Tag Archives: Japan

2nd June: The last night

January 12, 2016 by

After our dinner in Shibuya, we head back to Ryogoku to meet up with Souchan, Momo and Toki. Wayne and Brad heads to the apartment first to drop some stuff while the rest of us waited by the train station. I even suggested to Souchan that tonight was the night. We had planned to bust in the other guy’s room early in the morning to get some wake up prank footage. It was perfect. I had to get up early for my flight back home and it was my last night here. We had it planned, go to Karaoke, then when everyone is tired and goes to bed, we’ll surprise them with a camera.

Wayne and Brad arrives with Hayate and all 10 of us, along with Rick and Renz that tagged along since Fuji-Q, heads up to one of the Karaoke spots in Ryogoku. We found a good one that is super cheap and has unlimited refills on drinks. (of course, I drank Melon Juice the whole night)

7thNight_KaraokeIt was a happy night filled with laughters and singing non-stop Japanese songs. I mean, just listen to our out of pitch rendition of “Heavy Rotation“.

Karaoke1It was one song after another. From AKB to SKE to HKT to NMB. We sang anime songs. J-pop, J-Rock and any other J-genres. Until we realized that it was already 2am.

KaraokeWe exhausted all the Japanese song we know and moved on to English songs. And what English song is the most stapled Karaoke song ever, if not “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

7thNight_BR

We sang a romaji version of “Saakuru Obu Raifu” (Circle of Life) and even messed up and adlibs on songs. We were all being silly and having fun all night long.

Hayate was the one to leave first, leaving us scavenging the song list and are now singing Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, Eminem & Linkin Park. Then, Souchan, Momo, Toki and Gert left, leaving me, Brad, Wayne, Rick & Renz still singing any song we could find.

Karaoke2It was almost 5am when we left, as I had to rush back to grab the 6am train to get to the airport. It was kind of euphoric to stay up all night with your friends. I wanted to get the most out of my last day in Japan and I felt like I did. Me, Brad and Wayne rode up the elevator together and we parted ways and said our goodbyes while I try to hold back my tears. Going into my room I was hoping the Germans would be asleep but Souchan and Momo was up.

They watched me hurriedly pack my bags (should have done that earlier to be honest) and I told them if I have left anything here just take it with them. I remember joking around about the wake up prank idea, thinking it’s probably late to do it now. I probably choked on my goodbye since I didn’t want to say it. Told them I was late to catch my train and left them right after I zip up my last bag, crying on my way down the elevator.

It was probably the tiredness of having spend the whole day at Fuji-Q and spending the whole night singing, I haven’t bathe, haven’t slept for 25 hours and was overwhelmed with emotions. I didn’t want to leave. But I had to.

8thDay

I had so much fun this past week it felt like a dream. To be meeting friends from across the miles, idols that I have been watching or hear about, new friends and new idols, the places I went, the things I did… if this was a dream, I did not want to wake up. I must have looked like a crazy person trying to hold back my tears at the airport and failing to do so.8thDay_FlightI was so happy I’m surrounded by friends who shares a similar interest, even when we come from all over the world. A week flies by so fast and it’s hard to believe that I have to come in to work the next day. I couldn’t have ask for a more perfect group of people to accompany me on my first trip to Japan. Out of all the weirdos I could have met on the internet, I was glad it was them.

Final

1st June: Fuji Q Highland

January 11, 2016 by

After 2 super fun days with idols, I didn’t want the fun to stop. Ricky wanted to go to Fuji-Q so he asked if anyone else was interested. Me, Brad, Wayne & Gert are up for it, along with other fans we found during the 2-shot event. We bought the Q-Pack that includes the bus tickets and the entrance ticket.

7thDay_TicketsNow, I’m not really good with roller coasters. But I’m not that terrified of them. So, I’m not really looking forward to roller coasters, just a fun day to hang out with my friends.

7thDay_QPackIt was a Monday on 1st June but there was quite a lot of people in Fuji-Q that day. All of us rode the same bus and we head on inside.

7thDay_FujiQWe’re join by Rick (Indonesia), Mai-chan (Malaysia), SHaihh (Germany), Kou (Australia) and Renz (Philippines) along with the AIDOL crew Gert (Netherlands), Wayne (England) and Brad (America). That’s 8 different countries coming together as friends. Pretty cool, huh.

I love how we all made Kou to check if he pass the requirement height for roller coasters. He did. Barely.

7thDay_ColinThe first roller coaster we saw was FUJIYAMA. All big and high in all its glory. I was starting to dread it.

7thDay_Fujiyama7thDay_RCSHaihh and Renz didn’t join us so we head on to ride FUJIYAMA. I love how Gert is so into it and it was the happiest I’ve ever seen him.

7thDay_GertFUJIYAMA is one of the highest roller coaster and at the peak you can actually see Mt. Fuji (which I didn’t because they took my glasses away, also because my eyes were closed). The thing about FUJIYAMA is they go so high and the first drop is so fast. Then, there was a second drop. And a third drop. A forth. Fifth. I don’t know, but by the 11th drop or so I was done. The ride felt so long. Everyone had a thrilled and happy face after the ride but I was coming down with a fever and shaky legs.

Fujiyama POV ride I grabbed from youtube.

The next roller coaster we rode was Dodonpa.7thDay_Dodonpa2Now, on the map, Dodonpa looked okay. There was only one drop which I thought I could handle after the massive FUJIYAMA that I rode. We even took note of the camera point, where Wayne suggested we do “Mentaiko” pose for it. I was game. Dodonpa and Mentaiko pose. Got it.

7thDay_DodonpaWell, let me tell you first that Dodonpa is WORSE than FUJIYAMA. Sure, there is only one drop that IS STEEP AS HELL. And the super speedy acceleration at the beginning? I think I left my heart back there at the starting point. Anyway, just look at this video that is giving me PTSD just by watching it again.

And the camera point? Wayne was shouting, “Mentaiko! Mentaiko!” and everybody got their hands up and did Mentaiko poses in time. Well, everyone except me. I was still screaming/yelling from the speed and well…

7thDay_MeI’m not even hiding my face because of privacy, I just looked really bad in it. And Wayne, the sadistic bastard that he is, bought the picture to commemorate it forever. The guys lined up for Takabisha next, which has a very steep 90 degrees drop. I NOPE the hell out of there. I was done.

We walked around to the haunted house but it was closed which saddens Renz as he was looking forward to it. But on the way there, we finally saw Mt. Fuji, shyly appearing behind the clouds.

7thDay_FujiSanWe decided to get up the ferris wheel to get a better look at Mt. Fuji.

7thDay_MtFujiIt was still a bit cloudy but the Ferris Wheel was a good ride to rest from all the crazy ones. My legs were still shaking from Dodonpa to this very day.

The boys decided to ride Panic Clock, which later turned into Panic Cock for Brad when his balls was stuck in the straps when they were high up in the air. I didn’t ride it (still traumatized from Dodonpa) but all I could see is them laughing themselves silly while still up in the air because Brad is screaming, “OW!! MY NUTS!”.

7thDay_PanicClockIt was a long day, and after a quick bite we head for the bus stop. I had a lot of fun and was being melancholy about it. Tonight would be my last night in Japan as tomorrow morning is my flight. I only have 15 hours left in Japan, and I did not want to go back home.

7thDay_OverWe waited by the bus stop for our bus and a bus heading to Hakata was there. Tomorrow, I would be leaving Japan and they would be leaving Tokyo to head to Hakata, where the Sousenkyo will be held. I really wanted to join them but I can’t. It took everything I had in me to stop myself from riding this bus to Hakata.

