Alice (nono_forever) wrote,

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Another Hulluva Day!


So I traveled all the way to New York City just to see HALCALI live again.   Was it worth it?  Hellz yeah!  So i've got another ridiculously long and detailed play by play for everyone. 

Of course, due to pictures never working in LJ cuts for me, you have to paste in the urls again.  Sorry!

For all my pictures of the event go here-->

And it begins.  The epic post-concert write up!

Let me preface this story by saying that Greyhound buses suck and I will never be riding one again.  My bus to Jersey broke down, not once, but twice.  This resulted in 6 hours worth of delays and the entire trip took 16 hours when it should have taken 10 hours.  Urgh.  But this seemed so small and unimportant after the fun I had on Sunday seeing HALCALI again.

I ended up staying at my friend Alison’s house in Jersey since it was fairly close to the city.  She was originally supposed to go with me to the concert, but ended up opting out since she went to both of the shows in Chicago.  In the end it was just me and my friend Krystal, who was going to meet up with me in Central Park.  So I began the long trek to Central Park on my own with only the vaguest idea of where East Meadows was located.

I eventually ended up at the Japan Day Festival in East Meadows at about 10:30, not bad considering I really didn’t know where I was going.  The festival had started at 10AM and I actually ended up finding the meadow by following the sound of Taiko drumming.  It was actually a really neat set up for the event.  They had a big stage all set up in the middle of the meadow (maybe that’s always there?  I’ve never been to Central Park before…) with little booths scattered all over the rest of the area.  Everything at the event was 100% free.  Thirsty?  No problem, just run over to the Tea booth and grab a free drink.  Hungry?  Free curry, udon, and gyudon for all!  It was really impressive.  The only negative effect it had was that since nothing could be for sale they couldn’t sell HALCALI shirts and merch at the event.  Only slightly disappointing for me, but I feel kinda bad for new fans they made after the event and people who didn’t get a chance to get a shirt in Chicago.  Hopefully they had them for sale at the Kinokuniya signing!

The booths had a nice variety of Japanese culture activities.  There was a booth with a talking android that looked very human and would answer questions.  Attached to that was a booth with little remote controlled robots that you could use to fight your friends.  Add to these booths with calligraphy, origami, shogi, go, water balloon yoyos, and kimono photo ops and you had a pretty interesting festival going on.  I think a lot of people were learning about Japanese culture and a lot of Japanese families were having fun as well.  There was also a surprisingly small amount of silly anime fans, which made the event all the better in the end.

I wandered around exploring the booths and getting free tea in all the flavors of the rainbow for a while.  By this time it was the end of the first set of demonstrations on the stage and they said that they were going to do some video documentaries for the break in between sets.  The host, who was some Japanese reporter on CNN, said that during the videos there would be a clip on the term “kawaii” and that it would be followed by a music video by guest HALCALI that truly summed up the term.  I walked down to the stage where the screens were showing the videos so that I could get a picture of the HALCALI stuff when it came up.  The videos were well put together, concise and actually really interesting.  So after the video on Kawaii they started playing HALCALI’s LOOK PV.  Um cause that’s the cutest PV they’ve always done?  Well regardless of their choice I got out my camera to get a picture of it… and it dies.  Not batteries dead, but just out and out broken.  Great.  Thanks world.  I’ve been taking pictures all morning and you choice the one time I actually really wanted to take a picture to break my camera.  I was a little disappointed but figured that my friend would be bringing her digital camera.  So I watched the rest of LOOK and walked over to one of the entrances to East Meadows to wait for her.  

It was while I was opportunely waiting by the entrance for my friend that HALCALI decided to show up for Japan Day.  I had promised myself that I wouldn’t be disappointed if they didn’t remember me.  I mean, I’m sure I was just one in many crazy fans they have met over the years.  So I just waited around nonchalantly not making any motions to wave to them first.  Then their manager/translator saw me and nudged Halca on her arm and she turned and saw me.  Instantly both Halca and Yucali started bouncing up and down waving excitedly at me yelling “Arisu!  Arisu!”   They totally remembered me!  Yucali walked up to me and said, “Long time no see!” excitedly before they both waved goodbye and hurried off to wherever they needed to go.  I was still floating on cloud 9 when I heard another “oh Arisu” from behind me and turned to see the remaining managers and DJKiMJUN, who had been the one who said my name.  They waved to me as well before going about their business.  This moment alone instantly made the 16 hour bus ride worth it.

My friend showed up shortly afterwards and we went to find me a disposable camera since her digital could only take 7 pictures.  I decided to get the best disposable I could, since they didn’t seem to be monitoring pictures during the performances and I had high hopes I could get a picture of them during the show itself.  After buying my 20-dollar camera I was ready to head back to the festival and walk around with my friend.  HALCALI obviously didn’t have a booth, but we had a blanket for the two of us to share so that we could sit out and watch the performances.  

