Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Japan = SMAP

This is the only equation I know when the word Japan is mentioned.  I will not think of Japan without thinking of SMAP and most especially Kimura Takuya, my impossible dream.

So when SMAP announced their live tour this year, I did not hesitate to call my friend Vic and screamed "they have a concert!!!".  The year has been a hectic one and who cares if I will be doing a lot of twisting and turning to get myself over to Japan again.  As they say in Japan "Gambatte!".

So on Sept. 3, with just a limited amount of yen to my name (I just came back from China a week before), I flew to Tokyo.  The final destination is Osaka where Vic was waiting at our hotel.  Like I always said, Japan is the land of my soul and as soon as I got off the plane, it felt not like home but more like a familiar playground.  The first of my many train rides this trip was taking the Keisei line which will take me to central Tokyo in only 36 minutes!  I was met by Mayo, who I've known for 5 years and is my surrogate at the SMAP Fan Club.  She has warmly adopted me for the night at their Meguro ward home. 

As you see it's a fangirl's home.  Mayo loves Jerry the most. :D

On the morning of Sept 4, I went on my next train ride at the symbol of Japan's technology -> the Shinkansen or Bullet train!  It was my first time to ride the famous Nozomi-san.  As I sat on the train for the 2-hour ride, my excitement was so much that I thought I would break out in song  "you can take a little holiday in the sun, take it easy have some fun" hahaha!

I arrived at Osaka after a 2 1/2 hour ride.  As soon as I dumped my bags at Swissotel Nankai (http://www.swissotel.com/EN/Destinations/Japan/Swissotel%20Nankai/Hotel%20Home/Hotel%20Description), Vic and I immediately ran back out in the scorching sun and headed to our ultimate destination, the Osaka Kyocera Dome. We were awed as we approached the dome and realized its our 3rd dome concert (aside from Fukuoka Yahoo dome and Tokyo dome).  We excitedly went straight to the concert goods area and temporarily lost ourselves in the lines. 

The coveted concert goods stalls


The dome seats about 70,000 people
After a rather strict checking of our ticket source, we were escorted to the nose-bleed section equivalent to 7-storeys from the ground.  It was a comfortable section though as the seats were the special box seats during baseball games.  While waiting for everyone to get in, SMAP movie previews were being shown and their CMs.  Ahhhh!!!  Space Battleship Yamato!  Takuya's upcoming movie in December.  My early morning travel  caught up with me and I fell asleep.  I thought I was waking up to my alarm but realized the sound was a ticking clock on the screen.

The stage and arena.
When the dome was almost filled, a bunch of globe heads came out and mingled with the audience.  Some shook hands, did body bumps, hi-fives and hugs!  I've already read that SMAP was among these globe heads so it was so much more exciting for Vic and I to speculate who the members are.  And of course sour-graped that we were not the lucky ones that had this rare interaction.  This year, one of the nice touches to the concert was the CG effect on audience putting globe heads and faces of SMAP while we wait for the concert to start.  It kept us busy and laughing.

Who could that be?
Then an awesome video of SMAP as astronauts came out signalling the start of "We are SMAP Live 2010".  The opening song was This is Love, their newest single.  Followed by old favorites Shake, Gambarimashou, Dear Woman remixed in a Japanese guitar style.    I missed this!  An awesome production that is truly a manifestation of Japan's technology and attention to details.

The sea of blue and green lights left side of the dome.

 And the right...awesome!
I couldn't remember everything but another favorite is an arrangement of their old song Celery with an african tribal beat..oooh ganbatte iru yo yareru dake...  Tsuyoshi's solo followed then back to group number with Bang Bang Vacance flooding the arena with balloons.  And giving their Chinese fans more excitement with their upcoming Shanghai concerts, SMAP sang their biggest hit Sekai ni Hitotsu Dake no Hana in a chinese beat with matching costumes! 

The MC talk was funny too as the guys talked about many male fans this year.  Each member tried to call out the male audience who are their fans.  Next was Nakai's solo.  Vic and I were happy to see him back to his hip humping self doing his tribute Michael Jackson number.  We missed the energetic leader!  Goro's solo was cute because he had a lot of fan interaction with his virtual kisses on the big screen.  By the time Sotto Kyutto was being sung, I was again going back to lalaland. zzzzzz....

