this week my schedule has been filled with events, beginning with the AKB handshake event, Minyo Girls, two Kiss Bee events, and THREE No Plan events, which I plan on writing my next post about.  I also had the opportunity to see FESTIVE on Monday, and was standing right in front of the club entrance, but decided against it since I had already spent enough money that day, and didn’t want to overdo it.

Kawaguchi is the first train stop in Saitama after you cross the Arakawa River, which makes it very easy for me to get to since I live on the Tokyo-side of the river.  Kiss Bee would be doing two shows at the local Ario/Ito-Yokado Mall, which brings back so many memories of going from mall to mall to see Wasamin back in the day.  Yes, I have been to quite a few Ario/Ito-Yokado locations over the years.  The stage was set up in the center court of the mall, which meant there would be tons of foot traffic going by the events.  I got there a little early to check out the crowd, and to have a little bit of lunch before the event started.  Like at Ikebukuro, I bought three tickets, intending on doing handshakes with three different members.  However, once again my plans changed.

I grabbed a standing spot just behind the seats, and was ready to go.  Although the Kiss Bee fans seem to keep the fan antics at a minimum during the mall events, I am pretty sure that is by instruction from group management.  So you don’t here much chanting, or see much dancing.  Mostly clapping, and that’s it.  During the show I am usually paying attention to Misaki, but sometimes I look for members who are also impressing me, and the more often I see this group there is one member who I seem to grow more and more fond of each time, and the funny thing is that she wasn’t even on my radar when I first started liking this group.

So after the high-touch, and almost winning one of the signed posters (I swear I am going to win one of those one day!) I decided to use my first ticket on that member who has been really catching my fancy lately.  I feel bad too, since every event I swear I am going to visit Sakura again, who I like also.  But this time I felt compelled to go and see Reon again.

Reon isn’t a popular member in this group yet, and her line is usually one of the shortest.  But I love her smile, and I do catch her looking at me once in a while.  Anyway, she immediately asked me my name again, and I told her that I thought she did a great job on stage and that I like her smile, which she reciprocated.  Then she asked my what I liked about KissBee, and who my favorite member is.  I lied and told her I was a Kiss Bee ‘MD’ (Minna Daisuki)  But I couldn’t think at the time of how to explain why I liked the group.  I guess that meant I needed to see her again.

When I saw Misaki, she immediately greeted me as Chris, and then she asked me what ‘CK’ means.  Aha!!!!  Apparently another one of my personal Twitter Fan Club, LOL.  So I explained that C is for Chris, and K is the initial of my family name.  I also mentioned that I liked that they were at this location wince I live near Akabane (one stop away)  Anyway, I didn’t do a cheki because I heard they were doing a special costume for the second performance.  However, that meant I had to get at least 1-2 more tickets.

The break between performances wasn’t very long.  I had time to get a drink, plus one lap around the mall (they had some good looking restaurants) before coming back and staking out a spot.  Another interesting aspect of Kiss Bee performances is that they rope off an area for photography.  Yes, you can take pics of their entire show, as long as your are in that section.

Anyhow, the girls came out for their second set.  BTW, a couple of the songs they performed I had never heard before.  One was called Puppy Puppy, which they played in both sets.  One of the things I like about Kiss Bee is that their songs have an interesting style to them.  They aren’t all idol sounding tunes, some of them have a jazzy feel to them, which I think makes them unique.  At the end of the show they were promoting their appearance today at Tokyo Summerland, which I didn’t plan on attending.  Good thing, since it has been pouring rain all day.

I saved my cheki for this event, so I could get a pic with Misaki wearing the different outfit, which I guess was some kind of Catholic School Uniform?  I don’t know.  What do you call that style?  Per usual, I went for a goofy pose, since it just fits her style too well.  I always say that Misaki-chan reminds me of Maeda Atsuko, if Acchan had a goofy personality.  Misaki is ALWAYS making silly faces before, during, and after the show.

