Real Berryz

Berryz Kobo 10 Year Anniversary

Berryz Kobo 10 Year Anniversary

10 years! Wow, that’s a long time. Congratulations Berryz! It interesting to think too, that I’m personally in my seventh year of following them. All that time, well, it’s been a great ride and I hope it continues for however long.

So in me posting here, one might guess and guess correctly, that I’ve just returned from Japan to see Berryz. Three days of concerts and a day of individual handshakes were on the menu for this go ’round. That adds up to five performances and over forty chats with the girls. I guess I’ll start off with just a general summary and or some commentary about the whole goings-ons, then get to some comments on the individual girls.

Real BerryzReal Berryz

The concert was great, though I’ll mention it seemed to be lacking a certain something. There was obviously a theme, but it didn’t seem as prominent to me. Not quite sure why, as there were MCs and such… No matter, it was fun. On the top, they played a memorable PV as chosen by one of the members. During the first show, it was Captain, who picked Rival which happens to be my favorite song, so that was a great way to kick things off.

Berryz would then come out and their first performance was a new song off their newly release best album (Koiseyo!). I had left for Japan on the day it was released so I had not gotten a chance to hear it yet, but I can say I loved all of the new ones. Onnna no Ko in particular, was just great. The song, the dance, it’s a shame the only way to get to see it is via concert. I’ll be looking forward to seeing it on DVD in any case, and perhaps this will be one of those album songs they continue to perform fairly regularly, it was just too cool. Keeping the overall commentary brief, I just wanted to say that during one of the concerts, as they broke off to do smaller group performances, they ran the groups from their 6th album. Loved these songs when I heard them, and first saw too, and was glad to see them again here. On their tenth anniversary, they switched things up a little. During the encore the preformed their first three singles, then finally, Bye Bye Mata Ne. It was an awesome ending, and things wrapped up with faux sakura petals falling from the ceiling.

Now, on to some individual observations at he concert, though here too I’ll provide some details of my experience at the individual handshakes. Last time I did the handshakes, I only got one ticket for each member, that is, outside of Chinami who I got close to thirty. This time however, I got three tickets for everybody (though again too, I ended up with close to 30 for Chii). Had lots to say, though it was sometimes hard to find the right words with regards to how to say it, yeah.

First things first though. A bunch of people seemed surprised that I was lining up for anyone else except for Chinami. They all know Chinami is my girl, so perhaps the assumption is that I’ll go to her to the exclusion of everyone else. To address this briefly I’ll just state it this way: while it is Chinami’s image that I have tattooed over my heart, and I love her dearly, more than anything else in the world if I am to be honest, it is Berryz name that is tattooed there as well. I love ‘em all, though it is obviously a special kind of love that I’ve got for Chii.

Anyway, here we go:

Captain

Captain is hands down the best dancer on the stage. Her dancing is so sharp and wow. It’s great to watch her do her thing, what a pro. Last time I saw her (at Budokan), Captain was pretty enthused when I talked to her the day after the concert, acknowledging that she had seen me there. She was pretty enthused again here, seeing me at the concerts this time too. It makes me happy to watch her and see her happy, yeah. It also eats me up to see her sad (or perhaps sad is not the right word, she was happy, thankful, but crying in any case). She is, and has admitted, to being a little bit of an emotional girl. Well, I just wanna give her a hug when she gets like that, heh. Have so much respect for her.

When we talked at the handshake, she was again enthusiastic, pointing out that she had seen me having a lot of fun in the first row at the concert. In part thanks to you Captain, thank you.

Momochi

Momochi is the best idol, if you didn’t already know, because I mean, she has told you time and time again, how could you not know by now. Come on get with the program, hah. Some might find this character of hers annoying and or disingenuous, but I kinda just see it as an idol trying to be the best idol she can be. It’s kind of tricky though, because it often times does come off as an act, as fake, but at the same time, I don’t know, I see it as more of a performance, and she performs it well. I’ve conflicted feelings about the whole thing.

I’ve mentioned on this site before I believe, that I’ve danced with Berryz. Now, when I say I’ve danced with them, I don’t mean like, we doubled up and did the walls or something, heh; what I mean is when the girls give me their full attention for an extended period of time as we’re singing and dancing, together. Chinami does it with me a lot, no surprise, but this time Momochi got in on the fun as well. I was right in front of her during the Wow parts of Otakebi Boy and she locked in on me and we did the song and dance (which went on for the whole ~12 seconds, that’s like an eternity, haha). When we dance, the girls always get extra expressive too, which is just awesome. They see me having a good time, and we’re just having a good time together.

During the handshake I wished Momo a happy birthday amongst other things. Also mentioned, and she was really appreciative to hear, that I loved her voice in their latest single Otona na no yo! I sang to her crudely to cite an example, the simple “wow” part. She could tell exactly what we’re referring to. Seriously, her voice there is like butter (if I’m using the metaphors correctly, ha). It’s just so smooth and rich and awesome. I could have cited many other examples where Momoko’s voice has impressed me, but ain’t got time for that, heh.

Berryz Kobo - Chinami Tokunaga

Chinami

Chinami was in the center of the stage a bit more than usual during this tour which was nice. Having had a few tickets there in the center it was nice for me too, heh. Her part during Onna no Ko ni~ is just epic. She sings her line in the center, and then just backs up all cool like. Seriously, this song and performance is great, and Chinami just rocks it. After Onna no Ko ni, Chinami gets some more time to shine with Mou, Kodomo Janai. Great song featuring Chinami, and I just love her sweet sounding voice.

Locked eyes with Chii. Dancing with Chii. Smiling with Chii. I’m love struck. There’s so many little moments with Chii at the concerts these days, I don’t even know where to start in describing them. I will mention though, at the end of every concert, Chii gave me a special wave and a word or two as she leaves (just a simple thank you, or bye bye). Just for me. Yeah, I feel special.

So on to the handshake. First session, first person I go to see, is Chinami. As she sees me outside of the little cube she is behind, she leans over and enthusiastically calls out my name. “Geoffrey~!” I walk forward and she’s got both hands in the air with a great big smile on her face (not to mention she’s on her tip toes, though I’m not that much taller than her, ha). My hands meet with hers, and we then do a sort of wide rotating motion of the hands away from each other and back in to each other where eventually settle clasped down in the center in front of us. I was more than happy to see her again, and there no denying it, she was happy to see me too. As mentioned, I had plenty of tickets for Chinami, but to add to that, I passed on more than a few to a friend as well. The idea was for my friend to help with communication and passing on information to Chii on my behalf. We did this last time I was here and it worked out well, so too would I call it a success this time around.

