April 25, 2008

ENJOY WITH MOMOI IN HF: Sunday (part 2)

When the concert was over, Momoi set up a table for autographs. The crowd was much bigger this time, and you could see people who you would never expect scrambling to buy shirts, CDs, and fliers as souvenirs. Entire families were waiting ranging from small children to teenagers to musclebound tough guys to grandparents. Even Momoi's limo driver ended up joining the line. Ad-hoc interviews were also done on the spot by local newspapersch. Like the previous day, the fan club decided to wait off the line until everybody else could go. Japanese momoists were more interested in documenting the incongruous audience phenomenon, eagerly snapping pictures of "unlikely" fans. In the end, because of the larger crowd, Momoi was not able to sign things for us. That was ok though, as fanclub members would see Momoi again later at the closing dinner.

Nyol and I had a bit of a scare on the way back to the hotel though. He and I were the last ones to leave (around 4:30 PM) in order to help get cabs for everyone else. Unfortunately, the final cab was incredibly late because major roads had been closed for the parade. We spent a hellishly SLOW 45 minute ride back to the hotel nervously wondering if we were going to miss the dinner, at one point contemplating just walking the rest of the way. We ended up making it on time though, and it was nice of the cab driver to just stop the meter at $20 to prevent the fare from getting to ridiculous levels.

The dinner was a catered event in one of the hotel's conference rooms. Seating arrangements were groups of 6 - 8 at round tables, with Momoi having her own individual table/panel at the front of the room. Drinks were served by a minibar in the corner. Prior to starting the meal, everyone went around the room to touch glasses with Momoi and each other. The menu lineup was soup, steak and chicken cutlet, and a custard tart with fruit.

While eating, Momoi would talk about various topics using her table microphone, such as her thoughts on the concert, the experience in Hawaii, and upcoming roles and events. She also broke into evil "ohohoho" laughs quite frequently. During the course of the dinner, her manager Suzuki also had a speech thanking everyone for the success of the trip. Due to nature of the room, the whole format was a little more reserved but fans were still free to call out at any time or go up to her table. Momoi remarked that she really thought it was great that everyone could get on stage, prompting Vesper to show Momoi footage of the final performance that he captured on camera.

When dessert was nearly finished, Mandi and I brought out our secret present which we had kept concealed from everyone: 21 ounces of customized pink M&M candies with "momo-i" and "moe is rock" printed on the shells, stored in a special "Sunday early morning" themed box. When Momoi opened it, she doubled back and did a crazy prolonged "UWAAAAAAAH! UWAAAAAAAH!! UWAAAAAAAAAAH!!! UWAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!" scream with her hands on her face. She was so excited, the entire room stopped to stare at her. We took this opportunity to reveal the second bonus as we also included smaller individually wrapped packs for everyone else in the room. It seemed to be pretty well received as everybody spent a lot of time taking pictures.

After this, Momoi decided to get a bit more interactive with fans with a series of activities. First she issued a question which will not be repeated here, but the answer could only have been obtained if one had the unusual foresight of looking up Momoi's skirt during the concert. There were no winners. The second activity was a round of bingo, with the first three winners getting special Hawaiian shoulder bags that Momoi bought from ABC. I ended up tying as the first bingo so I got to have one. Then, she made the rounds at the tables for about 15-20 minutes each for individual attention, chatting, posing, trying out gadgets, doing calligraphy, or autographing. This lasted until the end of the dinner around 9:30PM. When everything was done, Momoi gave a final thank you speech in tears.

From there, we each lined up at the door to receive a gift from Momoi and JTB: a large print of a group photograph we had taken earlier when everyone was on stage. Momoi signed and wrote thank you messages to each person as they picked up their copy. Even after leaving the conference room, things did not end though. The fans packed into the elevator to head back down to the lobby, while Momoi and staff stayed the outside. Even as we were near maximum capacity, Momoi suddenly started walking toward us as if to get into the elevator, then stopped, then started again. In what seemed to be a few moments of internal debate, she finally got a "ah what the hell, I'll give them what they want" look on her face and crammed herself into the elevator with us. Everybody cheered. Yet another service to fans, courtesy of Momoi.

In the second floor JTB lobby, to celebrate the end of a successful trip, we spent another 40 minutes getting individual pictures taken with Momoi. She was very accomodating to any type of photo a fan wanted to do, and posed in pretty much any position including mock strangling / slave-driving. Once everything was done, we escorted Momoi outside where she shook hands with everyone including non-fanclub members who didn't get to meet her at the dinner. By the end of the night I had lost track of how many times she had thanked fans. As a final send-off, the crowd brought out glowsticks and mass cheered her as she left for her limo, and didn't stop until she was well out of sight. It was a great feeling of unity even as we were creating a commotion at night in front of the hotel.

Oblivious to jet lag, I slept soundly that night fully satisfied with having been able to participate in this great event at Hawaii. Looking back, it may be the single best Momoi-related decision I ever made. It was an awesome experience, and I am glad to have shared it with the friendliest and most dedicated Momoists in the world. Now to do it all again in Canada!

Some other bonus pictures:

200 glowsticks that we brought for the concert. In all, fanclub members contributed for a total sum of over 800.

Special "Momoi edition" M&Ms.

500 flyers printed in NYC and shipped to Hawaii

Posted by Paranda at April 25, 2008 7:58 AM


I apologize for the late comment, but I wanted to thank you for the overview... and those M&Ms are adorable!

Posted by: AnimeKittyCafe at June 15, 2008 4:17 PM

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