Archive for the ‘FES☆TIVE’ Category

Events, FES☆TIVE FES☆TIVE Release Event Live at HMV & Books Shibuya…and a Cute Hinarin Side Story (2018/05/24)

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I mentioned around eight posts back that I attended two mini-live events at Tower Records Shibuya for KissBee and FES☆TIVE.  What I didn’t post about was the return trip I made a couple of days later to see FES☆TIVE at Tower Records Shinjuku.  I didn’t create a new blog entry for it since a lot of it would have been repeating what I had already said in the previous post, save for one little anecdote.  Hinarin is always a fun handshake, and we have had many conversations that have occasionally even stretched beyond the usual idol handshake material.  However this particular handshake and cheki encounter was quite memorable…

 

I was fifth in line to see Hinarin. When it was my turn I told her that I had a lot of fun the previous evening, and wanted to come back and see her again. Her response totally floored me….

She told me she read my twitter post about her the previous evening. She then recited my entire post, almost word for word (in Japanese, of course) She said it made her very happy to read it…

In that tweet, I basically said I went to the event, and all the new members were really cute. However, Hinarin remains my #1 girl in FESTIVE.

I told her I absolutely meant it. Hinarin then went in for the kill and again started hammering me to go to their event on Friday night. I told her that I already had plans to do something else, but I would come to more of the preorder events.

It just goes to show, idols really appreciate when you write nice things to them.  Anyway, it is in that spirit that I decided to see FES☆TIVE at least once during their release week promotions…

I was trying to decide between two events on Thursday and Friday. One was Keyaki Matsuri, and the other to see FES☆TIVE. Since Keyaki Matsuri is all about beer, I decided to do that one on Thursday just in case I imbibed a little too much it would give me time to recover for Friday night, as opposed to Saturday when I will be at AKB’s handshake event all day.  After a couple hours and a few small beers in Saitama, I got a little bored of beer drinking and figured I would go to see FES☆TIVE after all, and one the way I could knock one other thing off of my “to-do” list and pick up all of my single preorders.

I really wanted to see FES☆TIVE this week since the announcement of Hiyo and Reia’s pending graduation. Not so much for them, but I could tell that Hinarin was stressing quite a bit over all the changes within the group, and I thought perhaps I could help cheer her up. Anyhow, I still got to Shibuya relatively early, and spent some time in the cafe across the street before going into MODI, I made it upstairs around 20 minutes before curtain, bought two more copies of the CD (which makes 2 of each version for me) and got a spot on the far left end of the rail by the DJ. There weren’t very many people in attendance. In fact you could have gotten within 6 feet of the stage up to five minutes before the show, although a few more trickled in at the last minute. I talked to Pin (a FES☆TIVE superfan, who has been going to see them since forever) and she asked where my friend Anthony was. Apparently Anthony told her that he was coming to see the group with me. I was like “Huh?” When I asked him a few days prior he said he might be busy. Oh well.

Before the show started Saeko popped out few times for unknown reasons, as did Reia. Well, Reia was talking to the music tech, and playing with his board, LOL. She seemed fairly “devil may care” since announcing graduation. Hiyo-chan seemed unaffected though. One interesting thing, and I didn’t know what to make of it, but at one point there was a very pretty girl standing in the back, and the girls asked shop staff to bring her up to the front, which they did. She was standing right next to me, but in the staff area. I was really curious who she was? Was it an idol from another group? Was it the sister of one of the members? (She looked A LOT like Piano) or could it have been a future member??? She was kinda tall, so maybe Hiyo-chan’s replacement? Ultimately I don’t know, but the girls paid a lot of attention to her throughout the show, and she disappeared right after the final MC.

Another interesting aspect of the show, the new girls are starting to fish me a little bit. First it was Saeko (new green), who was making a lot of eye contact with me and smiling during the rehearsal. Later on it was Minami Marika. (new blue) It seemed like every time I looked her way she was staring right back at me. She was really trying to get my attention.

It took a while to get the cheki portion of the event started. The girls spent quite a few minutes in the dressing room, then they do group handshake and individual handshake before chekis. I had two tickets, and was first in line to use them both on Hinarin. I was surprised, however, how short ALL of the lines were. Hinari had the longest line, with six people in it. After standing there for over 15 minutes, Piano and Marika’s lines were still completely empty, and Saeko’s line had one person. WTF?

