Archive for May, 2011

Birthday Hour GO!GO

Happy Birthday Chinami! For the second year now, I’ve been able to spend part of the special day with you. Seeing your smiling face makes me happy, and on this day, and every day, I hope that you can be happy too.

A big thanks again for all who helped me out here. I had an awesome time as expected. Just a few highlights and quick comments.

Berryz Hour GO!GO =3

Berryz Hour GO!GO =3

Takoyaki Saki, with her hair in a pair of buns and a big pair of glasses on looked cute. Her style, energy and cool all wrapped up in a neat little package is just great to watch.

More Momoko and Chinami back and forth. It’s so fun watching these two go at each other. Momo’s personality is so unique, it’s cool to just sit back and watch her interact with the others and the audience. As I was in the front row for the second performance, she really was enthusiastic in getting me to dance along with the songs. Fun, fun.

After interacting with the audience for a little bit and making their way through the event hall, Berryz would hit the stage. For the second run of the event, you could tell that the girls were surprised to see me sitting out there in front. On stage, things opened up with a performance of Rival. During the last part of the chorus, with Chinami up front and on the side of the stage that I was, we danced the last part of the chorus together as she looked my way, full of smiles. 1つ・・・さあ行こう〜 Rival being one of my favorite Berryz songs made it extra special.

During the first handshake, “Geoffrey~” Chinami said as I approached, which took me by surprise, as she had struggled with it a bit the day before. Happy! Even tho it’s not that big of a deal, I’m happy that she put in the effort to remember it~. After that, I forgot what it is that I wanted to say, but I eventually got it out, ha. The second handshake was just as fun, and I stalled a little bit to say a few extra things to her as the staff were pushing us through.

King Maasa retains her powerful stage presence which I’ve always enjoyed. During Tomodachi wa Tomodachi Nanda! in particular she stood out to me for some reason. She had some sort of a cool attitude for a little bit which was fun too. She didn’t do the full time MC bit this time around, but in the parts that she did take the reins she was great.

Mayabi had used some English during her turn in one of the mini games they were playing, so during the handshake I said to her a couple of things in English, to which she returned in kind. She also greeted me as Kentucky, as she’s done in the past, with a smile whilst putting a finger in the air, indicating that she remembers me. One other note, as Miya lost one of the games they were playing, she had to make a sales pitch about one of the Berryz goods (whilst wearing a goofy nose/glasses/bow). Let’s just say, SOLD! Good job Miya; she was great on stage.

Yurina took the MC spot from Maasa this time. Her little bouts of being a bit air-headed are still there, wich makes watching her and the casualness of her performances cute. She was sweating a bit during one part of the event and Momo brought her a towel. They didn’t make a big deal out of it or anything, but I thought that the interaction was nice.

Risako continued her coy, umm, you know, “that thing she does.” I’ve pointed it out before, but the way she dances on stage really has improved over the years. Just watch, and while she might not be as sharp &c as some of the others, it’s got it’s own unique flow that meshes well with the rest of the group. Some of Berryz latest songs too, really seem to fit Risako’s style.

So Berryz, until we meet again; and Chinami, Happy Birthday! I hope you had a good one. To all my friends back in Japan and elsewhere, see you when I see you~

Addicted: Three Times The Heroine

I was talking with my Japanese teacher a few weeks back, we were discussing how I work on programs for people who might have drug or alcohol related issues. As the conversation progressed, she suggested that perhaps similar to how some of the people in the program may have issues with addiction, I was addicted to Berryz Koubou. She was joking of course, but it’s an interesting thought to consider, is it not? My teacher and I had talked at length on previous occasions about my interest in the group, so she was familiar with my travels and what not to see them, and it’s fun to chat about my passion for J-Pop with people outside of the wotasphere. On one level herself, being Japanese, it was both familiar and foreign to her. In the past I’ve had similar conversations with people from Japan. The seem to find my passion for the group to be interesting to say the least.

