The second part of this trip report covers the things I did between November 1st and 7th.
11/1 – Kyoto day trip
11/2 – Getting sick day
11/3 – Yokohama MM concert
11/4 – MM single box event
11/5 – Yuuki MM concert
11/6 – Morning Cafe and MM Gallery III
11/7 – Iikubo birthday event
No idol events on this day. Instead, I had planned to go to Kyoto with a friend to see an art exhibit I’ve been wanting to see.
12 PM: I was running a bit behind on the trains (it took longer to get from Shibuya to Tokyo than I expected), and since both me and my friend were using the JR pass, we would’ve had to wait another 40-60 minutes for the next train. So once I got to Tokyo station from the Yamanote line, I booked it to the shinkansen area and we managed to make it to the train with a minute or two to spare.
2 PM: Arrive in Kyoto, and since the art exhibit didn’t open til 5 PM, we had some time to spare. We grabbed lunch near the station, and then headed out into the city for a little idol pilgrimage. In the Kita ward of Kyoto, there’s a shop called Kazariya, that makes aburi mochi, a type of rice cake served on bamboo skewers (we had a lot of skewers this day). They’re sweet but also kind of salty at the same time, and served with a pot of tea for you to pour yourself.
Now as I mentioned before, this is a bit of a idol pilgrimage spot, and it’s one you might recognize if you’re a fan of MM OG Kamei Eri. She has a picture in this very shop in one of her photobooks, and you can actually ask one of the very nice shop ladies where it is, and they’ll gladly seat you there if it’s free. Apparently they were pretty familiar with the custom, since once I showed her a glimpse of the picture, she went “Ah, Morning Musume…” and led us to the seats, haha.
4:30 PM: After our snack, it was the perfect time to head to the art exhibit at Nijo castle.
Here’s the thing with Kyoto though…even if there are subways and trains, a lot of public transportation is by bus. We apparently took the wrong one and ended up at the last stop on the wrong end of the bus route. Got back on, and then got swarmed by tourists crowding the bus. I assumed they were trying to get back to Kyoto station, but was also silently wishing for them to get off the bus before our stop. Unfortunately that never happened, and we had to pretty much tackle our way through a bus of foreigners to get to the exit door.
5:30 PM: We tackle our way out of the bus and finally arrive at Nijo castle for the Art Aquarium exhibit. But that’s also when we see a ginormous line snaking down the side of the castle. We make our way to the end of the line and start wondering how long it’ll take, but then I recall seeing something about online ticket sales. So I go to the exhibit website and lo and behold, online ticket sales! After buying it that way, we escaped from the line and went to the front of it, where there was a second entrance for people who already had their tickets! No line for us!! Quite a fine play if I must say so myself.
Finally, we make our way into the courtyard of the castle, and are greeted by a mixture of modern yet very traditionally Japanese music. Right at the entrance to the exhibit, there are numerous goldfish tanks lit up in different colors of lights. I had first seen pictures of this through celebrity instagrams when the exhibit was in Tokyo. But the version in Kyoto was even cooler, since it was held outside! The lights in each fish tank changed colors with the music, and each color changed the atmosphere of the area. I think the coolness of Art Aquarium is better left to pictures than my words. I certainly got my share of color inspiration for my art from it though.
Possibly due to my constant exposure to cold and little sleep, I was starting to feel the tolls on my health. I had started getting a sore throat on my trip to Kyoto and was taking honey drops to attempt to soothe it, but alas it didn’t do me much good. I had to pick up some Japanese cold medicine (Lulu Gold) to hopefully keep the nastiness at bay for the rest of my trip.
…Despite this though, I did go out to shabu shabu dinner with a friend and drank a fair share too. Hey, what can I say? I have friends to meet, things to do, no time to waste here!
7 AM: So maybe that drinking wasn’t the best idea… There was a new batch of goods being released for the Morning Musume tour this day and I was planning to get up early to queue for it in Yokohama. Least to say, that didn’t happen. Felt way too shitty in multiple ways, and ended up having to ask another friend to help me get my share of goods. What with her still being a high schooler though, I still had to get to the venue early enough to give her my money to buy things.
11 AM: Run from the nearest station to Pacifico Yokohama, successfully hand over money to my friend. From here until the start of the day concert, I just relaxed in front of the venue, chatting with friends and trading pinup posters.
3 PM: The concerts start! Because of the rotating parts in the setlist, I was actually still hearing new songs being performed even though it was my 4th concert of the trip!
