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.
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.
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…
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)
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