Food, sports, music, travel. Talked about a bunch of different topics. I told her about my recent trip to Tokyo DisneySea, and at the end of doing so, asked if she like Disney too. I asked in Japanse mind you, but her response was in English. “I like Tokyo DisneySea!” Yay! She was so loud, and enthusiastic (which I later pointed out to her, saying I liked it, she responds in English “Big Voice!”). There were a bunch of little English moments with us. So many moments of this kind or another, I’m not going to go through them all. I will say though, Chinami and I, we’re planning a trip to Hawaii, also New York, also, Kentucky. Ha. All at her request. All the while, I’m going to be teaching her English. Yup, yup. It truly was a delight to interact with her. At our last interaction together, she said, “See you tomorrow!” I didn’t correct her, heh.

I’ll mention one last thing about the handshake with her, though it’s sort of an indirect comment. The staff there. They’d always be smiling as I walked out of Chinami’s cube, amused by our interaction no doubt. They’d even be clapping some of the time for one reason or another. I just thought that was funny how seemingly supportive they were (if you could say that’s what it was).

This next bit is perhaps a bit tangential, but I thought I’d mention it anyway. I was asked by a friend if I thought Chinami was cute. If I thought Chinami was sexy. Now, the answer should be simple, and one may guess my answer, being the big Chinami fan that I am, but it’s not that simple. I hesitated. The answer was fundamentally, yes, but I felt that those words, they don’t do her justice. Cute? An internal dialogue then gets to running: are you kidding me? Chinami is so much more than cute it’s not even funny. Sexy? Can you even begin to describe perfection with such a lonely word. I realize I’m laying it on rather thick (though this is just the tip of the iceberg), but the reality is, I tend to think of things this way. I have fallen so completely for this girl.

In continuing the tangent, I’ll make reference to another thing this friend asked me about back when I was out there in December. I can’t recall the context exactly, or the exact wording, but it was something along the lines of, what sort of relationship do you see between you and her, what type of relationship would you want, what would be the ideal. Again, hesitation on my part. Let’s be real though, what are the chances? I’m not saying that it’s impossible, in fact I am of the mindset that anything is possible, but I’m also a realist. I am not so enamored as to be blinded by the fact that I am me, and she is she. But if we were we, that’d be dandy. Now, that’s not the answer I gave to my friend, and the way I’ve explained it here kind of dances around the question, but in an ideal world, things would be as they’re meant to be.

Pardon, I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic. One may have noticed that I generally tend to not go into great detail about my feelings and or comment much on my interactions with Chii. The reason being, if I were to do so, I’d be spitting out nonstop poetic nonsense, butterflies and rainbows and flowers and ew, no one wants to hear or see any of that, ha.

Maasa

My first impression after seeing Maasa at the start of the concert was, Snow White. With the short hair and the outfit, she really reminded me of her. I say, she looks like a princess, but she will always be Berryz King to me, heh. Hey, Maasa! Maasa~! It’s kinda a pain trying to get her attention, though it has been my observation that she rarely gives it, to anyone. On the third day, I was finally able to get it though, if only for a second. Maasa’s performance during the second day afternoon show with Yurina, Ground Demo from their 6th album, I like this song, and I like this team.

During the handshake, I told her about the Snow White thing she seemed surprised. I also told her that I thought her performance of Ground Demo was cool too. Her response to that, I loved it. She just kept on denying and downplaying it, like, no, no, I’m not cool or anything. The way she spoke however, in that moment it was totally cool, ha. I could probably find some videos of the cool Maasa I’m talking about, but you may already know what I mean. On a side note, last I saw her, during the Rock Erotic release event, she, as one of the guys was totally cool again too. We told her as such (back then), and she was happy. Anyway, I’ll conclude this piece on her by saying: cool Maasa is cool.

Miyabi

Miyabi always seems to have a little something fashion wise going on when compared to the rest of Berryz. Even when they’re all dressed similarly, there’s always something unique about Miya, whether it’s a glove, or a bracelet or whatever. I like that bout her. On the second day of concerts, another lovely team paired, Miya and Momo, the Berryz half of Buono! Ai ni wa, Ai desho was great to see. That’s pretty much where my commentary on Miya ends as she was unfortunately not at the individual handshakes. She had gotten sick.

Yurina

Yurina sweats a lot, I’ve mentioned before on this blog. It might be a weird observation to make, but it’s really apparent. The fact that she does so, it’s somehow endearing. That’s not weird to say or anything, is it? Heh. As I mentioned with Maasa, their performance of Ground Demo was fun, one of my favs. During Heroine and Shining Power I enjoyed seeing Yurina there too, and she couldn’t help but notice my mad dancing skills, ha.

During the handshakes the interactions with her were pleasant as usual. I told her about my enjoyment of her performance of Ground Demo, and she seemed happy to hear it. Not much else to report.

Risako

It’s happening again! I’d really like to know what’s going on in Risako’s head. Every time it happens, I question, am I just misinterpreting things. Is it just my imagination? But then, it’s been happening for years, it can’t be, nothing. Well, whatever it is, it seems I’m still under the witch’s spell. I used to say she was shy about it, but she’s not really being shy about it now. There’s the thing, dancing with me (as mentioned with Momo), and then there’s dancing -for- me. Risako has been dancing for me, yeah. Then there’s the looks, and the smiles, and the coy little glances. It was fun to watch her on stage. It seems like she was really happy to be back on tour. More into it than usual, energetic and all around having a good time.

During the handshake, since I had some extra time with her this time, I confronted her about the looks she was giving me. Okay, not really, ha, but I mentioned directly, that I liked it when she smiled at me when she is on stage. She said thank you, and that she thought my smiling face was cute. Uh Risako, don’t say that. Now not only is she killing me with her eyes, and smiles, and moves, now she’s killing me with her words; that woman is dangerous!

So that’s where things end for this latest trip to Japan. Had a great time as per usual. Seeing Berryz, and friends, and traveling and seeing the sights. Until next time!

Berryz Boyz and Girlz Rock

Saturday in Osaka there was an event for Berryz latest single. If you bought the box set from a certain company, you could get your picture taken with the “boys” of Rock Erotic, and or the “girls.” There were also individual handshake events later in that came with the regular editions if the CDs.

Berryz Boys V1

Berryz Boys V1

Saw the boys first. They were all happy to see me. Kentucky-san. Got to interact with them for a little bit before moving on. Yurina made a comment on how tall I was, something that I would follow up on later. The pose was from the ROCK Erotic MV, where the boys do that finger lift thing, yeah.

Berryz Girlz

Berryz Girlz

The girls were next, and again I got some enthusiastic welcomes. Risako remarked as well, that she had seen me earlier in the day. The pose I chose was Momochi’s yurushite nyan. I kinda messed up on it haha, the girls all seemed to find it funny that I wanted to do this. Momochi most of all of course.

