Archive for the ‘Tokyo CLEARS’ Category

Concerts, Tokyo CLEARS Tokyo CLEARS One-Man Live; Sawabe Rion Birthday Show at Shibuya Club Glad (2018/05/12)

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After not attending Rion’s last two birthday shows, I really wanted to go to this one. In my defense, the first one I missed had a 10K yen admission, but last year’s I just skipped. When the details of the live came out, I immediately made a reservation. Rion is one of my all-time favorite idols, and I wanted to finally pay my proper respects on her special day.

I headed to Shibuya early. Since the show was basically going on all afternoon, I wanted to have lunch before I went to the venue. Originally I wanted to try the new Fatburger in the old 109 Men’s Store (People from LA should know about that burger place, or fans of Kuromochi Asuka, LOL) But I wasn’t in the mood for a heavy burger, so I had something lighter. Shibuya Club Glad is in the Dogenzaka neighborhood of Shibuya, right next to a bunch of music clubs. Tsutaya O-East, Tsutaya O-Crest, Club Asia, Club Vuenos, Womb, Duo Music Exchange are all within a block of there. I got there around 20 minus before doors, and there was a small line down the hill. Eventually I was joined by David, who saw this group for the first time the previous evening. Eventually the doors opened, so we headed in.

They charged 100 yen more than what my reservation said, but whatever. Once inside the small lobby, they were selling “premium chekis” which are basically single off-shot chekis the girls took. They are 1000 yen a piece, but you get a discount for buying multiples. There was also a flower/balloon stand for Rion’s birthday, which I took a shot of, but it was really dark in the lobby. It didn’t seem like they were selling cheki/handshake tickets yet, so we just headed inside to grab a spot.

The venue has a small floor standing area, and then two upper standing areas. The top level was reserved for VIPs and staff. I saw CLEAR’S Smile up there and a couple other idol-looking girls, and I believe Rion’s mom was up there somewhere, but I think she was lurking in the shadows. Since the floor wasn’t really packed at all, David and I stood at the back against the railing. Ultimately this was a good idea since the fans really went crazy during the show.

The show

This was the first time I had ever seen Tokyo CLEAR’S do a full 2-hour live. Normally I see them where they perform for maybe 30 minutes, a couple of times 45 minutes. I must say that their “full show” was incredibly fun. It was filled with cute VTRs, funny skits, costume changes, and they played pretty much all of their known songs.

One of the funniest parts was when they played the VTR of Rion’s friends wishing her a happy birthday. What was interesting was how many of her friends are parents. There were a few who appeared with their children. Rion is also friends with a couple of AKB48 members, but none of them appeared on the VTR. Later they played another VTR of people wishing her a happy birthday, except Rion didn’t know who any of them were. She kept saying “Dare???? Dare???” It turned out the girls went around Tokyo finding random people to wish her a Happy Birthday. One guy even sang a song about her, LOL.

One weird thing happened during the show. As I mentioned, the floor wasn’t packed at all, but there was a girl standing in front of me who during the show kept creeping backwards to the point where she was almost in my lap. I mean she had like 4 feet in front of her, why she was standing 2 inches in front of me I do not know. I was beginning to get a bit frustrated because she was blocking me from rushing the front of the stage when Rion had her solo lines. Eventually I decided the heck with it, and nudged her out of the way to head to the stage. When I came back, 1) the girl smiled at me and nodded, and 2) I noticed she was actually kinda cute. Okay, so I guess I won’t mind if she wants to watch the show in my lap, LOL. Actually, she gave me a little bit of space after that.

The first skit they did was the members having to do various manomane on command from messages on the screen. However, the second skit was this sort of pantomime of the members being on a baseball team, and Rion’s struggles to become a good hitter, done to the song Fuite Fuite. It was really random, but still funny.

