Tag Archives: Stella☆Beats

25th Oct: Kuala Lumpur – GamePlan Day 2

January 20, 2016 by

I started the day knowing that the live is moved from 11am to 1pm, leaving my morning free. I decided to head to shopping malls nearby the area to get the girls some souvenirs. I remember Kana-chan was talking yesterday that they would probably didn’t have time for shopping. So I bought the girls batik sarongs & beautiful songket skirts for each of them.

GP2_Batik
The live went great this time, most of us are getting more familiar with the songs and the mix. 1st live went without a hitch and I participated right up at the front. When the buppan started, more people were lining up than yesterday, even some of the items were sold out! I bought myself more bromides and photo packs, along with a T-shirt for another Mana oshi in Japan. Got myself 2 tickets with Kana-chan for a cheki, and 7 tickets for Stella☆Beats. Enough for 1 handshake and 2 chekis. I was really stretching myself financially with the souvenirs and the chekis. I only imagined spending for 2 chekis per day, but end up getting 7 chekis and 2 handshakes. My wallet was crying by the end of this event.

Kana-chan was up first and I handed her the souvenir personally.

[All conversations in Japanese]
Half: Here is the kain batik I told you yesterday.
Kana: Ehhh… no way! For me?
Me: Yes, as a thank you present.
Kana: Really? Wow, I’m so happy.
Me: I’m glad.
Staff: Ready?
Me: Do you have any pose you want to do?
Kana: Let’s do “Gao”.
Me: Okay.

GP2_Kana

Kana: *while signing* Have you been to Japan? Oh, wait. Last May, right?
Me:
Haha, yeah. This year was my first year I went to Japan. I’m going again in March next year.
Kana:
Really? Let’s meet in Japan!
Me:
Of course! I don’t know what kind of events there will be in March but I’ll come!
Kana:
Yay! Oh, it’s pretty cold in March so make sure you wear thick clothes… There’s no winter in Malaysia, right?
Me:
No, it’s pretty much like this all the time.
Kana:
I see.
Me:
It’s hot everyday.
Kana:
That must be tough.
Me:
Summer everyday.
Kana:
*laughs*
Me:
I think I’m becoming a fan of yours.
Kana:
Ehhh, really? Thank you!
Me:
Yeah, your single is coming out next year, right? I’ll buy it.
Kana:
Thank you! Wait! My single is coming out next month!
Me:
Sorry! Next month! Next month! I made a mistake with my Japanese.
Kana: It’s okay, haha.
*Staff taps my shoulder*
Me: See you at the live later, I’ll be watching.
Kana: Okay, thank you!

Now that there’s more people lining up for Kana-chan, the time was shorter than it was yesterday. But I was glad, this means she’s gaining more fans. She was happy when I gave her the batik. It was my last cheki with Kana-chan as I didn’t have any money left. I thought it ended on a good note. Next, was my handshake with Stella☆Beats.

[All conversations in Japanese]
Me: Here, I bought you this this morning.
Rikopin: Wow, thank you!
Me: It’s a souvenir. You have to wear it, it’s kinda like a long skirt.
Rikopin: Thank you so much!
Me: Rikopin, you used to be an idol before this, right?
Rikopin: Yeah, I was in…
Me: Idol Street!
Rikopin: Yeah!
Me: When you first joined, I look you up and my friend recognized you.
Rikopin: There’s even an Idol Street fan here today.
Me: Really?
Rikopin: Yeah, is he your friend?
Me: Ah, no. I don’t know him.
Rikopin: Haha.
Me: I’ll take a cheki later.
Rikopin: Okay, see you later!

Mana: *jumps up and down* I spelled it properly today! (Referring to her 2nd day bromide, she spelled the word leader properly)
Me: I saw! Good job!
Mana: Hee. *smiles*
Me: Here you go. A souvenir.
Mana: Ehh!! Thank you!
Me: You have to wear it, it’s a Malaysian-like souvenir. Kind of like a long skirt.
Mana: I’ll upload a picture later.
Me: Eh, really?
Mana: Of course! Keep a look out.
Me: Okay! Ne, Mana. I’m coming to Japan next year.
Mana: Really? When?
Me: In March next year, so in about…
Mana: 5 more months?
Me: Yeah, 5 more months.
Mana: Let’s meet up!
Me: I don’t know what kind of events there will be in March but I will go!
Mana: I’ll be waiting.
Me: Okay.
Mana:
How did you learn Japanese?
Me: I didn’t really attend classes or anything… I used to watch idol shows and variety shows a lot. I love those.
Mana: Really?
Me: Yeah, like my favorite comedians are Ninety Nine-san or Downtown-san. Ah, I used to watch Utaban a lot!
Mana: Me too!!

I swear this happened. We went from handshaking to grabbing each other hands in a bear claw and simultaneously got excited and jumping up and down.

Both: MORNING MUSUME!!!
Me: Oh my god, YES! I was such a huge fan.
Mana: Me too! Who is your oshi?
Me: 6th Gen member, Kamei Eri.
Mana: Ah, Eririn!
Me: Yes! Who is your oshi?
Mana: Goto Maki.
Me: Gocchin! Ah, you’re really a Mowota! (Morning musume wota)
Mana: *laughs*
*Staff taps my shoulder*
Me: See you at cheki later.
Mana: Okay!

Me: Here, present for you.
Nozomin: Eh, thank you!
Me: It’s a Malaysian-like souvenir, you have to wear it. It’s kinda like a long skirt.
Nozomin: No way, thank you! How was my Malay?
Me: Which one? Haha. (No but seriously, she spoke quite a few Malays during her MC)
Nozomin: Selamat berkenalan! (Nice to meet you)
Me: You got better! When you said it yesterday, I have no idea what you’re saying!
Nozomin: Hm?
Me: No, yesterday. When you said it yesterday. I didn’t know what you were saying.
Nozomin: Aku suka? (I like?)

Am I not speaking Japanese right? Hahaha. I swear at this point there was such a confusion between Nozomin and me. Mostly, she was being a ditz and I was being a klutz with my Japanese.

Me: You know how to say that too?
Nozomin: Yes! If you ask “Kamu suka?” (You like?) I will reply “Aku suka!” (I like!)
Me: That’s right. You’re so good.
Nozomin: Ask me!
Me: Kamu suka? (You like?)
Nozomin: Aku suka! (I like!)
Me: Suka apa? (What do you like?)
Nozomin: Huh?
Me: Hahahahaha.
*Staff taps my shoulder*
Me: See you at cheki later.
Nozomin: Aku suka! (I like!)
Me: Hahahaha.

I swear she makes me laugh so much. I never really took notice of her before but chatting with her has been so much fun. But I love chatting with Mana more. Hers was the most natural. Somehow, whatever I wanted to say she would understand it immediately. And I understood her. I love finding out new facts about her and knowing that she’s a Morning Musume fan was a nice surprise. The cheki session is up next and right when it was my turn, they ran out of films.