After that I had one more ticket left, and I really wanted to see Reon again.  So this time I was prepared, and I explained to her how I stumbled upon the group accidentally during Golden Week, but didn’t do any handshakes after the show, but then came back to see them at Venus Fort.  And that I tweeted photos from their performances all the time.  At the end of the day, I think I found my true #2 girl in Kiss Bee.  Sorry Sakura 🙁

And that was it.  By this time it was raining pretty hard, sI made it back to the station and eventually back home.  I’m not sure when I will have my next chance to see Kiss Bee since my schedule is pretty busy for the next two weeks.  But I am sure I will see them again before the new single comes out.

CK in Tokyo

 

Concerts, Events, KissBee, Tokyo CLEARS Idol Extravaganza, Summer 2017! Part One (KissBee and Tokyo CLEARS)

0 Comments

Although it is late, I am tired, and I have a ton of work to do, I need to get this post done now since Wasamin’s big concert weekend is coming up tomorrow.  Speaking of Wasamin….

It has been almost eight weeks since I have personally interacted with Misaki-chan.  The last event I went to that had any sort of “meet and greet” was her Karaoke party in late May.  Since then the only time I have seen her perform was at her play in Osaka, but even that was over a month ago.  Since Wasamin doesn’t really have any new products to promote and sell, I guess she is taking a bit of a break from fan events until her new “memorial version” of Saba Kaido comes out in late August.  So what’s an idol fan to do when his kami-oshimen is hiding out and not actively doing events???

He goes to see other idols of course.  And that is precisely what I have been up to, especially over the last three weeks or so.  It turns out that a few of the “other” idol groups I like have new releases coming out this Summer, and they are out actively promoting their new products.  This means there are many mini-lives to attend, and quite a few of them are free admission performances.  Since I like to aim for the free performances, this has kept me quite busy in July.  So who have I been going to see?

KissBee

As I mentioned recently on this blog, this is the group I stumbled upon in Odaiba during Golden Week, and I was totally taken with their “ace” member, Tanifuji Misaki.  They are promoting a new single that isn’t coming out until late-August, and they have a huge schedule of free appearances beginning in July, all the way to release week.  Furthermore, they are offering all sorts of bonuses, depending on the amount of events you attend AND the amount of CDs you buy.  The first event I went to was outside of Diver City, the exact same place I ran into them the first time I ever saw them perform…

Unfortunately Misaki-chan had announced the previous evening that she wouldn’t be at this particular event because of a scheduling conflict.  But I took that as an opportunity to meet a couple of the other members I like,  Specifically, Otawa Sakura and Oe Rena.

They were both very nice, but I really like Sakura a lot.  She reminds me very much of former AKB48 member Nishino Miki, both in looks and personality.  Unfortunately, I have already gone “all-in” on Tanifuji, so while I may go see her once in a while, she is not the focal point of my attention to this group.

I got to catch up with Misaki-chan at the next KissBee event I attended, which took place at Village Vanguard in Skytree Town.  This was a weird event for a lot of reasons.  First off, the management of the shop insisted that the music be performed at an extremely low volume.  I mean this is supposed to be a live event, but they somehow didn’t want the performance to interfere with anything else going on in the shop.  It was really ridiculous.  The second problem was that there was something terribly wrong with the sound system.  It got so bad that the girls eventually had to abandon their microphones and sing without them.

Eventually the show came to its merciful end, and it was time for perks.  Like most groups, there is something quirky about their cheki/handshake system.  One ticket gets you a handshake, plus a signature (on a cheki, or picture)  Two tickets get you an unsigned cheki, which makes a signed cheki rather expensive.  They also offer a ‘group shot’ for four tickets, of a shamekai for one ticket.  However, those two items are off the table for these free events.

I took the opportunity to catch up with Misaki-chan and take a cheki.  When I told her that I went to Odaiba, she asked if I had read her blog.  I told her I did, and that I wanted to see KissBee anyway.  She also apologized for the microphones being shitty.  I told her it was funny.  I had one more ticket, and since the girls are giving fans signed photos, I decided to visit a girl that I hadn’t met yet, and was making a lot of eye contact with me during the show.  She is a newer member in the group, and her name is Maeda Rion.

