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PASSPO’s 2nd Anniversary @ Akasaka Blitz: Part 3

23 Dec

The moment the encore ended a group of fans attempted a second encore. It seemed hilariously inappropriate at the time considering they had just performed for two hours, not to mention had a concert and event earlier in the day. But what had PASSPO done for us lately? And what if “second encore” was when they were planning on singing Sakura Iro!

Then all the lights came on. The dream was over. There would be no second encore. Which of course meant there wouldn’t be a third encore! Kaho and Naomi were going to rap during third encore! And they will never perform Sakura Iro again, time to “Let it go, let it go, let it go”.

Some people would argue the after concert event is better than the actual concert. There is no such thing as a wrong opinion, but those people are clearly wrong. And insane!

The After Flight – 9PM-midnight
While the girls were back-stage, the staff set up tables on stage and put up barriers near the stairs for crowd control. There was an announcement that pre-dia was at the entrance for their “high touch” (high touch? More like hot touch, amirite? I don’t get it. Me neither, moving on). I’ve never done an idol “event” before so I was pretty much clueless as to what I had gotten myself into. Well I did go to a pre-dia event in July, but that was on a much smaller scale, so let’s ignore that.

While the staff was finishing up the staging area, Naomin snuck on stage, waved to the crowd and said hello. I felt bad when she was greeted by silence. I remember thinking how weird it was that no one waved to her or had any reaction. She had a decent amount of fans at the concert, mostly girls, so it was a little strange. Fortunately she’s a “pro” and was unfazed by the blank stares. She was soon joined by Anna. Anna is too cool to wave. We’re all just pawns living in her world :). The rest of the members then joined them on stage.

Anyone who wanted to do the high touch was told to line up near the stage. A “high touch” is basically giving the girl a high five as you walk past them. It’s super quick and you only have enough time to say “hello” as you walk by. If you wanted to say “I love you!” to your favorite member, you’d only have enough time for “I love-” and the “-you” would be said to the next girl in line. That would be lame even by wota standards.

The high touch costs one “flight ticket” (for every 1,000 yen in CDs purchased you receive one flight ticket). I think it’s mainly intended for fans who only have one ticket total, or for those that don’t have the time to stick around for the later events. About 50 people did the high touch and everyone else just watched. It was fun vicariously high-fiving Shiori 50 times! Her hands are soft *blush smiley* <- totally kidding

Anna and Kaho oblivious of the wotas about to touch them!

While most people were just casually watching the high touch, the more experienced passengers took the opportunity to start a line for the individual handshake. The “individual handshake” allows fans to talk to a single member for about thirty seconds (which is coincidentally the amount of time it takes to confess your love to an idol). Individual handshakes also cost one flight ticket.

I had three tickets, so I had to make sure my calculations were correct. I wanted to shake Shiori and Makoto’s hand, and take a photo with Shiori. I knew photo’s cost two flight tickets, so after a few minutes of college-level addition and multiplication, I determined that I was a moron. I actually thought that the handshake would be the “standard” style (i.e. the girls line up and you shake their hands as you walk by, but unlike the high touch, the line goes slow enough for you to talk to each member). This is the type of handshake I did at pre-dia’s event and at the Idoling concert I went to in July. So I thought I would be able to shake all of their hands with one ticket and take a photo with Shiori with the remaining two. I wasn’t expecting the high touch. Damn you high touch! Anything bad that happens in my life I am now blaming on that high touch! (Even if it was my fault, since their blog did explain it was a high touch. Ok, I’ve written “high touch” way too many times in this paragraph.)

Although the high touch (last time, hehe) went by quickly, the individual handshake was really poorly organized and took way longer than it should have. There were only two staff members who were in charge of coordinating several hundred people. Instead of doing the logical thing which would have been to create ten lines (one for each girl), they created one massive line which bottenecked at the stairs leading to the stage.

Another floor plan? This is too nerdy, I’m outta here!
Wait, come back! I didn’t get to explain that each colored dot represents 3.8 passengers!

One guy collected tickets at the staircase, while the second guy on stage informed the ticket guy which girl was available. The idea was to have a steady line of fans for each member. The system was a mess though because everyone was forced to wait in one giant, unorganized line. The individual lines for practically every girl was either too full or completely empty. There was about a hundred people at the front of the line waiting specifically for the m&m’s and Ai. Fans of the other members couldn’t get passed them without pushing them out of the way. The process was extremely slow and annoying. Unless you like pushing people, then it was paradise!

Everyone make a path for the Shiori fans! They’re cool.

And because the popular members were also set up close to the stairs, once you got on the stage, if you wanted to get to the left side of the stage (Anna, Kaho, Naomi, Yukki, and Natsumi), you had to force your way through another massive blob of humanity. The horrible planning resulted in the less popular members standing by themselves more often than they should have. The process to see a less popular member was a big hassle. By the time you got to the front to give your ticket, the guy in charge may have also moved on and started calling for fans of a different girl.

I decided to avoid the initial insanity and only get in line when the chaos died down a little. And then it would be “Shiori time”! Honestly, even though the staff were completely overwhelmed and idiotic, just the thought of meeting Shiori made everything tolerable.

