Archive for the ‘Momoiro Clover’ Category

Concerts, Momoiro Clover CK in Japan 2012 Extra (Pt. 1 of 2)…It’s Been a Long Time, Momoclo Z

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As I said on my last post I want to begin writing on this blog again.  I have been brewing up a particularly venomous post regarding the reactions to the latest AKB48 scandals.  But I have usually stuck with positive posts, so that particular entry may not see the light of day.  Anyway, as I predicted the Miichan controversy has already died down.  We’ll see if there is anything to this supposed Yukirin story.

In the meantime…

I have not booked a trip over to Japan this Spring.  I have opted instead to wait until early Summer for my next visit.  This is due in part to AKB48’s crazy handshake scheduling.  Can you believe they are still doing UZA handshake events?  Eien Pressure is already old news and they haven’t even started that one yet!  I have opted for the So Long events, which will be happening around 4 months from now.

But I never completed my report from last Fall.  I mainly focused on the handshake events.  But I didn’t really touch on some of the special things that happened this time around…

Momoiro Clover Z Live at Budokan, Otoko Matsuri 2012/11/05

I had been relatively unlucky when I came to Momoclo Z.  At least when it came to seeing concerts and obtaining tickets.  I DID happen to run into the entire group walking down the street last year.  But as far as a performance was concerned I hadn’t seen them since Pinky Jones was their new single.  That’s two years almost to the day.  But my friend Peter and I tried our luck at the ticket lottery, and sure enough we pulled it off.  I was finally going to see Momoclo again, and at the legendary BUDOKAN!  With all of the trips I have taken, I had never been there.  So I was doubly excited!

We decided to head over extra early for goods.  The trouble was that I had spent the previous night shivering from fever.  Plus, it was cold and rainy.  It took plenty of medication, an endless supply of vitamin C, and every bit of strength, but I was going to make it through this day.  I missed a Momoclo show in 2009 because of the flu.  It wasn’t gonna happen again.

We decided to get into the monstrous goods line, which stretched all the way around the venue, down the stairs, then down the road, then into a courtyard near the park entrance where it looped around 4 times.  I had no idea what I wanted.  But after 2+ hours of queueing I decided to go hog wild and picked up the Tank Top, a Momoka Oshi Towel, a light stick and a cell phone case.

After a pasta lunch we decided to people watch for a while.  This was Otoko Matsuri, which meant “No Girls Allowed”.  However, that didn’t stop legions of female supporters from parading around the festivities.  That’s okay, the girls had Onna Matsuri the previous month.  And I am sure there were plenty of jealous guy fans hanging around the venue that evening.

We had 6th row seats on the first level above the floor.  They seemed like decent seats, although we had no idea what the stage arrangement would be.  So we were totally jazzed when we saw there was no floor seating at all, and there was a stage ramp all around the venue.  So 6th row 1st level actually was 6th row!  We would actually be pretty close to the girls!  Oh, and just before showtime Yamachan showed up to huge applause!

What an awesome looking stage!  The floor also doubled as a screen.  The show opened with the girls “drawing” Otoko Matsuri on the floor with giant paintbrushes.  There was so much around the stage floor, we had no idea how they were going to utilize all of the space.  Then came the Momoclo Z Overture.  By the way, I love their intro!  I remember when they were an indie they would come out to the Universal Music theme.  But what they do now is totally insane. Frankly, it blows the AKB48 overture away!

One amazing thing about this setlist was the amount of “old songs” performed.  Saikyou Pare Parade is one of my favorite old songs they perform.  Shortly after came Supergirl, along with Momoiro Punch and Mirai e Susume.  But what I really wanted to hear were some of my new favorites!

Unfortunately for me most of my faves didn’t get performed that night.  But they DID do Bionic Cherry, which might be my favorite Momoclo song of all!  The real fun was in all of the shenanigans going on between the songs.  This was Otoko Matsuri, so they filled the show with stuff “guys like”…I guess.  Ninjas, bodybuilders, taiko drummers, judo masters, pro wrestlers.  At one point just before the encore Momoka took a huge header down a ramp.  You could tell she wanted to cry, but Shiori grabbed her, dusted her off and our little giant got back to business.