I was jerked awake by the beats of Dynamite that segued to Five Respect.  We missed that too!  We love the video playback of their old concert video clips.  Takuya at 18 was as charming as his now almost 38 year old self.  Then Shingo had his solo.  Vic and I had fits of laughter because we did not realize that the solo was in english!! hahaha!

The interlude for costume change were greetings of we are smap by Rain (yes the Korean star!), Lin Chiling (yes, Jerry Yan's ex!), Takeuchi Yuko and many more celebrities.  When they came out again, they were wearing what will be one of my favorite outfits they had in a concert - green trench coats.  They sang Lion Heart and OMG!  the mics stands were glowing orange! :D

When they sang Orenji on the second stage near us, I cried once again.  this song will always remind me that I made it again, that I was part of their music and I saw them live.  A nice new song called Love and Peace segued to Takuya's solo Kimi no ma made which was touching at the beginning and then became extremely sexy.  It's the white loose wifebeater I think.  That's the culprit!  And the toned upper arm muscles! LOL.
My body was hanging on the railings totally forgetting we were 7-storeys up!
There were many more special moments of the concert.  It was almost 4 hours long! There are Korean artists that I love but I don't know if they can do something like this and do it for almost 20 years!  While the superb technology of the finale was winding down, the 2 tops moment of Nakai and Takuya during Aoi Inazuma still lingered in my mind.  And as the final bows were being made, Takuya's silent "thank you" gave Vic and I the resolve to come back for the next ones until the finale of their singing lives.

Mata ne!
Otsukaresama deshita SMAP no minna-san!  It was a great show.  It was all worth it.

Photos were taken by my Blackberry 8900 declared useless for its original purpose while in Japan but was very, very handy up there in the nosebleed section where no one was watching to throw me out of the dome for taking photos.  The rest of the photos will be posted in my facebook page. :D

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Jampacked 2010

How do I squeeze into one post what 2010 has brought me so far?  I know visitors to my blog are disappointed that I have not updated but you will know why in the days to come. 


Five countries, six separate trips.  This coming Friday, 9/17, I will go on my 6th country and 7th trip.  Taipei, Singapore, Hongkong, Mainland China, Japan and Korea.


I still love the color and in fact has added tons more to the collection as I go on my travels.

Fangirl Pursuits

I still am and will always be a fangirl.  In fact, I have made a career out of it!  Not just as a consultant but as a small business owner.

Day Job

Yes, the bread and butter still exists.  The purple-themed office is still around.  The hours have turned from day to night though which is one of the reasons why my brain is already dead by the time 12 midnight comes around and I attempt to write a post. 


I still have my playmate with me through all of these new things.  He manages to nudge me out of bed everyday, feeds me and occasionally drives me to work while I catch some sleep.  I also found time to have great bonding moments with family which I will post about later too.


Gained more! But also lost one very good friend who I am missing especially when I think about the stuff we could have done together with the fangirl business.  Rest in peace Fran.

I will find the energy to post all about the above.  I have a new mantra you see ->  I AM SUPERWOMAN!  I AM SUPERWOMAN! I AM SUPERWOMAN! Hahaha!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Marathon Update # 3

I will not forget that Saturday.  I was up at 6am to drive south from my place north (yes Novaliches to Alabang!) of Manila to man the booth of fangirlasia.com.  At the end of the event, I drove to Bicutan, Paranaque to pick up my sister Teng then drove back south to Alabang for the homecoming party.

I didn't want to go to the party but the pout of my sister can be felt all the way to Shanghai , so I changed into a dress.  It is with much appreciation that my car windows are tinted black.  So after about half an hour, yours truly is now wearing a colorful peasant dress I have not worn since the silver wedding of Nanay and Tatay Gamab.

With Batch 84 schoolmate Universal Records' Ito Rapadas and my kuya Monmon Mitra, future Senator.

With Teng and her batchmates Maripit and Ruby.

I had fun.  Yes, despite the exhaustion, I had fun seeing schoolmates and friends.  I loved catching up with them and proud of their achievements and successes.  Too bad I missed the homecoming organized by Batch 85 just this Saturday night.  Even if I wanted to watch Kamikazee and Parokya ni Edgar, I wanted the rest time this weekend.

Thanks to the owner of the photos.  I just snagged them at Facebook!

Marathon Update # 2

So while I was getting stressed with the move to the new office, I was also busy with my new pursuit - Spinmanila.

Together with fellow fangirls, I joined Team Spinmanila with the objective of being professional fangirls.  We wanted to bring our favorite asian artists to Manila as well as the most coveted goods fangirls consider as must buys.

