Yes, that’s right! I’ve been to Japan Expo in Paris this year as well! I’m at home now, suffering from severe withdrawal symptoms. Where did all the idols go? *sobs*
No, actually, I’m feeling happy. I had such a great time at the Expo, five days filled with idol fun as well as the usual Japanese silliness and cuteness the Expo has to offer. It was good to see old friends as well as meet new people to fangirl with, more of both than ever before! As always, I went with Morningtime. He has already published three blog posts that are basically my experience as well. Do go read them if you haven’t yet, and check out the pics:
Part 1 of 3: Japan Expo Day One: Berryz, C-ute & Shokotan
Part 2 of 3: Japan Expo Day Two: Berryz & C-ute
Part 3 of 3: Japan Expo Days Three to Five: Orange Port
Of course, Morningtime and I are not the same person (thank you for noticing), so I do have a few words of my own to add. Below is a summary of the trip, with an emphasis on my personal experience.
Full with events, day 1 at the Expo was both exhausting and exciting. Unfortunately, I missed most of the BeriKyuu events due to arriving a little late at the Expo. I also attended Shokotan‘s live, which clashed with the BeriKyuu conference. :( No regrets though! Shokotan was fun and even though I couldn’t recognise all the songs especially with some anime stuff mixed in, I enjoyed every second of it. I also managed to catch the end of the conference, even if it seemed like a Momochi show at the moment. The highlight of the day for me was the BeriKyuu signing session in the evening. I was lucky to win a ticket in the draw, yay! ^^ I had this piece of paper with both groups’ profile pictures printed on it (some also call it a poster), so I took it to the signing with me…
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining! The poster is fine. It also looks nicer when signed and it holds such precious memories. Besides the signing session, I also met the girls on the 2nd day for handshakes. Both times it was mostly just me blurting out random words of affection and happiness in Japanese and them thanking me back. I didn’t feel experienced at all, in fact, I was far better with words when I met C-ute last year…
So… yeah. Onto the signing session. I had only said hello to Captain when she exclaimed randomly, kao ga chicchai! …my face is tiny?? I was surprised but happy to receive such a personal and memorable comment. Next up was Momoko, I said Momochi kawaii desu, she thanked me and flattered me back, haha. Maasa the factory line worker barely even glanced at me while signing the poster. She was probably looking at the Maasa fan who was coming after me though, so it’s okay. Maimi and Nacky and Airi all got adorably excited as they saw my Suu-san shirt (Airi’s 19th birthday shirt). According to a friend who was watching it seemed as if they remembered me from last year’s Japan Expo, when I wore the same shirt. My own interpretation is that they just liked the shirt. Would that alone have made them so excited though…? Either way, it was a lovely moment. :)
The handshakes were quick, much more so than the signing or the previous year’s handshakes. Again, the first two girls were the easiest as my mind was more or less focused. I told Captain that I came all the way from Finland to see them. After that, I told Momoko that I’m looking forward to seeing Buono! live, she seemed happy to hear that. I also congratulated Maasa on her birthday and I said that she was looking pretty, which was my genuine reaction rather than flattery. That was pretty much it before my brain refused to function any longer. Risako looked very sweet and forgiving though when I called her “Yuri…sako”… how did that happen? I swear I was speaking to Yurina, but… I blinked and it was Risako in front of me!? Eh… do I have an excuse? There were too many of them? It was too quick? Oh well, at least I told Airi that I love her smile and that I’m a big fan of hers from Finland, assuming she didn’t remember me from last year. I was already standing in front of Chisato though when I mentioned Airi’s smile, so I pretty much used up my “Chi…nam… CHISATO” time for that. I’m so sorry, dear BeriKyuu. I was such an idiot but I love you all. ><
The BeriKyuu concert itself was a dream come true as I got to stand (and jump!) in the second row and had a very good view to the stage. I can’t tell for sure if I had any personal eye contact, but the girls certainly did look in my direction throughout the concert. The show started with Berryz Kobo singing Because Happiness, followed by C-ute’s Shiawase no Tochuu. As soon as they joined to perform Cho HAPPY SONG together, I started wiping tears on my muffler towel. It was beautiful and amazing. I nearly cried during Dance de Bakoon as well, it was just so perfect with a direct view to Nacky from head to toe. Airi was wonderful as always and performed with a beautiful smile on her face, even when Kumamon punched her by mistake… haha. It had come on stage to celebrate Maasa’s birthday. I had my Morning Musume ’14 Evolution glowstick with me, so I used Mizuki pink for Airi (Sayu’s pink seemed a little too light in comparison to other glowsticks), Zukki green for Buono! Airi (oh how happy I was to see Buono!), Ayumin blue for the birthday girl Maasa and Duu orange for Chinami, when it was only Berryz performing. There was even more use for the orange later on…
Yep, the idol group Orange Port was my main focus during the following three days. It’s a fairly new idol group with the concept of local to worldwide. They had several live shows at the Expo and a stall called Orange Port Cafe where they advertised not only themselves but also their hometown Numazu in Eastern Shizuoka, which seems like the perfect destination for someone like me who loves seafood… and green tea of high quality… om nom nom… ah, where was I? Right, Orange Port. I had watched their videos before the Expo and quite liked them, but now I’m definitely a fan. The experience was different from meeting Hello! Project idols in that you could go meet them at the Cafe anytime and speak to them freely. Also the live shows were more intimate, especially for me and the others cheering close to the stage. On the Friday I gathered up courage and approached three of them: Minami, Rino and Juri. I was a little nervous as it was my first time speaking to any of them, but they were so friendly and lovely. We even discussed my favourite idol shortly as they recognised the Maji Desu ka Ska T-shirt I was wearing. During the weekend I returned several times to the Cafe to chat with the girls. Besides the ones mentioned before, I remember Yuyu and Yuuna particularly well. Such nice girls, all of them. I got Orange Port’s CD signed and also a cheki polaroid photo with two of the members (Yuyu and Juri). On the Saturday and Sunday I saw them perform on stage three times. It was so much fun! I want to mention Pikarin (Hikaru) who danced pretty much in front of me during the last stage and Akipon (Akiho) who was brilliant at making the crowd cheer and clap like no tomorrow. Really, they were all good, even the youngest ones. I could mention so many fun little details, but this is already getting too long!
I mean… look at this post! Yeah, I lied to you. How is this a summary? It became much longer than I intended, mainly because I wanted to make it comprehensible even if you don’t read Morningtime’s posts first. I saw other performers as well, but I’m going to end this rambling right here. Thank you so much for reading all the way to the end, here is a virtual treat for you! *hands a macaroon in your favourite idol’s member colour*
See you next year at Japan Expo? I wish for Morning Musume to come next and I’m sure you all know who I want for a special guest. I mean, we had Yuuko appearing with Morning Musume back in 2010, so who knows… :)