Tuesday 25th May 2010. A small (tiny) shop called TokyoToys in the heart of Lahndahn Tawahn’s Trocadero Centre. The venue of Hangry & Angry’s (A.K.A. Ishikawa Goddess Rika and Yoshizawa Hitomi) first (and probably only) UK signing. A small but hardy band of unemployed people? wota’s had been waiting since about 1 in the afternoon (apparently). Personally at 1 I was just leaving work and heading to the train station so I can’t comment on those first few hours. However after arriving at Euston just on 4 I managed to my great surprise to catch the correct trains to get me to the Trocadero. I knew once I got there I only had to take some escalators up to the ground floor and I’d find the place.
10 minutes later while walking outdoors in the cool London Breeze I started to wonder if the strange cavernous route I’d gone part way along before giving up on may have actually been the correct way after all (it was). Nevertheless I managed to get back into the Trocadero and ended up on a gantry looking down at Claire’s Accessories shop (a great place to buy really cheap last minute presents for girls. Japanese girls. Japanese girls called Ishikawa Rika and Yoshizawa Hitomi. Apparently). Tokyo Toys was directly opposite and directly opposite Tokyo Toys (and thus directly in front of Claire’s) I recognised Ptom and Hexi standing there with a few other people I’d never seen before (although it turns out one of them is someone I’ve spoken to a lot on Twitter (Aqua) and another one is an Australian friend of hers who would probably get drunk on half a shandy). Great I thought. I’m at my destination.
Ten minutes later I’d managed to navigate down to their level and you know…hung around a bit with them. It’s always strange meeting new people. Especially when they’ve met each other before. Even so I can’t say that was on my mind too much as I’d just spotted a teensy Hangry&Angry poster in the TokyoToys store window. The loitering with intent (I could explain my intent towards Ishikawa but I’ll leave it to your imagination…no it was pervier than that…no pervier than that…is that the perviest you can get? Novice) worked in our favour as in a desperate bid to get us to sod off the guy from Tokyo Toys came out and gave us our wristbands that ensured we’d be in the first 50 at the signing. I can’t remember what time he did this but he wasn’t supposed to until about 6 and I think it was about 5 so general loitering works. With lovely pink wristbands securely attached we then headed off to a pub. A couple of drinks later (one for me as I was driving home from the station that night. One for everyone else as well except the Australian who had about three and was already looking well squiffy. I think at some stage she said that Australians can handle their drink but I reckon about another two and she’d not have been able to handle the glass nevermind the drink. 😛 ) and it was time to head back to the Trocadero.
So at about half six we headed back to Tokyo Toys and formed a nice orderly queue half an hour early right in front of some poor bloke whose sole misfortune in life was to have a cookie stall right next door to Tokyo Toys. After a few minutes someone came out from Tokyo Toys and asked us to move so we did. Some of us moved about 6 steps to just outside Claire’s. The rest moved about 6 steps to just outside Claire’s, shuffled about a little tiny bit and then somehow ended up back outside the cookie place. There’s nothing like a British crowd to snub authority (but in a really quiet way in the hope of not getting noticed). Anyway this general disregard for cookie sellers worked in our favour (again) as we were allowed to queue in the store a good 15 minutes early. To be fair to the poor cookie seller he sold a few. I think there’s one box in a draw at Tokyo Toys now. Oh they don’t know…well actually they might do by now. IT WASN’T ME. I didn’t even have a cookie. What can I say it was one of Yossie’s fans. I think that excludes me and about one other person from the list of suspects then. Not that I’m not a Yossie fan but Rika is the one I’m more into. Anyway after Mary had dumped the cookies the attention drew to the tv screen behind the counter which was blaring out a continuous mix of the pv’s to Top Secret and Kill Me Kiss Me followed by Top Secret and Kill me Kiss Me followed by…you get the gist. Having only watched the pv’s on a 17″ laptop monitor (I know research on size is important to some of those attending the signing) It was good to see them on a proper big screen. I really need to get the Limited Edition box at some stage so I can watch the pv’s on my tv. Anyway enough waffle for suddenly a shout or several came up to the effect that there they are. I’d kind of thought they’d come out the back of the store (presuming the store has a back…it’s small) but no they walked right in the front and took their places behind the counter. Some people managed to get a few pics before being told off and I know Hexi has a great one on her blog. Unfortunately I don’t have any so go here and look now. Also comment as it’s a good blog m’kay?
Have you looked? Right so BLOODY HELL THEY’RE CUTE! They were in full Hangry & Angry costumes (or is it fashion?) and both looked so dainty. Yossie is probably a little bit taller than me if anything (unless she was wearing heels or something) but Ishikawa was so tiny and both are so petite. The feeling was just incredibly surreal. I once got really excited just because Ayaka was in Southport to watch her husband play golf and I work in the nearest city to Southport so to be actually standing in the same shop as the far more amazing (apologies to Ayaka) Ishikawa & Yoshizawa was just…to be honest even now I can’t quite get my head around it. It was just brilliant. Anyway as the queue wound it’s way round the store I got towards the front and decided to buy a t-shirt and some pictures…
One of the two solo Rika pics has a ghost Yossie in the background. I’d actually asked for the Yossie solo set as well but the guy didn’t put them in (I thought it had turned out cheaper than expected).