I have not experienced anything like it in the 8 years that I have been a fangirl.  The K-Pop convention that we attended to promote our webstore www.fangirlasia.com and sell merchandise was such a well attended event.  Aside from our goods being sold fast, I had such a great time meeting and chatting with fellow fangirls. 

Our flyer for the December 20th repeat of the sale.

Yes, the K-Pop Convention (http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=2927431&op=4&o=global&view=global&subj=568194993&id=622057102#/pages/Philippine-Kpop-Convention/132115926438) gig had a repeat performance last December 20th.  This time, it was only fangirlasia.com who organized the selling event.  Again, it wasn't such a bad day considering that it was only us there.

The site is now improved and the list of stocks on hand can be viewed.  Check it out fangirls! www.fangirlasia.com

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Marathon Update # 1

It's been sooooo long since I updated my blog.  I missed it but I couldn't find the time to update since there are so many things that happened to your purpleness since early December.  So a mega-marathon of updates is in store for my blog friends.  Are you ready?  Here we go!

First off, the purpleness of my desk has moved to a new home last December 2009.  From my 39F tower of Rapunzel, I am now at an 11F office, though big but it has no windows and sooooo damn cold! :)

That glass door is now covered with a layer of film.

And my purple stuff?  Laid out nicely for everyone to see! :)

When laid out in my new desk, my purple stuff looked really nice and there's more space for new purple stuff! Haha!  That was one of the things that made me excited about the move. :)

I've settled in and aside from the often crossing from one office building to another, I like our street.  It is quiet and laid back.  There's more opportunity to walk to lunch at one of the yummy restaurants nearby.

Let's see how the room looks months/years from now.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Where in the world?

Where in the world can you find purple trash cans? :)

Can you guess? Send me a note! :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

SS501 Persona Tour Shanghai - Sidelights

The last fangirl trip in Shanghai has tested my fangirl skills and maturity. One of the things that fangirls do is STALK.

When we arrived in Shanghai, stalking was not discussed as a must. We were happy to look at Hongkou Stadium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hongkou_Stadium) by day. Even if we were not expecting to see the men rehearse, we still went to the stadium on Nov 13th just to find our way and not to get lost on concert day itself.

In the light (or gloom) of day, Hongkou was buzzing with activity. We were sidetracked a bit by the sidewalk sale going on. In a short span of time, Ems was able to buy a pair of boots, mittens and other pasalubong. Another thing that fangirls does is SHOP FOR MERCHANDISE . I was surprised that we did not do that right away but checked out what the local vendors were offering. Is that a sign of maturity? :)

One of the things that we were happy to see was the big concert billboard beside the stadium. We realized that we were looking at the ticket sales window. The I realized that we forgot to get our photo taken below this big billboard. Many overseas fans especially the Japanese were taking photos earlier. Are my fangirl skills in CAMWHORING getting stale? :(

During concert night, we were so happy that we were very close to the center stage and catwalk. Julie and I studied past Personas and realized that many of our fave songs especially the ballads were sung in the middle stage and catwalk so we bugged my brother-in-law Ramon to make sure we get seats near that area. Wasn't that a very skillful move? :)

And of course let us not forget what fangirl do all the time - BUY CONCERT MERCHANDISE! Surprisingly I kept to my budget. I only got the official photobook. Did I just become a mature fangirl? :)
Fangirls usually go crazy over unofficial merchandise. I actually only bought the ecobag, calendar and green light stick. The rest of the stuff in the photo below are gifts from Ssangchu Chinese fans who we bumped into after the concert. Is this another sign of maturity? :)

Or not? Because I couldn't resist buying the Boys Over Flower OST, Dong Bang Shin Ki's Rising Sun concert dvd and Close to you single (because Yunho is the featured member photo at the back cd cover). So I guess I am not yet as mature as I thought I would be? :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

SS501 1st Asia Tour Persona in Shanghai 2009

Nothing beats a broken heart than a trip to Shanghai, China to watch the concert of my korean fandom flagbearers - SS501. Why I was broken hearted is another story though. It was basically the reason why I was not in the mood to post for quite a while.

Anyhow, last November 12th, I flew to Shanghai with fellow fangirls Julie and Ems. Our main objective was to watch the Persona Tour Shanghai stop of our favorite Korean group SS501. The 3 of us were adopted by my sister Teng and her husband Ramon.