The birthday part was kind of low key, she received flowers, a cake, and she made a little speech. She started to get teary at one point, but the entire group dynamic is so goofy that she snapped out of it fairly quickly. When the show ended David and I went back to the lobby to get cheki and handshake tickets. I also took a look at the shirts they had for sale, but the only shirts they had in my size were Ruka and Rin’s old birthday shirts, which I wasn’t interested in. So next time…

Chekis/Handshakes

They had one queue for Rion, and one queue for all the other members. I was around 15th in line, but wasn’t in any hurry. I also purchased a gift for Rion from LUSH, along with a small note in Japanese. So I was excited to give that to her as well. The members were all wearing their ‘Ninjin’ pajama tops, which was the last costume they wore for the encore. BTW, Rion pointed out that she is not really a fan of carrots, but they bought those just because she is the ‘orange’ member. Anyway, I wished Rion a happy birthday and gave her the gift. While she was signing the cheki I told her how I knew David, since the girls were all intrigued by him from the previous show. Rion thanked me for coming and again asked me to come back soon. She had a long line, which by this time had stretched out into the lobby. So she was kind of restricted on time. (You get a minute, but sometimes she’ll go longer) I waved goodbye and headed out of the club after finally getting by requisite ‘one-drink’ that I paid for at the door.

I must say this has me wanting to see more of their ‘one-man’ live events. So I will probably be watching their performance calendar with that in mind going forward.

CK in Tokyo

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Events, KissBee, Tokyo CLEARS Hisashiburi CLEARS, Hisashiburi KissBee! (2018/03/26-29)

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It had been quite a while since I had last seen Tokyo CLEARS and KissBee perform.  I last saw KissBee in early December, just before I headed to California for the holidays.  For CLEARS, it had been much longer.  almost eight months.  It’s unfortunate since I really adore Rion from CLEARS, and I had developed quite the rapport with Tanifuji Misaki from KissBee.  But such is life, when I decided I needed to curtail my idol spending.  Indie idols were the first casualty.  That said…

This week I noticed that 1) CLEARS was doing some free lives in support of their debut album, and KissBee had just started promoting their own debut album.  So here were some chances to visit these groups without a big admission layout, see a performance, and talk with the members for the cost of a CD.  I was in.  First up, CLEARS…

Tokyo CLEARS at Shinseido Sunshine City, and Naka-Meguro Club Try

I actually went to two different CLEARS events for their new album, “We Are CLEARS”.  The first one was on Monday at Sunshine City in Ikebukuro, where they were doing an in-store live along with Gunma CLEARS.  They had two events scheduled, at 5pm and 7pm.  I didn’t think there was any way I could make it to the early show, which was fine.  However, I arrived earlier than expected, and was actually there by the time the live was just ending and the handshake event was starting.  But I decided to stay hidden, and just wait for the later show.

I came back around 6:20pm, and was checking out the rules/benefits of the event, when all of a sudden the door to the dressing room opened, and out came Rion.  Her manager had their dinner.  Rion immediately spotted me, and completely lit up.  “Kurisuuu!”  Rin Asahina also came out to see what the commotion was, and waved to me.  Anyway, my next stop was to do the preorder, but I didn’t understand the benefits at all.  They were quite confusing, and looked like you had to buy multiple copies of the same version, and some video shooting.  I was like “Screw that, I’m not buying five albums just to do benefits.  The people at the cash register were kind of confused too, and went to ask the group manager manager.  Ultimately what the chart didn’t say was that you could still do normal benefits with the purchase of one or two CDs, like chekis and handshakes and whatnot.  So I preordered the limited version, and got three tickets.  I was ready to go.

It was 7pm, and there were literally like eight fans standing there.  WTF?  So I got a spot front and center.  Since there were so few people, nobody was really doing any calls.  Just clapping.  At one point I started calling for Rion, and she pointed her microphone toward me.  The crowd did fill in a bit as the show went on, then some random foreigner came fumbling into the live with her camera raised, and they had to stop her.  Later there were a group of little kids who came by, and we cleared the front of the stage for them to dance along.  It was very cute.  They stayed for the entire rest of the show.

I had three tickets, which I was going to use for a signed cheki with Rion, and an unsigned cheki with Sayuri.  Rion was going on and on about how she missed seeing me, which I also repeated back to her.  I really did miss her, possibly more than any of the other idols I hadn’t seen in a while.  I also mentioned that I sometimes have a hard time figuring out when and where they are appearing, and it was mainly because I saw her tweet that morning that I was there.

Sayuri was a lot more opportunistic.  When I mentioned that I came for the release event, she immediately asked when I would come again, and mentioned the actual release event on Wednesday.  She made me pinky-promise to come.  I remembered reading that it was only 1000 yen to get in, so I was like “Sure, I’ll come.  It is fairly close to where I will be anyway.”

