The last section of this trip report! This will be the longest one yet, since my report of the bus tour is in here! But it should be worth the read! Definitely!

11/8: 10th generation FC bus tour in Yamanashi
11/9: 10th generation FC bus tour in Yamanashi
11/10: Recuperation
11/11: MM single box event
11/12: MM serial event
11/13: Leaving Japan


11/8

8:30 AM: Me and my two friends get squished on by the morning train rush to Tokyo station, but none of us really seemed to mind as we were all pumped! When we finally got there, we met up with our 3 other friends who we would all room with. I’m still not sure if it was based on application timing or there was some bus member fiddling, as we were on the Bus #2 (out of 24), but there were also a ton of foreigners on our bus as well.

9:30 AM: Since we were one of the earlier buses, we were the first to move out! But not before we went about the tradition of taping our oshimen’s micro fiber towels on the bus windows.
Soon after the bus took off, our bus guide handed out the badges we would use at ID for the duration of the tour, and copies of the schedule that all the details we needed for events later on. We weren’t supposed to look at the last few pages since the location of the events were still supposed to be a surprise, but I accidentally saw it for a second. Whoops! The bus guide did also tell us not to post to social media until the evening since a lot of the later busses would be getting to the same things much later than we would.

The schedule went something like this:

11/8: 5 shot, bus tour live seat raffle, goods purchasing, hotel check-in, dinner, “an event to look forward to!”

11/9: breakfast, hotel check-out, handmade [something] experience, Yamanashi sightseeing, lunch, bus tour live, handshake, return to Tokyo station

There were also short videos played on the bus between locations, where the 10th gen members would either talk about random stuff or draw raffles for people to win!

Soon enough, we made our stop at the service area to get lunch or snacks. I got off the bus and made a beeline for the takoyaki stand, and then realized that the busses were moving in packs of about 6 or so. Luckily, even outside of my roommates for the next night, I had quite a few friends and acquaintances in the other busses. Bus #1 was an especially rowdy but fun bunch!

After getting back on the road, we finally had the “secret location” disclosed to us! We would be going to Fuji Q Highland to take our 5 shots! They also let us know that between our 5 shots and checking in at the hotel, we would be free to roam the amusement park to complete a 10th gen scavenger quiz! And then after dinner, we would actually be returning to Fuji Q Highland to completely take over the park after they officially closed! This was a pretty big deal since it is a major park, and this kind of thing doesn’t happen all that often! The fact that everyone on the bus tour would get to enjoy the park at night with the members was a huge deal!

12 PM: We finally get to Fuji Q and make our way to the room where 5 shots would be taken! There’s a number written on your schedule that includes your line-up number for the 5 shot, so everybody queued up according to that. Soon enough we got into a big room where everyone sat in bunches, by your bus number. The MC of the bus tour, Suzuki Keita (half of Jojo Gundan), bust in and got everyone revved up, then told us that the members would actually be seated in different configurations for each bus! Lucky Bus #1 got MaaDuu in front, but their enthusiasm and energy alone made it not really matter so much who we got. Everyone was just having so much fun by then! (Bus #2 had Ishida and Sato in front, by the way)

We were instructed to have our poses thought up already, because between 24 busses and roughly 40 people in each, this was gonna take a loonnnnnnng time. I was personally split between two poses: 10ki de PYON! with the members putting their hands above my head, or Sherrily’s Angels (a play on Charlie’s Angels). By the time I got to the entrance of the 5 shot room, a staff came to me and asked me what pose I wanted to do. I tried to explain the 10ki de pyon thing, but it seems that having your arms above your head would clip something out?? And I didn’t have the time to rephrase my idea (nor the nerves, I could already see the girls by then so a bizarre nervousness was taking over me) so I ended up asking them to do a “sexy gun pose” and that ended up being my 5 shot picture!