[All conversations in Japanese]
Staff: Ah, sorry. Let me get some more films.
Mana: Yay! Lucky time!
Me: Lucky time?
Mana: We get to talk more!
Me: Oh! Lucky time!
Nozomin & Rikopin: Lucky!
Mana: Any pose you want to do?
Me: Err… No idea.
Mana: So, you’re meeting us in March next year, right?
Rikopin: Eh, next year?
Nozomin: Let’s meet! Let’s meet!
Me: Yup! I promise I’ll go and meet Stella☆Beats in March.
Mana: Then lets commemorate that promise.

By this time the staff is back with the camera and gosh I don’t know if I could describe what happens next properly. Mana faces towards me and hands out her pinky. I grabbed it and she was just staring straight at me I can’t even meet her in the eyes. She laughs when I get embarrassed and looked away but her eyes was consistently on me. Then she said, “Promise you’ll come meet me in March.” which I just replied with a nod. I don’t even know when the picture was taken.

GP2_SB1

1st session went really great. Time passed by quickly and the next live is their last one. The girls started giving out flyers to promote their final live. I still remember the manager taking pictures of them being surrounded by fans when they gave out the flyer. The manager laughs while taking the photo and said, “It seems like they’re really popular in this picture!”. I shared a laugh with the manager and pointed out that Nozomin’s flyers was the quickest one to finish. I told the manager it seems like Nozomin is the most popular member among Malaysians and he agreed.

We still had time before the 2nd live so we head up to an open area and just recorded our own version of 笑顔でスキップ (Skip while smiling). It’s something Rikopin has been doing regularly on her twitter at first and now various members does it as well and it gets uploaded to their channel.

After we skipped and laughed about it, we head up to the concert hall area. Hibiki was there chit-chatting with us before the concert starts. He asked us if we were willing to send them off at the airport tomorrow. As I had work the next day, I hesitated. Isn’t these 2 days enough? Sending them off at the airport just seemed intrusive. I didn’t pass up the offer fully and mulled over my decision. I was leaning towards no actually since I have work the next day and rushing to work from the airport just didn’t seem ideal.

Since our event is shared with a game event, they were having the finals at the same time we are having the concert. The semifinals was just over and now it was time for DJ Kana. I was trying to conserve my energy for Stella☆Beats so I stayed at the back and enjoyed it leisurely.

At first it seems like the finals of the game event would be held first but suddenly Stella☆Beats’ music started playing. I quickly head to the front and did my loudest calls. The MC session was a whole lot of fun as Mana conducted it fully in English while trying to translate what Nozomin and Rikopin is saying. They accepted questions from the crowd and tried answering it in English. Then after shouting for encore, the live ended in a blast. I had such a great time.

Stella☆Beats登場! @ マレーシアツアー #11/22、23日ソフマップ2DAYS公演

A photo posted by ステラビーツ (@stella_beats) on

After the live, everyone gathered around and signed the banner that XMorfis did for the girls. All of us presented the banner to the girls when they came out for the handshake and cheki session and we moved them to tears. Seeing them on the verge of crying makes me want to cry as well, something I’ve been holding off ever since the live ended.

GP_Banner

こりゃーみんなの愛情のかたまりだよな @ マレーシアツアー最終日 #11/29 girls on StellarBall!

A photo posted by ステラビーツ (@stella_beats) on

I decided to stretch my wallet further and buy one more item. I already had 3 tickets for a cheki but I wanted to do a handshake one last time. Not to mention I haven’t gotten my special ლ(ಠ益ಠლ) kaomoji pose with the girls yet, and I was determined to get it.

[All conversations in Japanese]
Me: Did you see our skipping video? On Jun-kun’s twitter.
Rikopin: I did!
Me: We were laughing too much, haha.
Rikopin: You guys were having so much fun, ne?
Me: Yeah, I really enjoyed this 2 days. Being with other fans. And finally getting to watch Stella☆Beats.
Rikopin: Thank you.
Me: No, thank YOU. I really want to thank you. Thank you for coming to Malaysia. I really had so much fun these 2 days.
Rikopin: I’m glad. Let’s meet up in Japan next.
Me: Yes, next year! In March.
Rikopin: I look forward to it.
Me: Thank you for everything. Really, I’m so grateful you came to Malaysia.
Rikopin: Thank you for coming and supporting us as well.
Me: Oh, later during cheki, can we take a funny pose?
Rikopin: Ooh! What is it?
Me: I’ll show you the pose later, okay!
Rikopin: Okay!

Me: Mana, did you watch our skipping videos?
Mana: Everyone looked like they are having so much fun!
Me: We laughed a lot!
Mana: I could tell. I’m glad everyone is good friends with everyone.
Me: That’s because all of us love Stella☆Beats.
Mana: *smiles*
Me: Later, can we take a funny pose for the cheki?
Mana: What pose?
Me: It’s on my phone, it’s a kaomoji. I will show you later.
Mana: Haha, okay then.
Me: Mana…
Mana: Yes?
Me: Thank you.
Mana: For what?
Me: For coming to Malaysia. These 2 days have been the best days of life so far.
Mana: Really? Thank you for coming.
Me: Really. I’m so glad.
Mana: Me too. I’m so glad that we finally meet.
Me: Next year.
Mana: Yes.
Me: Let’s meet again.
Mana: In March.
Me: Yes.
Mana: I’ll be waiting.

Me: Nozomin, thank you for the past 2 days. I really enjoyed watching your lives.
Nozomin: Thank you for coming!
Me: I think you learn a lot of new English and Malay words as well!
Nozomin: I did!
Me: Later, for cheki lets do a funny pose okay!
Nozomin: What is the pose?
Me: I will show you later. It’s a secret.
Nozomin: Oooooh. A secret. Aku suka! (I like!)
Me: Hahahaha!

So during the time for cheki, all the girls hovered over me as I took out my phone. I showed them ლ(ಠ益ಠლ) with Mana chiming in “Oh, I know this!”. Looking at the cheki after it was taken, it was quite apparent that they got the pose a lil bit wrong, haha.

GP2_SB2

After taking the cheki, we lined up yet again to get it signed. This was it. My final interaction with the girls. I already told them how I was grateful that they came here, how happy I was. This was my time to say goodbye. But as tears starts forming in my eyes, words seems to betray me.

[All conversations in Japanese]
Rikopin: Half-chan, I’m so glad I met you.
Me: *Eyes starting tearing up* Me too.
Rikopin: *silently signs* Here you go.
Me: *chokes up* Thank you for everything, thank you for your hard work.
Rikopin: *nods and smile*

Mana: Half-chan!
Me: *stays quiet, fights back tears*
Mana: I’m sad that it’s the last day too.
Me: *still keeping quiet, still fighting back tears*
Mana: Don’t cry!
Me: *cries*
Mana: Ah!
Me: Don’t say “Don’t cry!”!! Of course someone would cry if they were told that!
Mana: You’re right. You’re right.
Me: *trying to wipe away tears*
Mana: Hey, hey.

Mana tries looking at my face but I was facing down as I can’t face her. The tears won’t stop at this point and I was halfway mad at myself for crying and halfway embarrassed.

Mana: We’ll meet again, right?
Me: *nods*
Mana: Next year in March.
Me: *nods*
Mana: Just five more months.
Me: *nods*

I think she smiled but I couldn’t see her face. Well, actually I couldn’t face her. Nor form words at this point. I quickly went to Nozomin knowingly that that was my last conversation with Mana.