7thDay_HakataWe got on our bus as scheduled and Mt. Fuji finally showed up to bid goodbye to us.

7thDay_ByeIt was a long, fun and tiring day. But I didn’t want it to end. So we made plans with Souchan, Momo, Toki & Hayate to join us for Karaoke later near our apartment.

One last night in Japan and I wanted to make full use of it.

30th May: 2-shot event – Earthquake & the aftermath

January 8, 2016 by

Still reeling in the shock from the quake, I gathered myself to meet up with the other AIDOL gang. It seems like everyone else had the same idea because soon enough, most of the people are gathered in the same area. I was surprised by the calmness of the Japanese people, probably because they are more used to this. Everyone started to gather very quietly, like they already know what to do. If this were back in my country, people would be running around here and there, riots everywhere, probably.

Staff were announcing that the 2-shot event is in halt until further notice. Initial report was a 8.5 magnitude earthquake, almost double what I felt last night. I can’t remember but everyone seems to be finished with their slot, except for Brad who is still lining up for either Nishino Miki or Komiyama Haruka. I remember Souchan folding up the banner, they just planned to get a picture with it but dismissed the idea after the panic. I wasn’t there but apparently Gert was so shocked he looked like a scared kitten. 2-shot event resumes after half an hour or so, after no more quakes were felt. It was the last slot anyway, and there were not many people around.

After everyone has finished we followed the crowd out from the building, stopping for a few minutes to grab a group photo, something that had slipped our mind because of the earthquake.  All 8 of us with various AIDOL fans and new friends we met at 2-shot.

5thDay_AIDOLFunny story about the banner. I was in charged of it and I just ordered the size randomly never knowing it would resulted in that size, hahaha. Wayne and Souchan vowed that I would not be in charge of banner duties ever again.

ChatReaching the train station was of no use as well, as all the trains were delayed. We were stranded. And hungry.

5thDay_Stranded

After going back into the building and failing to find a restaurant, we settled for food from the conbini nearby. And again, it seems everyone was feeling hungry as well because we ate a lot. I think we almost cleared out all the food in the conbini. Feeling full, we head back to the train station. Train started to move but not all the lines and stations are. After transferring and changing lines here and there, we managed to find a route that will actually take us home. After a few train transfers, we parted ways with the new friends we made at the 2-shot event until finally it was just the 8 of us left.

Now, bear with me. And with my words, use it to paint your imagination for the scenario.

It was the last train change we need to make before we reach home. Since we rarely take this line, we were not familiar with the train as well. We didn’t want to miss the last train since it was late. The train platform was upstairs and while walking up the stairs, we heard the train coming. Wayne, Brad, Momo, and Toki ran up to catch the train while me, Hayate, Souchan & Gert trailed behind. Wayne just rushed into the train, followed by Brad, Momo and Toki, while me and Hayate was looking around to see if we are on the right train. So there we were, with Wayne, Brad, Momo and Toki in the train and the rest of us still on the platform. When suddenly, Gert decides to rush into the train anyway. And the unthinkable happens.

The train door SLAMMED on Gert! Hard. It closed on him but opens back up again. Wayne, Brad, Momo & Toki in the train looked terrified. So did Souchan, me and Hayate on the platform. Gert quickly gets into the train anyway and me, Hayate and Souchan looked at each other without saying anything and thinking in our heads, “Holy shit! Should we get in?”. At the time it was scary. And terrifying. Especially after watching the door slams on Gert.

Souchan, bless him, jumps onto the train less than a second after Gert and AGAIN the door slams on him. But this time, it didn’t open back up. And Souchan was stuck in the train doors and the lights and sounds were beeping indicating it’s about to leave the station.

Okay, now from the platform side (me and Hayate’s), all I could see is his bag and the banner stuck between the door, while Souchan struggling to get into the train. So I yelled, “LEAVE THE BANNER! LEAVE THE BANNER!” in sheer panic, thinking the train was about to move. What I didn’t notice, one of Souchan’s leg was also stuck outside. So Wayne, Brad, Momo & Toki in the train could see the sheer panic on Souchan’s face while he whimpers, “My leg…” with me shouting in the background “LEAVE THE BANNER!” from the platform.

Suddenly the door opens back up and Souchan hurriedly got into the train. Me and Hayate didn’t even communicate, we looked at each other and jumped into the train in less than a second, and breath a sigh of relief when the door slowly closes after we jumped. Then the train started moving again.

5thDay_SouchanTrain

Bear in mind, all of that (from the moment Gert jumped) probably happened in a span of 20-30 seconds. It all happened so quickly but we had a million things rushing through our mind. We were all silenced in total shock. But after a minute or so, after everyone had gathered their thoughts, we laughed like crazy. Laugh-out-loud crazy! Which was really rude considering the train etiquette in Japan.

I remember Wayne mentioning that was the one time he wished he had a go-pro constantly filming that expression of pure horror on Souchan’s face. To quote Wayne, “Seriously though, you couldn’t see his face, it was like in those horror movies, when the bad guy finally catches someone, like just slightly catches their leg? That realization of getting caught… the pure fear… just looking at you like “PLEASE. HELP ME. PLEASE!!!”

I’m happy no one got hurt (Although Souchan’s ankle was a bit sore) but looking back, it was really funny. And is my go-to story to tell my friends and family after I got back home.

The lesson here kids, don’t rush into trains.

It was a long and happy and tiring day. And we ended in true AIDOL style, with pure panic and a burst of laughter. Otsukaresama, Souchan.

5thDay_Otsukaresama

 

30th May: 2-shot event – The big day

January 7, 2016 by

We were suppose to get ready by 6.30am to head out to the train station so we can arrive at Tokyo Big Sight in time. However, due to nervousness I was up since 4am. I decided to walk around the park a bit to calm down this nervous ache I have in my gut. It’s the same nervous ache I would get before a very big exam or a very important interview. Every time there’s something life changing about to happen I get this painful bouts of stomach aches and my nerves gets all tingly. This 2-shot is the big reason why I made this trip, and the day was finally here.

By 5.30am, everyone was up and getting ready, while I double and triple check my tickets, my passport and my electronics.  I think this was when I found out that yesterday night we were hit by a 4.8 magnitude earthquake. Which felt quite apt since we’re heading out to see the 48G girls today. By 6.30am, everyone was ready and we left our house.

5thDay_TouristAt the train station we were approached by 2 foreigners asking questions about directions. It felt nice to be helping out people so early in the morning so we were feeling good.

5thDay-2Shot

My phone was being an idiot at this time as the battery kept depleting and it didn’t want to open the camera. While everybody was relaxed, I was struggling with my power banks, trying to keep the battery above 15%.

5thDay_BigSightWe reached the place right before 8am. Just in time to be in queue and one of the few first to get our tickets verified, something that is safe to do if you’re a foreigner.They will validate and compare each of your tickets and stamp it. Once stamped, you would find little problems to enter each lane, as I did. My name on the passport and the tickets was quite different, but since everything was stamped, I had no problems in each lane.

5thDay_TicketsI walked around after validating my tickets, jotting down the number of the girls lane that I would be seeing and also looking around the sousenkyo posters.