After taking the picture itself, you have to wait a second for the staff to check it and make sure everything was okay, and the members will actually strike up conversations with you during that time. Harunan immediately complimented my custom MA-1 jacket, one that I had custom-made as a kind of oshi-jacket, though I kept it a lot more subtle than others do. On the back, it has Haruchan Boukendan written in bold and gold wings in the center, so it’s pretty easy to notice when my back is facing the members. I had already showed Duu once during a solo handshake earlier in the year, so she didn’t have any response (that I could head anyways). After Harunan’s comment, both Maachan and Ayumi did start checking out my jacket, but then I got the okay from the staff and said bye to them as I left the room in high spirits.

Right after getting out of the room, there were two staff with a big box of folded orange papers. I either hadn’t been paying attention or was just too high on seeing the girls that I had no idea what I was drawing out of the box. Either way, I grabbed a piece of the folded papers and then one of the staff handed me a special album for the bus tour. I then caught up with my 2 friends in front of me, and we moved to the next big room to wait for the remaining 3 of us to open our raffle papers at once. This was when I realized that it was the seats for the concert that we just drew! After a minute and they finally caught up, it turns out that the latter 3 already opened their raffles so we dug into ours immediately.

I got 1B, 4th row, 4th seat. But I had no idea what that meant since I didn’t know what the layout of the venue would be like. Although compared to some of my friends’ results, I probably had a relatively good seat.

The next big room we got to was for buying goods! Luckily, by being in Bus #2, there was still plenty of everything left. Even though everyone was limited to one of everything, I heard some goods were sold out by the 12th bus! That’s only half of the people on the tour! After getting everything, we then got to explore the park and followed the map all over to find the member (and Keita’s) quizzes scattered about. The questions were actually pretty damn difficult! We learned during the concert the next day that nobody got over 7/10 correct. And only 3 people got that top score!

Here’s an example of the type of questions they asked:

“What color is Harunan’s mom’s hair right now?”

“What level is Ayumi at in Candy Crush by now?”

“What did Maachan’s youngest sister do that really surprised her?”

“Duu first ran away from home in her 2nd year of middle school. What was the reason for that?”

All of the questions were multiple choice, but it was the type where all the answers sounded possible!

My score? I got 3/10. But at least I got both of my oshimen’s questions correct!

After completing our quizzes, we returned to the busses, which took us to our hotel for the night! Right after checking in, we went to drop our luggage off in the room and also decorate it, bus tour style!

Then the 6 of us goofed off by play wrestling, pillow fighting, and other random things that students would usually do on overnight school trips! But hey, there’s no age limit to fun on bus tours! We then looked up the closest convenience store and started heading over there to load up on alcohol. For some reason, we had all decided to the leave the room in slippers instead of our shoes, so when we left the hotel, we had to switch to “public” slippers! These were basically really traditional wooden Japanese shoes, so when we walked, it was a constant CLOP CLOP CLOP sound. Of course, with all of us being hyped up on pure energy, we clopped our way to the conbini and stocked up on alcohol and water. On our way back, we ran into groups of other wotas with the same idea, though we had to tell them to hurry up because that alcohol was going fast!!

After we got back and put everything away, it was time to head down to the big dining room on the first floor for dinner. And when I say big dining room, I mean BIG. When we got in, there were probably around 300-400 people already eating!

Dinner was a traditional Japanese meal with a lot of small side dishes. It was really good, but most of us couldn’t finish it since it really does add up. The only thing I didn’t clear out was the rice…which I kind of regret now. It was a nice mixed rice that was delicious, but since we would be riding roller coasters later, I didn’t want to eat too much.

After our bellies were sufficiently full, we got back onto the bus to get to Fuji Q Highland and take it over! Everyone was already pretty tired from the day though, and the food probably made lots of people slip into food comas. I was still too sick to get comfortable enough to sleep like that, so I instead pulled a Harunan and took sleeping pictures of my roommates instead! Then sent it to them when they started to wake up, haha.

