Day 1 started early. With only 3 hours of sleep I headed to the Washington State Convention center to help a fellow IW member register. Well sort of. She didn’t really need me. =)
So basically I hung around waiting for her to finish. Then I saw the Japanese wota from the baseball game and I knew they were preparing to line up for the merchant booth to get one of the 300 tickets available for autographs.
Those folks mean business as it was only 6 AM when they showed up. I immediately texted my fellow JPH!P bretheren and let them know to get in stat or miss out.
While waiting I met a Berryz fan by the name of Aaron who was lucky enough to be one of the people to meet Berryz at the airport. It was only by coincidence according to him & his story was very cool.
After many hours the JPH!P members trickled in along with folks from Hello! Online, NSK, JPM and other groups. We were deemed a hinderance to traffic and were shuttled to the 6th floor of the building. The room was the same one we got jacked in at the Hangry & Angry panel in 2009.
The faithful who waited it out were shuttled back & forth between the 6th floor & the outside of the exhibitor’s hall until the staff brought out Dave from JapanFiles who laid down the law. We who showed up so damn early were allowed to go in first with all the regular con goers after us.
That seemed fair & after organizing the clusterfuck of a crowd we waited impatiently for the hall to open.
Around noon the doors to the hall opened and we calmly and peacefully made our way to the JapanFiles merchandise booth and in a somewhat orderly fashion lined up for CD’s to get an autograph ticket for Berryz Koubou. Aaron kept the line jumpers from fucking us over by directing the cheaters to the back.
Once those people were taken care of the majority of us who waited so long finally got our autograph tickets that we coveted. Praise Jebus.
Then on to merch where I picked up the special edition Sakura-con photo cards, a couple of normal photo card sets & one of those shiny metallic sets. I also picked up their 7th anniversary photo book and a concert tour booklet.
But the best and most unique thing I got was the Sakura-con Berryz concert t-shirt that has a design that looks like the latest Big Bang album art. I got 2 for myself & 1 for Paul at Hello! Blog.
An hour or so break meant that I had time to go back to my hotel & drop off my con goodies & rest my weary feets. Shortly after that back to the convention center for the Q&A session.
Having a good lay of the land I was able to find the room where the Q&A was held. Unfortunately there was a lot of people there so I had to go to the back of the line. Luckily press were allowed in past the commoners so I was able to get a decent seat.
The Q&A was light and fun It was difficult to hear some people ask their questions. I really wish they had a microphone for these things as it would make my job a lot easier. I wish I could recall it all more clearly but I was too busy taking in the awesomeness that was Berryz.
I have to say that they are very pretty in person. Miyabi is drop dead gorgeous. That is personal bias of course (she is my #1) But hey, the rest of them looked super fine. It’s just that I REALLY like Miya.
Anyway, sorry for not having that many details but whatever. =)
When the Q&A was over it was autograph time. There was some confusion over how many items were allowed to be autographed but that was sorted out fairly quickly. After that I & many others hugged Yaz (one of the group’s managers) in gratitude. (She also said we could hug her since the Berryz girls were off limits)
The autograph session was delayed because the Q&A went long but we knew the group was coming out when Europe’s “The Final Countdown” played on the PA.
They came out in order of oldest to youngest which made the order of photo cards & Build A Bear gifts in order. When my turn came I gave my photo card to each member & took my presents out for each of them where I received a happy set of “Kawaii”‘s, “Ureshii”‘s & “Arigtou”‘s from each member except Risako. But she seemed kind of shy & pretty so it’s all good.
I learned stuff from my past experience it’s to shake the photo cards to dry the ink before moving on to the next member. I was happy to see that my autographs were dry & unscathed.
The guest reception was nice. We had a table right next to the elevators where Berryz Koubou were entering and we got to watch them as they entered the dinner to introduce themselves and then watch them all march right back out. Other than that, it was a decent meal. I didn’t win the draw to meet them after the concert but oh well.
Later on was Hello! Party which started off somewhat iffy with a less than inspiring beginning (was not feeling Beri dance so I left to check out the Nico Nico release party… With an open bar.
After drinking a hella lot we returned to Hello! Party. On the way back we ran into some drunk Japanese dude who was saying “You’re the man!” and “May the force be with you!” Funny stuff. At the party itself the wota were going nuts doing every Berryz dance move. One dude was quite serious business doing the choreography. That was much better than the beginning & although I missed the games portion of the evening (because I was taking advantage of free booze), I believe it was as successful as the games section of Hello! Party 1.
After that, back to the hotel for some much needed recovery time.