Dr. Shades's INCREDIBLE Perfume experiences, a 4-part saga

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Dr. Shades's INCREDIBLE Perfume experiences, a 4-part saga

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The chronicles of Dr. Shades's incredible PERFUME experiences, Part I of IV:

THE LEAD-UP

Or, Perfume is FAR more popular than even **I** thought

Having the choice of an 8:31 a.m. flight or an 11:30 or so flight from Salt Lake City to San Jose, I opted for the former so I could get in line sooner and thereby get a better spot in front of the stage. I knew that when I landed it'd be far too soon to check in to my motel, so I pretty much only flew with the clothes on my back, a book to read while in line, and a fanny pack to hold my concert ticket, boarding pass, etc.

I hired an Uber ride for the very first time and was a little confused about how I was supposed to pay for it, but I eventually got it figured out (the payment is automatic, it turns out).

I arrived at the venue just a little before 10:00 a.m. local time. Sure enough, there were people already in line. I was #34. The reason I know is because, as a courtesy, a guy was handing out face cards with sequential numbering written on them so that if anything happened we could prove where we were supposed to be in line (more about this guy later). The third person ahead of me, and maybe the rest of his group, had been there since about 7:30 a.m. So who knows how early the people at the very front of the line had arrived!

I soon noticed that there was a table set up near front of the line with a huge custom-made vinyl banner featuring the following picture:

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Everyone had an open invitation to come sign it with the intent, of course, that it be given to the three members of Perfume after the show. I went up and signed the extreme lower-right. I wrote, in Japanese, "I flew in an airplane 945 kilometers just to see you!" Then, in English, "I love you!! --Shades."

As you well know, when it comes to talking about Perfume, I'm used to it happening only on here on this message board and me being almost the only one doing the talking. Not long after signing the banner, though, I had the bizarre experience of hearing complete strangers talk all about Perfume in conversations that I wasn't a part of at all. 'Twas a first for me. I also got to see people wearing official Perfume swag, of which I myself don't have any. For example, the two people in front of me were wearing the official jackets from Perfume's last tour. I was envious.

It was quite a while before anyone else showed up after me. The sun came out from behind the building across the way, and I would've been cooked were it not for the kind person behind me who loaned me an umbrella before walking off into the shade. I spent most of the time reading the book I brought (Dan Brown's Origins). A few hours later I started talking to some of the people in front of me and learned a few facts that rather shocked me.

I imagine that you all think I'm quite the Perfume fanatic. Well, I'm here to tell you that there were people in that line, and at that concert, who put my fandom to absolute SHAME. Who make me look like an extreme lightweight. A Perfume peasant, if you will. For example, here's a picture of me flanked by two guys a little bit ahead of me in line:

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(I apologize for having forgotten to suck in my gut.)

Why did I have my photo taken with those specific two, you may ask? Well, a few years ago they were featured in a YouTube video that had been recorded from Japanese T.V. You see, JapanTV has a regular feature titled "Why Did You Come To Japan?" wherein they interview obvious foreigners at the airport in the arrival area, asking them. . . well, you can probably guess based on the title of the segment. Anyway, a camera crew happened to catch these two guys, and their response was that they'd come to Japan just to see Perfume in concert. This rather shocked the interviewer. I know all this because I saw the YouTube clip.

Perfume's choreographer (more on her later) has a friend who saw that segment. He or she told the choreographer, then the choreographer told the members of Perfume themselves about it, then during their weekly radio segment the three of them shed tears over it!

Anyway, the guy on the right lives in Seattle and knew he had to be the first one in line on sheer principle. So he got in line a full 48 hours in advance! (For the Seattle concert, that is.) I know because a picture of him there was posted to one of Perfume's Facebook groups. The weather was bad at the time, as it often is in that city, so he and his friends bought tents to stay dry.

Okay, enough trivia. Talking to the two of them more, I got clarification of a rumor to which I hadn't given much credence because it sounded just a little too far-fetched. But here's the deal: Apparently Perfume are WAY more popular than even **I** had thought. Remember those YouTube videos wherein Perfume is in front of a vast swath of humanity packed into the very largest arenas in Japan? Well, all those attendees are not the general public. They're not even all members of the fan club. You see, Perfume is SO incredibly popular that they simply can't sell tickets to the general public. They can't even sell tickets to every member of their fan club. To get tickets, one has to be a member of the fan club, then one becomes qualified to enter a ticket lottery, and only IF you win that lottery do you earn the right to purchase two tickets.

So, yes, all those masses of people in the concert videos? Those are only members of the fan club, and only members who were fortunate enough to win the ticket lottery. And it's not just in one venue; it's that way in EVERY SINGLE CITY in which they perform, all over their home country.

