So I’m writing this kind of late because my flight from Seattle arrived around 1 AM & after finishing the day 2 recap & unpacking all my stuff I was beat. So with a a refreshed mind I can now move on to the last day of the con. So here goes.
Day 3 started kind of early. I had set my alarm for 6:00 so I could finish my previous post but the damn thing never went off & I ended up waking up around 8:00. Having had a crappy start I got ready, packed up all my stuff (double checking to see if I forgot anything) and went back to Ruth Chris’s at the Hyatt for breakfast. I had Corn Beef & Eggs and an Orange Juice, the damage came up to about $20 (excluding tip). I did clean my plate so I guess it was worth it.
After that I went back to my Hotel, checked out & stored my luggage for the day. I filled out a short hotel survey, handed it back to the desk clerk & without realizing it stole his pen. Oh well, they got lots. =) Then off to the convention center for a bit of shopping. I was looking for a couple of movies, the most coveted being Chocolate & Death Note II. I arrived only to find that the vendor area wasn’t open for another 20 minutes (it was 9:40 by the time I was done breakfast & checking out & stuff.) Oh well, another long wait in line, nothing new & pretty much par for the course.
The 20 minutes went by fast & I immediately went looking for DVD’s. I couldn’t find Chocolate or the 2nd Death Note so instead I ended up buying Come Drink With Me, Shaolin Girl and Tokyo Gore Police. I also wanted to get Hula Girls & Ping Pong but wasn’t willing to pay the price for them nor did I really have the room in my backpack for all that.
By the time I was done buying movies I had run into 2 other members of my group & we all went to the official band merchandise booth to pick up more stuff. I had been to this booth every day so the woman running the thing recognized me right away. I ended up completing my photo sets & getting a hold of the the missing plushie key chain I was unable to get a hold of before. I took one of the last 4 so I was pretty happy I ended up completing all the merchandise sets. I also bought a t-shirt to get signed at the autograph session.
Shortly after that we all got a text to meet up outside the conference room for the Hangry & Angry Q&A. More camping out. Remember folks, get your place in line even if it means you’re going to have to wait it out for a few hours. An organized effort is better than scrambling.
The completed birthday card for Yossy.
Photos courtesy of JPHip.
Anyway we all started to meet around 10:40 & slowly everyone started coming together. To pass the time I watched the recent Elder Club concert on my laptop.
Now, this is where things got interesting. Three Japanese fans joined in the viewing. Watching a concert DVD with Japanese fans makes the viewing experience much more fun. They’re singing along, doing the dances & sometimes jumping up & down. Great stuff man. When the Rika segment started there was a huge crowd gathered around the laptop. Charmy love all around, just awesome. Unfortunately my laptop battery failed around 13:15 & I left my charger back at the hotel in my checked luggage. Oh well, it was only 45 minutes until the Q&A so people had to tough it out I guess.
So far everything at the con was very organized, this day was when the wheels fell off so to speak. You see we were all lined up behind the conference room waiting for an official to tell us to go in. We had been told by staff earlier to specifically wait in that area. Well as the time got closer to the actual event people just started walking in to conference room & we were wondering what the hell was going on. Eventually we just did as everyone else & walked in. Our group was separated but we were there.
I took my seat and I could see the moderator and the translator sitting at a table across from me. Next to the moderator was a computer guy. The moderator laid down the law. For this event there will be a photo op when the two ladies enter the room. Once they sit down, put your camera away or feel the iron hammer of UFA’s wrath.
Before the group came out we were treated to what I can call the most epic of fails. The intent was to show the crowd the Kiss Me Kill Me video before introducing the group formally. It looked like it would start OK until the computer guy completely botched the use of the most simple video application ever (VLC media player). I guess hitting the play button was a bit too much for the guy. So instead we got treated to the audio of Kill Me Kiss me after which the computer guy figured out how to use VLC & therefore doubled the audio signal causing a train wreck that even the most forgiving DJ’s would find bad.
After about 5 minutes that was sorted out & the video was played on the big screen in front of us. Well, sort of… It played about just into the second verse of the song & started skipping like mad. It was either a corrupt file or the computer they were using was very weak. After watching the video skip & sputter along they finally gave up. While unintentional, I have to admit that those little clusterfucks were really funny.
