So on Wednesday the 30th June I set off on the train to London to catch a coach to Paris with Hexi, InsaneLampshade and ptom. We arrived in Paris at about 6:30 on the morning of July 1st. We then spent a good while wandering around Charles de Gaulle Airport looking for the free shuttle to our hotel (or at least for someone to point us in the right direction. Two people independently pointing us in the same direction would have been a start at least). So we gave up and took a taxi instead. At least we attempted to. Taxi drivers and the whole taxi system seem a little complex in Paris. First of all the driver walked off with our hotel address and started talking to other drivers. We have no idea what they were saying but “how much should we rip these deperate Brits off for?” may have been involved. Anyway we finally got to the hotel only to find that they couldn’t book us in until 12 and there’s nowhere to leave our bags. Luckily CDevil had arrived a day earlier and the rooms had key codes so he texted the code and we dumped our stuff in his room and attempted to get a taxi to the Champs Elysee to meet up with him (he’d camped out all night to get a place in the first Momusu signing session at FNAC). The hotel we were staying in was one of many in one little strip in the middle of nowhere. Handy for both the airport and Expo though. Even so it was such a hassle getting a hotel to book us a taxi that at one stage it looked like we’d have to go all the way back to the airport using the free shuttle and then get a taxi to Champs Elysee. Luckily eventually a hotel receptionist spent about seven million hours on the phone to one company and got a taxi for us.
The taxi ride to Champs Elysee was interesting to say the least. Not least because I’d had no sleep since the previous morning, no food, had a hangover from drinking on the coach and the heat was quite stifling. Add to that the fact the fact that the French have a gloriously suicidal disregard for road safety (they don’t actually seem to have a traffic system, it’s more a ‘see a space take it fast before someone else does. Oh no too late that biker you only just missed had got there first. Mind that car! Shit! That was close. Roundabout. Stall the car on the roundabout. Mind the police woman. Ooh…nearly hit her. Never mind. Better luck next time’ type of system. All motorbike riders drive with their hazard lights on. I can only presume it’s because they drive so crazily that they are expecting to crash at any minute and so need them on anyway. The journey also took ages being rush hour. Anyway we eventually arrived at the signing queue and joined at the back. Except ptom and Hexi went off for food and by the time they came back the line stewards had arrived and decided nobody else could join. Despite the help of two really helpful French women in front of us in the queue the stewards refused to let them in so Lampshade swapped places with Hexi so she had a chance of getting an autograph.
This next paragraph is under review with Morningtime’s lawyers and is now banned from publication under the 50 year rule.
The good thing about the autograph session (both at FNAC and the others at the actual expo) was that they allowed people to watch. So even if you weren’t lucky enough to get an autograph you could still see the members. Plus they were waving and responding to calls from the crowd. Mitsui was so enthusiastic at responding that at one stage I thought she was having a fit. Seeing the members in the flesh is just so surreal. I have watched these people for the past three years (ever since I became a fan). I never thought it would go beyond watching on a laptop or tv screen. Seeing them actually there in front of you is almost too hard to comprehend. It certainly feels to hard to explain properly. Stunned glee is about the best I can manage. I really wish I’d taken some photos on the first day but I’d left my (not very good) camera in my bag back in CDevil’s cloakroom.
After the FNAC signing session we took a train to the Expo to try our luck at the lottery signing system. We then headed back to our rooms for showers and water before heading out for something to eat. I’d like to say one of the more unlikely highlights of my weekend is sitting in the hotel room watching the French version of Wheel of Fortune. The main influences on the French version seem to be Eurotrash and The Jay Leno Show (there’s an incredibly camp host who has a dog with him, a blonde woman with huge bazookas who looks like that Lola explodingtitsa and then there’s the house band. Yes that’s right. The house band. The Wheel of Fortune has a house band). It would have been interesting had one of the influences of the French version of Wheel of Fortune actually been Wheel of Fortune but no. As far as I can tell the host chats a bit, everyone dances, a wheel is spun every now and then, nobody gets any money then suddenly two of the three contestants walk off and the third is the winner (maybe the other two got bored? Hey maybe it’s other influence is that Japanese game show Endurance that Clive James used to love showing clips from. Maybe the winner is the one who doesn’t get embarrassed or bored to death before the other two?)
Anyway the highlight of day one is I got Momusu’s autographs…
I didn’t realise until I got home that Mitsui had come off all over the back of Reina. Hmm…I’d have thought Junjun was the more likely to do that sort of thing. O-o Anyway seeing them in the flesh and actually speaking to them was beyond description. I could probably only describe it in some kind of energetic visual mime that involves lots of jumping up and down and an aneurysm. There was no handshaking but you could chat to the members briefly. However all my Japanese (well what little I know) deserted me. Everything is such a blur I didn’t even realise they were saying “merci” until I was up to Sayumi.
