Here is the long-awaited part two of the last day of my Golden Week spree to see many artists. Enjoy!
So right after I saw Takui Nakajima at Tower Records Nagoya Parco, I rushed to another music store in order to see another idol group, the current lineup of Tokyo Performance Doll or TPD for short.
I know what my readers are probably saying. It might be on the lines of “Wait! Didn’t you say in a post a couple of months ago that you disliked the current revival and would stick to your 90s TPD? Why the sudden change?”
Yes, I did say that I wasn’t happy with the resurrection of Tokyo Performance Doll with brand new members. How could they just replace the legacy that Shinohara Ryoko, Ichii Yuri, and the others made when they worked so hard back in the 90s? I thought it wasn’t fair. But, after seeing the new members, I began to think otherwise.
For those who don’t know about Tokyo Performance Doll (however I think they are getting more exposure overseas nowadays through blogs and TV programs like Tokyo Girls’ Update), they are a Japanese idol pop group that had two generations; a first generation in the early 90s and a second generation that started in 2013. The first generation had nine front members while various other girls served as trainees. Some of the trainees were promoted as front members at the end of the group’s career while some just served as backup dancers during performances. Members of TPD were more prominent as solo artists than as group members in the Japanese pop culture as some like Shinohara Ryoko and Ichii Yuri had record-breaking solo careers. And, most of the members were placed in several subgroups which released more material than the main group. However, the popularity of the group and the girls disappeared before the end of the 90s after TPD disbanded in 1996.
Fast forward sixteen years later when the agency CUBE decided to revitalize the Tokyo Performance Doll name by adding ten new girls. The new lineup released their first single, entitled “BRAND NEW STORY”, on June 11, 2014. Besides singing, the girls also star in their own variety show “Tokyo Goukyuu Kyoushitsu ~ROAD TO 2020~” and their own weekly corner on the radio show “GIRLS・GIRLS・GIRLS =FULL BOOST=”
After I got Takui Nakajima’s signature, I quickly headed to Tower Records Kintetsu Passe. But, one problem. I was still not sure about the subway system or the directions to the stations at that point. So, I spent about thirty minutes heading to a wrong station and then back-tracking to go to the correct one. It was such a headache.
The setlist for the live event was (thanks to for electroursxxx the information):
01. WE ARE TPD!!
02. BRAND NEW STORY
03. Jyuudai ni Tsumi wa Nai (十代に罪はない)
04. Kokoro no Rule (心のルール; How did I miss this one????!!!! ;_;)
05. BE BORN
06. DREAM TRIGGER
-MC- (Dance Explanation)
I think I came in during “Be Born”, I exactly don’t remember. I do remember that the audience was separated into two sections; one for those who pre-ordered the single and one for the regular audience. It was really easy to be in the front row of the regular audience section as there wasn’t a lot of people. I just chilled and watched TPD dance and sing on the small stage while the fan boys yelled their chants and jumped wildly.
After the live event ended, I decided to buy the one track version of the single so I could shake the members’ hands. However, while I was waiting for the staff to set up the handshaking area, one guy fan came up to me and mysteriously gave me two additional “TPD tickets”. Wow, I thought, I could use these tickets to get a photo with one of the members.
I used the ticket I got from pre-ordering the single for the handshake event. For this event, TPD was divided into two groups and you could only use one ticket for one group. Clever management, clever. I decided to go for the second group that featured Iida Sakurako,Takashima Nana, and three other girls. Each girl was really nice and asked how did I know about them while congratulating me for attending my first TPD live. It was when I shook Sakurako’s hand when she told me that Nana was really good at English. I was surprised and continue my way to Nana, who was the last member of the group.
When I got to Nana, I flat-out told her in English “I heard that you speak English!”. And then, in perfect teenager girl English, she replied excitedly , ‘Yeah, I am! Where are you from?” I told her that I was from America and we said some other things and our goodbyes before I got pushed gently by one of the staff members to move along. We waved at each other until the next person came up to shake her hand.
I waited around for quite some time till the handshake event was to be concluded. I swear there was a pair of guys who bought like 20 copies or so because they kept on going through the line for a long time. After they exhausted their tickets, the girls finished shaking hands and said a cute message about ending the event and they were going to get ready for the photo session. While the girls were changing outfits, one of the managers came out and did a rock paper scissor challenge in order to win an autographed uchiwa (Japanese fan) from the members. I tried very hard to win, because I like free and signed things, but lost by the fourth or fifth round.
When they finished up the challenge, the staff members told the fans that the girls were ready to come out. One by one, they came out in the stunning outfits that you see at the top of this post. I think these are the best outfits that I have seen on any idol group this year. They were so beautiful.
The members said a short message to commerce the photo session and went to get ready. The staff members started to line the fans up by which member they wanted to take a picture with, which I wanted Nana. I lined up for Nana and the staff member asked me for five tickets. Five tickets? I thought it was one ticket for a photo. No, he said as he explained it was five tickets to get a picture taken with a member. Defeated, I left the area with my head hung low and was about to exit when I had an idea. I went back to Tower Records’ store table and asked them about the rules. The salespeople at the table were unsure and directed me to speak to one of the staff members. So, I went to one staff member and asked him about the event rules. He said one ticket was for a handshake or access to their photo site on some Japanese app. I tried to find the app but I couldn’t download it because I forgot my Japanese iTunes account name.
I was about to leave once more with two tickets still in my hand (which I tried to pass on to other fans who looked at me with a dumbfounded expression) when the same staff member made a deal with me. He let me see Nana and talk to her for an extended period if I gave him the two tickets. Shocked at first, I excitedly agreed as I gave him the tickets and let him lead me to the backstage area where the girls were hanging out. The staff member called for Nana and she came to me with a huge grin and shook my hand again with the other girls behind her. We talked for an extended time as I asked where she got her amazing English skills (which she said she live in Singapore for a couple of years). In turn, she asked me how did I know about the group, which I replied with the answer of because I was a fan of the old TPD, “Occhame na Juliet”, Shinohara Ryoko, and Ichii Yuri. The whole group was amazed that I knew about the old TPD. Nana also told me the girls want to learn English someday. I replied that hopefully the members can so they can come to America someday. She had to leave suddenly because she was called to do a photo shoot with a fan. We said our goodbyes once more and I told her that I would tell my friends about the new TPD. She smiled and waved as we parted.
As I was leaving the area, I thanked the staff member who helped me to get a private conversation with the girls. I was so happy that I was offered the chance. But, I also felt guilty because I was given this special chance because I clearly didn’t understand the rules. It took a couple of prep talks from friends later to make feel un-guilty and it was ok to have this kind of opportunity. Nevertheless, when I was walking away from the event, I had a tremendous feeling that I want to do something like the opportunity I was given. I want to someday interview music groups and write about them on blogs, websites, and etc.
As for “Dreamin”, the song is pretty mediocre for my tastes, It’s not splendid but at the same time, it’s not bad. I think what makes this song special is the message behind it. During one of the MCs, Nana said that song was the result of the girl’s dreams and the amount of hard work they put in to become idols. Musically wise, I think the rearranged version of BE BORN, a song that was featured on the original TPD’s album “Cha-DANCE Party Vol.6”, is better than “Dreamin” as it has an interesting flow and great lyrics.
From now on out, I will follow these girls as they are genuinely kind, down-to-earth girls who have splendid dreams. Although I kind of wish they didn’t take on the TPD name, I now know that the girls will take care of TPD’s past and future legacy with great care. Please check out their new single if you haven’t already.