Freakin' WOW.

I had purposely dehydrated myself by drinking nothing all day so I wouldn't have the urge to use the bathroom in the middle of the concert. I took a pre-concert restroom trip a half hour before the doors opened--the people around me were kind enough to save my place in line--then took three photos on my way back. This first shot is of the corner of the block, looking northwest toward the end of the line:

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You can't see the end because it snakes around the block.

This photo is after rotating the camera to look southwest toward the front of the line:

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This shot is looking behind me from where I was in line, having stepped a few, uh, steps to the right to get a better shot:

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The doors opened at 7:00 p.m. The line surged forward, then, to my dismay, they split it into about five sub-lines, one in front of each entry door. So I ended up with more competition for the front of the stage than I had anticipated.

END OF PART I (it only gets better)
"I know of a case in which a woman made a confession to her Bishop, and told him that he must not disclose her confession to her husband. This put the Bishop in a bind because he was her husband."

--Malkie, 08-18-2022
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Re: Dr. Shades's INCREDIBLE Perfume experiences, a 4-part saga

Post by Dr. Shades »

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The chronicles of Dr. Shades's incredible PERFUME experiences, Part II of IV:

THE CONCERT

Or, further revelations regarding Perfume's popularity

Once my ticket was scanned, I sprinted to the front of the stage, as did everyone else. Alas, there was a chest-high solid-metal fence in front of it so that technical crew could walk back and forth unimpeded, so it was impossible for anyone to be directly adjacent to the stage. The floor was true general admission--standing room only--and although I wasn't in the first row, I was fortunately in the second row, i.e. one person away from the fence.

For the first time ever, they had an opening act. Apparently a member of OK GO!, an American group with whom Perfume collaborated on a song, sponsors or created a side group called Xia Xia Technique and called in a favor, asking Perfume to give them some exposure. So they played from 7:15 to 7:45 or so. Perfume wasn't due to get on stage until 8:00 anyway, so it was okay. Xia Xia Technique's two members reminded me of the old band Devo and had a minimalistic, primarily bass style. I'll probably look them up and listen again.

Once they were done, I took a photo of the people behind me:

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People here have complained that Perfume's music must only appeal to pre-teen girls, but as you can see from the photo there's not a minor in sight. It's a regular cross-section of humanity. Take that, haters! You can also clearly see that the venue is sold out (no suprise there).

I then started talking to the guy standing to my immediate left, a guy named James (now a Facebook friend) who'd flown in from Oklahoma, beginning by saying something like, "Oh man, my heart is beating out of my chest! I can hardly believe this!" He told me that he's seen multiple Perfume concerts, but even he still feels the adrenaline start flowing prior to each concert. Over the ensuing conversation he taught me two surprising things:

First, many Japanese fans consider the much, much smaller concerts overseas to be actually superior to the enormous productions inside Japan itself. This is (again) for two reasons: First, among those fans in Japan who win the fan club lottery, it's nearly impossible to get the best seats, no matter how much money one is willing to pony up. This is because the very second that tickets become available, tens of thousands of people are at their computers, clicking like mad to be among the first to buy them. So, by the time you finally get in--however many seconds later--all the best spots are already gone. In America, however, anyone can get a ticket--no fan club or lottery necessary--and if you're willing to get in line early enough you have a good chance of getting respectably close to the stage. Second, in Japan, with so many concert-goers to please there are typically three sub-stages branching out from the main stage--you can see this clearly in many of their YouTube videos--so each girl can get closer to more audience members, and they switch off at intervals. So even if you're lucky enough to be close to one of them, the other two are still way off in the distance. In the United States, on the other hand, since they play at far, far smaller venues, they must by necessity scale down quite a bit and therefore perform on a single stage. Thus you can conceivably be close to all three of them at once or otherwise have all of them in your field of vision at the same time.

The other thing James taught me is that most of the people in the front all know each other, if not by name, then at least by face. How is this possible? It's because many people buy tickets to literally EVERY NORTH AMERICAN SHOW and follow Perfume all around the country--and around the continent, if you count Canada--attending every single one. So they all get to know each other to some extent or other.

Now, referring back to the information contained two paragraphs before this one--that of smaller overseas concerts being superior to larger domestic ones--a good deal of Japanese people "put their money where their mouth is" by flying all the way in from Japan itself to attend the concerts here. Not only that, but plenty of people outside of Japan have also noticed this "smaller is better" phenomenon, and similarly fly in from all over the world. I was already aware that some people had come in from Mexico. James pointed out a guy in front of him and to the left and informed me that he had flown in all the way from Singapore to attend this concert. (That guy heard us talking and jokingly added, "And also to eat Chipotle!") Remember the guy to whom I referred in the original post who was giving out face cards so we could prove our places in line? He was a couple of people to the left of the dude from Singapore. James pointed him out and informed me that he had flown in from Switzerland and was attending every North American show.