And because I had close seats in all 3 Okayama/Takamatsu concerts, I stuck with my relatively further seats here. Sure, you don’t get as much eye contact, but you get to goof off more when you’re further away. In my case, this means furicopy crappily but not care because the members are too far away to watch you…I hope that’s the case anyways. That being said though, my seats were pretty decent because I was just behind the big aisle opening so there weren’t many people blocking my view and there was a slight slope to the ground.
8:30 PM: Both concerts of the day have ended, and while I normally would go out for a drink with friends, the next day was a single box event. I was also still feeling pretty shitty so I went home to rest as much as I could before the next day.
9:30 AM: 3 shot chekis were the first event in the single box events in Shibuya that day. However, I was headed to Harajuku with a box of my art instead. Starting this day was MM Gallery III, a Morning Musume fan art gallery that’s been held since 2016. I had visited once during the very first exhibit, but this would be the first time that I’d take part in the gallery myself. I went there to drop off my art before 10AM, since I had to head back to Shibuya for the events.
10:30 AM: Arrive at Shibuya Belle Salle First for the day of events.
Important note: If you ever go to single events at Shibuya Belle Salle, make sure to check if it’s at First or Garden. These are two different places on opposite sides of Shibuya station so if you’re running late and go to the wrong one, you’re screwed.
For this day, my events were lined up like this: 3 shot cheki, 2 shot chekis, handshakes round 1 through 6.
First off is my 3 shot cheki with Kudo and Yokoyama. I actually got to take 2 of these because the first cheki had some weird band at the top. It’s actually too bad because that’s the picture that I liked more.
The first pose I requested was actually supposed to be the angel and devil on my shoulders. It didn’t turn out that way at all, but I liked it anyways.
Next were my 2 shots. This day, I won one with Fukumura, Kudo, and Kaga respectively.
For Fukumura, I used my friend’s suggestion of “riding a two seater bike”.
For Kudo’s, I asked her to pose for me while I “drew” her. She seemed a little thrown off by what kind of pose at first, but when I told her “any pose is fine”, she gave me this!
For Kaga, I actually had this pose idea of gaming together before I even applied for her cheki. It was more like a “Oh, that would be a great cheki pose for her! Let’s see if we can get one!” And I ended up getting it!
As far as handshakes go, I usually only disclose them to close friends because I don’t like to share my conversations with the girls to just anyone. That being said though, while there are times that I talk to them seriously, most of the time I like to joke around. Especially when it comes to Duu, we’ve been around each other enough that I can be pretty casual around her and vice versa. Single events are especially hard on the members because they’re constantly talking to a ton of people all day. Sometimes I’ll get together with friends and we’ll all joke around in a certain girl’s booth, which usually brings up their mood too!
So of the handshakes I had this day, I’ll share some of the lighter ones (though it’s a little hard to translate the humor into English sometimes)
S「The vast majority of the Japanese I know, I learned from Morning Musume」
S「From Sayu, I learned some weird but still kind of useable words. Like the “maximum” in “maximum cuteness”.(極度にかわいい)」
S「But what do you think I learned from you?」
S「KAKUSEIIDEN！」(隔世遺伝, a delusional-ish term that means inheriting traits that have skipped generations. She was infatuated with this word for a while.)
Kudo -bends over table laughing-
S「Is that even useable??」
Kudo「It totally isn’t -still laughing-」
S「So I’m going to the Morning Cafe tomorrow…but I don’t wanna say your drink name out loud!」(With This, You’ll Get Out Of Triple A Too!) (it’s a running gag about the flat-chested members of the group)
Kudo-split second glance down-
S「Hey you totally just looked [at my chest] right now, didn’t you!!!」
Kudo -wheeze laughing-
S「Thanks for the “darling” at the Okayama concert!」
Kudo「Not at all!」
S「Well, you kinda pointed in between me and someone else so it might’ve just been a “dar” after all, haha」
Kudo「That’s not true at all! I was pointing at you!」
Since I pretty much did the entire day of events, aside from skipping the 5th round of handshakes, I was kind of exhausted by the end of the day. It was also getting harder and harder to deny that I was getting a cold.
Regardless of that though, I still definitely had a ton of fun!
10 AM: Met up with friends so carpool to Yuuki, Ibaraki for the day’s concerts. This concert hall is kind of out in the boonies, so if you were going by train, it’d prove to be difficult to get back after the concerts. This was also probably my day of maximum sickness, so we had to hit up some drug stores to get some really powerful (and expensive) nutrition drinks. We also got lunch. I had no taste buds at the time so I have no idea how it tasted, but it looks good!