Nozomin: Oh my god, you’re crying.
Me: *points to Mana* It’s Mana’s fault!!

Both of the girls laughed. I tried to make a joke out of all that but I think they knew I was sad. I clearly couldn’t hide it. Even the staff-san was patting my back during my time with Nozomin going,  “There, there” and I have officially reached the highest point of embarrassment right then and there. I quickly told Nozomin thank you and left their way. Hibiki met me afterwards and tried to console me but I rather be left alone so I sat at the back. Just wiping away tears that can’t seem to stop while looking at the rest of the fans who are still queuing up to get their cheki signed.

I can’t believe I cried. 

As I was sitting down alone at the back, contemplating what possibly is their last memory of me on that day, I heard someone calling my name.

“Half-san.”

I turned around, and it was their manager. “Oh crap, I did something wrong.”, was my first thought to myself. I quickly responded and he signaled me to meet him further at the back of the hall. I followed, being scared shitless. I thought I was getting reprimanded. “Open your palm”, he said. I slowly opened my palm, quietly anticipating some kind of slap or a fine. He discreetly gave me a charm bracelet, a handmade charm bracelet.

“From the members.”, and he smiled.

I remember crying.
I remember being totally surprised.
I remember me saying, “Ehhh…. What is this? Seriously!?”.
What I have a vague memory of was what had happen next. 

I quickly left the manager and with the charm bracelet in my hands, I head to the girls. I was distraught in my thoughts. “What just happened?”, “No way!”, all of the situations were running through my head. They already finished the last of the cheki sessions and were handing out the remaining flyers. A lot of fans were surrounding them, and even though I was standing alone on the outs at the side, Mana saw me.

And she heads to me.

I couldn’t look her in the eye. I couldn’t face her. I couldn’t even utter a single word.
I think I said, “Thank you” but I couldn’t remember.
I just remember crying. A lot.
She took the bracelet from me and tie it on my wrist.

“With this, I am always by your side.”

She continued giving out flyers after tying the bracelet on my wrist. I was at loss for words and was too speechless to even function properly. I don’t know if anyone saw us at the time but it did feel like for a moment, we were the only ones in the hall.

GP2_Bracelet

The bracelet is a charm bracelet they did a few weeks back for a Sports Event where they competed with different idol groups. Anyone who showed up and supported them gets one. The thing is, only those who attended the event got it. It was something they spend days making it themselves. But to have them bring it all the way to Malaysia and give it to me? I don’t know why I got it, I don’t even know if anyone else got it but that moment was so special to me and it cemented Stella☆Beats as a group that I really want to support for the rest of my wota life. I love the girls so much.

GP_Misanga

I was hesitating on whether I should go to work or to the airport for the next day. But after just now, I didn’t want to leave my last impression as a sobbing idiot who couldn’t even muster a word to say thank you. I wanted to send them off with a smile.

So the next day, I woke up, lied to my boss about going to the bank and some other bullshit, and went to the airport.

At the airport, quite a few fans (around 10 I guess?) gathered to give their final presents and goodbyes. At the departure gate, everyone was saying their final farewells and I stayed behind. Just smiling sadly at the fact that this is the last time I get to see them. It just felt too much for me at that point. But the makeup artist saw me at the back and pointed that out to Mana. And she walked towards me.

“Thank you for coming.”

“I won’t cry today.”, I don’t know why that was the first thing I said to her. But I did. She laughed, “Yes! No crying today!”.

“Next year in Japan.”, I smiled. I lift up my hand to show her I was wearing the bracelet at the same time. “See you next year”, she smiles back. And that was it. And it was enough. And it was the what I needed. It was great seeing her off and to have that one final interaction. The whole 2 days was perfection but this was the perfect closure. As I was relieved that I get to send them off, my heart was racing as I set off back to my office. I got there late, and continued working like it was just another usual day.

Looking back at the event, it was great that I finally get to interact with my favourite group up close and spend time with them for 2 days. I also got to meet a lot of other fans as well.

GP2_GroupKanaGP2_GroupSB

Mana stayed true to her promised and actually uploaded a picture of them wearing my present. They actually wore that for their regular live in Japan.

For their latest single, “Hoshizora Symphony”, which was released yesterday, they even included pictures and scenes from their event in Malaysia. Which made me think that this trip made an impact on them as much as it did on me. It also received #1 on Oricon daily ranking yesterday! And I hope it will rank Top 10 in the weekly ranking as well. I’m proud of the girls, they really worked hard for this release event for the past months.

Things has been quiet down after they left. The post-concert depression was bad. Even worse than after I got back from Japan. Now, I’m working hard to save money for my March trip to see them again. I wore the bracelet they gave me all the time. It gives me the motivation to get through the day.

No matter what bad things happened to me, or any sad news I received, I just glance at the bracelet, and I think back on that weekend. And how magical it was.

24th Oct: Kuala Lumpur – GamePlan Day 1

January 19, 2016 by

GP_Banner

The day was finally here! I took Friday off as I thought the girls would be arriving Friday but they arrived on a Thursday instead. Which was great since I fell sick with a nasty stomach flu and couldn’t even come to the airport. I spend the whole Friday that I took the leave for just lying in bed. Some of the Malaysian wota welcomed the girls at the airport even though they arrived at 5am.

My first day was nerve wracking. I was 2 hours early as I was not familiar with the place and didn’t want to get lost. Head early to the ticketing counter to grab my tickets and also tickets for Aaron, Jun & Jeremy, 3 Singaporeans I knew from twitter who were also big fans of Stella☆Beats and DJ Kana, the artist opening for Stella☆Beats.They knew me as my real name and I don’t think they know who is Half-san at all (Word soon spread by Day 2 that I was Half and most of the attendees knew by then).

GP1_Tickets

While waiting, I met Jason, Edward, Philips and Roan from MSA48. I immediately introduced myself as Half to Roan, as we’ve been planning to meet up for quite a while. I followed them into the event and had a walk around the area. In front of the stage, there was a man waiting who looked Japanese. I asked and we introduced ourselves to each other. Hideki-san is a huge DJ Kana fan who came all the way from Japan, and he was quite shocked to see me wearing a Stella☆Beats T-shirt. As I figured, he knew Jeremy as well, the other DJ Kana oshi who is coming from Singapore. If I didn’t go to Japan a few months before I would never have the courage to pick up a chat with a random Japanese person. My Japanese comprehension and conversation skills really improved after the trip and Hideki-san was really easy going. While we were chatting, the three Singaporeans arrived and I went ahead to meet them.

DJ Kana and Stella☆Beats was already at the stage for their rehearsals. There, I saw Hibiki (we chatted but haven’t actually met before) but he was busy preparing and managing the girls, so I figured I introduced myself later. DJ Kana was up first and the crowd started warming up with mix and chants even though it was just rehearsals. I’m not familiar with DJ Kana or even anime songs so I stayed back and let everyone else took lead, especially Jeremy & Hideki-san. At that point I was merely gazing at Stella☆Beats, in particular Mana. They were blocked by a few people in front of them but she slanted her body and saw me looking at her, and I did the nerdiest thing I could do, I looked away.

