Hello! Project 2016 SUMMER ~Sunshine Parade~ plus another handshake?!
I wrote a post on December 31st 2015 : https://nyuchandesu.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/2016-here-i-come/
The post was about seeing a Hello!Project concert live. I can’t stress enough how important the experience was for me. It was a goal I set for myself but never truly believed in. One of those bucket list events like: traveling to New Zealand, kissing Benedict Cumberbatch and winning a million dollars. You like to day dream about it but you don’t practice kissing techniques on your elbow (or DO you?).
Before going to Japan, I googled the venue, recognising it from pictures immediately. When you just watch the concerts on the computer screeen, you don’t really focus on the actual place. But there it was, real as ever and looking so surprisingly normal. I still have this a bit underwhelming feeling when the ground itself doesn’t sparkle or the unicorns don’t fly in the sky around a H!P related event. They are merely idols, working for the paycheck among other idols and ordinary people. No big deal. WHERE’S THE MAGIC?!!
Oh, yes. The magic was right there in front of my eyes. Me and my sister, moved from our friend’s house at Hachioji, to a hostel at Nakano so we walked by Nakano Sun Plaza everyday. It was magic everytime and I took photos at any occasion. Look at this legendary beauty. I saw the sparkles and the rainbow with my heart.
The Hello Project concert was divided into Sunshine Parade and Rainbow Carnival. I had tickets for both. The first to go was Sunshine Parade. I met with Akiko so she could help me buy merchandise. The first time to buy official merchandise. Fans in front of the venue had a tent to exchange the goods but I had none to exchange yet and boy was I ready to spend my hard earned cash on impractical idol stuff.
Usually, I saw merch as scanned pictures on Hello!Online or a small pixalated flyer on a shop Twitter. I had no idea how the process would go. In Otodama, there were desks near the entrance, but at Nakano the selling happened inside. Thank God, because it was freaking scalding hot outside. The queue was long but not impossibly long and as usual in Japan, very efficient with three rows of people moving at the same time. Once inside, I saw a huuuge poster thing with the merch and prices.
The most difficult thing was not buying EVERYTHING immediately. Visiting the official Hello!Project shop was still ahead of me. Not to mention the pesky stuff like eating and surviving in Tokyo until the end of my visit *shrugs*.
There was so much I wanted to buy. For me, the bigger the photo the better. Aki was very helpful with translations and answering million times the same question patiently. The queue was almost up the stairs and it was nearly impossible for me to decide. The photos that were the most appealing were the big ones with dates that you could only buy at the venue, that very day. I needed the photos of all my oshis in every group plus some Airi for me, some Nacky and Hamachan for Morningtime. What about the Hello Project bag? Or the random photos? Or the capsules? How could I say no?!
When I told Aki my order she was in shock. I bought a lot that day even though it’s probably nothing when compared to some more affluent fans out there. It was a lot for a casual Japanese fan. The woman at the counter did not care one bit about my face of utter excitement and childlike bliss. She was just happy that Aki translated whatever needed translation and my transaction was done.
Me with not even half of stuff I bought 😄 Can you see the bliss though? It’s there.
Double bliss right there 🙂 Can you see how ppl in the background just don’t give a damn?
The bliss up close. Still no excitement in the background.
When the time came to line up I was pumped on adrenaline. Again, nobody else was. How I envy them. I’d love to have Hello!Project around me almost everyday to the point of mild boredom. Okay, it has the downsides. I want to be spoiled with H!P >o< We went up the stairs inside Nakano Sun Plaza. The security asked me some questions that Aki couldn’t answer because she was in a parallel line but they just let me in ignoring my confused look. It was probably something about having a camera, a kitchen knife or anything like that. They looked inside my bag and gave me
a bunch of flyers treasure.
Inside the hall, we found our places which were more to the left (for a change) and quite far away to my dissapointment. What was an even bigger dissapointment was a total disinterest of people around me. I really wanted the friendliness. I didn’t travel around the globe to meet a bunch of people not excited over stuff that I was excited over. The guy sitting next to us was looking bored. There were many people like him, looking antisocial and used to going to concerts like this. The situation was slightly better in the front rows where groups of people prepared for wotageing or at least exchanged jokes and gossip. Those groups looked more like cliques to me and some of them had this vibe from the Tokyo Idol Festival MAGICAL RAILING area, mainly”cross me and I’ll cut you” vibe.
I chose to stick to Akiko and having the time of my life.
The concert started with a cartoonish safety video making me believe that Japanese people may not remember how to use chairs. I looked at Aki not knowing whether to laugh or stay shocked. But soon the concert started.
