A Personal Memory about Takahashi Ai September 30, 2011Posted by Nights4Saturn in Morning Musume, Takahashi Ai.
Tags: morning musume
This post should go live at the very beginning of Takahashi Ai’s graduation concert, which means by the time you’re reading this Morning Musume is going to be down it’s longest lasting leader and has swelled in size to twelve including the four brand-new tenth gen members.
I’m actually a little hesitant about titling this post as “Remembering…” as in Takahashi will no longer be with us. Luckily it looks like that won’t be the case as Ai-chan already has a musical in the works as part of her post-graduation plans and it was even mentioned that Jishin Motte Yume wo Motte Tobitatsu Kara would only be the first of her solo songs. I’m really only using this title to tie back in to the good-bye I gave to Eri, Junjun and Linlin back in 2010 as I had good reason to believe that we really wouldn’t be hearing all that much from them afterwards (reasonably correctly too, I might add). [Edit: I’ve succumbed to pressure and changed the title anyway… ^^;]
So in keeping with the theme of “Remembering…” I’d like to talk about a personal memory I have of Ai-chan from July of 2009 when I was fortunate enough to see Morning Musume when they attended Anime Expo in Los Angeles, California. At the time I wasn’t a huge Morning Musume fan, but I was pretty familiar with them through their association with Hello! Project and thus, Matsuura Aya.
The first event that Morning Musume participated in was a Q&A event closely followed by a signing/handshake session. At that session they had all of the girls lined up by seniority, so Ai-chan was first, Risa second, etc.
Now if any of you are unaware, Reina has a very complex signature. Complex to the point that it took her so long to sign things that she was significantly holding the line up, and because of that people got to spend quite a bit more time interacting with Ai, Risa and Sayu than the rest of the girls.
So when I finally get to go up to the front of the line you have to realize I’m nervous as all heck. It was really a surreal moment to see these girls in the flesh, to actually realize that they’re real people. It sounds so incredibly silly when I think back on it, but that really is the general feeling that I had at the time.
So I go up to Ai-chan and we exchange a “Hi,” I hand her my poster, she signs it in few seconds, hands it back, and I say thank you.
…and then I just stand there.
I’m standing in front of Ai-chan. Both of us are just starring at each other. Oh gosh, what the heck do I do? Should I say something? I should say something! What should I say? I shouldn’t say it in English, she probably wouldn’t understand. So I open my mouth, still forming the words in my head…
CRAP! That’s Spanish, that’s even worse than English! So I close my mouth quickly without saying anything. Again, again! I need to try again! So I try to take a second shot…
OH GOSH! OH GOSH!
It was at that point there that I broke and realized the absolute absurdity of my situation. I was standing in front of Takahashi Ai, the leader of the Japanese pop group Morning Musume, in the middle of downtown Los Angeles and I’m desperately trying to speak Spanish to her. If you would have told me that such and event would transpire just six months before hand I wouldn’t have believed you, heck I still sometimes have a hard time believing it actually happened!
So after coming to such a realization I just giggled. It was the only thing I think I was actually capable of doing at that point; the whole thing was just so silly.
Takahashi, God bless her, was just beaming at me the whole time I was standing there in front of her. And you know what her response was to my giggle?
She giggled right back.
Takahashi Ai and myself giggled at each other.
I didn’t have much of chance to take in what had happened as maybe two or three seconds later the line moved and I went to see Risa.
Our whole meeting lasted maybe 25 seconds over two years ago and I can still remember every detail perfectly. Seeing her face light up like that when she giggled is something that I’ll never forget.
So, thank you Ai-chan.
Thank you for helping make that day something special. Thank you for leading Morning Musume for the entire period of time in which I’ve actually been a fan. And, finally, thank you for simply providing me with so much enjoyment over these last two years through your work.