A look back on two life-changing years

They say people who spend money on experiences tend to be happier than those who spend money just on material goods.

And while chekis (polaroid pictures) are technically a tangible item, the memory about the experience is what I feel most strongly about.

I’ve been an Idol fan since about 2005 but I don’t think the door was truly opened to me until about two years ago.

So here’s a look back on some of the best moments. I hope you are able to experience some of the memories I’ve been able to have.

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First off, I want to say thank you to all the people who helped me in furthering my fandom. I have learned so much from others and would not have come so far if not for them. There’s no enough space to mention everyone so I picked the first person I got to observe interacting with idols, my friend Zero.

While some may think that meeting and interacting with idols is sort of weird and an awkward encounter, Zero really showed me how to approach it by having fun and being silly. His mannerisms greatly influenced how I took photos and you’ll probably be able to see that evidence in the following pictures.

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Sakamoto Mana. Look at her smiling face. This was my first cheki. Little did I know she had just been promoted up from trainee into this Wizard of Oz themed group.

She would play the Scarecrow character for the next year and a half and during that time I really enjoyed watching her progress as an Idol and as a young lady.

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A week later I would learn about something called a “Pajama Live.” All the members of Sakamoto’s (pictured above) group performed in pajamas. I have been to many other themed lives, but the pajama live will probably always be my favorite.

Also it’s funny because one of the other members was jealous of my love for Sakamoto and thought it’d be funny to cover her face. HA

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On the last day of my first trip, me and my friend, Monkey, bought colored jumpsuits in support of our member. He’s another person who influenced me greatly and he retired from Idols soon after this picture.

Funny thing was my member ended being absent that day. It was a bummer but then suddenly she was showed up at the end in her street clothes and started taking pictures with people.

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This picture was taken on maid outfit day. I had screwed up the previous picture with a half derp face so I decided to take another one to fix the mistake.

Full on crap face.

I really learned to just go with the flow and Sakamoto is always such a good sport about things.

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For Christmas, Alice Project has three days of themed shows leading up to the 25th of December. I had gotten completely sick the week leading up to them and had missed out on the first two days.

On the last day I forced myself out of bed in order to attend. Sakura Yuki is trying to feel my forehead to see if I have a fever.

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During the Alice Juban song “Natsu Da Ne” (1:58) there’s a point where the members yell “OH!!! DESTROY!!!!”

It’s one of the best moments in the song so Sakura Yuki and I are recreating that moment.

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This picture is from Alice Project’s End of Year Costume Contest.

Sakura Yuki is dressed up as Jibanyan from Yokai Watch. She made the costume herself.

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Again from the costume contest, Tsukino Moa is dressed up as a sheriff.

As I am from Texas, I felt it was necessary for me to get a picture.

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During the costume contest one of my all time favorite groups dressed up as food.

There’s Sakamoto dressed as a sunny side up egg.

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Mizusawa Mai had just been promoted up to the Dorothy character.

The last time I saw her was when she was still the Wicked Witch. As I was walking up, she knew which pose to go for. Still one of my favorite pictures.

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Sakura Yuki is the only person I have ever asked for a Kabedon. It was her birthday show so I said what the hell and went for it.

It all happened so fast I can’t even remember anything about it.

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This was Sakamoto’s last day as the Scarecrow. So I went out and bought a Scarecrow costume of my own so we could match.

But I made the mistake of wearing mine on the graduation day. Apparently most people dress up the day before. I ended up being the only person in a costume. Oops.

She’s holding her certificate of graduation.

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Just watch this PV. You’ll get it.

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Sakura Yuki is one of the Idols who attends college while also pursuing being an Idol.

She’s a student of Tokyo University which is basically the Harvard of Japan. It’s really prestigious and difficult to get in.

So here’s me helping her with some homework.

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After being a fan of the group for years, I would finally meet DJ Hikaru and the members of Rhymeberry.

She is one of the most friendly, down to Earth, and sweet Idols I would ever meet.

The group disbanded a few weeks after I saw them. There’s a lesson here about taking and appreciating the opportunities you have because you never know what will happen tomorrow.