- GOOD BYE Natsuo Hell, yeah! I love this song so much! It’s so dramatic, energetic and simply good old fun. It requires great vocals and the girls did their best.Some of the girls entered from the side doors but were too far away from me to see properly. Such a pity. But I could see all of them on stage and it felt unreal. I already saw the outfits online and they were okay. They could be worse and they could be better. I hated the hats. They looked tacky.
- Hello! Massara no Jibun – Hello Pro Kenshuusei I listened to the song from the opening concert recordings. It was very Hello!Project without anything to make it into my fav list. The title sounds like Hontou no Jibun meets Massara Blue Jeans and Say!Hello!.
- Watashi ga Obasan ni Natte mo – Tsubaki Factory After TIF, I felt a deeper connection with the girls and had pure fun listening and clapping along to their songs. They are an unexperienced but lovely bunch.
- Ora wa Ninkimono – Kobushi Factory Yesssss. That’s more like it! I got super excited and jumpy during this one. I went all in with the singing and crazyiness. Kobushi Factory are the best live! You can’t sit still when they perform. The goofiness is contagious.
- Boogie Woogie LOVE – Country Girls It was my first time seeing Country Girls live and I cheered for Momoko because of my Berryz Koubou sentiment. Aki cheered for Yamaki Risa. It’s a fun song but the performance was very well rehearsed and lacked the liveliness for me. It was like every wave and wink was exactly like on the music video.
- Dream Road ~Kokoro ga Odoridashiteru~ – Juice=Juice I’m no Juice=Juice fan since they changed style. I preferred the saxophone days. I cheer for Karin (another alien face). The song is like a strange improvised modern dance number. I don’t buy it. A nice song but doesn’t do it for me.
- Itoshima Distance – ANGERME Out of all Angerme songs and even S/mileage reportaire, this was one of the least favourites of mine. I was happy to see Angerme live for the first time and I had the time to observe the new member.
- The Vision – Morning Musume ’16 It was my first time seeing Morning Musume live. My heart was pounding so much. I regret, not having better seats and not getting any special waves or eye contact. I got to see the legend performing and it was amazing. They are such strong performancers. They dance fiercely. It was like watching a well oiled machine. Perhaps, seeing them closer I’d see the flaws, but from far away, it was just perfection. And I don’t even like the song 😄
- Summer Wind – ℃-ute With C-ute as with Tsubaki Factory, there’s the sentiment involved. I had an opportunity to interact with them earlier, to see them up close, to shake their hands. With them on stage, I enjoyed every song far more then Country Girls. Plus, my H!P oshi Airi was performing so it was super special on many levels. It also helps that I luuuv the song 🙂
- Hello Pro Time Machine Corner 1 I WISH – Hamaura Ayano, Ogawa Rena, Kishimoto Yumeno Obviously, I was cheering for Hamachan, for Morningtime’s sake 🙂 All of the girls, did very well although they have nothing on my ultimate oshi-Aibon.
- Hello Pro Time Machine Corner 2 Kokuhaku Kinenbi – Nomura Minami, Taguchi Natsumi, Asakura Kiki, Morito Chisaki MINAMI!!!!!! My oshi in a song? I won’t stay mad with the song for too long although I’m not a big fan either. MINAMIIIII!!!!
- Samidare Bijo ga Samidareru – Kobushi Factory, Tsubaki Factory YES! The period when Juice=Juice had fierce and epic songs with an epic groups like Kobushi Factory? Count me in! Tsubaki Factory was there as well, but were obviously outshone by the epicness of Kobushi girls. MINAMIIII again 😀
- Crazy Kanzen na Otona – Country Girls The sexy vibe doesn’t suit them too well but it’s C-ute’s song after all so who am I to complain?
- Gashin Shoutan – Juice=Juice It took me some time to recognise the song. It’s damn catchy but fairly fresh. A good one but not great. With Ups and Downs to choose from, I skipped Gashin Shoutan.
- Chotto Guchoku ni! Chototsumoushin – ANGERME A good choice for a strong group like Angerme to get a song by another strong group like Kobushi. The growling was done perfectly by Takeuchi Akari.
- Itooshikutte Gomen ne – Morning Musume ’16 What a surprise! A cute song form MM? Such an odd but wonderful choice. DUUUUU!!!!
- Summer Night Town – ℃-ute A cool song that C-ute can pull off really well. It’s an oldie and I love it.
- Hello! Project Station Dance Club Performance I really want to say awesome things about it but I expected so much more intensity. It was a good performance but I think that the Dance Club had better choreographies and better music in the past.
- Jouro – Juice=Juice Decent. Easy to forget. Don’t make me say more.
- Taiki Bansei – ANGERME (with 5th generation) OMG! It’s the world’s catchiest song that I thought would be awesome live but I had no idea. It was SUPERB! I jumped, screamed and sung the song with everybody. It was the moment when nobody looked bored and everybody knew the lyrics. Pure happiness. Energy was over the roof.
