So one of the problems with visiting the same city over and over is finding enough new stuff to do. Not that Japan lacks in cultural and leisure activity. But I am always happiest when I am doing something idol related. So how does one keep it fresh when they have done the traditional idol stuff over and over? That’s where it’s advantageous to have a solid network of friends…
One of my friends, an old AKB48 fan and I planned a meetup. Although we had spoken online before, this was the first time we were going to hang out together. He is a somewhat well known fan, so I was excited. What I didn’t know was that he had a little tour planned for me that I would never forget!
CK’s Sacred AKB48 Sites and Meetan Hometown Tour 2012!!
I took the train out to Chiba where my friend picked me up. To start this day he would be treating me to a nice Yakiniku lunch, my favorite! I had never hung out in Chiba before, but it wasn’t lost on me that this was not only the hometown of Ohori Megumi, but also the hometown of Wasamin. I was getting a chance to see firsthand the neighborhoods they experienced growing up. This idea helped me feel even more connected to them than before. My friend explained to me that he shared the same Alma Mater with Meetan, so our first stop was going to be Meetan’s High School!
My first thought when we arrived was “So here is where she learned to be so pervy!” Next we drove around the neighborhood looking at houses. We had no idea where Meetan lived as a teen, but it was fun knowing that we probably passed through her neighborhood. We also passed through an area known as “Chiberly Hills” which is known for it’s large and lavish houses. Later we came to another school where Meetan’s first Image DVD was filmed. However, we couldn’t go in since they seemed to be holding an event that day.
Along the way my friend decided to tweet at Meetan telling her that he was showing me her old neighborhood. She actual tweeted back something nonsensical, but we took this as a “10-4”. So Ohori knew I was on her turf! Eventually we ended up at this bakery…
According to my friend Meetan has often recommended this place, especially for the Curry Pan. Of course we had to try it out. I sauntered right up to the counter and ordered “Ohori Megumi no Curry Pan o kudasai!”. The girl behind the counter laughed, as she knew exactly what I was talking about. As we continued to browse the shop we asked the owner if she had seen Meetan in there lately. She said she had seen her before, but not lately. We took our breads to go as we were both still full from lunch. In fact I didn’t even try my curry pan until that evening…
The review??? Ohori Megumi no Curry Pan is excellent!!! Later that week I tried curry pan at a couple of other places, and it wasn’t nearly as good. So thanks for the awesome tip, Meetan!
We wound our way further East and headed for the coast. I was a beautiful drive, passing beach resorts and surf shops. It was definitely a part of Japan I had never seen before. Eventually we found the beach we were looking for. You see we weren’t looking for any beach. We are idol fans. So what better beach to go to than the one at which they filmed the Bingo! PV.
This was November, so there weren’t too many people around. My friend said it was called “Desert Rose Beach”, named after the song that played on a loop outside the building in front of the sand. The building? You know, the one the girls are in at the end of the PV!
Anyway, it was neat to feel the energy of the ghosts of AKB PV’s past. But it was getting late, and we had one more destination. Frankly, all of the driving was wearing me out. We also kept stopping so I could re-stock on Vitamin C.
I couldn’t believe how long this drive was. It was getting dark. All of the sudden I asked myself “How well do I know this guy? He is driving me into the middle of nowhere!” He kept saying we were getting close but an hour later we were still driving! As panic began to set in he assured me that we were just about there…
And there it was. I could see it over the hill. For AKB48 fans this might be their version of Mecca…
“The Aitakatta Lighthouse”!
We parked our car at the bottom and began walking up. In a way it reminded me a bit of San Francisco’s Coit Tower. We finally got to the staircase where two Obasan’s were chatting by a conbini. My friend explained I was a foreign AKB48 fan, to which they responded amusingly. Yah, I get that a lot in Japan. Anyway, we traversed the long staircase until we final reached the top…
First of all, the entire space was tiny, and a bit torn up. It is amazing that they filmed so many scenes of the PV in this little space! But the view was spectacular! You could see all the way across to Yokohama.
By this time I was exhausted and just wanted to get back to my hotel room. So we made the long drive back to Chiba where I would catch a train back to Tokyo. Along the way my fever made a huge jump, causing me major dizziness and horrible chills. I am sure I looked absolutely awful as I got a few curious stares from the other passengers. But I made it. I survived the day, as well as the next one with Momoclo. And even the following day when I won a Team K Waiting Stage Show. Sure, it is my least favorite of the three teams. But these days fans should be happy to win anything! Hopefully on my next visit I will get to see Wasamin and Team B. Or maybe even an SKE win. Now that would be awesome!
So I think that wraps up everything I have to share from last Fall’s trip. I will try to be more timely and descriptive when I head back late Spring/Early Summer. I will leave you with photos I took of the birthday flowers for the two Kenkyuusei Okada girls. Their fans did an excellent job!
Just lovely. The one with the lights is great!
CK in California