Posts Tagged ‘Iwasa Misaki’

Events, Iwasa Misaki, New Release Iwasa Misaki 7th Single Re-release Week Promotional Festivities, Part 2 ~Hitting the Road~ Plus, a Couple of Big Wasamin Announcements!

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Misaki-chan wrapped up the Tokyo leg of her new CD promotional events with 2 performances in Akishima, which is in Western Tokyo not far from Fussa and Yokota Air Base. But before I get into that, Wasamin’s Fall and Winter schedule is quickly becoming a series of special events that will undoubtedly keep her fans engaged and happy, beginning with the play she will be in through most of September…

8/31-9/25: “Umezawa Fumio Special Performance” Wasamin has been cast in this special play/song/dance performance at the famous Meiji-za Theater in Tokyo, starring along with Umezawa Tomio and Ken Naoko.

(Just Announced!) 9/29-9/30: Wasamin Special Performance on Sado Island! It has finally been scheduled. Misaki-chan will perform in Niigata on Saturday, then sail over to Sado Island for a performance there on Sunday Afternoon. This was just announced, so the details are still coming, but from the looks of it there will also be an fan club event on the ferry over.

10/8: Concert at Minoh Spa Onsen, Osaka We are still waiting for details on this one as well, but it is a concert at an Onsen, something Wasamin did once before early in her solo career.

11/4: Iwasa Misaki Kayou Concert, Nagano Wasamin will be performing a concert along with Sugimoto Kazuya

11/7: Yamano Music Autumn Enka Festival, Ginza What has become a tradition, Wasamin is a regular invitee to Yamano Music’s Enka Exhibitions.

11/17: Iwasa Misaki 7th Single Special Cheki Event at Nippon Crown I originally didn’t apply for this the first time around, so I am praying they will have “on the day” tickets. They probably will, so I’m not too worried.

(New!) 11/24: Iwasa Misaki Winter ‘Love Live’ Vol. 2 Wasamin acoustic concert, Yatta!

At this point I have a ticket to the play, an application in for the Yamano Music Enka Festival, and I will definitely go to ‘Love Live’ I am definitely interested in the Sado Island and Minoh Spa events, I’m just waiting on the details. But it is going to be an exciting Fall for Wasa-fans!

7th Single Mini-Live Event at Moritown, Akishima (2018/08/10)

I originally considered skipping this event, since I planned on going to all of the other events she had scheduled in the Kanto Region this week. But after thinking about it, I didn’t have anything else to do on Friday, I didn’t want Wasamin thinking I had skipped her live to attend AKB48’s Handshake Event, and despite the event being in Western Tokyo, it really wasn’t that far. That settled it, I was off to Akishima. I arrived around 45 minutes before the first performance. Most of the seats were taken by the locals, and a few early-bird Wasa-fans. Instead of staking out a spot, I went to have coffee at the nearby Excelsior Caffe, returning just before showtime.


I love Ponytail/Kimono Wasamin! (This is one of Wild-san’s Shamekai, he chose a solo shot)

I was standing in the back, which is where most of the Wasa-fans were hanging out. When a few of us put on our Happi Coats they drew the attention of more than a few curious locals. Wasamin came out in her black Kimono, with her hair tied back in a ponytail. I love when Wasamin unties her hair while still wearing a Kimono. Kind of formal, but casual at the same time. Here is the early setlist…

Setlist 13:00
1. Mujineki
2. Ihoujin
3. Tegami
4. Sado no Ondeko

Since this was a mall event, and not in Central Tokyo, it drew quite a few locals. In fact, I would say at least 3/4 of the seats were taken by people who were likely seeing Wasamin perform live for the first time. Also, today Wasamin announced the Sado Island event, which is something we Wasafans have been clamoring for since the single came out. I had enough tickets for one Shamekai, which I did after the first performance, and one handshake, which I saved for the second performance…

I am always hard pressed to come up with poses. When I decided on this pose, Wasamin was like “What the heck is this?” I called it the “Baka” pose. She was like “Why is it a “Baka Pose?” I don’t know, Misaki-chan, it just is! In any case, I wanted to talk to her about the books I was reading. As part of a class next semester, I need to read a bunch of novels by Japanese authors. I was telling her which authors I was reading, and she lit up when I mentioned Kanae Minato. She was like “Which book???” The problem was that I couldn’t remember the Japanese name, only the English title. Naturally, Wasamin wasn’t familiar with the English title. As I was walking away I thought I remembered the title, so I told Ichikawa-san. However, when I sat back down I realized that it although Kanae Minato did write a book with the title I mentioned, it was not the one I read. I would need to rectify this issue with my next ticket!

After grabbing lunch in the food court, and an iced tea at the Cafe, I returned to the event stage. I could have gotten a nice seat for the late event, but I chose to remain in the standing section. Here is the setlist…

Setlist 15:30
1. Saba Kaido
2. Ringo no Uta
3. Osaka Rhapsody
4. Sado no Ondeko

There was an older couple who were front row center for both the early and late shows, and they cheered loudly when Wasamin announced shwas singing Ringo no Uta. I think they are actually Wasamin fans as they had some of her goods, but they aren’t event regulars. In fact, there were a few people at this event who I did not recognize, but they were wearing Wasamin concert gear. When I see things like this I realize that Wasamin’s fan base is bigger than one might think, and there are lots of fans, even fan club members who only occasionally go to events. Anyway, with my one ticket I decided to continue by book conversation with Wasamin…

During the break I looked up the Japanese titles of some of the books I have been reading. Apparently Ichikawa-san told Wasamin the title I originally said, but I corrected her and told her I had read Koukuhaku. Wasamin absolutely lit up. “I read that, I love that book! Did you like it? Wasn’t it scary?” I was so excited to be sharing this with her. Earlier I had mentioned another author Wasamin didn’t initially seem familiar with, but I knew it was a famous manga, so when I told her the title of that one, she again was like “Oh yeah, I know that manga!” She started giggling, and mentioned to Ichikawa-san that I was reading Otouto no Otto. I think she found it funny that I was reading it because it’s a gay-themed manga. She asked if I liked it, but I actually haven’t started it yet. It is next on my list. But I think I will mention more of the titles I am reading since most Japanese people I have mentioned them to seem to know them, and Wasamin does enjoy reading, so there is a good possibility she will be familiar with those too.