By the end of the show my fever felt almost completely gone.  Even so I was really looking forward to hitting the sheets.

I must say I enjoyed the show immensely, even if they didn’t perform a lot of my favorites.  It is so interesting the way the idol phenomenon works.  Here is a group I used to go see when they had trouble getting 25 people to watch them.  And it was so much fun!  The interactions we got to have with the group were amazing.  Autographs, two shots, the girls feeding you lunch…

Some Momoclo goods, among other stuff

Some Momoclo goods, among other stuff

But now they have grown up and have become a huge success.  It is so bittersweet.  I am happy that they are doing so well, but the good old days are gone for good.  Now they play in huge venues and events aren’t nearly as intimate as they used to be.  This is the way of the idol world.  Like with AKB, most of the original fans are probably gone.  Once the masses discover an idol act, it changes everything. But it’s inevitable. Even though the newer fans will never really get to experience a big part of what was so special about the group to begin with. Oh well.

Pardon me while I go reminisce over my old Momoclo 2-shots and autographs.  Momentos from a time gone by. I just hope it isn’t another two years before I get to see Momoclo again.

CK in California

AKB48, Concerts, Momoiro Clover CK in Japan Spring 2012…Close Encounters With Momoclo + A Theater Win!

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I went to AKB48’s “Give Me Five” handshake event on Sunday, but since that will take me a while to write, and I need to begin packing for my flight home tomorrow I am going to skip it for the moment. Instead I will report today’s festivities…

I had won cancel machi for last Tuesday’s Team K show, but the storm that went through Tokyo that evening forced many businesses to close early. It also resulted in the Theater being closed for the evening. But I received an email that I could transfer the win to the show of my choosing. So I chose Monday’s show, which also happened to be Team K. But before I get into that…

As a tradition I always meet one of my friends for lunch in Toyosu whenever I am in town. We have a designated meeting spot outside Toyosu Station. So today I headed out to Toyosu in the early afternoon. I went to our normal meeting place, but there were four girls standing there. As I quickly surveyed the situation one of the four girls looked over and stared at me. To my surprise, I then realized that I knew who they were…

It was Momoiro Clover Z!!! :corr:

The entire group, except for Reni (the purple one) was standing there while their manager was hailing two taxis. Ayaka and Shiori were still wearing their school unis. I wasn’t sure if Momoka recognized me when she looked over (I have done handshakes and a two-shot with her in the past), so I just stood there pretending not to be paying attention to them.  I didn’t want to scare them away!  But when they left I tried to snap off a few paparazzi shots. :fear:

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Never a dull moment in the land of Idols.

AKB48 Theater 2012/04/09 “RESET” featuring Team K and various Kenkyuusei

I had cancel machi #56, and this was the only sniff I had at a possible win while I was here. So it would either be this show or bust. Luckily most of the major members of Team K would be absent for this show. So that improved my chances. I didn’t really mind anyway since Yui and Moeno would be there. that was all that mattered to me.

I got up there about 5 minutes before the beginning of cancel machi. I could tell immediately that they had a lot of space because they were calling the numbers rather rapidly. 10, 20, 30, 40, still calling rapidly. When they got to 50 and still hadn’t slowed down I knew I was in good shape with 56. At the end they had gone past 100. So keep that in mind kiddies the next time you have a high cancel machi number. You never know…

So this would be my 29th theater show, and 7th time seeing Team K. It also meant I have now seen all the of the current AKB stages. It took a year and a half, but I have now seen A6, K6, and B5 live. And I was going to be in the seat lottery. Now historically I always had terrible seat lottery luck. I had never been closer than 4th row on the side. But that all changed last trip when I got front row center for SDN. I wondered how my luck would be today with ticket #211?

First call, 80-89
Second call, 70-79
Third call, 210-219…Score-a-rooni!