Eventually it was my turn. I asked the staff to be careful with my bag. Hinari asked why, and I told her there was beer inside. She laughed, and said she could smell beer on my breath, LOL. (It had been over three hours, I was sober at this point) I asked her how she was doing, and she made the comment about being the only original member left. I told her when I read that I wanted to come see her, and that everything would be okay. It was cute, she dropped the genki demeanor for a few seconds and seemed completely authentic. We also reminisced about San Francisco, when the original group was still intact. At that point I noticed the guy never took our cheki. He forgot…

Hinari called the guy over, and he quickly snapped the pic as I was just turning, and still talking to Hinari, hence the weird facial expression. Unfortunately when she gave me the pic it hadn’t yet completely developed, and she had already signed it, so I felt bad about asking for another one. But I knew the moment he snapped it that it would turn out that way. Oh, and this is the second time a FES☆TIVE photographer has snapped me in mid-talk. In fact the last time I was not even looking at the camera, LOL. I finished off by reassuring her the the future of the group would be good, and that I still support her. And with that I took off.

I will be so busy this weekend with other stuff that I will not have the chance to go to any more of FES☆TIVE’s release events, so I am not sure when I will see them again.  However, I look forward to seeing who their new members will be, assuming they continue with that tradition of quickly filling in new girls.

CK in Tokyo 

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FES☆TIVE, KissBee The KissBee/FES☆TIVE Mini-Live Doubleheader at Tower Records Shibuya (2018/05/08)

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I love when things are convenient.  If you read my last couple of posts, both Wasamin and Minyo Girls appeared at the same mall on the same day this past Sunday, making for a fun and tiring mini-live quadruple-header with my favorite singer, and one of my favorite groups.  So when I noticed that both KissBee and FES☆TIVE were performing at Tower Shibuya on the same day, I couldn’t pass up another great opportunity.  Not only was I getting “2 for 1,” but I was also getting to see FES☆TIVE’s new lineup for the very first time.  Of course I was also going to get a little facetime with both Misaki-chan from KissBee and Hinarin from FES☆TIVE.  That’s a big plus since I know they have noticed that I have not been coming to their lives nearly as much as before.

I headed out in the late afternoon, just before the rains came.  By the time I got to Shibuya Station the storm had established itself over Tokyo.  My evening started with dinner at Guzman y Gomez, which is an Australian Mexican food chain that has multiple Tokyo locations, including one across the street from Tower Records.  I considered going to the new Fatburger, which just opened in the former 109 Men’s building, but I just wasn’t in the mood for a burger at all.   KissBee was up first at 6:30pm, followed by  FES☆TIVE at 9pm.  Jeez, I didn’t know they did in-store lives that late into the evening.  I don’t think they make it a habit though, since they were announcing that they would have to shut things down at 10:10pm, regardless of the queue…

KissBee (6:30pm)

This is the release week of KissBee’s 2nd Album, Pop Honeycomb.  I made it up to the 4th floor of Tower Records, but not before I was “greeted” by the group on the big video screen in front of the store.  The event space was totally packed, and their was a huge queue to buy CDs.  I looked around for copies of their new album, but all I saw were their old singles for sale.  WTF?  This is release week, isn’t it?  Moreover, most of the people in line seemed to be buying the group’s old singles.  I decided to instead find a spot to watch the show, and worry about the CD later.  I was jammed in the back, and couldn’t see anything.  However, KissBee ropes off a section for people who wish to photograph the event.  (Personally, I hate that they do this, and I think a couple of the guys who do the photography are inconsiderate)  I noticed that the photography section was only half full, so I bee-lined my way over to that section and got a spot just inside the roped off area with a partially obstructed view.  This was much better than where I was before.  KissBee came out for their usual mic check and rehearsal performance.  Misaki-chan eventually spotted me and gave me a little smile and nod.

Most of the songs they performed were from the new album.  My favorite has to be the first track LOVE Sugite Shibo~tsu!  The other two album songs they seem to be promoting, OKAWARI Paradox, and Kare Ki ni Hana wo are also very nice.  Ultimately they did a six-song setlist, with a couple of their older songs tossed in as well.  In one of the final MCs of the set, Sakura-chan announced that the album took 1st on the Oricon Daily chart, so the members were all very happy.