6 PM: We finally got to the amusement park, and the sleepy aura from earlier was totally gone once we rolled in through the parking lot and saw all the rides lit up! We filed into a giant auditorium where we the members themselves handed us our entrance passes for the night! We then listened to them as they explained how the events would work, since there was a schedule that let you follow each girl around to go to their specific rides! There was also one rule that they made sure to drill into us: Do NOT run! As you can imagine, there was a lot of speed walking among the fans after that, haha.

After all of that was done and everyone was sufficiently pumped up, we were let out of the auditorium one bus at a time. Right after we got let out, a few of my friends and I headed to Duu’s area, where she was doing a quick talkshow with Keita. I didn’t know much about him before the bus tour since he hasn’t been the MC for most of the events I’ve watched. Apparently the guy has been writing poems since he was a teen, and he’s actually legit really good at it! After hearing one he wrote for Duu, and one he wrote for a fan, I decided to head to the Takabisha, the next ride that Duu would be appearing at.

I lined up with one of my friends who wasn’t very sure about the ride since she wasn’t huge on thrill rides, but I convinced her to do it just because Kudo was doing the height check in front of the entrance! My friend was short, so it’d be a good chance to at least make that joke with her! While we waited, Ayumi strolled right by the line and waved at us as her blue army followed her. After a few minutes, Duu strolled up to the front of the line while casually having ice cream (which we later learned was strawberry flavored, cute). Surprisingly, she let the height joke with my friend go, and just said “oh, you’re fine” and waved her in. It was when we got to the ride line inside that both of us started getting nervous. People around were talking about the ride being 2-3 minutes long, which is really long for a roller coaster ride!! I also saw the shape of it on the map, and apparently the signature was one huge vertical drop. Trying to calm both of our nerves at once, I turned to my friend and said “It’s okay. When the drop comes, let’s just scream Haruka as loudly as possible! She might hear us from the entrance area!” Turns out, the screaming certainly wasn’t limited to that one drop. The entire ride was actually pretty scary, and I was very glad that I hadn’t finished that rice at dinner as my guts were turning with every loop we took! Just when I thought the ride had ended, we started slowly rolling up the vertical rails…and it was then that I realized that we hadn’t even experienced the big drop yet. As they always do, the ride up was dreadfully long and nerve-wracking. All we could do was agree on the fact that we would be screaming our oshimen’s name the entire time, a thing which we apparently got all the other people riding with us to do too! Let’s just say…I would feel the effects of this ride on my voice for the next few days.

Funny thing is, after getting off of Takabisha, the line was empty and there was no Duu around! All that screaming for nothing??? (It did make it really fun and a little less scary though)

We learned that she was already over at the next area, so we made our way to the Mad Mouse ride, where Duu was supposed to do a balloon show in front of. When I got there though, I saw some of my friends bunched up near the actual ride instead of in front though. Once they saw me, they hurriedly waved me over. “Sherrily, get over here! Kudo’s about to ride Mad Mouse!” So I made my way over, and there she was around the corner, sitting in the little yellow cart. I leaned over and waved at her, to which she quickly returned before the ride took off. A few of us then decided to go to the end of the ride, just in time to wish her a welcome back when her hair was all crazy and split from the wind of the ride! We then settled down and watched the balloon show, during which Harunan and later Maachan, walked by casually as they headed to their next event.

After the balloon show, we got somewhat lost on our way to Duu’s next ride, the Web Swinger, so I decided to head to the next, and final, ride instead: Red Tower. On my way there, I met up with some friends from Bus #1 and we all lined up together. Upon seeing the ride itself, both my friend and some of their friends immediately backed out of it. This was one of those free drop rides, and to be honest, I usually hate them myself. Hell, I avoid Tower of Terror as much as possible when I go to Disney. But…the things you do for your oshimen, right? Duu was actually taking a while to get here, so me and my friends actually asked the staff if we could ride it beforehand, and they said okay. So the 4 of us split up on opposite sides of the ride, and my god, was it higher than I could tell from the ground. The seats just kept rising and rising, while I was thinking “still?! how much higher is this gonna go??”. Unlike Tower of Terror, this is actually an outside ride, so you can completely see the view from the top. But I was a little too terrified to appreciate it. That plus the fact that they never tell you when it’s going to drop drove me insane! After what felt like forever, the seats dropped and my I felt myself floating up from it, only held down by the shoulder rails! The ride bounced a couple times, sending you up and down, and making me nearly lose my footing once I got back to solid ground. That being said though, it was still bizarrely fun! What’s up with humans and enjoying near death experiences???