She didn’t have anyone in her line.  She watched me as I slowly walked toward her, almost pretending like I was just randomly walking around.  I then surprised her by pulling out the ticket.  It was kinda funny.  Anyway, she isn’t a very popular member, so I think she was just pleasantly surprised a came to see her.  Eventually I want to meet…well most of the members.

Yesterday I caught KissBee at HMV-Shibuya/MODI, which is quickly becoming a popular place for live events.  I have seen Wasamin here, as well as FES☆TIVE, and Chaki twice.  Once again, they had all sorts of issues with their sound system.  Only this time I think it was due more to the incompetence of the sound engineer.  The music was far too loud, the microphones were totally uneven, and a couple had feedback issues, including Tanifuji’s.

Another bonus they do at most of their lives is play Janken with the fans for a chance to win a signed poster.  In addition to that, some of the chairs had a special letter from one of the members taped to the bottom.  Unfortunately, I was not one of the lucky winners, and I am yet to win the poster Janken.  Hopefully one day I will get lucky.

I used all of my tickets on Tanifuji this time, getting a cheki and a signed photo.  I told her I saw the new music video they did with Sanrio, which may or may not be the new KissBee single.  (I think that’s what she told me)  I also saw this wacky video where she and another member played this weird batsu game with some British Vlogger.  It was funny because she tries to speak English in it.


The good news is that I am beginning to make friends with some of the KissBee regulars.  They have been following and talking to me on twitter.  Not to mention, Misaki-chan likes any KissBee related tweet I make.  In any case, quite a few lives on the schedule, so I am sure I will be seeing them a bunch more…

 

Tokyo CLEARS

I had really missed seeing Rion, so I am glad I have had a few opportunities to see Tokyo CLEARS this month.  The first show I saw was at Omotesando Ground.  There were quite a few other groups playing that night as well, including Idol College, and Hyper Motivation, which I really liked too.  CLEARS were the third group to perform, but what I didn’t know was that this was the kind of show where all the sales booths would be occurring after the show.  This meant I would have to wait almost 90 minutes before I could see Rion.  I decided I didn’t want to wait that long, so I took off after their set.  But not before seeing the group walking through Omotesando picking up trash, since being “environmentally responsible” is their entire M.O.  I suppose I could have gone over and helped them, but I didn’t want to intrude.  Anyway, I would make it up to them a few days later…

The following weekend CLEARS were doing a free live at the Aeon Mall Makuhari.  They were the headlining act, and among the other three groups performing was an idol unit called Barbee, which features former AKB kenkyuusei Sakamoto Rio.  Unfortunately, I read a few days later that Barbee will be disbanding next month.

The biggest issue was that the show was going on outside, and it was an extremely hot day.  I’m not sure how many of you have experienced Japan in the Summer, but the weather sucks.  Hot, humid, sticky, just totally unpleasant.  I had decided that I wouldn’t even bother with the other groups, and would simply wait for CLEARS to come on before going outside.

It wasn’t too large a crowd, and there was a little girl who couldn’t have been older than seven, and is evidently a huge CLEARS fan.  She knew all the dance moves, and knew all the songs.  She was really amazing to watch, and management let her stand in front of the barrier between the group and the fans, so she got a lot of attention from the girls too.

I decided to take a cheki with both Rion and Sayuri, since Sayuri has been especially attentive to me lately.  She is really a nice girl too, and she does all the right things to make me want to oshi her.  Even when they are performing she pays a lot of attention to me.  But, like with Tanifuji in KissBee, I am “all-in” with Rion, so Sayuri will always play second fiddle.

CLEARS weren’t promoting any new single since their latest release came out a month or two ago, but they are promoting a new venue in Naka-Meguro they will be appearing at regularly.  So that’s exciting, and I look forward to seeing them perform there.

I still have two more groups to talk about, but this post has already become long, so look forward to Part 2 coming VERY soon.