So after watching what I guess would have been a smooth introduction (had the “technical difficulties” not occurred) the moderator instead introduced the group. Now if you’ve ever seen paparazzi shooting a celeb then you know what happened next. People whipping out the cameras, flash bulbs going off all over the place. I was lucky I was fairly close & had no tall gigantor motherfucker standing in front of me. My pictures aren’t that clear, but they’re better than nothing.
So as soon as they sat down everyone complied to the rules & put their cameras away. After a short introduction by each member in character (it was so cool to hear them introduce themselves.. Rika has such a sexy voice. Being a fan boy again, sorry.) the Q&A started. Before I go on I would like to say that the last Q&A forum I went to was for the movie director/actor Kevin Smith. On each side of the room & in the middle were microphones where people would queue up & wait to ask their questions.
There was none of that at this Q&A. People were asked to yell out their questions as loud as they could. Uh… Yeah. Some of the people were like way the hell in the back of the room. I was trying to take notes for this session & could barely hear some of the people’s questions unless the moderator repeated the question for the crowd. I caught most of what was asked so what you’re going to see below is complete with the exception of a couple of questions that I had no way of hearing clearly.
1. What musicians or artists do they like?
- Yossy – Michael Jackson, Britney Spears
- Rika – Morning Musume
2. Where do you get your clothes?
- Shibuya, Harajuku
3. You are beautiful, would you be my girlfriend?
- Yossy – …
- Rika – …
4. Some dude asked some question that neither the translator or the crowd understood. No answer.
5. What are the differences between the U.S. and Japanese crowds?
- Yossy – In the U.S. the audience knows how to enjoy themselves individually. Japanese crowds are more choreographed.
- Rika – She noticed that the U.S. crowd had lots of women in the audience (random cheers from the females in the crowd), whereas the Japanese shows are full of just guys.
6. Who is Rika’s favorite techno group?
- Underworld (that’s my kind of woman, she gets more awesome every time!)
7. Yossy was asked about how she had changed during her time in Morning Musume.
- When she first joined she had no set role, but as she became more comfortable her real self slowly started to show (tomboy). As time went by she evolved into a more complete idol.
8. A fan asked Rika how it felt to be the hottest woman in the world.
- Happy? (this was too cute for words)
9. Who are your favorite Japanese rock bands?
- Yossy – Girugamesh
- Both – Sharan Q
10. What is your favorite anime?
- Yossy – Crayon Shinchan
- Rika – Sailor Moon
11. Have you ever been to South America?
- No, but they would like to go.
12. Are they coming back to America? Would they go to Florida?
- Rika – Of course.
13. Their first performance in America was in Washington state, would they have preferred it be somewhere else?
- No, they were very happy performing in Seattle at Sakura Con. (lots of cheers after that answer.)
14. Was their backing band their real touring band?
- No, that band was specifically chosen for the Sakura Con performance only.
15. Is there going to be a Hangry & Angry photo book?
- Not yet, but there will be one soon. (lots of cheers after this too.)
16. Favorite part of the concert?
- Both – When the audience started the Kill Me, Kiss Me chants.
- Yossy – Enjoyed seeing the crowd interact with them.
17. Will we ever see Hangry & Charmy?
- After this was translated Rika did a bit of the Charmy routine with the L finger (awesome!) & went back into character saying “No No No, I’m Angry.” Hearing her speak English was awesome. (Sorry, more fan boying)
18. A question about Gatas that I couldn’t quite catch.
19. What is the future of Hangry & Angry?
- There will be a full length album release, more live shows & possibly a world tour.
20. Have you done any sight seeing in Seattle?
- They visited the Waterfront Grill and enjoyed all the good seafood there.
21. Were they surprised that everyone knew the words to The Peace and Love & Peace and were singing along?
- Yossy – Yes, it was very exciting. Wow, we can’t trick the fans. =)
22. It was stated in an interview that Yossy wanted to see the Space Needle, did she see it yet?
- Did not get to go, but wants to.
23. What were their thoughts & feelings leading up to the concert?
- Yossy – Was hoping that people would like their music.
- Rika – Was calming herself down by writing the character for people on her hand 3 times & hugging Yossy. After that she switched to stage mode. She was so excited during the concert that she woke up with joint pain from all the head banging. (again, too cute.)
24. Do you like bubble tea? Have you tried it?
- Rika – likes it a lot.
- Yossy – prefers coffee.
25. Are there any comments from fans that are your favorite?
- Rika – Was happy that all the fans showed up and enjoyed themselves. (huge cheer afterwards.)