I stuck around until the end and waved goodbye to Wasamin. She took a few photos in front of Shinseido before taking off for the airport.  Wasamin was off to Fukuoka to perform at Tower Records Tenjin, and then headed down to Hiroshima for a Sunday event, before wrapping up the promotion Monday in Northern Saitama Prefecture. I had already told Wasamin I would come to Saitama, despite it being a very long train ride, and the mall being somewhat far from the station. I was up for the adventure…

So after going to all of Misaki-chan’s events during the week, and planning on attending her final event on Monday, I felt okay with taking the weekend off while Wasamin traveled to Fukuoka and Hiroshima. After all, I was going to have a long ride to see her in Kamisato, which is almost in Gunma Prefecture. However, while Wasamin was busy in Western Japan, I decided to use my free Saturday to pick up one of my preorders in Kita-Toda. I knew there was a small storm in the forecast, but I figured since it wasn’t a long ride, and it happened to be sunny out at the time, I would take off in the early afternoon. Big mistake…

When I got to Saitama it was pouring. Plus, there were lightning bolts shooting down from all directions. In fact, one of them looked like it hit about a block to my right. It was quite scary. I didn’t know whether to take cover, or to just run for it. Eventually I safely made it to the mall, and dried off a bit before heading to Yamano Music to get the CDs. After that I camped out in Choco-Cro drinking an iced coffee while waiting for the storm to blow over.

This is my CD haul for the re-release. Right now I am in possession of six copies of each version. I have already given away two sets, one of which was the one I picked up in Saitama. After the storm I headed to Devilcraft and offered the CDs to the waitstaff. None of the girls seemed to want them, but then one of them pulled me aside as I was leaving and asked for one. I gave her the set. I hope she enjoys them. I have one more set I need to pick up in Yokohama, which means that I bought 9 sets in total. (27 CDs)

Meanwhile, here are the setlists from Wasamin’s performances in Fukuoka and Hiroshima. Amazingly, Wild-san, who is from Shiga Prefecture (near Osaka) drove to Tokyo this past week, then drove to Fukuoka and Hiroshima, before coming back for the final event at Kamisato. Talk about commitment!!!

Fukuoka Setlist 13:00 Saturday
1. Saba Kaido
2. Natsu no Tobira
3. Ryoshu
4. Sado no Ondeko

Fukuoka Setlist 15:30
1. Hatsuzake
2. Blue Light Yokohama
3. Osaka Rhapsody
4. Sado no Ondeko

Hiroshima Setlist 12:30 Sunday
1. Saba Kaido
2. Tokyo no Bus Girl
3. Osaka Rhapsody
4. Sado no Ondeko

Hiroshima Setlist 15:30
1. Tomonoura Bojou
2. Koisuru Fortune Cookie (Enka Version)
3. Tegami
4. Sado no Ondeko

Final Event at Aeontown Kamisato, Saitama Prefecture

I decided to catch an early train since 1) I wasn’t sure how I was going to get from the train station to the mall, and 2) I wanted time to eat lunch. It takes 85 minutes to get from Akabane Station in Tokyo to Jimbohara Station via the Takasaki Line. It is the final stop before entering Gunma Prefecture. It is a very nice ride passing through quite a few quiet Saitama suburbs. Along the way I repeatedly thought to myself; “This would be a nice place to live.” Eventually I arrived. I knew there was a shuttle bus that goes directly to the mall, but it goes on a 2-hour break right in the window of my arrival. Last time I came here I ran into two other fans getting off the train, and we split a taxi to the mall. This time I ran into another fan, and he had arranged for someone to pick him up. He invited me to tag along, which is nice because it is about a 30-minute walk from the station. We arrive at the mall around 11:30, and I immediately ran into my friend Tanaka-san, who I had met the last time I came here. He’s a 48-group/Babymetal fan from Gunma. Tanaka-san had a gift for me. I have no idea where he found it, or how much he paid for it, but I was really excited to get it…

A Watarirouka Hashiritai 7 Oshi Towel! How awesome is that? As long as I have been a Wasamin fan, I only ever got to see WH7 perform once, and that was at Ogi Matsuri 2011. Anyway, I grabbed some Spicy Cold Soba from Ringer Hut before heading down to the event. I fully expected to be standing for the show, but shortly before it started I noticed an empty seat on the far right of the first row. I asked if it was taken, and then grabbed it. So I had a nice vie of the first performance. Ultimately I gave up the seat for the late performance, opting to stand in the rear center. Here are the setlists…

13:00 Setlist
1. Saba Kaido
2. Niji wo Watatte
3. Tokyo Rhapsody
4. Sado no Ondeko

15:30 Setlist
1. Mujineki
2. Ihoujin
3. Ryoshu
4. Tegami
5. Sado no Ondeko

Since it was the final event, Wasamin gifted the fans with a bonus song for the final performance. Before the show I had purchased my usual three CDs, which would be enough for one shamekai and one handshake. However, I was informed by Wasamin’s manager, Ichikawa-san, that with I could redeem each of my completed point cards for another handshake ticket. The point cards were part of the pre-sale promotion. I had five completed cards, which meant I could get five additional tickets. So now I had eight tickets, enough for four shamekai, Yatta! I also noticed there was a flower shop near the stage, so I went over and purchased a small bouquet for the first shot…

She asked if they were for her. (Did she think they were for Ichikawa-san?) I told her I know she was very busy this week (she responded in English, “Yes, very busy!”), and all the traveling she did was surely difficult, so I wanted to give her a token of appreciation. I also asked her about one of the other books I was reading, Hakase no Aishite Sushiki. She said she knew of it, but hadn’t read it. She also asked if I enjoyed it, which I did. I explained that all of this reading is part of my upcoming Japanese Literature class. I took my leave after she wished me luck. Since I now had more tickets than I originally thought I would have, I immediately re-queued…

This time I decided to show off the oshi-towel I received as a gift. Wasamin giggled with embarrassment, “Natsukashii!” I know, it IS natsukashii, but it’s a cool gift, right? I pointed out Tanaka-san, who was watching from the back. I then added that I have a lot of Wasa-souvenirs, but I did not have that oshi-towel, so I was very happy to receive it.

I saved the other four tickets for the second performance. In the meantime I decided to do a little window shopping. This particular Aeontown is quite small. It doesn’t really have any big brand-name stores. Even the CD shop seemed to be an indie. I was looking for a specific English-translated book, but their book shop, as big as it was, didn’t have an English section. Finally the late performance rolled around, after which I lined up for my first shamekai.

So we did the “Usagi Pose,” but I pointed out that it really wasn’t a Rabbit pose we were doing after all, it was a Hakubishin. On Sunday night I went outside on to my balcony as saw this strange animal walking along the telephone lines around 8 feet away from me. It looked like a cross between a raccoon and a cat (or maybe a small dog) It stopped and stared me down before scurrying away. I looked it up on the internet, and found it is called a Civet. I had never heard of them before, and had never seen one. So I related the story to Wasamin, and she seemed shocked. She was like “Where do you live again?” Before I left she quickly asked if I was coming to see her at Meiji-za, which I replied affirmatively. However, there was one part of that answer I left out. I would give her a little more detail during my last shamekai…

“Hang Loose Dude” I explained to Wasamin that this is a “Hawaii Pose” What I had failed to mention was despite pre-ordering a ticket for Wasamin’s play, I have forgotten which date I applied for. I am waiting for the ticket to arrive to know which show I am going to see, LOL. However, I told her I was very excited about the upcoming Sado Island Performance. I told her I would do my best to go since I’m sure it will be a lot of fun. And Wasamin confirmed, there WILL be a Fan Club event on the boat. The only question now is how expensive will this event be? The boat tickets are around 2500-3000 yen each way, and hotels range in price. Of course you have to tack on the Shinkansen ride to Niigata as well.

