Sakura-con Logo

A late start to the day after the drinking festivities. I woke up with a dry throat but at least my pounding headache was gone & my sense of balance had been restored.

I was informed that the wota had formed a line since the early morning hours. Personally I think that’s a little extreme to line up for an event that doesn’t start until the evening but to each their own.

After hastily getting ready I headed down to the convention center to sign up for the concert line list the wota created & then check out the rest of the con. I again ended up at the JapanFiles/Hello! Project booth & I scooped up the last of the Sakura-con exclusive photo sets.

I was guided by a friend to a booth that I didn’t know about, the h.naoto store. There were many h.naoto clothes that came in both men’s, women’s and unisex versions. Of course they were claimed to be in American sizes but were actually in European/Japanese sizes.

That meant no H&A gear for me, But I was able to get a sort of hoodie/scarf combo that also was affordable. Then off to my hotel & out to get some food before going back to the convention. I would like to state that I don’t eat much at these cons & I live on adrenaline alone so it was nice to have a meal.

Sakura-con 2011 Day 2 Lineup

Back to the convention after where things went from cool to somewhat annoying. I am fine with many things wota do to get into events. It’s an accepted part of being involved in the fan culture & I sincerely appreciate their help & knowledge to maximize the potential of getting the most of these events.

But… There are times that their actions have adverse affects on those involved with them. You see, unlike 2 years ago with Hangry & Angry there was no open space to camp out for the concert line. This meant that they were all congregated in high traffic areas or in places that are booked for events later.

The sense I got today is that the Sakura-con staff were losing patience with the Berryz fans, especially on a busy day such as Saturday. It got to the point where that we were marked for being obstructions & if any Berryz fans were considered to be one they would get a strike on their badge & would be escorted away from the convention.

This is where my tolerance for wotas hits its limit. I don’t care what they do but if their aggressive tactics are going to prevent me from seeing something I came a long way to see I call shenanigans. As I stated, it’s extreme and crazy to line up 12 hours ahead of the event with no backup plan in case problems like that throw a wrench in the plans.

This single-minded mentality is both a benefit & a detriment. It’s more sensible to line up 2 hours or an hour before. Maybe 3 – 5 hours before if there is a space allowed to wait that long. But 12 hours? Really? Why not do something else at the con like grab some merch or check out the city to get away from the insanity?

Why waste your time on a futile endeavour? Especially since Sakura-con has a lot of other awesome events to offer. And since many of the wota (& folks like myself who experienced this procedure before) had priority wristbands there really was no need to make a list with a pecking order and all that since in reality that was never going to be followed anyway.

I don’t mean to sound like a bitter ass or someone who is biting the hand that guides him, I’m just being honest and if I were Sakura-con staff or anyone associated with the organization of this Berryz appearance I would probably be kind of frustrated and irritated with many would consider a very demanding group of people. So it’s great that for the most part the staff did not fly off the handle and management from JapanFiles/Hello Store USA did not have to intervene… Again.

With that rant out of the way once everyone dispersed and somewhat followed what the Sakura-con staff were saying it got somewhat better. I camped out above ground on to watch the action.

At 1700 there was a h.naoto fashion show that looked nice to see but it conflicted with my concert queueing so I decided to not watch. Once that was over there was a mad dash to the waiting area where all the Berryz fans swarmed the area.

As I predicted the list was thrown out the window in favor of those taking care of their own crews. I joined my fellow JPH!P members in line somewhat behind the pack of Japanese wota & their friends. Hey, survival of the fittest right? With everyone in the room the staff line man (who was dubbed line nazi) announced that we were not to leave our spots in line or we would be sent to the walk of shame in the back. No bathroom breaks, no food runs, no nothing.

At around 18:30 we were allowed to go into the concert hall with the warning to NOT RUN or get beat down by the Seattle PD Rodney King style & carted off to the sleaziest prison in Seattle. Seriously. That was the gist of their message to the people. Pretty harsh eh?

Anyway after forming a conga line my friends & I calmly made our way as close to the front as possible. I was center position about 2 rows back.

Here is the track listing:

1. Ganbarou Nippon Ai wa Katsu
2. Special Generation
3. Heroine ni Narou ka
4. Shining Power
MC (places we visited)
5. Piriri to Yukou
6. Happiness ~Koufuku Kangei~
7. Tsukiatteru no Kataomoi
MC (Japanese and English lesson)
8. Berry Fields
9. [costume change] CLAP!
10. Maji Bomber!
11. Icchoume Rock!
12. Otakebi Boy WAO!
MC
13. Rival
Encore : All For One and One For All

This was one amazing concert. I have been to every previous Hello! Project event in North America (Hangry & Angry and Morning Musume) and while this was not as epic as Hangry & Angry it was definitely way above Morning Musume in production and execution. As everyone who attended can attest to.

This will upset some of you Morning Musume fans but it is true that Berryz blew them out of the water. Unlike AX 2009 we actually got an encore and FISH SUITS! Yes, suits! Thank you Chinami.

This definitely set the bar high for the next Hello! Project act who may come next.

After the concert the Berryz fans rushed out of the hall en masse going chanting and screaming “Berryz Saikou!” and “ENJOY!” all the way from the lower floor where the concert was up to the exhibition hall where we hit a dead end and just partied it up like we won the Superbowl or Stanley cup.

Sakura-con 2011 Wota Riot

Sakura-con 2011 Wota Riot

Sakura-con 2011 Wota Riot

It’s no lie when I say this went on for a good 30+ minutes and even the Japanese media people and UFA camera crew were filming us just going nuts after the show. That NEVER happened after Momusu or Hangry & Angry and it showed just how damn good Berryz were.

Menu

After the awesomeness of the near riot of wota ended we JPH!P folks along with one of my IW cohorts went to dinner at the Italian restaurant that Berryz ate at earlier in the week. Of course we didn’t know that until my other IW friend showed up and noticed it. (thx much by the way) It was determined that I was sitting in Chinami’s chair and that next to me was Yurina, Maasa, management, Risako and then Miyabi.

Chinami's Chair

I took a picture of the chair (a tradition) and although the normal procedure would have been followed after, we were in a swanky restaurant and it would be silly to do that kind of thing in such a fine establishment. When dinner was over it was back to my hotel to hang out. On the way we stopped for alcohol and then off to do an online report about the days events which lead to being a long discussion about many funny, random topics.

And that ended day 2. At like 5 AM for me.

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Sakura-con Day 3