Fast forward to Wednesday…

I had a couple hours to kill before the live, so I went to Devilcraft to grab a couple of quick pints.  I stayed a little longer than expected, and was rushing to get over to Naka-Meguro in time for the show.  It was odd though, I had never seen this many people on the Hibiya Line all the way to the end.  It wasn’t until I got there that I realized why…

It turns out that Naka-Meguro is a huge Hanami-Sakura Viewing spot, since the river cuts right through the middle of the area.  So there were tons of people pouring in and out of the station.  I finally made it out, and tried to figure out where Club Try was, which I had only been to once before.  It took me about five minutes to figure out I went in the wrong direction, and had to backtrack through the huge crowd to the other side of the station.  I was worried that I was going to miss the beginning of the show, arriving at 7:02.  I got upstairs, and paid my admission.  Luckily, I misread the time.  It didn’t begin until 7:15.  there were still a few seats left, so I grabbed one in the third row, but not before buying the regular version of the CD.  This would afford me a signed cheki with Rion, and mean that I had one of each CD version.

This show featured four of the CLEARS groups.  Tokyo CLEARS, who I was there to see.  Then you had Gunma CLEARS and CLEARS SMILE!, neither of which really grab me.  Then there was Chiba CLEARS, who I had never seen before.  OMG…

The girls in Chiba CLEARS were adorable.  All of them.  I was watching them, deciding which one I wanted to meet, but I was having trouble deciding.  There were like four of them I liked, including their brand new chibi member, LOL.  Each group did two songs in the live, and then appeared all together at the end.  As they were setting up for the handshake event, I went and grabbed my prerequisite drink.  I also went to check out Chiba CLEARS’ system.  (All the groups have their own sales tables)  They weren’t selling the CD, they were doing a preorder for something else.  I had no idea what it was, and didn’t feel like spending any more cash, so I will have to meet Chiba CLEARS another time.  I went to line up for Rion…

I still had a slight buzz from all the beer I drank earlier, so I boldly decided to tell Rion that I had checked out some of her old gravure work that was on YouTube.  This stuff is all from about 8-10 years ago, before she was in Ebisu Muscats.  I confirmed that she was a teenager when she did most of those gravure DVDs.  Anyway, I told her that she was a very cute teen.  She said she hoped to see me again soon, and I was on my way.  I went to do a little Sakura viewing on my own before getting back on the train for home.

KissBee at Village Vanguard, SkyTree

It has been a while since I have posted her about KissBee.  Actually, I was getting ready to do a post in December about all the release events for their last single, but I got sidetracked by the holidays, and ultimately never wrote it.  I prefer going to their CD events since they are usually free, as opposed to their non-release events, which usually cost upwards of 3000 yen to get in.  Since this is an album promotion, I probably won’t be going to too many events.  In fact, they have already been promoting the CD for a couple weeks, and this was the first event I had been to.  It was quit convenient though, since I had an appointment near SkyTree, it was easy for me to come over after I was done.

 

KissBee’s new album is called “Pop Honeycomb.”  And like CLEARS, there are two versions, although both versions are the same price.  I got there over two hours early, and the shop hadn’t even started setting up for the show.  So I went over to the food court and got an early dinner at Gindaco.  After wandering around for a while, I headed back to the venue, and saw that the regular fans had already camped out their front spots.  Which reminds me, a small rant…

Back when Wasamin first started her solo career, I noticed that many of her big fans often stayed in the back of the venue when she had events.  Eventually I asked them why, and they said because they are already big fans, and see her all the time, they would rather let newer fans have those spots, so hopefully they become big fans of her too.  I have always taken that philosophy to heart, and usually stay out of the first few rows at Wasamin events.  So I have to be honest, when I see these KissBee fans ALWAYS taking these spots, never allowing anyone else to be in the first row, it kinda rubs me the wrong way.  I once mentioned this to one of the KissBee fans (not one of the front row guys) and he seemed surprised to hear me say it, but he understood.  Anyway…

The other big change is that two of the members seemed to have left the group.  Well, I’m not sure if they left, or are on hiatus, but they are not promoting the CD, aren’t on the cover, and aren’t even listed on the website anymore.  This includes my #2 KissBee girl, Maeda Reon.  I knew Maeda was on hiatus, since I read her Twitter.  I asked what her current status was, and they said she is still considered on hiatus.  I feel badly about that, but it makes things easy for me, as I will focus all my attention on Misaki.