5thDay_PostersMy first member was Sasshi, and Souchan was with me. I followed his lead and in about a few minutes, I’m about to meet Sashihara Rino. Nervous was an understatement, and the fact that while we were lining up, the little girl in front of us kept staring at me didn’t help. I look different, I know that much. With Souchan or Wayne or the rest, they look like your typical gaijin (foreigner). I don’t look Japanese, nor do I look like your average gaijin. In fact, during the whole day, I didn’t think I met anyone who resembled me at all. So with the little girl giving me curious looks, I was scared I would be getting the same looks from the members as well.

Sasshi was a member who I meant to see for the longest time. We both have the same oshi in Morning Musume, Kamei Eri. And Eri has a famous pose she does in a skit, which is “Gazen Tsuyome”.

gazentsuyomeMost of the members I would just go with whatever poses they wanted, but Sasshi was one of the few that I knew what I wanted. I wanted to talk to her about Eririn. I wanted to tell her thanks about all the things she did with HKT48. I wanted to tell her I appreciate her. What I didn’t anticipated was how short the timing of the 2-shot would be. And how tongue tied I would become.

2Shot_Sasshi[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Nice to meet you.
Sasshi: Hello, ah nice to meet you. What pose?
Me: Because I’m a fan of Eririn… *points to shirt*
Sasshi: Ah, nice!
Me: Eric Kamezou’s pose..
Sasshi: Gazen tsuyome!
Me: YES!
*clicks*

I couldn’t even finish my sentence but I was glad that Sasshi knew what I wanted. For her to recognize what shirt I was wearing (which was Eririn’s grad t-shirt) and for her to know the pose before I actually showed it was something that proved to me that she is truly a fan of Eririn. It was nice to actually get a few words in even though it was a short time. I went out of the booth with tears in my eyes because I was too happy. I was glad Souchan was there, I really needed a friend at that time. My next girl was Shimada Haruka, my AKB oshi.

I wanted to say a lot with Shimada. A LOT. I imagined our conversations in my head, going with I saw her in Jakarta, or just telling her I’m a huge fan from Malaysia, or I voted for her in Sousenkyo, or telling her I’m anticipating a Team K with her as captain, or even to say the gaijins behind me are my friends (Brad & Momo also applied to have a 2-shot with Shimada because of me). Let me tell you first, that none of that happened. Instead…

2Shot_Shimada[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Nice to meet you.
Shimada: Wow, you’re so fluent!
Me: No…(In my heart: NO WAY)
Shimada: What pose?
Me: Err…(In my heart: SAY SOMETHING)
Shimada: Heart?
Me: Ahh..err…(In my heart: SAY ANYTHING)
Shimada: *smiles while extend her hand in a half heart*
Me: *mumbles thank you*
*CLICKS*

2shot_Shimada2[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: *gets up from sit*
Staff: Actually, you have 2 tickets.
Me: Ah… (In the panic, I actually forgot)
Shimada: Really? Thank you!!
Me: … (In my heart: OH MY GOD)
Shimada: What pose?
Me: Err… (In my heart: YOU ARE AN IDIOT SAY SOMETHING)
Shimada: Team K pose?
Me: *starts doing Team K hand sign*
Shimada: Oh, you know! *smiles sweetly*
Me: *smiles like an idiot*
*CLICKS*

WELL, THAT WENT WELL.

That was the worse tongue tied situation I had ever been. Ever. Queuing up for Shimada’s lane after Sasshi’s was a shock. I’ve always known or read about how a popular member could have you queue up for hours and nobody would be lining up for an unpopular member but to see it first hand, it just saddened me that there was no one in Shimada’s lane. I had 2 tickets for Shimada and used both at once but looking back, I wished I had done a loop and did it one at a time. I was so tongue tied I couldn’t get to say what I wanted to say. She was so kind, and beautiful, and when she praised my Japanese even though I’ve only uttered a sentence, I just lost all my train of thought. If I could have a do-over on my 2-shot session, I pick this one. As the day got by, I got so much better at conversing and managing my time during 2-shots, I wished I had met Shimada later during the day and not after I was overwhelmed after meeting Sasshi. She was the only one I regretted how our session went by. I was nervous, speechless and didn’t get to convey what I wanted to say originally.

2nd slot was up next and I got Sasshi again. I wanted to go with a funny pose this time and was thinking of explaining to Sasshi about a flip-the-table pose but got cut halfway in my sentence by her.

2shot_Sasshi2[※All conversation in Japanese]
Sasshi: Hi!
Me: Hi again!
Sasshi: What pose?
Me: I was thinking if we could do…
Sasshi: You want to do a “he” (In Japanese the word he looks like this: へ) pose?
Me: A what?
Sasshi: Do this. *does the “he” pose*
Me: Okay… *follows along*
*CLICKS*

Dammit Sasshi! Hahaha! She couldn’t even let me finish my sentence and I had to follow her flow. But the best part was after the photo was taken, we had a little handshake and this conversation happened.

[※All conversation in Japanese]
Sasshi: Actually, who do you like?
Me: Murashige!
Sasshi: AHHH!!!! *points at me*
Me: *laughs like crazy*

It was funny that she figured out that she wasn’t my oshi. I had so much fun going into Sasshi’s lane and I know why people go to her lane as well. She makes you feel comfortable, like you’re talking to a friend rather than an idol. My conversations with Sasshi was pleasant, and I felt at ease. It’s probably the reason why she has so many fans as well. She can make you feel that she’s close to you, and she does it well . It’s no wonder she’s at the top, she knows how to pander to the wota community and she gets the vote of the casual fanbase as well because of her likability. And in the voting race of popularity, likability can get you very far.

My next member is Akiyoshi Yuka from HKT48, and I waited for Wayne & Brad as we have the same slot as well. Brad was lining up for Mayuyu and is taking such a long time so we ditched him as we feared we couldn’t be in time for Yukachan. I was undecided between a funny or a cute pose from Yukachan but I went with funny in the end.

2shot_Yukachan[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Nice to meet you, I came from Malaysia.
Yuka: Wow! Thank you! What pose?
Me: I really like your Chori bird imitation.
Yuka: Haha, it’s been a while since I did it.
Me: *starts doing the bird pose*
Yuka: *looks at me and laugh*
Me: No good?
Yuka: No, it’s perfect. I won’t lose. *Starts doing the bird pose*
*CLICKS*

I wanted a funny pose but I got a cute one. It’s such a win-win. My bird pose was ridiculous and I’m glad I don’t have to show it. I love that Yukachan was so into it and she looks cheerful, just how I imagined how she would be. It’s quite a while before Slot 3 starts so I meet up with the gang at the seats near the food corner. My next slot is Yamashita Emiri and Tomiyoshi Asuka from HKT48. Both are not popular members so I imagined the queue won’t be long. I made a pact with Souchan to meet up during Tomiyoshi’s slot as we had the same tickets.

Just as I figured there was little to no line at Emiri’s lane. In fact, I was the first one there and her first 2-shot of the day. After a while, a few more people started to line up after me and even though the line is short, it’s still longer than Shimada’s. Let me just start off that Emiri is the Kenkyuusei that got my attention from the start and I was excited to see her. I wished she had felt the same.

