– So to begin with, could you all introduce yourselves and tell me who your favorite idol (oshi) is?

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Nanao: I’m Resu-chu Nanao from Omiyage. My favorite idol is Mika Ichinose, or Mikachin. from Kamiyado and Ruka Mishina, or Ruu-chan, from Wa-Suta (The World Standard).

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Naana: Furikopi Naana here! Hinari Aoba from FES☆TIVE is my favorite.


Momokarin: I’m MIX Momokarin. Ayapaso-chan (Ayaka Saida) from Aoyama☆Saint Hachamecha High School is my fave. She’s the red one. She’s leader of the new MechaHigh generation and the center girl.


Yuu: I’m Narcis Yuu. My favorite is Ichigo Rinahamu from BPM15Q. When she announced that she would retire from the entertainment world if she didn’t sell 5,000 CDs, I went to meet her so I wouldn’t have any regrets later, and it was love at first sight… From the next week after that, I went to go see her every day.

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– How did you get into the idol fandom, and is there anyone who just became an idol fan recently?

Naana: I only recently started going to actual events, for about two or three months.

Nanao: Momokarin has been an idol fan the longest.

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Momokarin: At first I liked AKB48, and from there I really followed Nogizaka46, 9nine, and other mainstream idol groups, but about three years ago I started seeing pictures from MechaHigh on my Twitter feed every now and then, and I thought they were so cute I just had to meet them at least once! Just a while ago they held a girls-only event at Harajuku JOL, and I thought that would be easy for a newbie like me to attend! So I went there any fell in love with Ayasoba-chan right away, and since then I’ve been a fan of the group.

– So since then MechaHigh has been your main group?

Momokarin: That’s right; I just dove right in. The distance between the group and their fans is completely different than that and bigger idols, so it was easy for me to see how special they were and since then I haven’t really been going to see other bigger idol shows.

– After Momokarin, who’s been an idol fan the longest?

Nanao: Probably Yuu-chan?

Yuu: I’ve been a fan for a little over a year maybe?

-Your Oshi is only Rinahamu-chan from the beginning?

Yuu : Yes, she is my first and last oshi forever!

– Do you send replies on Twitter?

Nanao: I usually reply to my oshi (favorite) and regularly go to events.

Yuu: But friends of Rinahamu who aren’t idol fans would probably be creeped out by the stuff I reply to her with! Like, “You’re sooo cute!” or “You look so good in everything! ♡” and stuff like that. (laugh)

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Nanao: Yeah, Yuu-chan tends to go a little overboard sometimes. (laugh)

Everyone: (laugh)

Nanao: She loves Rinahamu so much that it’s like she doesn’t really think about anyone else around. (laugh)

Everyone: Her love runs deep!

Nanao: It’s probably the deepest out of everyone!

Yuu: Do I really act that different from you guys? Here I thought we were all on the same level. *embarrassed*

– Since starting Omiyage, do you let your fans know when your favorite idol changes? (laugh)

Nanao: Um, well… I think everyone would probably know if that happened by looking at our tweets. (laugh) Like, “Lately I’ve been going to so-and-so’s events~” or “I’ve become a bigger fan of so-and-so~”. (laugh)

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– It’s not often people pay attention to what other idol fans do. Since you starting Omiyage, have people started talking to you when you go to idol events?

Naana: They have. Recently people more people have come up to me like, “Oh! You’re Naana Furikopi, right?” Or people will be like, “Let’s have a good time today!” or they’ll favorite something I tweet about Hinarin (Hinari Aoba) on Twitter. They’re like my fangirl/fanboy friends. I’ve gotten more fangirls this way and it makes me really happy!

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– Do you stand in the girls’ areas at lives?

Naana: Nope. If you stand there you’ll be on ends of the stage, so I stand wherever I can get the best view. I tend to stand pretty still while I’m watching! But when things really heat up I can’t help but move my hands. But usually I’m just standing really still and watching Hinarin the whole time. Like really, the whole time.

– Has anything changed since joining Omiyage?

Nanao: I’ve been working as a talent, but now that my fans know I’m also an idol fan, they’ll send me pictures of my favorite idol. (laugh) To them it’s like, “Oh, you’re really one of us!” (laugh) Like they’ll ask me if I went to so-and-so event today, so it really feels like we’re friends. (laugh)

– So now you have more friends when you go to events.

Momokarin: Not many fans come up to talk to me, but on the flip side when I go to MechaHigh handshake events, the members will be like, “We saw you on YouTube!” or “You were featured in so-and-so magazine, weren’t you!” I’m just a regular fan, now there are many times I’ve been left speechless by the fact that some of my favorite idols notice me. Like it feels so unreal…

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Naana: I wish I got more of a response like that…

Nanao: I’m pretty short, so I don’t really get that much of a response. But maybe I could get more of a response if I wear my “resu kudasai” (“Respond please!”) glasses. (laugh)

– At Kamiyado or Wa-Suta (The World Standard) events?