When it was time for Stella☆Beats to do some sound checks, I stayed on the right side of the stage. Again, just following Jun & Aaron’s lead for the calls. After the sound check is over they had around an hour break before the live starts. There, I met 2 more Japanese fans who came over from Japan. Ramen-san and Jyu-san. Ramen-san was very accommodating, even giving out Stella☆Beats singles and signed flyers away. I declined the CDs and let someone else have it as I already own it but I got a random photopack and a signed flyer from him. Funny thing is, I had no problem communicating with Hideki-san but I somehow find Ramen-san hard to understand at times and he finds me the same. So at times, we talked in a mix of both Japanese and English.

GP1_RamenSan

Photopack and signed flyers from Ramen-san

Then the live I was waiting for started. DJ Kana started the live and Jeremy and Hideki-san took the lead in all the calls. DJ Kana’s live was very fun and she sang her new single as well, “Ohayo Oyasumi” and “S.N.I“, which will be release in November.

After Kana-chan warmed up the crowds, Stella☆Beats was up next. With Ramen-san and Jun’s guidance we followed the calls and everyone took out their yellow light sticks during Hoshizora Symphony, the new single they will be releasing on 19th Jan (which is today!). I remembered Fantastic Traveler from my last May trip and it brought me back to that day. Seems like everyone at one point or another knew the signature move during the chorus is to throw peace signs. They just started their official youtube channel a few weeks before the trip and it was a great guidance for us to prepare for  the live. They even tried their best to speak in Malay and English. Mostly it was Nozomin who tried speaking (and failing cutely) in Malay but that seemed to gain her a few local fans.

Finally, it was buppan (buying goods) time. 1 item can get you 1 ticket and tickets can be exchanged for handshake or cheki. 1 ticket for a handshake, 2 tickets for a cheki with DJ Kana and 3 tickets for a cheki with Stella☆Beats. Since Kana-chan was already there I thought I would support her as well. I bought a DJ Kana A4 bromide and her photopack, giving me 2 tickets which I can exchange for a cheki. Then, I bought 2 Stella☆Beats Malaysian tour T-shirts, A4 bromides of Mana, Rikopin and Nozomin, and a photopack. Giving me 6 tickets which I plan to trade it for 2 chekis with Stella☆Beats .

GP1_SBGoods

Mana spelled Leader as Reader in her bromide, haha.

GP1_KanaGoods

Kana-chan’s tokuten (cheki or handshake session) started first. Hideki-san and Jeremy were already using their handshake ticket and talking with Kana-chan and it was long! They talked for a looooong time. I didn’t have any watch with me but it was easily more than 5 minutes. Maybe even 10! Granted, not a lot of people were lining up for Kana-chan but it was super nice. I was 4th or 5th in line, so I keep thinking of things to say. In the end, I thought I would just wing it (Never a good idea, Half! God dammit, why do you never learn!).

When it was my turn, I gave my two tickets, waiting to get a cheki. She was excited to see me.

[All conversations in Japanese]
Me: That was a great live! That’s my first time watching your live. I had fun!
Kana: Thank you! You’re…. Half-san, right? From twitter?

Okay, I did not expect that. At all. I tweeted her once. ONCE. Like a few days ago, saying I’m looking forward to watching her live even though I was a Stella☆Beats fan. That was it. One tweet.

Me: Ehh… You remembered it?
Kana: Yes, you’re a fan of Stella☆Beats, right?
Me: Yeah! Wow, that’s amazing. For you to remember.
Kana: No, no. I just recognized you from your twitter icon.
Me: How do you like Malaysia? It’s hot, right?
Kana: So hot! I’m dripping in sweat right now.
Me: Haha, I know! Please take care and drink more water, okay.
Kana: Will do! Have you been to Japan before?
Me: I did actually, last May. That was when I knew about Stella☆Beats.
Kana: Wow!

Then the staff started hurrying us up with the cheki.

Kana: What pose do you want to do?
Me: Up to you. What do you like?

She initiated the pose and I just followed her lead. It was like a half hug and who was I to deny a hug from an idol. Okay, by this time I was half expecting the staff to shove me to move it. Or for the conversation to die out. Because I’m not used to talking to idols for this long.

GP1_Kana1

Me: Well, I guess I see you for the next live? *starts leaving the line*
Kana: Wait! *grabs my hand*

Oh crap. I was fished.

Kana: Um… what’s the best souvenir I can buy in Malaysia?
Me: Souvenir, huh… What kind of souvenir do you like? Like food or…
Kana: Maybe something Malaysian-like and girly…
Me: I guess… Kain Batik would be nice. (I literally said “Kain Batik” lol)
Kana: Kain?
Me: Ah, it’s like a…. (somehow at this moment of time, I forgot the word sarong)

I started miming how to wear a sarong, which at this point I look like a total blundering idiot.

Me: It’s something you wear, it has very nice patterns.
Kana: How do you say it again?
Me: “Kain Batik”. Umm… I know, I’ll tweet you a picture later!
Kana: Okay, I’ll wait for it. I don’t know if I have time to go out and buy…
Me: Really? It must be a busy 2 days for you, right?
Kana: Yeah, I have to ask later.

By this point, the staff finally asked us to hurry up.

Me: Ok, I’ll watch your live later!
Kana: Thank you! Kain Batik!
Me: Yes, kain batik! Haha.

For 2 tickets, that was way more time than I expected. I had a good talk with her and I got a cheki! She also gave me confidence in my Japanese as I communicated with her easily (except for the kain batik part). I promised myself to go meet her again after the live tonight. She sparked a flame in me and at that moment on, I was interested in this girl.

The picture of the "Kain Batik" that I tweeted to her after we talked

The picture of the “Kain Batik” that I tweeted to her after we talked

Finally, the Stella☆Beats tokuten has started. They started with handshake session but no one was going for the line. Ramen-san went ahead first and used up a ticket. I had 6 tickets with me and I was already planning to get 2 chekis. But when I saw there was no one in the lane, I decided to go for a handshake first before I took chekis with them. I followed Ramen-san and the line was Rikopin, Mana and Nozomin.

[All conversations in Japanese]
Me: Nice to meet you.
Rikopin: Ah, nice to meet you.
Me: Awesome live! Thanks for coming to Malaysia!
Rikopin: Thank you! Wow, your Japanese is great!
Me: No no, just make sure the conversation stay around this level, and don’t use any hard words. Haha.
Rikopin: You’re… Half-san, right?
Me: You know me?
Rikopin: Yeah, you’re from twitter!
Me: That’s right! Wow! That’s awesome. It’s pretty hot today.
Rikopin: Yeah, Malaysia is so hot!
Me: Don’t forget to drink plenty of water!
Rikopin: Okay!
Me: I made you something, I’ll pass it to the staff later.
Rikopin: Really? Wow, thank you!

By this time, I was hoping for Ramen-san to quickly finish his talk with Mana, as I was running out of things to say. Good thing the staff started pushing us.

Me: I’ll take a cheki later as well! See you again!
Rikopin: Thank you! See you again!

