Saturday, 3 May 2014

Nana Handshake Event @ Nagoya

So I think now that I've had a week to cool down, I can finally write about meeting Nana without squirming too much in my chair. Maybe.

I still can't believe that I actually got to attend this, it already feels like a dream. I really can't thank all the people who helped me get there enough. Thank you so much, I wouldn't have had any chance without you. m(_ _)m I had a bit of a timing problem with this too, since it was kinda clashing with a trip I had to make to Finland last week. Because of that, there was no way I could attend the event in Tokyo, but I am glad I decided to try for Nagoya even though I had never been there before. So, it was a day of many firsts for me - first time on a night bus, first time in Nagoya and first time coming face-to-face with Nana.

Before I proceed further, I would like to take a moment to share an unexpected realization I had during the handshake day - namely how lucky I am to have such great friends to support me. Even though this was a happy occasion so to say and one some of my friends could easily be envious of, I had many wonderful people keeping me company up until the crucial moment - cheering me on and encouraging me because they knew how nervous it was making me. So I am very grateful to having such amazing friends. Thank you for being there for me! <3

Well then... To start with my story... I managed to get to Nagoya just fine with my night bus even though it was a bit weird. The whole bus was covered up from the inside (like there'd be a tent inside of it) and it felt kinda uneasy for me to travel without having any way of visually confirming where I was. xD Anyways, I got to Nagoya really early, at like 6 am, so I had quite a lot of time to kill before I would die... sooo I walked to Nagoya Castle and spent a nice while sitting in the sun munching on some breakfast. Though yesterday when I saw someone posting pictures on Twitter from the photo shoot places for SUPERNAL LIBERTY, I realized I failed quite hard.... because... Here's one of the pics from SUPERNAL LIBERTY:

A wall...

And here is a pic I randomly took from around where I spent my morning:

.... The same wall. orz

Omg... I feel so ashamed. orz Actually looking at this other pic, I think you can even see the exact place where I sat in the background (lol there is some random person sitting there in the actual picture too wth xD)... I am such a loser, sigh...

*cries tears of blood* why whyyyy orz

Once I had idled around enough for it to be 9 am and the castle itself to be opened, I went to take a look in there... though I didn't have time to explore everything before I needed to start heading towards the event venue to be there in good time since I had applied for the first of the three Nagoya events. I started to experience bad symptoms of nervousness around this time already, of which my good friends got to hear about in much detail haha. Ehum, anyways..

When I got to the venue to wait around in the midst of all the other Nana fans attending the event, it became painfully clear to me I was really going to stand out like a sore thumb - I was one of the minority of people who were wearing normal clothes instead of Nana shirts and whatnot, plus I was also the only obvious foreigner. Not really something that made me feel any better, since I am a shy Finn. orz

Not much later, we started the arduous climb up the stairs single file to the venue, during which I had plenty of time to become even more nervous. I took a sip of my ocha and then felt like I wanted to puke haha.  I saw the guy behind me looking at a notepad where he had written what he wanted to say and I felt slightly proud for not having had the need to write mine down even though my Japanese is gimp. xD  Finally, I got inside the venue and got my Nana card that had my seat number on it.

Took this pic of it later since didn't wanna get kicked out xD

I went inside to find my seat which was a bit nearer to the back, but since it was such a small venue I was still very close to the stage. The event starts with Mishi-P appearing on stage and welcoming us. He reminisces about how the venue for Tokyo was the Yamaha Hall where Nana first appeared on stage, and how the venue we were at today, Diamond Hall, was where Nana performed for LIVE ATTRACTION 2002-2003 and LIVE SPARK 2004. Sniff... she has come so far since then, this venue is so tiny. (T^T) Mishi-P asks if there was anyone here for either, with a couple people having attended LIVE ATTRACTION and some more having attended LIVE SPARK. He then summons Nana on stage and she greets us, after which Mishi-P shares with her the fact that there were some people here today who had attended those lives. They talk about how they wanted to do something special to commemorate the release of Nana's 10th album and how it had resulted in these handshake events (though I think Nana wasn't that thrilled about the choice, considering how she is pretty shy off-stage and especially about meeting fans because of her past. Ganbare Nana! xD). I do suspect though that her autograph/handshake session in Singapore did have something to do with this decision too, I mean, they can't just favor us overseas fans and give the Japanese nothing considering how they are and always will remain the bulk of her supporters lol. They continue by saying that of course Nana won't just be doing a handshake today and while Mishi-P makes his exit Nana says she would like to share a song from her new album with us, namely FATE..

