Is it possible to see a real Japanese idol busking on the streets of a Western city?
An amazing thing is happening on this side of the Pacific Ocean. Former GEM member Takeda Maaya takes to the ocean breeze streets of Santa Monica just west of Los Angeles in late April to perform solo. Completely unprecedented, an active Japanese idol performs under the noses of unsuspecting and unknowing tourists and locals. The 3rd Street Promenade, that busy shopping thoroughfare in the heart of Santa Monica, serves as the backdrop for the iDOL Street member and her faithful. Armed with her guitar, Maaya runs through a set that includes her original English composition “Say You Love Me” and her GEM solo song “EMERGE!”. Maaya rounds out her song selection with covers from artists such as Ed Sheeran, The Band Perry, One OK Rock.
The final street performance for Takeda Maaya in Santa Monica takes place on May 26 at 6 PM. Soon thereafter, Maaya will return to Japan presumably to continue her idol activities. Since this is the last chance to see Maaya, New School Kaidan highly recommends that its readers (YOU) crowd the streets for her performance. Opportunities to see an iDOL Street girl up-close and personal in the USA are incredibly rare. Attendees have the chance to meet and chat with Maaya (she has been learning English while in LA). Let’s shower Maaya with gifts and affection and send her back home with great memories of the US idol scene!
Takeda Maaya, along with Cheeky Parade members Yamamoto Marin and Suzuki Mariya have been on hiatus since June 2016. At that time, all three girls started attending school in Los Angeles. In the two years since their absence, Maaya’s group GEM disbanded and Cheeky Parade announced their disbandment (the “Cheeky Parade LAST LIVE” will take place on July 12, 2018 with both Marin and Mariya participating).
GEM is the third idol group from the Avex backed iDOL Street. The starting line-up included Kanazawa Yuuki, Morioka Yu, Minamiguchi Nana, Kumashiro Jurin, Takeda Maya, Murakami Lana, Iyama Maho, Ozeki Nagi, Sakamoto Hazuki (now with Wa-suta), Asakawa Nana (now with SUPER GiRLS), and Uchimura Risa (also with SUPER GiRLS). An early line-up change shuffled in Ito Chisami, Oguri Kako, and Hirano Sara and shuffled out Nagi, Hazuki, Nana, and Risa. The ten-member GEM made their indies debut in July 2013 with “Speed Up / Do It Do It” and their major debut on New Year’s Day 2014 with “We’re GEM!”.