THIS IS THE FOURTH PART (OF SEVEN) OF MY TOKYO 2016 BLOG SERIES
It may sound rather like an exaggeration, but I owe, not only this trip, but a lot of things in my life to the existence of Sailor Moon. I could probably say, I’ve been a Sailor Moon fan for as long as the series and I have been alive―after all, we share a birth year. The anime was broadcast in Indonesia around the same time it was mega-popular in Japan. As I’ve mentioned in the previous part, I did make it a sacred duty to never miss watching it, even though to be honest, I didn’t quite understand the gravity of the story yet.
During the peak of its popularity, I bombarded my parents to buy me all the Sailor Moon things: comic books, story books, toys, bags, stationery, and so on. I even had a Sailor Moon-themed cake for my fifth birthday (there is photographic proof, but since my mom was and is a terrible photographer, years later I found out that the picture of the cake is blurred! >.<). When the series went off the radar, I did move on to other interests. However, there’s always a part of me that remembers how amazing Sailor Moon is and how influential it is to know Sailor Moon as a kid. I watched other anime and read other manga, but Sailor Moon has always been the one that is most impressive and most memorable.
Fast forward to 2014… I was in my third year of college―perhaps the busiest time of my college career, so I needed something to inspire me to keep going. During a semester break, somehow I found myself itching to rewatch the entire original Sailor Moon anime. It occurred to me, that even if I watched religiously as a kid, there were still many things I must’ve missed out on. I wanted to re-experience Sailor Moon, this time as a young woman. After getting my hands on the complete series―there are exactly 200 episodes, I finished all of them in the space of 5 days. Not only it felt nostalgic, but somehow the love I have for this particular story grew bigger and stronger.
Around the same time I rediscovered the anime, I also started seeing announcements about different Sailor Moon-related projects that are brand spanking new. There was to be a new set of anime series. There were also new, pretty, shiny merchandises. After doing a bit of research, I finally realized that back in 2012, Sailor Moon just celebrated the 20th anniversary. Thus, the whole Sailor Moon universe instantly came back to my life with a BANG!
A few months later, as the new series started going, on one fateful afternoon in August, I discovered a new-to-me Sailor Moon-related thing that was about to rock my world upside down: the musicals. You see, the tradition of Sailor Moon musical has actually started back in 90’s when the franchise first got popular. I may have known a little about it, but never cared much because I thought it would be too weird. “How could they ever portray these characters through a real person? The costumes are too tacky!” I thought to myself. Boy, was I stupid!
The musical tradition―called lovingly as “Sera Myu”―was actually on a long hiatus, before getting revived in 2013 with a new show titled La Reconquista. That August afternoon, I clicked on a YouTube link of a cut from that show, kind of mindlessly, and was immediately slapped by how amazing one of these musicals really is! I remember seeing the person playing Mamoru/Tuxedo Kamen being completely spectacular and cool and just the epitome of the ideal Mamoru. To my surprise, that person is a woman. After reading more about the show, I found out that the new musical has an all-women cast. To me, at that time, it was the best thing I’ve ever encountered.
From then, I downloaded the full and subbed performance (courtesy of Miss Dream!), watched it the next morning, and cried so hard because of the overwhelming feelings of having just witnessed a kind of indescribable perfection. I really thought it would be weird as hell, but I was so wrong. Somehow, the story and the characters come alive in a perfect balance. I thought, at least for that particular show, the production team succeeded in adapting Sailor Moon’s first arc story into a really fun, cohesive, emotionally-impactful musical. Even more so, the actresses found the right way to bring these drawn characters alive by inserting their personal charm, as well as committing themselves to an amazing level of professionalism in being stage performers. I thought the fact that the cast members are all women marked the right kind of spirit that the universe of Sailor Moon has always tried to stand for. It was so emotional seeing my favorite characters―ones that I was so used to seeing in drawings―come alive in person. It really is a testament to how amazing the casting was, because the girls playing the main characters―Sailor Moon and her friends―are all the spitting image of the character. Of course, their performance was supported by great hair and make-up, as well as modern-looking, very pretty costumes, but their personalities were their main point of charm and fit each of the characters perfectly. The other players were cast and performed to perfection as well. It really was a great production and the right introduction, at least for me, to the world of Sera Myu.