Then, the moment arrived. I quickly shook Mana’s hand and she has the most welcoming and warm expression ever. She immediately recognized me.

Mana: Half-chan!

I can’t contain my smile. And was speechless.

Mana: HALF-CHAN!!
Me: Yup, I’m Half. Haha.
Mana: HALF-CHAN!!
Me: MANATY!!
Mana: We finally meet!!
Me: That’s right!
Mana: I’m so glad!
Me: I’m so happy!
Mana: How was the live?
Me: It was amazing! Everyone was amazing!
Mana: Your Japanese is really good, you know!

Somehow she knew I still had reservations about my Japanese. I was half-assed at best, I knew that, but a praise from her was everything to me.

Me: No no. It’s still bad.
Mana: But you understand me, right?
Me: I do!
Mana: Good, that’s important to me.
Me: It’s pretty hot now, so drink plenty of water.

Jeez, I don’t know why I keep going back to this line. Perhaps I was taken aback by her previous comment.

Mana: Yup, got a bottle right here. *points to her drink*
Me: Oh, the bromide photos are so pretty. Hibiki-san takes really great photos.
Mana: Right? The photos looks good!
Me: But, your spelling… Leader is spelled with an ‘L’ not ‘R’ haha.
Mana: I know! I noticed that. Sorry.
Me: No, no, it’s fine. Reader still means something, maybe you can be the leader that likes to read.
Mana: Hahaha. I will spell it right next time.
Me: Haha, okay.
Mana: Coming to the next live?
Me: Of course, and also a cheki later!
Mana: Yay!

I didn’t want to let Mana’s hand go but the staff starts pushing me by this time. So next up was Nozomin.

Nozomin: HALF-CHAN!!
Me: Wait, you recognize me?
Nozomin: Oh, I just heard Mana yelling your name.

I swear, this idiot. XD She got me laughing literally 3 seconds after I met her.

Me: Well, it’s nice to meet you.
Nozomin: Nice to meet you.
Me: How do you find Malaysia?
Nozomin: IT’S REALLY HOT. REALLY HOT.
Me: Hahaha, it really is. Take care and remember to drink lots of water.

What is wrong with me? I swear I keep telling them to drink more water. This is what happens when you don’t prepare topics to talk about, Half.

Me: Ummm… You like Melonpan, right?
Nozomin: Yes!
Me: Well, I made something for you, I’ll pass it to the staff later.
Nozomin: Really?? Wahhh, thank you!
Me: I’ll take a cheki later too.
Nozomin: Thank you!

We took a cheki later, and I was being my awkward self as I wasn’t thinking of what pose to do. Later we queued up again for them to sign our cheki and I got to talk to them again. I know it might seem smug, but I felt good when other people were asked what is their names for them to write on the cheki and they didn’t ask for mine as they knew it right away. :3

GP1_SB1

Rikopin signed normally and left the message part blank. Partly, I think she knew that Mana wanted to write something, or maybe she knew that I wanted Mana to write something. We didn’t talk much but I told her I’m looking forward to the second live. Then it was Mana’s turn to sign.

Mana: *looks at the cheki* How cute.
Me: Haha.
Mana: Ne… thank you for coming.
Me: Eh, no no. Thank YOU for coming.
Mana: *smiles*
Me: I was kinda nervous.
Mana: No, you did good. I saw you.
Me: Ramen-san and Jun-kun took the lead. They’re so kind.
Mana: They are. *hands me cheki* There you go.
Me: See you later.
Mana: Ok.

Then I head to Nozomin and she took the cheki. While signing…

Nozomin: Wait, what’s your favorite food?
Me: Me? Uh….

Okay, I never had an idol asked me that question before. Also, that was not a question I frequently has an answer for. So it got me thinking.

Me: Japanese food, I guess? I like sushi.
Nozomin: Sushi? Ikura!
Me: I like unagi (eel).
Nozomin: Unagi? Unagi!! So, it’s unagi!!!

I swear she is like a little idiot getting excited over the word unagi, it’s adorable. By this time, the staff started tapping my shoulder so I finally left her with the both of us pointing finger guns at each other while shouting unagi.

That was basically my first interaction with them. And it was amazing. Mana, in particular. It felt so natural, like I’ve been interacting with her as usual. When it was actually the first time we’ve ever interact face to face. Nozomin was hilarious, and was much more of a ditz that I expected her to be. Rikopin gave me the most idol-like vibe. It got awkward towards the end as I didn’t have much to say with her. But she was pleasant, and obviously remembered me when I only tweeted her once or twice so bonus points on her part.

I met up with Hibiki after tokuten ended and passed him the gifts I made for the girls. It was hand-sewn felt keychains, which I made myself. A cinderella for Mana, mini-tomatoes for Rikopin and melonpan for Nozomin.

GP_Keychains

Anyway, it was quite a few hours before the evening live starts so I head over to my car and store away some of the merchandise I bought. I was still not feeling 100% well so after taking my medicines I just stayed in my car to get some rest. Between the 1st live and 2nd, I was chatting with the people in the Kamen Gaijin group online. It suddenly dawned on me that I wanted to have a cheki pose with our Kamen Gaijin’s signature kaomoji.

Which was this: ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)

I don’t know if the girls are up for it but I was already anticipating the live. For the 2nd live of Day 1, in was held in the huge hall. Kana-chan started with DJ-ing all the anime songs I wasn’t familiar about. But it was a great and energetic live.

DJかなちゃん登場! @ マレーシアツアー #11/22、23日ソフマップ公演2DAYS!

A photo posted by ステラビーツ (@stella_beats) on

Stella☆Beats was up next and by this time I finally got the hang of the mix and calls for their songs. I got a good view right at first row thanks to everyone’s kindness as I was at the far back during Kana-chan’s live.

Buppan started again and I bought 3 more items, 2 photopacks of Kana-chan and 1 of Stella☆Beats. Now I have 2 Kana-chan tickets and including the 2 tickets letover that I bought earlier in the day I have a total of 3 Stella☆Beats tickets. Enough for a cheki. Even Hideki-san noticed I was lining up for Kana-chan again and he was happy when I told him I enjoyed talking with Kana-chan.

[All conversations in Japanese]
Kana: Half-chan!
Me: Kana-chan! Did you see my tweet?
Kana: I did! So that’s “Kain Batik”?
Me: Yes! Something like that. The pattern was nice, right?
Kana: Yeah! It’s so Malaysian-like!
Me: I think they sell it around here, there’s a lot of shopping mall in this area.
Kana: Ah, is that so?
Me: Kana-chan, can we do a funny pose for cheki?
Kana: What is it?
Me: It’s this. *shows my phone and points to ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)*
Kana: Ehhhhh…
Me: Hahahaha. Wanna do it?
Kana: Why this pose?
Me: It’s just my favorite kaomoji. You wanna do it?
Kana: Let me see it again.
Me: *shows her my phone again ლ(ಠ益ಠლ)*
Kana: Like this?
Me: Perfect.