CK in Tokyo

Concerts, FES☆TIVE, KissBee FES☆TIVE, KissBee, and a BIG Surprise at Shinjuku ReNY Super Live (2017/06/08)

0 Comments

Continuing an extremely busy week, I headed over to Shinjuku ReNY to check out Idol Super Live Vol. 19, which featured over twenty different idol groups.  As I have mentioned before on this blog, I usually only go to these types of shows when there are AT LEAST two different groups I like, since the admission is not cheap.  This way I feel like I am getting more value for my ‘idol dollar’, even if ultimately I am going to spend more to get the benefits for each group.  This particular show would be featuring two idol groups that I really like, FES☆TIVE and KissBee.  So this was perfect, two groups.

I have been following FES☆TIVE for two years now, ever since I saw them for the first time at J-Pop Summit in San Francsico.  On the other hand, I am relatively new to KissBee.  This was only the third time I would be seeing them, and the second time was just a few days ago.  The two groups were scheduled an hour apart from one another, which was perfect.  I would see KissBee at 7:10, and then visit their booth for handshakes and 2-shots.  After that I would go see FES☆TIVE and do the same thing.  The only issue was that I finished with my part-time job at 2:30, so I would have 3-4 hours to kill before the show.  But no matter, I can easily find ways to waste a few hours.  After going to Dotour for coffee, Excelssior Cafe for Tea, and The Hub for a quick snack and cocktail, I headed over to the show.  I would get there a bit early to get my bearings before KissBee started their set.  However, I was not aware that there was another idol there who I have a bit of history with.

ReNY is a pretty cool venue, and it does A LOT of idol shows.  Their stage and sound system is great.  On the other hand, the lobby where the groups do the post show benefits is very small, and there are usually around five groups selling stuff at any given time.  It makes for some pretty tight quarters.  I showed the ticket taker my reservation, (which also got me a 500 yen discount)  paid for my prerequisite drink ticket, and I was in.  I would first check out which groups would be at which tables.  As I passed through the entrance there was a group immediately to the left doing signed chekis and handshakes.  As I passed them I caught a glimpse of one member taking a selfie with a fan.  Jeez, she looks sort of familiar.  I turned to get a better look.  Our eyes met and she smiled at me.  It had been over a year, but I was pretty sure I knew this girl.  So I asked the group’s manager (in Japanese) how much a signed cheki cost.  He tried to answer me in English (one-hundred yen) which I knew was wrong, he switched to Japanese at that point.  I then asked him the name of the blonde girl on the left.  He immediately responded “Yuki…..” and I finished his sentence….

“Himeri!!!!!!!”  I was right!!!

Yuki Himeri is a former member of Alice Project who graduated over a year ago.  Araki Himeri, as she was known in A.P., was my favorite member, and her departure is the reason  I no longer go to P.A.R.M.S.  I started following her new twitter, and knew that she had been doing some gravure modeling.  I was also aware that she had recently joined an idol group.  However, I had no idea that they were at this show.  I paid for my cheki, and waited my turn.  The manager called to Himeri, and she came bouncing over in the exact same fashion she used to when I would see her at P.A.R.M.S., as she loudly exclaimed “Kurisuuuuuuuuu!!!!!!!!!”

The manager gave us a ton of time to chat, and we spent that time catching up.  I told her how much I had missed her, and I had hoped to see her again one day.  I also told her about some of the changes in my life since we last met.  I didn’t see her group actually perform.  Their name is “Nopuran” (No Plan)  She actually asked which group I was there to see.  However, for the most part we just kept squeeing at one another and flirting while she did a major number on the cheki.

Himeri then offered to take a selfie with me as a free extra bonus.  Of course I accepted, although I wasn’t sure if it was free or not.  But I figured even if she asked for another thousand yen it would be worth it.  My time was finally up, and we parted ways.   But I was soooo happy.  I really liked Himeri, and I did miss her since she was always so much fun and always made a big deal out of it when I came to see her.  And by the way, she looks really hawt with the blonde hair.

