This is it. The big day! It finally arrived! Me and Hayate’s flight was at midnight so we met at the airport around 10pm. I was nervous, but Hayate was in glee, basking on the anticipation of reactions of other AIDOL members when they meet me for the first time. Our flight was normal and I slept like a baby, much to Hayate’s displeasure, who said I was snoring and farting in my sleep. I woke up a few hours before we land, greeted by the sunrise. Truly living up to it’s name, the land of the rising sun.
Me and Hayate landed in Narita Terminal 2. After getting our passport stamped, we head to Narita Terminal 1 to welcome the others. The rest of the guys will be arriving later, but Gert should already be waiting for us at Terminal 1.
As we arrive there we saw the famous “Why did YOU come to Japan?” crew who interviewed Wayne and Souchan last year. Since Hayate is opposed to camera time (also because Souchan & Wayne are traumatized by last year’s) we kept our distance and they never approached us. I’m still nervous on the inside as this is my first meeting with the AIDOL gang. How will they react? Will I live up to my online reputation? Will I get along with them? Hundreds of different situation runs through my head. Gert arrived first, pretty chill and relax guy was my first impression of him, as he was unfazed by our meeting.
As we wait for Wayne, Souchan, Toki & Momo to arrive, silence stood still as we didn’t say a lot of things. We laughed when we saw our Japanese driver with the “Mr. Wayne” signboard already waiting for Wayne. I suggested to open the huge banner we had to welcome the rest. It was so huge that we were afraid it would attract the “Why did YOU come to Japan?” crew, who was still lingering around the area. When their flight landed, Hayate & Gert stayed at the arrival area, while I waited somewhere behind, with the intention to surprise them.
From afar, I saw them coming. I got my camera ready to surprise them. And they didn’t disappoint. Souchan was laughing and Momo had a disbelief look on her face. She mouthed “No way” and Toki just looked surprised. I look around and Wayne wasn’t there. Turns out he went straight to the driver to sort out our transportation. I quickly re-hid myself but decided to go up towards Wayne later.
“Hi Wayne”, was the first word I uttered. Wayne stood still, shocked. But he smiled back, “Hi… Half-san.”. I laughed while he walks towards the rest who is still at the arrival gate. He keeps shaking his head in disbelief while muttering, “I have no words”. I kept laughing until he tells me to stop recording. It felt like I was in our online chat room, but in the real world. We laughed at each other until Wayne tells us that he needs to head up to the post office to grab his pocket wi-fi which was mailed there. I followed him as I was waiting for him to grab mine as well. On the way there I could tell he was still reeling in from the shock and the tiredness. He just got off a 12 hour flight, I could hardly blame him. We found the post office, grabbed our pocket Wi-fi and head down for the van.
Except during our walk to the exit, the “Why did YOU come to Japan?” crew spotted Wayne & Souchan from afar. “Superstar! Superstar!”, they kept shouting at him. I could tell Wayne was annoyed and didn’t want anything to do with them this year but he humored them a few questions or two. Best part is the short interview didn’t even get to be aired since my laughter in the background was probably too much that the clip was deemed unusable. That was my theory anyway.
Inside the van, both me and Wayne quickly connect to the internet world. And in an instance, silence just swoop around us. Like a very awkward type of silence. It was as if each and everyone of us is thinking, “What now?”. Or maybe it was just me. This is the people who I chat with almost every single day of my life for the past 2 years. I was afraid that showing my real self wouldn’t match up to the “Half-san” persona they have of me. I was half afraid and half nervous that we wouldn’t get along. I can’t remember who but someone spoke up, “It’s so quiet.” and we laughed it off. But then it got quiet again.
We arrived in front of our apartment and was greeted by our gracious host. She gave us a tour of the apartment and showed us how to use the washing machines and also the rules that they have. First 2 units are on the same floor and another unit is on the higher level. Me, Momo, Toki & Souchan stayed on the higher unit, Wayne & Hayate in one unit and Gert & Brad, who has yet to arrive, will stay in the other unit. We decided to rest in our own apartments while we wait for Brad who should be arriving around 3pm.
While we wait for Brad, everyone has figured out the house wi-fi, and we were all online. Which was weird, as the chat was the first place we all felt comfortable with each other. Even though we’re all together in the same place. I talked for a bit with Souchan and traded photocards. Then I decided to let them rest as they had a long flight. Not long after, the chat starts to chime again, indicating that Brad has landed. Wayne, Hayate & Gert went to pick up Brad from the train station and brought him to our apartment. He was stunned, either from meeting me for the first time or the fact that everyone else is laughing at him. Poor guy was tired as hell too. We all decided to get ready and head out for an early dinner.
Just like my friends back home, we’re having such a hard time choosing a place to eat, haha. They were concern on my behalf, as I don’t eat pork, but I told them not to worry as I’ll survive unless they go to a pig factory where they serve nothing but pork. We settled in at Hidaka, and had a fulfilling dinner.
Since the night was young, we decided to walk around for a bit. We wanted to go for Karaoke but thought it was still the first night, and we had plenty of time. We stroll around the train station, bought my Suica card, and went to the konbini (convenience store) to buy drinks and snacks. Then, we head to Book-Off, a place that sells cheap second hand books and CDs. I bought a special One Piece Illustration book for my friend back home, and held out on other temptations.
After Book-Off, we head back and everybody was feeling tired. I had little Japanese interaction for my first day, as the only people I talked with are these 7 idiots, and the cashiers at the store. Because Hayate was a better translator than me, people kept asking him about things. I was also overwhelmed. All this places that I’ve seen and watch and read about, I was here. Even the weather was cool, despite it being summer. It was hot, but wasn’t blazing like Malaysia. The cool breeze was constant, making walking a much more enjoyable thing.
And one by one, Souchan, Toki & Momo started to fall asleep. But I couldn’t because tomorrow, we’ll be heading to Akihabara. I can’t remember what time I fell asleep but I remember setting the timer on the TV so it would turn off automatically. I took off my glasses and just look at the blurry glow, trying to fall asleep. As the noise of some variety show drowns out my night, it dawned on me that I was finally in Japan.
And I fell asleep smiling.