Iwasa Misaki 7th Single Re-release Week Promotional Festivities, Part 1 ~Riding Out the Storm~ (2018/08/07-09)

Instead of enjoying Wasamin’s Wednesday evening event, I was home starting this report.  Why?

Because the Kawasaki event was cancelled due to the incoming typhoon. Wasamin did perform at the matinee event in Asakusa earlier on Wednesday, which I attended. She also did a furage event in Saitama Prefecture Tuesday night. The only other time I recall Wasamin ever cancelling a singing event was back in 2014 following the Iwate Incident. Anyway, Wasamin reassured fans Thursday’s events were still on, but we should all just stay safe and dry Wednesday evening, which was probably for the best since the eye of the storm passed over Tokyo right around the time the event would have ended.

Flying Get!

Tower Records, Urawa (2018/08/07)

Earlier in the day I had attended the 16th Gen/3rd Gen Draftee stage at the AKB48 Theater. I had three hours until Wasamin’s event, so I spent the time in a bar sipping cocktails at watching Koshien. It was a great game too. Eventually I grabbed a crowded Takasaki Line train up to Urawa. The forecast was for rain to arrive in the early evening, but so far it was dry. Since I was a bit early, there wasn’t too big a crowd yet, so I purchased two copies of the new CD (Types B and C) and grabbed a spot on the far left side. Urawa’s Tower Records is very small, and the stage area is tiny, so I was glad I found a spot away from where all the latecomers would be crowding into. A few of the fans caught wind that I had attended the AKB show earlier in the day, and they were all laughing at the fact that despite having a crappy Cancel Machi number, I not only get into the show, but snagged a first row seat. 7:30 finally, rolled around, and out came Wasamin. What has become sort of a tradition at this venue, Misaki-chan chose not to wear a kimono, instead opting to wear a dress she purchased on her recent trip to France. Here’s the setlist…

1. Moshimo Watashi ga Sora ni Sundeitara
2. Akai Sweet Pea
3. Osaka Rhapsody
4. Sado no Ondeko

She looked very pretty in her new dress. It shows off her figure quite nicely. She also mentioned that this was her first time performing Akai Sweet Pea in quite a long time. Toward the end she kept cracking herself up. I don’t know what the joke was, but everyone seemed to be laughing. After the show I was ready to use my two tickets on a shamekai, but as we were clearing the area a fan stopped me. “Didn’t we meet in Asakusa?” Now to be honest I wasn’t sure since I have met a lot of Wasamin fans over the years. Eventually the guy decided he was mistaken, but then he asked if I new “Kenji from Hong Kong” At that point it all came back to me. Yes, I did meet him in Asakusa. I was thinking Yoro-do, but it was at Asakusa Kokaido before her 2nd solo concert. He was friends with my buddy Kenji, who is actually due to arrive here on Friday. After hanging out and catching up for a while, we eventually decided to queue up for handshakes and 2-shots…

After the 2-shot I confirmed with Wasamin the original singer on Tegami (one of the B-sides) is Yuki Saori, at which point I told her that Yuki-san is in one of my favorite NHK Asadora’s, where she played a singer who owned an onsen. Wasamin was kinda surprised that I watch Asadora’s, but I told her that I do occasionally watch the current Asadora (Hanbun Aoi) as well. Eventually the queue died down and Wasamin bid us farewell. I headed back home trying to beat the rain, but not before stopping at eCute in Akabane Station and grabbing some good deals on Thai food, including a container of Shrimp in Chili Sauce which got spicier the further down the container you went. I was a bit worried about the next day. How would the weather affect Wasamin’s events???

Yoro-do Asakusa (2018/08/08)

Nishida Ai was scheduled to perform later in the day

This is probably my favorite venue to see Wasamin perform in, so I did not want to miss it regardless of the weather. I got to Asakusa a little early and had a quick bite at a Kaitenzushi before heading to the shop. When I arrived they were already calling people in by number. I went to the register and purchased two more copies (Types A and B) I also received a few copies via delivery this morning, do I am developing a little stack. When I paid for my CDs they handed me an entry lottery ticket, which I thou was kinda funny since the seat lottery was already over. But I dutifully went to the staircase, flashed my ticket, and went upstairs. There were plenty of seats available, including two comfy chairs in the 3rd and 4th rows, so I grabbed one of those.

There was a short delay for some unknown reason, but Wasamin eventually came out in a Black Kimono with a reddish sash. I don’t know if I have seen her wear this one before, but it goes without saying she looked cute. Here is the setlist…

1. Saba Kaido
2. Watashi no Kare wa Hidarikiki
3. Tegami
4. Sado no Ondeko

After singing Sado no Ondeko, Wasamin notified us that the event scheduled for the evening was cancelled due to the storm. It had also been posted on her blog and twitter. I had planned on heading to Yokohama in the afternoon to pick up a pre-order package before going to Kawasaki since they aren’t far from one another, but since I had no reason to go to Kawasaki I decided not to go to Yokohama either. As for handshakes and 2-shots, they call us up by row, which put me in the eighth group called. I decided we would show off the CDs, AND include Wasamin’s autograph board and make it a 3-shot…

Oops, the angle was a little off, but it’s a nice pic. I told Wasamin about my Ebi in Spicy Chili Sauce I had for dinner the previous evening. She asked if I didn’t like spicy food, but I told her I did. I went on to tell her that Mexican food is one of my favorites, since Mexico and California are next to one another. Wasamin told me she really likes spicy food too. With that I told her I would see her tomorrow. What I forgot to tell her was that I would be bringing a friend.

