What’s up guys, Mayuyu here!
I thought I’d write up a blog to go with the release of “Why did YOU come to Japan?”. I figured I could cover some of the questions people keep asking me as well as provide a little more information about the whole experence and some of the other things we got up to that didn’t make the cut.
So, where do I even start…
Why did YOU come to Japan?
I guess the best place to start is with that simple question!
I’d been to Japan twice before my last trip, August 2009 and August 2013… even though I was a fan of AKB in August, the trip wasn’t really much about idols.
I actually didn’t have plans to go back to Japan until around August again this year… but something happened that moved the plans forward, and that was the announcement of the AKB album and 2shot event! As soon as I saw this I knew I had to apply, the problem was… how the bloody hell do you apply for this? I had no idea what I was doing and my Japanese was pretty shocking (it’s still pretty bad), which made it hard… I fumbled my way through the application process and everything seemed to fall in place. I was talking to Souchan about it in the AIDOL chat and managed to convince him to sign up to this after I got the huge surprise that my Mayuyu application was accepted along with a shot for Murashige!
Arriving in Japan
So, the plan was to arrive at Narita airport, meet Souchan and the gang and head to our hotels and probably relax. However, my flight landed 2 hours earlier than his, so I was sat about waiting when I saw the film crew approaching me. Having seen various clips of the show before, I knew what to expect and was sat there thinking to myself “Just say no”… the question comes “Is it okay to ask a few questions”… my thought process is screaming at me “NO! NO! NO! Don’t do it! You’ve just had a 13 hour flight without any sleep!” and I say “Yeah, of course!” … WHAT?!?!
There I am, being asked all these questions and as soon as I mention AKB they are hooked. They start asking me so many questions and if it would be okay to come film me do stuff… and I agree to it, providing Souchan and the gang are cool with it. Which, as you can tell from the video… they were!
I’ve had a few people ask me about the random photocard packs, well, in Akiba there is a chain of shops called “Liberty”, this was where we bought the random packs, from the vending machine. There’s a wide selection of what you can get from the machine, from each of the individual groups (AKB, SKE, NMB, HKT and Nogi) to specific members of singles, it depends on the machine and the time you’re there. Liberty also have a good choice of photocards, it’s an absolute money pit as there are 4/5 good Liberty photocard shops in Akiba.
I’d also like to mention Deranan, this place is much better in terms of the layout, but the prices are generally a little higher than Liberty, but not always. I loved going in to that place, the staff were awesome and so helpful, and the layout of the store is just… it’s just a nice place to visit if you like photocards, see the pictures below.
I’m sure anyone who has read my previous blog post or follows me on Tumblr will know that I’m a BIG fan of underground idol groups, possibly more so than AKB itself… it’s hard to say, I have a lot of love and time for both.
Anyway, I promised myself I would go see my favourite group play a show while I was there, and I did! The best part is they even included a bit of them on the show, Moso Calibration! I really thought they would get cut as they’re not popular like AKB, so I was so happy when I was watching the broadcast and they were aired and named! Seriously, they are really awesome. The girls all work so hard and the music is good fun too.
I actually have an extra story about that too… on our first day when we went shopping in Akiba, while the camera crew were asking us some questions I saw this beautiful girl walk by… the camera crew realised something was going on because I suddenly started ignoring them and just watching as this girl walked by… it was Mahiru from Moso Calibration. The camera crew asked what was going on and I explained… so they encouraged me to go talk to her. Gosh, this was the most awkward conversation, especially as the camera crew just followed along and shoved the camera in her face. I almost told them to stop for a moment as it was weird, but Mahiru was cool about things, luckily she has really good English so I just told her that I was a fan and would be going to the show to see them. She said she’d look out for me and that she had to head off to work, so we said goodbye. The film crew asked if they could use the footage and she told them to ask her manager (Thank you manager-san for saying no to that!!!).
When we went to the Mosoclbr show itself, the cameraman was an absolute hero, following me in the crowd the whole time never losing track of me. They did ask me to stay at the edge where it’s easier to film… but I straight up refused as I wanted to be involved. I was about 3/4 rows back until the little circle pit (not quite a proper pit, but you know…) started and after that I was front row with cameraman-san. The girls were all amazing on stage and the show was incredible, but what stood out most was the eye contact, those girls really interact with the crowd, and they all made eye contact at least once with me. Where I was stood, Mahiru was in front of me a lot of the time and I spent a lot of the time watching her, she has an incredible stage presence, I totally understand that whole “Idol aura” thing you hear all the time.
Anyway, fast forward a couple of days and there’s an event happening at DearStage. DearStage by the way is the label that look after Mosoclbr along with Dempagumi.Inc and a lot of other upcoming idols and idol groups, but they have a venue in an Akiba backstreet where they have a stage, bar and cafe, I recommend going here at least once.