I didn’t get front row center. But I DID get front row on the left. Awesome! You guys know the RESET setlist, so I won’t bother with a track-by-track. Just some of the highlights from my perspective…
One again, first row always gets you some good one-on-one reactions. Yokoyama Yui and Sazaki Yukari, who I both had handshakes with yesterday both smiled at me right off the bat. But I was really looking for Moeno.

Unfortunately for me Moeno spent most of the show on the other side of the stage. But she came over on the third song and kneeled down right in front of me. When she looked up, she saw me, laughed and waved! LOL, too cute! In fact, just about every time she came over to my side she looked for me.  Moeno is a total flirt!

But I also got attention from a couple other girls too, especially Nakatsuka Tomomi. She kept pointing right at me in one song. Uchida Mayumi waved to me and smiled too. As did Nattori Wakana a couple of times. BTW, has Uchi always had her bellybutton pierced? Or is that new???

Oh, and I ended up being in the perfect seat if I was a Minegishi Minami fan. She was right in front of me quite a lot, and she demands your attention when she is there! I wanted to pay attention to Moeno and Yui, but I was afraid to not look at Miichan!

Also, sitting at the side in front puts you right next to the speakers. It is REALLY loud over there! You can also hear when the girls’ mics are live. Yes, I heard a few clunker notes along the way. But I had forgotten how much I enjoy K6. It is a very fun stage! And for the encore we got GM5, and Moeno playing a mean bass guitar! She really did a great job!

High Touch went very fast, but I got looks of familiarity from Moeno and Yui, and a few English “Thank You’s” I forget from whom.

It was a great last evening of the trip. Now it is time to pack for the flight back to Cali tomorrow. I will do my Sunday handshake event report ASAP.

CK in Tokyo

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Concerts, Momoiro Clover, Pop Idols, SDN48, SKE48, Television CK in Japan Days 3-4…A Lot of Major Acts in One Big Place + Momoclo!

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Yes, I am still in Tokyo.  I will be here a couple more days.  I have been so busy and have been up to so much that I really haven’t had time to chronicle my trip like I usually do.  Instead I have been highlighting certain events in the forums.  To give you a quick rundown of events I have attended so far.

One AKB48 Team A Show
SDN48 I have won four shows
Berryz Kobo live at JCB Hall
Momoclo Mini-live and release event at Ishimaru Soft
Music Japan TV Taping with SDN48, SKE48, KARA, Perfume, SPEED, Ikimono Gakari, News, AAA at NHK Hall
SDN48’s Sato Yukari DVD Release Event/Handshake/Autograph/Photo Meeting at Ishimaru Soft
AKB48 Chara-ani Handshake event at Makuhari Messe in Chiba
AKB48’s Umeda Ayaka Tower Girl Appearance at Tokyo Tower

Yep, a lot of stuff!

SDN48 and SKE48 at Music Japan

My friend Miitan scored a ticket to the Music Japan taping on Monday. These shows will be airing over the next couple of weeks. The ticket was for two so he invited me. Not only was SDN48 going to be performing. Not only was SKE48 going to be performing. Yeah, the show already sounded awesome. But throw in a lineup of Perfume, SPEED, KARA, and Ikimono Gakari…This was going to be an incredible show.

So the way they do the seating is by random chance. As you walk in with your ticket they exchange it for a seat. You could be front and center or last row of the balcony. Who knows? So when Miitan and I got our tickets they looked as if they were second row of the 2nd section on the floor….

Only there was no first section, that is where the cameras are. And there is no first row of the second section. So actually we were in the very first row. Not only that, we were directly opposite where the groups sit. So we were literally right in their faces! Miitan and I had the best seats in the entire building.

How bout dem apples?