Anyway after making the purchase suddenly it was my turn to get my item signed. I’d chosen the Sadistic Dance booklet. I wanted something they could both sign and I’d have struggled a bit otherwise. I only have a few pics of Yossie and have loads of Rika’s photobooks so I stuck with something H&A related. Besides which since they couldn’t sign as themselves, they could only sign as Hangry & Angry, it seemed a bit pointless to get a pb signed with the word “Angry”. Personally I think it’s a shame they travelled all that way and couldn’t sign as themselves but you know what? The signature is just the reminder. It’s the actual being in their presence for a few seconds that’s the whole reason to go.
Popular opinion would often state that in person Yossie is the most comfortable with fans and Rika a bit less forward. I’m sure I remember a post somewhere that said that at the Paris gig last year, when there was a cosplay competition on the stage afterwards that they were judging, at one stage someone walked towards their table and Rika looked uncomfortable. Meanwhile after the winners had been announced Yossie had her arm around one. Maybe that didn’t happen. Maybe it’s just anti-Rika propaganda. I don’t know. All I do know is that despite being a huge Rika fan I was prepared for her being a bit…awkward? Or at least uncomfortable. I thought Yossie would shine and Rika wouldn’t quite as much. Come the signing and Yossie (who looks sparkling in person. Pictures, pv’s, tv show appearances just don’t do her justice) took my booklet and signed it passed it to Rika and said “Arigatou” (while I said “thank you” in a way that was in all probability a bit deranged). As soon as Yossie had said Arigatou she looked on towards the next person. Quick as a flash. Minimal eye contact. Still bloody amazing though. Did I mention she sparkles? Anyway then it was onto Rika. The moment she’d walked into the store I almost gasped. The moment she said something in Japanese to one of the organisers there was a chorus of people near me saying how cute she is. She looks cute but her voice is exceptionally cute and light too. To actually hear her speaking in person, no microphones, is just jaw-droppingly mesmerising and totally fucking wonderful thank you very much. But anyway now here she was directly in front of me. It’s hard to marry the image of the woman from the photobooks who looks incredibly hot with the woman standing in front of me who looks incredibly hot but in a really tiny way. I didn’t realise the photobooks were made in the scale of 1:1. Anyway Rika THE GODDESS took my booklet and signed it. Then she looked up and as I said “Thank You” (in a way that looking back was probably incredibly grateful) she said at pretty much the same time “arigatou” (in a way that was wonderful). She smiled as she said it and didn’t seem from memory to stop looking until I’d turned away. What can I say? It was so worth the cost and time to travel down there.
Walking out the store I saw a few of us had already been through and were standing outside Claire’s again. Hexi looked like she had tears in her eyes and to me that is what it’s all about. That emotional bond with the singers. That support and love for them. To actually get to see them in person IN THE UK and not only that but to get their autograph (also as in Hexi’s case to give them a great home-made present) it was just wonderful. The signing only lasted about 40 minutes overall and we were still all outside as they left. Which gave us a good opportunity to applaud them and holler as they left. We totally then DID NOT STALK THEM AT ALL for the next half an hour or so before then heading the pub. I would have loved to have hung around afterwards but I had to be back at Euston by 9 for the last train home (I only made it with five minutes to spare in the end). I didn’t get home until about 10 past midnight and I didn’t even have my internet access on the way back as my phone had decided to go from three quarters charged to off and dead in about 1 second. Even so that was a quick three hours. Firstly the decision to pay £8 extra for first class (last train back on a Tuesday = only person on the carriage for the whole journey is me) was a good one as I hadn’t eaten and a bloke with a trolley was out several times to tempt me with sarnies (sandwiches), fruit, a cake, a cuppa and a drink (I couldn’t try the alcohol due to the drive home from the station so I stuck to coke). So first class for an extra £8 was worth it just for the fact I didn’t starve and yet didn’t have to get out my seat and buy food that was probably that overpriced anyway. But of course the main reason the journey back flew by was that I spent the whole journey in a kind of post IshiYossie orgasmic haze. OMG OMG OH MY TOTALLY FUCKING GOD I MET THEM! I can die happy now. Hopefully not for another 50 years or so mind. I still have to meet Momusu in Paris and there’s still the small matter of the Hangry & Angry gig tomorrow.
Anyway I’m babbling on. It was awesome. Tomorrow I get the train down to Lahndahn again and this time I’m staying the night. So expect me back in my hotel room in a pair of comfy slippers by about 9 (not really). Yeah the signing was just part one. Tomorrow I get to see them actually performing. Not only that but afterwards, thanks to the Hello! Blog competition I along with Hexi (and winners from International Wota and JPH!P) get to ask IshiYossie a question. I’m hoping to be perfectly cool when it’s my turn and not spaz out (yeah…I’ll probably spaz out). Hexi should be interesting to watch when it’s her turn. 😀 If we both get through it without hitting the deck that’ll be the biggest shock result since Tranmere Rovers won the European Cup (shut up IT DID HAPPEN…in my mind once when I was about 6).
I was in the company of two great former idols (still idols? Well they are to me) for a short space of time. It’s probably taken me longer to write this post. I think any post I make about the concert will go something along the lines of “IT. WAS. FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC…I CAME“.
I’m sure there’s stuff I’ve forgotten. I met CDevil briefly and InsaneLampshade and Legion_Zero were there for the signing too. CDevil had an exam so had to come and go quickly but the other two hung around with the rest of us and totally did not stalk IshiYossie at all. None of us would condone such behaviour. Publicly. Possibly. Actually…come on…when else would you get the chance to? You’d have to be some kind of insane wota with morals to pass up such an opportunity.