So, yeah, you all may think I'm a Perfumaniac, but hopefully you can now see that among Perfume fans, I'm actually quite a lightweight, barely deserving of notice.

Then the lights went down and the cheering erupted. To create a 3-D effect, there was a cloth screen at the front of the stage, and the prelude "movie" was played on it, while another set of accompanying graphics were played on the back wall behind the stage. Three mobile screens were placed mid-stage, and near the end of the prelude you could see, through the cloth screen, A-chan, Kashiyuka, and Nocchi walking in and taking their positions. I was in a state of near-disbelief, 'cause after discovering this band sometime in August 2016, and loving both them and their music so dearly and deeply throughout the intervening two-and-a-half-plus years, I was finally seeing them, in person, with my own two eyes!

Then the concert started in earnest. To get a very good idea of what it was like, click here and skip ahead to the 10:32 mark. Yes, it's the Coachella live feed recording, but that's the part at which they begin performing the same song that they opened with at my concert. The rest of it is quite similar to what we all experienced in San Jose.

Just as Res Ipsa described, the bass was PUMPIN'. One could easily feel it into one's chest and lungs. I guess I was close enough to the stage that it didn't drown out the music itself, so that was nice. I'm a fan of bass, and it doesn't really come across in YouTube videos, so this was an enormous bonus for me.

After a number of songs, they started talking to the audience, just like they do at every concert. When they reached the limits of their English ability, they asked for a volunteer to translate. If you've been following my updates, you'll know that I really, REALLY wanted to be the one chosen to translate for them, so much so that I bought that long-sleeved flourescent yellow shirt that you saw in the opening post specifically to stand out from the crowd and hopefully be noticed by them more easily. Kashiyuka and Nocchi did the choosing, and although they scanned over me a couple of times, I don't think they made eye contact with me. All the while I was screaming, in Japanese, things like "I can translate!" and "I can speak Japanese!" Others around me heard this and kindly started pointing me out.

Alas, however, I wasn't the one chosen. Although they try to pick native-born people, they went with an obviously Asian woman for whom English wasn't her native language. Remember the two guys flanking me in the photo opening post? Well, they were directly on either side of the woman translating.

Perfume talked about purposefully avoiding shopping on this tour up until then so that they wouldn't have so much stuff to haul home. But the day before, the dam burst and they couldn't restrain themselves anymore. A-chan was debating whether to buy a certain lipstick, but then Nocchi walked up with about six tubes of it. A-chan said, "Her lips aren't that big, are they? Why so much make-up for such a small face?"

After that fun segment, the concert continued in earnest. Most likely as a courtesy to the people behind us, we had all been heavily instructed/encouraged to not use our phones, especially not to record or live stream on pain of being ejected. Although most people complied, I knew I had to take at least a couple of photos surreptitiously for memory's sake or else I'd regret it forever. Here's the first one, taken from just over chest height so as not to be in the way of anyone behind me:

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From left to right we have Kashiyuka, A-chan, and Nocchi. They're in the same order in this next photo, too:

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So, which specific songs did they perform? Their setlist, in its proper order and along with the corresponding clickable music videos, is up at this website. I was very fortunate in that they performed "Secret Secret," probably my second favorite of theirs. They also performed "Butterfly," another one that's among my personal top five or thereabouts.

Knowing how much of a fan I am, you can probably imagine how much I enjoyed the whole show. Let me tell you, seeing them live is a very, very far cry from seeing them in a YouTube video. All the tightly-choreographed dance moves being performed with laser-like precision was far more impressive in person. From beginning to end, seeing them live, and not on YouTube, was more than just a dream come true, it was like being in a dream itself. Even though I was actively seeing it, I was only barely believing it.

After about an hour and a half, just like all other things it came to an end.

END OF PART II (What's this? A cherry on top is still on the way?)
"I know of a case in which a woman made a confession to her Bishop, and told him that he must not disclose her confession to her husband. This put the Bishop in a bind because he was her husband."

--Malkie, 08-18-2022
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Re: Dr. Shades's INCREDIBLE Perfume experiences, a 4-part saga

Post by Dr. Shades »

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The chronicles of Dr. Shades's incredible PERFUME experiences, Part III of IV:

THE ENVIABLE AFTERMATH

Or, a perfect way to cap off the evening

When the lights went back up, I meandered around and talked to more people. Two of the folks I met were female friends of each other, one of whom had "cosplayed" Perfume's "Spending All My Time" video. They were among those who had flown in all the way from Japan just for this concert.

