It may be true that Idols are public figures, however, it’s rare to get much of glance into their public lives aside from what they post on social media. I was fortunately able to get this chance to get to know several Idols on a more personal level and wanted to share such an experience with everyone.
AnisonUSA took place on 2/20 and 2/21, where we saw many great performances. I was there as press, to take photos and film the concerts, and I can never say no to adding more goods to my always growing collection and getting to meet some Idols. Since there was only a little time to get into line to meet a few of them, I got into the line of the Office Freestyle girls who I follow on social media. It was there that I found out they would be at Venice Beach the next day.
Fast forwarding to Monday the 24th, I found myself dashing out of work and racing down the freeway around noon to get to Venice Beach. Kiya of Vandead Bakery had posted at 10 am that they were going to be at the beach and the members of Roli Angels had posted pictures of them at street corners near the beach, sparking my frantic rush. When I finally arrived at 12:24… I found out that they weren’t even there yet. Walking up and down the beach, dying under the sun, I eventually found a member of their staff who told me they wouldn’t be there until 2. I can’t even begin to explain how quickly my energy dropped, having been frantically running up and down the beach for an hour.
I was just snapping a few random shots of birds and hanging out with the other 2 press members and another good friend of mine when the members arrived. Running in, I was greeted with waves and smiles as the members came in. Ayu and Roli Angels came in costume, Ayu in a Sakura Hatsune Miku outfit and the Angels in their corresponding colored Vocaloid-themed stage outfits, but much to my surprise, Vandead Bakery showed up in their casual clothing. I’ve seen Idols in their casual clothing before at AKB48 handshake events, but their outfits still tend to match their image and be relatively cutesy, but Vandead Bakery was still a bit of a shock. Kiya’s and Nanaka’s casual outfits fit their personalities well and gave them a very cool-looking image.
From there, I proceeded to have a photo shoot with everyone. It was fun to be able to hear the girls joke about their poses or laugh as I mixed up the words “left”and “right” multiple times in Japanese despite their constant reminders. With all the photos done, I bought them all water bottles as they rested and was going to call it a day but instead, I got to hang out with them. A 30-minute photo shoot soon turned into 4 hours of just hanging out and talking with Idols.
I was able to learn so much more about everyone during this time. I spent a good half hour with Shake and Lemon, who are fellow 48G fans, as Lemon tried to lecture me on why Mayuyu, her oshimen (favorite member), should be my new oshimen once my current oshimen, Takamina, graduates. A good while was spent with all the Roli Angels as they asked me what it was like to be able to drive a car and we spent a good while talking about the different driving laws between America and Japan. Our conversation somehow shifted to baseball and we talked about which teams we liked. They seemed to have an interest in the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim since they had Angel in their group name. I watched as Ayu tried to lure pigeons to her, throwing random sticks at them, which somehow worked as the pigeons ever so slowly got closer. Ayu was very sweet, trying her hardest to use English with me and happily posing for photos whenever I asked. It was interesting to hear Kiya and Nanaka talk about various things, randomly posing, or just laughing about jokes which made absolutely no sense to me. Before they left, Roli Angels and Ayu were even nice enough to take photos with me. I wish I had been able to catch Vandead Bakery but they had gone to take a look at the nearby stores.
It was honestly a great experience to be able to hang out with Idols when they weren’t being Idols. To hear them talk casually, to see Ayu get excited as she got her fortune done, to get embarrassed when I overreacted because I misunderstood when asked if my friend, who was present, and I would be going to Japan together as if my friend and I were together (Oh man, this was really embarrassing, I’ll never be able to live down their laughs as I pushed my friend away loudly exclaiming that we were just friends). Instead of feeling like work, it felt like I was just hanging out with friends and made me come to love Idols even more.
When people ask me why I would want to work as a correspondent or why I like Idols, I can easily say that it is for moments just like these. This was an experience that I wish more fans could experience and something that more fans can experience by just coming out to meet the girls. Who knows? Those few minutes you spend talking to an Idol at the end of their concert could turn out to be a very memorable experience.
As a side note, it turns out that one of the photos that I helped to pose (not take) that day for the Roli Angels would become the cover of their next album which comes out May 25th of this year. Be sure to grab a copy!
If you wish to get to know the Idols I met, be sure to check them out at these links:
Here are the exclusive photos I took with everyone at Venice Beach