I sat down and watched some of the “big spenders” loop the line, until the event ended just before 5pm. We all arranged for our various rides back to the train station to head back to Tokyo. And when I got home, I had a special Wasa-package in the mail…

Not only did I get a copy for Misaki-Magazine #6, but I also got the pre-order form for the Winter Love Live Concert. So I will head over to the Post Office later today and put in my order for that ticket. And with that, another super-fun Wasamin CD promotional week in the books!

CK in Tokyo

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

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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…

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…

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

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Concerts, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki Live at the Tennozu Isle Summer Festival (2018/08/03)

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I was itching to see Wasamin since I missed the “all day Wasamin” day earlier this week, where she did two live radio shows and a record shop appearance in various parts of Tokyo and Saitama. Unfortunately it was right in the middle of my finals. But since finals are now over, and I am officially on vacation for almost five weeks, I had nothing stopping me from spending the evening in Tennozu Isle. In fact, I had a specific plan in mind. I would head down a bit early, go have a brew or two for Happy Hour at T.Y. Harbor, and then head over to the performance. However, the plans got changed. When I arrived in the shopping complex where the music festival was being set up, a bunch of Wasafans had already staked out the front and center tables. Since they had food and drinks on site, I decided to change my plans, grab a primo seat, and just enjoy the evening there….

And it was PERFECT timing, as I arrived just as Wasamin was starting her rehearsal. So I got to watch her “casual” (in street clothes) version of Hatsuzake. She had cute little denim shorts on and a black top.

This was the final day of the three day “festival.” (Minyo Girls performed there on Wednesday) Wasamin was the second performer out of four on the Friday night bill. I had never heard of any of these groups, although the last one seemed to be well known. In fact, all the groups had their own little following. The most interesting was the band on right after Wasamin, which was a Beatles cover group. They had the look down; great suits, the same guitars and drum kit. However, they honestly weren’t very good. But this is supposed to be about Wasamin….

After having some Indian grub, a couple of beers, and watching the first band, it was finally Wasa-time. Misaki-chan had changed into her light blue Kimono. By ow there were lots of Wasafans crowded in the front, most of whom had at least a beer or two in them. We were ready to go. Here is the six-song setlist…

Tennozu Isle Setlist 18:50
1. Hatsuzake
2. Koisuru Fortune Cookie (Enka Version)
3. Ringo no Uta
4. Niji wo Watatte
5. Tegami
6. Sado no Ondeko

As expected, the fans were kinda rowdy. Wasamin was reacting, and the rest of the people at the event were getting a kick out of us. They had one technical screw up. Wasamin was supposed to sing songs 2-4 right in a row, but the soundboard guy didn’t start Ringo no Uta. Misaki stood there with a funny look on her face for a few moments, and then tried to cover with an MC, basically saying that there wasn’t supposed to be an MC at that point. It all got ironed out within a minute or so. Also, this was a great setlist for a festival crowd, since KFC is a song most everyone knows, and Niji wo Watatte has a great fan chant part in the verse.

After the show Wasamin was doing handshakes and 2-shots behind the stage. I had two tickets, which were good for one 2-shot. I thought about pressing her about the “DD” issue we talked about last week, I also considered mentioning the previous group singing “Sweet Memories” which is a song Wasamin also performs on occasion. However, I decided to stick with telling her my grades for the previous semester. She congratulated me on the “A” I received in my Japan History Intensive (from Meiji Restoration to WWII)


Wasa-toes made it onto the picture!

That was enough for now. I went over and watched a little of the Beatles cover band while everyone finished their handshakes. Wasamin has a whole bunch of events coming up next week for the re-release of Sado no Ondeko, so there will be plenty of opportunities to interact with her in the coming days. In the meantime HKT’s handshake event is tomorrow (Saturday) I am looking forward to discussing Yukachan’s Janken duo with Inagaki Kaori, but don’t tell Wasamin that.

 

CK in Tokyo

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Events, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki “Challenge Stage” Mini-Live at Shinseido Kashiwa ~FINAL~ (2018/07/25)

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Well, perhaps not the “final” Challenge Stage. Wasamin announced last month that after this 28th performance she would be taking a hiatus on doing this monthly event due to the building being remodeled. However, they have been quite vague about when the event might resume, if ever. Personally, I was kind of suspicious about the announcement. Despite the declaration of it being a “Yasumi” (vacation) there seemed to be a bit of finality to the announcement. The fact that the Shinseido staff presented her with flowers at the end of the event didn’t change my feeling either. On the other hand, the construction being done on the building has already commenced, so at least that part of it is absolutely true. Perhaps this is just a temporary hiatus after all. We’ll see.

I got out to Kashiwa an hour before the event started. My plan was to find someplace to sit down, relax, and eat lunch since technically I am still battling a cold, as well as a toothache. I passed by the stage area on my way to Choco-Cro and saw a bunch of people, including Wild-san, had already staked out their spots close to the stage. I had no intention of standing there for an hour, so I continued to the cafe….

By the way, Choco-cro had this new “Taco Sandwich” which was quite good. Taco meat, cheese, lettuce, and tomato on a roll. It seems Mexican styled food is really growing in popularity around Tokyo. In fact, MosBurger is currently featuring a “NaanTaco” which is essentially the same taco ingredients on a piece of Naan Bread. Anyway….

Eventually I made it back to Shinseido, and pre-ordered my CDs before the event started. It’s funny that the woman who manages the Shinseido always greets me by name whenever I show up. I don’t go that often, but I guess since I always seem to go for preorder events, she is used to addressing my packages. I ordered one of each version, and had three tickets. I usually hang out in the back at these events, but this time found a spot on the right side fairly close to the stage. A couple obaasans came in looking for a spot to watch, so I gave them my spot and moved back a little, but I was still close. Finally it was showtime. The 28th Challenge Campaign setlist…

Setlist
1. Hatsuzake
2. Anata (originally by Kosaka Akiko, 1973)
3. Tegami (c/w on upcoming release)
4. Sado no Ondeko

As this was Wasamin’s Challenge Stage, that meant she was debuting a new cover song she had never performed before. Interestingly, many of the songs she has debuted here have ended up as B-sides or album cuts on Wasamin’s releases. On this day she sang the debut single from then 16-year old Kosaka Akiko. Here is a video of the original…

Since this was the “final” event Wasamin drew a fairly large crowd of fans, not to mention plenty of passers-by as this is a popular shopping area, the line for handshakes and 2-shots was fairly long. I walked across the street to the ABC Mart to check out their shoe selection since I am in dire need to new shoes. Eventually I went back across the street to queue up. I had three tickets, and planned to use them for one shamekai (2 tickets) and one regular handshake.