Another interesting issue, this particular Village Vanguard has a history of being over-regulating when it comes to idol events.  In fact, it makes me wonder why they have these events at all.  Fans aren’t allowed to do “calls,” they demand the volume of the music be kept down to a surprising low level, so “not to inconvenience other shoppers,” and they try to stuff everyone into this tiny little space, regardless of the amount of people there.  Luckily, this time they allowed the music to be at more acceptable levels.

It was the usual KissBee live, four songs with a couple of MCs, then it was time for 2-shots and handshakes…oh and the high touch, which is free for everyone.  They weren’t offering the group cheki at this event, but they DID offer a shamekai option, which I suggested to them before.  “Why not give a choice to the fans, and shamekai don’t require you to use any film.”

Anyway, I took a cheki with Misaki-chan, and then later lined up for a handshake, and to have her sign the cheki.  As usual, Misaki had the longest line, and I was toward the back of it, but I eventually got my turn.  She had asked why I hadn’t been around, and I explained that I had cut back on idol events for financial reasons, but I did enjoy their CD promotions, so I would come to a few of those.  I also mentioned that I liked her new hairdo, and the bangs looked really cute on her.  BTW, I also like the album costumes.  To be honest, I thought their costumes for the last two singles looked cheap and ugly.  These are definitely an upgrade.

And that was it.  I had a busy weekend planned with all the 48-group Saitama Super Arena concerts, which I will talk about in my next post.

CK in Tokyo 

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Concerts, Pop Idols, Tokyo CLEARS, Yuki Himeri Tokyo CLEARS’ New Home Base, No Plan’s Free Live, and a Bunch of Other Cute Idols

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Vacation Starto!

Yes, I finally completed all of my coursework for the Summer semester, which means I will be graduating from the school I am currently attending with an Associates degree, and moving on to a different school to complete a Bachelor of Arts degree, which is another hurdle toward living in Japan.  However, this will be a short vacation, as orientation for the new University I am attending will begin the third week in August.  In the meantime, I have a bunch of free time, and what better way to get it started than by attending a few idol events.  First up, Tokyo CLEARS…

When Tokyo CLEARS announced that they will be doing a monthly show in Meguro, I promised Riochi that I would attend the first event.  I always do my best to keep the promises I make to idols, so on Wednesday afternoon I headed out to Meguro for the show.

Meguro Rockmayan is your typical little music theater, located in a basement underneath a couple of restaurants.  Actually, this is not your random club after all, as the displays on the hallway walls have signboards from lots of now famous Japanese rock bands.  Among them were Dir en Grey, Glay.  So pretty cool, especially for a dingy little club that could probably fit a couple hundred people at the most.

In addition to Tokyo CLEARS, they announced there would also be guest artists performing at their monthly event.  Gunma CLEARS was there, which was no surprise since the CLEARS sister groups often perform together.  I had never heard of the other two groups.  The first was a trio called expiece (group homepage), who had a cute center girl.

The other group was called Ikoku no Palpitante (group homepage), which I actually really liked.  All of the members were cute, they had a gothic lolita image, and they were extremely fun to watch.  In fact all of them reminded me of 48-group girls for some reason.  The lead singer looked kinda like Ishida Anna, they had a tall girl who looked a lot like Yukirin, a young and cute redhead who was like a baby-Tanamin, and then one girl who I guess was a trainee?  She looked like Naopon from HKT.  The other regular member is like the moodmaker of the group.

A few cool aspects of their show, the trainee member spent the entire time working among the crowd, getting them to cheer, do calls, etc.  In fact, one of the other members jumped into the crowd as well.  They also had one sing where the girls draw sticks in the middle of the song to decide who sings the big solo part.  And, they hold up signs with their names, so if you want to cheer for a member, and don’t know their name…Anyway, here is a video of them in action…

Of course I was there to see Rion, so my focus was on Tokyo CLEARS.  They opened the show with one song, after which the all the groups came on stage to play some kind of “Telephone charades” game.  It’s when the first person gets a word or phrase, and then acts it out to the next girl, all the way to the end then the last member guesses what it is.  I was in the front row, and for the second one Rion asked me if I could read the kanji (I actually knew the second kanji, but not the first one)  However, when Ruka (from CLEARS) acted it out, I knew exactly what it was, so I blurted out to Rion that I knew.  (It was Sadako from The Ring)  However, what was even funnier was the next game, where somehow the girls interpreted the phrase as “Rion taking a stinky shit”  which of course wasn’t the right answer.