- Yossy – Ditto.
26. Were you surprised at the number of number of fans who do not speak Japanese?
- Yossy – Thought it was great and was grateful to any fans who tried to communicate with them with what little Japanese they knew. She was also excited that they all knew their music.
27. Who would you recruit for Gatas?
- Yossy – Beckham, Ronaldo, etc…
- Rika – No men. (again, really cute.)
- Yossy in response – Good players.
28. What was Yossy’s feeling when everyone sang her happy birthday at the concert?
- She was surprised and very happy to hear that from the fans.
Closing message from the band
- Yossy – Thank for coming and please continue to support us.
- Rika – She was very happy and also asks the fans to support them.
After that was the autograph session that turned into another somewhat disorganized melee. As soon as everyone figured out where they were supposed to line up it got better. I had one last item to get autographed, which was the t-shirt I bought earlier in the morning. One last chance to see Yossy & Charmy up close. When it was my turn I got to say to Yossy “誕生日おめでとう!” (Happy birthday!) which she happily thanked me for. I would just like to point out that Yossy is fucking hot.
Then Charmy signed my t-shirt and I got to see her smile and thanked her for the autograph. Y’all know I dig the Charmy so to me this was just like heaven. She’s so gorgeous up close. Afterwards I stuck around waiting for my group to finish getting their autographs. I was told they went chasing down the UFA camera person to make shout outs to the girls. Funny yet kinda strange. Still, it was funny.
I never really got to ask a question during the Q&A. Actually, what I wanted to ask wasn’t directed towards the band. So you know, being the observant guy I am I searched for one of the translators & convinced her to let me talk to to the UFA officials. I wanted to speak to their A&R & was just looking for a business card or a web site or something. Instead I was instructed to write my information for them & then come back.
After I had gotten all my contact information written down the interpreter took me to the UFA people & told them what I was looking for. They were kind of laughing at me, I’m not sure if it was the request or if they read what was on my shirt, it said “I am looking for a Japanese girlfriend.” It could have been both. In essence I made my case for a job within the UFA family and gave them my contact info. Whether that actually pans out? Well, I’ll be posting here should I ever get a response back from them.
I had been saying that I was going to ask for work all weekend, so I figured I should live up to my word & you know… Actually do it. What the hell eh? They’re there waiting for the session to end, might as well do something to get my foot in the door right? I’ll go through the proper channels anyway just to cover all angles.
Soon everyone came rushing back into the room after doing their shout outs & we patiently waited for the autograph session to end. When Yossy and Rika were leaving we did the Happy pose & said “Ha-ppy!” and then pointed at at Yossy and said “Birthday!” After which she thanked us all & we waved goodbye to them as they made their way to the closing ceremonies.
Now let me tell you something here. This group of 15+ I was part of were probably the most infamous during any of the H&A events. It’s a long story, but we had some fairly recognizable people which made us so easy to pick out of the crowd.
So I’d like to thank all of the JPHip crew, my fellow IW people & all the others who joined us for making this trip a hell of a lot of fun. I really thought I was going to be alone most of the time, so it was a really pleasant surprise to join with a bunch of cool people who share the same passion. Next to Tokyo, this has been the most fun trip I’ve ever had. I can’t wait for Momosu in L.A. That’s going to be nuts.
I had a plane to catch so I couldn’t make the closing ceremonies. I said my goodbyes to all the people I met & left to have a quick lunch & then off to the airport. That my friends was my weekend in Seattle. Again, the most fun I’ve had on a trip in a very long time.
As closing shot, here’s a few pictures of most of the stuff I acquired during my time in Seattle.
These key chains were the most wanted items. The Rika ones sold out very quickly so I was lucky to get one.
As you can see, I went back in the autograph line a lot. Notice how they signed in character. We weren’t allowed to ask them to sign with their real names from what I remember. I’m actually getting the above 4 items framed together & it’s costing me a lot. But it’s totally worth preserving & displaying proudly.
The Sakura Con guide books and the awesome red wristband that got me as close to the action as one could get.
The promotional poster they were giving away with the merchandise. I have 2 of these so I’m not sure what I’m doing with the extra one.
Here’s the promotional poster for Girugamesh. I was going to see their show but kept going back in line for the Hangry & Angry autographs. I believe I made the right choice.
Thanks much for reading, you can view the photo gallery here. I’ll be covering Morning Musume at Anime Expo in July so there’s more shenanigans to come.