(Image of Up-Front International)

We got back to our original places in line and talked excited to the people around us who asked us how the ride was. Soon enough, Duu came rolling in with her orange army behind her, and instead of going to the front of the ride to let us in, she went and sat on the ride instead!! Since we were near the front of the line and the ride itself, we got to talk to her super casually! Telling her that we just rode it and the part that’s most scary is the rise itself! She listened intently but still looked super nervous, so we started a Haruka call and got her laughing before the seats rose up! After a while the ride came down the same way it did earlier and for the second time that night, I saw her with her hair all messed up and her mouth agape in semi-shock!

After she got off and stumbled back to where she was supposed to be at the entrance of the ride, she gave her impressions of the ride to the camera next to her. I don’t remember everything she said, but I so recall her saying that it was the most scared she’s been on out of all the rides she rode tonight! After she finished with that, she started letting us onto the ride, and as we passed her by, we would joke with her. I told her to come ride with us, to which she promptly replied with “No thanks! Once was enough for me!” My three friends and I luckily got to be the first ones to sit in our batch, so we picked the seats directly facing the front (and therefore Duu). At some point, I remember hearing her comment to the camera and the other wotas around that “If it’s those guys, they’ll be fine!”, which made me happy. Half because she knew me well enough to make that comment, half because I was one of “those guys” who are always fun. My friend who got to enter first kindly let me sit in the second seat, the one Duu sat in just a moment earlier!Even after we all sat down and the safety rails were in place, we were still being loud and rowdy, so she turned to us and goes,

“How about this? After you get to the summit, scream the things you like about me as loudly as you can!”

To which we all gladly agreed, waving at her before we launched into the air for the second time that night! Again we rose to the top, but this time didn’t feel nearly as scary as earlier. Half because I already knew how the ride was going to go, and half because I knew that Duu would be at the bottom waiting for us to get back! Of course, once we reached a stop at the top, everyone started screaming the things we liked about her at the top of our lungs. I had gotten to the 4th or 5th thing before the seats dropped again and we all “WHOOOOO!!”‘d our way down. As the ride was coming to a halt at the bottom, Duu was getting ready to leave, but we made sure to ask her if she heard us, and what does the girl say?

“Sorry, I had no idea what you guys were saying at all!! Haha!”

I heard from other people later on that apparently when we were on our way up, she said “well, it’s not like I’d be able to hear them anyways!” and then cackled about it! Ahh, nothing like your oshimen messing with you to make you feel close! It’s also pretty ironic given what the first thing I screamed at the top of the ride was. As we got out of the seats, we followed the end of the orange army until Duu split off to go with the staff. It was time for everyone to get back to our busses anyways, so we joyously skipped our way back to the entrance, obviously still on a high from all the interaction we just got. Out of all the fun things of the bus tour, and probably my entire trip, this one probably takes the cake as being my absolute favorite.

It was a river of happy wota all the way back to the busses, with everyone singing and chanting along to the Morning Musume songs played over the park speakers. I had certainly screamed way more than I should have given my physical condition, but everything was way too fun to not have done so!

9:30 PM: The busses were starting to take off from the parking lot, but on our way out each batch of busses would stop so that the members could come onto the bus and wish you good night!! Maachan came onto our bus, said a couple words, and then took a picture with all of us (that I’m not sure I made it into, as I was trying to see where Duu went, haha). They then got out, and the busses started to move again. But the members were lined up on the side, so we rolled open the windows and waved to them as the bus rolled by, members and fans all wishing each other a good night with million watt smiles on everyone’s faces. It was a great close to the the first day of the bus tour, which was already way more fun than I anticipated!