La Reconquista made me fall in love with Sera Myu, and I fell hard. I started trying to find the older shows to watch, and to my delight, some of them are available courtesy of a really nice group of Sailor Moon fans. I was even more excited to find out that a new show was going to be performed that year, called Petite Etrangere, continuing to the second arc of the manga story. Of course, I waited anxiously and patiently for the recorded stream and fansub. Then, the following year, came another production titled Un Nouveau Voyage. Through those two back-to-back productions, I nurtured a love for these musicals and a wish to maybe see one of those shows live one day. Soon, I also started finding out that some non-Japanese fans were actually able to make a trip to Japan to see Sera Myu. By 2015, a ticketing service website in English started going live for international audience. Suddenly, there was an actual real chance for me to experience Sera Myu first-hand.
Earlier this year, a new show was announced, scheduled for fall. At first, I was casually looking forward to it. Unfortunately, the main cast that I fell in love with in the previous three musicals have all graduated last year. So for this year, they announced a new set of cast for the 5 guardians (Moon-Mercury-Mars-Jupiter-Venus). When they first announced it, I didn’t even think I was going to attend this particular show, though obviously I’ve always nurtured the wish deep inside. But then, as the days went by and some things happened, as I’ve told you in the first part, a quiet wish slowly turned into an actual plan.
I knew there’s a ticketing service in English, but I actually had no idea how easy or difficult it is to obtain a ticket for a performance. The sale of the ticket itself didn’t actually open until the end of August, so I actually booked the trip (flights and ryokan) ahead of the actual ticket for the performance. All I knew was I wanted to be in Tokyo as this next musical was happening.
Anyway, the experience of buying a Sera Myu ticket through the English ticketing service was actually quite easy and stress-free. I did make sure I was on standby by the time the sale opened, in anticipation of possibly having a lot of competitions in purchasing the ticket. You do need a credit card, but I could manage by borrowing my parents’ card. Apparently, there’s also some tour agent that can reserve the ticket for you, but in my opinion, it is better to do it from the ticketing service available.
The ticket I purchased was a will-call ticket, so I just needed to pick it up 1 hour before performance by entering a kind of reservation code on an automated machine. At first, I was asking the staff in front of the theater about how to pick up my ticket, but she couldn’t really speak English. Thankfully, the staff was very understanding and immediately called for someone else who can speak English. The one that helped me ended up being this Taiwanese student―who, I’m guessing, was working part-time to watch over the subtitle glasses counter. He was very nice and helpful and guided me to get my ticket from the machine. Because I already got the ticket through the automated machine, I actually got to enter the theater lobby ahead of everyone with different kinds of reservation method.
Anyway, I ended up attending one of the afternoon performances of Amour Eternal in Tokyo. The Tokyo leg has always been performed in the AiiA 2.5 Theater in Shibuya―a theater specialized in putting on shows based on manga/anime. To be exact, I went to the 2 p.m. show of October 19, 2016. Even if the performance started at 2, I actually had plenty of time to do other things in the morning. So, after my Arashi-themed day the day before, I decided to some Sailor Moon-related mini pilgrimage.
Before heading to Shibuya, in the morning I jumped on the train bound to Azabu-juuban. Azabu-juuban is the neighborhood depicted in the Sailor Moon story as the place where Usagi and the gang lives. All of the incarnations of the story always use this particular area as the backdrop, so I wanted to see it for myself. Even though I didn’t actually see the whole area, from the parts that I explored, it seemed like quite a fancy neighborhood with possibly a lot of foreigners living there. I even had a foreigner salary man, who was walking his son to school, smile at me and greet me “good morning”. However, I wasn’t there only to look around the neighborhood; I did have a specific plan: going to Hikawa Shrine.
A little background information for those of you who may not know; Rei, or Sailor Mars, is portrayed as a shrine maiden who lives with her Shinto priest grandfather in a shrine called Hikawa Shrine. From what I’ve read on the topic, there are actually three Hikawa Shrines in the Minato-ku area in Tokyo, that have the Sailor Moon connection. The first being the one in Azabu-juuban (the one I visited―the actual shrine that inspired the Hikawa Shrine in the manga); the one in Akasaka (the one that influenced the depiction of the shrine in the anime); and, the one in Shirokane (used as filming location of the Sailor Moon live-action series).