I leisurely made my way over to the lost and found area to pick up my jacket, hat, and book that I'd ditched behind a door prior to the concert starting. There was an item of concert merchandise I wanted--they sell these square pins sealed inside opaque packaging, and the pin inside features one of 67 different album covers, single covers, or promotional photos, so which one you get is always a surprise--so I went over to the swag vendor. I then found out that taking my time walking around and talking to people after the concert was a BIG mistake. (I knew not to try to buy anything before the concert, since I'd need to claim the best possible place in front of the stage without a second's delay.)

The reason it was a mistake was because the line for official merchandise was ENORMOUS. I'd almost swear it was comparable to the line prior to concert itself. A mass of people snaked from the display case and cash registers all along the wall, around the corner, down the hall, and in front of the other stage in the venue. I saw the end up ahead, then upon closer inspection realized it was only a fire marshall-enforced break in front of an exit. After the exit, the line picked right back up and went all the way back along the wall, nearly to the original foyer itself. After some internal debate, I thought to myself, "What the Hell, you only live once" and walked to the end of the line, and there stood a woman wearing a jacket that identified her as a venue employee. She said that that was the end of the line and that she couldn't let anyone else in. "What?" I exclaimed, then asked her how much earlier she had taken up that post. She said I'd missed my chance by about 30 seconds. DANG!

So, let this be a lesson to you: The next time you go to a Perfume concert, if you wish to get any official swag, once the lights come up you must SPRINT to the merchandise case. No meandering, no hanging out on the floor. (This turned out to actually work to my advantage, believe it or not--read on.)

Oh well, lesson learned, I guess. I walked outside and was about to call for an Uber, then I got to thinking: "There's a YouTube video of people waving to and greeting Perfume as they entered the theater for their Cologne, Germany gig, so maybe people are planning to wave good-bye to them as they leave this theater. I came all the way here, and you only live once, so why not at least check?"

I walked around until I saw a loading-dock style area, and sure enough, from my angle I could see a tour bus and two full-sized tractor-trailers backed up to the building. There was an open metal gate with a guard sitting nearby, and a few other concert-goers were standing around. I walked up and talked to them; one was a guy who had similarly flown in from Japan, not just for this concert but to see some basketball games, too. Another guy was clearly Japanese but I didn't catch whether he'd flown in just for this (as opposed to being an exchange student or something). This latter guy had an enviable armful of official merchandise: Multiple T-shirts, a concert DVD, and of course a copy of the "Future Pop" album itself (the one for which Perfume was touring in support, of course).

There was no telling when they would depart, of course, but I reminded myself that I literally had nothing better to do. What else was I going to do; go back to the motel and sit around watching T.V.? That was going to happen sooner or later anyway. At least this way I wouldn't be tormented with curiosity over what might have happened had I stuck around.

So I stayed. Venue employees started filing out, headed to a close-by parking garage. Two of them stopped and talked, and one of them shared a few surprising things: First, he had been shoulder-to-shoulder with whom I concluded was Nocchi backstage at one point. After I did the obligatory Wayne's World-style "we're not worthy!" routine at him, he continued by telling us that Perfume's staff and stage crew were among the most polite and respectful with whom they'd ever dealt. It didn't stop there; he similarly said that Perfume's fans were also among the best they'd ever hosted: There was no shoving, no fighting, no arguing, no drunkenness, and no belligerence from anyone.

To top it off, he revealed an interesting tidbit: On an almost nightly basis they deal with musical acts of which they've never heard and whom they don't know from Adam. He and the other employees have a litmus test by which they discern which groups are popular and which ones aren't: The speed at which the fans move from the front doors to the stage. As soon as they saw all of Perfume's fans literally SPRINT to the front of the stage, they knew that they had a very popular group on their hands.

After this, I got to chatting with the guard by the gate, and he talked about seeing the three members of Perfume when they arrived at the venue earlier in the day, sometime around 3:00 p.m. They showed up in a scaled-down limousine, and he had to have the driver roll the tinted windows down so he could verify whether the occupants were authorized to enter the premises. Ergo, he got to see the three of them up close and rather personal. Pretty cool, I thought, but wasted on him because he doesn't know the magic that is Perfume!

At about 11:00 p.m. a smaller-sized SUV-type vehicle pulled in with darkened but not entirely tinted windows. Could this be their transport to the hotel? It pulled around a wall and out of sight. The guard helpfully walked several steps inside the gate to observe the goings-on, then when the headlights swung back around he walked back toward us giving an affirmative signal of sorts. This was it!

The vehicle pulled out, and the four of us stood to the side shouting "Thank you!!" while waving exuberantly. Like I said, the windows were darkened, but adjacent to one window, clearly visible, sat A-chan, who smiled and waved at us as she passed in front of us!