Since Anna and Kaho were off to the side and often didn’t have anyone in their lines, I watched them a lot. And not in a weird stalker way! I don’t think Anna cares whether she is super popular or not, which contributes to her mysterious aura. Kaho on the other hand seemed more self conscious of her place on the popularity spectrum. She is really beautiful in person and I felt bad that she was alone so often. If I had an extra ticket I would have used it for her (and this has nothing to do with her graduation, since at the time I didn’t know her plan).

After an hour it became apparent that the situation was actually getting worse, not better. There was a last call for Anna and Kaho, and they soon left the stage to do their “2-shots”. Anyone who wanted to take a photo with either was instructed to go to the entrance of Blitz where staff members would be taking pictures. The lame part of this was there were still fans that wanted to talk to them, but couldn’t because they were also fans of the more popular members and were trapped in one of their lines. For instance if you were a fan of Mio and Anna, you would get in line for Mio first because if you didn’t you would literally have to wait two hours to see her. In the meantime you would be trapped in that line, because if you left to talk to Anna who was available, when you were done, you would have to go to the end of the Mio line. Fans were getting pissed, but the staff felt hopeless because there was just two of them, and they were idiots to begin with!

After half an hour, Naomin and Yukki also left to do their 2-shots. Natsumi followed about 15 minutes later. At this point, Shiori and Sako’s table was moved closer to the middle to allow more space for Ai, Makoto, and Mio. At this point even though 50% of the members had left the stage, probably only 20% of the fans had gone with them, since the majority were waiting for the popular three.

Shiori and Sako meanwhile were battling it out to see which of them was the 4th most popular! Around 11PM they announced the last call for Shiori, awww, this meant Sako was 4th. I forced my way through the m&m fans, and gave my ticket to the staff. Shiori Time!

While standing in her line I was really close to Mio and Makoto. They are so adorable. I noticed both have an army of girl fans. Mio kept encouraging this one little girl to do her best while holding her hand, it was hillariously cheesy.

There were two guys in front of me in Shirori’s line wearing identical personalized yellow shirts that said something like “We’re Super-fans!” in the “Superman” font (since Shiori is a fan of Superman). This is kind of a tangent, but I noticed that Shiori and Anna fans do the most to announce to the world who their favorite is. For instance a lot of Morishi’s girl fans wore giant yellow ribbons in their hair, resembling the ribbons from Shoujo Hiko. A lot of her guy fans wore yellow shirts, yellow wristbands, and random yellow accessories. Anna fans on the other hand carry like 20 purple glowsticks and several guys had purple glowsticks that were a meter long, the glowsticks were so ghetto lol. For Anna, I think her fans realize they have to work to impress her, and for Shiori fans, I think we just want to somehow contribute to her “genkiness”.

So what did I say to Shiori?

I’ve only taken two years of Japanese, so I just know simple sentences. “I’m a huge fan. I’m from America. I’m not a stalker. Will you marry me?” The basics (kidding).

The first thing I said was “Smiling!”, which is her old catchphrase. I kind of started laughing at that point because that was the last of the English I would be able to use. I told her I’m a huge PASSPO fan and huge Morishi fan *I showed her my yellow silicon bracelet and glowsticks* I told her my Japanese is bad and I’m American. (She was shocked when I told her I was American. I think she figured I was a halfie – which I am, but didn’t think I was from America). She asked me where I was from and I told her Los Angeles. She asked me if I went to both shows that day. I told her I’ve been to three flights, the Shibuya AX flight in July and the two that day. I also told her I was going to the pre-dia concert the following day. I then asked her if PASSPO could come to America. At this point the staff told us our time was over so we said goodbye. After a few more people talked to her, she left to get ready for her photo session.

Sako also finished her handshakes at that time, so she was going to the front as well. Sako is really pretty in person, and super nice. Most of the girls walked off stage to the sides and then headed to the front from backstage, but Sako actually walked through the standing area, meaning she walked directly through the area everyone was waiting in line. She smiled and waved at everyone as she walked by.

Before I recap the photo, here’s my solution for the handshake event:

Form 10 lines and implement a system where you can hold your spot in one line and jump into another line if there was no one waiting (represented by the “x”). After redeeming your ticket for that less popular member, you could then return to the larger line without losing your spot. This would avoid fans having to sacrifice seeing their secondary member and also ensure that the less popular members get to meet more of their fans.

*Back to the recap* When I got to the front, there was no one in line for Morishi, or for anyone really. It was kind of weird considering how busy the other room was. I gave my two flight tickets to the girl taking the photo and handed her my iphone. I didn’t need to reintroduce myself, we were like real friends now! She asked what pose we would do. I didn’t want to do a peace sign, so I taught her the *L.A. sign*.

The rain killed my hair, which happens to be my “appeal point”. So I’m borrowing the perfect face of Ken (you know Barbie’s boyfriend/ brother/husband/slave).

After our photo, since there was still no one in her line, I was able to talk to her more :). She didn’t have time to answer me before, so I asked her again if PASSPO would go overseas. The answer she gave me was a little surprising… *suspense build-up*… she said they weren’t going overseas anymore! *dies* She said it would be very difficult. She then apologized. I thought she would say something like “Maybe” or “That would be fun”, but instead she gave me an honest answer. Of course it’s still possible they will do a concert overseas, but I don’t think it will be anytime soon.

After seeing her I felt like an android who just experienced “love” for the first time. In a robot voice: “So this is the human emotion of love” *self destructs*

Well that’s basically it. PASSPO day was officially over.

I can’t wait to see them again in 2012. And I already know the next pose I want to do with Shiori!

The End