My plans for this years Japan Expo were very sketchy, based all around whether my wages cleared or not, unfortunatly they'd be clearing on the Friday of the weekend that the event was taking place. This as you can imagine was a major pain in the backside, not only for me but for CDevil who for pretty much everytime he asked me if I was coming my response was "maybe"... not particularly useful when you're going for the whole weekend and need to book a room (soz about that >_<").
Friday rolled along and after getting up early and driving to the airport at 4 in the morning to drop Chris off for a flight to Germany my plan for the day was to do some work and crash into bed at a reasonable hour to catch up on the 5 hours of sleep I missed that morning... that was until Aqua decided to txt me at 7am saying that we should fly to Paris... this started our minds ticking. The cost of flying and the train was just too much for a day trip at such short notice and Aqua wasn't overly keen on getting the coach over, so that left one option, to drive!
So, with a couple of hours sleep in the evening, I left my house at 11pm to head over to Aqua's and then off to catch our ferry at 3.20am. For those of you that know me, my timing sucks, I'm late for most things, but for this I made sure that I'd be not only on time, but early! Unfortunatly for me I didn't take into consideration the possibilty that I could be stuck in traffic for just over 3 hours <_< SERIOUSLY who drives that late on a Friday night and why were they all driving down the same road as me?!
In the space of an hour I'd managed to move 1 mile, it was a mix of road works (merging 3 lanes into 1), the odd crash and peoples cars breaking down... there was at least 3 people who'd turned their engines off but had left their lights and radios on and so when it came to starting them back up and getting moving, they weren't going anywhere, IDIOTS! So, an hour before we were meant to be getting on the ferry and 15 minutes before we were supposed to be checking in, I pulled up outside Aqua's. The amusing thing was that neither of us were too concerned, she jumped in and we headed off.
First we pulled into the euro tunnel to see if we could make up for lost time and grab the next train over, but that was going to set us back £140 (one way), slightly more than the £30 (return) ticket we'd bought for the ferry. So, off we drove to the ferry. We wandered around a bit trying to see if we could find any information points that were open, but all we could find was a slightly drunk man who reaked of booze BUT he was helpful! He pointed us in the right direction and off we went. Pulling up at the check-in area for the ferry I rolled down my window, stuck my head out the car and said "can you help, we've missed our ferry", to which the reply I got back was "No problem, Mr Paul Thomas you can get on the next ferry"... I can't thank P&O Ferries enough for their pyschic members of staff and their helpfullness!!
6 hours later, we pulled into Japan Expo's car park and headed towards the entrance! My phones battery was in the red, I sent a couple of messages, tried to ring CDevil a couple of times and then it died and with no idea what peoples plans were or where to meet them, it left only one logical thing to do GO AND TRY TO WIN A TICKET FOR THE SIGNINGS!!!
This was initially met with some disappointment. We first came across the Dream Morning Musume booth and asked where the raffle was taking place for the signing. A sad look came back to us from the woman behind the counter, she then told us that "all the tickets had been given out at 10" <_<
So, with less spring in our step we headed to the h.NAOTO booth to check out the Hangry & Angry merchandise and to see about the their signing later that day. Here we were told that they weren't doing a signing on the Saturday... which they wasn't and which the schedule on the leaflets handed out showed... lol, my bad although I'm sure the web site said that it was h.NAOTO and Hangry and Angry signing.
The stall had some new merchandise and I have to say the new set of photos look AMAZING! There was also a large selection of clothes and I couldn't resist the urge to buy a funky looking shirt!
With us both now on a slight downer we aimlessly wandered around for a bit, until we came across the queues for the signing sessions where we soon found out that the tickets HADN'T already been given out, so in we both rushed. A quick look around showed some recognisable faces, the "tallest Japanese man in the world" and all the other Japanese Hangry & Angry fans that have shown up for all the other appearances were a few people in front, we waved said our hello's and as both of us are Yossie fans, were given some photo of her as gifts :D
On our first attempt neither of us won. The Japanese hadn't either, but had come up with the cunning plan to keep buying tickets to the event until they did, now that's dedication! We opted for the more sneaky tactic of licking out tickets and rubbing out the marks that said we'd already queued and jumping back in. By the time we'd got to the front CDevil had turned up and I'd swapped my ticket for his (it was blatantly obvious that I'd rubbed mine out lol) and we took our second attempts at getting a ticket. Aqua wasn't lucky with her go, but as for me I got lucky and pulled out a yellow ticket with a smiley face! And being the gentleman that he is, CDevil offered it to Aqua with the condition that she got him Rika's autograph... which as it happens was perfect as she was only after Yossie's.
The signing started, myself and CDevil had positioned ourselves infront of the railing and had a pretty good spot to fanboy over the girls. Aqua, Kuekan (who we bumped into a bit earlier) as well as all the Japanese fans all got in line ready to get their items signed. And then the girls came out, Yossie in jeans and a tshirt (she looked stunning with her long dyed blond hair) followed by Rika in a pair of really short jean shorts!... she wasn't just wearing those (if only XD) but that's all I could focus on, I'm guessing she probably had a tshirt on as well or something?
Although I hadn't gone up for a signing it was amazing seeing the girls again, CDevil had a moment of excitement when it came to Aqua's turn and she asked if Rika could sign the book to him as we saw her say his name. Aqua, also got the messaged personlised and Yossie wrote a little congrats for her upcoming birthday. I'm so jealous of these!
After the signing we managed to bump into Yossie and Rika (we wasn't attempting to stalk them or anything <_<) as they headed outside to their car, I got a little wave from Rika which made the whole trip worth it!!
Next up was the "Dream Morning Musume Conference & projection", which was... a bit... um... disapointing. Don't get me wrong by the end of it I loved it, but as I sat through it I did wonder WTF was going on. It started with a DVD of Dream Morning Musume performing a couple of songs. I know the title said that it was a projection, but come on! I can watch a DVD at home, infact I can do a better job of watching a DVD at home as I have the common sense to put VLC into full screen mode, so after sitting through (I think) 3 songs where we could also watch Norton Anti Virus do it's thing and see how strong the computer WiFi signal was the girls came out gave a little talk with the annoying "No Life" woman we then watched another few songs, luckily this time who ever was in charge of the PC had the common sense to fullscreen it this time!!
My only real complaint with this is that if I had wanted to watch a DVD I could do this at home, in a comfy chair with a cup of tea. But, it was fun, seeing everybody getting into it doing the little dances and the chants made it an amusing to watch. After this Rika and Yossie came back out and sung a performance of Ai wa Katsu the charity single released by Up Front Works. Again, much like the little wave this made the trip worth it, such a bonus seeing both of them out of character from their Hangry & Angry alter egos.
Once the event had finished we had an hour to spare, we said our goodbyes and went to grab some air. Here I bumped into one of the European organisers from last years European Hangry and Angry concerts we had a brief chat and on finding out that I'd only came down for the day told me how I'd "missed something awesome", which of course was their performance on the Friday. I'm truly gutted that I missed a live performance of their new single Reconquista, but luckily there's an upload on the Hangry & Angry YouTube Channel or you can watch it below. I'm loving the new outfits, gotta be their best look so far!
It was truly an amazing day, the mix of the unexpectedness of it and getting to see the girls was great, the more I get to see the Yossie and Rika the more I love them!