 

 

Anyhow, the show was lots of fun! I have always wanted to see Perfume live, and I liked SPEED before I had ever heard of AKB48. So seeing these groups was an awesome experience. The best part is we got to interact a little bit with the groups as they often talk and wave to the audience members while other stuff is going on. So when SDN finally came out Meetan noticed me there about 10 seconds after we sat down. I also caught Nonti and Chen’s attention early on. I never really succeeded in getting anyone in SKE to notice me, although I was calling for Akane and Masanya. I don’t have a history with them like I do with SDN. Then again, two big gaijin right up front? I’m sure they ALL noticed Miitan and I at some point. BTW, I DID get A-chan from Perfume to wave at me and smile. Such a neat experience!

 

 

It was fun to see each group perform their upcoming singles. Both SKE and SDN did an amazing job! I was so proud of Meetan because I had read her blog earlier in the day. I knew she was nervous about this appearance, so it made me so happy to be that close to her so she would know I was there to support her. Oh, I forgot to mention how hawt the girls of KARA are up close. SKE was really getting into it when KARA performed too, as were the fans. They had the biggest support of the night for sure!

After tonight I will definitely look into doing this again. It seems like every week Music Japan has a great idol act featured on their show. This one had a bunch!

I believe the first episode that I saw is up on the H!O tracker, so check it out!

Momoiro Clover Live in Akihabara…CD Release Day!

 

This was another event I was really looking forward to.   Awesome show!!! Admission was buying a regular version of the CD. Once we were in, for every ltd. version you bought you got handed the CD and a handshake from the girl of your choice.  Unfortunately there were no 2-shots for this event.  They brought those back for the Thursday and Friday events but unfortunately I had other plans and couldn’t go.

 

It was a typical Momoclo show on a tiny little stage.  I lucked out in the seat lottery and ended up in the first group.  Which meant FRONT ROW BABY!!!  The girls performed two of the three songs from the new single, and did a couple of old faves like Momoiro Punch and one of my favorite covers they do Saikyo Pare Parade!


 

I bought all three versions, and recieved my CDs and bonus photos from Momoka, Shiori and Akari. I was hoping they would remember me from the 1st major single release events, but I don’t think they did. :( But it was still a lot of fun. I was thinking of going back on Friday because I hoped to meet Ayaka again! I wanted to go to her, but like last time I saw Akari all by herself with nobody in front of her and felt badly. And I ended up having the best interaction with her too!

More to come…

CK in Tokyo

Momoiro Clover, New Release The ‘Gabba-Gabba Hey!’ of a New Generation

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Chapa Chapa!

I have no idea what it means, or if it means anything at all.  It really doesn’t matter.  This new “Chapa Chapa” catchphrase which is all over Momoiro Clover’s new PV has permeated the wota conscience.

I am not ready to crown Momoclo as my favorite idol group.  That distinction still goes to the AKB family.  But the way I see it Momoclo’s creative staff is doing all the right things to continue their group’s climb to J-pop success.  The PV for ‘Pinky Jones’ is yet another example of that.

Chapa Chapa

I’m not sure what to call the formula their songwriters are using.  Hmmm, utter chaos might be a good choice.  It has been evident in almost every single they have put out.  Constant shifts in melody, tempo and style.  I have heard their compositions being called “three songs in one” on more than one occasion.  The greatest part is that no matter the style, they seem to capitalize on the girls’ endless energy.  It is similar to the early singles of Watarirouka Hashiritai…

Running and Jumping equals action and excitement.

Translation: Fun PV, Fun Song

Profit!

They are also borrowing some of the practices that have been successful in other groups.  In some ways their business model is like that of AKB48.  Momoiro Clover has cleverly utilized AKB’s “Idols You Can Meet” concept in order to build their fanbase.  And it seems to be working.  Since they work Akihabara on a regular basis, they have even managed to grab the interest of many AKB fans.

But who would have thought they could look to an iconic Punk Rock pioneer for inspiration?  This “Chapa Chapa” is the most infectious catchphrase I have heard since The Ramones released the song “Pinhead” in 1977, and in the process cemented the catchphrase “Gabba Gabba Hey” into music history.

And you know what that means?  Momoiro Clover has just 2 degrees of separation from Tod Browning’s classic film “Freaks”.  Maybe that isn’t so surprising, they did just release “Shirome“, right?