Berryz Boyz v2

Berryz Boyz v2

Third, the boys again and some more pleasant conversation. Lingered a bit on this one talking to Chii. I did a guitar pose, and Chinami asked if I played the guitar, and I had to clarify that no I didn’t, it was just a[nother] pose from the MV. Nothing exceptional here, but it was nice seeing the girls, starting things off with pleasantries.

Individual Handshakes

A couple hours after the boy/girl shots, Berryz would return for the individual handshakes. Going into it I had 12 tickets, one for each member, with a few extra for Chinami; ended up with around thirty something tickets however, by the end of the day.

When I spoke to Captain last month, I told her that I would be coming to Budokan. She seemed really excited to hear that. When it came to the individual handshake, I told her that I had had a good time the night before at Budokan. She enthusiastically mentioned that she had seen me there in the first row during the concert. I went on to tell her that I enjoyed seeing her dance, and that I thought she was the best dancer.

Momo‘s line was empty a few times, I think she may have been crying a little bit because of it. I can’t confirm that, but she definitely had tears in her eyes at one point. At the start of the second handshake I was at the front of Chii’s line and could see over to Momo and she was clearly broken up. Anyway, when I went to talk to her, I had a few things to say. One, was that I thought she was the “perfect idol.” I think I’ve mentioned on this blog before what I mean by that, but whether she is playing a part or showing her real character, I’ve always felt that she is really an idol in a sense. She was really happy when I told her that. I followed it up, saying that I hope she continues to be a person people can look up to. I meant that to say, as an idol, being idolized, but also as a person, as someone people look up to, whether she’s being a teacher or doing whatever else in the future.

Chii, what do I say, what do I say? 5-10 seconds is a long time to be positioned in front of your idol. It almost seems silly to say that, buts it’s the truth. At the same time that I say that it is a long time however, it is also extremely short, yeah, obviously. Sometime before or after the event I could write a book of things I want to tell her, to ask her. Face to face however, the nerves got the better of me. Now, were this in a more casual setting, and the time were longer, I don’t think I’d have a problem coming up with things to talk about (ignore the difficulty in communication because of lack of Japanese ability). The pressure to get everything right in those few seconds however, left little room for mistakes and, yeah, just more pressured.

I was a bit reluctant to keep getting more tickets to see Chinami, but at the same time, it’s like, how could I resist you know. So, needless to say, while it was hard to figure out what to say exactly, I did end up saying a lot. I talked about how her smiling face makes me happy, how ever since I saw her in Gag100, I’ve liked her… lots of little things like that. I told her that while I can’t play the guitar, I have started to play the drums. Her response to this was in English, “Can you play the drums?” Said with short pauses in between each word. Adorable as fudge. I replied in kind, my tone and spacing of the words matching hers, after acknowledging that I thought her English was good, “I can play the drums.” I’ll mention, while I do have a drum set, my actually ability to “play” the drums is questionable, hahaha.

On to bigger things… a friend had mentioned some time back that she and or another friend could help me talk to Chinami, and so that ended up happening a few times. A friend would go before me to kind of set things up, then I’d go in and talk with Chinami with a sort of pretext. I won’t get into the details of all of that, but I will mention one thing.

My friend went before me and was talking about my tattoo. Chinami’s reaction was quite enthusiastic, though that is perhaps to be expected as all of her interacts with me and or about me are, heh. I, being right outside the little booth, Chinami turned to me whilst her and my friend were still talking, and I flashed her my tattoo. Now, I’m sure she has at least heard that I’ve got a Chinami tattoo, and she may have even seen a picture, but she had never seen it in person before then. So, when my friends turn was over and done, I went in and gave her a closer look at it. Pointing out the obvious, that it was her drawing; saying that I got it done in 2009. So, yeah, that’s over and done with. Chinami has seen it, though, I’ll point out, if it wasn’t clear, I only showed her the Chii/Berryz tattoo that is over my heart. She has yet to see the large sunflower on my left arm, or the other Chii on the right side of my chest. She was happy to hear about and see it in any case, and I was happy because of it.

I saw Maasa a few times, she is my second favorite in Berryz after all, but it was difficult to find something to say. No matter, I figured out something. Telling her about how I thought she was cool as Berryz Kamen Red, how I thought she was the best MC. Not much else, but perhaps she now has a little bit of insight into how much I like her.

Miyabi. I think she has the best voice in Berryz. Not to be confused with my favorite voice which is Chii’s, but best in some technical aspect, not that I’m really a good judge of that. So, not only do I think she is the best in Berryz, but in all of H!P as well. When I went to talk to her, I told her as such. She seemed a bit surprised, though if I recall, I had told her something similar a couple years back. On top of complementing her voice, I told her that I bought her fashion was also cool. She is perhaps the most fashionable of Berryz from what I can see, and I wanted her to know that I felt that.

As I mentioned up post, Kumai had remarked earlier in the day that she thought I was tall. Well, I used that comment as sort of a stepping stone for the handshake I had with her. I asked/said that were both tall, aren’t we? To which she agreed. I followed up by saying, but only one of us is beautiful. Kinda cheesy, right. But Yurina is a beauty, and I had wanted to tell her that.

Risako, Risako, I just can’t get a read on you and that drives me crazy. Shy, coy, bold, happy, enthusiastic… Mysterious. That’s it, there’s a mystery behind those eyes. I told her that. I told her that’s what I really like about her. It was in a vague sort of way, as if I were saying, what I like about you Risako, je ne sais quoi. That’s pretty much what it boils down to in any case.

Great time seeing all the girls. Greater time interacting with Chinami. So much fun, even if it is sometimes difficult so figure out what to say and or it can otherwise be a bit nerve wracking.

Berryz at Nippon Budokan

Thanks to all my friends in Japan for hanging and helping me out for this trip. Wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get a good seat for this, but in the end, I got a great seat. Front row, directly to the right of the catwalk. I was a little bit worried, because the seat was a slightly behind the second stage (or whatever you call it), but that turned out to be just fine. For the most part, whoever was at the end would turn towards my side of the stage and so it wasn’t like I was looking at a bunch of backs, though I wouldn’t complain about that view, lol. Not really implying anything there, heh.

Berruz Budokan -AAICLWY

Berruz Budokan -AAICLWY

Got my usual acknowledgments from each of Berryz. Chinami right off the bat, the rest throughout the show; Momochi, Captain and Maasa more so than the others. When C-ute showed up, Mai and Chisato were definitely surprised to see me there. A few of the Eggs I recognized and they recognized me from previous concerts I’m sure. On the topic of the Eggs (I’ll continue to call them that, even though I know they’re not anymore), there was one that stood out tremendously. She was so energetic, and I don’t mean like, happy and geniki, I mean she was going all out during those dances, and really interacting with the crowd and her face was just so expressive. She happened to be right in front of me during her energetic performance, and she definitely stood out. I have no idea who she was, but hopefully I’ll be able to pick her out from the DVD or if other videos pop up somewhere.