They ended the show with their usual janken for prizes, which I have never won.  Then the photo-op.  Luckily most of the fans in front kneeled down for this (except for those camera dudes I mentioned before)  I decided screw it, since I was on the side anyway.  I basically stayed upright and got some decent pics, even if I wasn’t very close to the stage.  I love as part of their gimmick they all make goofy faces during this segment.

Once the show ended I went straight toward the registers.  Their wasn’t a line yet, and I asked if the new KissBee album was behind the counter (it was)  I quickly got my copy (as well as an upgraded version of my Tower ponta card) and was able to lineup for the free High Touch.  When I got to Misaki-chan she kinda squealed my name much the same way Wasamin always does.  Cute!

As for benefits, the general rule on release events is 2 tickets for an unsigned cheki, and one ticket for a handshake where you can get something signed, either the cheki, a photo provided by the member, or on this day the CD.  I chose to do the cheki and have my CD signed.  While I was talking to Misaki-chan, I was asking her about the new tracks on the album.  I knew which songs in the show I liked, but I didn’t know which one’s they were on the CD, so she pointed them out to me.  It helped that the song I really like came over the PA just as I was asking, and she was like “This one?” while pointing to the ceiling.

Anyway, I got my Misaki facetime, and my signed CD and cheki.  I decided to bail out of Tower Records for a while since it was hot in the store, and I was really thirsty.

FES☆TIVE (9pm)


The new FES☆TIVE: Shin-members (Red, Blue, Green) in front

So while KissBee was promoting their new album release, FES☆TIVE was doing a preorder event for their 7th single, Yamato Nadeshiko Sunrise, which comes out in two weeks.  Now the last time I saw FES☆TIVE was one of the last performances of their old lineup before three of their original members graduated.  Since then they have added three new members, and based on their official pics all three of them are extremely cute.  Especially Doko Ruriko, who happens to be Hinarin’s cousin, and a former member of Tokyo Cheer2 Party.  While there was a point where I was wondering if I would be cutting ties with this group after so many graduations, I must admit that the new members have really energized the group, and me as a fan.


Ruriko

The group came out for a non-song mic check.  I immediately started checking out the new members since I wanted to see what they looked like in person.  The first one who noticed me was Ruriko, who immediately pointed at me and started whispering something to Hinari.  And BTW, of the three new members I thought Ruriko was by far the cutest.  The other two were cute too though.   FES☆TIVE did a quick 4 song setlist with no MCs, aside from a short member introduction at the very end.  It turned out they were trying to rush through the event since Tower had put a time limit on it, and I guess Saria could not do chekis after 10pm?  So after the show ended, everyone queued up, and Saria almost immediately came out to handle her cheki/handshake line.  It wasn’t until around 5-10 minutes later that the rest of the group came out.

The system was quite simply one ticket for a handshake, 2 tickets for a signed cheki+handshake, or three tickets for a 30-second video+handshake.  I preordered 2 CDs, and despite the cuteness of the new members, I used them for a signed cheki with my “go-to” girl Hinarin.

I love that Hinarin gets really touchy-feely with me when I visit her.  I told her that I love the new members, and they are all extremely cute.  Now on one hand, you might think Hinari would get jealous about that.  But Hinari was extremely worried when Koto, Yuna, and Miki graduated.  It is obvious that she LOVES being in FES☆TIVE, and I think she is relieved that the fans like the new members.  I noted that she now has family in the group.  (I didn’t know the word for cousin)  She told me Ruriko was her itoko, I countered that in English we say cousin, which she repeated back to me.  I also mentioned that I really liked the rock and roll style song they performed.  Of the four songs they did, I only recognized one of them.  I’m not sure if the rock-style one was the new single or not, but she seemed to get really excited when I said I liked it.  Finally my time was up, but it is nice that they give you a fairly long time to talk with each member.

And with that it was getting close to 10pm, so I took off after thanking the group staff.  I’m not sure if I will be getting to see wither of these groups again this week.  FES☆TIVE is scheduled to perform twice at Tower Shinjuku tonight, while KissBee is back in Shibuya at HMV Modi.  Technically, I could go to both.  But the question is whether or not I want to.  We’ll see.  In the meantime, I spent the rest of the evening tweeting photos from the event, as well as Minyo Girls’ event on Sunday.  The cool thing is that a lot of KissBee’s members react when you post pics of them.  I got likes from almost all of the members, the manager, and couple of KissBee West members, and even a “Thank You” reply from Misaki-chan.  Yes, idols are awesome!