We started heading to the shady tree area to spread out our blanket and happened to be walking past the information booth.  HALCALI was inside with their managers eating and talking in the back of the tent.  I waved to them and they happily waved back with the usual shouts of “Arisu!”  I stopped and talked to their manager for a bit.  I asked if they would be doing any Q&As or autographs and he let me know that they weren’t.  I replied that I was okay that they weren’t because I definitely had enough autographs now.  He laughed and said that I had plenty.  I didn’t want to be a bother, so I went on my way with my friend and we put out our blanket and watched some of the events.  

We ended up chilling until about an hour before the fourth set when HALCALI would be performing.  I wanted to head up to the stage early so that I could be front row center again.  Turned out a lot of people had headed up to the stage early as well.  But it was obvious they weren’t there for HALCALI.  Everyone seemed to be there for Shota Shimizu who was the last guest in the set.  I kinda assumed he was gonna be more popular than them due to his heartthrob of Japan status.  I still managed to essentially be front row center due to the Japanese girl in front of me being about 2 heads shorter than me and I could easily see over her.  The line up was essentially this:

1. Gaijin a GO-GO
2. Happy Fun Smile
4. Shota Shimizu

Gaijin a GO-GO was so not good.  I don’t know how they managed to get to play at the event.  Especially when I saw Peelander Z walking around in plainclothes.  Peelander was a more interesting group than them plus they also meshed with HALCALI better.  But it was becoming increasingly more obvious that the fourth set was all about Shota and not promoting HALCALI.  *sigh*  Come on Sony.  Happy Fun Smile wasn’t bad at all though.  They did modernized versions of traditional Japanese songs, like the Bon dance and Coal Mining Dance.  Their female singer had an excellent voice and they had a lot of energy.  

And then it was time for HALCALI.   Yay!  There were about 10 happy HALCALI fans in the audience freaking out, but everyone else was rather stoic.  I think that might partially have been due to the fact that most of the people at the festival were Japanese and were behaving more like a Japanese audience than an American one.  DJKiMJUN came out and started mixing up and entrance with the introduction track to Ongaku again.  I’ll never get tired of that mix; I want it as a ring tone or something.  So then out jumps HALCALI onto the stage.  It was a good show.  They had more energy than the previous acts and tried really hard to work up the audience.  DJKiMJUN kept looking and encouraging me to jump around and work people up.  I started bopping my arms in the air and he smiled at me.  Sweet.  

Set list was:

1. Twinkle Star
2. Tip Taps Tip
3. Sister Ship
4. Giri Giri Surf Rider
5. Halcali no Michi

Incredibly short set list, but fun nonetheless.  It was really hot by this point and I think Yucali might actually have been overheating in the bright sun.  She looked pretty tired out by the end of Giri Giri and actually stumbled over a part.  Didn’t matter and I don’t think anyone really noticed.  Halca was much more energetic in NYC than she was in Chicago.  I don’t know if the reception was as good overall though, due to Japanese reservations plus the growing fangirl crowds for Shota.  I hope it was enough that Sony considers bringing them back to the US again though! 

Pictures of the live:

At the end of their set they had the translators come out and ask them a few questions with the CNN hostess (who obviously knew nothing about HALCALI and I think she kept forgetting their name).  The translators were… uh not great?  They had terrible American accents in their Japanese and did a mediocre job translating.  I could even hear the crowd of Japanese people around me getting annoyed with their translations.  I honestly think that they only got the job as translators because of the novelty of them being twins.  And when the bulk of your festival audience is bilingual Japanese-Americans you have to do better than that.  Regardless there were some standard questions plus Yucali mentioned that they just finished a European single.  This peaked my interest a bit.  It’s good hearing something more definite on this overseas release.  If there are Parisian fans reading this, keep me in the loop when it comes out!  After the light interview HALCALI headed off stage and few excited fans were calling out to them.  Always nice to see other people happy to see them!

It was about then that a wave of overexcited Shota fangirls slammed into my back in an effort to get my front-center spot.  I wanted to hear Shota sing too, but I didn’t have to be a part of this crazy mob to hear him.  My friend wanted to stay close to get a picture of him for her Japanese friend and I excused myself to the back of the audience to listen in peace.  The second I left my spot at least two-dozen teenage Japanese girls rushed in to steal my old space.  Wow.  I felt pretty good about my decision to move to the back, plus I could feel a nice breeze and it was cooling.  

I was chilling at the back listening to Shota when I felt a giant slap on my back.  I figured it was my friend after she had wandered out of the audience as well.  Instead I turned to find DJKiMJUN smiling at me.  I said hi and we talked for a bit and one of HALCALI’s managers came over as well when he saw us.  He asked where I was from, how I got to the city, how long it took etc etc.  I told him that it had been a terrible 16 hour-long bus ride.  Both DJKiMJUN and the manager were kinda blown away by that, but I said that it was worth it.  The manager said that I truly was HALCALI’s number one American fan.  I asked DJKiMJUN to take a picture with me and he enthusiastically agreed and got one on what might have been his, or the manager’s, camera as well.  