*takes cheki*

GP1_Kana2

Kana: What is the meaning of this kaomoji?
Me: Err… I’m not sure, it’s angry perhaps?
Kana: Why do you like this pose?
Me: I find it funny, haha.
Kana: Hahaha.
Me: Can I upload it to twitter later?
Kana: Okay. Will you be coming tomorrow?
Me: Of course. See you tomorrow. Thank you for today.

I have to say the cheki was perfection. Not only did she nailed the pose and the expression, she was pretty sporting about the weird request. Next, is Stella☆Beats. I didn’t went for handshake this time because I figured I could talk to them during the cheki signing. You see, I approach them and before I could utter, “Hey, let’s do a funny pose.”, Mana just did something special and I forgot to function. Normally, I wouldn’t mind showing the cheki, I would blur myself out anyway. But, this one is special so I’ll keep it for myself. After being over-the-top joy, I went over to get my cheki signed.

[All conversations in Japanese]
Rikopin: Hehe, cute.
Me: Haha.
Me: Did you open the present?
Rikopin: Oh my god, yes! I did! Thank you! You’re so smart!
Me: No, no, it’s nothing. I know you like onigiri but…
Rikopin: Yeah, it’s quite hard to do onigiri.
Me: So I got you a mini tomato.
Rikopin: Mini tomatoes are fine too, I like it!
Me: I’m glad.
Rikopin: Here you go, thank you for coming today.
Me: Thanks for your hard work.

Mana: You’re a genius, aren’t you?
Me: Huh?
Mana: The present.
Me: Oh no, it’s nothing. Did you like it?
Mana: I love it!
Me: Then, I’m glad.
Mana: Ne, Half-chan. Thank you for replying my tweets, commenting on my blogs. And namamails too.
Me: Thank you for reading them.
Mana: I read them all you know.
Me: It makes me happy you read them.
Mana: How much do you like Stella☆Beats?
Me: So much! Can I be a Stellato? (Stellato is what Stella☆Beats fans are called)
Mana: You’re always a Stellato.
Me: *smiles* Thank you for your hard work today.
Mana: See you tomorrow.
Me: See you tomorrow.

Me: Did you open the present?
Nozomin: Yes! The melonpan is so cute!!
Me: Really? I thought it was real bad… Since I never sew melonpans before..
Nozomin: No, i like it! I have it on my bag!
Me: Ehhh… No way!
Nozomin: Really! And the one with my name as well.
Me: Yup, I sewed everyone’s name too.
Nozomin: Really, I love it! I will treasure it forever! HUG! LOVE! (She screamed HUG! LOVE! in English)
Me: Hahaha thank you! (In my heart: It’s just a keychain, calm down.)

Oh, god. I feel bad being suspicious towards her but it was so fun watching her defend herself. I was really glad she liked it actually because I felt that the melonpan was the worse of the bunch. Overall, it was a really great day. Best I ever had. After I look over at my cheki to see what Mana has written she wrote “ずーっとステラート” which means forever a Stellato.

GP1_SB2

Overall, for the 1st day I took a total of 4 chekis. Twice with Kana-chan and twice with Stella☆Beats. I met a bunch of new friends as well. Not to mention, DJ Kana and Stella☆Beats gained a lot of new fans (which will be apparent when more people starts to line up for handshake and cheki on Day 2).  I didn’t want it to end, but if I didn’t go to sleep tomorrow would never start.

GP1_Goods

Stella☆Beats

January 18, 2016 by

Stella☆Beats was one of the underground idol groups I met during the Live PLUS Festival. You might remember, they were the group with the kebab invasion.

I didn’t think much of the encounter until I came back home. Souchan asked if I remembered the name of the idol who passed us the flyers when we were eating kebab. I only knew the group was Stella☆Beats but I wasn’t sure of the members. After researching for a bit (also after Wayne points out that her name was actually on the bottom right of the flyer), I learned that her name was Aya.

SB_Flyer

There were 2 members that got my attention during the Live PLUS Festival, one of them was Aya, who started the conversation with us. But the other one was Mana. She was the first one I noticed back then but I didn’t know her name. The first time I laid my eyes on her I thought she was strikingly beautiful. She was quiet when Aya was talking to us but was talkative during the MC session. I looked her up and started cheering for her in the Cheerz app.

SB_5nin

Stella☆Beats consists of Hoshino Mana (Leader), Aya, Sasaki Arisa, Sakuragi Kotoka and Nanase Nozomi. The day I started searching up for more info on the group was also the same day I found out that one of the members is graduating. Arisa’s graduation was set for the 4th of July. A few days later, Aya announced her graduation and her graduation ceremony was set on 29th July. I was only a few days into the group but 2 graduation announcements have been made. I didn’t know Arisa that well but Aya’s graduation saddened me.

SB_5ninNew

One thing led to another, I started checking out their music, followed them on twitter, and checking out their blogs. A few weeks later, a new member joined, Aino Ami. She was fluent in English because she was raised in England. Ami immediately got my attention and between her and Mana, I cheered for them both a lot in Cheerz. After Arisa’s graduation, Stella☆Beats was down to 5 members. Aya’s “LOVE” was passed down to Ami and after Aya’s graduation, Stella☆Beats became a 4-member group.

SB_4nin

Around August, I was all in into the group. I watched their showroom channel, listen to their music, tweeted to them, commented on their blogs, bought their merchandise, bought their CDs, and I even subscribed to Mana and Ami’s namamail, a paid service where you can get mails and voice messages from them.

A friend of mine, Hibiki, is a Malaysian-born photographer, who is now venturing out to shoot more idol events. One of his job was to shoot Stella☆Beats’ one-man live event, the very same event that I got the flyers for. He started asking if anybody knew who Stella☆Beats was, and naturally I got very excited.

#iamnikon #nps #nikon #d4s #200f2 #hibikipro #japan #photographer #photoshooting #ステラビ #shibuya #eggman

A photo posted by 「響」 (@hibikipro) on

We started talking and there were plans on bringing them over to Malaysia for a tour. I couldn’t stop thinking of the prospect of bringing them over here. I could meet my favorite idols, in my own country! Thinking back, it was carelessness that made me miss the lottery for HKT’s Hokkaido concert, thus freeing up 31st May for me. It was luck that we could still buy a ticket to Live PLUS Festival, even though we couldn’t book the tickets in advance. It was by chance that I happen to watch Stella☆Beats’ live, with all the other idols around me. But that kebab encounter, that was fate. Out of all the other idols that could have approached me, they did. And out of the idol groups that Hibiki could have brought over to Malaysia, it was Stella☆Beats.  I don’t believe in destiny but whatever this is it felt miraculous.

But suddenly, I was hit with Kotonyan’s graduation. And not long after that, Ami announced hers. Her graduation gutted me, as I was just about to get to know her, to know Stella Beats, and I didn’t have the opportunity to even meet her. Not to mention their Malaysia live was near, and she graduated 3 weeks before they flew.

SB_2nin

Now Stella☆Beats are down to 2 members, but not for long. They were joined by a new member, Yonemitsu Riko. The three of them are scheduled for the Malaysia Tour. After 4 months of being into the group, I went through 4 graduations and 2 new members. Even though I was just a new fan, it felt like I’ve been through a lot with them.