I knew it was probably going to be this song I'd hear today... but yappari, my heart wasn't ready for it. Why you wanna nearly make me cry Nana when I am trying so hard to stay alive for the handshake? Why no mercy? orz This song is way too beautiful for words. It did kind of relieve me to see that Nana seemed to be nervous about this event too and shaking everyone's hand because she made a little mistake during the first chorus and said something incomprehensible instead of "kawaranai", thank you for sharing my feelings. :3 Some people took their penlights out for this, but I thought it was too beautiful and touching for me to be waving one around.

Afterwards Nana changed the atmosphere drastically, by bringing out TRANSMIGRATION next. It had been one of the songs she had sang here before, so that's why. I think I was able to feel her nervousness shine through a bit here too, her waving and peace signs seemed less natural than usual. Gomenne Nana, that you need to do this. I am sure it was not an easy decision to let us meet you up close and personal. (T^T)

When the song was over, Mishi-P pops back on stage and sends Nana off to prepare for the handshaking. He keeps us entertained till the preparations are complete and while we wait for our turns by letting us ask him questions. People kept asking him questions like what will he sing for us this time (like in NANA WINTER FESTA)? At what time today will we be getting to shake his hand? Could Nana release a cover album? Can we get a Cherry Boys album? When will we get a Mishi-P fan club? Etc etc. I kinda wanted to ask him something too, but I was too busy trying to remember to breathe and stay alive. orz

Even though the wait seemed like forever, the turn of my row came much sooner than I was ready for it. Ugh..... we started lining up towards the door out of the hall (the handshake would be happening in the lobby right outside). When we reached the doors, they made us disinfect our hands. I was really happy about that, since they don't always do that and people can do some pretty questionable things for events like this.. plus my hands were getting sweaty from being so nervous so that got rid of that nicely. xD After that there was some partition blocking the way which we had to go around... and I could hear that nice familiar laughter coming from behind it. Blarghhhhh. Oh no. Oh no no no no. Fuck, I really shouldn't be here. No no no... Can I still run away? orz This, no.... I turned the corner and saw there were only a couple more people before me and then I saw her too. Shit, it's coming too soon.. God, she's actually there.. When the girl before me started her turn the staff beckoned me forward....

.... and then..... Oh shit... orz

So..... I started out really well - I confidently took her hand in mine (so soft... and so big xD lol), looked her in the eyes... and then after the realization hit my brain that I was indeed actually looking into NANA's eyes and about to speak to HER, my brain activity started to crumble. orz orz orz Mainly because of how surprised she looked (I hope it was surprise and not that she was scared of this random gaijin girl appearing in front of her haha), probably. Before I said anything, there was this frozen moment for a fraction of a second where we were both just kinda staring at each other with our mouths open in surprise. Then I somehow got my motor rolling and blurted out half of the line I wanted to say (I wanted to thank her for giving me strength and determination everyday and that I am very grateful for it, and tell her to continue singing forever if I still had some extra time).... but then the realization of me being there staring into NANA's eyes hit me again and I looked away for a split second to gather up courage then looked at her again and my speaking got slower, to a point that right before I reached the end of my sentence there was a huge pause in which she looked at me with an expression like "yes, go on it's okay" I managed to push out the end of what I wanted to say and thank her like crazy. She smiled at me and said a very sweet thank you to me, I am not sure if she said anything else since by now my brain had completely turned to mush.