As soon as we woke up the morning after we arrived, we embarked on our 1st adventure. Check out Hongkou Football Stadium, the venue of the concert. Despite this being my 3rd visit to Shanghai, it was my first time to take the Shanghai Metro. Nothing to it! We found the stadium without getting lost. :) We even had the time to shop for unofficial goods and crazy stuff like purple toilet seat covers (more on my next post). What we were not prepared for is the weather! 7 degC with high wind chill factor!!

So on concert day itself, Saturday, November 14th, we made sure that we were warmly dressed and ready for rain.

Hongkou Stadium at night is beautiful. The lights gave the place a commanding presence in the area with a capacity for around 30,000 people. Once inside the stadium, we were happy to see that our seats though not the most expensive, is the most strategic! We were near the center stage and catwalk! I couldn't contain my excitement because we will be able to see the boys without any difficulty.

Armed with our green light sticks, we braved the sea of chinese fans and found our seats. Our greatest discovery is that the chinese fans are so friendly and were surprised that foreign fans like us were in their midst. And they attempted to speak to us in English!

I have seen video clips of Persona from Seoul to Tokyo up to Taipei but nothing beats the feeling of seeing it live and in person. When the stage lit up with the opening number of Deja Vu, I couldn't help but scream by brains out. The boys, the boys are singing and dancing before my eyes. Well, almost before my eyes. Despite the welcoming smiles of the chinese fans, their concert viewing habits are not as welcoming. They were standing on the seats and we couldn't see the boys among the sea of light sticks, light boards and cameras.

We are not resilient Filipinos for nothing! With Julie's construction expertise, we put together a double-layer chair with yours truly precariously perched on top. I can now see everything!!!

I loved the numbers especially Four Chance and the tango arrangement of the song. I loved it that they sang half of their songs in the second stage and catwalk! They were so near!! And all of the boys were sooo pleasant and smiling. The energy level was so high even Kim Hyun Joong! :)

When Park Jung Min popped out from the riser at the edge of the catwalk, I screamed so loud that I think Jung Minnie heard it. He sang so well live especially the mandarin song wo de pengyou.

Another surprise was Heo Young Saeng. He exuded a quiet sexiness singing his solo song Nameless Memory. No wonder my other friend (and soon to be business colleague) Pin became enamored with his presence! :)

Of course maknae Kim Hyung Jun sings so well. He has the most distinct voice among the boys in my opinion. You will always know its him. He is still such a baby though even when he was trying to be manlier in his solo number.

My Kyu - my Kim Kyu Jong was the most hyper that night. Only later did we find out that he was sick. Way to go Kyu Jong! Among the 5 boys, Kyu is a "kyutie" that one will appreciate only when in person. His rapport with fans was so good. He seems to have lost weight but his solo number was still sexy. I can still remember his black wifebeater!

Of course the highlight for me was seeing with my own two eyes Kim Hyun Joong leader's solo Please Be Nice To Me. I did not expect him to show some skin but despite the freezing temperature and the plea of the chinese fans, he still did! That professionalism to stick to the show's flow despite the open air cold condition made me admire him more and made the trip so worth it.

The evening was even made more fun and memorable when the boys sang songs from their latest mini-album Rebirth. I was awed at the thought that I have seen them perform Love Like This live. Especially since the boys won their 1st Music Bank win for the song that day. We were screaming at the point of no return when the boys walked again to the center stage and sang Only One Day. They were soooo near!

My throat locked up when they even came nearer and sang Wang Du Ko. They were just a couple of meters away sitting on chairs that were slowly spinning for everyone to see them. Have you guys tried screaming with no sound coming out?! hahaha!

So when the encore part came and the boys came out in Persona in Shanghai t-shirts, I was dancing wildly in my chair - oops! I forgot I was perched on 2-levels. Without any care that my 43-year old body may fall anytime, I kept dancing to their classic hits Coward and Bye bye Baby Bye.

The memory of all of them running around near our area was so fresh still even after a week and now back to my daily life. Hyun Joong's pink ears was sooo cute, Kyu Jong's hyper dancing and running around with his Kyu's light board, Baby's funny animal headgear, Saengie in a red cap and Jung Min's bright smile, made me forget the chill of the Shanghai evening.

Congratulations to SS501 for a successful show. It made your 7,000 plus audience the happiest grean peas on earth. And it will surely make your TripleS grow and grow. Just keep being your happy and hard working selves and you'll go more places.

And I will most probably go with you..