Tokyo Idol Festival 8/6 2016 Meeting Tanaka Reina
There was still time before my next big event, Kobushi Factory concert, so I needed some rest. Stuffin my face with rice balls and some Pocari Sweat (my staple dinner during the stay)
I chilled on the floor in the air coinditioned hall of the venue. Once ready to explore other places of the festival, I ventured into the land of the HEAT DEMON that together with the HUMIDITY WITCH actively tried to kill me during my stroll. I decided to look through some idol merch since going to the Hello Project official shop was still ahead of me.
The area I found consisted of various tents with idols or just staff members asking people around to look through the CDs, flyers or inviting for meet-and-greets. It was awkward watching those young girls asking for people to come while most wotas just passed them by. I know it’s their job, but I think I would be too shy to do it. I wanted to go to every booth, buy the merch and talk to all of them. It’s hard to explain, but I felt rude for just walking along seemingly uninterested. I have the same feeling towards any other people in my country giving out flyers. Idols doing that? That’s a whole anther level of shyness.
I tried walking in the middle of the lane and avoiding any eye contact.
There were so many events happening at the same time. Suddenly I walked by a H!P wota. I looked in his direction and was baffled to see UpUpGirls standing in one of those empty booths. They were either after or before a handshake event but nobody was lining up. My jaw reached the floor. The wota I noticed, told me that the event just ended but if I’m a H!P wota, then there’s gonna another event with LoVendoЯ in 15 minutes or so. My jaw was still on the floor. Do you mean…. Tanaka Reina? Here? For a handshake event?! Breathe, just breathe and try not to die (thank you HEAT DEMON for not helping at all.).
I walked to the booth the event was going to take place and saw some other idol group having a handshake event as well. There were some people lining up, but not many. A staff member approached me and asked me to join because the handshake is free and the girls would be very happy. They looked cute and pure so I decided to give it a go and prepare myself mentally for another idol breakdown later on. The members were fun. I used some basic English and they thank you’d me a lot. I chose the cutest one as my oshi which made her happy. Making idols happy is fun.
I asked the same guy about the LoVendoЯ event and it turned out I was the first one in the line for them. I mean, OMG OMG OMfuckingG. Again, give me a moment to explain my excitement. First of all, it wasn’t part of my plan. I had no idea that I would get a handshake event with any H!P member. I planned Harocon, Otodama and TIF as my only idol related events. Secondly, Tanaka Reina was a part of Morning Musume for so long. She was a member when I got into H!P and a huge contributor to the MM history. It didn’t matter that I was never her fan and ignored her new band altogether. Meeting somebody like her was like having a handshake with a freaking legend!
a tacky, wonkey eyed, yankee looking legend. It still counts!
While watching some more people lining up, I noticed a small group of foreigners looking around. Immediately, I recognized Maria, a fan from Chile. We talked about going to Japan and Harocon via Twitter. We didn’t plan on meeting up yet we did! How lucky is that?! She was with her friends and together we freaked out about LoVendoЯ handshake they would definitely attend with me.
When the event was about to start, it turned out that it’s not free and you need to buy a CD. I mean DUH, I felt so stupid, but nobody told us! I ran to another booth with merch and quickly bought a CD and got a handshake ticket. It was numbered but luckily nobody cared. We had to go to the back of the line but it was ok. Seeing Reina, paralyzed me. I was totally unprepared. I took my notebook to practice some Japanese phrases.
In my mind:
ME (in Japanese): Is this your cow? How much is that suitcase? I ate delicious ramen yesterday.
TANAKA REINA( in Japanese): SECURITY!!!!
Okay, it wasn’t a good idea. I just had to fall back on my Paris experience plus some new self-introductions.
ME (in Japanese): I’m Polish. I’m an English teacher. I’m a Morning Musume wota since Sakura Mankai.
TANAKA REINA: *smiling politely* Thank you.
She showed me OK sign during my speech letting me know that she understood my mumblings. My voice was shaking so much 😀
I must have looked totally in bliss because a wota from the line approached me and gave me another handshake ticket. Wow, my love for the wota family grew again. There’s still hope in this world. I had no idea what to say to the girls again. I think I added a bit about loving “Shabondama”. Reaction was pretty plain and distant again. Reina reminded me of Sugaya Risako at Japan Expo. She was professional but not so much invested. She must have done that kind of event billions of times and it’s not like I told her anything super surprising or funny. Still, I had lots of fun and it was amazing seeing her so up close. She’s a pretty girl with lots of kakkoiness. Other members as well, but I’m sorry that I can’t tell you more. My focus was solely on Reina. I knew that one of the members announced her graduation at that time, but I didn’t want to start this topic with her so I just stuck to the same mumblings minus the H!P stuff.
This TIF was getting more and more surprising.