2shot_Emiri[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Nice to meet you, I came from Malaysia!
Emiri: Thank you.
Staff: Excuse me, sorry your phone just turned off.
Me: Sorry about that. *Takes phone from staff and tries to open the camera again*
Emiri:
Me: *looks at Emiri* Sorry, my phone is giving problems. Haha.
Emiri:
Staff: Okay, are you ready?
Me: What pose do you recommend?
Emiri: *starts silently holds up peace sign*
Me: *starts silently doing peace sign as well*
*CLICKS*

Uh… that was awkward. I don’t know if she was scared of me (she even looks scared in the photo) or it was because I was her first 2-shot and she needed to warm up first… but I felt awkward after her 2-shot. Even the handshake after the 2-shot, she was unenthusiastic and her hand felt limp. I really want to give her the benefit of the doubt, justifying it on the fact that I was her first 2-shot, or she is new at this. But in the back of my head I can’t help to feel that she judged me on how I looked. So she felt scared or threatened, and I hate myself for making her feel that way. Nevertheless, I was so high on her before our 2-shot, but I left with a sour feeling in my mouth. Maybe it was best if I didn’t went to her lane at all.

I met up with Souchan and we got ready for Tomiyoshi. Souchan went first and I could overhear all their conversations since Tomiyoshi is so loud.

[※All conversation in Japanese]
Tomiyoshi: Ah, you’re the Amina oshi!!
Souchan: Yes!
Tomiyoshi: Why did YOU come to Japan!
Souchan: Yes! Yes!

I just stood there, amazed. I knew that Tomiyoshi was Amina oshi, hence why Souchan went to her lane. But to recognized Souchan from a TV show that aired a year before? I was deeply impressed. My turn was next and I got excited.

2shot_Tomiyoshi[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Nice to meet you, I came from Malaysia!
Tomiyoshi: Oh my god!! Thank you!!! What pose do you like?
Me: Tomiyoshi revolution!
Tomiyoshi: Ehhhh, even in Malaysia you know about Tomiyoshi revolution?
Me: Of course! *starts doing the pose*
Tomiyoshi: Thank you!!!
*CLICKS*

Tomiyoshi revolution really doesn’t translate well in 2-shot with tables, haha. This was the only 2-shot that I wished the stupid table wasn’t there. But she was so cheerful and happy I felt nice going to her lane after Emiri. Me and Souchan even gushed about how she remembered Souchan as Amina oshi and needless to say we were both very satisfied with her. Since Emiri & Tomiyoshi’s lane was so quick, me and Souchan decided to look around, and see if we spot Shinobu or any of the theater managers. We’ve always planned to make AIDOL more of a legit translator for AKB shows but after many unanswered emails, perhaps meeting the managers one-on-one would speed up the process. Alas, the managers were nowhere to be found so we head back to the seatings in the food area, where AIDOL people seem to have set up camp there.

5thDay_YOUNot just Tomiyoshi recognized Souchan, even more Japanese people and foreign fans alike recognized Wayne & Souchan. “Why did YOU come to Japan?” had more impact that I thought it had and the line to have a 2-shot with them was longer than Shimada’s. Either that’s a testament to their popularity or a testament to Shimada’s unpopularity. They were also giving out Sousenkyo coasters for every food you buy and I was buying a few but couldn’t seem to get the girls that I like. Until Momo suddenly called out my name and waving a coaster to me.

5thDay_ShigeCoasterShe didn’t even offered but I just straightaway hugged her and grabbed the Shige coaster from her hand. It was the exact coaster I needed as Shige’s slot is up next. And I was nervous. I was about to meet my Oshimen.

5thDay_ShigeTicketI queued up with Wayne and SHaihh from AIDOL’s chatroom. Learning from Shimada’s slot, I decided to use only 1 of my ticket then line up again to get another one. Wayne was up first and I could hear her excitement! She recognized Wayne from YOU and thanked him for coming to see her again. I was happy for Wayne and was excited for my turn.

2shot_Shige[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Nice to meet you, I came from Malaysia!
Murashige: Thank you!!!
Me: That guy before me was on TV, right?
Murashige: Yes!! What pose do you like?
Me: How about Murashige pose?
Murashige: Okay!
*CLICKS*

*Shake hands*
Murashige: Thank you for coming!!
Me: I’ll come again, I have another ticket.
Murashige: I’LL BE WAITING!!!

I just came out grinning from ear to ear. She was all I imagined her to be. I tried to bait her to talk more by pointing out Wayne but I guess the script for the 2-shot is always, “Hi!” and “What pose?” for the girls because of the time constraint. As the day goes by, I got better and better at playing the conversation limit according to the time constraint but I felt good with Shige. She was also overjoyed when I said I was coming again and it makes me so happy to see her so cheerful. She was also the first one to make me think, “Damn. I wished this is a handshake event so I could talk to her longer.”

My next member was Nako. I was hesitating on either to line up for Shige again or go to Nako first, but I decided to go for Nako. Which felt like a huge mistake because her line was so long, I was scared that I would miss the time cut out for Shige’s lane. Since I was already lining up, I just stayed in Nako’s lane, just praying that the lane moves faster.

2shot_Nako[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Nice to meet you, I came from Malaysia!
Nako: Ohh…
Me: Let’s do “Obake wo taosu guntai da!
Nako: Okay. *smiles*
*CLICKS*

*Shake hands*
Me: Do you know where Malaysia is?
Nako: *thinks* Err… I do.
Me: Don’t lie!
Nako: Ahahaha.

First of all, let me explain “Obake wo taosu guntai da!” which is a phrase made famous when Nako appeared on Ariyosi AKB Kyowakoku. She was telling a story of how she met a ghost and promptly yelled “Watashitachi wa obake wo taosu guntai da!” (We are the army that defeat ghosts)

Nako It was a pose I wanted to try with Nako but poor girl was tired. She was exhausted. Just look at how tired she is in the 2-shot photo! She was there right beside Sasshi’s lane since morning and I remember watching her while lining up for Sasshi at 9am, she was so energetic then. It was 2pm when I saw her, she’s been doing nothing but 2-shots after 2-shots and her line has been relentlessly long, I felt it was too much for a 13-year old. She’s still a kid, which makes it funny when she pretended to know where Malaysia is when it was apparent on her face that she didn’t. If it was up to me I would order the rest of the people behind me to just go home and let the poor girl rest. But I was also part of the problem, as I was one of the ticket holder. I was happy that I got to meet Nako, but I felt bad at the same time. No kid should be subjected to this.

As I continue to mumble alone about the vicious idol world to myself, I ran back to Shige’s lane, with 10 minutes to spare before the lane closes. I got in just in the nick of time and was the second last person to see her for the slot.

2shot_Shige2[※All conversation in Japanese]
Murashige: You really came back!
Me: Haha, of course.
Murashige: What pose?
Me: Comeback! (I asked for 復活 pose which means comeback, also her theme for Sousenkyo this year)
*CLICKS*

*Shake hands*
Me: I’m voting for you this year.
Murashige: Thank you!! Coming again?
Me: Ah, no… that was my last ticket.
Murashige: Well, thank you for coming!!
Me: I had fun!
Murashige: Me too!

Hee. 🙂

That was all I felt after meeting her. I was glad that I split up the tickets as I got to get more conversations with her. She kept her cheerfulness till the end of the session and both times meeting her was so great. Maybe it was because she was my oshi and I’m being biased, but I really enjoyed my time. It was only Slot 4, the day was only half over and I still have 4 more slots left but I was over the moon.

8 more girls to go and the tiredness begins to step in. I’ve been doing nothing but queuing up the whole day. When Kou bought food, we all acted like polite savages, politely decline the first time but devours the food once we got a bite. Water was the most crucial for me as I felt more thirsty than I was hungry. And I hate to go out to get water because my schedule was packed with girls and missing it would be a no-no. So there I went, queuing up again in thirst, hoping the day moves on quickly. Next up, HKT48’s Miyawaki Sakura.