I Can't Live Without Chinami

I Can’t Live Without Chinami

A couple of highlights from the concert. They performed Rival (with C-ute), my favorite song, so that was great. Another song they performed, again with C-ute, is one that I’ve heard before but hadn’t known its significance with respect to the Kids; a friend told me about it after the show. The song, Ganbacchae, was the very first song Berryz and C-ute recorded after being accepted into H!P back in 2004. Very nice and sentimental for both Berryz/C-ute and their fans. The girls getting emotional, man does that pull in my heart strings. Love these girls.

Overall, it was a great concert. I’m so happy for the girls to be able to perform at Budokan and I’m so happy to have been able to share in that experience with them. So, that was day one of three with Berryz; an excellent kickoff if I do say so.

Berryz in Kawaguchiko

It’s time for round two of Berryz in Yamanashi: トラベリーズ.com2 Berryz Kobo Fanclub Tour in Kawaguchiko. Not a complete rundown of the bus tour, but as I do, a few highlights follow.

From Tokyo station we traveled to Saiko Lake. Berryz Saikou! That just seemed funny, and appropriate.

First on the schedule was the 8 shot. Yurina came out and said hello just as she did in the last tour, said a few other things and then the rest of the girls followed her shortly thereafter. Happy to see my girls again~!

Berryz in Kawaguchiko

Berryz in Kawaguchiko

Was warmly welcomed by everyone when it was my turn to take my picture. I guess it’s not so much of a surprise when I show up anymore, but it’s a relatively rare occurrence in any case, so there’s always a little bit of that sort of an atmosphere when we meet and greet.

Gag Pose

Gag Pose

The girls were all supposed to be doing the pose that Captain and Miya are doing, but that didn’t happen, lol. It’s fitting though, seeing as I was trying to replay a little something from the Gag 100 opening dance. In the MV, it is Captain and Miya who are doing that move, and they stick it in this shot. Check out the first few seconds of the MV here for reference.

Skipping ahead to the concert that night, it was a lot of fun. Chinami and Yurina performed Nicchoku ~Geinoujin no Kaiwa~ together. They performed that one back in 2007 and it’s quite memorable if I do say so. After the concert, we walked out as the girls were waiting for us to just give a little wave and goodnight. “See you tomorrow,” Chinami said to me, can always count on her to put in that little bit of something.

The morning of the second day, we got to see some monkeys perform. Berryz joined us in the audience and also went on stage a few times before, during and after. The act was really cute, and it was fun to watch on stage and also watch Berryz’ reactions to things. After the morning event, we’d head to our next destination, and before getting off the bus a group of Berryz would board and say a few words to us. As luck would have it my three favorite Berryz, Chinami, Maasa and Captain hopped on our bus. They weren’t there for any amount of time before they took off and we were left alone until the fan meeting and handshake later on that afternoon.

At the beginning of the fan meeting, each Berryz picked a ball with a number that corresponded to one of seven columns of seats; Chinami picked the column I was in. Lucky~ Go Team Chinami!

Next up, let’s play some games. For the first game with the newly chosen teams, each Berryz would come into the crowd and pick a wota to play for them. You can guess where this is headed, yes? Chinami came off stage and walked straight over to me, pointed with both fingers and indicated that she wanted me to go up there with her. I pointed to myself, surprised as if to say “me, really?” Yes really. The surprise was more like love, happiness and excitement that she came right over and picked me first.

So I made it up to stage. A few of the other girls were still picking their reps, so Chinami and I got to talking for a bit. She asked a few questions and I answered as I could. We talked about the game, said good luck and stuff, but it was more about me and her than anything. Amongst the things I told her, “I came from America just to see you. I always come to meet you.” She was really happy when I said that, and confirmed as such by saying so, that she was very happy. I of course was happy to hear that she was happy and, yeah… Ugh, I love this girl, heh. Thanks again for making me feel special.

So the game was a competition to see how many times you can hula hoop, or, um, hula, or whatever the verb would be. I have not done this in like 20+ years, I don’t even know when was the last time. Ready to make a fool out of myself, yes I am! For Chii I would do anything! I’ll also mention that the hula hoop was small, or to say it another way, I am big, both statements true and point to the difficulty I was going to have regardless, haha, not enough space too to really give it a good swing. So they let us practice for a little bit. One loop, then drop, pick it up, loop and drop again. When it got to the real thing, we’ll, same turn of events. After a drop we were allowed to pick it up however, so I did get some credit for my embarrassing efforts. I think I got 3 points for team Chinami, second place for that game? I didn’t get a really good look at the score chart, which was on the opposite side of the stage to where I was sitting (I perhaps got nothing for my efforts, well, besides some Chii time, heh).

So anyway, there were a few more games and competitions and our section continued to cheer Chi on. We didn’t win however, but that’s alright, I definitely felt like a winner, yeah.

Alright, so one last highlight, this time involving Risako. Risako is usually pretty shy when I talk to her, one-on-one, face-to-face, but this time was different. The reason being, she spotted my Rilakkuma tattoo(s) peeking through the top of my shirt collar. After I finished saying what I had to say to her, she pointed and asked “What is that?” (in Japanese). “Oh!” I responded, it took me a split second to realize, I told her it was a tattoo. “Kawaii” she said, her face was lit up. “Rilakkima” I told her and she followed up with another “kawaii” and a “chou kawaii.” I said thank you, a big smile was on her face and as I walked away, her eyes followed me out as she turned towards me, waving enthusiastically with both hands, saying, “bye bye.” So, yeah, like I said, I usually don’t get that much out of Risako during the handshakes, so this was nice. Just another special moment to put into the bank of interactions I’ve had with her.

So that’s it for the highlights. Obviously there was a bunch more that went on during the tour, and a lot of little moments with Chii and the rest of the girls, but this was the stuff that stood out.

Until next time, see you, at Budokan.

Asian Celebration:
Berryz in Japan and Taiwan

Had a bit of an “Asian Celebration” over the past week. Traveled to Japan, primarily for Chinami’s birthday event, but as things unfolded there were a couple of other H!P related things I was able to go to; namely, the Hello! Project Premium Live at Hibiya Yaon and Berryz Kobo Festival in Taipei. Some comments follow.

Hello! Project Premium Live

Hello! Project X Hibiya Yaon

Hello! Project X Hibiya Yaon

I wasn’t initially aware that this would be going on until after I booked my trip. Luckily I was able to catch it early enough and snag some decent tickets. Not the front row mind you, but one or two rows back put me in a nice spot for both performances that day.