This is the same pose the previous fan took, and is sort of a take on one of the poses she does while performing Sado no Ondeko. In the meantime I told her that I had been under the weather. She asked if I was going to the doctor. I told her I was buy studying for Japanese exams. She wished me luck on my exams as I went to queue up again.

The line was still long, so I hung out with Mizuyu and Mayumi, who had brought their new puppy to the event. It was a cute little dog, and kept jumping on everyone’s leg looking for treats. Finally I decided to queue up again. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to talk about my abandoned trip in August, or maybe her upcoming play. However, Wasamin had other plans…

So I started telling her about my trip being cancelled, and I would be able to go to her upcoming release events. Wasamin immediately interjected and asked me if she was #1 in my heart. I was like “Huh?” She went on to say that she reads my social media and sees me talking about other idols. She specifically brought up KissBee, which I thought was somewhat odd since I haven’t talked about KissBee in quite a while. Anyway I was stammering, she and Ichikawa-san were laughing. I just kept repeating that I loved Wasamin and that she was my #1 girl. But she kept countering that she wonders since I talk about other idols.

Now on one hand, I know she was just playing with me. And in one respect this is kind of “next level” stuff, as she likes to mess with her fans, but she has always spared me a bit because of the language barrier. So for her to bring this up is kind of a compliment. However, I would be dishonest if I didn’t say it hurt a little bit. Sure, I do see other idol groups and idols, but there should be no doubt whatsoever who is #1 in my heart. Ultimately I ended up tweeting our 2-shot, declaring her my #1 “best girl.” I’m sure she got a kick out of it.

Wasamin was presented flowers from the CD shop at the end of the event, and I eventually made it back to the train station and back home. Wasamin is in Shizuoka for the rest of this week. Beginning next week she will be doing two weeks of appearances in Tokyo, Saitama, and Kanagawa, with a big promotional push from August 8th through the 13th, so plenty of Wasafun coming up.

CK in Tokyo

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Events, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki Mini-Live at the Oedo Hawaii Festival, Nihonbashi (2018/07/14)

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First of all, let’s all congratulate Wasamin, for this weekend she surpassed 500 singing events. She has been a soloist for 6 1/2 years now, which means she has averaged over 75 mini-lives per year. When you think about it that’s pretty incredible, eh? So…

Wasamin omedetou!!!

 

So it should be no surprise that Wasamin was quite busy this weekend with five mini-live events at three locations. Saturday was in Central Tokyo, Sunday in Western Tokyo, and then jumping up to Sendai for the Monday Holiday. I was only able to make it to the Saturday event since I had concert tickets for Sunday. Technically, I could have made it to her late performance in Western Tokyo, but I didn’t want to travel an hour and change to just see the last show.

I arrived at the Oedo Hawaii Festival 90 minutes early since I was supposed to be meeting friends there, and Minyo Girls was performing 40 minutes before Wasamin on the outdoor stage. I looked for exit B6 at Nihonbashi Station, since that’s where the Belle Salle building was, and to my surprise, the stage was practically IN THE SUBWAY STATION! It’s another really cool aspect about Japan. At many of the stations, the surrounding buildings and stores have underground entrances in the station, so you never have to go outside. It’s nice during extreme weather, and some of them have very nice restaurants and shops. Anyway, the Belle Salle exit opened up into a large stage area, flanked by a row of restaurants and a department store. Since it was the Hawaii Festival, most of the performers were performing the Hula and Ukulele music. I’m not not sure how Enka fits in, but whatever.

One of my two friends showed up, and we went upstairs to watch Minyo Girls on the outside stage. You can read my report of the Minyo Girls performance on the previous post, but suffice it to say it was scorching outside. The girls were definitely suffering. The members who dared perform (three of them cancelled out) were gulping down water every chance they had. I didn’t stick around for the chekis and stuff, instead going back downstairs to wait for Wasamin where it was MUCH cooler…

Oedo Hawaii Festival Setlist
1. Saba Kaido
2. Koisuru Natsu no Hi
3. Natsu no Tobira
4. Ryoshuu
5. Sado no Ondeko

Wasamin threw in an additional song since it was a festival, and due to the heat she themed it out for Summer. That’s good since both of those ‘Natsu’ songs are fun to hear her perform, and of course most of her MCs involved the oppressive heat outside.

She has been consistently wearing her Royal Blue Kimono for a while now, but this weekend changed into some lighter colored outfits I would imagine to be more comfortable. She wore a light blue Kimono at the Hawaii fest, and switched to an off-white Kimono in Western Tokyo.

Since I was sweaty from the heat, I decided I didn’t want a shamekai, instead just getting one ticket for a handshake. I happened to be wearing a Hawaiian styled shirt, which I pointed out to Wasamin. She asked if I bought it in Hawaii, although I actually purchased it in California. But I told her I do love Hawaii and had been there on multiple occasions. My friend, who is a Sasshi fan, asked her about the ‘Trip to Hawaii’ she supposedly won at the infamous 2010 Aki Matsuri Concert. She confirmed what we all know, that she never received her trip. My friend offered to get Sasshi on the case for her, but Wasamin was like “No, no, she’s not involved!” LOL.

My other friend didn’t make it, oh well. But Robert and I took off right after our handshakes to go to Oktoberfest which was nearby. We were excited not only for the beer, but for the Austrian party band, which we had seen before and really liked. In fact, we ended up hanging out with the band after their performance. So it was a long day.

Oh, and here are the setlists for her Western Tokyo lives (I haven’t seen the Sendai setlists posted yet)

Fuchu Setlist 1pm
1. Saba Kaido
2. Blue Light Yokohama
3. Ryoshuu
4. Sado no Ondeko

Fuchu Setlist 3:30pm
1. Mujineki
2. Ihoujin
3. Osaka Rhapsody
4. Sado no Ondeko

Wasamin is spending the next two weekends in Gifu, Nagoya, and Shizuoka, although she has her Chiba “challenge campaign” sandwiched in there too. However, the first half of August is filled with Wasamin events around Tokyo. So plenty of opportunities to see her if you are in town.