AWESOME!!

We were all HEAVILY stoked. The other two went off in different directions, but the guy who'd flown in from Japan and I walked back around to the front of the venue. We were both tripping on Cloud Nine. We unanimously agreed that the experience of being acknowleged and waved at by A-chan was pretty much equivalent to the entire experience of the concert itself.

Back at the front of the theater, I was curious and took a look back inside. Sure enough, the line for merchandise was still in full force. You can probably guess where I'm going with this, but remember how I said a earlier that not getting a spot in line ended up working in my favor? Yes: Had I still been in line, I would've missed out on A-chan smiling and waving at me. Maybe not me personally--I couldn't see whether she made eye contact with me in specific--but she smiled and waved at us four collectively. Hey, when it comes to Perfume, I'll definitely take what I can get!

So, that was an utterly fantastic "cherry on top" of the concert. Definitely a finale to remember.

END OF PART III (It can't possibly get any better, of course. . . or can it??)
"I know of a case in which a woman made a confession to her Bishop, and told him that he must not disclose her confession to her husband. This put the Bishop in a bind because he was her husband."

--Malkie, 08-18-2022
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Re: Dr. Shades's INCREDIBLE Perfume experiences, a 4-part saga

Post by Dr. Shades »

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The chronicles of Dr. Shades's incredible PERFUME experiences, Part IV of IV:

THE UNTHINKABLE

Or, as if I hadn't gotten my money's worth already

(Preamble: Did you notice that the title of this thread uses the word "experiencES," plural?)

The poor Uber driver had his ear talked off by me on the way to the motel, which I'm sure surprises none of you. It was clear that he was becoming more and more intrigued as the ride progressed; not so much by the concept of a Japanese electro-pop group but by the fact that they could be so popular in their native country and, I wager, that they could inspire such exuberance and devotion in a fan like me. He told me he'd have to look them up.

Other than the single bowl of cereal before leaving home, I hadn't eaten or drank anything all day. It was nearly midnight, and fortunately there was a Denny's restaurant across the parking lot. Murphy's law struck again, though, and it was closed for remodeling. The only other place in sight was a gas station next to it, so I spent over $9.00 on gas station food.

The next day it was back to the same gas station for a $2.00 pack of gum since I didn't have my toothbrush or toothpaste with me, then a leisurely walk to the airport. I got lost and walked to the wrong terminal, but two helpful employees directed me back in the right, uh, direction. After going through the T.S.A. checkpoint and finding my gate, I sat around for a while, playing on my phone (big surprise).

I don't know about you, but I *hate* having to use the restroom on a plane, because by the time you have to go badly enough to stand up and actually do it, Murphy's law kicks in and the pilot turns on the "Fasten Seat Belt" sign.

So for that purpose I'd adopted the same strategy as the day before, that of not drinking anything all day. I decided to get up, find the nearest restroom, and use it a half hour prior to my flight. I then took a seat across from it and waited a while.

As I was sitting there, minding my own business, three people suddenly entered my field of vision, walking left to right, roughly four feet in front of me.

Any guesses on who they might have been?

Seriously? Any guesses at all?

Go ahead. Give it a shot.

I'll wait.
"I know of a case in which a woman made a confession to her Bishop, and told him that he must not disclose her confession to her husband. This put the Bishop in a bind because he was her husband."

--Malkie, 08-18-2022
User avatar
Dr. Shades
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Re: Dr. Shades's INCREDIBLE Perfume experiences, a 4-part saga

Post by Dr. Shades »

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. . . CONTINUED

If you guessed "Akaya Nishiwaki, a.k.a. 'A-chan,' Yuka Kashino, a.k.a. 'Kashiyuka,' and Ayano Omoto, a.k.a. 'Nocchi,'" then you were absolutely RIGHT! (Any other guess was wrong, I'm afraid.) Nocchi was in front, A-chan was closest to me, and Kashiyuka was on the other side of A-chan. The first and only thing that ran through my mind was a thundering, "IT'S PERFUME!!" Thank all that is holy that I didn't choke or otherwise freeze up, 'cause acting on pure instinct I simultaneously raised my hand, waved, smiled, and said the Japanese equivalent of good-bye: "Sayonara!"

Then the heretofore-unthinkable happened: A-chan and Kashiyuka both turned to me, made eye contact with me, waved to me, smiled sweetly at me, then said, "Sayonara!"

.

. .

. . .

Now, I may have been a little too subtle about it, but over the last two years and four months it's possible that I dropped one or two clues that would lead you to believe that I was somewhat favorably disposed toward the Japanese electro-pop group "Perfume."

I was most likely a bit vague, but over the last 28 months, if you had looked at my posts and read really hard between the lines, you may have concluded from a few of them that I rather like the band "Perfume."