I chose to go to the one in Azabu-juuban, pretty much because it’s the one closest to the station exit that I took, as well as because it’s the one that has most connection with Takeuchi-Naoko-sensei, the creator of Sailor Moon. While planning the trip, I made sure I had “going to a shrine” in my to-do list, but I didn’t exactly pinpoint which shrine I was going to. I just knew I really liked my previous shrine experience three year ago, and I’d like to do it again. I was going to find one in the Harajuku or Shibuya area on my first day, but the Arashi-themed day gave me an idea for a new mission for a full-blown Sailor Moon-themed day. So I chose to go all the way and look for the actual Hikawa Shrine.
I took the Metro train to the Azabu-juuban station and exited from Exit 1. Because it was still rather early, I stopped by a convenience store to get some breakfast―that day I opted for sandwich instead of onigiri, which I later regretted, because I couldn’t finish it (so for the remaining of the trip I made sure to only pick up onigiri as breakfast). I also took time to spot an old Arashi billboard promoting their “I seek/Daylight” single. To get to Hikawa Shrine, from Exit 1, I only needed to turn right, follow the street, and then by the first intersection, I turned right again. There, I was met by Sendai-zaka, which is basically a street on a hill. If I remember correctly, I needed to pass 4 traffic lights, before finally turning right once more to find myself on the street where the shrine is located (the shrine is on the right side of that street if you’re coming from Sendai-zaka). The journey through those 4 traffic lights was kind of tough―it was a hill, after all. Sendai-zaka is not particularly steep, but the climb was still exhausting. However, I didn’t think I had any urge to complain or to regret the decision to come all the way to the shrine. I actually had a kind of serene moment of realizing that my life is probably a lot like climbing up that hill. It doesn’t look particularly intimidating, but it has its own obstacles that I have to overcome. I was tired, but at that moment, giving up was not even a thought. I had somewhere to be, so I walked on.
When I got to the shrine, it was before 10 a.m., so it’s still very quiet. I decided to take the chance to offer my prayer while no one else was around. I tried recollecting the brief guide a Shinto priest of Kasuga-Taisha Shrine in Nara gave me three years earlier about how to pray the Shinto way. I threw 119 yen to the box―sort of an homage to that day’s date (10/19), clapped my hand twice, and sent a prayer.
After praying, I decided to go away to wait for the shrine people to open their premises, because I still had some unfinished business there: getting omamori. I ended up walking to Amishiro Park―the park that’s also used as reference for several scenes of the manga and anime. It’s actually nothing special, because it’s just a neighborhood park, where kids play and their parents watch, and some other people sit on benches while munching their konbini breakfast (that’s me!), or make a really interesting-sounding phone call (there’s a guy to my right), or ponder about life before opening a letter that seemed important (this one’s a guy to my left). So, I just sat there for a while, not being able to finish that sandwich, and feeling the breeze of the autumn wind. That moment, I realized how ideal it is to have a park like that in the middle of the city. It’s like an oasis. Everyone can stop there for a while, breathe, and think. Through this experience, I knew that in Japan, if you want to spend some nice time relaxing without paying for anything, find a park.
Some time later, I came back to Hikawa Shrine. When I got there, two elderly women were walking towards the torii. One of them was wearing an all-white ensemble and I assumed she was from the shrine. She was delivering this other elderly lady with a cane, possibly sending her home. With my extremely limited Japanese, I collected the courage to ask if anyone was around to help get some omamori. The lady in white turned out to be the one in charge, so she immediately went to help me out with my request, of course after making sure the lady she was with earlier was safe and sound in waiting for someone to pick her up.
Let me reiterate it: my Japanese skill is extremely limited. I’ve only been learning for a year of basic lessons, so it’s not even close to the kind of Japanese that you need for day-to-day survival in Japan. However, some kind of magic happened that morning when I went to get the omamori of Hikawa Shrine. No, I didn’t magically speak Japanese fluently, but I did try my best to explain my situation to the shrine lady. From the get go, I made sure she knew that my Japanese is horrible, so she’d have to excuse my gibberish talk. However, she was so kind, and was like, “No, it’s okay! I can guess the meaning!” So, without really practicing, I tried explaining that I wanted to get amulets for my parents who just went through a series of sickness since last year. I wanted an amulet that can help make my parents feel good again. The shrine lady understood right away, nodded, and started explaining two kinds of amulets, and of course, I had no idea what she actually talked about, but a certain white amulet caught my eye as I heard 「元気になれる」from the shrine lady’s lips. Then, I also asked for an omamori that can help as good luck charm for tests and exams―I explained that I wanted to possibly try applying to study in Japan next year, and I needed some kind of good luck charm for that. For this one, she had a little trouble understanding me, but again, she was so nice and tried to confirm what I meant by using simpler words. Overall, I succeeded to get the amulets I wanted, and I couldn’t thank that shrine lady enough for being so helpful even though we barely understood each other. She even made sure saying well wishes for my parents. That’s where the magic was.