CK in Tokyo

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Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki 7th Single (re-release) Pre-order Mini-Live at Aeon Mall Kita-Toda. Saitama Prefecture (2018/07/01)

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As far as Wasamin goes, absence definitely makes the heart grow fonder. It had been two weeks since I saw her ‘Virtual Reality’ concert in Yokohama, and her schedule over the next month or so was peppered with events in Kansai, Chubu, Tohoku and Kyushu. Not to mention, I missed out on her Ginza Enka Fes. appearance since I had class that evening. So I had earmarked this event as a “must-go.” After all, I live close to Saitama, so this was just a short train ride away.

I decided to head out early, figuring I could possibly reserve a seat for the event, and get lunch in the mall. (I was really in the mood for cold udon) BTW, Summer has finally “arrived” here in Tokyo, and the last 3-4 days have been hot, humid, and windy. With that in mind, instead of wearing my Wasa-gear, I decided to wear some of my lightest clothing. I wanted to be as comfortable as possible, especially since the mall is a bit of a trek from Kita-Toda station, so I knew I would be walking in the heat. I arrived just before noon, and immediately scouted the place for lunch.

What I didn’t take into account was the special event going on at the mall.  This was part of the reason Wasamin was invited to perform at this venue. They were holding a “Niigata Fair” to promote Niigata tourism. I guess they felt Wasamin’s 7th single, Sado no Ondeko, which is about Niigata Prefecture, would be appropriate for the event. Makes sense. So Wasamin was only part of the promotions going on in the mall. They had all sorts of games, other performers from Niigata, and of course….mascots.

It’s funny watching kids react to mascots, they either love them, or they are scared to death of them. That tall one with the mustache seemed to be the best at scaring the heck out of the little kids. There was tons of screaming and crying going on, LOL. Anyway, since it seemed like the local geriatric crowd had camped out most of the seats for the day, I camped out in a cafe until showtime. (I have a ton of Kanji to memorize by tomorrow) Wasamin was doing two mini-live performances, and here are the setlists…

14:00 Setlist
1. Hatsuzake
2. Koisuru Fortune Cookie (Enka Ver.)
3. Toshishita no Otokonoko
4, Ginza Kankan Musume
5. Ryoshū (New c/w track for 7th single re-release!)
6. Sado no Ondeko

16:20 Setlist
1. Saba Kaido
2. Ringo no Uta
3. Gakusei Jidai
4. Niji wo Watatte
5. Osaka Rhapsody (New c/w track for the 7th single re-release!)
6. Sado no Ondeko

Six songs! Wasamin has been doing these ‘extra-long’ setlists a bit lately. Not every time, but usually when it is some kind of special promotion. She sings songs #2-4 in a row, without an MC, so ultimately she does the same amount of talking as a 4-song setlist. Plus, she sang two of the c/w tracks from the new single. Osaka Rhapsody is particularly fun. Not to mention, Niji wo Watatte and Ginza Kankan Musume are among my favorite songs she performs, so all in all it was a great set of songs today.

I pre-ordered 3 copies of the upcoming release, one of each type. I am in sort of a quandary with these pre-orders. The new release is scheduled for August 8th. I have (extremely) tentative plans to go to California in August. and since I live alone I cannot have CD orders coming to my house just after I leave town. So I have been ordering for “pick-up” rather than delivery. This means I am going to have to trek all over the place to get these singles at some point. But I’ll deal with that when the time comes. I used two tickets for the first event, and got a two-shot…

Wasamin asked what the pose was, and I mentioned it is part of her Sado no Ondeko routine. Afterwards, I mentioned I have three big Kanji tests tomorrow, and I had been spending most of the afternoon studying in the cafe across from the stage. When I came back to use my last ticket, I showed her all of the practice kanji I had been writing. She immediately pointed to 歌手 (Kashu) and said “That’s me!” I told her that when I think of the “song” kanji, I think of her standing in front of two microphones. In the meantime her manager said that was a lot of kanji to learn. Don’t I know it! Anyway, Wasamin wished me luck on the tests tomorrow. After a quick trip into Aeon Market to grab a few things, I sat down and watched the mascots while waiting for Wasamin to finish her handshake event, and then we all headed back to the station, and home.

As I said, Wasamin is spending a lot of time out of town this month. But checking her schedule, she is performing at the Hawaii Fest in Tokyo on the 14th (along with Minyo Girls) Plus, I am pretty sure I can make it to her ‘last’ Challenge Campaign event on the 25th. According to Ichikawa-san, they are taking a temporary hiatus from the monthly challenge campaign, although I got the ominous feeling that it will be quite a while before she starts doing it again. We’ll see. She has one other Tokyo event in July, but I think it conflicts with some other event I have tickets for. Nevertheless, at least I will be seeing her every 10 days or so, just enough to keep things fresh.

CK in Tokyo

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Concerts, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki Live at DMM VR Theater, Yokohama (2018/06/17)

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I’m sorry this report is so late. It has been an extremely hellish week.  But better late than never, right?  Last Sunday NagaraGroup organized a live “triple-header” at DMM’s Virtual Reality Theater near Yokohama Station. Hayabusa, Minyo Girls, and Wasamin were all performing separate concerts. Naturally, I bought tickets for both the Mingaru afternoon show, and Wasamin’s evening finale. (I will write a Minyo Girls concert report separately)

The shows were kinda close together, so after taking chekis with the Minyo Girls, it was almost time for the Wasamin Goods Booth to open. All three groups were debuting new products at this show, each with one particular unique item. Hayabusa had a new T-shirt, the Minyo’s had a new oshi towel. And Wasamin had a very interesting selection….


Wasa-Pillow!

All the groups also had postcards with a “changing” image on the front, and a small plastic uchiwa. Of course I ended up buying all of the new goods for both groups, as well as an advance ticket for Minyo Girls’ concert in July. Eventually staff started queueing us up to head into the theater.


The Postcards and Uchiwa

My ticket was for the 6th row on the right side, not quite as good as my 5th row left side seat for the Minyo show. One of the big things I was wondering about was how they would incorporate “Virtual Reality” into a live concert. I got my first preview in the Minyo Girls show, and while it was kinda cool, I wasn’t completely amazed. I assumed that the VR in the Wasamin show would be something similar, but I am pleased to say that there was a significant difference. Now if you are wondering about this VR stuff…

What happens at a ‘VR’ theater?