In fact, if someone were to accuse me of being a fan of the Japanese trio "Perfume," there just might be barely enough evidence in this forum to convict me.

With that in mind, can you imagine how I felt in that exact moment? Can you begin to comprehend what that was like for me?

Here's the only thing I can compare it to: Jersey Girl, picture yourself in an airport, sitting there minding your own business, when all of a sudden Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Ronnie Wood walk by RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU about four feet away. You smile, wave, and say goodbye, then Mick Jagger and Keith Richards turn to you, make eye contact with you, smile at you, wave at you, and say, "Goodbye!"

Did you picture it? How might you feel, do you think?

Well, what amounts to my precise equivalent--yes, my EXACT, PRECISE EQUIVALENT--happened to me in that moment.

The whole thing began and ended within approximately 1 and 1/2 seconds. But let me tell you, I sure wasn't the same after as I was before.

I was awestruck.

I was dumbfounded.

I was overwhelmed.

I was flabbergasted.

I was in a state of near-disbelief.

In fact, it was a such a perfect storm of all of those things that my brain did an emergency shut down. My physical body could only sit there in a state of stunned, utter silence.

When I recovered enough to move, I noticed that A-chan had gotten in line at the nearby airport Starbucks, while the other two stood around to wait. I then walked into the bathroom for my originally-planned pre-flight, um, bladder-emptying session. I then did what is, for us guys, the near-taboo thing of striking up a conversation with the complete stranger at the urinal next to me. I said something like, "Would you believe me if I told you that the members of probably the most popular musical group in Japan today, their equivalent of the Rolling Stones, are standing literally 50 feet away from us right now?" He reacted about the same way any of you would react to being told that. Now, I take fewer pictures than anyone I know, but after I left the restroom I knew that nobody here would believe me unless I got a photo or two. Heck, I would probably start doubting the reality of the event myself without some shots. So, being as surreptitious as I possibly could, I took the following two:

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To the far left is Kashiyuka, with the long hair. Right next to her is their security guy. To the far right, in the gray sweater and standing adjacent to the pillar, is Nocchi. Sure, their backs are to us, but as I said in Part III, when it comes to Perfume I'll take what I can get!

I then rotated the phone a little to the left and took this one:

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You probably can't see her too well, since she's wearing a black poncho-type shawl of sorts, but that's A-chan at the far left, below and a little to the left of that overhead light. No, she's not wearing a tiara or anything; that's simply the light reflecting off her hair. I guess she must wear it "down" when not doing official Perfume stuff. At the far right, again, is Kashiyuka.

Yeah, I get it: Their backs are facing us, so I guess I can't prove that the three in those pictures are who I'm saying they are. But I pinkie swear to you all that I'm not lying.

Time to go back to the boarding area and wait. I couldn't pass up the opportunity, so I made a point of walking past Kashiyuka just a few feet away from her, you know, just to say I did. I progressed a little farther, stopped, then took a quick peek behind me. She was staring down at her phone pretty intently, but it was very obvious that it was her. Yes, the face that had graced my computer's desktop as its background image for so long was right there, literally in the flesh.

Turning and pressing on, I got to the boarding area and was pleasantly surprised to see Perfume's choreographer sitting by herself. (You know a band is famous when even their choreographer gets famous.) In Japan, titles go at the end of last names, so "Mr. Smith" would be "Smith Mr." And "Sister Jones" would be "Jones Sister." Japan has an extra convention: If someone is a professor, an instructor, or a teacher, then "Teacher" replaces "Mr.," "Mrs.," etc. The Japanese word for "teacher" is "sensei," and the choreographer goes by her first name--Mikiko--so both the members of Perfume and the rest of the world know her as "Mikiko-sensei."

Whew! Why not get a photo of her, too?

Image

After that, I reasoned that she probably wasn't as used to fending off rabid fans as the other three are, so I decided to roll the dice and thank her for all the great dance moves she's taught the girls over the years. (If you've seen any YouTube videos of Perfume depicting them at age 15 or older, well, those were Mikiko-sensei's dance moves.) I went up to her, extended my hand, shook hands with her, then thanked her in Japanese for all the great dance moves she's taught Perfume. She looked up at me and said something that I only caught the tail end of, since the boarding area was a bit loud. It was something like "_____ skillful!" I replied, "Yes, their dancing is skillful all right," but she clarified that she meant my Japanese was skillful. I said the equivalent of, "Wow, what a privilege to be praised by Mikiko-sensei!" and then continued bantering for a bit. I explained that I'd flown 945 kilometers for no other reason than to attend last night's concert, and she reacted by opening her eyes wider and dropping her jaw a little. I then explained that I owned a message board and had made Perfume it's official J-pop group. (Which message board, you may ask? This one, believe it or not.) I then described how others here were rooting for me and would be waiting for my write-up.

