Early May was spent settling in at work and home, exploring Tenjin and Hakata and generally still feeling like I was on a prolonged vacation. And then in mid-May started my two months of insane traveling, as I followed Granrodeo from city to city on their Magical Rodeo Tour.
First up was a trip to Tokyo for the opening show, which also allowed me to catch up with friends Yi Lin and Yi Ting again, who were in from Singapore. (we met up three times on their trip, since they flew in and out of Fukuoka — hope they can make it back next year). There was sweets viking, too much Let It Go (I shall never escape!), a great concert, and my introduction to late nights at Narita.
The following weekend was the quite magical show in Sendai, where I was front row, and garnered not only the attention of Kishow and e-zuka, but a ton of Rodeo Girls. Indeed, I would have people introducing me as “the American who came from Fukuoka to Sendai” or asking me if I was that fan for the next two months. Those three amazing hours were the start of something wonderful I hope will continue into next year.
The first weekend in June I skipped out on going to Hokkaido, and instead played hostess to Shaina when she came in for Miyano Mamoru’s tour. He was amazing on stage, as I’d suspected he would be, and it was interesting to be in a different mix of fans.
The following weekend found me in Nagoya, for the first Granrodeo date there, where I got to meet Jenny and Rhi, longtime Tumblr friends in from England, and Carol, a friend of Yi Lin and Yi Ting’s. It was great to finally meet Jenny & Rhi, and I’m glad to have made another GR-related friend. I also bumped into someone who recognized me from the Sendai show — I would see her again at the Fukuoka show the next weekend.
Managed to catch the office cold right after that, but plowed through two local GR shows the following weekend in Fukuoka and Kumamoto. Burned myself to a crisp outside the Fukuoka show, but worth it for e-zuka’s “Long time no see!” when they called for foreign fans. And though my spot was less than ideal in Kumamoto, the show was silly, goofy perfection. Kishow may never, ever sing “delight song” as perfectly as he did that day….
Next up was Osaka, where I met Shiroshirochan, for the first GR date there. She was so sweet, and gave me a very interesting and thought-provoking book about Japan, Shinto-ism and Japanese business. Ended up in line with a new fan going to her first live, a Rodeo Boy who seems to know everyone at the shows and a Rodeo Girl who said she remembered me from the first Hibiya show in 2012, which amazed me. The show itself felt a bit odd, and apparently it was a bit strained, but everyone around me seemed to enjoy it, so all was good.
No rest for the wicked, as the last weekend in June saw me back in Tokyo so Nancy and I could go to the women-only Granrodeo show, which actually managed to outdo Sendai for most memorable, something I didn’t think possible. First, we met M-san, perhaps the best known Rodeo Girl here in Japan, who took us under her wing and got us good spots — perfect spots, as it turned out — for the show and introduced me around. The show itself was incredible; the thought put into it was considerable, and it was tons of fun. And the attention I got from the stage? Let’s just say … priceless. A fantastic way to wrap up a hectic month.
Next up: July’s final shows, birthday and August Kyoto deluge