It’s pretty much the same concept they use at Hatsune Miku’s concerts. There is a huge screen at the back of the stage, and then an ‘invisible’ screen in front of the stage. In addition, there are two tall screens on each side of the stage to give it almost a cineramic feel. Unlike Miku, Wasamin is actually standing on the stage, but everything happening around her was VR. In fact, they did a great job of working the effects “around” Wasamin, but before I get into those kind of details, the setlist…

1. Moshimo Watashi ga Sora ni Sundeitara
MC (Introduction)
2. Anko Tsubaki wa Koi no Hana
3. Momen no Handkerchief
4. Hatsuzake
5. Ii Hi Tabidachi (original artist: Yamaguchi Momoe)
MC (Introduction of the ‘Seasons’ Theme)
6. Natsu no Tobira
7. Koisuru Natsu no Hi
8. Blue Light Yokohama
9. Kamome ga Tonda Hi (original artist: Watanabe Machiko)
MC (Blue Light Yokohama is standard for all her Yokohama appearances)
10. Nada Sousou
MC (Goods Introduction)
11. Matsu wa
12. Toki no Nagare ni Miwo Makase
13. Cosmos
14. Ryoshuu
MC (Talk about her ‘Love Live’ acoustic shows. This show was done in place of it)
15. Saba Kaido
MC (Wasamin notes that she had lots of Winter songs to choose from)
16. Kita no Yado Kara
17. Ettou Tsubame
18. Tsugaru Kaikyo Fuyugeshiki
19. Kita no Hotaru
MC (Asking for feedback regarding the VR effects)
20. Mujineki
EN1: Sado no Ondeko

Setlist

First, let me say how unbelievably awesome this setlist was. Wasamin themed everything to represent the four seasons. There was a song section for Spring, Summer, Winter, and Fall. The other cool aspect of this show was the nostalgia factor. Many of the songs she performed were from her first solo concert. I was so excited when she announced Anko Tsubaki as her second song. Same with Koisuru Natsu no Hi, those two songs were among my favorites at that show three years ago. There were also a lot of songs from her 1st album. So not only did it bring back memories of the concert, it also brought back memories of her 1st album release tour, which is such a fond memory for me.

The VR Effects

Interestingly, Wasamin only used the effects dung 4-5 songs. However, they did a great job of 1) working the effects around her 2) theming them out for the song. For Moshisora it looked like she was standing on clouds while she was singing. During Saba Kado it was like she was underwater, with a school of fish circling around her. Unlike Minyo Girls, who used the effects on most of their songs, but it wasn’t as strategically good.

MCs

Wasamin has become a lot more irreverent and goofy during her MCs. She also interacts directly with the audience a lot more. However, the funniest MC of all was her introduction of the goods, particularly the pillow. Actually it was called a cushion, but Wasamin was not bashful about how one might use it, and even implied fans should “sleep with it’ so they can wish her a good morning when they wake up. That said…

I did take Wasamin’s advice, but apparently I am a restless sleeper because when I wake up in the morning “Wasamin” is always on the floor. She will not be happy if she finds out I push her off the bed in my sleep, LOL.

Post-show Meet & Greet

One semi-gaffe before the show. There was a handshake event scheduled for after the performance, but they didn’t put out the pre-order sheets until after everyone was lined up to get into the venue. Some people left the queue to buy CDs, but most people figured they would do it after. This resulted in a huge queue to purchase CDs after the show. It was also a well-attended event, meaning the queue to meet her was very long as well. In fact, they asked us all to ‘matome’ our tickets instead of looping the line. Ultimately it took me 45 minutes to purchase CDs, and get to the front of the handshake queue. I had two tickets, good for a 2-shot with the special “Instagram” board they had prepared for the event…

Anyway, I told Wasamin how nostalgic the show was, and it reminded me of her first concert, as well as her old release tours. I also mentioned the memory of her crying in the middle of performing Koisuru Natsu no Hi at the first concert. It’s an amazing moment in the show (If you have seen it) which I am sure she remembers too. As I exited the handshake ‘room’ the line was still almost down to the street. I thought about waiting for everyone to finish, but it was late, I was hungry, and had a long ride home, so I bailed…


Fan Club Flowers

All in all the show was a lot of fun. The VR effects were a unique experience, and the concert hall itself was really nice. It’s cool that Wasamin is trying different things, instead of the same stuff over and over. I don’t mind that she didn’t do a ‘Love Live’ this Spring. Makes it more special. This Fall she is going to do a concert at an Onsen in Kansai, which seems like it will be a lot of fun too. In the meantime Wasamin is going to be doing a lot of appearances outside of Tokyo. She is in Niigata and Ishikawa Prefecture this weekend. She is going to be in Kobe next weekend, then Fukuoka. She does have a Saitama event squeezed in there next week, which I am planning on attending. I should be able to see her at least a few times in July.

 

CK in Tokyo

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Events, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki 7th Single Chara-Ani Cheki Event at Tokuma/Nippon Crown Headquarters (2018/06/16) Plus, a Special Gift from Wasamin!

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While most everyone was busy with the Sousenkyo, I got busy with Wasamin’s 2-shot event.  But first, look what I received in the mail!

It’s our commemorative photo package from the Bus Tour last month, complete with full group pic, small group pic, and a thank you note…

 

This is a really nice touch provided by the fan club. I am always excited when I see an envelope in my mailbox with the Wasa-Min fan club logo.

Also….

One last very important announcement…

Wasamin has started a new blog on Ameblo, which will replace her LINE blog.

https://ameblo.jp/wasaminnn

Let’s see if she posts here more often than she did on LINE.  Anyway, on to the main subject of the post….

 

This was the second of two events of this type she had scheduled in support of Sado no Ondeko. The first one clashed with the HKT48 Shamekai event, so I was only able to make it to the last of the three slots. This time I had tickets for all three slots of the event, so I was ready for the full experience.

They announced via the Tokuma Records twitter account that there would be “on the day” tickets available at the event, so technically anyone could come whether they preordered via chara-ani or not. I’m not sure how many people show up solely to take advantage of that. I think it is mainly an opportunity for the people already there to get additional tickets. Also, the scuttlebutt around the event was which fans would be missing (and thus probably attending Sousenkyo) There were a few notable fans not there, although quite a few of the known 48-group fans among the Wasa-faithful were there. Anyway…

It was the usual setup. The anonymous record label building located somewhere between Osaki and Gotanda Stations. We are basically confined to two rooms on the third floor. The room with the queue, and then the other room with the queue directly to Wasamin. When I arrived, some of the fans thought I would be at Sousenkyo. I replied “What’s a Sousenkyo?” LOL. BTW, I arrived with 3 tickets, but ultimately ended up taking five chekis. Here are the pics, and a little bit of commentary for each one.

Slot One

For some reason this particular handshake is sort of a blur for me. Perhaps because I hadn’t eaten all day. But I think we were discussing her new blog. I was telling her that although I could read her LINE Blog. I always got an error when I tried to comment. She asked me if I am able to comment on Ameblo, which I can. (Although I will need to figure out my password, I haven’t used it in a while) Oh, and before I left I purchased two more tickets, one each for Slots 2 and 3. After that I was off to lunch.