As soon as the girls came out, I had to establish my presence with Chinami. “Chinami,” I shouted and waved as she acknowledged. Well that was easy, heh. (Check Chinami giving a wave to her left in the hello station video). The other girls, you could kind of tell that some of them were surprised to see me. I had met a good majority of these girls at the festival back in November ’11, but there have been a lot of new faces since then as well. One general note about the performances, it took a little while to get up to speed on how to dance along and such with most of the non Berryz stuff. Even though I wasn’t all into it some of the time, it was still a lot of fun.

Up first was the “Eggs.” I know at least one of them recognized me from the Berryz concert. Nothing much to report on them other than to say, they put on a good show.

Next up was Juice=Juice (with the Eggs), performing a new single. After which the Eggs would part and leave the stage to the Juice. I’ve enjoyed Juice=Juice’s singles thus far, but I’ve been a little bit put off by their MVs. A word I’ve used to describe them before is “spastic.” I don’t know, their choreography just seems a bit twitchy. That said, as what tends to happen after seeing a live performance, my opinions change a bit. It was much nicer seeing them put on a show up close. The dance seemed less spaz and a bit more snappy, still maybe a little bit much, but enjoyable. One girl stood out to me, Takagi Sayuki. Fun to watch.

Next was S/mileage. Cute outfits, yeah. Their songs I’m a lot more familiar with than the previous two acts and so was able to get involved a little more. The stand out girl in this performance was Akari. Her energy, her dancing ability, she put a lot into her stage presence. Really, just contrast her with the other girls, and she is a star. She may have stood out too, because I have a thing for girls with short hair I think, heh. Dawa was fun to watch too, I’ve liked her a little more since meeting her a while back, she had a nice manner towards me and I guess that’s just stuck in my mind. Her voice too, I like it.

C-ute was up next. No stand out girl here really, they all did a fine job, though I will give props to Chisato during the talking points. Well she’s got the skill for it, stage presence, good job there Chisa. As much as I like C-ute, and for as long as I’ve been listening to them, enjoying their music, videos and what not, I found myself still not going all out and getting into it. Perhaps more than the performances up until that point, but nothing compared to the level with Berryz. I guess that’s really not all that surprising though is it.

My first H!P concert was a joint concert with all of the groups preforming; it was special though in that it was also the one that introduced all of the revived shuffle groups. I bring this up to say that, when one or another group performs, you can totally tell in the audience those who were there to see their respective group (the shuffles I mentioned, kinda messed that up, but I’ve heard reports from others that the regular Summer/Winter concerts seem to go that way). I can relate to that. While I do enjoy the music and do try to keep up with all of the H!P goings-ons, I’m very much a Berryz wota in the end.

Next, Aika. Good hair, that is, she covered up her forehead a bit, heh. Didn’t like the way she had been wearing her hair for a time, so that just stands out to me. I’m a bit torn in whether Aika is too cute, or too “granny” as someone I know had a habit of calling her. Anyway, she did pretty well with her one song.

Berryz were next. Of course Chinami was the girl who stood out for me this time. First time getting to see their new single too, was fun trying to learn the music and choreography on the fly (in a way similar to the performances by the other groups I was less familiar with). This was my first time seeing Tsunku, he had walked around shortly before the live started, so it was expected he was going to make an appearance on stage. The whole Budokan thing, no comment really. Captain Crying, I believe she admitted recently that she is a bit of a crybaby, even knowing that though, I don’t like to see her down.

Morning Musume finished up the individual group performances. Good stuff from the flagship group I’d say. I’m a little ashamed to say that I tucked away my orange glow stick during the evening performance when MM took the stage. I like Kudo and all, but I didn’t want to send the wrong message, you know? If I had to pick one stand out girl in this group, it would have to be Zukki. I just found myself going back to her over and over again. She puts in a good effort.

Overall fun times. I’m glad I was able to see the whole of H!P again.

Chinami’s Birthday Event

Chinami's 21st Birthday T-Shirt

Chinami’s 21st Birthday T-Shirt

Not much to say about this other than I had a great time of course. My seats were a little far back, but I still got in some good Chii time. Chinami’s English started things off, as she explained the English she used in the event name, and then translated the Japanese subtitle into English. Among the songs she performed, I was glad to see Mou, Kodomo Janai Watashi Nano ni in there. That song is Chii’s song, yeah. Koi no Telephone GOAL was another fun one. Can I just say, love Chinami’s voice. She’s so much fun on stage, so having the night to herself, it was very entertaining.

Berryz Kobo Worldwide Handshake Event in Taiwan

Berryz Have Arrived

Berryz Have Arrived

Got to the airport a couple hours early to greet Berryz as they arrived. There were probably about 20 or so people there (for Berryz) already when I got there; maybe about 50 by the time Berryz showed up. The girls looked good. Curiously though, Chinami was wearing a shirt that said “BLACK” on it. I found that to be interesting.

I was hoping Chinami would have worn her “BLACK” shirt at the handshake later that evening, I wanted to ask her about it; I guess I could have said something anyway, but it slipped my mind, heh. Just thought it was kinda random to have on a nice shirt like that, with the text displayed across it. Random English words aren’t really all that uncommon in some fashion though, hmm.

Berryz Handshake in Taipei

Berryz Handshake in Taipei

For the handshake itself, nothing too eventful. I was up front and on Chii’s side of the stage when they came out and introduced themselves, so I immediately stood out. As they settled, Chinami looked my way and said something to Maasa who was beside her, not sure what that was about, hmm. Some good interactions with Chinami, and the other girls too throughout the event; stealing smiles and waves when there were gaps between the handshakes. Chinami really played to the crowd in general, she was really enjoying herself.

ENJOY! Yurina and I at the Handshake

ENJOY! Yurina and I at the Handshake

The next day, Berryz’ time in Taiwan was covered in a couple of newspapers. Interestingly, one used a picture of me getting a handshake, generically captioned. I found it amusing, as did some people who pointed it out to me, that of all the pictures they could have chosen to showcase Berryz in Taipei and Taiwanese fans, they chose that one.

Berryz Kobo Festival in Taipei

I got a good ticket to the concert, so I was able to stand front and center. We were really close to the stage, more so than what I’m used to back in Japan, and so my spot allotted me some nice Chii time. “Chii time,” a lot of that over the past week, yeah.

One part that really stood out was during Asian Celebration, during the Chii/Maasa section. Chii was at the front of the stage, right in front of me, we locked on to each other, smiled and did the little lean in and shimmy together. I’ve said it before, but little things like that are just too awesome; and there were many other little moments that night.

Berryz Taipei 2013.5.25

Berryz Taipei 2013.5.25

One quick note with regards to Risako and the performance of their new single (Sayonara). Ah, how do I say it exactly? She was in front of me and… you know what, nevermind, I’ll just lock the images in my head, hahaha. You may perhaps get an idea when the MVs is released, I think the outfits they were wearing here might add a little somethin’ somethin’; you can kind of see it in the Hibiya performance, but up close… I’ll just say what I’ve said before about Risako, she needs to just stop “that.”

