Lovelys!!!!

adventures

I’m in Japan!

An overall travel blog will probably happen after I get home, but I wanted to write about Sunday while it was fresh in my mind.

A few months ago I stumbled upon Up Front Agency’s Kansai branch. I knew they existed, but after SI☆NA disbanded I hadn’t heard anything about other groups. Ten years ago, when I came to Japan for the first time, it was for a study abroad program in Kyoto, so the Kansai area has always had a special place in my heart. If Hello!Project, my first female idol loves and a group similarly dear to my heart, were going to have a Kansai relative, I had to know about it. It turns out Lovelys!!!! are the new representatives of UFA in Kansai, and it’s really a shame more people don’t know about them because they’re fantastic.

Up Front Kansai currently has 4 active idols – Miyazaki Rio, Yagi Saki, and Yes Happy! (Sayaka and Kokoro). These girls do individual activities but also come together to form Lovelys!!! The group has a full length album out called “Hello! girls!! -Maido Lovelys!!!! desse-” (if you can’t tell yet, UFK really likes exclamation points), which includes solos for Rio and Saki and duets for Yes Happy.

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L-R: Rio, Sayaka, Kokoro, Saki

Their activities are largely restricted to the Kansai region, but after several years of successful Hello! Project Tribute Lives they were finally able to perform the show in Tokyo this year.

Lovelys!!!! is made up of girls who are all Hello! Project fans themselves, so each year they hold a concert packed full of their favorite H!P songs.

While I would have loved to have seen them on their home turf during my Osaka visit this year, unfortunately the timing didn’t work out – I did, however, get lucky and manage to catch them for the Tokyo Tribute Live.

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The concert was held at a small live house in Shinjuku, which made for an intimate atmosphere and a really great view even though we stuck to the back to avoid some of the over enthusiastic jumping in the front. The girls came out in sparkly outfits in their respective member colors and the wrist bands of their H!P oshi members and started right away with a set list jam-packed with high energy songs.

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Mikan
Darling I Love You
Oujisama to Yuki no Yoru
Wakatteiru no ni Gomen ne
Girls Power Aisuru Power
Watashi no Miryoku ni Kizukanai Dokan na Hito (Saki solo)
Romantic Ukare Mode (Rio Solo)
Special Medley (Special Generation, Genkimono de Ikou, Tokaikko Junjou, Tsukiatteru no ni Kataomoi, Ijiwaru Shinaide Dakishimete yo)
JUICY HE@RT
Onegai Miwaku no Targer
Watarasebashi (Kokoro Solo)
Haru Beautiful Everyday (Sayaka Solo)

After Sayaka’s solo the girls came back out wearing their favorite member t-shirts – Sayaka in Kamei Eri’s, Kokoro in Michishige Sayumi’s, Rio in Okai Chisato’s, and Saki in Kudou Haruka’s. Because the show was so packed full of songs there was very little room for MCing, but when they did take a breath and talk a bit it was always about their love for the songs, their excitement in watching/hearing the crowd dancing and shouting instead of being the audience themselves, and of course the joy of getting to sing their oshi member’s parts.

Guru Guru JUMP
Dance de BAKOON
cha cha SING
Icchoume Rock
Kimagure Princess
Taiki Bansei
Bokura no Kagayaki
Suki-chan

Shiroi Tokyo
Namidacchi
Ichiban Daiji na Koto

Namidacchi always gets me teared up to begin with, but the girls were so moved (probably thinking about Eri/Jun/Lin but also) by the success of their first Tokyo live that they cried throughout the song too.

If you don’t recognize that last song title, it’s because that’s one of Lovelys!!!! original songs.

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If you squint really hard, you can see Katie and I in the back.

A few hours after the concert a free event was held at the Akihabara Hello! Project store, so I couldn’t resist going. The girls talked all about their favorite songs to sing and played back footage from the concert, going over the highlights. Though we ended up with seats somewhere around the middle the event space is very small so we could see very well again… and apparently they saw us just fine too.

Kokoro called out to us, saying she saw for the first time ever foreigners in the audience. She asked where we had come from and Sayaka asked if I had flown all the way to Japan to see Lovelys (NO BUT-). I had expected them to notice us and wave, but not directly speak to us! Saki told the other girls she hopes Lovelys can perform abroad someday, and she turned back to me to ask me to come if they ever did.

In between talk portions they performed four of their own songs – Ichiban Daiji na Koto, Superman, OH YEAH, and Anniversary (lyrics by Sayaka). Even in a small setting they were just as enthusiastic as in the live house – Kokoro in particular caught my attention because she kept grinning so widely her eyes disappeared. I made eye contact with all four throughout the mini live, and they always seemed excited that I was singing along. I could tell they made eye contact with a lot of the crowd, which I really enjoyed seeing. I love groups that truly appreciate their fans.

After the main event the girls set up a booth to sell photographs and CDs. Though I hunted down their available CDs online when I first discovered the group I couldn’t resist buying a copy of their album again to get it signed. Since the crowd was relatively small, the girls took their time talking to everyone. The line started with Rio, who excitedly thanked me for coming and immediately hit me with a barrage of compliments – mainly on my hair. When I told her I had been inspired by Risako to dye it purple-blonde, she exclaimed “Yappari!” (I thought so!). She’s a Risako fan in addition to Chisato, so she seemed extra pleased. Saki was next, and she also commented my hair. Though I went in with Saki as my least favorite member (her higher pitched voice is a bit much for me), by the time I left I loved her as much as the others. Her personality reminds me very much of Kamei Eri – light, airy, a bit silly, and totally sweet.