I was wearing my Ai-chan Nine Smile t-shirt. When I walked up she looked directly at it and gave me a great big smile. She then said “konnichiwa” (as they all did) and took my picture to sign. After saying arigatou to her I was about to move on to Niigaki but had to say “thank you” to Ai-chan in the most heartfelt way. For some reason even though I said “arigatou” to them all I also then said “thank you”. It was like I wanted to point out my Englishness but also say my thanks in the way I was most used to so that I could really get over the gratitude. Anyway it was quite noisy and Ai-chan didn’t quite hear so she went “huh” with a big smile and hand to her ear and I said it again to which she replied “oh you’re welcome”. Englishness got across. So cute. 😀
When it comes to Momusu there are some members whose bigger size photosets I buy. Then the other members I just tend to have their pics through group sets. I really wanted to show my support of my favourite members by getting the bigger sized sets signed. Also the only all members smaller set I have that just has the current line-up (no Koha) is the bunny pics set. I like it but I find that some members looked better on the pics than others. Besides I really wanted some bigger pictures signed by my favourite members. So I picked four bigger pictures of Ai, Sayu, Reina and Junjun and used the smaller bunny set pics for the others. I hoped they didn’t mind signing the smaller pics but when it came to it each member took the bunny pic and went “OHH” in an approving manner or something similar. Niigaki signed hers then Eri. While Eri was looking down signing my picture Sayu was waiting for me so as I looked around and saw her she gave me a great big wave and “konnichiwa” to which I replied with the same. I don’t think I’ve waved as much in my entire life put together as I did in the past four days. After Sayu (who looked so cute) it was time for Reina. This weekend has reminded me just how stylish, unique and sexy she is. She had the patented Reina hair style throughout the four days and looked amazing. After Reina was Mitsui who was very friendly. I will say I’ve warmed to her as a person during the four days, just not as an idol. I still don’t think she should be one but she did come across as very likeable. She is also good at working the crowd. After Mitsui was Junyum. Junjun just looked wow. I spent the most time with her as Hexi was right in front of me getting a picture from Momusu’s calendar signed and Junjun and Linlin were kind of squeezed together at the end. The picture was so big that Linlin was having trouble getting it into a position to sign and Junjun couldn’t sign my pic until Linlin had signed Hexi’s. I just wish I spoke Japanese better so I could have a conversation. Anyway Junjun eventually signed my pic to which I replied with “sugoi” and “arigatou” and “thank you”. Each member also replied with “thank you” when I said it. Waaaah. Finally it was Linlin’s turn. Linlin smiles a lot at the crowd and looks better in person than on pics. Then that was it. I joined the ptom, Lampshade and Hexi in watching the rest of the signing. Hexi was in floods of tears. She’d reckoned she wouldn’t cry this time too. But tears of happiness is the perfect way of illustrating the awesomeness of Momusu so all is good.
I have to say during all the signing sessions Momusu were great at responding to fans calls. Mitsui was hilarious during the FNAC signing. At one stage she made so many different facial expressions in such a short space of time it looked either like she was having a fit or like one of those cartoonish moments where a character has some sort of attack (think Homer Simpson having a heart attack or that Detective in Kaito Reinya when he starts thinking about Reina – the bit where the mouse is doing the movements with him). Anyway it was funny. During the four days I got waves from Linlin, Junjun and Mitsui a lot. Mainly because I was standing over to their part of the stage as that’s where I could get the best views.
After the Expo we met up with Paul Elliott (who comments on the Hello! Blog a lot and who was staying in the same hotel) then we went out seeking food. The restaurant on the first night was quite good. Everything came with French fries for some reason but the grilled chicken was great after a long day.
So to summarise day one. I was tired, hungover, baked in the sun and then I met Momusu. Which makes everything worth it. What’s a two hour train ride (plus 30 minute delay) and a 7 hour coach ride when you get to meet Momusu? It’s nothing. Belly crawling naked over broken glass and landmines would be worth it if there was a chance of meeting Momusu (should you survive). Momusu were truly amazing and it was still only day one.
Meeting them is hard to describe. When you’ve only ever seen them on laptops or tv screens to see them in person is so far beyond awesome that no word has yet been invented that can adequately describe the feeling. Maybe the best word to describe it is “Momusu”. That should be the new benchmark for something that goes beyond heavenly bliss. Meeting Ai-chan (my dream girl) and finding her even more beautiful, cute, sweet and damn lovely in person was just the best thing ever. Then having to meet the other seven members when already on cloud 9 just takes you to some new higher cloud that’s so high up it’s technically in space. BEST. WEEKEND. EVER!
Days two to four will come later. So tired right now.