I'm still kind of in a happy sort of daze about these past two days.
Yokohama Port Festival is, in a word, the most amazing thing ever. Chiyo and I got dolled up and teetered down to the station in our geta and yukata. An old man outside the ryokan told us we looked beautiful, which was a great way to start the evening. After an excruciatingly long train ride (spent people watching, because the couples in yukata were ADORABLE), it was a simple enough matter to follow the crowd to find the festival. The sheer mass of people was insane; Chiyo said that roughly 3 million people turn out for this one show. And oh my god, what a show it was. Seriously, people. Fourth of July has NOTHING on the Japanese fireworks. It lasted an hour, had complex patterns, combinations, and shapes like you wouldn't believe. Planets, spirals, hearts, clovers, CATS AND RABBITS. It was just an AMAZING show.
The part afterwords was insane as well.
The mob pretty much all left the park en masse. As a result, 3 million people were all trying to get into two stations. The crowd control is amazing here, though, because everyone listens. Neat, orderly lines wound around four city blocks. Road blocks were respected. No one pushed, cut in line, or whined. Chiyo and I spent almost two hours just waiting, but it wasn't really unpleasant; just boring. Our train ride home was long, but uneventful, and we stumbled back to the ryokan to collapse in bed. Plus our feet really really hurt from hours in new geta.
It's worth noting that even though we'd never really done it before, we managed to put on our yukata properly.
Today, we woke up late, and promptly freaked out, because we had one hour to get to Shinjuku before they started selling tickets to the handshake event for *pnish*! We tided up and dressed, then made it to the theatre (thanks to Tuti's unintentionally helpful directions. We spotted the curry shop and Starbucks, and knew we were in the right place) with time to spare. We bought our tickets, and bought goodies, before going into the theatre proper for the show.
'Treasure Box' is defiantely one to buy when it comes out. It's... hard to explain, but Chiyo and I agreed that when Daiki-chan stepped onto the stage in the very first scene, suddenly, he was real. He was real, he was in front of us, and we were seeing *pnish* on stage.
I don't really want to spoil the show, so I'll just say that it was fabulous, even when Daiki-chan forgot one line. There's a great part were a giant balloon 'boulder' goes rolling after our heroes, and they involve the audience by informing them that they're villians. Then the balloon was rolled out, and we bounced it around after the actors as they ran through the crowd! The set was also stunning, and the costumes were without a doubt the most complex for any *pnish* show yet.
The end was amusing, because Daiki-chan randomly nominated three people from the cast to talk. There was much giggling over Tuti's flamboyantly sparkly costume, and teasing of Daiki-chan. Then we left the theatre, only to realize we'd gone out the wrong way, and weren't going to shake their hands. I lurked as close as possible, simply
Chiyo and I skipped down to the curry shop for lunch, and found that Tuti's reccomendation was well-deserved. After food, it was back to the theatre for the Talk Live!
The talk was really, really funny. They pretty much just shared stories and experiences they had while shooting in Taiwan, like how everyone except Wasshi forgot to set their watches to Taiwan time, and thusly, everyone was running around in a panic except him. Daiki-chan said that when he and Tuti shared a room, Tuti flopped down on his legs and grunted, instantly asleep (Daiki-chan's Tuti impressions are highly amusing and never flattering). Meanwhile, Eiji was dead-bolting Wasshi out of THEIR room, for no apparent reason.
After the talk, they slowly filtered everyone through a room where the photobooks were being autographed for you. My seat was directly across from the room where this was happening, so even though I was in one of the last groups to go in, I could hear almost everything, and see Daiki-chan's feet. When it was finally my turn, I stepped into the room and walked up to Wasshi, the first. He greeted me, and I blurted out that I was American, because I was really nervous I'd screw up my Japanese, and was hoping for some leeway. He must have noticed I was as nervous as all get-out, because he shook my hand with both of his, and spoke soft and slow so I could understand. He asked if I'd enjoyed the show, and I told him I had, that it was very fun. He thanked me, I gave him the picture I drew for them, and it was on to Daiki-chan.
Again, I started by saying I was American. Daiki-chan had a polar-opposite reaction; he flailed a bit and spoke super-fast and loud. It was really adorable, and I was grinning like an idiot, but he asked if I'd seen the show, and if I'd had fun, and was shaking my hand the entire time. It sounds like you-know-who to say this, but... it was the longest I've ever shaken one person's hand. ♥
Next was Eiji, and when I again said I was American, he thanked me in English, and asked if I'd come all the way from America. I said yes, and he said, "To see the show?" When I said yes to that, he double-checked I'd seen 'Treasure Box' too, and then told me to please enjoy the photobook. I'm not sure that paragraph did any justice to how amazingly sweet he was, because he seemed sincerely impressed I'd come so far. Which was one of my intentions; I didn't know how to show them how special this all was for me, other than to tell them how far I came for it.
Last was Tuti. Now, the way the signing was set up, all the books were pre-signed by the guys, and then an orange slip with your name on it was handed to Tuti, who wrote "To (whatever)" inside. He opened mine, and promptly shouted, "KEIRI!" really loud. I said yes, that's my name, and he laughed again and thanked me very much for coming, and told me to enjoy the book. I shook his hand, thanked him profusely, and wobbled out to the lobby to wait for Chiyo.
I still can't quite believe it happened. But it was wonderful, and completely worth the entire trip. These men are doing what I want to do. I admire them so much, and I dream of working alongside them someday. It's like meeting a huge celebrity, except that these guys are real, and they cared about what I had to say. They didn't have to sit there and shake the hands of every woman in that building, they didn't have to personally autograph all those books, and they didn't have to listen to a bunch of fans flail at them. But they did, and they were wonderful, and I'm not going ever going to forget the way the world felt just that much smaller and friendlier when Wasshi held my hand in his and thanked me for coming.