10:30 PM: We get back to the hotel exhausted but in high spirits. Everyone is ready to head to the giant bath on the first floor, but then we got word that Keita was making visits to some peoples’ rooms! So that set off an alarm, making us wonder if the member were going to be calling us on our room phones, since that’s what they did on the AyuMizuki bus tour at the beginning of the year. So we decided to wait while drinking and messing around in the room again. More wresting, more hilarious antics, pocky games, and sudden arm wrestling matches. In the end, the members didn’t call but we had a blast anyways. We eventually all went to the bath together before going back to he room and drinking some more. I think it was around 2AM by the time that we actually went to sleep!

11/9

6 AM: Breakfast was from 7 to 8AM, and in a room of 6 girls, we set our alarm a little early at 6AM to make sure we would be on time! I remember laughing because right at 6, about 3-4 alarms went off all at the same time, with everybody reaching for their phones immediately.

7 AM: Surprisingly, it didn’t take us as long as we expected to get ready, and we were ready not breakfast a bit after 7. Once again, we had a Japanese style meal, though we started to see pictures on twitter of other people having crab or much more fancy buffets at their hotels! (There were about 8-9 separate hotels they had to split us into.)

8:15 AM: Checked out of the hotel and got back on our bus. Once we took off, they disclosed the plans of the day to us through another member VTR! We would be making jam with the members, and also seeing a monkey show! The catch is, they split the girls into pairs to do each of these, but we didn’t know who was doing what!

9 AM: Bus 1-12 roll up to the jam making place first, and we get out of the bus to make a wota river to go inside. Once we get to the actual jam making area, the line split into two, and I figured that the members were in there passing something out as you entered. But since I had no idea who was in there, I just randomly chose a side. Soon enough, Ayumi came into view! She was giving us stickers to attack onto the jam jars! (I personally had no idea what the sticker was for the longest time though, haha) I was just happy to see them smiling and saying good morning first thing in the morning!

Everyone sits down at their respective tables, the seats were once again the ones written on our schedules. It didn’t take long before Ayumi and Maachan got to the front of the room and started telling us how the jam making would go. In front of us were a ton of local grapes, and all the needed ingredients packaged in a corner. Our job was to deseed the grapes and put them into the big pot in the middle of the table. Our table was actually fairly close to the front of the room so while I was doing that, I was able to look over my shoulder and watch the members doing the same thing as us! After a bit, they saved their jam making progress for the second group of busses, and starting making their rounds to each table, each girl from opposite corners of the room. Maachan was adding lemon juice, and Ayumi was coming around to stir the pots.

Ayumi got to our table first, and while she was checking our jam and stirring the pot, we asked her what they had for breakfast. Turns out the members themselves didn’t have much time so they just had convenience store food. She quickly followed that up with it being totally okay though, since they were really excited to get to today’s events. Now that’s some idol-level enthusiasm. She gave the pot a couple more stirs and handed the ladle to me before heading to the next table.

Maachan seemed to be following the flow of tables at first, but then true to the girl’s nature, started running around in random patterns with the jam-making expert lady in tow. Apparently she had found some tables of jam to be weird looking, so she made second rounds for them. Which now that I think about it, is really cute, since she kept each of those tables in mind one way or another so she could get back to them and make sure their jam was okay! When she finally got to us, she started putting the lemon juice in, saying “They say 2 drops is just right…”. To which my friend, a Maachan-oshi, goes, “oh…we just squeezed in two slices of lemon.” Which immediately makes Maachan swipe at the air, go “Why didn’t you say so earlier!!!”, and run away to the next table while we all laughed. According to everyone else, it ended up tasting fine anyways. (I have no taste buds, remember)

Eventually the jam started looking less like peeled grapes in water, and we had to wrap it up to move to the monkey show anyways. So everyone scooped up what they could and we moved out as Ayumi and Maachan bid us goodbye at the doors again.