From Hikawa Shrine, I came back to the Azabu-juuban Metro station and proceeded to head to Harajuku, as it was nearing 12 p.m. I could’ve gone to the Shibuya station instead, since the theater is actually in Shibuya, but from my calculation, it’s actually easier to get to the theater from the Harajuku station exit that I took the day before to get the Johnny’s Shop. Plus, it’s already a familiar route, so it’s going to save me some time.
Arriving in Harajuku, I was hungry. I thought about going to sit at a restaurant, but I found the next best thing. Remember the street that leads to the Johnny’s Shop? On the left side, there is a takoyaki place. The day before when I was there, that shop wasn’t open yet, because I was early. That day, it was on for business. It turned out to be the wise choice, because it was considerably cheaper than a full meal, but for my belly, it was the right portion―I’m talking about 8 quite big balls of takoyaki and they were delicious! After being filled with takoyaki, I still had a little time to kill, so I decided to cross the street and walked a little bit within the area of the Meijijingu-mae Shrine. I didn’t get to the actual shrine, because it was quite a far walk, and I was worried about being late, but it was a nice afternoon walk.
And then, I slowly walked towards the AiiA 2.5 Theater. From the direction of the entrance to Meijijingu-mae Shrine, I went to the same crossing bridge towards Shibuya that I took the day before. I crossed that bridge, and just went straight, then took the first right turn. On that corner, there is the Yoyogi Athletic Field. Basically, I just followed that pedestrian walk until I found the theater on the right side. The main thing that stood out first was the stairs leading up to the terrace of the theater. As I ascended the stairs, the name “AiiA Theater Tokyo” came visible. On performance day, there was also line of people queueing for some last minute tickets on the side. I got there on 12.30 p.m., so as I waited for the door to be opened, I took a seat and wrote a little bit in my little journal about my impression so far, after purchasing a small merchandise from the Sailor Moon gashapon machine available in the corner of the terrace.
As I’ve already told you about the ticket story, I’m going to skip ahead to the experience of entering the theater for the first time. It’s basically quite a small theater, but it’s very convenient and comfortable, at least from an audience’s point of view. I’m not sure how it was on the previous years; perhaps because it was a weekday afternoon show, the atmosphere was kind of chill. The lobby was turned into a small exhibition space for some merchandises―the highlight being the newly announced Kaleidomoonscope Proplica (so pretty!), and there was a line of flowers of congratulations for the cast members behind the display. Inside the lobby, there was also a counter selling specifically the DVDs of the previous three musicals. As I was in the rush of the moment, I went straight to that counter and immediately asked for Un Nouveau Voyage DVD without thinking much, and voila, I purchased it. (As a side note, this purchase was not on the budget, and upon coming back and reviewing all of my spendings, this probably was the one thing that hurt my wallet the most. But it was definitely worth it!).
After purchasing the DVD, I realized that I couldn’t find any corner that actually sold the other merchandise, so I asked around and the lady in the DVD counter told me that there was another counter outside, near the entrance stairs, where the other merchandises were sold. I immediately went there and saw some people lining up to get their merchandises. Because I realized I’d already spent too much on the DVD, I ended up only getting the official pamphlet and poster. I was thinking to get the special 20th anniversary book as well, but I knew I was already spending too much that day, so I stopped myself (the Johnny’s shop incident taught me well).
With merchandises and that unexpected DVD safe in the bag, I went to check my seat number. Based on the map, as it turned out, my seat was on the far left. I remember feeling a little bit disappointed, because it seemed kind of uncomfortable, but fate had something better in mind for me…
When they finally let us in to the actual theater, I immediately went to look for my seat on the left side. When I found it, I immediately sat and started arranging all of my stuffs. Up until that point, I’d been traveling all over Tokyo with only a small sling bag that contained my passport, wallet, phone, and other necessities. So, there wasn’t really a place for me to put the purchased stuffs in. The pamphlet is kind of huge and square, anyway; it wouldn’t fit on a normal bag. The poster is B2-sized, so it’s also big, even when rolled up. (Oh, and because I purchased the “big stuffs”, the staff didn’t give me any plastic or paper bag to carry those things―perhaps I should’ve asked). As I was arranging those stuffs on the floor and getting myself ready for the show, the person whose seat was next to me came approaching. However, she stopped near the seat, and from the corner of my eye, I realized she was unsure about something. As I looked up towards her, I realized that my sling bag was in the way of her seat, so I immediately put it aside and apologized to her (「あー、すみません。どうぞ。」). She smiled and was like, “No, it’s okay!” and then took her seat.