After the concert, we had a high-five. “Geoffrey-san,” Chinami called out to me as I approached the table. I was actually a little surprised by that, as I usually refer to myself as “Kentucky.” A good ending to the trip, saying my goodbyes and thank yous to Berryz, until next time.

Berryz Fan Club Tour in Hawaii 2013 – Part 2

While the two event days of the tour weren’t as epic as the first day seeing the girls, I still had a fantastically good time. I may do a detailed writeup at some point, but for now enjoy some pictures (and eventually, look for me on the DVD when it’s released, haha).

Berryz and Me, Hawaii 2013. Go Go Fight!

Berryz and Me, Hawaii 2013. Go Go Fight!

Berryz Kobo Fan Club Tour in Hawaii 2013

Berryz Kobo Fan Club Tour in Hawaii 2013

Berryz in Hawaii - Morning Workout

Berryz in Hawaii – Morning Workout

Berryz in Hawaii w/Sensei - Morning Workout

Berryz in Hawaii w/Sensei – Morning Workout

Risako, Maasa, Yurana and I in Hawaii During the Live

Risako, Maasa, Yurana and I in Hawaii During the Live

Berryz in Hawaii - After The Live

Berryz in Hawaii – After The Live

Fan Club Tour Stuff

Fan Club Tour Stuff

Fan Club Tour Goods

Fan Club Tour Goods

Berryz Fan Club Tour in Hawaii 2013

While my decision to go to Osaka last week to see Berryz spring tour was more of a last minute thing, Hawaii was something I really didn’t want to miss. Thanks to those who helped make it happen.

Aloha - Berryz Koubou Fan Club Tour in Hawaii 2013

Aloha

Optional Tour

So to get this first part out of the way, there was an optional tour offered this go around and I can say it was very well worth it to go. This might have in fact been the best part of the trip to me. The girls would split up into three groups and lead those who signed up to various fun places they had picked out. Miya had a group of her own; Maasa and Momo had one; and then Chinami, Captain, Risako and Yurina had two groups. I was in one of the two Chinami groups of course. We’d walk from our hotels to the tour headquarters and after some time and a lottery to pick our seats, we’d head out to our first destination which was the same for all groups, Moanalua Gardens.

Moanalua Gardens

Moanalua Gardens

Moanalua Gardens

After we get there, off the buses and walk a bit, we see Miya and her group walking by. A little ways ahead we could see rest of Berryz posing up for pictures and such. Our two groups gathered in front of the big Hitachi tree and Chii, Captain, Rii and Yurina ran over so that we could take a huge group shot. Afterwards, we disbanded for a bit, I snapped a few pictures of the tree and headed back to the bus.

Hitachi (Monkeypod) Tree

Hitachi (Monkeypod) Tree

Diamond Head

We load up on the busses to get ready to go to our next destination, and then after everyone is settled, Chinami and Risako board the bus. Color me surprised, or ignorant, heh, but I was not expecting them to ride with us. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to see them at all before the two scheduled event days, so you maybe can imagine how pumped I was that things with the girls had started a bit early . On the bus, the girls say hi and everything and then start asking us wota some questions.

From the back to the front of the bus they asked everyone what was their nickname, their favorite song and how long they’ve been a Berryz fan. I was lucky enough to be up close to the front of the bus, close to the girls, but that also meant that it would take a while to get to me. I was also lucky in that for this leg of the trip I was sitting on the same side of the bus as Chinami, so when they got to me, it was Chinami who would ask me the questions.

Now, my Japanese might suck, but these were pretty simple questions, so I could generally follow the conversations that were going on. When they got to me though, Chinami asked the questions in English. I believe I’ve mentioned before, perhaps even about the last tour in Hawaii, that I really appreciate the fact that she tries to speak to me in English. I know she’d probably put in some effort for any foreign fan, especially one as dedicated, but it makes me feel special.

So I go about answering the questions, in Japanese, with a little bit of fluff like the first song they released after I became a fan. After that was done, Chinami started asking me about… sports. “Do you like soccer?” Not really. “Do you like basketball?” It’s okay. “What sports do you like?” American Football. Well, I guess. I do loosely follow a few teams, but I’m not much into sports really, heh. No matter, it was nice getting that extra bit of time to talk with Chinami; and again I’ll say that I appreciate the extra effort Chinami puts into interacting with me.

Diamond Head

Diamond Head

Now, at Diamond Head, the girls got off first and started taking pictures and such, bought some shaved ice which I could see Chinami eyeing as soon as she noticed the stand. We followed, got out and just hung around, snapping pictures of our own and what not. Am I allowed to complain and say that we really didn’t get to see much of Diamond Head outside of the entrance to the park? No, okay, lol. In any case, it was fun just walking around with them doing nothing specific.

Waves Crashing on Rocks, Ocean View, Thing
(I’m not quite sure how to translate it, and I missed the sign stating the name of the place)

On our way to our next destination, Yurina and Captain joined us. This leg of the bus trip was uneventful, for me anyway. They again started at the back of the bus, this time having the wota ask them questions. I had a question in mind, but we ran out of time before we made it to our next destination and there were a third of us or so who didn’t get to ask anything. That’s alright though.

Ocean View

Ocean View

More hanging, at the ocean front watching the waves crash, and something in the water at a distance, I don’t know what it was. Then, back to the bus.

Organic Market

This time Yurina got back on our bus, Chinami came as well. Happy! There was no real script that I could tell for this leg, so Chinami and Yurina are just chatting, people are asking questions, &c; just fun and casual.

Many a time while Yurina had the mike, I caught Chinami looking in my direction as she had positioned herself as to be looking over the back of her seat at everyone, our eyes meet and she gives me an unprompted smile. When I say many a time, I mean, literally every other time or more I looked over she was looking back at me and would shoot me a smile. Ha, I feel like a dork, but it was just too cute continually exchanging smiles and glances like that. I wonder what she was thinking.

As the banter started slowing, and the questions stopped, Chii and Yurina were trying to figure out what to do whilst we finished our journey (and waited for the other bus, which had lagged behind a little bit). Well, Chinami decided to turn her attention to me; like she hadn’t given me enough of it already, but I’m not complaining. So, for the next few minutes, we exchanged “hello’s”, comically revisited the sports topic, talked about food/being hungry, talked about where I’m from, how old I am, &c; a lot of English on Chii’s part, but some Japanese conversation thrown in as well. Ah, man, that was just too awesome. It was just the two of us, going on for so long. To say that it made me happy would be an understatement.

