~Fuuchan and Mikorin Graduation Stage~
I guess I didn’t realize how “big” this graduation would be until I experienced it. Well, maybe that is only partially true. For one, these are not the first graduations from this group. Minyo Girls lost a couple of members in the early days, but that was before the group really started taking off and forming any sort of significant fanbase. In the case of Fuuko and Miki, both of them are original members. Fuuko, is in many ways the captain, centering most of the MCs, while Miki on the Shamisen is the true backbone of the group, and a big part of what makes them special. Neither of them are the most popular members, but their contributions to the group are going to be missed. So yeah, I am very sad to see them go. But before that, there was a show to do!
I had pre-bought my ticket back in January, which was a good thing since the show was ultimately sold out. Asakusa Gold Sounds is just a short walk from Kuramae Station on the Oedo Line, and very easy for me to get to. I arrived around 20 minutes before doors and took my place in the queue. Once in, I bypassed the bar, goods table, and flower displays and immediately claimed a spot. I was three back from the stage, dead center. Cool. After camping out my spot, I decided “Hey, I always see the other fans dropping their bags, and coming back later on, so I decided to do the same. I went to the bar and grabbed a beer, and I went to the goods table. I knew exactly what I would be buying, a ticket for their next two One-Man Lives in April and June, that would get me two cheki tickets. Interestingly, when I returned to my bag there was another drink ticket underneath it. Nobody around me wanted to claim it, so I would be getting an extra drink later. Yatta!
In the meantime, while I was in line the graduation committee asked if I wanted to be part of the group, and sign the exclusive card for people who contributed to the flowers. Of course I said yes, although it ended up costing me 1000 yen per member. But hey, it’s the least I can do. I didn’t have change outside, but once I bought goods I was able to pay them. After this, the show was about to begin….
Now back in January, at their challenge stage, the members drew colored balls to separate themselves into units. This ended up being Minyo Girls’ “Unit Matsuri” BTW, apparently Yuua had gotten a nosebleed just before the show started, so she came out with a bunch of tissue in her nose and in her hand. After their usual introduction, the members explained how the show was going to go, and each unit had their own unique style…
Unit 1, Kako & Yutori: First of all, tiny Yutori on guitar!! Now before we got too excited, the song they performed basically had one guitar chord throughout (basic A minor), so she essentially had to hold that one chord for 4 minutes and strum. Kako solo’d the song, which was a traditional song from one of their early releases. Kako is a very good soloist, so ultimately this was a great unit.
Unit 2: Matsuri & Yuua: They also chose a traditional song, and did a very good job. I also liked their choice of outfit; white t-shirts with black shorts. Very cute. They also used the song to unfurl a banner thanking Fuuko and Miki at the end. Good job! And I was further impressed with Yuua since she sang very well despite still having a tissue stuffed in her nostril, LOL!
Unit 3: Miki, Rina, & Izumi: WTF was this??? They were basically lip-syncing to a rock song, with male vocalists! They actually had their mics up, but you could barely hear them over the song. Weird choice.
Unit 4: Fuuka & Minori: Idol fans at heart, they chose to sing Momoclo’s Chai Maxx. They weren’t bad, but it looked like they were basically up their goofing around.
Unit 5: Miyabi & Rio: Whoah!!! A ballad? And harmonizing. They were truly great. This wan’t really a contest, but if we had to choose a winner, this would take it by a mile. They also used the song to deliver flowers to the graduating members.
I didn’t realize it during the last concert, but your raffle number is on the back of the photo you received
After the units, they did a giveaway of laminated and autographed large photos of each of the units. Unfortunately I didn’t win, but they looked very nice. They performed two more songs, with a photo-op section before leaving the stage. Personally, I just snap away and hope for the best.
Minori, Matsuri, Kako (w/ Miki)
Yuua, Fuuka, Yutori (w/ Minori, Kako, Miki)
And of course I take lots of pics of Miyabi and Yuua, which is quite easy since technically they are the performing centers of this group. They are both excellent singers, and Yuua in particular has excellent stage presence. In fact, I think their personalities show up well in the photos I take. Miyabi’s catchphrase is “cool beauty,” and Yuua is extremely energetic. Anyway, here are a few Yuua/Miyabi pics…
I took around 150 shots in total, but deleted close to 100 of them on the train home. Anyway, the encore started immediately. Well, eventually it got started. The guy leading the encore got a bit creative, and confused the audience. He wanted us to do “Fuuchan! Mikorin!” but most everyone started doing “Fuuchan! Fuuchan! Mikorin! Mikorin!” Ultimately we got it together, and the girls were back on stage rather quickly anyway. Fuuchan immediately started making fun of the fans for screwing up the encore call.
The encore started with a VTR retrospective of both graduating members. Sometimes we forget that they have been around for four years. They were like babies in the early days. You could hear lots of sobbing coming from the stage as they showed all of this old footage. After that was a video congratulations from each member. It was all very nice. After that, both Fuuchan and Mikorin made a speech, and then finally their signature ending song, Ureshii Namida (their 2nd PV), for which we were given special pink glowsticks to use. Obviously there was lots of crying and hugging happening onstage. Interestingly, the one who seemed in the most distress was Rina, who is still brand new. I kept wondering, why is she crying the hardest? Matsuri and Miyabi were both also crying very hard as well. That was the show. Of course we still had lots of post-show benefits.
I had two tickets, and my plan was to use them on Miyabi and Yuua, as I normally do. But first they do the group pics. I kept asking myself if I wanted to do a group pic instead, and decided to go for it. I went back to the goods table, and bought some of their new buttons. You draw them out of a hat. Of course I was hoping for Miyabi and Yuua. I drew Kako, Rina, Minori, and one other I couldn’t see. But it ultimately fell back into the box, so I had to draw again, and I got Yuua. Nice! However, by the time I got back into the stage area, they were finishing group shots. Oh well, I would go with “Plan B”
I lined up for chekis, and both Yuua and Miyabi were busy with fans, so when they asked who I wanted to see I chose Yutori. Just as I said it Miyabi walked over to me, so I quickly changed it to Miyabi. The way they work it, you don’t really have any time to talk during the cheki. But after all the shooting is done, you again line up to get all of your chekis signed. It is at this point that you get to talk to the members. In the meantime, I circled the line and took a cheki with Yuua, and finally with Yutori. It was the first time I have taken a 2-shot with Yutori, and she was very thankful.
After having my second drink at the bar, and saying hello to Yuua and Miyabi’s parents, I queued up for autographs, first going to Miyabi. I was trying to tell her that I like her new hairstyle, but I’m not sure she was listening. But I also told her that her unit song and harmonizing were great. That she heard and understood. Next, I went to Yutori. I wanted to tell her that I had been reading her English tweets She got really excited when I mentioned it, and I told her that I even responded. Ultimately, she is the first member I ever met, and she has always been very nice to me, so I am glad I finally took a 2-shot with her. Finally, I went to Yuua and asked her how her nose was. She said she was fine. I basically told her good job.
After that I took off, but not before taking pics of the graduation flowers. I had errands to run, and I wanted lunch. I walked over to Yoro-do to pick up some pre-order CDs. It was funny, the lady assumed I was there to pick up Wasamin CDs, but was surprised when I pulled out my Mizumori Kaori order slip. LOL. When she said she was surprised, I then pointed out my Minyo Girls T-shirt. Although I don’t think that surprised her quite as much.
So I have a ticket to each of the next two solo live events, and I have much lower numbered tickets. So hopefully I can work my way to the front row next time.
CK in Tokyo