Archive for the ‘Idoling!!!’ Category

Idoling!!! CK in Japan Fall 2011…Cross Another One Off the Bucket List

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Okay, let’s see if I can do this writeup after a night of Suntory Hi-Balls and Yakitori (my favorite Japanese food)  It started as a boring Saturday…

I wasn’t sure what to do with my day.  The forecast was for pouring rain and wind, and I hadn’t won any AKB48 shows to keep me occupied.  However, I knew of one event taking place that would go a long way toward making this trip awesome.  I hadn’t needed an umbrella all trip because the weather has been wonderful..  Could this be my first trip ever that I wouldn’t need to splurge on one of Japan’s infamous plastic umbrellas?

I knew the event I wanted to go to was at Shosen Books,  However, Shosen is a chain.  So I wasn’t completely sure which store was hosting the event I wanted to attend.  I headed out of my hotel and down to the end of the block.  There was a huge line.  Wow, I didn’t realize she was this popular.  This line could take hours!  I rounded one block, then two.  Soon I was three blocks away.  I stopped at the local conbini to buy a cheap umbrella and queued up…

No sooner did I line up when a store associate approached me.  I think he felt I was lost.  He asked if I knew that this was an event lineup.  I asked which event it was for.  His reply???

Momoiro Clover Z

Huh???  Momoclo is at the end of my block?   I love Japan!  More idols than I know what to do with.  The store rep seemed to be convinced I didn’t belong there.  Which was fine for two reasons.  1) I didn’t feel like standing in the friggin’ rain for 3 hours.  2) This wasn’t the event I was looking for anyway.  Sure, I adore Momoclo, but I have been seeing their shows since they were practically a street idol group.  Plus, I had more important business to attend to.  I needed to see one of my favorite idols…one I had never met before.  This was important.  I had already missed out on the opportunity to see one favorite Idol I had never met before (Saito Yua)  I wasn’t going to miss out on two!  He directed me to a different shop a few train stops from Akiba…

Yazawa Erika (Idoling!!! #7) Trading Card Release Event @ Shosen Bookmart Jimbocho 11/19

I jumped on the Shinjuku Subway toward Jimbocho.  Would the line for Yazapai be as insane as the line for Momoclo?  As I journeyed the streets of Jimbocho, I eventually found the shop hosting the event.  I had heard Shosen Bookmart was awesome, and it is!  They have TONS of idol PBs and magazines.  They also have a bunch of Idol collector card sets for sale, some of them AV idols.  they looked hawt, but most of the prices were prohibitive.  I asked one of the employees about the Yazapai event, and they immediately directed me to the cash register…

I had no idea how this event would work.  Was it handshakes?  2-shots?  But when he rang up one box of trading cards I knew I was at my limit.  6300 yen!!!  That is a lot of money for some cards.  But I was going to meet Yazapai.  So I was happy.  One box it is, although I had a funny feeling multiple boxes would get me more perks.  But I am not a card collector, so there was no way I was spending hundreds of dollars on them…

I returned to the shop at 11:30 and queued up in a building next to the bookshop.  Once again, I had no idea what was in store.  I only knew I was getting some trading cards, and Yazapai was somehow involved.  I slowly made my way up a stairwell where eventually I would get to meet one of my favorite idols.

As I slowly made my way through the queue, I asked the guys in front of me how this event would work.  They were committed fans for sure.  They had Yazapai birthday shirts, birthday presents.  They were definitely guys “in the know”  So they explained to me that is was a photoshoot event, but you needed a proper camera (which I didn’t have with me)  It was also a 2-shot event if you bought enough boxes (one was obviously not enough)  Beyond that, it was a handshake and talk event.  That I could do!  I would love a 2-shot with Yazapai, but there is no way I was going to spend 300-400 dollars on trading cards for it.