The supporting groups got 15-20 minute sets, while TC’s set was at least 30, their opening song is one of my favorites, and is one of the B-sides from their most recent single, called “Fuite Fuite”  It has a fun dance that the fans get to participate in as well.  Oh, and as part of the fun, the members drew on each other’s faces, which made for some interesting chekis.


Rion, and Sayuri

You could tell that Sayuri loved the artwork on her face, as she kept saying “Open eye, close eye!” to me.  Rion, didn’t believe me when I said her artwork was cute too.  But I told her that I was happy to be at their first performance at this club, and that my new school was very close by, so it will be easy for me to see them perform there.

CLEARS’ chekis are a little pricey, and as a result I decided not to do anything with the Palpitante group.  As much as I liked them overall, there wasn’t one particular member who stood out to me.  I mean they all stood out in some way or another, which I guess makes me a Palpitante MD.

NO PLAN

Fast forward to Thursday.  I had an appointment in Shinjuku in the afternoon, and of all the groups I like, the only one playing that day was No Plan, which features one of my favorite idols, Yuki Himeri, who used to be in Alice Project.  They were headlining four groups at Yoyogi Muse, which is a music school near the JR Yoyogi Station.  The best part was, this was a FREE live.  I love those!

Himeri recently announced that she would be graduating from No Plan this month, and I am not sure what she will be up to after that, aside from the occasional gravure work she does.  So I want to see her as much as I can before she leaves the group.  BTW, although I have attended a No Plan meet and greet one before at Shinjuku ReNY, I had never seen them perform before.  So I was looking forward to that as well.  However, I would have to sit through the first three acts before I got to see Himeri…

Doors opened a little after 5pm, this was going to be an early show.  Most of the fans wanted to stand in the back where they could move around more, so I took a seat in the front row.  Why they had chairs set up, I do not know.  Personally, I like it better when it is all standing. But whatever.  The show started a few minutes late, leading off with a duo called Semicolon.  LOL, wait until you hear the name of the third act, it was “Punctuation Thursday” I guess.  However, the one girl in the group was drop dead adorable.  I could not take my eyes off of her.  Unfortunately of the two members, the other one was a far better singer.  But my biggest surprise was when I got home and looked the group up…


Reon

It turns out the cute one I mentioned is actually a well-known gravure idol and anime singer named Kurosaki Reon. (Reon’s homepage) Not only that, she is 26 years old!  Damn, I thought this girl was 19-20 tops.  Now I am really kicking myself for not taking a cheki with her when I had the chance.  They didn’t have much of a line either, so I will count that as a blown opportunity.  But I will keep my eye out for them in the future.


Reon Live Solo Performance

After Semicolon, a soloist named Yamashita Haruka performed.  It almost seemed like she didn’t have too much experience, but she did say that she recently performed at Japan Expo in Malaysia.  Unfortunately for Haruka, at one point the sound system screwed up and started skipping on her support music, which made for a pretty funny and awkward moment since she was singing with live-assist, harmonizing with her own backup vocals.  After her, the third act, and the second half of the “punctuation” performed, a four-girl group called Asterisk, (group homepage) which featured two main members and two backdancers.

There were two really cool things about Asterisk.  First off, the two lead girls really could sing, which is always a nice bonus when it comes to idols.  The second thing, one of the lead girls, Minami Nico wore nerd glasses, which to me made her look incredibly sexy.  Good singer, nerd-cute, nice figure, gothic outfit.  What a combination!!!  I almost wanted to take a cheki with her too, and they were cheap (500 yen)


Nico

Finally it was No Plan‘s turn.  As I mentioned, this would be the first time I actually saw them perform, and at first I was surprised there were so many of them, like 8-10 members!  All of their songs were very upbeat and fun, kinda like CLEARS, or FESTIVE.  Of course I had my eyes on Himeri the entire time, and she nodded, pointed, and smiled at me many times throughout the show.  I also wasn’t aware that is she the “Leader” of the group, which I guess shouldn’t be a surprise since she was the leader of Alice Project’s Pa-ken Girls too.  But she has such a high and funny voice, it is a hoot to hear her run the group MC.  Anyway, the show ended, and it was time for group perks outside.