And since I had no evening event to attend, I went home and wrote this hoping by morning the storm will have passed. Wasamin was scheduled to be in Koiwa at 2pm, then  Ikebukuro for an evening event. I know I am skipping the weekend events in Western Japan, but hadn’t yet about her Friday and Monday events. Both are kind of far out…


~Sayonara Typhoon~

After Wednesday evening’s cancelled event due to the storm, Wasamin was back in action Thursday with two events in Tokyo. She started the day with a performance at one of my favorite places to see her, Onkyoku-do in Koiwa. I wrote a paper about old Enka shops in Tokyo; how they are a throwback to old Japanese Pop culture, and their historical significance. This was one of the five shops I featured (Along with Yoro-do in Asakusa, Music Shop Dan in Higashi-Jujo, Meikyoku-do in Nakano, and Tensei-do in Kameido) I headed out to Koiwa early to get a priority event entry ticket, eat lunch, and meet up with Derek, who was in the mood to watch Wasamin.

Onkyoku-do, Koiwa

Entrance tickets for Yoro-do and Onkyoku-do

We arrived at the shop around 12:30, after purchasing our CDs we were given entry tickets #20-#21, who would be good for at least the 2nd or 3rd rows. While purchasing the CDs I told the owner about the Paper I did on her shop. She asked for which school I wrote it, and then thanked me. I told her Onkyoku-do is among my Top 3 Enka Shops in Tokyo. I just love the “lived-in” feel to the store. You can tell they technically ran out of room to display products a long time ago, and stuff is just randomly piled on counters and tables. The shop is quite a mess, but I think that’s part of its appeal. Anyway, Derek and I grabbed two seats in the 2nd row far left. We were good to go. Although ultimately their stage is in a small room in the attic, so there really isn’t a bad seat. Here is the matinee setlist…

Setlist: 14:00 Koiwa
1. Mujineki
2. Niji wo Watatte
3. Kaze no Bon Koi Uta
4. Sado no Ondeko

I turned to Derek when Wasamin announced the 2nd song to tell him this is one of my favorite songs to watch her perform. It has an audience participation part in the verse that’s a lot of fun. However, Derek was most impressed with her rendition of Kaze no Bon Koi Uta. It is the slowest ballad on the new release, but the song showcases Wasamin’s ability to make some difficult vocal transitions, and subtle nuances the song demands. Of all the songs on the CD, it is the one I have heard her perform the least, so it was a nice change of pace.

They brought us up for 2-shots/handshakes by row, Wasamin thanked me for bringing Derek to the show. I told her that her old friend Kenji-san from Hong Kong would be arriving on Friday, and I would try to get him to come to the Monday event in Saitama. She asked if I was coming to Saitama. I was already leaning toward going, but since she put me on the spot I committed to my attendance. Although it was a good thing she hadn’t asked my about Friday’s event, since I was still undecided about it, LOL. After that, Derek and I caught the Sobu Line to Akihabara, where I had to pick up some of my pre-orders of this single, then we hung out in the Excelsior Caffe, where Derek was still going on about Wasamin’s performance.

Tower Records, Ikebukuro

While Derek took off for Ebisu, I headed over to Ikebukuro for Wasamin’s evening event. I had almost two hours to kill, so I spent that time in The Hub again watching Koshien and sipping Gin and Tonics. I could have gone to Tower Records extra early and camped out in or near the front row, but I wasn’t interested in standing there staring at the wall for over an hour. I would be fine shuffled toward the back. I made it upstairs around 10 minutes before the event, purchased my CDs, and grabbed a spot on the far right around 10 feet from the stage. Oddly enough, the guy at the counter asked if I wanted bromides or handshake tickets. LOL, the event was about to start. Of course I was there for handshake tickets! I didn’t realize it at the time, but there were a couple tall people in front of me, which made watching Wasamin a bit of a challenge. I was craning my head in all sorts of directions to see her, which ended up being a blessing since it caught Wasamin’s attention. A couple of times as I was twisting around to see her she would be looking right at me. BTW, the setlist for this event…

Setlist: 19:30 Ikebukuro
1. Saba Kaido
2. Ajisaibashi
3, Tokyo Rhapsody
4. Sado no Ondeko

Wasamin has said that she wanted to sing a few songs this week that she hasn’t performed in a while. She sang Akai Sweet Pea (from her 1st Album) on Tuesday night, and tonight she sang Ajisaibashi, which is a B-side on her 2nd Single. She also likes to play a little game with the fans, to see how many people know which version each of the new c/w tracks is from. (Tokyo Rhapsody is on Type B) Eventually I got into the snaking line for handshakes and 2-shots…

I related the story to Wasamin about Derek swooning over Wasamin’s performance of Kaze no Bon Koi Uta. In a soft voice, she replied “Honto?” Not to be left out,I told her I also thought it was a beautiful performance. She thanked me, and I was pretty much done, or so I thought. As I was walking away, I noticed everyone in line was staring at me and smiling. I turned around to see Wasamin and the fan behind me in line both looking at me. They seemed to be discussing my Japanese ability, Wasamin again saying I have become good at speaking the language Since I always struggle to come up with the appropriate response on the fly, I replied “So desu ka?” which for some reason got a laugh. I loudly exclaimed “Arigatou Misaki-chan!” as I continued to walk away. With that I was done. I could have stuck around until the end, but the line was really long. I decided to call it a night, and grabbed the next bus home.

Toay (Friday) Wasamin will be at Moritown in Western Tokyo, before heading to Fukuoka and Hiroshima for the weekend. I was debating going to Friday’s events, considering maybe taking a day off, especially since I am committed to going Monday. But then I remembered that AKB has a handshake event today, and if I don’t go to her event she will assume I went to AKB instead. With that in mind, I think I need to make an appearance.

CK in Tokyo