Hello! Project Festival

It’s not every day that you get to meet all the members of Hello! Project. Yesterday however, I was lucky enough to have done just that. (He says casually as if it’s no big deal). What, it is a big deal! I got to meet all the members of Hello! Project! Today on Thanksgiving, I can say that I am very thankful to have had the experience. Thankful for the experiences I’ve had and thankful that I’ve got friends to help me navigate how to get to these events and such. It was nice seeing a lot of familiar faces too. Thanks all!

Thanks!

Holy long lines Batman. The day started out after my arrival at Yomiuri Land, to which I was greeted with a long, long line. I wasn’t expecting to see so many people at the event. Apparently too, the staff wasn’t expecting that many people either. I should have arrived earlier but I was fresh off a bus from Osaka and didn’t have any extra time. Anyway, this line was about two and a half hours long by the time I got there, and grew quite a bit behind me. This was just to get into Yomiuri Land, once inside we were greeted with another line to exchange our preorder tickets for handshaking tickets. Four hours total standing in line, but I can say it was worth it.

So the handshake groups were broken into five: Mo, Be, Ki, Ma and Su. Each group had the leader of their respective groups in them (with the exception of Be, who had Momo in Captain’s place), along with a mix of members form the other groups. When I got to exchange my preorder tickets, they had already run out of Su group. Bummer, that was Chinami’s group. They had also ran out of Mo, meaning at the time I wouldn’t have been able to see all of the groups. It all worked out in the end however, I was able to get some tickets from a friend and trade a few with some others to get more of the Su group and one for Mo. Once again I am thankful. I ended up with 14 handshake tickets in total, though I only had time to use 10 of them.

Mobekimasu Handshake Tickets

Mobekimasu Handshake Tickets

Before the handshaking there would be a two hour live concert/event. They opened with “ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL.” A great throwback to older times and a great group song, I’m glad to see it performed with the current lineup. Some highlights of the event were S/mileage performing a new song. I liked the beat and instrumentals and am looking forward to its release. Morning Musume performed “Love Machine.” I had never seen that live, so that was nice. Berryz did their audiance participation/a cappella version of “Rival,” which is one of my favorites. Other than that there was a mix of old and new songs performed, culminating with the new Mobekimasu single.

Tsunku made a couple of video appearances during the MCs. One of which he was talking about Saki. He had this long drawn out, filled with pauses, mentioning that Saki wasn’t there. You really got the feeling that he was about to say something big. But no, Tsunku was just trolling; he mentioned that she wasn’t there due to a conflict and that her birthday was the day before. Ah, you really had to be there to get a sense of the atmosphere when that happened. Interestingly, Tsunku made a second appearance too. When Risa mentioned that he was going to say something again, the girls on stage, or rather, Sayumi got really nervous. It’s like anytime Tsunku speaks, you get this feeling for the worst in the back of your head. What he had to say though, wasn’t to do with any graduations or anything, no big deal yeah, haha.

After the concert they prepped the stage for the handshake. There were a lot of people there and even after what, 4 hours, they weren’t able to get through all of the tickets they had given out (with multiple handshake tickets per person).

I first went to handshake the Su group. Leading the line there was Wada Ayaka. This girl seems to have a lot of energy. When I approached she seemed happy, and said “Hello,” as I proceeded to introduce myself.

Next up was Chinami. Of course the highlight of my experience was all of the interaction I had with her. A friend had tipped her of that I was coming a week or so earlier, so I hope she was looking forward to seeing me too. It was so great to see her after six months. All of the lasting memories we’ve built, I am very thankful for the experiences we’ve had. I’ll keep what I told her to myself, but it was a mix of Japanese and English, haha. On the English part, you could tell she couldn’t understand a thing I was saying. Makes sense, lol. Anyway, she told a friend who came up behind me that she didn’t understand, lol, so I later apologized to her. The whole series of interactions, as I went through her handshake line multiple times, was great. She always seems so happy to see me, and I too am happy to see her. What a great experience, and I can’t wait to see her again.

I’ll briefly touch on everyone else. Of course Berryz all recognized me; it was good to see all of them again. Momo in particular seemed surprised to see me. Maimi and Risa were pleasantly surprised to see me too. I do stand out anyway, yeah. It was nice to meet them; Mano too. One handshake that stood out to me was Chisato. Not the handshake itself, but her smile. It was just too cute. Meeting Reina was nice too. Then there are a bunch of the new Musume and S/milage members whose names I don’t know, but they’re all simply adorable. Yeah, way too much for me to recall and say something about each of the [multiple] interactions I had with the girls. I’ll just conclude and say that it truly was a great experience to meet them all.

The past few years have truly been great; so many memories to be thankful for. I almost didn’t come to Japan this Thanksgiving, but I am oh so glad that I did.

So, until next time, whenever that is. I do know though, that I’ll be in New Jersey to see Berryz at AnimeNEXT. Perhaps I’ll see you there.

4 Responses to “Hello! Project Festival”

  1. i'm gonna have to make a trip to japan with you someday..you REALLY know how to do it up :)

  2. Seba-san says:

    I wish I could someday go to Japan, to one of Berryz concert and then to a handshake event like you. Keep doing it for us who can't do it!
    Nice entries =)

    • solo-kun says:

      Ah, I hope you can make it to Japan someday too. I wish everyone who wanted could be as lucky to have the experiences I’ve had. I’ll be sure to continue on! Thanks.