Pretty much every Wasafan I know had been hoping for a Sadogashima event since Wasamin released her 7th single. Her manager, Ichikawa-san, kept telling us to be patient and that she was working on it. Finally a couple of months ago the announcement was made, there would be an event. However, the details weren’t released until about a month ago, and that’s where it got interesting. Surprisingly, they did not offer any sort of package deal that would include transportation, and any sort of accommodation. It was simply stated that Wasamin would be performing at certain locations at certain times, and if we wanted to be there, then great! It was up to us to make our way there.
Of the two events this weekend and next weekend, this is the one I really wanted to attend. I mean, her singing at an Onsen in Osaka sounds cool too, but I have been to Osaka. I had never been to Sado, or Niigata for that matter. For the trip I would need to travel via Shinkansen to Niigata, then travel via bus across town to her first appearance, which was at a Tsutaya over by Hard-Off Stadium. (The site of the 2016 SSK) After that we traveled in a caravan of taxis to the other side of Niigata to board the ferry boat across the Japan Sea, then finally settle down in one of the hotels on the island. Her appearance on Sadogashima was on the opposite side of the island from the port, so the plan was to take the public bus to that as well. Anyway, I reserved my spot on the ship, and booked a hotel. I didn’t know if my hotel choice was a good one, and kept asking the other fans via mixi, but I never got a straight answer from anyone until a few days before the weekend, and by then it was a little late to change my reservation. In any case, Wasamin would be doing four performances over the weekend…
1. Saturday 1pm, Tsutaya Niigata
2. Saturday 4:45pm, aboard the Tokiwamaru car ferry to Sado Island
3. Sunday 1pm, Tsutaya Sadogashima
4. Sunday 5pm, aboard the Tokiwamaru car ferry to Niigata
But there was trouble on the horizon…literally, as the news revealed Super Typhoon 24 was barreling toward Japan and would likely reach central Honshu late Sunday night. It was also forecast to rain pretty much the entire weekend. How would this affect our event? I figured the events themselves would probably be okay, but getting back to Tokyo from Niigata may be a problem. In any case, I was really looking forward to this event. I would go, and hope for the best.
Live at Tsutaya Records, Niigata (Saturday 1pm)
After a small mishap where I was unable to find an open ATM, I made it to Omiya (Saitama) in time to catch the non-stop Toki Shinkansen. This put me in Niigata quite early, and gave me plenty of time to find the correct bus. Luckily, one other fan was waiting at the bus stop, so we went together, seemingly the first people to arrive. We bought CDs, got our handshake tickets, and were good to go. I camped out in the neighboring Tully’s while waiting for the event to begin. They didn’t let us into the viewing area until just 15 minutes before the event, and at that point I noticed everyone had an entrance priority number. WTF???? They didn’t give one to me. This ticked me off, and I wasn’t going to wait until the end of the call to say anything. I went right up to the guy from Tokuma and complained. He also knew that I had been there quite early, and didn’t understand why they didn’t give me a number. So he let me right in. Justice! Finally, the event started…
1. Saba Kaido
2. Ginza Kan Kan Musume
2b. Ginza Kan Kan Musume
4. Sado no Ondeko
They had accidentally played the long karaoke version of Ginza Kan Kan Musume, which Wasamin wasn’t expecting. She stood there for a second, and then exclaimed “Chotto Matte!” She has actually performed the long version before, but not very often. So they set the song up again and she re-sang it. Also, after her performance of Ryoshū Wasamin announced there would be a special guest…
Echigon is ready with her smartphone and tickets
If you go back a couple pages, we first met Echigon when Wasamin performed in Saitama for the Niigata Fair. It was a cute interaction, Echigon promised to purchase a CD so she could get a 2-shot as well. the above photo was taken while Echigon was in queue. It also turn out that Echigon loves Saba Kaido since her favorite food is a sabasando, LOL. I bought two CDs for a 2-shot. I told Wasamin that this was my first time ever in Niigata. She asked if I was an NGT fan, which I denied. (Truthfully, I kinda like NGT, but I wouldn’t classify myself as a fan) I also told her how excited I was about Sadogashima.