Gooble gobble…Chapa chapa. Yep, it all fits!

In any case, Pinky Jones is beyond awesome.  In fact it is Chapawesome!  Check it out!

Chapa Chapa!

CK in California

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Momoiro Clover, Movies Scaring the Crap Out of Momoclo

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Okay, I finally got my hands on a copy of Shirome.  For those not in the know, Shirome is Momoiro Clover’s movie debut.  It is also a horror movie of sorts, which is kind of a rite of passage for idol groups.  But let’s face it, Japan does horror and creepy movies very well.

 

On one hand, I was really excited about this movie.  For no other reason than Momoclo was in it.  I have been following this group since their first indie single, and had a chance to see them live before they had developed the fanbase they seem to be growing. In fact I ill find out how much it has grown when I head back to Tokyo for their new single release events.

 

On the other hand I wasn’t sure how comfortable I would be watching a bunch of young girls being repeatedly scared into hysterics.  I don’t think I really need to explain this, I’m just not a sadist!  But whatever, I have the DVD and I’m gonna watch it!

Most of the “scariest” moments involved this guy.  The girls get a surprise at their rehearsal when he shows up to tell them the legend of Shirome.  Now my Japanese is not good enough to follow along every nuance of the dialogue.  But you can get the gist of what’s happening throughout the film.  As he tells the story he eventually becomes possessed, resulting in super scary moment #1 for the girls.  He would later come back for what ended up being the best moment in the movie.

 

A lot of the freaky stuff going on was definitely added in post production.  (Notice the outstreched hand in the mirror)  Strange lights showing up in the camera and video interference usually signified something scary was about to happen.  But as a result some of the scenes were a bit anti-climactic.  A good example was the “slumber party scene”.  In fact it made me wonder if much the girls were in on the “joke” after all.

 

It was tough to catch in screencaps.  But little lights would show up over them as they slept, and they would wake up or shift when they did.

The girls eventually end up at an abandoned school, where I guess the legend of Shirome as supposed to take place.  Initially the girls were totally frightened of going into the school, but they would be accompanied by two spiritual experts.  And that seemed to really calm them down. 

But before that could happen in stepped the creepy guy from scene one for another seance of sorts.

 

After showing the girls a creepy film of some guy who I guess had first hand experience of whatever happened at the school,he again starts telling his scary stories much to the chagrin of the spiritual guy.

And of course he goes into “freak-out” mode, which gets the best reaction from the girls in the entire film.  Unfortunately this was also the same scene they used in the movie’s trailer.  So we already knew what was going to happen.

 

Hahahaha, I love that shot!  His eyes would roll back into his head.  This guy was great!

 

 

The girls seemed really calm while they searched the school.  They just didn’t seem too fazed by all of the noises emanating from the school.  My guess is they felt safe with the two experts joining them.  This also led to probably the funniest portion of the film.  I’m not sure if this was done with intentional “toungue-in-cheek”  But I’m thinking with the Japanese sense of humor it probably was done on purpose.  Yes the ghosts seem to have a way of leaving a trail of sorts…

 

Hehehe, are you sure that is from an evil spirit?  I’m thinking a few over-zealous wota may have been in the area.  There is no way the producers didn’t know what this would be reminiscent of.  Too funny!

 

They finally make it to Shirome’s shrine?  So Shirome was a chronic masterbater?   At the end of the day it is decided that even the dead can’t resist the charm of cute loli idols.  Momoclo does what they do best, break into song!

After the performance the girls pay their respects to Shirome, and all was well…I think!

There is a little coda at the end that is straight out of “Gimme Shelter”.  Momoclo is performing live, and if you watch the crowd closely you can see the little lights from earlier in the film show up.  One by one the fans in the front row start freaking out.  I was waiting to see if any of the girls would react, but they didn’t.

 

And at the very end we learn Akari was in on the joke, as she and the producer become posessed for the last big freak-out moment.  Once again, the girls’ reactions were awesome here!