2shot_Sakura[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Hello! I came from Malaysia.
Sakura: Wow, thank you! What pose?
Me: This one, from “Sakura minna de tabeta“.
Sakura: Okay.
*CLICKS*

Okay, that might seem boring but we had a running joke in the Half48 chatroom that the pose of the song looks like someone is smoking weed. I was hoping she would be holding it much closer to her mouth tho. Dammit Sakura, you can’t even smoke pretend weed right. She was so cute in her Alice costume and it would have been a much funnier and ridiculous photo if she had gotten the pose right, hahaha. Oh well. Next up was HKT48’s Tanaka Natsumi aka Boss.

2shot_Boss[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: BOSS!! *salutes*
Boss: (In English) WooOoWW FUROMMU WHEEARRE?
Me: Huh?
Boss: (In English) Furommu wheaaaree?
Me: Oh, I came from Malaysia.
Boss: What, so you know how to speak Japanese.
Me: Hahaha.
Boss: What pose?
Me: Let’s do doyagao (smug face).
Boss: Okay.
*CLICKS*

First of all, her “From where?” is so hilarious and thick that I didn’t even understand what she was saying. I thought she was saying some Japanese I didn’t know until it clicked to me that she was trying to converse in English with me. Second, I was imagining a much more smug doyagao from her but all I got was a Murashige pose instead, haha. She was funny and engaging. I love how instead of feeling embarrassed that I replied in Japanese, she sounded pissed instead, which I felt was so Boss of her. I expect nothing less.

Next up was HKT48’s Tomonaga Mio. I met up with Wayne since we both have the same slot. We decided to troll Mio and speak nothing but English with her since we know how salty she gets with foreigners, based on the variety shows that we watched of her. English was not her favourite subject, and I can’t wait to get me some salty and confused Mio.

2shot_Mio[※All conversation in English]
Me: Hello! I came from Malaysia!
Mio: Thank you! What pose?
Me: What pose do you like?
Mio: Peace!
Me: Okay!
*CLICKS*

*Shake hands*
Mio: Thank you! I’m happy!
Me: I’m happy as well! Good luck in Sousenkyo!

Well, that was unexpected. I went in expecting salty and confused Mio but she got me confused instead. She was nothing but lovely, even though I spoke nothing but English. And she tried her best speaking English as well. She went above and beyond from what I expected of her. I met up with Wayne and we compared shots and noticed that she did the peace sign with Wayne’s shot as well. Since Souchan’s Mio slot was up next we asked Souchan to do peace sign with Mio as well. After comparing our three shots, we concluded that Mio is a robot.

Mio_PeaceThis was from 3 different photos. Such a cute robot, hahaha.

HKT48’s Tanaka Miku was up next.2shot_Miku[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Hello! I came from Malaysia!
Miku: Thank you so much! What pose?
Me: Let’s do Nako-chan’s “Obake wo taosu guntai da!
Miku: That pose sure is popular today.
Me: Really? Haha.
*CLICKS*

Again, I felt the same thing that I felt with Nako’s session. The poor girls are tired. And it shows. However, after having 2-shots with both Nako and Miku, it was apparent that Miku is the more professional of the two. While Nako embraces her child side more and acted playful and really show her tiredness, Miku was sitting up-straight, properly thanking me and gave a proper handshake on the way out. But she was still a kid.

2shot_NakoMikuI hate that I was part of the problem as well, and I vowed to get the girls in an earlier slot next time as the evening slot is too much. But would be getting the morning slot better? I was still contributing to their sales, and as long as they are the popular members, they are going to be subjected to long hours and more slots. As I talked myself through it, I concluded that subjecting these kids to long hours of 2-shots is just not right, but I didn’t come up with any proper solutions. It was a long standing tradition in idol world, and one gaijin is not going to be heard. Maybe my brain was also tired at this point onwards but even though I was feeling happy, something just felt wrong about this whole 2-shot thing.

I decided to shake the feeling off and meet up with the Ago Brothers, Rick & Brad, aka the Kimoto Kanon oshis.

5thDay_AGOBrosMy next 2 girls was SKE48’s Kimoto Kanon and NMB48’s Yamamoto Sayaka. I lined up early for Kanon because I know Sayanee’s lane is gonna be loooooong.

2shot_Kanon[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Hello! I came from Malaysia!
Kanon: Wow! Thank you!
Me: I’m actually HKT48 oshi, so I want to thank you for being a concurrent in HKT48.
Kanon: Thank you for your support, what pose do you like?
Me: Any poses you recommend?
Kanon: Let’s do “Gao“!
Me: Okay.
*CLICKS*

Kanon was a pleasure to talk with. Being the only SKE48 member that I took a 2-shot with today, it was typical of me to get the member that is also HKT48’s member as well, haha. I was glad that I got to say what I wanted to say and my Japanese is getting better as the day goes by as well. I always knew what to say but at this time I have the confidence to actually say it. My next girl was Sayanee. I remember asking Wayne what poses he wanted me to have with Sayanee, because we applied for the same slot for Sayanee but I won her and he lost. I was glad that he wanted me to take hengao (weird faces) with Sayanee because that is exactly what I wanted to do as well.

2shot_Sayanee[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Hello! I came from Malaysia!
Sayanee: Wow! Thank you! What pose?
Me: Will hengao be okay?
Sayanee: *smiles* Sure.
Me: *does my hengao*
Sayanee: *looks at me and laughs* Nice hengao.
*CLICKS*

Oh but the 2-shot didn’t end there. As I got up, Sayanee got up as well, shook my hands and proceeded to walk with me throughout my exit.

*Shake hands*
Sayanee: Thank you so much for coming. All the way from Malaysia too!
Me: I had so much fun. I watched your Another Sky episode yesterday!
Sayanee: Really? Thank you for watching! How was it?
Me: When you thought that expensive noodle was only 950 yen…
Sayanee: Hahaha.
Me: It was really funny.
Sayanee: Thank you for coming.
Me: I’ll be voting for you! Do your best in Sousenkyo!
Sayanee: Thank you!

HANDS DOWN my favourite 2-shot of the day. Hands. Down. She was amazing from the moment I sat down and looked into my eyes asking for a pose. “Will hengao be okay?” and the kind smile she had when she said yes (probably because I was stumbling with my Japanese). Then stood up after the 2-shot and accompanied me to the exit while handshaking and chitchatting with me. It was really a Kami-level treatment of 2-shots. I hate to talk about it in terms of money but she really made me feel I had my money’s worth. It was easy to see why so many people were lining up for her since morning. Not only is she talented, funny and have the leadership skill to boot but she’s engaging and friendly to her fans as well. I had the second last slot of the day and I couldn’t even sense a hint of tiredness from Sayanee. She blew me away. I was feeling tired at the end of the day but was rejuvenated after meeting Sayanee. My next and last slot was AKB48’s Tano Yuka & Nakanishi Chiyori.

2shot_TanoI’ve always had the IDGAF-vibe from Tano and it couldn’t be more apparent on that day. Her lane was quite far and she came in on a bicycle like a boss. I haven’t met her but I was already chuckling at the idea that she rode a bicycle just to come to her lane.

[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Hello! I came from Malaysia!
Tano: Thanks. What pose?
Me: Doyagao?
Tano: Sure!
*CLICKS*

*Shake hands*
Tano: Thanks for coming.
Me: That was hilarious coming in here with a bicycle.
Tano: This lane is too far!
Me: I know right? Hahaha.
Tano: Hahaha!