The fans didn’t overdo it too much on buying CDs since we were all aware we had a tight schedule to get to the port in time to catch the ship. So when the event ended we figured out how many taxis we would need to get everyone over to the boat. There probably 40-50 of us there, and maybe half were taking taxis. It took around 7-8 taxis, but we all made it to the boat with plenty of time to spare. It was there that we got our first bit of news…
Live on the Tokiwa Maru Car Ferry to Sadogashima (Saturday 5pm)
When we arrived at the port we noticed there were posters around the ticketing and waiting area promoting Wasamin’s appearance, except there was one problem. The Sunday performance on the ship had been crossed out. Did this mean it had been cancelled? In the meantime I picked up my ferry tickets, where the agent advised me that tomorrow’s afternoon and evening ships were in jeopardy of being cancelled, and that I should consider taking an earlier ship back if I wanted to make it to Niigata on Sunday. Anyhow, we boarded the ship and immediately found seats in the Event Plaza, where Wasamin would be performing. The rest of the boat was quite cool, with first and second class seating, plus private suites, cabins and a large, carpeted room where people could rent blankets, lie down and sleep. There was also a small restaurant serving curry and ramen, a video game arcade, and a small conbini/gift shop. That was in addition to the surprisingly big event stage and seating. Wasamin was supposed to be performing at 4:45, but the staff from Tsutaya didn’t get the CD sales booth open until it was almost time for the show, so they delayed the performance to allow people to make their purchases. The setlist…
3. Yume Shibai
4. Sado no Ondeko
It was after the first song that Wasamin made the announcement confirming the cancellation of the performance on the return ship. However, she also announced that the performance on Sado Island was also being cancelled due to the storm. I can’t say we weren’t disappointed, but I’m sure everyone understood. Even Wasamin was disappointed as she had also been looking forward to performing live on the island. However, they DID announce as compensation that they would be adding an additional perk to the event. Instead of a 2-shot shamekai, fans could instead opt to have Wasamin sign any item. Unfortunately I didn’t bring anything for her to sign, until it dawned on me that I could have her sign one of the CDs. In the meantime, many of the fans lined up to purchase additional CDs. What I found most amazing was that many fans carry around a lot of Wasamin’s goods, I guess in case something like this happens? I ended up purchasing two more CDs, so I had enough for one 2-shot and one autographed item.
Fune pose, kinda like Jack and Rose?
I told Wasamin that I had been worried about the weather all day, and that the cancellation was probably a good decision. I also mentioned that I would likely take an earlier boat back. What I forgot to ask them was why I received a phone call from the fan club office on Friday morning. Wasamin probably didn’t know, but Ichikawa-san probably does. However, I think they all had a lot of other things on their minds at that moment.
Eventually they were trying to rush everyone through since the boat was due to arrive at port on less than 30 minutes. The signings made it take a lot longer than expected. In fact, the event pretty much took the entire 2 1/2 hour trip. We all gathered our things and headed toward the entry hall of the ship. Some of the fans ended up booking passage on the very next boat back to Niigata. I could have done that as well, except that even if I had gone back to Niigata, I would have missed the last Shinkansen back to Tokyo. I decided to check into my hotel, go out to dinner with all the fans, and then take one of the earlier boats back.
Our Brief Visit to the Island
Just the first courses, lots more food and drink came out after this
Our dinner was a lot of fun. There were 20 of us. It was a pre-set meal plus nomihodai. We had amaebi, salmon, basashi, hotate, ikayaki, grilled fish, salad, tomagoyaki, yakitori, steak, bacon, and spaghetti. Eventually I had to excuse myself since my hotel was a mile away from the port, and taxis were a bit of a challenge to find.
My Japanese-style room. It was nice, and big, but the room smelled kinda odd
So it turned out I was the only one who booked at the Sado Grand Hotel, which was 2km from the port. Pretty much all the other fans were staying at the same hotel near the port. WTF? I asked them about this a month ago, and they were all very evasive about it. When I checked in the proprietor of the hotel recommended I take the 9:15am boat back just to be safe. In fact, he gave me a wake-up call at 7:15 to confirm I wanted to take the 8am shuttle. It turned out most everyone had the same idea, as most of the fans who spent the night made it for the 9:15am ship, including Wasamin. Wasamin was in one of the cabins, but I saw Sasou-san and the Tsutaya and Tokuma staff around the ship. And when I queued up to disembark Wasamin and her entourage came downstairs and queued up right behind me, LOL. I have seen Wasamin in public a few times before, and she has the most amazing aura. I have always contended she is “like an angel”
Anyway, I was able to catch the first bus back to Niigata Station in time to catch the “Max Toki” Shinkansen back to Tokyo. Ironically, it didn’t rain at all until I got to Akabane, so I only had to deal with the rain in the ‘final furlong’. I also picked up a few souvenirs, a package of Kani Senbei, and a bottle of Kani Miso paste, both made from Crab caught in the Japan Sea.
As it ultimately turned out, the afternoon and evening boats were all cancelled, and JR East stopped train service at 8pm. So the cancellations were undoubtedly the right thing to do. AFAIK, everybody made it home safe. There were a couple of “Superfans” who decided to go sightseeing on Sado to see the places where Wasamin’s MV was shot. Hopefully they made the last ship back. (I checked, they did)
CK in Tokyo