Then it was over. I very mechanically walked away, and once I had turned the corner and disappeared from Nana's vision my hands started shaking really bad and my eyes filled with tears... which I managed to keep from spilling out (優しい瞳に涙零れそう, "Seeing your gentle eyes, I feel like I might shed tears" indeed orz). I somehow managed to walk (without collapsing) far enough from the venue to find a quiet place to sit and gather myself... which took a while haha. I was a lot less prepared to face her than I thought and then my Finn-nature had to kick in... and I started thinking how disappointing I was and how I could have done so much better and how I felt bad for scaring Nana like that. This all was on my mind the whole way back home too and I couldn't really feel better until I had written a comment on her [blog entry] of the day's event and apologized for surprising her. orz And now after a week, I do feel more positive about it all and probably wouldn't mind meeting her again if I ever get the chance (last weekend after the event I totally did not feel like ever repeating the experience xD). My brain is still very fried though, and it is hard to return back to daily life haha.

The hand I will never wash again.... lol j/k xD

On a side note, I've also been a bit sad about not being able to attend the Tokyo event instead because of the timing being bad for me, since Nana performed Thermidor, which happens to be one of my top favorite Nana songs and one I have yet to hear live. And considering how rarely she sings it I probably never will.. orz I don't feel so bad about it anymore though, since as a happy surprise she is being active with her YouTube channel and actually uploaded her performances of both [Acoustic Ai no Hoshi] and [Thermidor]. I guess for FATE she might keep us waiting, since she will quite certainly be singing it in LIVE FLIGHT.


  1. Dem Nana big hands \(°O°)/ Had try to warn people about it but noone ever listen to me ( =u=)tststsss... And yeah, how ironic that pics for the album were mostly (all?) taken in Nagoya xD Even the airport... Should have gone there by plane Henko! *ahahah*
    Diamond Hall also happens to be where SKE gave their first few lives and performed again when their theater was closed the year before last.
    I SO should have been there with you... Another time! /o/

    1. Well thanks to you and now re-enforced by this event I will never ever get Nana's big hands out of my mind. xD And man I feel so fail that I didn't realize that about the pictures before going, that would have given me more things to do in the morning... but that week was really crazy for me so I had no time to delve myself into scrutinizing the pictures. I feel so ashamed. orz
      Ooh sweet~ Have you attended any of the SKE in there too or not?
      I think us seeing Nana together is something we definitely need to accomplish eventually. It is only right! \o/

  2. \o/ i kinda know how you felt then...
    i guess i was more composed than you in my case since i've been rehearsing the lines in my head over and over ww
    i'm sure nana is just surprised at how diverse her fan base is ..probably ww
    you did well!! \o/

    1. Haha, I rehearsed my lines all morning too... but I had some tough times in my life before moving to Japan and Nana helped me through all of it with her music and by being a wonderful role-model to me. So I wanted to express all my gratitude for that properly and I think that added a lot to my nervousness... It was overbearing to meet a person who had done so much for me. "orz
      ww I hope so!
      Thank you!! So did you! I think we have much reason to be proud of ourselves and how we have represented her overseas fan base. *hugs Bear*

  3. Thanks for this great report. I'm so not surprised you got there. But you should be glad you got out there alive, usually when Nana stares at someone with an open mouth, she is going to beat this person to death and devour the liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti right away. Also i'm dissappointet you did get to ask her a question like Yo wuz you fucked-up when you recorded Ai nahh Hoshi? slap mah fro! or Yo wut up wif da mad stupid lyrics fo' Guilty? an don't make me pull mah gat!

    But since when has Nana big hands? Apperantly i'm not a member of the i shook Nana Mizukis hands club, but they look fairly small to me. Maybe that event has messed with your head and kinda influenced your vision? But don't worry, just send Nana over here and we will deal with these nasty things. Don't deal with all the horrible stuff yourself!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it~! Yes, I do believe I was very lucky to escape in one piece, Nana's appetite is uncanny after all. :D Alas, yes, there were many more things I wanted to talk with her about.. perhaps if a next time presents itself eventually.

      Perhaps because you are a man, her hands don't look that big to you.. but they are, especially to a woman of her size. xD I already thought they were big before this event, this just confirmed it to be true for sure. Haha and sure, by all means lessen my suffering!