When I finally got to the front of the queue (45 minutes after lining up) I informed her manager that I didn’t have a camera.  He said it was okay, and I could still do the handshake and talk.  Yazapai saw me and immediatley exclaimed “Whoah”  And made a reference to my “muscular physique”  Hahah, yeah, those are muscles Erika, just like yours are muscles!

Yazapai was absolutely adorable.  In fact, I will declare her beautiful.  She seemed so excited to talk to me.  She listened intently as I made my little speech (I had been rehearsing what to say to her for about an hour)  The look on her face was priceless.  She was focused on understanding me, it was so cute!  Then she wanted to ask me questions.  Luckily, one of her staff spoke decent English and translated.  She was asking me about California.  Does Yazapai have family in Orange County?  Based on her questions, I am guessing that she does.  She ended it by calling me her “homie”  (something I actually expected)  I responded with “Wazzzapp Homie???”, which got a laugh from her staff.  She ended it with asking me if I loved Akihabara.  When I responded “Mochiron” she gave me a high-five!

Anyway, Erika couldn’t have been any more gracious, or adorable.  It was an incredible event…a moment I will remember for years to come.  Yazapai is just an awesome idol.  She is the main reason I follow Idoling!!!

So for tomorrow I have to wake up super early to catch the Shinkansen.  The reason?  SKE48 handshake event at Intex Osaka!  This will be taxing on my energy, but for sure totally worth it!  I have tickets for 10 different members.  Wish me luck!

CK in Tokyo

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AKB48, Concerts, Hello! Project, Idoling!!!, Japan, Momoiro Clover CK in Japan, Spring 2010 Days 9-11…The Crash and Burn

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Kira!!!

Picking up where I left off on my last post, I left Akihabara UDX and Momoiro Clover for a mad dash back to my hotel.  I needed to get to Shinagawa, pick up the goods I purchased for my friend and go back to Akihabara and deliver them.  It had been an awesome trip so far, so I feel a bit sheepish saying I had one disappointment.  SDN48 performed four times while I was in town, and I only won a ticket to one show.  I had cancel machi for another, but missed getting in by one.  But since this was the last time they would be performing during my trip I would get to watch them one more time on the monitors…

Ignoring the headache and fatigue I was experiencing I headed back to Akiba.  My friend got his CinDy gear.  And whaddaya know, it was signed!!!  After he jokingly remarked that he couldn’t wear it I offered to take it off of his hands.  But he wasn’t going for it.  Oh well.  It was almost showtime, and my friends had reserved a spot for me right in front of the screen.  It couldn’t have been more than 10 minutes into the show when it hit me…

Dizziness, chills, a pounding headache.  I couldn’t believe it.  I was getting sick, and I had almost three days left in this vacation.  I held out as long as I could.  I had to at least make it to the Nachu/Meetan MC.  But when Ganbarina started I had enough.  I jettisoned myself out of the theater and quickly made my way back to the train station and my hotel.  Hopefully I would wake up feeling better.  There were things still to be done.  Like taking pictures of that famous dog statue is Shibuya…

I woke up the next morning drenched in sweat and coughing like crazy.  It was obvious I had some sort of sinus infection.  After lying in bed for a while I took off for an early lunch.  Perhaps food would give me some energy.  But I had no appetite.  My choices for the day were to either see Idoling!!! perform in my hotel that night, or go see Momoiro Clover one more time.  I checked the ticket booth at the hotel.  Idoling!!! was sold out.  I wasn’t too disappointed with this even though I had never seen them before.  My favorite member Yazapi was off doing a promotion somewhere around Osaka that day, so she would be absent.  I had five hours until Momoclo.  I would grab a bit of rest and head to the show…

I woke up eight hours later 🙁

Since there were really no events for my final day and a half, I spent the rest of the trip making sure I got all of the idol goods I wanted.  Earlier that week I had seen an autographed photo of AKB48’s Nakaya Sayaka for sale pretty cheap.  So I headed back to Nakano to see if it was still there.  It wasn’t, but as I looked around there was a new AKB autographed B.L.T. in the display…

Another autographed Meetan, Yatta!!!!  I am so glad I checked!!!  That makes three autographed Ohori cards in my collection.  And that brings me to my goods.  What the heck did I end up bringing home on this trip???