Chinami, not being able to come up with much more to say, and me perhaps in a little bit of shock as to say much of anything myself, passes the mike to Yurina; “eigo de,” she says while doing so. “Hello,” Yurina says. I reply in kind. She thinks for a second and asks how I’m doing and I forget how the rest of our little exchange went, but I do remember giving her a thumbs up along with an enthusiastic ENJOY, which she mirrored. It seems almost unfair to have all this focus on me, but I enjoyed every bit of it.

Things wrapped up shortly after that, we had been stopped and waiting for the other bus for a bit by then, but it finally arrived, Chinami and Yurina said their goodbyes and headed off to the second bus which had parked in front of us. A little while later, we were to step off the bus and go to the market; Captain, Risako, Yurina and Chinami were outside the door to say bye.

“Kentucky-san~,” Chinami says as I’m leaving the bus. Her voice melts my heart. What a wonderful day.

If this was the end of the fan club tour, I could have seriously gone home right after that and have been more than satisfied with the experience. I’m not sure if my writing conveys it as clearly as I’d like, and I want to avoid being overly verbose, but the optional tour truly was epic. So much Chii and me time. Sure it was only a few minutes of conversation, a bunch of smiles and glances, but man, what am I here for if not for that.

Berryz Mansion

久しぶり~

It’s been a while since I last visited the Land of the Rising Sun; and just about as long that I’ve seen my Berryz, having last met them in New Jersey last June. With no concert tour in the fall, I was going through a little bit of Berryz withdrawal, heh. No worries however, as I’ve got my Japan/Berryz fix just recently, by taking the trip out there last week. There, I got to see Berryz Spring tour in Osaka four times over the weekend. I had a great time of course, and I can’t wait to see them again. As per usual, a few thoughts and highlights…

Berryz Mansion - T-shirt

Berryz Mansion – T-shirt

The album songs from Berryz latest I thought were good, but I wasn’t really impressed until seeing them performed live. Succha ka Meccha ka was a lot of fun and had a lot of energy. Chinami and Maasa were great performing Nandakanda de Ii Kanji!, with the 3 little Eggs (Kenshuusei) as background dancers. The dance was really simple, but I just loved it. Momochi and Yurina were great with Otokomae; and Captain, Miya and Risako were elegant performing Koi Itoshiki Kisetsu – I really enjoyed the slow solo lines, Captain’s in particular was the highlight of the song for me.

Berryz Mansion - Chinami Towel

Berryz Mansion – Chinami Towel

Chinami~, ah to see that smiling face again, made me happy. We had as many as little connections as we always do at these concerts with me sitting up close to the front of the stage. She was just looking in my direction at one point during an MC and I flashed a peace sign whilst holding up an orange heart light stick, producing a smile from her in acknowledgement. Little things like that, it’s kind of weird how she makes me feel.

Someone had asked me why Maasa is my number two, and I had a hard time coming up with an answer at the time. In any case, I’m reminded of her Berryz Kamen Red days and all the MCing she has done over the years. As it relates to this concert, just watching her and Chinami interact during their MC was a little reminder of that. I don’t know what it is exactly.

Captain fell during one of her solo performances of Sprinter! Uwaa, I just wanted to rush to help her up or something. I perhaps only mention this, because at a later show, Momochi fell as well. I felt no desire what so ever to rush to her aid, lol. Man that sounds mean, haha, but I’ll say that I’ve got nothing but love for all the Berryz girls. More on the Captain/Momo front, during one of their little mansion skits, Captain was showing some dolls she had got from Disney (eh, don’t trust the summary too much here, my Japanese sucks). Anyway, one of the dolls was wearing an outfit from Berikyuu’s Amazuppai. Captain mistakenly said that it was from Chou HAPPY SONG, which Momochi was quick to correct and scold. It was interesting to see a little friction there.

“Yurushite nyan~” *sound of failure played by the staff* *Chinami raises an arm and cheers* Aw, it seems like I’ve been picking on Momo, but I just find her to be entertaining.

Risako, ugh, she still has me under her spell. She looks at me, I look at her, smile, she smiles back, I run out of the concert hall and jump off a bridge. Ignore that last part, but the spark is still there and every time something like that happens, it makes me want to, I don’t know, hurt myself. Ah, I’m not explaining this very well, haha. Risako is probably the only Berryz who has made me feel, uncomfortable, I guess is what I would say. There’s an expression or something, “so cute, you could die.” Well, maybe cute isn’t the word I’m looking for, but that’s the idea. I’ve written about this before, and she was dancing for me again this time, anyway.

Yurnia was elegant(?), beautiful(?), stunning(?), in her solo outfit. Enough on that. Her MCs were cute and although it does seem she was a bit setup to fail her little challenges, it did kind of remind me of her past displays of airheadedness. She was too cute trying to come up with answers to the challenges, pacing, almost doing a little dance on stage while doing so.

Miya’s voice was on point as per usual, and well, that’s all I have to say I guess. Her voice was just really strong and her performance was top notch.

I really enjoyed the concert, seeing Berryz and friends again. So, until next time.

Berryz in New Jersey

I’ve put off writing this, but I figure I need to get something written up about it.

Berryz came back to mainland America for the second time this past weekend to AnimeNEXT in New Jersey. Of course, I was there, and I thought I’d share a little bit about my experience there. First of all, I will say that it was nice meeting all of my friends there, putting faces to names and all of that. Part of what makes these things enjoyable is the other fans that show up; it’s not every day that we can all get together in one spot.

On to the con itself. There was a brief appearance by the girls at their booth. I was standing on the outside of the crowd so I had a clear view of the girls as they walked in. “Chinami,” I shouted in an effort to get her attention. She turned towards me and as a big smile lights up her face, she waves. She recognized who it was, you could tell by her expression. It was a short amount of time at the Berryz booth, before they split up the crowd and Berryz went on their merry way.

The concert was great as expected. I had a great time in the front row dancing along and cheering for my girls. I was glad to see Because Happiness reformed live, as I didn’t get to see it on their last tour. It was interesting too, the crowd filled in the gaps of Because Happiness with C-ute’s parts, and I thought that was amusing.

During the autographs I didn’t say too much. “Please sign here,” I would say in Japanese, I would then thank them for coming back to America. When Momoko was signing my book, Chinami started talking to me, as the person in front of me had finished. Chinami got a special message of course and it was nice having a few extra seconds to talk with her.

After I got my autographs I took a seat back in front of the girls. I positioned myself so that I would be directly in front of Chinami. During breaks in the line we would smile and wave at each other, it was nice having that little bit of extra interaction with her before the events of the day were done. During another break in the line Risako looked in my direction and I smiled and waved at her, to which she replied with a smile and wave of her own. After that she leaned back in her chair and made this cute face, I can’t describe it. It was like she was being all coy or something, it was adorable. I got the attention of the other girls as well. After trying to get her attention during a break in the line, I was eventually able to get Maasa to wave at us. We also exchanged smiles and waves with Miyabi, Captain and Momoko. It was really nothing special, but for the 50 or so minutes after having got my autograph, to continue to interact with the girls was nice.