Slot 2

Just as I walked into the room with Misaki, she was having a bit of trouble with her costume. So Ichikawa-san was adjusting it for her. I turned my head and exclaimed “Wasamin abunai” She didn’t notice at first, but Sasou-san, who was taking photos, was laughing. Eventually Wasamin saw what I was doing. She asked me what pose, and I asked her if there was a pose for “UFO.” (The Pink Lady song) She kept laughing at the way I was saying it. (like “oooh-fou”) and kept replying “It’s yoo-fou” I said in America it’s U-F-O, which she said she knew. Anyway, that’s the pose we came up with. She sang that song at Ebisu in this outfit, which is why I came up with it.

I told her I received my photo package from the bus tour, and that the picture of her in the tea outfit is really cute. I suggested some sort of “tea pose” and this is what we came up with.

Slot 3

The classic “heart pose” When I walked in I said that I recognized the outfit she was wearing, but I couldn’t remember where I saw her wearing it. It must have been on Twitter, or Showroom. Afterwards I showed her that I had my ticket for tomorrow’s concert in Yokohama. So she said “Okay, see you tomorrow.” But I have one more ticket!

For the final pic I thought the infamous Dandy Sakano “Gets” pose would look good. And actually, I kinda like the way it came out. Before I left I was telling Wasamin (and Ichikawa-san) that I was reading the “Thank You” not she sent with the Bus Tour Photos, and that I noticed the Keigo in the letter, which I explained is what I am currently learning in Japanese. I gave her some examples of what I remembered off the top of my head. She said she was really happy my Japanese was improving. I told her I am doing my best. And with that I was done.

If I went straight home, I would have been back in time for the SSK announcements. However, I decided to do a little shopping instead, so I got home sometime around the Undergirls announcements. Tomorrow I will be heading out to Yokohama for both Wasamin and Minyo Girls’ concerts at the DMM VR Theater. I have no idea how this is going to work since I have never seen a concert done with “Virtual Reality.” But the preview Wasamin tweeted looked interesting. Anyway, I am looking forward to it.

CK in Tokyo

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Events, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki 7th Single Karaoke Party at Big Echo Ikebukuro (2018/06/02) ~Singing a Duet With Wasamin~

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Some of the most fun times I have had as a Wasamin fan have been with the special events you can send away for with the inserts in her releases. Back in 2016 I won her BBQ Party, which was the Grand Prize in her album insert. Last year, for Wasamin’s 6th single, I won the second prize which was the Karaoke Party. With Sado no Ondeko, I again won the second prize, which again was the Karaoke party. Yatta!

Now I have to admit, when I filled out the postcards I was really aiming for the Grand Prize, which was another BBQ Party. So when I received my winning postcard in the mail there was a slight tinge of disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to win any prize, since the “real” prize is spending time with Wasamin. However, the BBQ party I attended was so much fun, and the food was so abundant and good, that I was really hoping to go. When I filled out the postcards (which had to be mailed like three days after the single released to be eligible) I was tempted to apply for the BBQ party only, but I threw in a few applications for the Karaoke Party…just in case. Ultimately, I’m thankful I did that, or I may have been shut out entirely. Anyway…

I arrived in Ikebukuro and Big Echo around 10 minutes before “doors” opened. It was at the same location of last year’s karaoke event. The lunch I had before the event wasn’t totally agreeing with me, so I was hoping the unlimited Oolong Tea would help settle my stomach down. We were led in groups to the basement hall, where there were four tables set up for eight people each. I took a seat at the far end of the first table on the right. After being served our first round of drinks, Wasamin’s assistant informed us that Misaki-chan would sing a first round of songs. Then we would play janken for the opportunity to sing a duet with her, after that she would take requests. Oh, and the people who sing with Wasamin would also get an autographed Sado no Ondeko poster and clear file. Two things I already have, but oh well. Anyway, she led off with these two songs…


clear file

1. Natsu no Tobira
2. Goodbye My Love

I just happened to watch Wasamin’s 4th concert DVD before I left, and when I got to the part where she sang Goodbye My Love I thought this would be a great song to duet with her in the unlikely event I win the janken. So while I love that she sang it, it kinda threw me for a loop. After the second song, Wasamin was talking to some of the people who came. When she came to me she asked how her English was, and I told her it is becoming very good. She also asked if I would say the English lines of Goodbye My Love for her, so I repeated them back in my California accent (actually, most people say the origination of my speaking style is quite confusing, and sounds like it could be from a few different regions of America) Everyone got a big kick out of it.

Janken for a Duet with Wasamin

Okay, now on one hand I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to do a proper duet with Misaki-chan. On the other, it is kinda worrisome. What song can I sing with her? Which Japanese song do I know well enough to sing? We went through three rounds of Janken. The first guy picked a cute 80’s or 90’s pop song. Not sure what it was, but the chorus has a bunch of lines like “Co-co-co-co-coconuts, I-I-I Love You, Sekushi Island” or something like that. The second guy chose Temodemo no Namida, after Wasamin asked if he was coming to her event on Sunday, and he admitted he was going to the AKB event at Pacifico. She gave him a bit of crap for it, but little did she know there were a few people in the room (including myself) with the same plan, LOL. After the third person won (and chose a relatively new song by one of the artists who happened to be on Utacon with Wasamin a couple weeks ago) I figured oh well, at least I will get a photo that looks like we sang a duet. That was until Sasou-san announced one more round of Janken…

Now I had managed to get myself eliminated on the first round of each previous contest. But in this last contest I happened to win the first round. Okay, not a good chance of that happening twice, right? Wrong. I won again. It was down to four of us, and we kept deadlocking for like four rounds. But eventually, it came down to two of us. The guy I was going against was behind me, and I literally had my head down looking in the opposite direction, so I was going strictly by Wasamin’s reaction only. And after SIX times drawing the same thing, who won? This guy did, that’s who. It was a moment of panic, as I didn’t know what I could sing, but I went up to the stage anyway…

Wasamin asked me where I was from, and his time I said California while hearing a couple people uttering “Itabashi” from the tables, a longstanding fan gag, LOL. I explained to her that I originally wanted to sing Goodbye My Love, but she already sang it. She offered to sing it again, but I pointed out that the karaoke script had no small Hiragana over any of the kanji, so it might be too difficult. Then it dawned on me, and I told her the time I was on Fuji television and sang Mujineki, so I would probably be able to sing that okay, It was settled. As someone in the audience pointed out, this was “Chris-san’s Challenge Campaign” LOL

So we sang together, and it was absolutely incredible to stand up there and sing a full song with her, and it went so well. I aced the first verse, had a tiny bit of trouble on the second verse, and was fine on the end. Every time I would look over at Wasamin she was staring into my eyes with a warm smile. I wanted to just stare back at her the entire time, but I had to look away to see the lyrics. By the end, Wasamin was surprised, as were the other fans, and probably more than anyone else, I was surprised. I had such a feeling of joy as she nodded in approval and gave me a thumbs up. Wasamin handed me my prizes, and I sat back down.