The next was Kokoro, who apologized for calling us out in the audience. No apologies needed! It might be embarrassing to have everyone look at you, but who cares when your idols are speaking to you from the stage. Finally I came to Sayaka, my favorite member. Kokoro and Sayaka are close to my own age, and watching them on stage singing the songs of their favorite groups is especially touching. Sayaka immediately asked if I had followed her on Instagram, and when I said yes she excitedly told me she’d seen my comments. What a sweetheart! As I was waving goodbye, she reached out and clasped my hand one last time.

I know the personal experience might seem like their biggest appeal, but these girls really are talented and have some great songs. You can listen to many of them on their Youtube channel, which also has rehearsal footage and vlogs from Rio. All of the girls have blogs, twitter, and most are on Instagram. If it will get more people to appreciate how funny, charming, and talented these girls are, maybe I’ll start translating their social media!

With love and crescent beams

New Start

blabbage

It’s been over a year since my last post.

I have two major problems that keep me from blogging: forgetfulness and perfectionism.

The first I think happens to everyone – we have an idea for a post, we get busy, we forget all about it.

The second is a bit more complicated. You would think a perfectionist would always be getting shit done and it would always be amazing. The problem is as perfectionists we tend to hold ourselves back. We don’t do things for fear of them not being good enough. We convince ourselves that there are flaws that will ruin whatever it is we’re trying to do and just never finish it. Maybe we leave it in limbo forever, maybe we trash it entirely.

My writing isn’t good enough. My content isn’t interesting enough. My pictures aren’t as good as the ones on other blogs. No one will read this anyway.

At a certain point we have to remind ourselves: Who gives a shit?

I’m not writing this blog to be internet famous. I’m not planning a side career in sponsorships and ad revenue. Actually trying, actually finishing something however imperfect, is worth much more than doing nothing out of fear it won’t measure up to some impossible standard.

So I’m going to give this another go. I’ve updated the blog name – my social media accounts now roughly all have the same name to keep things simple. I have an adorable new banner graphic drawn by the amazing Champasaurus! If anything, I can’t let her adorable art go to waste.

Things I’d like to post about:
– Cosplay projects (when I have time/funds to do them again ;_;)
– Travel!
– Reviews (products/movies/tv/books)
– DIY/House projects

That last one is probably the direction the next post will go in. A lot has happened in a year!

With love and crescent beams

Small Press Expo

adventures

Yesterday I went to Small Press Expo with my friend Brit and had one of the most perfect days I’ve experienced in a long time.

I’m sad to say I hadn’t heard of SPX until this year, and it’s only an hour away from home! SPX is “an annual festival for independent artists, writers, and publishers of comic art.” Though unfortunately we didn’t make it to any of the panels, the exhibitor room was overwhelming enough. The artist ally is always my favorite place to shop at any anime or comic convention, but this was on a different level. The hall was packed with hundreds of incredibly talented artists representing just about every medium and style you can imagine.

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Incidentally, I found out about this event in my own backyard because one of my favorite people, ALB, came all the way from Canada to be there. ALB is a huge inspiration and role model to me – she’s a strong woman who shows that feminine is not anti-feminist, bravely talks about depression, has amazing personal style, stands up for important social issues, all while remaining incredibly down to earth and relatable. Did I mention she’s also an amazing artist?

Needless to say I was super nervous to meet her, but it turns out there was no reason to be. She was so sweet, friendly, generous with her time, and just all around a super cool lady.

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After giving her a small gift I put together, I picked up a copy of her comic Flight (which you can also read online here). It’s a short piece about living far away from your loved ones. The sentiment is very dear to my heart since I live an ocean apart from my two best friends.

ALB was tabling with Lauren Moran which led to me discovering another Catwoman fan and (yet another) super talented artist. We talked about dressing up as Catwoman for Halloween and I picked up a super sexy Catwoman print that I can’t wait to find a place for.

As we wandered around the room for hours trying to see everything we possibly could we met so many fantastic people. I feel like I keep using the same adjectives over and over, but I really don’t have any other words for the experience. Every artist was so friendly and eager to talk about their work and mutual excitement over fandoms and art. I wish I could have photographed the other visitors too, because we were constantly going “Look at her dress!” “I love his shirt!” “Omg that bag!” Even the older ladies were so stylish! I can only hope when I’m that age I have gorgeously styled grey hair and a robot dress.

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Brit and I managed to pull of a “light and dark” pair look without even planning it. We received tons of sweet compliments and my Sailor Venus tote especially was a big hit. Thank you so much Petit for gifting it to me! For everyone asking, you can support the artist who designed the print here.

Just before the event ended for the day I made one last stop by ALB’s table because I just had to have her Sailor Moon print (I mean obviously, duh). She was sweet enough to talk with us again and her boyfriend kindly took another photo for us.

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Wholly satisfied, Brit and I stopped by Paladar for delicious sweet potato tacos and then hauled our sore-but-happy-asses home. I can’t wait to go again next year!

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With love and crescent beams

Finally?

hello there

I’m finally? making this blog happen.

I tried starting a blog once before but my ever pervasive laziness took over and then just as I was feeling inspired again… my server got hacked and all my files were corrupted. Did I have a back up? OF COURSE NOT.

So I’m giving this another try. Things have changed. I’m putting more energy into creative projects, I’m feeling more drive to connect with people about the things I love.

That’s what I want this blog to be about – what I’m working on and what I love. That may result in it being a little all over the place in terms of theme, but that’s okay. I’m not looking to be blog famous. I’m looking to keep track of what’s going on with me, to watch my own progress, and to voice my intense feelings about Star Trek, Mary McDonnell, and how delicious chickpeas are outside of my head.

If that sounds like your jam then hi! Welcome.

With love and crescent beams