He motioned that I was the number one fan in the picture.

We kept to the back of the audience and generally talked for a bit while Shota finished up.  At the end of that they brought out all the performers of the fourth set again.  I instantly felt a little sad that I wasn’t still up front cause it would be really hard to get a good picture of them on stage from the distance I was at now.  HALCALI waved to the group of girl fans that had yelled at them before happily.  Then I could see Halca look around and then she looked at me and started jumping up and down and waving super excitedly to me.  I laughed and started doing the same back.  Their manager leaned over to me and said that the girls definitely found me and noticed me back here.  Yeah!  HALCALI looked for me in the audience!  

At this point all the entertainers, DJKiMJUN, and their managers started heading to the back of the stage.  I waiting until I found my friend again and sort of poked around to the back of the stage to see where everyone had been going.  It turned out that they had set up a corral of sorts that all the entertainers were in doing interviews with different Japanese TV stations.  Television expose for HALCALI, always a good thing!  I was hanging around the corral for a while, unfortunately right in the midst of a group of Shota fangirls, and I ended up meeting another HALCALI fan from the day by day blog (James right?).  We chatted for a bit and he mentioned that he went to the autograph and interview at Kinokuniya on Friday and talked to HALCALI.  He let me know that he asked to be their number one New York City fan.  Apparently they told him that it was okay if he was their NYC fan, but Arisu was the number one American fan.  HALCALI tells people that!?  *dies of happiness* Another extremely awesome moment for me on this trip.  We went our separate ways and I continued waiting around the corral with hopes that I could wave goodbye to HALCALI, especially since this could possibly be the last time I see them in person.  I could see them look over at me occasionally during the interview so I figured that they knew I was waiting on the sidelines and I would at least get an excited “Arisu!” with my goodbye wave.

I continued chilling and chatting with my friend for a while when I felt someone literally JUMP to me side.  It sort of freaked me out so I turned to see what it was…

And there was Yucali grinning at me.

She yelled my name as I was in a state of total shock and then I felt another jump to my other side and Halca had joined her, also with an excited “Arisu!”  Holy crap HALCALI appeared out of nowhere to purposely surprise me!!!!

They immediately started thanking me profusely for coming to see them in NYC.  They said they had heard about me taking the bus and asked if I was going back tonight on a bus too.  Apparently the manager I had been talking to had shared the story of my trip up here with the girls!  I said that I had to take the bus tonight.  They continued thanking me for coming.  Then they noticed that I still had my camera, which I had absent-mindedly forgotten to put back in my bag.  They were like “Oh Arisu, do you want a picture?”  I said yeah sure I would.  A girl darted in between me and HALCALI and shoved her camera in my hands and asked for a picture.  I was kinda too bewildered to do anything besides do what she asked.  I don’t think HALCALI was too excited about the interruption though.  After that they demanded a picture with me and I moved to stand next to them for the photo op.  Next thing I knew, Halca was hugging me from my left and Yucali was hugging me on my right for a perfect picture moment. 

But of course my disposable camera cut it off kinda crappily.

After that picture a bunch of other fans sort of rushed up with their cameras and said that they wanted pictures too.  HALCALI turned to them and said that they actually weren’t doing pictures today.   …oh snap.  HALCALI came over to take a picture with me and only me (and random lucky girl who happened to jump in).  Pure joy!  They then turned to face me again and just started talking to me about all sorts of things.  They asked if I was going to Paris and I let them know that I wanted to go, but I didn’t have the money for it.  They seemed really disappointed that I didn’t have the money for it.  So I asked them if they were going to come back to the US again.  They said that they really really wanted to and hoped they could.  I let them know that if they ever came back to the US I would be there.  We keep talking for a bit.   At one point a guy walks up and says something like “Hey HALCALI, you two are some BA mother-fuckers!”  I tried to stifle a giggle at that, but Halca obviously didn’t understand what he had said and gave me a confused look and repeated ‘motha fuckaas?’ in the most adorably accented voice.  Oh it was so cute!  After we were done talking they thanked me again and ran off with waves to join their managers and leave the event.

Hot damn.  HALCALI came to talk to me after the concert.  Pretty much me and only me.  There were some other people on the side who obviously wanted to talk to them and get pictures still.  I feel kinda bad that they didn’t get the chance to talk to HALCALI.  But at the same time HALCALI came to talk to … ME.   Hellz yah!

Well it was an excellent end to that trip and made the over 28 hours spent on a bus both ways well worth it.  

HALCALI!!  Don’t forget your American fans!  Come back to us again you hear!?
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