Back to the story, I take Souchan and the gang here because Mahiru is doing a Taco Rice night, where she will cook Taco Rice for customers! I had to go, as soon as I saw this I knew I had to go there. So we turn up and all order the Taco Rice. My gosh was it amazing, and I’m not even just saying that because she made it… it was genuinely a really good dish! While we were there, she came out and was talking to people in the cafe, thanking them for coming and ordering her Taco Rice. When she came to speak to us, she told me she saw me at the show the other night and remembered me. THAT FANSERVICE! My heart melted a little (a lot).
I’ve wrote a lot about Mosoclbr here, but they deserve it… please, do check them out and support them!
My other massive underground idol love is the girls of Alice Project!
They have a theater based in Akiba called P.A.R.M.S. and this is somewhere that I would go to every day if I had the money. I’m probably going to budget for it next time I go to Japan, because that place is AMAZING.
Alice Project is a collection of several groups which all have a theme they combine with pop.
The main groups within Alice Project are Alice Juban, Steam Girls and Armor Girls, and there is also Kamen Joshi which is a combined unit of girls from all groups.
Their stage shows are full of energy and for the price, is probably one of the best value for money experiences when it comes to idols, in my opinion. They are a group you REALLY can meet, and easily too. If you go to see their show, which you can (usually) just turn up for on the day and get tickets for, you can also have your photo taken with members, as well as getting a free vote for your member (relates to the videos on their YouTube channel).
As a Risapyon oshi I had a couple of 2shots with her and she was really so friendly, the 2shot is a polaroid picture taken by one of the other girls. It’s then signed by the girl(s) you had your picture taken with, for a wide shot it’s only 2500 yen… which is nothing really, for what you get!
Mentaiko / 2shots
Everyone keeps asking me this question… it was even a point raised by Bananaman… I want to shine some light on my reasoning behind the 2nd mentaiko 2shot.
For me, the first shot was good, and I love it… but it doesn’t properly feel like a mentaiko, Shige looks more like she’s protecting her head XD
I wanted the 2nd one with more energy / higher arms. And I managed to get it!
For those of you who might be curious, I also had shots with Kimoto Kanon and Akiyoshi Yuka.
There’s also a story behind the 2shot with Mikan (Akiyoshi Yuka). When I she asked what pose I wanted to do, I asked for a pout… she just looked up at me and did the pout right at me and asked me if that was okay… I almost died in that moment… of course it was bloody okay, what are you trying to do, kill me?! It was the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen… She was really so lovely. I would definitely get more shots with her, and probably just keep asking her to pout too hahaha.
Sousenkyo & Yuko Concert
So as you can see in the video, I was lucky enough to get tickets to go to the Sousenkyo and see Mayuyu get #1, and also to see many other girls I support achieve ranks, it was an emotional thing as expected… luckily it was raining so much my tears of sadness and happiness were quite well hidden… but my red eyes gave it away haha. That moment when it was #2…. HKT48… I just jumped out of my seat and cheered so loud, I know it’s probably disrespectful to Sasshi and her oshis… but in that moment you can’t help control it, and I wasn’t alone in doing so. I regret nothing haha!
But yeah, I first started crying when I saw Shige rank and get to do her mentaiko on stage just like she planned in her G+ post before… It was so beautiful to see the crowd and girls on stage all join in too. I get goosebumps now just thinking about it. After that it was for Yukko who ranked so high, I was so happy she finally made it! Then Ricchan… when she came out on stage I totally lost it, I couldn’t believe she was there and that surprise just hit me like a ton of bricks, boom I was gone. I almost broke my voice while shouting for her too, the support she received was incredible and added to the emotion. After that it was Jurina, I was really hoping she would get #3, even though I love Yukirin, I would love to see Jurina make a bigger step forward. Then of course… the finale… Mayuyu, I lost track of how many times I started crying at that…
So here’s a picture of my very wet view from the Sousenkyo… Arena seats… the view was awesome and the atmosphere when being in the middle of the stadium was incredible!
I was also lucky enough to get to go to Yuko’s graduation concert, another event full of emotion and mixed feelings for me… just like the Sousenkyo!
Here’s my favourite shot from that, the sea of green light sticks… just amazing! The seats weren’t as good as for the Sousenkyo… but the atmosphere was really amazing still, and the senbatsu members passed by in carts a few rows in front of where I was sitting, so I actually got to see them pretty close… Mayuyu was the other side though
The Film Crew
I’d like to thank the crew first of all for helping create some of these amazing memories, it really was something special, even if it makes me look like a total aho (the AIDOL crew knew this already)!
I’d also like to point out that this is a TV show… an entertainment and partly comedy based show, so some of what happens and is aired on this, is cut in a specific way to make for good TV. There’s quite a lot of stuff that is chopped or lacking context.
What would this be without a MaYuki section? AIDOL Mayuyu and Yukirin meet for the first time, and it’s in Japan of all places! It was really awesome to meet that guy… like REALLY awesome. As you can see in the video he’s always excited and his high spirits help make anything more fun! Getting to do all these things with him was awesome. So really, thank you, Chris, for all those good memories! I’ll see you out there again next time!