CK in Tokyo

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Concerts, FES☆TIVE FES☆TIVE One-Man Live at Twin Box Akihabara (2018/03/19)

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With the pending graduations of Yuna-chan, Koto, and Miki looming, I decided to go and see FES☆TIVE one last time in their current formation, especially since I won’t be able to see their graduation stage this coming weekend. Since my friend Anthony is a fan of both Yuna and Kotone, I invited him along.

According to their official blog, they were expecting an unusually large crowd, and highly recommended making a reservation, which I did. Although it seemed for the most part like the usual crowd size at Twin Box. If you have been to that venue before, it is tiny and cramped, even more so than Twin Box Garage upstairs. A had a couple of cocktails at The HUB before heading to the venue. Not to mention I have a bunch of Twin Box drink tickets leftover from previous shows. I thought I would be able to spend a few of them, but when I told my friend he handed me a few more, since according to him he never uses them, LOL. I guess I need to there one night and just drink!

I was trying to decide who I wanted to purchase cheki tickets for. Of course I would be getting a Hinarin ticket, that was a given. I thought I might want to meet with one of the pending grads, but I have skipped seeing Hiyo-chan the last two events I have attended, and she’s my #2 girl in this group. I would hate to skip over her for someone else, so I got a second ticket for Hiyo.

It was your usual Twin Box live. Loud, lots of fans going wild. My friend and I stayed in the back because he has some sort of inner-ear issue, and didn’t want to be close to the speakers. That’s fine, I’ll get less sweaty that way. They opened with some 3-nin unit I wasn’t familiar with Hinarin, Koto and Yuna. The song was really good though. When I hear a song I’m not familiar with, I always assume it is from their album, which I have never purchased. In fact, they did a few unit songs during the main part of the show as well. There was one song in particular that I liked, something “Nichiyoubi.” But I couldn’t find it on any of their tracklists.

All three of the graduating members looked really loose and carefree on stage, in a good way. Kotone was really getting into the performance, working the crowd. It’s interesting, I really like Kotone a lot, although for some reason I have never really clicked with her at handshakes. But tonight I had my eyes on her for much of the show, almost as much as Hinarin. They referenced the fact many times that this was the last Twin Box performance for the three members, and during the last song Piano started sobbing uncontrollably. It was a cute moment.

It was the usual clusterf**k setting up for handshakes. I usually run for Hinarin’s lane right off the bat since it usually gets very long very quickly. However, I was slightly confused since some of the signs were different, and I couldn’t tell where her line was. Moreover, the two HUGE queues didn’t seem to be hers. Finally, I found this extremely short queue with just 3 girls in it. This was Hinarin’s lane? What happened??? I’m hoping it was for the graduation since the lines for Kotone and Yuna-chan were huge. I wish I could say the same for Miki’s queue, but alas… Anyway, I was 4th in line for Hinarin, so I made it to her fairly quickly. I had planned on what to talk to her about, but they took our cheki quickly, so I got thrown off explaining the pose we did (It’s supposed to be the dance move from their last single) She laughed when I said that, like “Oh yeah!” She then mentioned that she could see me all the way in the back, and thanked me for bringing a bunch of orange glowsticks. (I don’t bring them all the time) I was basically apologizing for not seeing her in a while, neglecting to mention I skipped her birthday show. When I said the last time I saw her was at Tower Shibuya, she remembered. “That’s right, that was the last time” But I told her I really wanted to see everyone one more time before the group changed. My time was up, and it was time for me to go visit Hiyo-chan.

BTW, Hiyo-chan was once again waving to me while I was in Hinarin’s queue. I was really happy I had a ticket for her this time, since she remains cool with me even if when I don’t have a ticket for her. While I was waiting for Hiyo, Saria started smiling and waving to me. That was a first. I am used to Miki and Piano doing that, but not Saria. I was at the front of the queue fairly quickly. Interestingly, Hiyo-chan remembers that I take Japanese classes, and was asking me how it was going. I told her I go three times a week, and am also studying Japanese history. It was right in the middle of this conversation when the camera showed up. In fact I didn’t even remember taking the shot, LOL. Hiyo-chan said my Japanese was improving, and wished me luck.