With regards to addiction, there is this sort of high that going to these concerts and events bring about in me, something unique I’ve not been able to find anywhere else. And then, it’s somewhat funny that I have enablers, friends who support and encourage my behavior; in the midst of papers and projects due, I’ve taken time off school and work to go see them; all the money I’ve spent, the time invested, &c, and while it hasn’t come close to a point where I would consider it an addiction, it’s become so much a part of my life. In some aspects, I would say it’s not too out of the ordinary at all; I’ve heard of plenty of people who follow their favorite bands all over the world, yeah. To be so enthralled by this relatively unknown idol group from Japan however, to travel out there to see her, is at least at the foundation, a different story.

Anyway, all that exposition builds to the fact that here I am, back in Japan; to see my Berryz. To feed my addiction if you will. Honestly, at times it feels like maybe it’s a bit much. Ah, but I’m not going to venture down that train of thought. I’m having the time of my life! I know it won’t last forever and therefore I’m going to continue to enjoy it while I can; and hey, it’s okay, I’m a wota.

Berryz Koubou - Heroine ni Narou ka!

Berryz Koubou - Heroine ni Narou ka!

Mini Concert

As I tend to do, I have to first of all say thanks to those who made this possible. The people I’ve met and befriended in Japan really seem to go out of their way to help get me to these events. I am very thankful, and as with most of my words, I really feel that that is an understatement; but it’s really great to have people who support me in this.

So then, the precursor to the main event was today in Nagoya, where I’d get to watch Berryz at their “Heroine ni Narou ka!” release event. Not once, not twice, but three times. The release events are relatively short, but actually ended up a bit longer than I expected. The mini concert opened with Heroine ni Narou ka!, and had a nice selection overall with Maji Bomber!!, Icchoume Rock!, Otakebi Boy WAO! and Rival. All great songs to see and dance along with live.

Since the seats were random, I wasn’t able to get too close to the stage, but still, about 8 rows back and center isle seats for the second and third go rounds gave me a great view of things.

Not much has changed with the girls since I’ve seen them last. Well, it has been less than a month, so what’s to expect, right. Chinami and I had or nice little moments here and there. I really feel a connection with her whenever I see her, and just watching her dance around, goofing off a bit, playing off of the other girls on stage, and all the in between, just makes me smile from ear to ear. Maasa continues to excel with her presence on stage and her MC ability; Captain continues to dance up a storm and have a fun time doing it; everyone was putting in a great effort and I enjoyed watching all of them do their own thing.

I’m happy to report too, that that spark with Risako that was missing in Seattle is back, haha. I don’t think I need to elaborate much, but one point that really stood out for me was when they do that little monocle thing in Heroine (Otakbe too); Risako zoomed right in on me with a big ol’ smile. It’s funny how I missed it in Seattle, and now it’s back, the point of conflict in which I’m in my head telling her to stop, yet at the same time, it’s just plain fun so I just go with it.


At the end of each of the events was the handshake. I have to say, I’m somewhat running out of things to say to some of the girls. I mean, there are only so many ways I can tell Miyabi that I love her voice and or like her in Buono! and what not. But even without much to say, just being there, holding their hands and looking into their eyes is enough. Anyway, during the first handshake they really rushed us through so I didn’t get a change to say but a quick thank you and not much else. That said, my interaction with Chinami was a lot of fun as usual. This time as I attempted to convey to her my real name, she leaned in to get a better listen and we repeated it back and forth a couple of times. By the next time I had talked with her, she had lost about half of it, haha. No worries, I’m good with “Kentucky.” It’s got a special meaning and history behind it.


After the events, some friends and I headed to Osaka for a little party. Well, just a get together, dinner and what not, tho in celebration of Chinami’s birthday one might say. I made a toast to Chinami, her happiness and her smiles and or some such. We had wine ’round midnight and overall just had a good time relaxing. To avoid sounding like too much of a broken record, thanks all for the comradery, these are a great group of people.

So, one down. One to go. See you tomorrow, or, today. I’m looking forward to it.