I headed deeper into the lobby, passing idol groups looking to attract customers.  I was admiring my Himeri cheki when a random guy came over.  “You are here to see KissBee?”  It turned out he was also at the Venue Fort show I went to last weekend, and he saw me there.  He is also a fan of Tanifuji Misaki, just like me.  I  got a few nods from some of the other KissBee fans after we went into the actual hall, so I guess a few of their fans noticed me on Sunday.  But before KissBee came on I watched a group called Diamond Luffy, who were actually really talented.  Once their set was done I grabbed a good spot on the right side for the KissBee performance, which was three songs and an MC.  However, they performed my favorite song of theirs.  I’m not sure of the title, I just call it the “Love Me Kiss Me Chupa Chupa” song.  I got a quick smile and wave from Misaki-chan after the third song.  Afterwards I immediately went out to do handshakes, 2-shots and whatnot.

They started with a free high touch, which I was happy about since it gave me a chance to quickly talk to a couple of the other members that I like.  First of all Sakura, who is always “liking” my tweets when I mention KissBee, then Rena, who I would probably call my 2nd favorite of the group.  Anyway, I thanked Sakura for “liking” my twitter posts, and told Rena that she was awesome!  I got great reactions from both of them, especially because I addressed both of them by name.  Afterwards we lined up for individual benefits.  I chose to do a cheki and a shamekai.  While in line I was talking to the guy I met earlier,as well as another KissBee fan who was fluent in English. I had forgotten that their manager takes the chekis ‘sideways’, which I don’t love.  On the other hand, he takes the shamekai at a weird angle too.  However, they actually look kinda cool.  Misaki was excited that I came back to see them again, and I told her I was happy they sang the “Chupa Chupa” song again.  She also asked if I was American.  I told her I was from California, but I live in Itabashi now.  She laughed, “Oh, that’s right, you said it before!”  One of these days I need to tell her my name.  After our second interaction, it was almost time for the FES☆TIVE set, so I headed back into the hall.


My Misaki-chan Shamekai 

The hall was a lot more packed for FES☆TIVE, but I waded my way into the fan cheering area, and got as close to the stage as I could.  Unfortunately I got stuck behind this obnoxious group of kids that I see at every  FES☆TIVE show these days.  But whatever, I would just focus on cheering for Hinari.  By the way, most of the groups get about fifteen minutes to perform, but I guess FES☆TIVE  was considered a headliner, since they were one of the few groups who actually got a 30-minute set.  I had my orange glowsticks, so I managed to get Hinarin’s attention despite the fact that I was fairly far back.  One of the songs they performed was their second major single, “Kingyo no Kin-chan” which is a sing about a goldfish.  It is very cute.


Anyway, the show finally ended, so I headed out to grab a Hinarin cheki ticket.  The line for benefits got really huge, going across two other booths with some less popular idol groups.  One of those groups is called ‘Death Rabbits‘, and features three idols and a big dude in some kind of Stormtrooper outfit.  Outrageous!  In fact he came over to me and started talking to me for a few moments while the girls were waiting for customers.  I actually caught a few moments of their set since they were on right after KissBee.  My first reaction was “WTF?”  Also, while I was waiting in line for Hinari all of the members of KissBee walked right by me as they headed out of the club, and I got waves and reactions from all of them…especially Misaki.  My turn to see Hinari eventually came.  And she had something she wanted to tell me…


Death Rabbits (or is it Desu Rabbits?) LOLZ

After greeting me and thanking me for coming, she asked me if I went to the Wasamin event with Matsui Sakiko on Sunday.  (Hinari knows I oshi Wasamin)  Apparently Hinari was there and saw it, although I didn’t understand what the circumstances were.  Hmmm, I wonder if they spoke, and if my name was mentioned?  Anyway, I told her that I didn’t go as I had plans with a friend that day.  (That is also the day I went to see KissBee, but I ‘conveniently’ left that part out)  But Hinari was excited to tell me that she saw Wasamin.  In the meantime I gave her the update on my Japan residential status, and I got a big “High Five”

I wasn’t going to deal with Hinari’s crazy line again, so I decided to just limit it to one cheki.  I had already spent plenty anyway when you consider admission, benefits for three groups (not to mention dinner and drinks)  Instead I went back into the hall since a group one of my friends kinda likes, Disdol was about to play.  However, when I got in there the groups were running very late.  So instead I watched El Float, who weren’t bad.  It was getting late though, so I decided not to stick around.

