Berryz in Seattle

What a great weekend. Berryz and friends, I had a great time.

Berryz Koubou at Sakura-con

Berryz Koubou at Sakura-con


Registration

Arrived with a friend at Sakura-con at 6:00 am on Friday in order to grab our id badges. Some other friends from Japan happened to arrive at the same time; they were there to queue for the Berryz autograph tickets, bright and early. They got in contact with some of the event staff and began organizing a list/line. A big thanks to them for putting that together. Closer to the time that the goods booth was to open up, and after some communication issues and a bit of confusion (an understatement), we were let in, and things were pretty smooth after that. I ended up being at the front of the line and was able to snag my tickets without issue. While there too, I bought a few goods, including their 7th anniversary photobook which I had planned to have signed.

Q&A

Next up was the Berryz Q&A. It was nice to finally see Berryz (I had skipped the opening ceremony). The interactions with the fans were great and I’m sure Berryz felt great as well. On somewhat of a side note, at the end of the Q&A, the host mentioned that we weren’t allowed to touch the girls during the autograph session, as expected, tho we could give her [the host] a hug if we wanted. Anyway, I thought that was amusing.

Autograph Session 1

Chinami Autograph 1

Chinami Autograph 1

Wasn’t too worried about lining up early for the autographs as I had the autograph ticket. The line for those without a ticket was pretty long, I’m not sure how far Berryz got through it. So anyway, Berryz come out and they’re seated from Saki to Risako, in descending age order. As I was getting closer to the autograph table, there was a spot on the right in the line where you could get a good view of the girls as they waited for the next person in line to move over to them. At one point I waved to get Chinami’s attention and she waved back at me. Then her face lit up and she did a little bit of a gasp as she recognized who it was. Happy~

When I finally got to the autograph table, before moving on to Berryz, there was the host/translator/manager from the Q&A standing there. Well, I got my hug. Thank you manager-san~

For getting the 7th year anniversary photobook signed, I had tabs setup for each of the girls pages, tho I didn’t end up using them. Rather I just flipped through the pages as I was talking with each of the girls. Delay tactic success! In the end it really wasn’t necessary however, there was no push to get through the line.

The time spent interacting with each of the girls during the autographs almost seemed like an eternity compared to the little bit of rushed time allowed during handshakes back in Japan. My chats with the other girls were relativity brief, but I was able to spend a little bit of extra time with Chinami. I told her it was nice seeing her again, asked her about her hair (she had posted on her blog not too long before that she got some new extensions), and some other little chit chat (in Japanese, tho her responses were sometimes in English). Before the event, I ended up writing ケンタッキー (Kentucky) on my ID badge after a little bit of discussion with friends; with the extra time I had talking to Chinami, I was able to clarify that I’m from Kentucky. Though I had already mentioned it to her in Hawaii, she really got it this time, haha. I felt I could just stay there and keep on talking as there was no pressure for me to move on, outside of the fact that Maasa was there waiting for a little bit for me to finish.

Guest Reception / Hello! Party

After the autograph session, I headed over to the Red Lion hotel for the guest reception / dinner, where Berryz were supposed to make a brief appearance. Some people were wondering if the reception would be worth it and I can say, it definitely was.

After waiting a bit, they started introducing some of the guests as others had yet to arrive. Eventually, during a lull, out of the corner of my eye, an elevator opens up and who’s there? It’s Berryz. Promptly however, the doors close. Amusing. I and a bunch of other Berryz fans maneuvered ourselves over towards the elevator door, so that we’d be ready for them when they eventually did come out. A few minutes, later and it was Berryz Timez.

Oh, my goodness, like a deer in headlights, Berryz seemed a little frightened from what I could tell as they were coming out. The setup was pretty closely packed, so yeah. Once they made their way to the front however, things calmed down a bit and everyone relaxed. We were given the opportunity to take their pictures, before each of the girls would introduce themselves and say a few words.

After the girls left, we’d grab dinner and periodically they’d introduce more guests as they arrived.

Later in the evening they would begin holding a raffle for the opportunity to meet the musical guests back stage after their concerts. exist-trace is not a band I had heard of before, but I’ve seen and heard some snippets of their stuff, perhaps not my style but interesting none the less. They were pulling out names for exist-trace, tho it was somewhat amusing that no one seemed to want them, including me. I myself won a ticket, for exist-trace, not for Berryz, haha, bummer. My friend however… “I’m going to win,” she said. The confidence and seriousness in her voice was almost eerie. A few seconds later, as the last number is being read off, it is her number! Amazing!

I have to say, throughout the whole conference I really enjoyed hearing people tell me about their first experiences meeting/seeing Berryz. The nervousness, the excitement, the happiness… as happy as I was to see Berryz again, I was perhaps just as happy to see and hear everyone else’s reactions.

In general, I took the opportunity to ask people about their experiences as much as I could. It never gets old. On the flip side, throughout the con, it was interesting having people coming up to me, recognizing me from here or there. Putting faces to names and names to faces, although the time was brief, it was a nice bonding experience with everyone there.

Later that evening I checked into Hello! Party for a bit before calling it a night. It had been a long day.