 

Overall it was a decent film.  Not awesome, but I love Momoclo and could watch them in just about anything.  You will appreciate it a lot more if you are a Momoiro Clover fan.  If not, you might find it a bit cheesy and sometimes cruel.  But as I said earlier, I think the group was in on the bit more than the promotions department let on.

By the way, you can pick up a copy of Shirome at all the major Buy Sites (I got my copy from HMV)  The film also features the song  Coco ☆ natsu, which is from their upcoming single.

CK in California

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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, Concerts, Momoiro Clover CK in Japan, Spring 2010 Days 7-8…Hello MomoClo, Nice to Meet You!

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Waking up after the last AKB48 show, I was all for taking it easy.  I had spent two days getting soaked in a Yokohama storm.  But the rain stopped, and I didn’t want to spend the day vegging in the hotel.  So I headed out to Odaiba…The home of Idoling!!!  The good news?  It had stopped raining…for the moment!

The main reason I wanted to go was to see if they had any better Erika Yazawa shirts than the one I bought last trip.  On the way I saw a very cool site.  The dock where they filmed C-ute’s Tokkaiko Junjou.  I immediately reached for my camera…

I got the shot, but my camera died!  Damn I forgot to charge it!  It ended up being a double party foul as when I got to Odaiba they were having a “drift contest”.  So what was left to do?  I found the shirt I wanted, and jumped on the train back to my hotel…and my charger!

I decided to do something I enjoyed during my last trip, and that was going to Tokyo Tower and watching Tokyo Tower Girl and AKB48 member Umeda Ayaka spin records for a couple hours.  By the way, check out the Hello Kitty Bus parked in front!  The good news this time I was meeting a bunch of friends there.  And after the show the pushed my in front of Umechan to say hello!  Yatta!  Except these are always awkward moments for me.  The guys told her I was a Meetan fan as well as a fan of Team K.  So she was happy with that.  The only thing I could think of was to point to the pen in her left hand and motion that I was left-handed too!  As any left-hander will tell you, we always get excited when we meet one of our own. (hehehe)

Later on we made our way back to Hammamatsucho for dinner.  And wouldn’t you know it?  It started raining again!  We found this lively Yakitori place and grabbed a table.  Then all the guys I was with started laughing really hard…

I’m not going to mention any names, but a member of the AKB48 family was walking out as we were walking in.  In fact I walked right past her and didn’t look, LOL!  She recognized our group and started laughing as she made her way out the door!  Anyhow, a cool evening.  It ended with me running from the train station to catch the final episode of AKB48’s Dorama Majisuka Gakuen.

Day 8…Turning Nothing into Something, and another awesome J-pop moment!!!

I woke up feeling a bit under the weather.  At first I thought perhaps I had too much to drink the night before.  But later it seemed like it might be something else.  Anyway, there were many possibilities for this day.  Would I go to the DQ to buy AKB48’s monthly pics?  Perhaps this is a good day to try and catch Sakura?  Idoling!!! was having some sort of event in my hotel.  Oh, and then there was that Momoiro Clover thing…

Heading over to Akihabara, I got there about an hour before the shop opened.  To my astonishment the line didn’t look too long.  So I got in it.  I didn’t know there was a lot more line around the corner.  After watching three foreign guys argue with staff when they found out the line wasn’t for a show, I got my number…453.  That was when I knew there was more line somewhere.  The good news was with the amount of pics being sold, if everyone bought the limit the first 600 would get pics.  So all was cool.

