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.
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.
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.
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.