SB_3nin

The Malaysia live is inching closer and closer, and even though the Stella☆Beats I knew initially isn’t the Stella☆Beats I was going to meet, I was nevertheless excited. It’s not every day that idol groups actually come to Malaysia, but not only that, for it to be your favourite group… well, that’s a once in a life time opportunity.

 

 

31st May: Live PLUS Festival

January 10, 2016 by

I woke up on 31st May with my legs being so sore from the 2-shot the day before, I could barely move. I promised Wayne and Brad that I would go with them for the Live PLUS Festival but I was on the verge of cancelling. There was no idol group there that I know and almost every group is an underground idol group, something I wasn’t familiar about. I remember I texted a friend back home jokingly said that I was thinking of resting the whole day because my legs were so sore. She got really mad saying it was not everyday I’m in Japan so I have to go out and enjoy every single day. She was right, so I fought through the pain and got up.

I thought nothing could beat the whole day of happiness and enjoyment I felt during the 2-shot event. I was about to be proven wrong.

We got every single thing we planned to go wrong for this day to happen. Me and Wayne initially wanted to go to Hokkaido today for HKT48’s concert but we missed the lottery deadline. Then we wanted to go to Passpo’s concert and we didn’t get that either. Brad suggested to go to Live PLUS Festival, but we couldn’t order the tickets online. Even after arriving in Japan, buying the tickets from Lawson seemed like the only possible way to do and we couldn’t even get that. With no hope, we decided to wing it and just go to the event, hoping they still had tickets left.

6thDay_TrainClad in their Kamen Joshi shirts and Akiba sandals, I got on the train with them (along with Souchan and Toki who is heading to SKE48’s handshake event) and we head back to Odaiba. It was almost 1pm when we reached the place and it was HOT.

6thDay_LivePlusWe asked around the ticket counter and lo and behold, we could still buy the tickets! I paid my 5,000 yen ticket and when the guy gave me my tickets he asked me which group that I wanted to see most. I hesitated in my answer as I don’t have any and he proceeded to show me a list of groups that will perform later. My first impression was “Holy smokes, that’s a lot of groups!” and my eyes immediately fell on Kamen Joshi as this was the group that Wayne and Brad was yammering about. I told him I’m here for Kamen Joshi and the ticket guy seemed happy about it.

6thDay_TicketThe stage was split into 4 areas, Clover Stage, Diamond Stage, Spade Stage and Heart Stage.

20150531_mapSince we arrived at 1pm, we missed all the morning performances. The timetable was posted everywhere so we could see which idol groups are at which stage.

20150531_ttWe went to Diamond stage first and my first exposure to underground idols was Musubizm. I didn’t develop any particular thoughts on the idol groups I was seeing really, I was just watching for the sake of watching. Musubizm ended and followed by sora tob sakana and TAKENOYAMA24. Around 2pm I started seeing a lot of wotas gathered at the Diamond stage for Shibuya Dominion. Me, Brad and Wayne joked around each performance and choose our oshis for each group that was performing.  I remember I enjoyed Shibuya Dominion very much but I can’t remember the songs they sang. Next, we kept staying at Diamond stage and watched AngeLip, Maria and loop.

6thDay_LiveRight around loop’s performances we decided to head to Spade stage where CLEARS was performing. Just listening closely to the lyrics I leaned in to Brad and asked him, “Are they… singing about cleaning?” which was answered by “No idea.”. Turns out, I asked the wrong guy and should have asked Wayne about it because they actually are. CLEARS was an idol group that aims to clean Japan and I thought that was an amazing concept. I was intrigued.

CLEARS’ performance ended at 3.30pm and we headed into the air-conditioned building to have a drink before we head to Heart Stage at 4pm for Kamen Joshi.

6thDay_2BeersAndaCokeAt 4pm, when we arrived at the stage and it seemed small. I followed the guys and headed to the front of the stage where we realized that only Wayne and Brad was fully clad in Kamen Joshi T-shirts and Akiba Sandals. It was then we realized we were not at Heart Stage but at Spade Stage instead! We rushed back to Heart Stage and caught Kamen Joshi in time.

The energy was amazing and I was quite impressed. The only song I was familiar with was “Genkidane” because Wayne asked me for help on it when Kamen Gaijin was subbing the video. But I thoroughly enjoyed all other performances as well. I really grew fond of “Alice in Underground” and “CLAP” quickly. Even their MC session was fun.

After their performances I followed them to Kamen Joshi’s buppan, where the cheki session will be held. I lined up with them without knowing any of the members, but their center was the one stood out for me, so I asked Wayne for her full name. When I reached the cheki counter, I asked for Tachibana Anna.

“Wide 2-shot with Tachibana Anna!”

Anna looked towards me and had the biggest smile. I smiled back nervously.

[Conversation in Japanese]
Anna: You know my name, I’m so happy!
Me: Actually my friend is a fan, he told me your name. That was the first time I watched a Kamen Joshi performance.
Anna: Well, thank you for wanting to take a cheki with me! Did you enjoy the performance?
Me: Very! I had so much fun.
Anna: What pose?
Me: What do you like?
Anna: Let’s do hearts!
Me: Okay!

*Takes cheki shot*

6thDay_AnnaAnna: What is your name? *while signing the photo*
Me: Half.
Anna: Ah, Half-chan. What a cute name! Where are you from?
Me: I’m from Malaysia.
Anna: Oh, we’re having a live in Jakarta next week!! Please come!
Me: OKAY.

In short, Anna’s enthusiasm took over and I made a promise to fly to Jakarta to see her. Before, I only know about underground idols through reading or watching or Wayne hammering about them to me. But after experiencing them for real, watching their live and having a cheki taken together, I get it now. My 1 cheki shot with Anna was more time than I had with all my 2-shot with the 48 girls combine. And not just the issue with time too, the fact that I could converse more with her than I did with any idols I ever had was huge.  I was smitten, and I was hooked.

We headed back into the hall to meet Souchan and Toki who had just finished their SKE48 handshake event. Since we still had time before Petit Pas, a group Wayne has an interest in, we stayed at Heart Stage and watched a performance by Stella☆Beats. There was a girl that grabbed my attention but I didn’t know her name then. I never really believe in fate but looking back it was probably destiny that I ended up enjoying Stella☆Beats as much as I do now. But that’s another story for another time.

LivePlusAfter Stella☆Beats it was Candy GO GO. There were a lot of fans around and we had 15 minutes before we have to leave to head out to Spade Stage for Petit Pas performance. All the members came out, in leather-clad outfit and I whispered to Wayne, “We can still watch them for a bit, right?”. Wayne points me out to one of the members (who we later found out is called Ai Ai), he leaned in and said, “Nice arse”. I laughed. This is such a stupid moment to even write about but I’ve been harrowing myself that I never did blend with them as well as I did as Half-san. But that comment, as stupid as it is, just reassured me that I was worrying about nothing. That maybe I’m putting “Half” on a higher pedestal than myself. When in actuality, I am Half. And Half is me. I know I don’t really reveal my photos or my personal details much online, but everything that Half does, that’s me. Everything Half says, I say the same thing. Despite how I look in real life. In fact, these people know me better than half of my real life friends know me. None of my real life friends would ever comment to me, “Nice arse” about some underage Japanese girl in tight leather clothes (turns out she wasn’t underage but you never know with these Japanese idols). But Wayne did. Because he knows me. It was something I would find amusing and I really did. He doesn’t know this but those two words reassured me more about our friendship than our adventure this whole week ever did. It was silly, but that was how I felt at that time.