No Plan Live

All of the groups assembled in the small reception area in the courtyard outside.  Per usual, it was very small, and difficult to move around.  It turned out most everyone was there to see No Plan, so the line to buy tickets was a bit of a clusterf**k.  It didn’t help that the manager was doing double-duty of selling tickets AND taking chekis.  I kept getting pushed and shoved, and then some jerk started pushing me and yelling at me to be more forceful.  But what was I going to do, since one of the members had already politely asked me to wait a moment.  So I just ignored the guy.  Eventually I got my two tickets…

I couldn’t even get to Himeri, the lines were so crowded together.  Eventually Himeri found me standing in the back and waved to me, but I motioned that I couldn’t get through.  That was when, like Moses and the Red Sea, she moved everyone aside.  “Kurisuuuu, kochi kochi!!!” LOLZ…

The first thing she told me was that she was soooo happy when she saw me in the audience.  I told her that I would love to see her more, but idol shows can be expensive, so i do not go all the time.  I asked about her graduation, and told her I would be graduating too, but going to another school.  She asked what I was studying, and I told her Japanese.  At that point she said she remembered when we first met, and that my Japanese is so much better now.  I told her I was doing my best, but I was still learning.  She apologized, saying she doesn’t really know any English.  But that’s okay, it is better for me to practice Japanese.  Still, she tried to write a little bit of English on the Chekis.  At the end she tried to sell me one of her Graduation T-shirts, but I was a bit low on cash, and told her it would have to be next time.  Hopefully she will still have XXL the next time I see her…

And what a deal, two signed chekis and two Shamekai for 2000 yen.  I love it!  And what I love about Himeri is that she makes such a big deal out of seeing me.  It really makes me feel special as a fan.  She has a bunch more appearances before her graduation, so I will make it a point to see her as much as I can before she leaves the group.

So there ya go, two fun shows, and a few more cool groups discovered, although I don’t know that I will go out of my way to see Palpitante, or Semicolon, or Asterisk, but I would certainly entertain doing chekis with them if I run into them again.  In the meantime, I am kinda busy this week, so I don’t plan on going to Tokyo Idol Festival.  If I decide to go at all, it would be Sunday.  But 8K yen for a one-day ticket?  Kinda steep, and there are really only 2-3 groups I am interested in seeing, not to mention, 10 hours of straight idols???  Too much stimulation for me. LOL

CK in Tokyo 

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

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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, New Release, Tokyo CLEARS Tokyo CLEARS New Single, ‘Heart Wash’ Release Events in Tokyo! (2017/06/06-07)

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Talk about ‘hisashiburi’!  I consider Tokyo CLEARS to be one of my favorite idol groups, and yet I hadn’t seen them perform in almost nine months!  The last time was for their previous single release.  Now I check their performance schedule regularly, but I couldn’t find the time to see a show.  That all changed this week.  But before I get into the events, let me backtrack a bit and give you a bit of my history with this group, since I’m not sure if I have spoken about them much on this blog before.

A couple of years ago, my friend David, a former 48-group fan who had gone the ‘indie-idol’ route, was trying to get me visit P.A.R.M.S., the home theater of Alice Project.  I was originally resistant, but eventually acquiesced since he came to a couple of Wasamin events with me.  I didn’t exactly love Alice Project, but it did plant the seed for me to start paying more attention to the indie idol scene.  A few months later I went to see an Alice Project show, and they had a few guest idol groups on the bill.  This wasn’t the first time I had been there where they had done that, and usually the groups that played there didn’t impress me that much.  However, one night I caught this one group, and one girl in particular caught my eye.  Short, reddish-brown hair, really cute, but with this ‘devilish’ expression on her face, and a certain twinkle in her eye.  I was immediately drawn to her, and began watching her intently on the stage.  It didn’t take long for her to notice me watching her, and she immediately started gesturing to me.  Smiling, waving, winking.  She just hooked me right in.  That girl was Sawabe Rion, and the group was Tokyo CLEARS.

