In November of 2018, Morning Musume。’18 graced North America with performances on two consecutive weekends. Like many other fans, I took advantage of the chance and attended both the Mexico and New York shows.
However, my travel didn’t stop there. Because my favorite actress also had an event in Japan soon, I was able to round out the month with a(nother) overseas trip.
Nov 10: Mexico City
Concert at El Plaza Condesa
Possibly my favorite trip of the three. What made it so great?
- Plenty of time to explore the city
- I was pretty skeptical about the safety of Mexico City, but since it was my first time there, I made sure to arrive a few days before the concert. Getting to explore places I wouldn’t normally visit is one of my favorite perks of being a wota.
- Tons of time to hang out with friends
- Instead of booking a bunch of separate hotel rooms, my group of friends and I decided to split a huge penthouse Airbnb loft. It was super nice and right across the street from the concert venue.
- By chance, a few groups of my Japanese friends were also staying in the same complex, so we pretty much had the whole place!
- Eating lots of amazing food for really cheap
- I can’t speak for the rest of Mexico City, but Condesa was super nice. All the restaurants we went to were very upscale and professional. I probably had some of the best meals of my life here.
- And all for less than half of what you’d pay for the same quality in the US. Example: 2 appetizers, 1 entree, 2 alcoholic drinks all came out to about $25 USD.
- Not prioritizing the concert line
- One of the most stressful parts of overseas idol appearances is the pressure of lining up for goods and the concert. Screw that.
- Luckily, my group pretty much unanimously agreed that none of us gave a shit about lining up this time. We had VIP so that at least got us within a reasonable distance of the stage, and that was good enough.
- I was very happy that I spent my time in Mexico City exploring and having fun with friends instead of wasting my time in a long miserable line. Sometimes it’s just not worth it.
- The explosive energy during the concert
- I’ve heard about the fervor of H!P fans in Mexico before, but to experience it myself was really a treat! The energy in that venue was insanely high, and despite being near the “back” of VIP, I had an incredible time. Of course, a lot of the energy came from the members on stage, but a substantial part of it came from being able to jam out with my friends and the cool Mexican fans around us.
Takeaway: I’m so glad I didn’t let people scare me out of taking this trip, because it was so worth it.
Nov 16-18: New York City
AnimeNYC & Anisong World Matsuri
After going home to work for a few days, it was time to take off for my next trip to NYC. I had planned to get there on Thursday, the day before AnimeNYC started, but a snow storm was on the way.
Half of me said “Eh, it’s New York, they got this.” The other half of me said “Nope, better safe than sorry.”
Luckily, I listened to the latter half and changed my flight to the earliest one available. That new flight happened to be the very last one that made it into New York City. Everything after it got cancelled and the city that I thought would’ve been very well equipped for snow, turned out to react more like a city down South.
Nevertheless, I luckily made it in on time, because the following events at AnimeNYC turned out to be ones that would’ve been downright painful to miss.
- This interview with Morning Musume
- The slowest signing event I have ever experienced
- In all my years as a fan, I’ve never had so much free time to chat with the members during an event.
- Anytime gaps opened up in line, you could catch the attention of the member there and joke around with them. And even when you’re in front of them, there was no rush at all! Super fun event.
- A legendary concert
- A Morning Musume concert in the US is rare, but a collaboration concert with stars like Shoko Nakagawa, Hiroshi Kitadani, and Hironobu Kageyama is once in a lifetime!
- Even for someone like me who only knew a handful of the other artists’ songs had a lot of fun. For my friends who grew up with some of those anime OPs? It was legendary.
Takeaway: Snow is cool and all but I’m not a big fan of the bitter cold. Especially after the T-shirt weather of Mexico City! But super slow handshakes are the best!
Nov 21-Dec 3: Japan
Lots of events and stuff
Return from Mexico. Work for 1.5 days, take off again. This time for Japan. By this point, I’m honestly getting a bit tired from all the traveling and events, but I’ve never let that stop me before!
- My 2nd contribution to the Morning Musume fan art exhibition: MM。展4
- Kudo Haruka solo calendar handshake event
- I won a signed and personalized calendar!
- I got to talk with my favorite actress again after half a year. (I can’t call her my oshimen anymore if she’s not an idol, right?)
- Kudo Haruka doing a hero show at Theatre G-Rosso
- I wasn’t planning on going to see the special hero show (with the actual cast) at first, but my friend had an extra ticket to offer me.
- It was the first time I got to see Hayami Umika/Lupin Yellow in person, and it filled me with pride to see just how much she enjoyed acting in her role as a super sentai!
- The show itself was also pretty cool! It was like watch a live episode of a sentai show happen right in front of you.
- Hanging out & traveling with friends
- Seeing a Morning Musume concert! But this time in Japan
- I went to see a concert in Mie about 2 weeks after the concert in New York. Despite seeing them live so many times in a month, it was still amazingly fun!
- Best part was that my friend won front row tickets so I got to see the members’ reactions to seeing me there. Definitely got some “What are you doing here again so soon!” faces at the beginning, but also many infectious grins later.
As for why I’m writing this report article roughly 2 months late?
As fun as all 3 trips were, I was seriously so tired by the end of it that I was mentally out of commission until now.
Can’t keep me down for long though!