Needless to say it was a great night.  An idol-trifecta, if you will.  It made me think that I should go to see these idol showcases more often, especially at ReNY since it is a really nice venue, and it is very close to where I work and take classes.  Of course that is a dangerous thought, as far as my wallet is concerned.  So I will likely stick with my plan of only going to those shows when I can see two or more groups that I am interested in.  Unfortunately for my wallet my ‘stable’ of idol groups I am interested in is steadily growing, and now I have to add Nopuran to that list since Himeri is an active pop-idol once again….

Oh jeez!

CK in Tokyo

KissBee, New Release KissBee 6th Single Release Event & Mini-Live at Venus Fort, Odaiba (2017/06/04)

0 Comments

Over the past couple of years I have been expanding my J-pop horizons and paying attention to artists beyond the 48-sphere.  I have mentioned being a fan of the idol group FESTIVE a few times on this blog, as well as Minyo Girls, Chaki (who actually is a former SDN48 member)  I also like a group called Tokyo CLEARS, and even spent some time last year going to P.A.R.M.S., the home of Alice Project.  I don’t get into new groups easily.  Usually there needs to be some kind of “spark” that needs to happen for me to proverbially “fall for” a group.  That spark actually occurred a few weeks ago, when I happened to be hanging out in Diver City.  Let me backtrack to the end of Golden Week….

I had gone to Odaiba since there were multiple festivals happening there simultaneously.  I had mainly gone for the Cinco de Mayo event, but there was also a German Beerfest, a Gyu-Fest, and a Hawaiian Festival all happening within walking distance from one another.  Additionally, Diver City had an Idol Stage set up, and I just happened to be walking by when a cute idol group was performing.  That idol group was KissBee…

They were wearing these cute, red, almost Christmas-like costumes, and were playing standard J-pop tunes.  I stopped to watch since I didn’t really have anything else to do at the moment.  I wanted to see if they would capture my interest.  As I scanned the girls on stage, one immediately caught my eye.  She was full of energy, dancing all over the stage.  She had a short-bob haircut, kinda like Maeda Atsuko, of Kodama Haruka from HKT48, and a cute little baby face.  I found myself zoned in on this one member, and at the end of their show, when they offered fans the opportunity to take pics, I mainly focused on her.  I was hooked, she got me.

the show ended, and I was thirsty, so I went to get something to drink.  However, I came back and they were still doing handshakes, cheki’s and other benefits.  I contemplated participating, and quickly looked the group up on the web to see if I could figure out the name of the member I liked.  Her name was Tanifuji Misaki.  MISAKI????  TANI???  Was it fate that this girl shared names with two idols I am a big fan of.  (Although she uses a different kanji for the “Mi” in Misaki)  However, before I knew it they were doing last call, and I didn’t get to participate.

A short time later I decided to head back home.  In the meantime, while on the train I posted a few of the photos I took onto Twitter, and linked the group, and Misaki.  And whaddya know, I started getting a ton of likes from quite a few of the group members.  This was too good!  I was already making a connection with them.  I wonder if they noticed me watching in the back?  I vowed to see them again if given the opportunity, and made a note to check their schedule.

Fast forward to one month later.  KissBee has done the occasional performance, but they usually conflicted with other plans I had.  I almost saw them last week in Shinjuku, but the friend I was with wanted to go to dinner instead.  However, last night I just happened to catch Misaki-chan retweeting their appearance scheduled for Sunday in Odaiba.  I didn’t have any plans all weekend, so this would be perfect.  I needed to head out to that area anyway since I had lunch plans with a friend from the U.S.