That pretty much wraps up Berryz in New Jersey at AnimeNEXT. I had a great time not only seeing my Berryz, but also meeting up with all my friends and other fans. Til next time.

Berryz in Yamanashi

First order of business, I want to say Happy Birthday to my beloved Chinami. 20 years old today, good golly she’s grown. Now, one might have guessed what this post is about even without reading the title, as all of my posts now seem to be about my various trips out to Japan. Here is another as I went to see Berryz, “トラベリーズ.com” in Yamanashi this past weekend. For the third year in a row I have been lucky enough to be able to celebrate her birthday in Japan with her. It makes me so happy to see her smiling face and I hope her birthday is full of happiness.

Berryz in Yamanashi

Berryz in Yamanashi

With that out of the way, I have to say thanks again to those who helped make this trip possible. I’m lucky, as a foreign fan that I am able to go to these fan club events. I couldn’t make it without help. So, a few comments on the events…

After a lengthy bus ride we arrived at our first destination. We were escorted into a room where we would wait for a bit and eventually Yurina would come out and open things up, welcoming us, asking how we were and such. Then eventually everyone would come out and say hi. It was a short introduction, and then we went to take our 8 shot photos.

Some groups who had gone to the 8 shot before us had reported the positioning of the girls. It was supposed to be Chinami sitting in the back center, a position I had become used to her sitting in. To everyone’s surprise however, between coming out to see us and going back, they switched positions. Chinami would be right up front sitting next to me.

Berryz Koubou 8shot 2012

Berryz Koubou 8shot 2012

As you can tell by my picture, sitting right next to her made me very happy. I chose to do a heart pose and well, my heart didn’t really end up looking much like a heart; but whatever man, I got another pic with my Berryz. Afterwards we were given some time to check into our hotels and rest a bit before a concert would be performed.

For the special live concert I pulled a ticket for the 5th row, left of center. That’s not where I ended up sitting however. I’m lucky enough to have had a friend who was willing to swap tickets with me. Her ticket, well it was in the center of the front row. I was so surprised and so grateful. Perhaps that’s an understatement, but I can say that grateful for all of the friends I’ve made during my trips to Japan and everything that they do for me. I was going to be able to see all the girls up front, and as this was Chinami’s birthday concert, I was going to be able to share the moment with her just an arm’s length away.

The concert itself was awesome, even abbreviated it was one of the best I’ve seen. They did a few songs from their 6th album, which I think I might call my favorite album, so I was happy. There were a couple of songs I’ve never seen performed live; it was nice to have those mixed in with everything else even though it’s harder to dance along with them. The dance to Kacchoee was fun I think, the way the girls fan out while dancing to the repeated kacchoee part. There was another dance that was new to me too, a song whose name I can’t recall. In any case the dance had them dancing with their arms crossed at times, which I thought looked pretty cool. They also were throwing up what looked like upside-down peace signs every once and a while, which looked cool too.

I have to mention that Risako and I had our little moments as per usual. I really enjoy the little smiles and such that I get out of her most of the time. I look forward to seeing her on stage for that reason. There’s some sort of connection there I say. And then of course, there is Chinami; so much fun seeing her on stage, she never disappoints. Being in the first row too I was really able to connect with her.

Once the concert was over we would be greeted by the girls on our way out just a quick wave and a thank you. I was lucky however, and ended up getting a bit more than that. When it was my turn to go through saying hi to the girls the staff stopped me and let the line clear out in front of me. I was a little confused by this, but waited a little while before proceeding. What happened next was a series of poppers going off and the girls shouting omodetou to me. I was chosen as a special person in the line. I was confused as to what was going on, but at the same time, I was happy. I was given some extra time to talk with the girls, to wave and say hi. At the end of the line Chinami had a gift for me. I felt special receiving it from her. Still a little bit confused by the whole ordeal I then just walked out of the building. At this point Chinami was trying to get my attention, but I was oblivious, until my friends told me to turn around. Chinami then said in English, “See you tomorrow.” Ah, she makes me so happy. As a friend pointed out to me, Chinami is putting in extra effort to talk with me in English which shouldn’t go unnoticed. I really do appreciate all the special attention that she gives me each and every time that we meet.

A Gift from Chinami

A Gift from Chinami

The second day we went to a themed park. We would walk around to five different stations to get various points for our group. The first and second groups were manned by staff, where there would be cards laid out on the table and we’d pick one up and get the number of points as printed on the card. Pretty straight forward. The other three stations were similar, only this time it was Berryz who were interacting with us. The first Berryz station we went to had Yurnia and Miyabi. It was funny how many groups were shouting “ENJOY!” to Yurina, that catch phrase really has caught on. There were three cards that we were to pick up this time instead of the one, so we let the Kumai/Miya wota to the front to interact with them and pick the cards.

The next group was Momo and Maasa. I got to interact with them this time, since Maasa is my number 2. ”Hello,” Momoko said. Maasa followed with a hello of her own. They tried to explain some of the directions to me in English, which went well enough. It was fun interacting with them.

The third group had Captain, Risako and Chinami. I got to go to the front again to meet with Chinami, yay. When we went up front thee girls said “Hello.” I was so hapy that they were giving me special attention. Chinami continued to say a few things in English. When it came time to pick the cards, a friend asked Chinami to continue to speak in English. “Four cards” in English she said, followed by some Japanese I’m not familiar with, which I can only assume meant “pick up.” It was really fun interacting with this group, obviously because Chinami was there. I stuck around after we were done and got in some more interaction time with Chinami, which was fun.

After everyone completed the little card picking stations that were setup, it was time for a parade. There was a small train that travelled throughout the park, and it was setup waiting for Berryz to arrive. They would eventually hop on the train and ride it around the park. As a friend concurred, it was hilarious watching such a large group of wota run around the park chasing after this little train which was going so slow. After the parade there was a mini fan meeting and that was the end of the park fun.

From there things moved on to and started to wrap up with the larger fan meeting. Berryz introduced themselvs, said a few words about the event thus far, &c. We eventually got to play a quiz game where they would have the last man standing come up on stage. Unlike the last event I went to I couldn’t really understand what was being asked, so I was knocked out early. In any case, it was fun. The last few “questions” were nothing but Chinami playing janken with everybody. With that, things were just about over.

Things ended with a handshake. I felt this go round that we got a little bit more time than usual. I got to say everything I wanted to each of the girls, with some extra time left over even.

Overall it was another great trip to Japan to see my Berryz. See you next time, in New Jersey.