My friend was just using his first ticket, but I was done, and itching to get out of that stuffy club despite the fact it was raining outside. An interesting side-story, I went for a little walk, and was approached by some random guy offering me “Sexy time” with an idol, and was showing me photos on his phone of young girls, who I think he might have pulled off the 48-group websites. I told the guy I didn’t want any trouble, and then told him I only had 3000 yen on me, at which point he got the message and walked away. I can only imagine what kind of scam that was, but I’m sure whatever it was, it wasn’t going to involve “sexy time” with an idol, LOL. But back to FES☆TIVE.

This is kind of an end of an era of sorts. I first saw FES☆TIVE in San Francisco three years ago, and it was such a memorable experience. For the past 2 1/2 years I have maintained that “Idol-fan relationship” with them. After these three leave, that’s pretty much two-thirds of the original group gone. Lucky for me, my two favorites have both hung on since the beginning. And I must admit, Saria and Piano have ultimately meshed in very well with the group, which was something I wasn’t sure about last year. The rumor is they are lining up three replacements as we speak, so what this group turns into will be interesting. My friend Anthony pretty much said he would be retiring from idols after this (he also likes Alice Project), but he might go and see KissBee with me if I catch him on a good night. For me, as long as Hinari is still there I will stick with them….I think.

CK in Tokyo

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Events, FES☆TIVE, New Release OIDEMASE!! ~Gokuraku~ FES☆TIVE New Release Events. (2017/11/27-28)

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It has been a while since I reported on FES☆TIVE. Actually, it had been a while since I had seen FES☆TIVE too. But I did happen to catch them in July when they released their single Go to FES! Which I’m sure without accident was released just before Tokyo Idol Festival 2017. In fact, I happened to catch them on Furage day at Tower Kinshicho, so I was able to get all versions in one shot, without the pain in the ass of preordering. Here is the full PV…

The other interesting aspect of this event was that a bunch of former Wasamin assistants were now working as staff for FES☆TIVE. Yamaue-san had been working for them for a while, and so had the DJ. But now Sasou-san and another Tokuma rep were there too. (Wasamin and FES☆TIVE share the same label, and the members are always excited to tell me when they encounter Wasamin, LOL) The funny thing was that they were all on staff for Wasamin’s July concert at Otemachi too, which is why at one point Yamaue-san had dubbed me the “Tokuma Fan”. Anyway…

I had enough tickets to visit with both Hinari and Hiyo. I took a cheki with Hinari, and did a handshake with Hiyo. It was basically a chance to play catch up and for me to explain why I hadn’t been around lately. Actually, there are a couple of reasons, which I will explain below. But there was that, I participated in the release week, and got my singles. I considered going to a couple of their weekend events as well, but blew them off. Little did I know it would be almost five months until I would see them again. This time, for a new single. OIDEMASE!! ~Gokuraku~

It was actually a complete whim that I decided to go see them. I was home with nothing to do, and I started checking to see if any of the idol groups I like had shows that evening. Lo and behold, FES☆TIVE was doing a release event in Ikebukuro. But I would have to leave soon if I wanted to make it, and I was also hungry. I left my apartment, not sure where I was going, when the bus came down the street. Well, I guess the universe was telling me something, since that bus was going to Ikebukuro, so I jumped on. FES☆TIVE here I come!

It turned out the CD was coming out this week, and this was the last Preorder event. I ended up getting two copies so I could get an autographed cheki with Hinarin. I few of FES☆TIVE’s regulars were there, and they said that Hinari would surely be happy to see me again, since it had been a while. They also informed me that there would only be six members at this event. Yuna-chan hd another event she needed to attend, but the other member…Well, that’s another story. I don’t want to spread rumors, but the scuttlebutt is that another FES☆TIVE graduation may be on the horizon.

At least Hinari was there, since she is the main reason I go see this group. They performed the new song, along with Go to FES! and a couple of their older songs. I noticed two things during the performance. 1) FES☆TIVE are not great singers, and my favorite member is no exception. Most of the groups I see these days have good singers. Wasamin is good, Minyo Girls are good, Chaki is good, even KissBee is good. So it was kind of odd to go watch a group that is sorta off-key and screechy. The second thing I noticed was that the guy standing next to me smelled horrible. I swear it was like he was hiding a corpse in his jacket. It was so overwhelming that I had to move to the back of the venue.