When I finally met her, she was really nice.  Down to earth, mature, and a lot of fun.  I later learned that not only was she a former Gravure Idol, but she was also a former member of Ebisu Muscats.  She was the perfect combination of sexiness and kawaii.  what I also loved was that I could talk to Rion about anything.  It wasn’t always idol-ly B.S.  It was almost like talking to a friend, or a peer.  Anyway, I made it a point to see CLEARS as often as I could.  And I did.  They were in my regular ‘rotation’ of groups a often saw.  However, last year I decided to cut down on my indie idol spending, especially since Wasamin was draining my wallet on a regular basis.  As a result, I failed to go seeCLEARS for the better part of a year.  I really felt bad about it too, and wondered if Rion felt like I had abandoned her.  But I really didn’t.  I was always planning to see them, I just never pulled the trigger.  However…

A week or so ago I noticed that CLEARS were releasing a new single.  BTW, I call them CLEARS because the group actually has branches all over Japan.  In addition to Tokyo Clears, there’s Yokohama CLEARS, Gunma CLEARS, Kawagoe CLEARS, and a bunch more.  Oh, and the theme of the group is “Cleaning.”  One of their monthly events is to go clean up litter around Tokyo.  Yes, you can go out with the group and pick up trash with them.  Fun Tiems?  Anyway…

First Event at Sunshine City, Ikebukuro (2017/06/06)

They were doing two release events in Tokyo.  The first was on Tuesday in Ikebukuro.  However, I had already made plans with my friend Derek to have dinner with him.  I asked him if we could augment the plans, but he wouldn’t budge.  Oh well, I wasn’t going to break plans with a friend just to see an idol group.  I would just have to settle for the second show on Wednesday.  However, we ended up finishing dinner rather early.  If I hurried, I could make it to Ikebukuro and catch some of the event.  So with Derek’s blessing, I took off, and hustled to Sunshine City as fast as I could.

When I got to the venue, I was surprised to find out that the event was actually going to start a half hour late.  It was perfect!  I hadn’t missed anything!  I checked out the goods table.  The new single came in four versions, and with each copy you bought you got a member-specific meet and greet ticket.  They were also giving away the promotional poster for the single.  I grabbed a copy of each version, and got four Rion tickets.  I then took my place in the standing area.  It was just about showtime.

Tokyo CLEARS took the stage, and it took Rion all of about 10 seconds to spot me in the crowd.  She immediately lit up and started waving to me.  I was so happy!  They started with their new song, “Heart Wash” which I had never heard before.  It’s a cute song, and has a fun PV.  Here is a short version from the official Avex channel…

Eventually Tokyo CLEARS left the stage, while Gunma CLEARS, Yokohama CLEARS, and CLEARS Smile entered to further promote the single.  I actually took off to the bathroom at this point, and came back closer to the end when Rion came back on stage.  I was mainly there to see her anyway.  Eventually the show ended, and it was time for benefits.

 

Tokyo CLEARS is the flagship group, and had the longest line by far.  I immediately queued up, and decided I would do a signed cheki with Rion.  She had a big smile on her face as she reached out to me with both hands.  “I’m so happy to see you again!”  As she signed the cheki I was busy apologizing to her that I hadn’t seen her in so long, and that I had been going to far fewer idol events. (A ‘partial’ truth, as you know from reading this blog)  She said it was okay, and that she was happy that I was there now.  Anyway, I got my cheki, and I was happy.  I immediately went to re-queue.  However, I forgot to mention that there is another CLEARS member, Yamato Sayuri, who REALLY likes me, and is ALWAYS trying to fish me.  All of a sudden I felt bad for only getting Rion tickets.  I went back to the table to see if I could change one of my Rion tickets for a Sayuri ticket, which they allowed me to do.  I had a little plan anyway.  I could have both of them sign my poster, which was another benefit they were offering.