She seemed cold during the 2-shot but opened up when I joked about her bicycle. She acted the way how I expected her to be, cool with that hint of IDGAF. I was now getting a bit sad. The last girl is next, and that means my day was ending. I could have met up with Chori first but I decided to meet Tano first and end my day with Chori. I hung around the lane for quite a while, waiting for the people to disappear. I had the idea to be last person that she sees, as she’s my last person of the day. 20 minutes after the lane is open it seemed there was no one else queuing up for Chori so I head to her lane. (Right after I queued up, a group of 5 people started queuing up after me orz)

2shot_Chori[※All conversation in Japanese]
Me: Hello! I came from Malaysia!
Chori: Wow! Malaysia? Wow!
Me: I like your bird imitation.
Chori: *laughs* Bird pose?
Me: Yeah.
Chori: Okay!
*CLICKS*

*Shake hands*
Chori: Thank you for coming.
Me: I’m HKT Oshi but I’ll support you in AKB as well.
Chori: Thank you!

Ah, I don’t know what happen in the picture but I remember that she was very cheerful and energetic, haha. Seems it didn’t translate well in the picture. Maybe she was tired, as was I. I also wanted to ask her if she plans to come back to HKT but the staff was already pushing me away. As I walk away from the lane and towards the food area where all the AIDOL gang have set up camp, I felt a huge sense of relief. It was a very tiring day, but a happy one. I was glad that I set out to actually do this, to actually meet up with the idols that I like. I was walking along happily until I heard a girl scream.

I looked back, worried. A girl screaming during a 2-shot or handshake event was the last thing you want to hear. Right after, I realized what was going on. If it wasn’t because I was speechless I would be screaming as well. I was walking but now I found myself couldn’t even stand still. It was as if a titan had his hand all over Tokyo Big Sight and started shaking the whole building.

We were hit with a 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

29th May: Half-assed tourist part 2

January 6, 2016 by

Woke up early as planned and was already on the train by 5am. My phone is starting to act crazy since a few days ago and the battery just starts depleting fast for no reason. So for the Tsukiji photos I don’t even have photos of when the sushi arrived. (But it was gooooood)4thDay_Tsukiji2There were a few shops there so I just started lining up the queue that has the most locals, haha.

4thDay_TSukijiAfter Tsukiji, I head back to the apartment and the rest of the gang haven’t even woken up yet. Since the Edo-Tokyo Museum is just 3 minutes from our apartment, I decided to head there and look around. Lucky me, it was also school trip day so I tagged along the group of kids and look around the museum.4thDay_Edo4thDay_Museum4thDay_Musuem2The details on the models was really impressive. There were even real scale houses and model ones. I thought the museum really depicted the architectures and lifestyles of people during the Edo period. There weren’t a lot of foreigners in the museum (pretty sure I was the only one on that day) and the museum goers mostly consists of kids and old people.

4thDay_ShitBucket24thDay_ShitBucketThey even have a lot of items that are in the hands-on exhibit section. My favorite is this night soil pail or shit bucket as I called it. It was actually quite heavy.

I even bought an old school Kendama which we had a really fun time playing with it during our trip.

4thDay_Kendama4thDay_Kendama2 I’ve been craving crepes since morning and Wayne suggested we go to Harajuku to get some. We found ourselves in Takeshita street to get some crepes.4thDay_TakeshitaI ate the green tea crepe (which doesn’t translate really well in photo but it was delicious). Hayate got the standard strawberry crepe (Which look pretty in photos).

4thDay_Crepe4thDay_Crepes4thDay_964thDay_Mine4thDay_HayateWe strolled around Harajuku even though it started raining a bit.

4thDay_RainWe even visited this shopping mall that has a bunch of mirrors in it (forgot the name of the place) which is actually one of the location of Nogizaka46’s “Sekai de Ichiban Kodoku na Lover” PV.

4thDay_Mirror4thDay_MirrorsNogiThen we head to Asakusa to buy more CDs, I can’t remember which shop but I remember we only went there to get the shop’s bonus photos (which was actually sold out). We also went to Bic Camera in Akiba to get the shop’s bonus photos there as well. I got Miku as my CD photo and thus completed my NakoMiku collection for the trip (which pisses Hayate off because he can’t seem to get any SKE photos that he wanted while I got my HKTs muahaha)

4thDay_CDThe rest of them continues to head out somewhere while I head home as I was up since 4am and was feeling pretty tired. I remember I texted them that I will meet them up at Akiba for dinner after a quick nap but I ended up waking up late after my so-called “nap”. Figured it was late to join them, I head down to conbini to buy some dinner while I spend the night watching TV. It was some sort of show that has Funasshi and later I started watching Music Station as well.

4thDay_TVGuideLooking through the TV guide I saw Another Sky will have Sayanee on it so I quickly set myself a reminder to watch that while I keep browsing other channels.

4thDay_SayaneeI remember watching this and thinking this is such a fun and good episode and wanted to sub it once I get back home. Lucky for me, Teppen Subs was so fast, the episode was already subbed when I was actually still in Japan. Go watch it!

It was a fun day of strolling around and watching TV at night but nothing compares to the nervousness I’m feeling because tomorrow is the big day! As I set aside my clothes for tomorrow, and also make sure all my electronics are charged, I went to bed quite tired because of the anticipation.

Around midnight, I heard someone shook my futon. As I mumbled, “Don’t shake my bed, Momo. Go to sleep.” I tried to go back to sleep.

Little that I know, no one shook my bed that night, and I just had my first experience with an earthquake.

 

 

28th May: Half-assed tourist part 1

January 5, 2016 by

Since this is my first time in Japan, I decided to be a tourist and try going to all the places that I wanted to see. I was hoping to go to Tsukiji first but after the late night of card game playing that lasted until 3am, I woke up late so I changed my plans to go see Tokyo Tower instead.

3rdDay_Tower1This was my first time since I arrived that I didn’t have the AIDOL gang with me, so I had to rely on myself and Google to get to places. Turns out, Japan railway system isn’t as intimidating as I thought. Plus, Google Map is so reliable you can search for trains to take and the ETA time to get there is correct as well as the trains in Japan is super punctual.

3rdDay_TowerI didn’t went up the Tower as I’m not much of a view person. But the souvenir section at ground floor was the the cheapest I’ve seen so I bought quite a few stuff for my friends and family back home. Then, I started heading out to Roppongi for the Hard Rock cafe shop, to buy a t-shirt for my friend who collects them.

3rdDay_HardRockOn my way there, I saw the Google Map Street Car as well. I started doing Mentaiko poses at the side of the street. (Quick search on the street that I was at and my face still haven’t appeared)

3rdDay_GoogleMapThen, I head over to Shibuya to see the famous Shibuya crossing and Hachiko statue.

3rdDay_Shibuya3rdDay_HachikoSince Momo was in Tower Records, I asked for her help to buy more AKB48 CDs, hoping to get the Tower Records bonus photos. After a whole day of strolling around from Tokyo Tower to Roppongi to Shibuya, I head back to Akihabara to meet up with Momo and Toki at AKB48 cafe. It has been a tourist-y day, but somehow I ended in Akihabara again.

3rdDay_AKBIn the cafe, we had to wait for a while and whose signature that I immediately see when I was waiting? Well, none other than Murashige Anna, of course.

3rdDay_AnnaI even saw Meruzaurus on the pillar.