    2. At least i can tell that she has pretty strong looking arms and legs. Its always hilarious how she manages all the time a) to be the smallest person, even when other women are around, and b) still have the strongest arms and legs, even compared to some guys. The funniest pictures are with that unit Prits in 2002, where she suddenly towers over anyone else.

      I just recalled that i've found last year a guy from the US at a messageboard who has participated in some Nana fanclub handshake event in 2004 already, and he said that she was very confused and didn't know how to react because he was so obviously not from Japan. If she ever participates in an anime event in europe, or the US, this habit might become a problem. Too many foreigners in foreign countries.

  4. T.T *cry* feel so envious now :( i would probably be as nervous as you were if i am put into the same situation... gosh when she came to Singapore half of me was screaming "Please win the lottery" and the other half was like "Ughhhh but you will probably die of a heart attack if you win" so i can totally relate too! Anyway congrats and of course thanks for representing us gaijin fans xD

    1. Yeah, it definitely is a gift and a curse at the same time.. I feel that only now I am finally almost recovered from the experience. "orz On the bright side, I now know that my Master's final presentation should be a piece of cake, I wasn't nearly as nervous as this for my interim presentation so haha...
      And thank you! This opportunity meant a lot to me. I really hope I did a decent job in representing us all somehow. :3

  5. I'll take this chance to stop lurking without ever commenting. As a foreigner who went to her Tokyo handshake event, I totally didn't notice her hand size but in retrospect, they were definitely bigger than mine. I was too busy drowning in her eyes oh god they were so beautiful and patient and kind with a dumb foreigner who can't speak Japanese. Although she didn't react much to me since I get mistaken for Japanese regularly. Either way, my brain turned to mush too, and I have mixed feelings about redeeming myself if I ever got the chance or not wanting to repeat the failure ever again.

    Also I'm super jealous you got to hear FATE. I was totally expecting it when she said she was going to sing a song from her new album, and then it was Ai no Hoshi D: I guess as long as I get to hear it at Live Flight, that's fine.

    1. Ooh, thanks for commenting~ It's a pleasure to make the acquaintance of another fellow foreign fan who got to attend the handshake! I blame one of my friends for the fact that I focused so much on her hand, because a long time ago she pointed out to me that they are pretty big, haha. Now it's been proven in person. xD I think also Nana's shocked look will haunt me forever, I look like such an obvious gaijin so I am pretty sure I gave her a scare. (>_<)

      I feel the same as you about wanting to repeat the experience or not eventually... I think I have kind of recovered from the experience now, so perhaps doing it again wouldn't be too bad, but I know I would feel like such an idiot after again like this time too. Sigh.

      Well, I am likewise super jealous of the fact that you got to hear Thermidor! I really really want to hear it in person and I really am losing hope of that ever happening for me. :'( On the bright side for you, Nana definitely will sing FATE during LIVE FLIGHT I am sure of it. I don't see there being any possibility of her not doing so!

    2. haha now I'm never going to forget it either XD Don't worry, I'm sure Nana's actual opinion is far more positive than her initial reaction. At least you left a strong impression so she'll remember you next time? (trying to think optimistically)

      Well, I can't deny things are better for me, as you said, she'll definitely sing FATE at Live Flight, so I'm looking forward to it. Speaking of which, are you going to Yamanashi? I'd love to meet you if you don't mind. I've been going to these Nana events alone which is getting lonely and yeah >_> Seriously need to expand my Nanatard circle.

    3. Haha, you are welcome! All hail big Nana hands~ XD

      I should indeed try a bit harder to think in an optimistic way like that. It's gonna be kinda weird to see her live again after attending this event, I think.

      And yes, I am going to Yamanashi as well~ and sure would be fun to meet. Always nice meeting more overseas Nana fans. Are you on twitter? If so, we could keep in touch that day through there? Or something else? I am hesitant to agree on a meeting time and place beforehand, since never know how long queuing takes (nor have I been to FujiQ yet) and I'm going with a friend so need to take her desires into account too. :) You might spot us easily anyway, me being a petite blonde girl and my friend being a tall Mexican. If so, do say hi!