As we shake off our attention from the mesmerizing performance, we head to Spade Stage just in time for Petit Pas. Wayne’s oshi was Kokoro, someone who he has been supporting quite a while in the Cheerz app. And this was the first time meeting her. After Petit Pas, we head back in to Clover Stage for Takenoko, a group that Brad has an interest in. Takenoko was fun and cheerful and I remember liking one of the members, Mai really hard. She was funny and a bit tomboyish, and was really cheerful throughout the performance.

After their performance we head back to Clover Stage and lined up for Petit Pas’ buppan. At first I didn’t feel like getting a cheki but after Wayne and Brad called me over to help them translate something, I found myself in line with them as well.

Wayne was up first to see Kokoro and just watching from the sideline, it was truly an amazing sight to behold. Wayne pointed out to Kokoro that he is Ponchan (his online name that he used in cheerz) and Kokoro just has the biggest smile and basically screamed, “Ponchan???” and hugged Wayne so hard I think he must have felt like dreaming. I remember me and Brad was so happy for Wayne. Kokoro even went to the other members and introduced Wayne to them, “It’s Ponchan! Ponchan is here!” and the other members looked surprised as well. I felt so lucky to witness such an amazing idol-fan interaction right in front of me. Wayne has been supporting her for quite a while now and the fact that she knows who Wayne is, I find that amazing.

KokoroBrad was up next and he took a cheki with Kokoro as well. Wayne was off at the side just having a glazed look of disbelief on his eyes, I don’t think he even remembered that we were lined up behind him. I looked over at Brad and he was pointing his middle finger to Kokoro and I was like, “WTF are you doing, Brad. Oh my God.” and keep signalling to Wayne to look at Brad and see what he was doing.  Kokoro had a very concern look on her face and keep signaling “No, No.” with her hands until finally they took a cheki, with Kokoro flipping her middle finger to Brad and Brad acting sorry.

My turn was up and I used Wayne’s name and told Kokoro that I was Ponchan’s friend. She seemed so happy and I got a hug as well for using Wayne’s name. It was not a bad day to be Ponchan’s friend.

6thDay_KokoroBrad then heads back into the building for Takenoko’s buppan. I wanted to follow Brad inside but didn’t know why I didn’t. It was such a regret because the group disbanded right after I came back from Japan. At least Brad got a last cheki with them, and also that epic cheki from Kokoro.

6thDay_BradAfter all those performance, I was pretty hungry. Okay, I’m under-selling it, I was feeling ravenous really. We head to the food area and dashed to the Kebab food truck.

6thDay_KebabI haven’t really eaten properly that day and the Halal kebabs were tempting. Not to mention the guys keeping making fun of me yelling, “Look! It’s HALAL!!” out of pure excitement that I could eat the kebabs. The kebab was magical, it was huge and delicious and probably the best kebab that I have eaten in my life thus far.

But then, something even more magical happen.

Remember when I said I was watching Stella☆Beats earlier? I remember I really enjoyed their performance and jotted down a few notes in my phone to check them out after this event is over. So, while we were eating kebabs, one of the members, Aya, approached us to distribute flyers for their one-man live in Shibuya. She was cheerful, and greeted us when anyone else would avoid a group of foreigners like us.

[Conversation in Japanese, Italics is English]

Aya: Hello~
Us: Hello~
Aya: I am from Stella Beats… (shows us flyers)
Me: Sorry my hands are full. (Pointing to the kebabs)
Aya: This is a flyer for our one-man live, please come.
Me: When is it?
Aya: It’s on 14th June.
Me: Ah, I don’t think I could make it.
Aya: It’s okay, you can still take our flyers, here.
Me: Sorry. (points to kebab)
Aya: Then, don’t mind me.

She leaned in, slid her hand over my messenger bag, and slip the flyers in. I don’t know her, but that sudden close contact could make anyone’s heart beat a little faster. I almost chocked on my kebab. It was a subtle fishing, but I was hooked. She kept talking to us after.

Aya: Is it delicious?
Me: So delicious! But then I’m hungry too, haha. By the way, I watched your live earlier.
Aya: Really? Thank you!
Me: Yes, it was really fun. We really enjoyed it.
Souchan: Really fun!
Aya: Thank you.

By this time the other girls starts joining our conversation. Including the girl that I noticed before. But I still didn’t know her name. Brad and Wayne went somewhere else I think to either finish their Kebab or looked at something else.

Aya: Ne, they watched our performance earlier!
Other members: Ehhh, really?? Thank you!!
Aya: Where are you from?
Me: Well, I’m from Malaysia, and these two are from Germany.
Stella☆Beats: WOW!
Me: And those two over there is from England and America.
Stella☆Beats: WOWWW!!
Me: We’re from all over the world, haha.
Aya: And you’re friends?
Me: Yeah, I met them online.
Aya: Your kebab looks so delicious.
Me: Sorry if I’m rude, haha.

I went away to finish my kebab because it felt rude to kept eating while talking to her. While I was disposing my kebab wrappings, I saw Souchan signalling me to come help him. Seems like he approached Aya for something.

Me: What is it?
Souchan: I was just asking for their twitter.
Aya: I don’t know if he could search for it, his twitter is in English (it was actually in German).
Souchan: This one?
Stella☆Beats: Yes!
Souchan: Okay! Follow!
Stella☆Beats: Thank you! Thank you!

They were really grateful that Souchan followed them on twitter. Even their manager thank us (he was there to pay for their kebabs since the girls all craved kebabs after watching us eat lol). I remember turning to Souchan after all the conversation and said, “Did that just happen? We didn’t have to pay anything, right?”. They were so nice even though we were foreigners, who cant even attend their one-man live. Not to mention we didn’t even pay anything, we were just getting kebabs! I’m rambling but that Kebab-StellaBeats invasion earned them a fan in me. That interaction really made me interested in them. It was such a priceless experience, to have an idol coming up to you and start a conversation. Then to have all members of the idol group coming over and being in awe in everything you say. If I have to describe that experience in one word, it was magical. Truly is.

6thDay_KebabsIn hindsight, it was great that I get to go to Live Plus after the 2-shot event. Not only could I compare both events and feel the difference but also I had so much more confidence in my Japanese after 2-shot. To be able to carry a conversation with Anna or with Aya, I feel proud of myself. All this while, it’s been pretty one-sided. I could get away with translating half-assedly about my idols or their variety shows, but I never really had the chance to use Japanese myself. I don’t have anyone to practice with and my sentence structure was shit. It still is. But the fact that they could find me understandable, I find it reassuring. There’s still a lot for me to learn, it’s never ending for me. But after that day, with all the interaction I made, I was feeling pretty satisfied.

I came back with a new confidence in my Japanese, and a new-found love for underground idols. And I have never looked back since.