DVD
AKB48 Shibuya AX 2010 Box (Iiwake Maybe ver.)
AKB Kagekidan * Infinity DVD Box
Berryz Kobo – Fall 2009 Concert DVD
Saito Yua – Nittelegenic 2009 DVD
Ohori Megumi – Abunae DVD (a gift, of course I already have a copy)
Watarirouka Hashirtai – Akkanbe Bashi DVD
Majisuka Gakuen DVD Box (pre-ordered)

CD
Idoling!!! – Sunrise LE CD w/ DVD & photobook
Ebisu Muscats – Banana Mango H.S. CD
S/mileage – Suki Chan CD (bought in error, wanted the new one)
Watarirouka Hashirtai Akkanbe Bashi CD LE Ver. A
Queen & Elizabeth – Love Wars CD/DVD Ver. A and Ver. C
SKE48 – Aozora Kataomoi CD/DVD
AKB48 – Team A 1st Stage CD
Momoiro Clover – Momoiro Punch Reg. Version
Momoiro Clover – Mirai He Susume Reg. Version
AKB48 Sakura no Shiori Theater Version (Ten copies!!!)
Momoiro Clover – Major label debut single (preorder 5 versions)

Photobooks/Mags
AKB48 – NY/Cannes/Paris Photobook
Maeda Atsuko – 2nd Photobook
Watarirouka Hashirtai – Akkanbe PB
AKB48 Fashion Book
SKE48 2010 School Year Calendar (2 copies)
Sabra – October 2009 Issue w/ Meetan Gravure
B.L.T. – AKB/SKE assorted special issues (x6)

Misc.
Idoling!!! Yazawa #7 T-shirt (Black)
AKB48 – Yokohama 2010 “American Edition” T-shirt (Red)
Iwasa Misaki Yokohama 2010 microfiber towel
AKB48 phone strap and screencleaner
AKB48 “Hikoukigumo” Flag (new version)
AKB48 giant glowstick (green)
68 new AKB/SKE/SDN pics, and a new pic holder (yatta!)
H!P Photoset w/pin – New Version at the store x3 (Tanaka, Maasa, Yajima)
Tanaka Reina 3/21 Special concert photo
Morning Musume chocolates (hehe)

Surprisingly I ended up spending less than I thought I would considering I came home with plenty of cash in pocket.  And there were a few items I neglected to pick up for various reasons.  That’s okay, there is always next trip.  There has to be a Fall 2010, right?

To summarize the vacation, at the moment it doesn’t feel as epic as previous trips because I was sick for part of it.  But looking back, can it get any better than this?  I had the opportunity to see AKB48 perform at the biggest venue in their history, and had great seats for all three shows.  I got to see Momoiro Clover for the first time.  And all the perks I got as a result were a total surprise.  And who can forget AKB’s 2-shot event, which might have been the most awesome thing they have ever done.  It made me realize that coming for AKB’s special events is really the way to go.  Yes, the shows are cool and all.  But it is at the events that you really get to experience the “idols you can meet” concept!

And it does take time.  This was my fifth trip to Japan and in many ways I am still ‘learning the ropes” of this J-pop stuff.  There is only so much you can learn from reading blogs/sites and collecting merchandise through the mail.  You really need to head to the Japan to really know what’s going on.  I am so glad that I was open and persistent enough to continue these trips when they were so challenging in the early going.  I have been home (and sick in bed) for three days now and I already miss the place, my friends, and of course all the adorable idols.

Speaking of friends, I want to thank everyone that helped make this trip as awesome as it could be, and that includes a couple of people that weren’t even in Japan at the time.  You know who you are!  For those of you I didn’t get a chance to hook up with on this trip, I am truly sorry about that.  But don’t worry kiddies…

I’ll be back “home” soon!