I asked her if she goes to every Perfume performance, and she replied in the affirmative. After a very small amount of additional banter I decided to quit while I was ahead and beat a hasty retreat, saying that I needed to get going.

In the meantime, Perfume had walked behind me and hunkered down in the corner, sitting on the floor in a circle with three or so of their staff members and/or stage crew. They were playing some sort of game that I never did figure out, laughing and having a good time:

Image

Kashiyuka is behind the left leg of the security guy; you can see her long hair. A-chan is sitting directly to the right of him, while we can see Nocchi's profile to the right.

As you all know, when waiting to board a flight, you have to sit somewhere. So I thought to myself, "Why not sit near those who are, in my universe, the 1964 equivalent of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison?" So I meandered over and took a seat within the second row away, facing away from them (some members of their tour crew were in the row closest to them). I sat there for a while, quietly soaking in the unbelievable fact that the band, and all three of its members, that I love so dearly and deeply were just behind me.

Alas, prior to this Mikiko-sensei had also moved to this area and was sitting in the same row, two seats away from me, but in the seat that was facing the opposite direction. In other words, back-to-back, but two seats down. Sure enough, my flight to Salt Lake City was departing from Gate 4, while Perfume's flight to Los Angeles--their next concert was taking place there the very next evening--was departing from Gate 5. They called for First Class passengers to begin boarding the L.A. flight, then A-chan, Kashiyuka, and Nocchi stood up and got in line. In the meantime, my flight had already begun boarding, so I stood up to check on its progress. I was hoping to remain unnoticed, since I'd already said goodbye to Mikiko-sensei and didn't want to look like a hanger-on, but she saw me, turned, and smiled. I said, "Sorry you had to see me again," but she said, "No, it's okay!" I guess my Japanese had caught the attention of the tour crew members across from her, so I said "Oh, I like being the last one on the plane, because it's easier to maneuver and to get your stuff into the overhead compartment" (a true statement, by the way). They agreed with me. Mikiko-sensei asked me if I was going to L.A. too, but I had to disappointedly explain that I was going to Salt Lake City instead.

As I walked away, I simply had to share the fact of Perfume's presence with someone, so I walked up to two seated complete strangers--a mother and her daughter--and started explaining what I'd told the guy in the bathroom, albeit in far more detail, adding more information about their domestic popularity. After I stated that the three of them had just walked through their gate, the mother explained, "I wish you had told us a few seconds earlier!" After some more banter the daughter looked Perfume up on her phone, then after pulling up an older photo she showed it to her mom. Her mother said, "Oh, they're adorable!" I had to explain that they're older now, 30 years old as opposed to them in their 16 year-old state in the retrieved photo. Anyway, now that she'd looked them up, she'd be able to check out their music. Did I create another fan?

As luck would have it, although my flight was scheduled to depart about a half hour before theirs, my flight boarded late. As I was in the back of the line for the coach passengers, all of Perfume's stage crew, supporting players, etc. had gotten into the back of their own line. Mikiko-sensei was at about the same place in her line as I was in mine, and I said, "Thank you for talking to me!" One of the aforementioned crew with whom I'd spoken in the previous paragraph told me about the upcoming Coachella performance, but I had to exasperatedly sigh and explain that I just couldn't attend. She said, "No, I mean they're live streaming it," so I responded that I'd heard that and would've course be glued to the screen when it happened. I think the rest of the crew--approximately 8 to 10 others--were bemused to encounter a clearly Caucasian guy speaking fluent Japanese, 'cause by this time I obviously had their complete attention and they were all looking at me with slight smiles on their faces. Right before we walked into our respective gates, Mikiko-sensei stopped dead in her tracks, smiled at me, nodded, and said, in English, "See. You. Again."

You know, one can often tell when a farewell is stated as a mere formality vs. whether it's stated sincerely, and in my heart of hearts it came across as VERY sincere. How cool was that?

On the plane, I of course couldn't restrain myself from getting the attention of the guy in the seat next to me, saying something like, "Would you believe me if I told you that the most popular musical act in Japan, who has routinely sold out the biggest venues in the country for the past 10 years straight, is sitting in that plane next to us, right now?" He, too, probably hadn't been expecting to be regaled with such information.

Back in Utah, driving back home, I was still in a state of shocked euphoria. After having been personally acknowledged so kindly by Kashiyuka and A-chan*, well, my fan-hood increased by three or four times. I was no longer satisfied with just making periodic announcements of their goings-on here on MormonDiscussions.com; I wanted to print up business cards with their logo on the front and links to some of their YouTube videos on the back, handing them to everyone I passed. I wanted to create a web-comic starring them as models and performers by day and crime-fighting superheroines by night. Gadianton can tell you whether I have the illustrative skills to make that last part happen.

