Archive for the ‘Yuki Himeri’ Category

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

In the meantime…

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

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

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

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

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

It never ends,

CK in Tokyo 

Concerts, Yuki Himeri Yuki Himeri’s Graduation…and Birthday! ‘No Plan’ Live in Shinjuku (2017/08/19)

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Sometimes when idols leave their groups, it is the last time we, as fans, will ever get to interact with them.  I can think of many idols who I was a fan of, who have moved on to the next stage in their lives.  In some cases I knew they were graduating when I last saw them, in other cases I didn’t.  It is those idols, the one’s I never gave my proper ‘best wishes’ to, that I feel the saddest about.

Of course, just because an idol graduates from their group, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll never get a chance to see them again.  I remember when Meetan and Chaki graduated from SDN48, and I thought “Well, this is it.”  But I DID get a chance to see Meetan again a few months later when she released her final gravure DVD.  And of course Chaki has continued on as a solo performer, so I have had many opportunities to support her singing career.  In the case of Yuki Himeri, she graduated from Alice Project while I was in America, so I never got a chance to say a final goodbye to her.

Luckily, my friend Anthony had kept up with Himeri, and knew that she had started a new Twitter account, and was doing various appearances around Tokyo as a freelance idol.  I vowed to see her again, as she was one of the sweetest idols I had been fortunate enough to meet.  And when I found out that she had joined a new idol group, ‘No Plan’,  was very excited since I knew it was a matter of time before I ran into her at some idol event.  And I did.  Unfortunately, not long after that fateful reunion a couple of months ago, she announced her graduation from this new group.  But she would be leaving in August, so that gave me plenty of time to see her before she leaves.

I had the opportunity to see Himeri perform twice in her final week with ‘No Plan’.  The first time was at a huge idol event called “Akihabara Idol Party Vol. 13.” which was an all-day affair featuring over two dozen groups on three stages in Akihabara.  I was really only interested in seeing Himeri’s group, who were playing at Twin Box Garage at 5:45pm.  Coincidentally, FESTIVE was also playing at Twin Box that evening, on the basement stage, but it wasn’t part of the Idol Party, so it required separate admission, despite the fact that it was in the same building.  In fact, I got a good picture of the flower/balloon stand for Piano’s birthday.

Anyway, I got to Twin Box around 20 minutes before No Plan’s set.  The small club was packed, but I slowly maneuvered myself closer and closer to the front each time a group finished performing.  By the time it was No Plan’s turn, I was fairly close to the stage, so I was all good.  Each group’s set was only about 10-15 minutes, so it was a short performance, maybe like 3-4 songs.  But actually, I was there more to see Himeri than to see the performance itself.  You see Himeri was personally selling T-shirts for her Birthday/Graduation Live, and I wanted to get one before she sold out of XXL. (Ah, the perils of being a big dude)  Anyway, I was first in line to see Himeri after the show, and after a quick greeting, the first thing I asked her was about the shirt.  And YES, she still had XXL…

To sign the shirt, she had four of us hold each corner to stretch it out, since there really wasn’t any table or other flat surface to write on.  But I had my shirt, and I was happy.  I told her I had planned to see the rest of her performances, including the graduation.  But ultimately I ended up skipping the Yoyogi free live on Thursday since I had won the AKB48 16th Gen show, which I wrote about on the previous post.  Upon leaving the club, I contemplated going next door to watch FESTIVE, since their show was about to start.  But I was already 6-7K yen in the hole for the day, so I decided to skip it…

 

Fast forward to Saturday night.  I was really excited to be going to see No Plan’s one-man live, which was taking place at Zirco Tokyo in the Kabukicho neighborhood of Shinjuku.  I headed out a little early in an attempt to beat the incoming thunderstorm.  My plan was to hand out at The Hub, which is right upstairs from the theater.  However, when I got to Shinjuku it was pounding rain.  Not only that, but the main cell of the storm seemed to be right overhead since huge thunder crashed and lightning bolts were raining down from overhead.  I mean the thunder was so loud it sounded as if the lightning was striking the building.  However, I knew a roundabout way to get closer to the venue underground, so I headed back into the subway and walked through the underground city in Shinjuku until I finally found myself at Kabukicho.  From there it was only a half-block walk to Zirco, and The Hub.