CK in California


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AKB48, Eyecandy, Idoling!!! Something To Tide Me Over While I am “Jonesing” For K5

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Team K’s 5th Stage debuted this weekend.  I have heard an audio rip of the show, but I am yet to see the LOD video.  I will refrain from giving the new Stage a proper review until I actually see it as well as hear it.  And for those of you who already have watched it, I am sooo jealous!

In the meantime, here are a couple of pics I found on a Spanish J-pop blog.  In honor of AKBIdoling!!! and their hit single (#2 on Oricon) Chu Shiyouze…It’s BIKINI TIME!!!!!!!

<3

Can I get a Hell Yeah!?!?!?

CK in California

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AKB48, Eyecandy, Idoling!!!, New Release Chu! <3

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I really love the AKBIdoling!!! single.  I find the song to be so fun and catchy.  And I love the whole concept on AKB48 and Idoling!!! joining together.  You see I love both groups, and I think a lot of the Idoling!!! girls really look up to AKB48.  It is a really cute dynamic to see them on one another’s television programs and now this single.

But that’s the thing.  I AM a fan of both groups.  And I have noticed a little bit of a rivalry among each unit’s faithful.  I actually find it a bit funny.  Why can’t an AKB Wota appreciate Idoling!!!, and vice-versa?  I am not saying everyone thinks this way.  And I am not limiting it to AKB48 fans either.  I have seen it with Hello! Project fans, Perfume fans, etcetera etcetera.

So when I watch the PV’s and I am looking for the girl who most intrigues me in the video, it would be an easy choice if Meetan was selected to participate.  But she wasn’t.  And truthfully she doesn’t really fit this song anyway.  So then…who should I choose to chu???

?????????????

Is it Acchan?  I really love Atsuko in this video.  And she has been given the opportunity to show off a lot more of her cute personality lately.  She used to have a rep as sort of a “dead fish”.  But not anymore.  She has been doing a great job of being AKB48’s poster girl.

<3

<3

Is it Harunyan?  She wasn’t one of my fave girls until I watched Mendol.  And then I got her autographed card on my AKB48 Calendar.  I then discovered how beautiful and talented she really was.  She would be a nice chu

<3

<3

Is it Yuko?  She has such a cute voice.  I love that it is high and sweet when she sings, and love and gravely when she talks.  And she has a great sense of humor too.  If you watch the “making of” PV, she is amazing in front of the camera.  It is no surprise that she gets so much dorama work…

<3

So of all the girls chosen for this PV, who was my “far and away” favorite?  (if you read my other blog, you already know the answer)

No, it isn’t an AKB48 member.  It is Idoling!!! 1st gen. member Yazawa Erika.

Sometimes I find myself completely captivated by a beautiful woman.  And Erika just does that to me.  I think she is totally adorable.  And she was a wonderful smile!  And if you remember her guest appearance on AKBingo!, she was a great personality.  What a fun girl!

<3

<3

So I hope that doesn’t mean that I am betraying my AKB48 fandom.  Actually, I know it doesn’t.  I say that in semi-jest.  My point is that I think the girls of Idoling!!! “held their own” in this song.  It wasn’t AKB48 and some other girls.  It is AKBIdoling!!!  A collaboration of two sets of beautiful and talented young idols.  And Yazawa Erika might be my favorite idol of them all!

<3

<3

So I cannot wait to hear the Idoling!!! version of Aitakatta!  And I am looking forward to AKB48’s version of Moteki no Uta.  I fully expect to love all three songs when I receive my CD.

So yes, You too can be a fan of more than one idol group!  By the way, I realize that I have technically done the same post twice.  This one, and the Yazawa picspam on my other blog.  But I do most of my Idoling!!! posts over there.  And let’s face it, she is kawaii enough to deserve two posts!

<3

<3

Chu! So nice!

CHU!!!