Anyway, the singing isn’t really one of the big reasons I haven’t been going to see FES☆TIVE lately, but it may have a little to do with it. I have been cutting down on my indie idol stuff a lot. It is just so expensive to be doing day after day. Also, FES☆TIVE had developed this small contingency of young dickhead fans who annoy the shit out of everyone. It was just a pain to share space with these little clowns. I will still try to see them when they play at TwinBox Akihabara, but they have to catch me on a good night. And they aren’t the only ones. I haven’t seen Tokyo CLEARS or Chaki in ages either. Anyway…

I was one of the first in line to take a cheki with Hinarin, but I would have to wait for the handshake only people to go first. As promised, she was very happy to see me, and we spent a little time catching up. She also dropped the bombshell that Yamaue-san got married. I told her I was jealous, since I always thought Yamaue-san was cute. (although they have a really cute girl working with them now) I told her I saw Sasou-san the day before at Wasamin’s concert in Hamamatsucho. Meanwhile, their manager was laughing that Hinarin is busy gossiping with the foreign fan about the Tokuma staff. She also asked me if I was coming to see them in Shibuya for Furage day, and like a sucker I said okay.

I was fine with going to Tower Shibuya since I was in the mood for Mexican food, and they just opened another Guzman Y Gomez branch right across the street from the store. Plus, I had never been on the Sky Deck of Tower Records before. It’s kinda cool, although I think it would be nicer on a Summer afternoon. The good news was that the group sounded a lot better at this event. Their singing wasn’t as bad, and they were a lot more energetic, so that made me happy. A couple of performance shots from their official Twitter…

There was an extremely long delay between the performance and the meet and greet. Luckily I wasn’t too far back in Hinari’s queue, which is usually the longest. Since the event was outdoors at night, (in late November!) the members wore coats over their outfits and Tower aprons. Meanwhile Hiyo-chan and Miki weren’t busy, so they were waving hello to me and smiling. I felt bad that I didn’t get a ticket for Hiyo. Same with Miki, since she is so nice, but I rarely get a ticket for her.

I had assumed that the delay was that they could go get the girls’ jackets. So I asked Hinari if that was a new jacket. She said it was, and that she bought it in Takadanobaba for 1000 yen. What a great deal, I exclaimed! I told her I liked the SkyDeck, and asked if FES☆TIVE has ever performed on top of Seibu Ikebukuro. (KissBee performs there a lot, and I really like it) Hinari said they played there just recently, and she agreed that it was nice. By the way, they took a commemorative shot with the fans…


Where’s CK? 

And with that I took off since I did have homework to do that night. I’m not sure when I will see FES☆TIVE again, but hopefully it won’t be five months from now.

CK in Tokyo

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Events, FES☆TIVE, Minyo Girls Idol Extravaganza, Summer 2017! Part Two (FES☆TIVE & Minyo Girls)

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Continuing from my previous post…

I remember when Wasamin graduated from AKB, and I resolved to devote most of my “idol energy” toward her solo career.  However, I would go and see other idol groups “once in a while”.  After all, I was really only into two groups, Tokyo CLEARS and FES☆TIVE, so it wouldn’t be too difficult.  Unfortunately for me, that list of “other idol groups” has continued to grow to the point that every week I am checking 7-8 different websites for idol schedules, seeing if there are any shows I would like to see.  That said, I think I have done a half-decent job of exercising some restraint.  I didn’t go to see Chaki, or No Plan, or Hyper Motivation, despite the fact that all of them have been active this month.  Oh, and then there is Kozue’s dance-idol unit “I LOVE YOU”, who I would really like to see one of these days.  See, the list continues to grow…

 

FES☆TIVE

Like KissBee, FES☆TIVE are out promoting a new single to be released in time for “Tokyo Idol Festival,”  and the song is appropriately titled ‘Let’s Go Fes!’  The group is maintaining their usual, busy performance schedule, but are also throwing in a few free in-store lives to support the release.  The event I went to was held at Tower Records Kinshicho, where I saw Wasamin back in May.