poster

She went around taking various requests from all the fans, and decided on the 2-3 songs she was most comfortable singing. Then finally she performed Sado no Ondeko, and that ended the event. We went up one by one to say goodbye, and take a commemorative cheki. I had originally planned on presenting her with a small gift, but then I thought maybe I would take a photo with the prizes. The problem was whatever I posed with needed to be small since we were supposed to be doing a singing pose with the microphones. At the last minute I decided on the gift after all…

I am taking a Kanji intensive course, and last week we did a little bit of calligraphy. This was one of the two kanji I chose to do. Look familiar? It’s “IWA,” as in Iwasa. Needless to say, Wasamin really liked it. After we took the photo she handed it back to me, but then I asked her if she wanted to keep it. She was like “Really?” I explained that I had another one with the Kanji for “HASU,” so it was okay. Wasamin handed me a small gift pack of senbei crackers. They look like they might be spicy. I hope they are! After that I headed to the bus stop, and back to my place for a relaxing Saturday afternoon.

This totally goes to show that everything happens for a reason. If given the choice now of having the experience I had today,or taking it all away for the BBQ party, I would without a doubt pick this experience. It was like 4 minutes of nobody else in the world except me and Wasamin, and it was awesome!

CK in Tokyo

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Events, Iwasa Misaki Iwasa Misaki 4th Concert DVD Release Week Event Report (2018/05/26-27)

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Wasamin crunched her concert DVD/BluRay promotional events all into this past weekend, performing twice each on Saturday and Sunday at various Enka Record shops around the Tokyo area. I had quite a busy schedule myself, with tickets to AKB’s handshake event from dawn till dusk on Saturday, then Minyo Girls’ one-man live Sunday morning. As a result I could only make it to the last event on Sunday afternoon. Nevertheless, I do have the setlists from all four events since Wild-san made the trip down from Shiga to support Wasamin’s release. Wild-san keeps detailed tabs on how many times she has performed every song in her catalog, and presented Wasamin with a gift commemorating her 300th performance of Mujineki, which took place at Yoro-do in Asakusa today. Interestingly, Wasamin sometimes makes fun of Wild-san for always taking notes at her events. She has occasionally turned to him and said “What are you writing???” LOLZ. Anyway, here are the four setlists…

Saturday 12pm Ongokyu-do, Koiwa
1. Hatsuzake
2. Toshishita no Otokonoko
3. Yume Shibai
4. Sado no Ondeko

Saturday 3:30pm Tenmori-do, Kameido
1. Saba Kaido
2. Tokyo no Bus Girl
3. Kukou
4. Sado no Ondeko

Sunday 12pm Yoro-do, Asakusa
1. Mujineki
2. Ringo no Uta
3. Yume Shibai
4. Sado no Ondeko

Sunday 3:30pm Mitsui Music, Minowa
1. Saba Kaido
2. Gakusei Jidai
3. Kukou
4. Sado no Ondeko

So the funny thing was that Minyo Girls’ one-man live today was literally right down the street from Yoro-do, where Wasamin was performing. Unfortunately both shows started and ended at roughly the same time, so it was impossible for me to see both. On the other hand, it saved me from having to buy too many copies of her concert DVD. But I didn’t want to blow off her entire weekend, and I had yet to purchase a DVD version of the concert. So after Minyo Girls finished up, I walked down toward Senso-ji temple to have lunch, and from there I would take the train to Minowa. After I finished lunch, I noticed that Mitsui Music, the Minowa record shop where Wasamin was performing, was technically on the same street that I was eating lunch on, albeit pretty far down. I decided to make the 20-25 minute walk. I was early, and had plenty of time anyway.

I arrived over 30 minutes before the event, hot and sweaty from the long walk. I toweled myself off and grabbed a cold drink before going into the shop and buying my DVD copy. It was an interesting shop. It was very old, had all the markings of an Enka shop with old Enka autographed Enka posters, but it also had a significant pop selection. There was even an AKB48 section, with advertisements for the new single. The other interesting thing about this shop was the location itself. The area around Minowa is very old. It is very close to Yoshiwara, the old ‘red light’ district of Tokyo back in the Edo period. It is also known as being a Barakumin neighborhood back in those days as well. Even today it is one of the more gritty parts of Tokyo.

The people who got their early had priority tickets for the seating, so I positioned myself far in the back. It was a small shop, so even being in the very back wasn’t too far away. Wasamin was in kind of a jokey mood, and kept laughing and giggling throughout the performance. She also had some microphone trouble in the very beginning, but one of her assistants ran up and fixed the issue before she had to sing her first line. There were a few locals in the shop, but it was probably 90% Wasa-regulars. And by the way, mine wasn’t the only Minyo Girls’ t-shirt in the audience. A few people at the Mingaru show made it over to Minowa as well. After the show, the line snaked around the store aisles. I decided to go outside and have another drink before queueing up. I was checking out some of their goods. The shop had a 6-year old Limited Box Set of Hamasaki Ayumi’s 13th album for sale. Jeez, I wonder how valuable that is? They were selling it for around 27500 yen. Eventually it was my turn, and I decided to pose with my new DVD.

First thing, Wasamin noticed my new haircut. Yatta! After Zunchan noticed it at the AKB event on Saturday, Wasamin better notice too! Anyway, she said she liked it. I told her I was more comfortable with it short. I also mentioned that I saw her performance at NHK Hall earlier in the week, which she thanked me for and asked if I enjoyed it. She also asked me if I had watched the concert DVD yet. I told her no, and explained that although I had already purchased and received the BluRay, I do not currently own a BluRay player. Now that I had purchased the DVD I could finally watch. It gave everyone a good laugh.

I only had the one 2-shot ticket, and I could tell that the shop owners were trying to shoo people out of the store once they were done, so I took off. I noticed that the Eastern terminus of the Toden Arakawa Line Streetcar was right across the street. It would take a bit longer to get home than the subway, but it is a nice, scenic ride, and it avoids Central Tokyo, instead going through smaller and interesting neighborhoods.

My next Wasamin event will be her Karaoke Party on June 2nd, which I won via the Sado no Ondeko insert contest. After that it will be her Yokohama Concert on the 17th. She also has a few mini-lives, but three of them I cannot make because of school, or the June 3rd AKB Jabaja event. I could go to the event on June 10th, but it’s at one of those out of the way malls that’s nowhere near any train station. So we’ll see.

By the way, Wasamin announced this afternoon that in August there will be a re-release of her 7th single with new covers and B-side tracks.  So look out for updates on that!

CK in Tokyo  

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