Nanao: Yeah. I like Ruka because she’s the tsundere type, though, so it’s okay if she doesn’t respond. I mean, it’s not ideal… But I like that about her so it’s all right.

Yuu: For me, after joining Omiyage Rinahamu-chan asked me, “Are you working as an idol now?” I explained that I was just doing idol fan stuff, though. So there was that with Rinahamu, and then before I didn’t have any friends I could talk about idol stuff with, so it’s really fun to be doing idol fan stuff with the other members now.

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– So before you didn’t have any other idol fan friends to dance with at events?

Yuu: I didn’t. There wasn’t a single person.

Momokarin: I had some, because MechaHigh fans are pretty friendly with everyone. Even when I would go to events by myself, it always felt like I knew a few people there, and even now it feels like all of us fans are friends.

– Did you tell people about Omiyage when you were first forming the unit?

Momokarin: I did, but a lot of other fans were like, “What’s Omiyage?” or “Are you going to start working as an idol now?” But I would tell them that Omiyage is just an idol fan group, and that I’d still be going to MechaHigh concerts and that nothing had changed, and to still treat me like normal, so even at events now I’m still idol fan friends with everyone.

– Has your lifestyle changed any since becoming an otaku?

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Momokarin: Before I was just an onlooker, but now I’m the one that getting looked at, so I started thinking that it wouldn’t be good to just cheer on my idol halfway, so now I really focus on giving it my best. Even if I’m just standing there still and watching my favorites, I give it all I’ve got!

Nanao: I’ve become a lot more assertive. I’ve always liked idols, but before I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone. But now I feel confident enough to face people and tell them I love idols, which is really good.

Naana: Before I would just save pictures that I thought were cute on Twitter, but since going to my first event I realized how fun they were and how much fun it was to see idols up close. I think there are a lot of people who only watch groups they like on the internet and never join in any of the events. So now I’d like to make it easier for more fans like that to start coming to events. Since I’m an idol fan, too, I’d like to be someone saying to other fans, “Come on!”

– That’s wonderful. I was going to ask you later to give a message for other female idol fans, but I think what you said right now is the best answer.

– By the way, why do think you couldn’t just reply to a picture on Twitter by saying “Cute!” or something and leave it at that?

Yuu: When I would see Rinahamu-chan’s tweets going around on Twitter, I would just look at her tweets because of how cute her icon was, but then I noticed how cute her clothing was and wanted to be like her, and so it started like that. Then I listened to her music on YouTube and thought, “Wow, this girl is my ideal idol!” It was around that time that she just happened to be doing her 5,000 CD sales mission, and even though it was a little unnerving going to met her by myself, I gathered up the courage to go and then she completely drew me in. It’s like I exist more for Rinahamu than just idols alone.

Nanao: I was an idol for a brief period of time, and before that I didn’t know much about other underground idols. So I would go and see other underground idols, and watch them from the seats above and think, “What is all this? It’s so much fun!” (laugh) Then I started following a lot of people on Twitter and watching videos. I would look at idols and think how I wanted to have the same kind of face as them. Like with their make-up and stuff, I’d think, “What am I doing wrong with my make-up?” I thought they had to be just as pretty in real life, so it made me want to start going to events. Basically it was all about the appearance for me at first. (laugh)


– Kind of like going to an art museum?

Nanao: I guess you could say that! It would make me really happy. Seeing how beautiful they were, it had some kind of healing effect on me. Just like art. In a sense, meeting idols is like looking at a different life form.

– I see. I think I understand where you’re coming from. Finally, is there anything you want to tell idol fans from around the world?

Naana: I think anyone who shares a love of idols, the idol fandom, or a mix of both is already a friend. Even if we all speak a different language, we can connect through our “love for idols” that we all share, and break down many kinds of barriers that way.

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– That’s a wonderful and moving way to put it.

Naana: I think if it weren’t for idols, there are people out there who would have never become interested in Japan, you know? Compared to other countries Japan is smaller and there are so many other countries in the world, so it makes me happy that people are getting interested in Japan because of idols. I want to keep making more and more friends from around the world!

As Omiyage, we’ve dedicated our hearts to cheering on idols. I think there are other fans in the world that feel the same way, so we’d like to keep connecting with people and showing that that to them on a basic level like that!

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Realted links
Omiyage official site : http://omiyage-otaku.tokyo/
Omiyage Twitter : https://twitter.com/omiyage_OTAKU
Omiyage YouTube channel : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMf1ixTIKPbsPPKkkW_Zj_g

Author
Ayaya
Ayaya

Been working in girls’ fashion magazines for a long time and am now the chief editor of Tokyo Girls’ Update. I have more expertise in Japanese teen fashion than anyone else (probably)! I’m a huge fan of the Revolutionary Girl Utena and Bakemonogatari animes.

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