3rdDay_Meruzaurus3rdDay_MerusaurusWe got ourselves a table and I ordered just a smoothie drink for myself. I also got a Chori coaster and was very pleased.

3rdDay_Cafe3rdDay_CoasterI opened up the CDs that Momo got me and got Nako! (Also Rena and 2 Kawaei)

3rdDay_CDsWe split up ways after the drink and I went back to Liberty. After spending the last night just sorting out photos, this time I was more focused and less tempted. My goal was to complete my collection.

3rdDay_LibertyAfter Liberty, I head to Trio and other photo shops in search for photos to complete my collection. I was running out of cash after buying souvenirs for my friends and family the whole day so funnily enough, since my credit card is actually a photo of Murashige on it, I used Shige to buy more Shiges.

3rdDay_Shige3rdDay_PayMy phone was already dead by this point and I didn’t bring the cables for my powerbanks. Good thing I already know how to get home from Akiba so I was not lost. However, I found out that Wayne & Brad went to PARMS again and I wanted to follow them if they went. After I went home and charged my phone, I got sad that I missed PARMS when I was just in Akiba. Donned my penguin suit and I decided to go to bed early that night, as I plan for an early morning to Tsukiji tomorrow.

3rdDay_Penguin

27th May: Strolling around Akihabara

January 4, 2016 by

We started the day early. A bit too early perhaps as we were hit by the morning rush hour on our train ride to Akiba.

2ndDay_Train2We separate ourselves into different coaches, while Wayne reminding each and everyone of us, “2 stops! Get off in 2 stops!”. Me and Momo ended up in the same coach, being squashed with Japanese people in business suits.

2ndDay_Train2ndDay_Exit2ndDay_AkibaWe reached Akiba early. And no shops was open yet. So, while we’re waiting for Akiba to wake up we head to the combini to grab something to eat. We walked around Akiba, just looking around at all the shops that have yet to open.

2ndDay_DonkiClose2ndDay_LibertyCLoseAround 11am, most of the shops started to open. We head to Softmap first, as Hayate wanted to buy a Japanese SIM card. I looked around and bought another powerbank, bringing a total of 3 powerbanks for my trip, haha. My phone was acting strange and keep depleting its battery so I didn’t want to take risk.

2ndDay_SoftmapAfter Softmap, we head to the CD shop to buy AKB’s latest single, “Bokutachi wa Tatakawanai”. Even the Sousenkyo preliminary result was shown at the shop.

2ndDay_CD2ndDay_PrelimsI bought all 4 versions, while the rest bought quite a lot. Mostly, for our friends who asked for our help to buy the voting tickets that comes with the CD.

2ndDay_CDs

Then, we head to Don Quixote or Donki and stroll around for a bit. We meet up with Kou and EroGG (Erik) from UKN48. So now, the 10 of us are just like one huge group of gaijin, strolling around Akihabara. There were a lot of other foreigners strolling about so we weren’t standing out that much.

2ndDay_ColinErik2ndDay_Donki12ndDay_DonkiWe tried to go to Hello!Project Shop next. I was only half excited anyway since all my favorite members were long gone and I was not familiar with the current members. But it was nice to entertain the idea of going to the shop. Too bad it was closed when we were there.

2ndDay_HPNext, was my favorite shop of them all. It’s time for some photo hunting. We head to Liberty first. I just want to make a statement here, that before my trip to Japan, my only photocard buying experience is either through online (ebay/yahoo auction) or asking for a friend who is going to Japan for help. So being in a shop, that is nothing but photo cards… well, I went a bit crazy.

2ndDay_LibertyJust going by my memory of what cards I have, I just keep choosing and picking and by the time everyone was done paying for their photos, I was still crouching by the HKT48 section, going through each photo one by one. Needless to say, most of my photo cards are of Murashige Anna but I had a few variety of others as well. When the cashier was ringing me up, it took ages, and everyone was waiting with anticipation on how much the damage would be to my wallet.

2ndDay_LibertyShige2ndDay_LibertyCashierThe total came up to ¥19980, just almost reaching 20K yen. I could see the looks on everyone’s face, like I’m a crazy person. It didn’t help that while the cashier was ringing me up, Flashdance’s “Maniac” song was playing throughout the shop.

After the 20,000yen shock in Liberty, we headed to another photo card place. Akiba Cultures Zone had a lot more idol merchandise namely t-shirts and posters.

2ndDay_Cultures

2ndDay_Cultures2The 20,000 yen damage was too much so I avoided the photo section. Also, because I was not sure on which photo I have and didn’t have at that point. All I wanted to do is head home and put it nicely in an album, take note of the ones I didn’t have and head back here. I did however, grabbed Murashige’s sousenkyo poster from last year, which was one of my favorite sousenkyo photo of hers.

2ndDay_ShigeThe rest of the gang then heads to the figures section while I waited at the side. I wasn’t that into figures and anime, so I just stayed by chatting with Momo and Gert. We head back down and went to Super Potato to look at some games.

2ndDay_PotatoLike anime, I wasn’t huge on games either so I just stayed by the door and chatted with Erik & Kou. I haven’t really chatted with them much before so I find them interesting. Particularly, Kou. Well, I’ll let pictures speak for themselves.

2ndDay_ColinAfter strolling around Super Potato we went back down to the streets and just popping in random shops and look around. They even took a group picture with me (The Colonel).

2ndDay_HalfWhen we looked at the time, we didn’t realized it was almost 5pm and we’ve been walking since morning. We split up into groups and I followed Souchan, Toki & Momo to Asakusa to grab some dinner.

2ndDay_Germans2ndDay_TemotoI open my photos just to browse it. I was still reeling in from the 20K yen shock but there was no sense of regret to be honest. I was happy I got the photos and can’t wait to sort in out in my album.2ndDay_PhotosSouchan opens his CD and was salty that he got Paruru as he was hoping for Yukirin.2ndDay_Salty2ndDay_CDopenI had Ikura Kobore Maki for dinner along with other side dishes that we shared.2ndDay_IkuraAfter coming back to our apartment, while Souchan, Momo & Toki was freshening up and resting, I decided to sprawl my photos on the floor and start some arranging. I must have looked like a crazy person, jotting down notes on which photos are missing, and rearranging all my photos.

2ndDay_Photo2ndDay_ListI opened my CD and started voting as well. Giving 2 votes to Murashige and 2 votes to Shimada. As I do every year. I got both version of Jurina, Sasshi & Yui for my photos.

2ndDay_CDsopen2ndDay_ShimadaAt one point, Souchan starts playing with my GoPro which I don’t know if he realizes it or not, as I could snap the pictures using my phone.

2ndDay_Souchan22ndDay_SouchanAs the night kept going, one by one starts to pop up in our room. Gert shows up first and we played some card games from Netherlands that he taught us. Then Hayate showed up and we played some Uno.

2ndDay_Netherlands2ndDay_Draw4Friendships were broken (but mended later) when this happened.

2ndDay_FriendshipsRuinedWe started doing silly stuff and showing each other magic tricks as well.

2ndDay_SouchanMagicWayne & Brad showed up last after coming back from PARMS.

2ndDay_WayneEven though he is tired, Brad seems to be impressed with Gert’s magic.

2ndDay_GertMagic2ndDay_GertBRadWe spend the night just playing card games. Sometimes UNO, then a little bit of Cards Against Humanity.

2ndDay_CAHIn the middle of playing, HKT48 no Odekake started so my attention was half on the TV and half on the cards in my hand.