You know, I wonder if the members of Perfume themselves realize that they have so much power that a brief, one-and-one-half second acknowledgement by them can elevate a person's day to ONE OF THE SINGLE BEST DAYS OF THAT PERSON'S ENTIRE LIFE. As you may have gathered by this thread, that's exactly what happened to me.


*(If you're wondering, Nocchi was far enough forward that I didn't see her reaction, if any. I've since learned that she's the most introverted of the trio and therefore the least likely to interact with fans, so she may not have had a reaction at all. But that's okay--like I said, when it comes to Perfume, I'll take what I can get--and BOY did I get a lot!)
"I know of a case in which a woman made a confession to her Bishop, and told him that he must not disclose her confession to her husband. This put the Bishop in a bind because he was her husband."

--Malkie, 08-18-2022
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Dr. Shades
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Re: Dr. Shades's INCREDIBLE Perfume experiences, a 4-part saga

Post by Dr. Shades »

.
The chronicles of Dr. Shades's incredible PERFUME experiences, BONUS PART:

EVALUATION AND ASSESSMENT

Or, my cost / benefit analysis of this concert

Oh, I know what you're all thinking right about now: "Did Dr. Shades get his money's worth out of this concert?" or "Does Dr. Shades think this concert was a worthwhile investment of his time?" Rather than leave you in suspense, I'll go ahead and break it down:

Concert ticket total: $63.70
Plane ticket: $220.03 (round trip)
Motel room total: $125.54
Gas to & from airport: $8.42 (approximate)
Airport parking: $18.00
Food & gum: 11.38 (approximate)
Two Uber rides: $30.70

APPROXIMATE GRAND TOTAL: $477.77

COST / BENEFIT:

WELL WORTH EVERY LAST SINGLE SOLITARY PENNY!!!
"I know of a case in which a woman made a confession to her Bishop, and told him that he must not disclose her confession to her husband. This put the Bishop in a bind because he was her husband."

--Malkie, 08-18-2022
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Dr. Shades
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Re: Dr. Shades's INCREDIBLE Perfume experiences, a 4-part saga

Post by Dr. Shades »

Well Perfume lovers, it was one year ago last night (Friday [April 17, 2019]) that the magical, unforgettable Perfume concert was put on in my hometown of San Jose, California, and in which I was in attendance. It was, and still is, a night to remember. What euphoria!

Here's a guy who vloged about the event and even put in some representative clips for us. As you watch, keep in mind that I was down there, dead center, one person away from the front:
Another person who was much closer to me captured some footage, too. Here's a clip from the song "Butterfly," one of my favorites, during which Perfume showed off their technological acumen:
From yet another videographer elsewhere, Here's the woman who beat me out to get to translate for them:
Later, A-chan leads the crowd in a cheer:
And here they are saying goodbye as the closing credits roll. Hearing A-chan speak English is adorable:
The whole thing was like a dream. It felt like an out-of-body experience. I can hardly believe I was there.

Seriously, everything about this band is just so perfect. Their music itself, first and foremost; the cuteness and adorability of the members, the sweetness of their personalities, the laser-like precision of their choreography, their spare-no-expenses integration of technology, plus the fact that the band just feels so totally legitimate because they formed in sixth grade when they were only 11, of their own accord and minus any big label intervention, and legitimately fought and scraped their way to the top, putting in ALL of the required grunt work for years and years beforehand. . . Perfume is, quite simply, the entire package. NOTHING is, or ever was, half-assed.
"I know of a case in which a woman made a confession to her Bishop, and told him that he must not disclose her confession to her husband. This put the Bishop in a bind because he was her husband."

--Malkie, 08-18-2022
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Re: Dr. Shades's INCREDIBLE Perfume experiences, a 4-part saga

Post by KateFromage »

You should have translated. :D :!:
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Dr. Shades
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Re: Dr. Shades's INCREDIBLE Perfume experiences, a 4-part saga

Post by Dr. Shades »

OH MY GOSH!! WELCOME, KATE!!

Everyone, a HUGE welcome is due to KateFromage. She is OUTSTANDING.

. . . and I agree, they definitely should've chosen me, dang it!
"I know of a case in which a woman made a confession to her Bishop, and told him that he must not disclose her confession to her husband. This put the Bishop in a bind because he was her husband."

--Malkie, 08-18-2022
KateFromage
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Re: Dr. Shades's INCREDIBLE Perfume experiences, a 4-part saga

Post by KateFromage »

Aw, shucks... 😌
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