The Japanese girl sitting next to me has a really kind smiley face. Upon taking her seat, she immediately initiated a conversation with me, probably saying how much she was looking forward to the show. (Note: “Probably” because I was merely guessing the gist of what she was saying). I think after that, she asked me whether I have been a Sailor Moon fan since long ago or not, and when I nodded, she cheered up and said, “私も! I’ve read and watched everything!” Conversation-wise, so far, so good. However, I instinctively made a claim that my Japanese is far from good, so she’d have to excuse me for being kind of slow in getting what she was saying. Being the polite Japanese that she is, she went on to apologize for assuming that I could speak Japanese fluently and started a conversation. I assured her that it’s totally fine, I was actually excited to be conversing with an actual Japanese. I did ask whether she could understand English, in case I found myself lost for words, and she admitted she only understood a little. To me, that’s a sign that I should take this opportunity to practice all those Japanese language lessons I’d taken for the past year.
We then exchanged names―let’s call her “J” for the rest of this piece, and continued to talk about some Sailor Moon stuffs as we wait for the audience to fill up the theater and the show to start. I asked her about how many times she had seen a Sera Myu performance, and as it turned out, she had attended all the new musicals starting with La Reconquista. I told her that it was my first time, that I had come all the way from Indonesia for this. I could tell she was kind of surprised to find that out. And then, she told me that she also came all the way from Iwate (I was like, “You mean, the Iwate in Ama-chan?”―sorry, my asadora nerd came out―and she cheerfully replied, “Yes!”)―she took the Shinkansen that morning to Tokyo and had to come back home that very same night. In a way, we were both Tokyo tourists who specifically came for Sera Myu. A bond was beginning to grow. The seat that I thought was bad turned out to be the best one because I got to meet and interact with this fellow Sailor Moon fan.
J actually bought the special 20th anniversary book and she proceeded to flip over the books and let me see a few of the contents. As we were looking at the book, we talked some more about the older musicals. She told me how much she loved the musicals―she used to have all the VHS of the older musicals, her favorites being Anza-Moon musicals. I also excitedly told her about my love for the newer musicals―how the cast were absolutely perfect for the characters, and my favorite is definitely Satomi-Moon. We also talked about our favorite guardian. J loves Hotaru/Sailor Saturn, and she guessed my favorite one by looking at my Minako/Sailor Venus keychain. The conversation was so fun (even though I only understood half of what J was saying), then the next thing we knew, the show started.
I won’t go into too much details about Amour Eternal the show, but it certainly was an experience. I’ve gotten familiar with the flow of the musicals, having watched the previous three from recorded stream, but of course, physically watching the show as it happened in a theater is a different kind of thing. I realized how much details I must’ve missed out on, because through a camera, I could only witness the spectacle from one point of view. As an audience in the theater, I got to pick the elements that I want to focus on. One thing is for sure, the amazingness of the cast is as mind-blowing as, if not more than, what I expected. I have my bias towards the old cast, but the new one delivered something so admirable, too. Yamato Yuuga, the amazing lady behind Mamoru/Tuxedo Kamen―a kind of legend on her own terms for she came from Takarazuka background, is seriously a star. She was so impactful and so present on stage. No wonder, these musicals kept running with her in it.
However, the highlight for me was definitely the four ladies playing the outer guardians: Haruka/Sailor Uranus, Michiru/Sailor Neptune, Setsuna/Sailor Pluto, and Hotaru/Sailor Saturn. Mikako-san (Setsuna/Pluto) is considerably the veteran, for she started during Petite Etrangere, and she captured the character to perfection, while adding a nice little twist that I never thought could be possible. The other three only joined the company from last year, but they have become so dear to us fans, because the chemistry is out of this world. Shuu-san and Sayaka-san, respectively playing Haruka and Michiru, portrayed the ideal relationship between Uranus and Neptune and I just can’t get enough of it. They provided so many great, subtle details in their perfomance. Honestly, it’s so amazing, because it was as if they really were Uranus and Neptune. Meanwhile, Karin-chan (Hotaru/Saturn) continues to be the best singer out of the whole company and hearing her live was just breathtaking. I have to say, having watched all of the new musicals so far, I have come to a newfound appreciation towards the outer guardians like never before.