11 AM: We start nearing the monkey show location, and through the bus windows start to see Mount Fuji!

The weather is clear and it had just snowed at the peak a few days ago, so it looked great in pictures! We got off the bus, took some group pictures, then headed towards the monkey show!

Once again at the entrance, the members were handing things out as you went in so this time I made sure to find where Duu was before going into that line. As I entered she handed me another one of the postcards for the bus tour, and then we got seated according to our seat numbers again.

Unlike the jam making, this event was more of something to watch the monkeys perform so you didn’t get the same amount of member interaction. Still, the monkeys really were cute and super well trained. There’s this one thing they do when they’re “at ready”, they stand with their arms behind their back with their chest puffed out. It’s totally adorable. But what makes it even better is that I caught Duu in the background imitating the monkeys during part of the show! Ahh, that was cute. Duu, Harunan, and Keita all had a comedy show-off with the monkeys! And almost all lost, haha.

1 PM: We got to the next service area, where they apparently had lunch prepared for all 1000+ people on the bus tour. We were guided in by bus and given about 30 minutes to both eat and buy souvenirs! Not much time here! I picked up some stuff for work people, but to be honest it was just what I could get my hands on before I missed the bus.

1:30 PM: We were once again on the road, this time to the final event of the bus tour: the 10th gen special live at Kawaguchiko Stellar Theater. This was the venue that MM ’14 got pranked in for new year’s and woke them up to suddenly do a concert! The members themselves haven’t been here since 2014 either, so it was quite a special place to do the live.

On our way to the venue, my friend handed her copy of Morning Musume’s DVD magazine 100 to the bus guide, and he played it for us on the bus TV screens! It’s the DVD magazine that they pretty much set up as a harem high school drama around “Haru-senpai”. I bought the DVD myself recently, but I’m really glad that my first time watching it was with everyone else on the bus, because it was hilarious and that just got amplified by the atmosphere!

2:30 PM: We get to the parking lot of Stellar Theater right as the DVD is ending. To be honest, I was starting to feel a strange sense of nervousness by now, mostly because I knew the end of the bus tour was coming.

Nevertheless, we all line up to go in just the way we would any other concert. I get to my seat that I drew the day before, and lo and behold, it really was SUPER close to the stage! I was all the way in the left-most block, but 4th row from the front. Each row was also a significant step, so even though there was a tall guy diagonally in front, I could easily see over him! I gear up with all my glowing orange gear, but had to leave my jacket on for once, since the venue wasn’t fully closed and it was cold outside.

I won’t get into the concert itself too much as there were too many emotions that I can’t put into words here. It wouldn’t do the experience justice if I were to try to describe it, so I’d just suggest buying the FC DVD of the bus tour when it comes out!

To sum it up simply though:

  • The setlist was meaningful and nostalgic.
  • 5 fans gave surprise messages to Kudo.
  • I almost won a special tote bag, but my janken powers were not strong enough in the end.
  • All the members were in tears. All of the audience were in tears.
  • They put together a slideshow of everything that’s happened in the bus tour so far.
  • Maachan’s comment in her MC made me cry.
  • More great song selections.
  • More tears.

After the concert, I barely had a voice left. I have no recollection of screaming, but I could barely even get anything out to the members in the handshake after the live. My eyes and nose were still super red by the time for handshakes, but I figured pretty much everyone would be in the same condition as me anyways.

S: Thanks! It was all really fun!
Iikubo: I’m glad! I had a lot of fun too!

Ishida -still crying-
S: Ahh, don’t cry!
Ishida: I can’t help it!
S: You’re gonna make me start up again too!! Haha

S: What you said in your MC…
Sato -leans in- Huh?
S: About your voices…
Sato -leans in more- ??
S: Oh nevermind, haha. Thanks!!
Sato: ??