2ndDay_OdekakeWe played well up to 3am or so, it was so much fun. A few months ago, when we booked the apartment, we envisioned a night like this. We just keep chatting on what we’re going to do and to be actually doing it, it was just amazing.

2ndDay_Card2ndDay_Card2It’s only been Day 2 but I’m having so much fun I didn’t want it to end.

26th May: The land of the rising sun

January 3, 2016 by

1stDay_ArrivalThis 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.

1stDay_SunriseMe 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.

1stDay_PassportAs 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.

1stDay_Banner1stDay_WaitingFrom 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.

1stDay_YOUSouchan1stDay_YOUWayneInside 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.

1stDay_RoomWhile 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.

1stDay_Everyone1stDay_WalkJust 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.

1stDay_DinnerSince 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.

1stDay_BookOff1stDay_BunchOfGaijinsAfter 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.

1stDay_DiscussionWe arrived back to our apartment and decided on the time to head out tomorrow. While Souchan, Momo & Toki rested, I spend the night watching Mayuyu’s drama.

1stDay_MayuyuAnd 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.

Pre-Japan Trip: Plannings and preparations

January 2, 2016 by

As some of you know, I happen to help out AIDOL fansubs from time to time. And after a few years, I’ve grown fond of the guys over at AIDOL. We’ve always talked about the huge AIDOL2020 Japan Trip, the year that realistically everyone in the chat could gather and go to Japan together. But after watching AIDOLMayuyu & AIDOLYukirin’s trip to Japan and watching them go to the 2-shot event, I vowed to go to Japan for the next 2-shot. Little that I know, some of us were already thinking of the same thing.

Then, in late November of 2014, the dates for the 2-shots were announced and we could already start applying. It was a no-brainer, I was going. The question is, who else? AIDOLMayuyu writes these amazing guides on how to apply for 2-shots, which helped me tremendously. If anyone here has questions on how to apply for 2-shots, I can’t recommend these guides enough:

  1. 2-shot Guide Part 1
  2. 2-shot Guide Part 1.5
  3. 2-shot Guide Part 2
  4. 2-shot Payment Guide

A total of 8 of us from AIDOL was going.

  • Half – Me.
  • AIDOLYukirin – Also known as Chris or Souchan as I call him. The General Manager of AIDOL. I’m excited to meet Souchan as he is one of the few crews who aren’t afraid to make his face public. I feel like I know him even before I met him
  • AIDOLMayuyu – Or Wayne as I call him. Our love for HKT48 & Murashige connected us instantly. I think I chat with him on a daily basis. He also loves his underground idols so I can’t wait for him to show me some of the groups that he like.
  • Hayate – The other Malaysian in the group. He’s the only one in this group that I’ve met before because we live close by. Our flight is the same departing to Japan but I’ll be coming back earlier as Hayate will join the rest for Sousenkyo.
  • AIDOLKeiichi – Or Brad as I call him. He’s my go-to timer guy and we’ve worked together not only on AIDOL stuff but also for Gaki no Tsukai’s Batsu Game. Like Wayne, he is also interested in underground idols so I can’t wait to join them and meet new groups.
  • Qwink – Also known as Gert, the doctor! Gert is from Netherlands and is a pretty cool dude in the chat room (and later in Japan I found out he’s a really funny and laidback guy).
  • Toki – Also known as Tamara. She is Souchan’s girlfriend and also appeared in “What are YOU doing in Japan?” alongside Wayne & Souchan last year.
  • Momo – AIDOL’s mood-maker and pokemon trainer. Momo, Toki & Souchan are all from Germany so they would be traveling together.

I would also be meeting Rick again. And also EroGG from UKN48 & Kou from tumblr.

PreJapan_2ShotBy the end of December, we sorted out our 2-shot tickets. The hard part comes next. To sort out our flight schedules and accommodation.

Wayne predicted that the Sousenkyo would be held around 6th June, a week after the 2-shot event. So all of us planned to stay until after Sousenkyo. Wayne plans to stay for 3 weeks, Souchan, Toki & Momo for 2 weeks, while Brad, Hayate and Gert a little over 2 weeks. I was unsure, as I had just started my new job and had to ask my boss first before I buy my flight tickets.

What I feared happened. As my boss only allowed me to have my leave for only 1 week. I could leave Friday night on the 29th May and still attend Sousenkyo on 6th June and leave Japan on 7th June. But I was scared I was cutting it close to the date. Plus, nothing about the Sousenkyo was confirmed by that point. So I made up my mind to arrive at the same date with everyone else, on the 26th of May. Leaving Japan just a few days shy of Sousenkyo.

The rest of the gang continues to plan without me. Some of them wants to head out to Nagoya after Sousenkyo. During this time, HKT announced their new concert dates, there’s one on 31st March, in Hokkaido. I asked Wayne, the only other HKT48 oshi if he’s willing to follow me. He was open for it, and I thought if I can’t make it to Sousenkyo then I’m sure as hell making it to the HKT concert.

But being the idiot that I am, I missed the application date. Thus, leaving my 31st Mar free once more. Wayne suggested that we go for Passpo’s concert and that plan fell apart as well. Finally, Brad suggested that we go to Live PLUS Festival on 31st May, an event that gathers all the underground idols.

PreJapan_Flight

My itinerary is fully packed from 30th May (2-shot event) till the day I leave. I decided to follow Brad & Wayne to Live PLUS Festival on 31st May. Souchan & Hayate will be attending SKE48 handshake event on the same day. And on 1st June, some of us will head to Fuji-Q, before I fly off on 2nd June.

So, our dates are basically set. Next step, accommodation.

It was hard. I’m not gonna lie. To find a good place, that could fit all of us, but cheap enough so some of us could afford it. It wasn’t crucial that we stay together but we wanted a place that we all could hang out together. It also seemed that we like the idea of having a slumber party every night, haha. Most of us haven’t met each other but we were excited at the prospect of it. Wayne found a good one on airbnb that consist of a 3 unit apartment in the same building. It was affordable, near a train station, near to Akihabara and after many many many accommodation suggestions, it was the first one that we all agreed upon.

I spend almost four thousand ringgit just before the trip, between paying for my flight, the 2-shots tickets (and shipping), the accommodation and also the 7-days pocket wi-fi I bought. It was only January, but we sorted out our flight dates, sorted out our 2-shot tickets, and sorted out our accommodation. It was hard but we finally did it.

PreJapan_Expenses

And then March happened. The dates of Sousenkyo was announced and as expected, it will be held on 6th June. But something threw a wrench in the plan, it was the venue of the Sousenkyo. It will be held in Fukuoka.

I wasn’t affected, since I’ll be leaving before Sousenkyo. But I pity my friends who already paid for the accommodation in Tokyo. Maybe we were too prepared and jumped the gun on paying for our accommodation so early. Wayne (Truly, this guy is a hero) manage to sort out the accommodation and after I leave Japan, the rest will be flying out to Fukuoka.

Every time I open up our chat group, my heart sinks in because they are planning their Fukuoka itinerary. I was jealous and truly wanted to join them but I can’t. The first 7 days in Japan (aka my whole Japan trip) was already planned out and there was nothing I could contribute to their planning in Fukuoka anyway.

Besides packing, there was nothing else for me to do. All I could do was wait for the big day, and the panicking starts to set in. I was about to go on a trip to meet idols, flying off to a country that I have never been before, and to stay with friends that I have never met. Out of the crazy things I have done, this is the craziest.