I came back to Rion, and asked her to sign the poster.  Somehow in the 5-10 minutes since the cheki she forgot how to spell my name, which is funny since she spelled it right on the cheki without even asking.  While she was signing, I also told her the news that I would be in Tokyo even longer than originally planned.  (I’m hoping to make it a permanent residence, but one step at a time)  She congratulated me, and asked me for details.  It was then I noticed that she was signing quite a lot of the poster, so I asked her to leave some space for Sayuri to sign as well.  Sayuri immediately came running over…”You are talking about me, Chris???”  Hahaha, Sayuri gets a bit jealous about my fawning over Rion.  I told her that I would be coming back around for her to sign the poster.  I got back to the front a few minutes later, and had Sayuri sign the poster.  I also apologized to her for not seeing them for so long.  It was then that she made me promise to come to the Wednesday night event.  Pinky out, “Yakusoku???’  Ummmmmm, okay fine!


(
Rion signed on the left (and bottom right), Sayuri on the right.  BTW, Rion is on the far left side of the poster, and Sayuri is just above her.)

And with that I was done, I waved goodbye to both Sayuri and Rion, and made my way to the bus stop to go home.  Oh, and when I read Rion’s blog that night, she mentioned seeing a fan she hadn’t seen for quite a while.  Wow, that is actually the second time she has referenced me on her blog!

Second Event at Naka-Meguro Club TRY (2017/06/07)

After a long day, I made it over to Meguro in the afternoon.  Actually, I went to Ebisu first since it was early.  I decided to grab a couple of beers are Yebisu Brewery Museum, and hit Shake Shack for dinner.  After that I would walk over to Naka-Meguro, which was less than a kilometer away.  I eventually found the club, which was steps away from the station.  There was short queue, so I decided to line up early.  I’m glad I did, because there was actually seating for this show.  And since I was one of the first people in I could grab a front row seat!  I bought three more copies of the CD, got another poster, and three member tickets.  Two for Rion, and one for Sayuri.

The show started, only this time the other groups, Yokohama, Gunma, and Smile performed first.  I’m not a big fan of Gunma CLEARS, but the Yokohama girls are ALL cute.  There is one girl in Smile that I really like too.  But I wasn’t going to go crazy, especially since I was again, mainly there to see Rion.  Yokohama also sang my favorite CLEARS song, Kansha Fanfare.  Unfortunately the one girl who was trying to fish me was from Gunma CLEARS, and I kept trying to avoid her gaze.  “No, I don’t wanna be fished by you!”

The main group finally came out, and I immediately had Rion positioned about three feet in front of me.  Since I was in front I was getting the chance to interact with all of them, although I think they all know I am Rion’s.  Of course that never stops Sayuri, but was paying a lot of attention to me throughout the show.  Oh, and Tokyo CLEARS has a c/w on the Type-B version called Fuite Fuite, which IMO the best song of the release.  Rion is the center of it, too!

For my first ticket, I decided to visit Rion to have her sign one of my CDs, since they were offering that benefit for this event.  While she was signing I asked about the ‘Fuite’ song, and that was when she told me that it was a c/w for this release.  I was stoked, since that meant I could put it on my ipod.  I then re-queued for Sayuri to sign another version, and she promptly misspelled my name (forgot the H, a common mistake)  She managed to jam an H in there.  I reminded her that I kept my promise to show up to the event.  She was like, “You did, Thank you Chris!”  For my last visit with Rion, I decided I wanted a signed cheki, but I needed another ticket, so I broke down and bought one more copy, which gave me two complete sets of the single.  I suggested the “namida” pose (from Fuite Fuite).  While she signed she said something that really touched my heart…

I started by telling her how happy I was to see her two days in a row, and that I was really sorry I didn’t come for so long.  I just said I was busy, and the lat semester at school was quite difficult.  Her response was amazing.  She told me that she had noticed I wasn’t coming.  She went on to say she never forgot about me, and often wondered what I was doing.  I was floored when she said that.  Now I could be cynical and say that she is just saying that as a fishing tactic.  But I think I know her personality pretty well, and I don’t think she would just make that up.

Anyway, I was done, and my wallet was actually empty.  I had about 450 yen in change in my pocket, so it was time to go home.  Rion reminded me of why was so enamored with her to begin with.  Let’s hope it doesn’t take me so long to see her again.  In the meantime I have another idol show to go to tomorrow.  This has been a very busy week for me, idol-wise.  AKB48 16th Gen, Wasamin (still need to do that writeup), CLEARS x2, tomorrow FESTIVE and KissBee together in Shinjuku, then finally the AKB Shoot Sign event on Saturday, where I will get to play with Akiyoshi.  I think I will need a short idol break after this!

CK in Tokyo