S: Thanks. It was a lot of fun. I’ll see you again the day after tomorrow.
Kudo: Okay, see you!
Kudo -stares at my face-
Kudo: Ahaha! You cried so much!!!

Jerk oshimen. Haha.

On my way out, I hear someone say thanks to me and look up to see Keita! I was gonna say thanks myself, but my voice wouldn’t come out, and I was too much of an emotional mess to speak to anyone else.

Outside, I ran into a couple more people I know, but still wasn’t in any condition to socialize so I made my way back to the bus. (It was also seriously freezing outside)

Eventually, all the handshakes ended and everyone got back in their busses, ready to start heading back. Shortly after we boarded, our bus guide came to hand out the 5 shots we had taken yesterday! We laughed over it and compared how we goofed off in our pictures before the busses started moving.

It didn’t take long before we started getting word on Twitter about the busses heading towards Fuji-Q Highland again though!!

Once we got to the parking lot again, we opened the windows and looked out to see the busses in front of us stopping, with 4 fuzzy white figures standing in between them waving! The girls were going to wish us off one more time before the bus tour ended! Once again, we leaned out the windows and waved at them as everyone said thank you, then the busses turned and went by them on the right side so that everyone could wave at them. As we passed by them one last time, we wished them goodbye with a bus full of “10ki SAIKOU!” cheers, lit up inside with everyone’s kingblades.

After that was a semi-quiet ride back to Tokyo, with everyone reflecting on everything that happened in those two days. For me, it was truly an experience I won’t forget, one that made me a bit teary just writing the bullet points for the live, and I can’t wait to get the DVD for the tour when it’s released.

Those two days were possibly two of the best in my life so far. Between the members, the oshimen, and my friends, everything was such amazing fun.

11/10

7 AM: I spent the night at my friend’s place again but she had school in the morning, so we both got ready early and bid each other goodbye before going back to our own schedules. I seriously could not get my voice out this day, so my one and only plan was to rest and shut up as much as possible.

8 AM: I got caught in the morning rush again as I headed back to Tokyo from Yokohama. Since my next airbnb wouldn’t accept check-ins until 6 PM, I found an internet cafe and crashed there for the day instead. Luckily, they had a flat booth open so I could sleep. And also take advantage of their free drinks to stay hydrated as much as possible. I was pretty miserable this entire day though.

6 PM: I could finally check into my next place in Yoyogi. Mental note, never pick a place that has both a late check-in and an early check-out again. That really annoyed me.

After that, I went to pick up my luggage that I had left with Michael, since a certain president being in the country rendered all the coin lockers and luggage storages unusable. He really saved me a lot of trouble by keeping that for me while I was on the bus tour.

11/11

This would be my final single box event, which also meant my final day of solo handshakes with Duu.

In the morning, I had 3 chekis:

Ishida: I’m the sous chef, she’s the head chef.

Kudo: Air hug. It was our last cheki together, so I went with something simple but dear to me.

Oda: Her latest photobook’s cover, haha.

My voice was still horribly raspy, but at least it was coming out, unlike the day before. It did make for some funny interactions with the members though.

S「I like Haruchan so much that I made my voice sound like yours!!」
Kudo「That’s totally a lie! Haha」
S「Hahaha」
Kudo「Hurry up and get better」
S「Yeah, I want to」
Kudo 「Take care *hand squeeze*」

S「So what do you think I screamed at the top of Red Tower?」
Kudo「hmm…everything」
S「Nope, I didn’t say everything」
Kudo「Voice」
S「Oh, that’s one! I said about 4」
Kudo「Ooohhh, and then…face?」
S「Correct! Yep, I like your face」

S「Try and guess one more」
Kudo「Hmm…face, voice…snaggle tooth?」
S -shakes head-
Kudo「Ehhh, What is it?」
S「It’s the very first one I screamed」
【time】
Kudo「What was it???」
S「Kindness」
Kudo「Ehh! I mean, that’s n-@&);@-」*rubbing goosebumps on arms motion*

Ironic considering that she sent us up there to scream for no reason, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!!!