CK in California

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AKB48, Idoling!!!, Television AKBingo!: Look At The Cute Little Idols?

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This week was the 2nd episode of the AKB48/Idoling!!! collaboration on AKBingo! It was a continuation of the same game played last week, with the girls trying to guess what’s wrong with this picture, or suffer the consequences.  I guess it must have been “America” week on the show, as three of the puzzles were products or sites based in the U.S.

This one took me a second to figure out.  I could tell something was wrong with her head…oh yes, the top of her crown is missing!

It helped that I have a Subway sandwich shop right next to my office.  Easy, the “Y” has an arrow on it.

C’mon, I could see the Hollywood Sign from the house I grew up in!

In addition to the game, there was a funny moment where the girls all started making silly faces.  Personally I’d rather see them looking cute than strange, but it was okay for a bit.

Oh Sae, you have destroyed my image of you!

C’mon Eto-chan, you aren’t even trying!  Make way for the queen of weird faces…

Oh my god!  I’ve always found Yuko to be cute.  But she has a tremendous overbite!  Makes for some interesting expressions, eh?  That second shot scared the hell out of me!

This brings me to my favorite member of Idoling!!!  The short and stacked Erika Yazawa.  This episode of AKBingo! has now confirmed how awesome Yazawa is!

This chick is so rock n’ roll.  She reminds me a lot of Aibon.  Very playful, a lot of fun, petite but not too skinny.  And she is totally built for gravure!  Silverbolt has posted a couple of her pictorials, and they are very impressive, if you know what I mean!

So lets see, my fave girl of AKB48 is Ohori Megumi.  Favorite member of H!P, Tanaka Reina.  And my best Idoling!!! girl is Erika Yazawa.  Anyone notice a pattern?  I adore a risque idol.  And Yazawa looks like she is a handful…I love it!!!

The show ended again with Skirt, Hirari…and a preview of AKB48’s next single 10 nen Sakura.  They played a snippet of it on the show, and it is more upbeat than Sakura no Hanabiratachi.  I am so thankful for that.  Not that I don’t like Sakura, I just prefer upbeat material.  We are also treated to a few shots from Acchan’s new photobook.  You know, the one that according to CDJapan and HMV has gone “out of print” weeks before the release date?  Here is a sample of what we are missing…

And next week?  Oh boy, a new bit!  Well, I remember them doing something similar to this a while ago.  But the conveyor ended with some dude in Boxer shorts, not with the ole’ “Pie in the Face” routine…

Oh no, poor Meetan!!!  🙁

CK in California

**EDIT**  I checked HMV tonight, and they show Acchan’s PB available for purchase…Yatta!!!  Hopefully it won’t be on endless backorder like my AKB48 History Book and Meetan PB!

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AKB48, Idoling!!!, Television This Could Be The Start Of Something…

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Maybe I am stretching myself a little thin.  Trying to keep two blogs AND doing regular writeups for IW occupies a lot of my time!  But I want Chuo Dori to grow, even if I still have a lot to learn about AKB48.  So I’m sorry that I haven’t posted here in a while…

Recently it was announced that AKB48 would be teaming up with Idoling!!! for joint promotion and a single in early February.  Some members of AKB48 appeared on Idoling’s television program recently, and in turn Idoling!!! is appearing on the next two episodes of AKBingo.

Between the two groups, obviously I am a much bigger fan of AKB48.  And like most of the regulars at Stage48, my initial reaction was a big WTF!  Maybe I am completely ignorant, but it seems to me like Idoling!!! has a lot more to gain by this cross-promotion.  Both units are extemely entertaining on television, but AKB48 are much stronger performers.  And I believe they are more popular.  Although I don’t check Oricon enough to know that for sure.  Idoling!!! has surprised me before.  But enough speculation.  Things are beginning to happen.  And if this week’s episode of AKBingo is any indication, it should be a lot of fun…

I must admit I was cracking up the moment the show started.  AND that intro really made me want to watch an episode of Idoling!!! (I think I have only seen 2 or 3).  I never realized how much I like their theme song.  It’s catchy!