Apparently the only place AKB is allowed to queue people is 3 blocks away under the train tracks.  That is too funny!  The line moves pretty fast however.  I bought my limit of five…2 Team A, 2 Team B, 1 Team K.  What pics was I hoping for?  Wasamin, Komori, Tanamin, Moeno and Harukyan.  I got one of them, but it was the best one…

 

Wasamin!!! <3 <3 <3

I got quite a few pics of the senbatsu of AKB, including Mayu, Yukirin, Sae, Kojiharu and TomoxTomo.  After buying my pics I figured I would go to Budokan to see the Cherry Blossoms.  But something stopped me.  It was no accident that I choose the route I chose.  I walked past this sign…

 

Momoiro Clover, 4th floor.  Hmmm, It wouldn’t hurt to take a quick look would it?  I made my way up to the 4th floor.  I knew they were already performing as they had a monitor outside.  By the way if you aren’t familiar with them, here is a link to their official site.  Cute, huh?  Anyway, then one of the staff came over to me and in perfect English said “Would you like to see the concert?”  I said “Of course I do, but I don’t know what I need to do.”  He said, no problem and to follow him.  He took me to a little table and asked me which show I wanted to see.  After telling me when they were I chose the 12:30 and the 3:30 show.  Cool, I was finally going to see MomoClo in person!!!

 

They have you pick your ticket out of a box, the lower your number the better your seat.  Although it didn’t really matter.  The place was small and to be honest there weren’t very many people there.  For the first show I drew #90 and was third row just right of center.  The lights went down, the show was about to start.  After playing the Universal Pictures (?) theme music the girls ran onstage, and opened with their second single Mirai e Susume!  It was obvious they were lip-synching, but they were adorable nonetheless.  Going in my favorite was Ayaka.  But in person Momoka is just a freakin’ star!  She and Kanako are definitely the front girls.  And Shiori is by far the most popular!  You can tell they are relatively new at this, the way they screw up…and giggle, and interact with the fans quite a bit!  After a short 6 song set including my favorite song Momoiro Punch it was time for what the fans were really there for.  I couldn’t believe it, they were doing 2-shots!!!  The only problem, I didn’t have a 2-shot ticket.  Then it all made sense.  This is what they are selling outside, new single preorders!  I dashed outside and bought two singles.  I had my tickets, Yes!!  but you couldn’t pick your girls, you again drew the names out of a box!   Of course I wanted Ayaka, but who did I get?  The two front girls, Momoka and Kanako!!!

 

I don’t know why I bothered blocking my face, the pics are blurry anyway.  They are tiny little polaroids.  It turns out most of the staff speaks fluent English, and when they brought me to Momoka she spoke good English too.  Wow!!!  I could tell Kanako wasn’t sure what to say so I let her off the hook and merely said “Peacu!”  She was relieved as we took our pic.  The I noticed all of the girls were looking at me.  Ayaka and Akari were trying to speak English.  So I said “Momoiro Clover saiko!!!” and they all cheered.  Then everyone got to play “Janken” with the girls for prizes.  I lost in the first round both times, LOL.  Overall it was a total freakin’ success!!!  But I made one slight screw up…

It turned out if you stuck around for awhile all the girls came out and signed your pics.  By the time I returned everyone was done except Shiori.  The staff felt bad, so they pulled out a promo pic of her and had her sign it to me.  She was so cute, asking me all sorts of questions about where I was from.  In fact the entire staff seemed blown away by my presence.  They wanted to know how I had heard of them.  And when I told them I already had the first two singles they were all so happy!  I showed them the song listings on my Ipod!

 

During the third show they introduced two new members, and they did a new song.  In fact I think they were doing quite a few new songs.  I’m not sure as I’m not completely familiar with their discography.  But what I heard I really liked!!!

After this show the girls were coloring in a drawing done my Akari, then they signed it.  You could go to anyone you want.  I was torn between Momoka and Ayaka.  But then I noticed that everyone was going to the same four girls.  Akari was sitting there looking depressed.  So I went to her.  I mean damn, it was Akari who drew the picture in the first place!!!  And they filmed her signing the picture for me!!!

 

She colored in the photo and signed it, and I immediately took off.  I still felt a bit under the weather, and I needed to dash back to my hotel, then turn around and come back in about an hour.  But that’s a whole other story…

 

Wasn’t that awesome???  I love MomoClo!  They are so cute!  I really hope I feel better tomorrow as they are doing the same event again.  I want more 2-shots with the girls!!!  But for now what I really need is some rest…

CK in Tokyo

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