During intermission, J and I were fangirling so hard on the outer guardians―specifically we were both crushing on Shuu-Uranus. And then, as a kind of thank you gesture for letting me see the anniversary book earlier, I invited J to browse over the pamphlet with me, since she didn’t get one. Then, we were also freaking out about how pretty the shoes are as part of the costumes―especially Neptune’s shoes. It’s a pretty amazing feeling to be able to connect with a complete stranger like that, just because we share an interest.
When the show finished, I was hoping that the cast member would at least give a little speech, but I guess because it was a midweek show and the fact they had another show to do that same night, they’d prefer to save their energy. Still, I was the happiest person in the world. I can’t believe I just witnessed an actual Sailor Moon musical production with my own eyes. I couldn’t whisper enough thank you in my heart for the cast and crew for having worked so hard so that the show went off without a hitch. Overall, it was a really great experience, but it was not exactly the end of it.
As we waited for our turns to exit the theater, J and I went into that awkward silent moment. I think we both were still processing what we just witnessed. But anyway, we walked out of the theater together, and we were treated to a final delightful surprise. The cast of the outer guardians―Shuu-Uranus, Sayaka-Neptune, Mikako-Pluto, and Karin-Saturn―were all standing by the exit way to the lobby to greet the fans. I was so shocked, because I wasn’t expecting that at all! Up close, they were so beautiful, I could cry. Shuu-san is so tall, Sayaka-san is so pretty, Mikako-san has the kindest looking face, and Karin-chan is the cutest. I was so lucky to have locked eyes with them. I still remember fondly how adorable Mikako-Pluto almost-ugly-crying-face was while thanking us for coming. They were seriously the nicest, and even though I didn’t get to shake hands or say anything, my happiness level went through the roof.
When we finally exited to the lobby, J and I were basically squealing really hard, because none of us had expected that final greeting from those four, especially not after we were fangirling over them through the entire show. After calming down, I asked J to take a picture together and thanked her sincerely for being an excellent company while experiencing my first ever Sera Myu live show. While I don’t mind being alone, I thought watching something like this all by myself would be kind of lonely, but I’m so happy that it wasn’t the case. I may have walked in to the theater alone, but I came out with a new friend. Sailor Moon does bring people together.
J ended up coming back to the merchandise counter to get herself one of the pamphlets. And then, we went on to walk together towards the Harajuku station, since J had to go meet her Tokyo friend before catching the train back to Iwate. During that walk, we chatted some more about how amazing the show that we just watched. Before parting, we exchanged LINE contacts. Even if it was sort of out of politeness, we told each other, “Maybe we’ll meet again during next year’s musical!”
The combination of having my dream to watch Sera Myu live come true, seeing the outer guardians’ actresses up close and personal even only for a brief moment, and meeting J made this day possibly the actual greatest day of my life. I’ve been so overwhelmed by the very fact I got to come back to Tokyo, and then fate decided that I got to experience all of those great things, as well. It was seriously too good to be true. I had my doubts; did I really deserve to go through all of those amazing things? Wasn’t that too much happiness for one person? One thing is for sure: I was and am extremely grateful that all of these happened to me.
Before coming back to Ikebukuro, I took a minute to sit down and reflect on what I just experienced that day. I went back to the narrow street leading up to the Johnny’s Shop and had some coffee in Pablo Cafe. It’s a nice place and when I was there on Wednesday night, it was pretty quiet. It still hosted the trendy crowd of Harajuku, but because it’s away from the craziness that is Takeshita-dori, it has a chill atmosphere―perfect to rest for a while.
That concluded my Sailor Moon-themed day, but as fate would have it, this trip still had one more surprise for me. On the next day, after getting around Tokyo one more time―to Waseda, Jimbocho, and once more Shibuya, I received the most shocking, unexpected surprise this trip could ever provide me. Remember how I said I had coffee in Shibuya Tower Records Cafe on Thursday? Well, this surprise happened a little after that.