Hello! Party 2

Hello! Party 2

Concert

On Saturday, the only Berryz related activity on the schedule was their concert which would begin until 7pm. We got there early again, at 8am. Perhaps a bit too early, but what the hey. Tried to do the list/line thing again, but it kind of fell apart as we were moved from place to place. There were a lot of people lined up for the concert beforehand, which I was glad to see. In the end, I made it to the font of the line anyway, and eventually I positioned myself at the front of the concert hall, smack dab in the center.

The concert itself was great. It wasn’t as long as a normal one, but it was still a pretty full setlist. They opened with Ai wa Katsu. Icchoume Rock! was cool, tho it took me a second to catch on to the choreography. There was a costume change about two thirds of the way through the concert, which was a bit unexpected. The Miya / Chii / Kumai led CLAP! was a lot of fun. They finished things off with an encore, including the audience participation version of Rival and All For One and One For All.

Captain was dancing up a storm as per usual. Her smiles and plays to the crowd were awesome. You can tell she really wanted to make a good impression.

“Mo.mo.chi ka.wa.i.i.” I seriously roll my eyes when she does this stuff, but at the same time, I love it. Momo was, as usual, her characteristic self.

Chinami~. Chinami disappeared during the second MC, so I was thinking, what was she up to this time. She comes back with a fish costume, the one from Medachitai. Genius! Instead of saying things in Japanese like the other girls had been doing, she was speaking in English. Ahhh, love~ it. What more can I say about her, her presence on stage was awesome. Interesting to note is how a lot of people told me afterwards of how much they enjoyed watching Chinami in particular. Chinami love~

MC Maasa was absent from this one, but the king did shine on the stage in any case. She remains one of my favorite girls to watch.

Mama Miya. What an elegant young lady, with a lovely voice, something I tend to tell her every time we talk. As with everyone else, she just seemed to be having a lot of fun on stage.

Yurina ENJOY! Her energy seemed higher than normal and it was really fun to watch her, and to hear her speak.

Risako and I didn’t connect at the concert as we usually would, I am disappoint, lol. Must’ve been too many new faces for her to play with. That, and the whole experience must have been a roller coaster of nerves for the girls. In any case, she was great on stage. Like Captain, it felt like she was putting in a bit of extra effort with this one. She was having a lot of fun.

After the concert was a “fan march.” So much excitement as everyone cleared the concert venue and walked through the halls towards the other side of the con floor. Singing and shouting, pumped from the concert, full of enthusiasm. It was truly an unforgettable experience for many.

Autograph Session 2

Chinami Autograph 2

Autograph 2 - Kentucky x Chi

Some people had asked me why I wasn’t wearing a Chinami t-shirt, or any other swag or anything. While I do usually wear that stuff at the concerts and occasionally just in rotation with my other clothes no matter where I am, I don’t really make an effort to do it when meeting Berryz. In particular, Chinami knows she’s my girl, and it’s how I’ve always presented myself to her and the others, just by being myself. I guess, I just show my support in different ways. Anyway, since people asked, I thought I’d throw it out there.

A friend and I had lined up so that when he was talking to Maasa, I could be there talking to Chinami. By the time I got to Miyabi however, he had already moved past Chinami to talk with Maasa (the order the girls were in was a bit unusual). With nothing to do, Chinami called out my name and started talking to me, even before I had a chance to say anything to Miya. That’s fine by me however. I ended up talking to Chinami for an extended period of time, while occasionally turning to Miya to tell her a few things as she was signing her photo. Back to Chii, I was telling her that her English was good and that I could be her teacher. She seemed happy about that. For this round of autographs I was speaking in English for most of the time, and she was replying in kind for the for the most part. We continued to talk as she signed her name, and added a little extra, “ケンタッキー” :)

Once through with all of the autographs, we were allowed to hang around for a bit as they were going to allow us to keep our autograph tickets as souvenirs. During that time I was able to continue to wave and talk to Chinami when she had gaps between signings. A friend I was with had a pad of paper and wrote little messages to Chinami during that time as well.

Closing

After the autograph session, we went over to the HelloStoreUSA shop where they were going to raffle off some signed goods. Captain showed up to pull the tickets. As she read the numbers off the tickets she picked she was so cute. Anyway, I didn’t win anything, but a friend won a signed Chinami card/photo. Lucky.

Berryz showed up for the closing ceremonies, saying thank you and also presenting the money they had gathered for Japan aid via donation/promotion they had going on. I think it was nice the way that they presented it. The whole gesture was a nice one to complement the Japan aid theme they had going throughout their time at the con.

With that, Sakura-con came to a close. As I said, I had a great time. Berryz and friends, see you when I see you.

6 Responses to “Berryz in Seattle”

  1. xxrevenge. says:

    Off topic: YOU WON AN EXIST TRACE TICKET?!?! Oh god I love those girls…. Too bad I couldn't go… :/

    • solo-kun says:

      Yeah I won the backstage thing. It might’ve been interesting to go see them. The person whose number they called after I declined seemed to be genuinely looking forward to it tho, so it was all good.

  2. SakuraTheShadow says:

    Yeah, I saw you at the guest reception. I asked you if you were the one with Chinami tattoo cause I might have read your blog before. XD

  3. […] Berryz in Seattle – Solo Space Solo also shares his experiences on Berryz Koubou’s visit to Sakura-con. […]

  4. SakuraTheShadow says:

    Oh good! Aha. And yes, I had a wonderful time!