Some lingering thoughts on Seattle …
Idol-chasing at conventions invariably means interacting with other fans. Some of them are nice. Some of them are … less nice. I have already openly expressed my disapprove_face.jpg about the ones who felt entitled to BOTH Berryz autograph sessions, even enlisting a relative/friend//homeless-guy-hanging-out-by-convention-center to stand in line for a 2nd Priority Ticket at the H!Store just so they could circumvent the “ONE PER PERSON” rule.
It’s like, yeeeeees I understand you love Berryz Koubou SOOOOO MUCH that you want to see the girls as much as possible, but when you double-book, you’re occupying a space in line that could have gone to a curious new fan. Aren’t you supposed to be recruiting new converts? Like someone who MAYBE just wandered into the concert last night and now wants to get to know them better? But now they won’t, because Mister or Miss Greedy is standing in line ahead of them.
BUT THAT’S NOT THE POINT.
What I meant to talk about was interacting with fans while waiting in line for things. LOL! Anyway, it struck me just how many layers of Berryz fandom there are. It’s like an onion … everyone smells kinda funny and after a while you just start crying. Okay, wrong metaphor. In any case, here is your Anthropological Field Guide to Berryz Koubou Fans IN AMERICA:
The Casual Fan
This was the dude I met outside the concert hall right before line-up. He was all like, “I just discovered Berryz last month!” IN A TOTALLY NON-IRONIC AND SERIOUS WAY which is hilarious if you are familiar with Hello! Island memes. Because of his n00bness, I did my best to be nice to him. Basically he was only familiar with big-name idol acts like Morning Musume and AKB48 and had found out about Berryz through Sakura-Con’s site. The depth of his knowledge was something like, “I like that one girl from AKB … the one who was in a drama? About a robot?” which meant he was a fan of Achooko, because all newcomers like Achooko.
He was all right, since you can’t expect everyone to be obsessive-compulsive. The good thing is that he was at least interested.
Curb Your Enthusiasm
By the time I got into the concert line, I was stuck behind this other fellow who … shall we say … wasn’t totally sharp on how to pronounce the Japanese language. Not that I’m one to talk, but I like to think I at least get the vowels right. Whereas my new buddy was all … “I got into Berryz because of Bueno!” And I’m like, “Who the hell is—OH WAIT YOU MEAN BUONO.” (How the hell can you mispronounce Buono!? Like a certain famous wota once said, they repeat it every other song!) Are Italian and Spanish really that easy to confuse? So anyway Mister BUENO fan here also starts talking about his favorite girls in the group and says “I’m a fan of Mo-MOH-ko.” Okay, a little unnecessary syLLABic emPHAsis, but I shrug it off. Until the weeaboo standing next to him says …
“You mean MOH-mo-ko.”
Joy to the world, I’d just met
ZOMG I AM JAPANES CULTURR EXPART From H!O Forums
I cringed inside.
Yeah, the conversation in the concert line got awkward when I found myself within trolling range of a young lady who felt it necessary to show off her H!P/Japan/EVERYTHING knowledge in front of me and the other guy, while also trying to ingratiate herself to a couple of Japanese-speaking wotas. She mentioned to another guy standing nearby that she was a regular Hello! Online user which I have to say explained a lot about her attitude.
So first she tried to “correct” Enthusiastic Guy’s pronounciation by mispronouncing it herself. And then she spent much of the time trying to chat with the J-wota in broken English/Japanese, which got to the point where she had to ask me for help in saying a certain number of yen … then realizing her exchange rate was off by ten.
When a bunch of folks came by giving out free lightsticks, I asked which color was Captain’s (since I will admit I have not memorized the official image colors for Berryz; I’m kinda bad about that) and got myself a yellow stick. Bueno Lover got one that was blue because, as he said, “My favorite color is blue.” But then Miss JAPANLAND EXPERT has to cut in and say, “Oh, blue is Maasa’s,” in this totally Smugleaf voice because YOU SHOULD ALL LISTEN TO HER AND GET THE GLOWSTICK OF YOUR FAVORITE BERRYZ MEMBER OR THEY WON’T LIKE YOU ANYMORE. Geez us cries.
Deep down I’m thinking, Dude, if he wants to get a blue lightstick, just let him get a blue lightstick.
True Stupid Ass Wotas
It wasn’t until Autographs on Day 3 that I met some fans who were on my wavelength, namely, the guys who run New School Kaidan (which is a totally boss site that you should check out). They spotted my press badge and realized that I actually Know My Shit, and we just started on riffing things like Did You Go To See Momusu/AKB IN AMERICA and Which Groups Do You Follow (they’d run into mostly H!P ONLY! fans who didn’t know AKB48 from a hole in the ground) and Isn’t Tokyo Girls Style’s New PV Awesome. Because there is never a wrong thread to discuss Tokyo Girls’ Style. Yes, even if you’re lining up for Berryz Koubou autographs.
By the time I was near the front of the line, my arms were killing me because GEEZ US that’s the last time I ever take SEVEN PHOTOBOOKS to an idol autograph session.
In conclusion, I think a balanced outlook on the idol world is the path to becoming a TRUE Stupid Ass Wota and I hope others will continue to evolve in that direction. Like Pokemanz.
It’s good to gather knowledge, but bandying it about and lecturing everyone who’s not as fannish as you is just … yeah.