After spending an hour in the bar, I headed down to line up.  It was my first ever visit to Zirco Tokyo.  It is a really nice venue.  It has a big stage, and a decent sized viewing area.  The bar was gorgeous, and had an extensive menu.  Himeri was actually in the bar trying to see the last of her T-shirts, so I quickly wished her a Happy Birthday while I enjoyed my cocktail.  In the meantime, some of her committee came over to thank me for coming.  They called me by name too, which took me by surprise.  I’m guessing since I am part of the graduation book they made for her as a gift, they knew my name from there.  There were also members of her family in attendance, including a her mother.  I think it was her mom, as she looked just like Himeri, only older.  LOL.  As it got closer to showtime, the crowd grew.  I was close to the front, just to the right of center.  Finally, the lights dimmed…

Unfortunately I don’t really know the names to any of No Plan’s songs.  In fact, I am not sure how many of their songs may be covers from other groups.  I DO know that they sang a few Alice Project songs, including Zenkai Hero, which is one of my favorites from the Alice Juban catalog.


They also sang a few AKB48 songs, including GIVE ME FIVE and Heart Gata Virus.  They performed for over two hours, and to my knowledge they don’t have any CDs, so it is no surprise that their setlist would have a few covers.  Meanwhile, the fans were in full wota mode.  Luckily, I was just on the edge of their circle, so I got to participate with them in the calls and other antics.  At one point toward the end of the show, they pushed me up front and center, so I had to go full-wota mode so not to disappoint them.  They had probably noticed that I was participating throughout the show.

Overall, they put on a very nice show.  I love most of their group songs, which are very high energy AND a lot of fun.  They also did a lot of solos and units throughout the live, and some were better than others.  Although I did think that Makino Momoka, aka Momo-san, the one with the pink hair, was a decent soloist.  Probably the best of the group.  To be honest, Himeri isn’t a very good singer at all, but she tries her best, bless her heart.

 

The show finally came to an end after a heartfelt final song, as well as a very emotional speech by Himeri.  She had the entire group in tears behind her while she spoke.  She also received gifts from the fans, as well as a cake.  There was also a balloon/flower arrangement in the lobby, as well as a banner on the wall.  All in all it was a very nice sendoff.  It was a fun, powerful, and emotional show.

I ended up buying two cheki tickets.  I knew I would use one on Himeri, but I wasn’t sure about the other.  As expected, Himeri’s line was extremely long, extending out of the venue and into the lobby.  Luckily I lined up quickly so I was 5th to see her.   I congratulated her on her graduation, and confirmed that she would be continuing to use the same Twitter account (she changed when she left Alice Juban)  According to her fans, she recently signed with an agency, and has something new in the works, but for now it is a secret.  After signing the cheki, she also write my name on the special card we received when we entered the venue.  Ultimately I told her that it was a great show, and I was so happy I came.  After she confirmed that we would see each other again, I was on my merry way.

So what to do with my other ticket?  At this point I felt it would be anti-climactic if I lined up to see Himeri again, and there are a couple of other girls in the group I find interesting.  But after watching the total fanservice Momo-san was giving the fans who came to her, my decision was set.  Her line was only three-deep too.

The first thing she asked was if I was an American, Yep.  From California? Yep.  Disneyland?  Yep, I used to work for Disney in Anaheim a long time ago.  LOL.  This girl is quite the psychic!  She asked how I discovered No Plan, and I mentioned that I knew Himeri from her previous group.  Anyway, I told her that I really liked her solo performance.  And that I am living in Japan and learning Japanese.  She told me my Japanese was already pretty good.  (I had a few cocktails earlier, so yeah.  The more I drink the better my Japanese apparently gets)  Eventually our conversation turned to idols, and Wasamin.  She was surprised I was into Enka, and when she found out I had seen Hikawa Kiyoshi perform live before, she started singing Kiyoshi no Zendoku Bushi with me, LOL.


I think she was surprised I knew the song.  It is a pretty well-known song though, even for people who aren’t necessarily into Enka.  After signing the cheki she offered to take a Shamekai with me.  So I went for it.

And that was it.  I had no more tickets, so I decided to leave the club.  As a journeyed home I thought about whether or not I would continue to see No Plan since Himeri has graduated.  They are fun, but usually for me to actively seek out a group’s shows, there has to be a member I really want to see.  And I’m not sure there is anyone in No Plan that really fits that description anymore.  But we’ll see.  Hopefully they will be showing up at idol shows where other groups I currently like are playing.  In that case, I will definitely check them out.

CK in Tokyo 

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