You see, after completely indulging in shopping for myself, I remembered that I still needed to get a few things for other people, mostly for friends, co-workers, and classmates. I decided to check out Daiso in Takeshita-dori, so from Tower Records, I walked back towards Harajuku. Having passed through that street a few times already since I arrived in Tokyo, it has become very familiar. Just before the turn that I took when going to the AiiA Theater, I thought to myself, “Should I cross the street and walk on the other pedestrian walk that is nearer to the railway? Maybe a change of scenery is good.” However, when I was about to cross, the crossing sign went red. Finally, I conceded to taking the usual route, because I was kind of in a rush.
As I approached the zebra cross―the one that is located on the street where AiiA Theater is, I suddenly saw two strangely familiar figures, waiting for the crossing sign to turn green. Both are girls―one of them is tall and has striking blonde hair, while the other has long black hair and was wearing a mask over the face. When I got better glance of them, I gasped. The blonde girl… I can’t really believe it, but she looked a lot like the actress playing Sailor Uranus that I was admiring so hard yesterday. When I looked at the other girl, I gasped again, because if the blonde girl really was Shuu-Uranus, then the other girl is… Sayaka-Neptune. They must’ve felt that I was staring, because they turned to look at me, probably wondering, “Who the hell is this strange-looking foreigner girl?!” Without thinking much, I called out to them, 「あのう、さやかさんですか？しゅうさん？」 In that instant, I locked eyes with Shuu-san, and Sayaka-san also turned to me. They didn’t exactly say yes, but they didn’t say no either to my question. And I knew I was right the moment I met the eyes of the girl with black hair. Those were definitely Sayaka-san eyes!
In a moment of panic (because… OH MY GOD! IS THIS EVEN REAL LIFE? I MET THEM ON THE STREET!), I quickly tried to explain―in my limited Japanese―that I watched their performance yesterday, that I thought they did a really good job, and that I wished them to have another wonderful performance that day (「昨日見ました。頑張ったな。今日も頑張ってください。」). As this was happening, of course the crossing sign had to turn green, so I was forced to try talking to them while we were crossing the street. They were so gracious, though. Considering I was probably acting weird and slightly creepy, they still paid attention to me and thanking me as I was talking to them. By the end of the zebra cross, they turned towards the direction of the theater, while I went to the opposite direction while going through what must’ve been a really calm hyperventilation. I seriously couldn’t breath, I wanted to scream, my steps were fast, I wanted to run, I wanted to cry. I couldn’t believe THAT JUST HAPPENED.
I kept a constant speed until I reached the usual crossing bridge that I took to get to Harajuku. On that bridge, I took a moment to stop and collect some kind of consciousness. It was nearing sunset. I could actually see the slightly orange sun perfectly from the direction where the theater must be located. It was the most overwhelming feeling. Not in a million years I would think something like that to happen―meeting people you admire on the street. They may not be these big celebrities or anything, but they’re still big deals! I was so impressed that they probably had taken the train together and walked together to get to work. I was flailing, because there we had the actresses playing the main lesbian couple in the Sailor Moon universe (Haruka/Michiru) doing actual Haruka/Michiru things, such as walking to work together! It really warms my heart to know that they actually click in real life, even though not necessarily as a couple. I knew they hang out together every once in a while, but finding out they even go to the theater together…? That’s next level!
When I was calming myself down in a small and cute omurice restaurant near the Johnny’s Shop (yes, I came back again), I immediately tweeted out all of my feels and sent a LINE to J to tell her what just happened. Again, I don’t know why I deserved such a blessing, but it was the best thing ever. Granted, I didn’t get to do or say much (I panicked; could’ve pretended to walk to the theater, too, or something), but I was so happy to be able to meet them like that. On my way home, I was wondering, did they talk about me after we went our separate ways? Did they think I was weird and creepy? If I was, then, 本当にごめんなさい, Shuu-san and Sayaka-san. And thank you for not brushing me off, and thank you for taking the briefest time to deal with me. I wish I had said more, but maybe I’ll tell you this story if I ever meet you again in a better circumstance.
Anyway, that meeting with a real-life Haruka/Michiru was the greatest ending I could’ve asked for in terms of my Sailor Moon adventure in Tokyo this time. I’m really happy that it was indeed the best highlight, because after all, this trip wouldn’t possible because of Sailor Moon. So, thank you, Sailor Moon, for everything. You have been nothing but a blessing in my life. What I experienced in Tokyo because of you is one of the most precious memories I’ve had in my life so far. I originally only wished to see the musical, to witness a fraction of the miracle romance, but in the end, I gained so much more than I expected. In the name of the Moon, I will cherish it for the rest of my life.