There were also some touching moments during the last round of handshakes, but I’ll be keeping those to myself!

I am very glad to have been able to go to these events as much as I have though. Especially in the past year, I feel like it’s the solo handshakes that have allowed me to get more comfortable around Duu and to be able to talk to her so casually. They’re a tiring day of work for the idols themselves, but if you play your cards right, these can really be some of the best experiences you get with your oshimen.

Who says you can’t interact with and get remembered by major or popular idols? That’s a load of bull if you ask me.

11/12

This was the first day of serial events for Morning Musume’s newest single release. It was also the first time I’ve been to these types of events, so I was definitely learning on the fly here.

When it comes to serial events, you have a serial ticket that comes in the CD, and an email if you won the raffle with that ticket. When you show the staff at the door both of those things, you get let in and then handed a ticket with a random seat. It’s incredibly hard to read or guess where the seats will be, so your best bet is to go with friends and draw from a pool all together.

There were 3 shows of the events this day at TFT Hall in Odaiba, but they were a bit longer than usual as there were no handshakes this time. The events comprised of a short talk/quiz corner and a short live corner. Because the stage was fairly small, for Dokyuu no GO! Sign, the dance team members actually came into the audience and danced in the aisles! For the first show, I was in the left side 7th row. Not bad considering there were about 30 rows in total, with the flooring being all flat. I was able to meet Ayumi’s eyes as she was on the stage and grinned at her enough to make her smile…in the middle of Jama Shinaide Here We Go. Not exactly a smiley song, oops.

When they came down into the aisles for the first time though, it took an extra second before I even noticed them there! But when I looked again, there was Ayumi just dancing away a few people in front of me! She waved at us all again before they ran back on the stage for the rest of the song.

For the 2nd show, I was in the 6th row, but all the way on the right this time. When the members started running into the aisles, I was wondering where Duu would be, since she’s one of the dance members. Apparently she was further back, but Morito Chisaki was pretty much right in front of me this time!

Finally in the 3rd show, I pinned down the area where Duu goes. But so did all the other Kudo wota. The side areas around row 18 were suspiciously orange! I pretty much drew the same seat that I had in the previous show, but luckily noticed an acquaintance in the aisle seat of the 20th row! I asked if he would be willing to switch with me, which really isn’t a bad deal at all if you’re not a Kudo wota, since my seat was so much closer to the stage. He said okay, and we switched before the show started. Of course, when it came time for Dokyuu, Kudo ran and stopped right in front of row 18, just about 2 people away from me! The orange army on the sides were all super hyped, as she pumped us all up! The 20th row was actually so far back that I couldn’t really see anything the rest of the live corner, but it was well worth it to me. (The talk corner is seated, so that was fine) At the end, the members all came into the aisles and I was able to properly wave bye to Duu before my trip ended.

11/13

10 AM: Packing up and getting ready to check out of the airbnb. Like I said earlier, this was a ridiculously early check out time for a place with such a late check in. After that, I made my way to the Shinjuku bus terminal to store my luggage and buy a bus ticket for later.

11 AM: I made my way to Akihabara as I was looking for scattered nendoroid parts, but had no time to do so in my trip because of the damned cold I had. Spent a few hours in Akiba but couldn’t find anything I wanted. By then, it was time to get lunch and head back to Shinjuku. I was getting better by then but wasn’t sure how much so I tested my taste buds by having gyu-tan, something I normally love.

…Well, luckily the charm of gyu-tan is mostly in the bite of the cut. I could taste some semblance of saltiness though.

2 PM: Arrive at Shinjuku bus terminal and catch my bus to Haneda airport. My first trip of 3 weeks had finally ended, but I would be back before I knew it, so it was a bizarre feeling.

I had a ton of fun in this trip, even more than usual! But in return, I lost my taste buds I guess.

But if you ask me, it was definitely worth it.

Of course, not getting sick at all would be the best option though.