3 PM: Despite being out in the middle of nowhere, this concert venue was actually really nice. There was a slope all the way from the front to the back, so visibility was really nice. There were also a lot of girls in the audience that day, so no giants to get in the way.
6:30 PM: I was pretty far back for my last concert of this trip, and all the way on the left side. But, this ended up being an advantage to me! One of the new songs from the album has one line (the title of the song) repeated a couple times while the members point out into the audience. However, since this is choreographed a specific way, the angle that they point at has to be within a certain degree. In other words, they can’t freely point around like they do in the other song I mentioned before. I was apparently in the perfect spot, because I got pointed at about 6 times while meeting Kudo’s eyes. It might’ve helped that I also thanked her for the “darling” in the previous day’s handshakes as well.
Anyway, that was my big winning point of the day! The rest of it was going back to Tokyo while trying not to totally hack out a lung in my friend’s car. I can’t imagine having to make that trip by train while sick, so I was super thankful for that ride.
What I planned to be a rest day. I didn’t have anything planned except a visit to the Morning Musume cafe during the noon slot, so I got to sleep in until around then.
12 PM: Got to the MM cafe in Harajuku, and was surprised to see some friends there. None of us had planned to go together, but just all happened to be there at the same slot. When you get up to the cafe, you get called in based on the number on your confirmation email. You’re then seated based on that number, so really the only way to sit with friends is if you applied together, or by pure luck. This was no problem though, since we were all taking pictures of the food and costumes around the cafe anyways. There were also member messages written on some of the walls and pillars, so there’s definitely plenty to look at.
The meal itself was not exactly what I’d expect for the 3000 yen price tag, but I suppose it’s novelty after all. There was also the wotaku killer, aka lottery, of member coasters when you buy a drink. Each member has their own themed drinks, so I feel that was actually more of a draw to the cafe than the meal set itself. I managed to down 4 drinks, but didn’t pull Kudo. I did, however, end up trading my way to one!
There’s also a gacha in the corner for member keychains. I had somehow managed to get Kudo’s in two tries and were just talking to friends about it in front of the machines when the host(?) of the cafe started talking about guests coming.
Not a minute later, Fukumura Mizuki and Sato Masaki walked by us into the cafe, while we were shocked and wide-eyed. This was the first MM cafe slot on a weekday since it opened, so no members had made their appearance at the cafe itself yet! (They’re all working on the weekends of course) The two of them proceeded to freely MC about things in the cafe, and we learned random tidbits, like how Maachan surprisingly didn’t get in trouble for randomly drawing on the pillar in the middle. Also that Toki wo Koe Sora wo Koe was the last song for Tsunku to do the sample song for the members. And that Maachan was so frustrated by one of her hairstyles in a song once, that she almost quit over it. (I forgot which song, but she was obviously being humorously overdramatic too)
The girls were probably in there talking for a good 5 to 10 minutes, and the cafe is only so big so they are very close the whole time!!
As we were getting into the elevator to exit the cafe, someone in the elevator went “Well, that experience was totally worth it for 3000 yen!” And everyone, despite not knowing each other, burst into laughter and agreement. It was definitely one of the many fun times of being an wotaku.
After this, I took a trip to MM Gallery III, since it was pretty much in the same neighborhood.
It’s definitely a strange feeling to see your own art in the middle of a gallery room! There were lots of other interesting pieces as well, so I spent a good deal of time just looking through everything. There was definitely a lot of love from all of the exhibitors put into their pieces, and I was really happy to hear visitors of the gallery make that same comment.
Today was the day that I would check out of my longest stay of the trip, the airbnb in Shibuya. Luckily, the checkout time wasn’t until 3PM so I was able to rest re-pack and rest until then.
6:30 PM: I normally only go to FukuDuu birthday events when I’m in Japan, but this time I was also able to attend the first showing of Iikubo Haruna’s birthday event. It was a relatively short show since she had two in the same day, but it was fun none the less!
8 PM: After the event, I had to make my way to Yokohama as I would be staying over at my friend’s house. We met up near her closest station before meeting up with one more friend. Finally, we got to my friend’s house where all three of us were super excited.
Why? The next two days were finally the long-awaited 10th generation bus tour!! This has been an event that the four 10th gen members of Morning Musume have been wanting to do for a while now, and finally it was being granted right before Kudo’s graduation! After a couple hours of goofing around, we finally went to sleep as we’d have to get up early to make it to Tokyo station during rush hour!
This marks the end of the 2nd part of my report! Next up is the final and meatiest section, the 10th generation bus tour!