Awww, Look how excited the girls of Idoling!!! are to be there.  It becomes more and more evident throughtout this episode that they are in awe of AKB48.  But not so fast…

Territoriality?  Uh oh, this “idol friendship” thing may have a few growing pains to go through.  This was obviously staged.  And I am getting the idea that a lot of the “friction” that goes on on this show is staged too.  Especially when it comes to Meetan.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love AKBingo, and I watch it every week!

I love the way the Bad Boys and the Director/Cameraman (His name is Tony, right?) get into the act and become Idoling!!! fans, much to the chagrin of Megumi.  Why are they always effing with her?

Anyway, it’s time to introduce the new meat to our favorite game, “Guess what’s missing in the pic, or be thrown into a vat of flour by a bulldog in a suit and look like the freaky chick from The Ring” Here’s your host…Oshima Mai! (Yaaaay!!!)

Oops!  This guy is shot out of a cannon!

Wait a sec, that isn’t the regular dog.  This guy looks about a hundred pounds lighter than the guy who usually does it.  Or maybe my screen is messing with me.

Round one, Acchan for the win.  Tonooka Erica, uhhh sorry!  I wish I had Silverbolt from Acchi Muite Pie!!! here to help me with this, because I am total fail when it comes to naming the girls from Idoling!!!.  No matter, it’s nice that the girls wear numbers!  Now onto the new belle of AKB48.  I love Haruna.  She has a real “regular girl” quality about her.  She doesn’t have a perfect physique, and when she smiles she looks like Shibata Ayumi from Melon Kinenbi.  But she is still adorable.  Will she pass the round…

Splat!!!  Poor Haruna!  And Kikuchi Ami passed.  So we are all tied up.  In the next round Mayuyu and Sakai Hitomi have a little drawing contest…

Kawaii!  Hitomi wins!  Mayu’s looked like Fred Flintstone, or Homer Simpson.  I wasn’t sure.

By the way, Matsui Jurina from SKE48 gets a lot of “love” on AKBingo.  Is she on every week?  It seems like it.  What’s going on at their theater anyway?  Are they doing a stage?  Obviously they don’t perform every day.  I asked around the theater when I was in Japan, but no one seemed to know.

Finally the fun I have been waiting for, the Meetan moment of the week.  I thought it was cute the way she and Kato Sayaka (The leader of Idoling!!!) got along so well.  But it was a brief moment of bliss before she was terrorized yet again.  Poor Meetan!  Last week they dropped her cell phone into a bowl of soup.  I felt so bad when I saw the look on her face!  But as I said earlier I am beginning to realize that all of the Megumi “bits” are made up.  At least I think they are.

That’s great!!!  Apparently she’s a two-face.  I will forego the obvious dirty joke here.  This leads to another funny moment involving the cameraman…

I understand the dynamic between the Director and Meetan because I watch the show.  He was the one who did the “nude” filming of her in a couple of episodes last year.  And he is also the one who bought the 13 copies of Amai Kokansetsu (puts to shame my one, but at least I got the poster!)  Is this other guy an Idoling!!! staff member who is in love with Saya-nee?

She is so hot when she is pissed off!!!  The show ends with an Acchan PB Promo and Skirt, Hirari?

I am not going to be an AKB48 snob.  I thought the show was really good.  And it probably did a great job of cross-promoting the groups to the others’ fans.  And it brought something fresh to AKBingo, which has essentially been doing the same four “bits” (two involving flour) for a while now.  I have no idea what this song is going to sound like.  Whatever…so far it has been a fun ride.  And as a fan, I am enjoying it.

CK in California

BTW, Special Thanks to Forever…Idoling!!!, which is a great blog I discovered while researching this post!  And you can see this episode on YouTube in three parts…one, two, and three.

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