Berryz Koubou at Sakura-con: The First Day- In which I develop selective blindness for everyone that isn’t Risako, and cry

So you may have been wondering where my nightly coverage of Sakura-con was. Well, on the first night of the convention, I sat down and began recounting the day, putting down every. Single. Minute. Detail. After writing 2,000 words on just the first half of the first day, I balked. I’m sure very few of you actually want to read about what I ate for breakfast before going to BK’s Q&A session (nothing, for the curious). So I left the post to sit, and have only today felt able to come back to it.

I’ve decided to change my tactics a bit and spare you all from reading through (or skipping over) my detailed fangirl gushing. I’ve scrapped the original version of my post and re-typed it. This version will be slimmed down and broken into more parts- Days 1-3 will focus ONLY on my interactions with Berryz Kouboou, with final wrap-up post to catch the important non-Berryz moments, including reflections on meeting other fans and Japanese wota. As an aside, I did not take many pictures during the conventions, so I won’t be including many in my posts. Hello! Sayunii has some of the best photos and videos collected conveniently, so if you haven’t already, please go there.

For now, here’s Day 1.

The First Day- In which I develop selective blindness for everyone that isn’t Risako, and cry 

Events: Opening ceremonies, Q&A, signing, guest reception

I went into my first day of Sakura-con without expectations. I wanted to see the girls, and that was all. All of my energy, my focus, was on that one thought: To see them at long last. I chose not to go to the opening ceremonies, so the first time I laid eyes on Berryz was at the Q&A. When they came out, the feeling was surreal. Risako was the first one out, and for a long moment she was all that I could see. Even as the other girls came out, I could only see Rii. She was simply stunning, in the most literal sense of the word. Everything about her seemed so solid, and yet my overall impression was that she was somehow doll-like, somehow delicate. The sight of her was overwhelming, and I immediately started to cry.*

Now if you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know that Risako has almost always been my least favorite member of the group, though in recent months my opinion of her has improved. I think that it might have been good that I could only focus on Risako at first; because my feelings for her (at that point) weren’t particularly strong, seeing her was probably not as mind-obliterating as seeing the girls that I really adored might have been. Seeing Risako let me ease into the shock. Imagine if Saki had come out first- I probably would’ve hyperventilated in my chair!

The rest of the girls must have come out when Risako did, but I could only focus on them once they were all seated. For the remainder of the session I spent my time staring from one girl to the next. Momoko seemed reserved, possibly a little bit sick (she constantly sniffled and coughed). Miyabi and Chinami both had oodles of energy, and Maasa and Risako seemed spaced out. Saki, my dear favorite member, seemed nervous.

For me personally, the two best moments of the Q&A were being able to speak to the girls (the interpreter chose me as the first person to explain how I’d discovered BK!), and watching Saki misinterpret a fan’s question and do an impromptu bit of hip-hop dancing. So cool, and so adorable!

I was planning on attending the signing on the last day of the convention, so my next Berryz encounter occurred that evening at the guest reception. I was lucky enough to be standing not three feet from where Berryz were gathered, waiting to go onstage and introduce themselves. They all looked somewhat nervous (but SO beautiful, of course!), and Maasa still looked spaced out, so I called out to her, “Maasa, genki desu ka?” The look of confusion that crossed over her face was too funny, but she rallied quickly and gave a forceful “genki!” in response. The girls then went onstage, and I moved until I was once again near them. I was across from Risako and Miyabi, and both of them were so sweet and friendly, waving and smiling at everyone. I caught their eyes more then once, especially Risako,  who again looked gorgeous. The first time I met eyes with Miyabi, I was so touched: She was already smiling fit to break, but on catching the eyes of a fan, she managed to smile even harder, making sure I knew that she was smiling at me. That one little moment improved my impression of Miya a thousand times.

The BK bit of the guest reception was brief, but it was the closest I had come to the girls so far, and it brought me to tears once again.

The main take-away from the first day was the simple fact of the Berryz girls’ physical presence. Seeing the girls, whom I’d only ever seen before on tiny video screens, brought home the adoration-from-afar that I’d been cultivating for years up until that point. Seeing Risako walk out in real life during the Q&A session felt like the beginning of a personal paradigm shift. As the second and third days of the convention commenced, that shift became more and more evident.

*Let it be known that I cry easily, especially when I’m happy or overwhelmed. I just can’t stop the tears, and I have no desire to, either… which is lucky, because I ended up crying a lot of happy tears at Sakura-con!

