Friday, May 20, 2016

On: Visting the Hello!Project Shop (and oh yeah, Hi, I'm back!)

Tokyo Tower!
Wow, it was almost 3 months ago that I posted that I was back. Well, I wasn't, although there are tons of things I want to post/have to post about. First, let me start by saying that in March, I made a trip to Japan to visit a good friend of mine and to take a much needed vacation. That week flew by, but it was awesome to see and get to know Tokyo. It is definitely very different from Osaka and is overall, much more touristy. That's not a bad thing of course, but it I did miss the more homey atmosphere of Osaka (although I did get asked on three different occasions if I needed any help - twice in English and once in Japanese. I learned that I understand way more than I can actually speak and I'm both super happy and disappointed about that, haha).

As of right now, I've launched into the summer semester of library school - yay! Well, kind of. I'm already feeling extremely overwhelmed because I'm taking a management class and I'm not good at management. This is why I'm a library assistant - less responsibility that way. But *sigh* I really should get used to the fact that I'll eventually be in some sort of management position. Aside from school, I'm writing more! That is a definite YAY! I've got so many new soundtracks I'm using as inspiration, so many books (and reviews!) to share that have helped drive my creativity and more importantly, I'm also drawing a lot more, which helps me when writing descriptions.

I will be posting (hopefully sooner rather than later), a couple of reviews on plays/DVD performances I've watched recently, my hopes for the AKB election, book reviews, manga reviews, and some television shows that I've been hooked on as of late. There is tons to share and I can't wait to start posting. But first, I wanted to share a bit of my trip to Japan.

While I was in Tokyo, I stopped by Akihabara and stopped by two of the places I have wanted to visit for a long time since becoming an idol fan: the Hello! Project Official Shop and the AKB48 Cafe & Shop as well as their theater. The Hello!Project Shop was located inside a multi-floor building about - I want to say a 15 minute walk from Akihabara station. The elevators open right into the shop which is smaller than I imagined but not too small. Off to the right was a place where you could leave birthday messages for certain members of the agency and beside it was a large glass case that showcased the C-ute concert outfits and a second case showing Juice=Juice's Black Butterfly outfits. Beyond that, was a large screen and a small seating area where fans could sit and watch DVD performances of the various groups of HelloPro. To the left, there was one more case displaying outfits worn by ANGERME and beyond these, was the actual shop itself.

C-ute concert outfits! 
Juice=Juice Black Butterfly outfits
The merchandise is divided according to group and each group has different goods, such as notebooks, bookmarks, clear files, etc. On the wall, there were various pictures and buyers have to fill out a form indicating which picture they want which the staff then grab from the back. I opted not to buy any pictures and instead, spent my time looking at all the goods available. I was very conscious of buying things I would actually use because I don't have much space at home and hate to have it cluttered. So, I settled on three bookmarks: one of Sayuki from Juice=Juice, one of Miki and one of Maachan, both from Morning Musume '16 (I was actually pretty upset that there were no Riho bookmarks. I came too late, wish she hadn't graduated T_T). I also bought Riho's memorial photo book (yay!) and it came with a bonus photo (double-yay!).

All the goodies I bought at the shop!
I was pretty impressed overall with the shop. When I went to pay, due to everything I bought, I was told I could choose 3 pictures as bonuses and I was thrilled. I made my picks quickly because I just picked my favorite members from the bunch. I thought it was great that as soon as I pointed at a picture, the staff member would say, "Hai, Airichan", "Hai, Maachan", "Hai, Nanamichan". Like, I don't know if she was a fan (I'll assume she was), but I was impressed that she knew everyone's name. I guess I really shouldn't be surprised but I swear that when I was in the '48 shop, the clerk recognized no one but the most popular members :/. There is a huge different in the amount of members, but I would have liked for the clerk to recognize more of the AKB members at least. Anyways, I use my bookmarks regularly now and I've looked through Riho's photo book dozens of times. I definitely don't regret my purchases and am happy I was able to see the shop! I'll be posting another blog post about the AKB Shop and Theater as well later on so stay tuned for that as well!

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