Archive for March, 2013

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


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


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.