I made it out to Odaiba about an hour before the performance.  Actually, they had an early performance too, but it conflicted with my lunch plans.  It was my first time checking out Venus Fort.  Wow, what an awesome mall.  So beautiful.  It reminds me of the mall that connects to Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.  Eventually I found where the live would be taking place.  They had a table set up to buy CDs and other merchandise, so I asked them how the system worked.  From what I gathered you could get a 2-shot cheki with two tickets, and the girls do handshakes and sign stuff for one ticket.  I decided to buy three copies (there were five versions) of their new single “Labyrinth” so I would get a cheki, and one handshake/sign.  I also got a priority entry ticket for the event, I was #74.

Thirty minutes before the show I went to queue up.  It was strange, though.  There weren’t even close to 74 people queued up.  It was more like 30-40.  Moreover, NOBODY had a number over 50.  Eventually a guy showed up with a number in the mid-50s, but that was it.  Why the heck did they give me such a bad number?  It didn’t really matter though, I wasn’t trying to be in the front anyway.  So I basically waited for everyone to go in, and I went in last.  After that they opened the area to let anyone in to watch.  I shuffled back a little bit to let two cute, but petite girls get in front of me to have a better view.  The show started fifteen minutes later…

Misaki-chan is definitely one of the “centers” of this group.  She is in front quite often, and sings a lot of solo parts.  However, I would say most of the members are energetic.  Their songs are for the most part, medium-tempo idol tunes.  However, they had one up-tempo song song in particular that I absolutely loved.  It had a latin-beat to it, and the chorus went something like “Kiss me, chupa chupa, Love me, chupa chupa”  I still don’t know the name of the song though.  Ultimately they sang five songs, and did a couple of MCs.  The new single is a really nice song too.  Please give it a listen…

 

Like I said, the show ended with a photo-op, and then a high-touch session.  They had one brand new member who wasn’t in costume, but participated in the high-touch, and she probably gave me the best reaction.  However, Misaki gave a good one too.  After that it was on to benefits.  They started with a “Group Shot” where you take a photo with the whole group, and decide which member(s) are seated next to you in front.  I contemplated doing this, except 1) they use a large cheki camera, and those don’t fit into my cheki scrapbook, and 2) they cost four tickets, which was kinda steep.  I would stick to the original plan.

Next they announced 2-shot chekis  It was one queue, and when you got to the front you told the manager who you wanted to see.  The line was surprisingly short.  Of course I asked for Misaki, and she skipped over to get me.  In the meantime, I was telling her the story about Golden Week, and the twitter likes, and all the while she kept exclaiming how good my Japanese was.  I’m not sure if she remembers me from last month, but she kept laughing at the story.  In any case, my cheki was done, I shook her hand (she grabbed my hand with both of hers) and I headed off-stage.

Eventually it was time for the handshake/signings, and the girls formed their own individual queues for that.  I lined up again for Misaki.  I contemplated having her sign one of my CDs, but instead opted for her to sign my cheki.  The first thing she asked me was if I lived in Tokyo.  I told her yes, I live in Itabashi.  She kinda shrieked in a gleeful way.  Perhaps she lives nearby?  I then asked her which single the “Kiss Me, Love Me” song is on.  She said it wasn’t on any CD.  I gave her a little frown, and she told that meant I have to come and see them more often to hear it performed live.  I thanked her for the signed cheki, and she once again complimented my Japanese, and I was done.

On my way home I again tweeted a few photos from the event, and an hour later I got another “like” from Misaki.  It was a lot of fun, and I am really happy I went to see them.  I checked their schedule, and they are performing at Shinjuku Reny on Thursday.  FESTIVE will also be there, so I think I am going to make an appearance.  Perhaps I will make Hinari from FESTIVE a little jealous if she sees me hanging out with Misaki-chan.

Oh, and check out their official site: kissbee.net

CK in Tokyo