The funny thing about FES☆TIVE is that the share the same label as Wasamin.  As a result, they share quite a few of the same label reps at events.  At this event, there were FOUR people from Tokuma who I regularly see at Wasamin events, including Yamaue-san, Sasou-san, the sound engineer, and one other guy whom I don’t know the name of.  Even funnier, when I first saw FES☆TIVE back in 2015, I had asked the Tokuma reps at Wasamin’s “Gomen ne Tokyo” event about them, and it was Sasou-san who called them a bunch of “busu-idols” (ugly girls!)

The new song is a lot of fun.  And the good news is that their two newest members, Piano and Saria have settled in quite well as permanent members.  I was worried about that since the group lineup had been static for so long.  Anyway, the new single is a lot of fun, and maintains the type of energy you would think a song like “Let’s go Fes!” would have…

FES☆TIVE’s post-show perks are pretty standard, and the same as what they usually offer.  One ticket for a shame or cheki, and a second ticket if you want to have the cheki signed.  (Actually, at their paid events it is only 500 yen more to get the cheki signed)  Per usual, I queued up for Hinarin as fast as I could since these days she is BY FAR the most popular member of the group, and her line stretches all around the store.  I don’t even bother trying to see her more than once.  I just line up for her quickly, and then use the rest of my tickets on other members…usually Hiyo-chan.

FES☆TIVE is going to be busy over the next couple of weeks with major idol events like TIF, but they will be squeezing in a couple of release events next week, including one in Akihabara.  I will do my best to make at least one of those events.

 

Minyo Girls

My guilty pleasure.  Actually, they really are a very talented group, and they have a very special gimmick.  Plus, you have to remember that both Wasamin and her manager have enlisted the Wasafans’ help in promoting them.  Throw all of that together, and I am proud to support them.

Speaking of ‘gimmick’, it is interesting to see them kind of go in a similar direction that Momoiro Clover went when they were signed to a major label.  (Remember early Momoclo? When they all wore Yukatas and had a ‘minyo’ sound mixed into their songs?)  When Minyo Girls first started they were strictly covering traditional Japanese folk songs.  However, once King Records signed them they seem to be breaking away from that genre a bit and doing more ‘idol-sounding’ material, albeit with a minyo/enka spin.  In fact, with each release they seem to be transitioning more and more into pop-idols.

Minyo Girls have yet to release an actual single, instead they release EP/Mini-albums with 5-6 tracks.  The event I went to see was outside the Cultural Broadcasting Radio building in Hamamatsucho, a place where I have seen Wasamin AND Hayabusa on more than one occasion.  I did not know until I got there that this event was celebrating the release of their third major label EP, ‘Minyo Girls III’  Since the show was right down the street from Devilcraft, one of my favorite places in Tokyo for Beer and Pizza, I went there first to ‘warm up’ for the event.

When I got to the venue, I think the people at the booth thought I was a random passing foreigner, that was until I bout four copies of the new CD, AND pulled out my Minyo Girls Happi.  The guy was like “Whoah, where did you get that???”  I wasn’t kidding when I told them I was a fan.

My three favorite Minyo Girls

After the event, where they played most of the songs from the new release, they were offering to sign copies of the CD jacket.  At first they said it would cost one ticket, but then someone else decided it would be free to anyone who bought the CD so cool.  Then it was time for handshakes, cheki’s and whatnot.  There were only six of the ten members in attendance, but all of the members I like were there.  So it was all good.  I first chose to do a group shot, which is a little more expensive, but it has become sort of a tradition for me with this group.

It looks like I am practically sitting on Yua, LOL

That is the FOURTH Minyo Girls group shot I have taken.  They are all fun to pose with.  I had tickets left, so I decided to do a signed cheki with one member.  Now I say that Yua is my favorite member of the group, but I also like Miyabi almost as much, not to mention the tiny Yutori, who always seems to remember me best.  Since I went with a Miyabi cheki the last time I saw them, I decided to go with Yua this time, despite the fact that Miyabi gave me real kami-treatment during the CD signing.

One of these days I want to take a cheki with Miki, the shamisen player.  She kind of sticks out as being much older, and not really that cute, but she is a major reason for their uniqueness, and sometimes I wonder if the other fans appreciate that.  Oh, and one more thing…

Their new PV!!!  ‘Ureshi Namida!‘ is from the CD ‘Minyo Girls II.’  They have been talking about releasing a single.  Perhaps this will be the one???  Anyway, Wasamin’s big concert is in just a few hours.  So expect that big report coming up soon!

CK in Tokyo

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

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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