Up Next: Day Two- In which I learn wotagei and cry some more


17 Responses to Berryz Koubou at Sakura-con: The First Day- In which I develop selective blindness for everyone that isn’t Risako, and cry

  1. isilwentari says:

    First comment-?

    ❤ I cannot even imagine seeing any of my favourites in person, so I totally understand being in tears. XD sounds pretty awesome so far! Can't wait to read more!

  2. solo-kun says:

    I’ve been looking forward to reading your reports of Sakura-con. Hooray for happy tears 🙂 Your connection with Risako is most amusing, haha.

    • Rebecca says:

      Thank you very much!

      It really is interesting- I’ve been thinking a lot about a comment that you made, that the group has a certain energy to them. You were talking specifically about them when they were performing, but I think that energy comes through in everything they do. It’s amazing!

  3. turbos86 says:

    Wait, I didn’t see you cry all weekend =P

    • Rebecca says:

      😛 I can’t tell if you’re joking or not- I pretty much cried every time I came into contact with the girls… and when buying merchandise… and when meeting new friends…XD

  4. mozenator says:

    Have been looking forward to your post on the trip, as I’m very curious to know your feelings about your own personal experiences there.

    You do what you want of course, it’s your blog, but I don’t have any problem reading what you had for lunch, etc…it’s all how you relate to us, the reader, and experience what you did. I think it’s all interesting…

    Oh and I cry too. Mainly, ONLY when I’m happy and moved with pure joy, although, at these events I find I am too overwhelmed to do so. Perhaps something inside puts a bit of a wall up so I can actually function. It never hits home until I am actually…home! lol

    • Rebecca says:

      Thank you!

      I’ve been given similar advice before, and for a while I did experiment with just posting whatever the heck I wanted. However, those posts always made me feel somewhat uncomfortable. I generally like the balance I’ve struck with my blog between personal opinions and more structured reflections.

      Haha, that’s probably a useful life skill to develop. >.> Despite years of training (read: yelling) at my karate dojo, I’ve just never been able to stop myself from crying.

    • Rebecca says:

      Pssst, people have been enjoying your expression in this picture:

      • mozenator says:

        oh God that is embarrassing. I am crying right now as I type this! jk!

        Honestly, that is me in the moment of being completely thrown and surprised by my admiration for you and trying to be cool about it! lol Next time I see you I will just openly weep.

        Thanks alot Takeo Rey!! hey, there’s a video of you (takeo rey) in my hotel room divulging some personal secrets…perhaps SacredCultivator can help a brother out with a little blackmail??? heh heh heh

  5. […] Berryz Koubou at Sakura-con: The First Day- In which I develop selective blindness for everyone that… – Aoi Usagi Our own Aoi desrcibes the vale of tears that is Sakura-con and Berryz. […]

  6. SakuraTheShadow says:

    Did you really cry? O_O ahh.. ^^ Did the girls see you cry? Ahh… I’m glad to see Berryz were able to get some fans too. I thought that was only Morning Musume. .__.

    • Rebecca says:

      Haha, I most certainly did cry! And I actually didn’t cry in front of them until I got to Saki during the signing line.

      They had tons of fans! It was great.

  7. SakuraTheShadow says:

    I was like literately on the moment going to cry after Miyabi waved at me during the first autograph session. It wasn’t just a wave it was like she like right at me, smiled(ohmygosh… ;__;) and waved like 2 or 3 times. ;__; Then I got to Saki calmed down. XD XD But my friend says my eyes got teary! And I had a huge lump in my throat and my mouth was like moving.. XD

    I can’t believe how pretty they are in person up close. I saw Erina Mano last year in LA(Not up close though and thought she just looked the same in person..) but that’s because I wasn’t a foot away from her!

    What did Saki say when you got to her and started cry? ^^ Did she say anything?

    • Rebecca says:

      Awww. Miyabi was really friendly the entire time, wasn’t she? I was so touched. She just seemed really excited to be there.

      It’s probably goo that you didn’t get too close to Mano. I’ve been researching her for a while, and I’m convinced that she might have eaten you. 😉

      Saki was SO sweet and gentle and encouraging. She started tearing up too. I’ll talk about that more in my last post on the convention, though!

  8. SakuraTheShadow says:

    Yeah, Miyabi IMO was for sure the most interactive but Chinami seemed like she was 110% into the trip.

    ahahah. XD

    Yeah, Saki has always been really adorable and I loved how she looked up at me during the autograph session. ❤

    I can't wait to read more!!

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