- Tokyo to Iu Katasumi – Morning Musume. ’16 DUUUU!!!! I used to be picky when watching them up close, but from my row they looked perfect 🙂 LEGEN wait for it DARY
- Naze Hito wa Arasoun Darou? – ℃-ute Breathe, don’t cry. Just breathe and stop crying.
- Hitorijime – Tsubaki Factory It’s was a new song at the time so I enjoyed it. I still prefer V-u-den’s song with the same title which means that Tsubaki’s song is not THAT great 😄
- Samba! Kobushi Janeiro – Kobushi Factory (with Hello Pro Kenshuusei as backdancers) I had a blast with this song at TIF when I was alone and I had double blast here with Aki.
- Rhythm ga Yonderu zo – Country Girls (with Hello Pro Kenshuusei as backdancers) Okey, with this song my love for Country Girls grew. It’s such a lovely, fun and interactive song! Super cute.
- KEEP ON Joshou Shikou!! – Juice=Juice Michael Jackson in da house, ladies and gentlemen. I had mixed feelings about it. Catchy but wacky, and I’m not sure if that’s what they aimed for.
- Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku – ANGERME (with 5th generation) This couldn’t get any better, right? Bring it on, Angry Germs!
- Shabondama – Morning Musume ’16 Well, it certainly can get better and it just did! How many dreams come true can one hope for?! I’m totally in love with this song and just a couple of days before I said that to Tanaka Reina herself 😄
- Arashi wo Okosunda Exciting Fight! – ℃-ute There’s never enough of crying. Happy crying is okay.
- Utakata Saturday Night! …..and we’re back on the happy train!!! What a way to finish a concert. This song played around Tokyo all the time. It was so much fun.
After the concert ended, I looked at Aki with a face split in half with the stupidiest smile ever. The crowd slowly started flooding out of the doors and I took an opportunity to buy more stuff because very important reasons I can’t disclose but it has something to do with me really, really wanting more stuff so don’t judge me.
- There was something about Juice=Juice new single and a lady with a list was trying to make people sign something I couldn’t quite understand. When Aki explained to me what it was… oh, dude…. I mean…. holey moley….I was speechless. There was a quick handshake event right after the concert with some of the girls from Juice=Juice to promote the single. Aki asked me if I wanted to attend and I think I might have strained my neck by nodding too vigorously. There wasn’t much time, since the handshake already started (remember that I was very busy shopping) and Aki tried her best to fill the pre-order form and spend my money on a single I didn’t really like by a group I wasn’t even that much into. Screw logic. I loooveeee handshakes for a chance to actually meet a H!P member face to face. There were only three members and no Karin for me. There was Sayuki (the Voice), Kanatomo (the I don’t know you) and Yukanya (the Cute One).
- Some staff member grabbed my bag and lead me away from Aki who tried to help me translate something I would like to say but the handshake was just too damn fast. The girls were jammed in a tiny room with ppl going down the corridor, going into the room behind a plastic wall for like 2 seconds and pushed out of the room. It must have been the world’s quickest …ekhm…job ever 😄
- In the meantime, I was the last one to go which made me super, super happy but very nervous. Again, I was to say my standard things learnt at Japan Expo’s handshakes. Some small crowd of girls in front of me, got giddy and decided to go last. I really didn’t want to play any games with them like “No, you go first. No, you do” with my limited japanese so I stayed in front of them, getting closer to the magic door when another staff member was spraying ppl’s hands. It was so damn fast!
- I went inside and got starstruck by the girls (scrap anything bad I said about them, they’re so beautiful, warm, idol-like and just amazing at what they do). I was ready to throw my “I’m from Poland,” and “I’m an English teacher” at them but I got totally blocked by Sayuki who looked at my obviously not Asian face and just screamed (literally, screamed) “THANK YOU! I LOVE YOU!” which you can note lasts more than a second so when I reached Kanatomo’s hand, my face was still turned to Sayuki’s screaming. I think I managed to say something along “Great concert” to Yukanya but I clearly remember her smiling face. She was polite and gentle. Sayuki was just ballistic 😀 She reminded me of Maimi at Japan Expo with her over the top facial expressions. Great experience, so worth the price of the CD (I still haven’t retrieved it from Aki as it was sent to her address :D).
– great songs
-sharing the experience with Aki
– handshake and Sayuki’s screaming
-not so great seats which meant no interactions with the girl’s on stage
-fans around that didn’t socialise
-not enough time to interact at the handshake
Overall, It was an amazing concert but so different from Otodama and Japan Expo. If I wanted to rank them Otodama would be first (the intensity, the interactions), Harocon second (the real deal) and Japan Expo third but still better than TIF 🙂
Rainbow Carnival, here I come!!!