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Nono from Sakura Bom Bom has a thing for putting her head on walls.

I was curious as to what was the big deal. So she showed me how to do it.

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The group Lolisyn has a rule where the members aren’t allowed to touch fans. So no handshakes, no high fives, nothing.

But they are allowed to touch fans with the bottom of their shoe however.

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Sakamoto Yuna from FES☆TIVE is in my top five of craziest idols. She’s one of the most outgoing and in your face girls I’ve ever met. It’s an experience just talking to her.

Apparently doing narcissistic poses is her thing because this was the second time she had asked me to do one.

She’s from Saitama but admittedly she says she’s not like typical girls from Saitama.

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ULTRA GIRL. The first time I saw them I was in love with Tomoron’s performance. The high energy, the flailing arms, enormous smile.

It’s good to be young.

Here’s a clip, you can immediately tell which one she is.

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After a show this kid walks up to me, starts telling me about her group, hands me a flyer, and says “Please come see us.” I didn’t say anything. She was super outgoing so I went to take a picture with her.

But immediately after the picture was taken she realized I was a foreigner and speaking English. The smile disappeared. She clammed up and suddenly became super embarrassed to speak. The staff had a good laugh as did I. She’s cute kid. Wish her the best.

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This is Momokawa Haruka, currently of the group Ru:Run. Pretty much everyone within the Indie Idol scene loves her.

I attended a cookie baking event so I could meet her.

Those exist?

Nah, I’m kidding.

The oven gloves were just there at the venue.

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Another crazy Idol. Easily top five.

You pretty much have to see her to believe her. She calls her fans out. Pulls them on stage to be background dancers. Then tells them to get off her stage.

Never would have known about her if not for @johpan

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Remember that group who can only touch fans with the bottom of their shoe? I wasn’t lying.

Their fans are way more creative and masochistic than I am.

They opened up an entirely new world for me. Thank you Lolisyn fans for making me laugh, y’all are some of the best.

This is when they came to Los Angeles. Unfortunately their last show is next week.

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This is Yamashita Kana from the train themed group Station.

I noticed she was having problems with her hat being too big during their performance that day so I had to get a picture of it.

She was a good sport about it.

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Sawabe Rion of Tokyo Clear’s. They are a cleaning themed group. They go around singing about cleaning and they do community clean ups.

They have one of my favorite costume designs.

Her bow-tie was a bit crooked so I’m fixing it for her.

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I went to see a Idol DJ group called DJ Skip Alien. They performed at midnight so I had to miss the last train.

First and only time I’ve done that.

To the left (Skip) and to the right (Alien)

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From one of the photo events I went to. After Sakamoto left Oz, Otogi Kana was promoted into the group.

She became my new favorite Oz member.

She floored me when she showed up to the event in a wedding dress.

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This was my last cheki of 2015.



So here’s to an exciting 2016 and beyond. I hope you’re able to meet the Idols you want to meet.

There will always be mistakes and embarrassment, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from Idols it’s that “Rebounding from failure leads to Success”

About David Liao

8 comments

  1. Man, I feel like a rookie reading all of this. Granted I started to appreciate chekis like last year only, it made me feel like going to meet more idols. The experience is what’s most important.

    I was thinking how you’d convince the idol about some of the poses but hey, it’s not like it’s something out of the blue.

    • Not at all. Most of my first chekis with Idols are just peace signs.

      It isn’t until you build more of a relationship with them that more outlandish poses feel natural.

      It also depends on the idol too. There are some that are way more outgoing and they’re the ones who instigate.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Oh! Sakamoto was your first cheki? Wow. I like how you got Jun-chan in the background in the 4-shot with the monkey guy.That UltraGirl is a bit too loli… and well, so is the one after… and a few others. Nice to see some more of your chekis though, it’s always nice seeing other people’s chekis.

    • Yeah, I hand shook Ito Miu told her she was my favorite in Armor Girls and then took a picture with Sakamoto.

      My friends never let me live that down because it seems like I just dissed Miu. I loved Miu, but I was just trying to do everything. Handshakes, chekis. All that stuff.

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