No doubt if you have been keeping up with Hello! Project for the past week, you must already know the biggest latest announcement. For those who don’t know, Niigaki Risa announced that she will be graduating from Morning Musume and Hello! Project at the end of Morning Musume’s spring concert tour.
Gaki-san is my favorite member of Morning Musume, of Hello! Project. After laying my Kago fandom to rest, Gaki-san is overwhelmingly the heart of my idol fandom. Needless to say, I didn’t know what to think when I read the news on Twitter. How does one react to news like that? To know that someone who you look forward to seeing and hearing will no longer be there is sad.
I wasn’t looking forward to the fact that after years of dodging bullets, the graduation has finally come. What’s more, apparently it was supposed to happen even earlier. Admittedly, I felt perhaps Gaki-san was meant to graduate with Takahashi. Perhaps that was part of the reason why Gaki-san was hesitant to write about how she felt about the graduation when Takahashi announced hers. We could speculate forever if Gaki-san was held back by her own will or if they urged her to hold back so that she could meet and train the 10th generation. But I’m not here to speculate, such things are not for me to question.
For whatever reason, Gaki-san didn’t graduate in late September with Takahashi. She’s now set to graduate some time in May. Soon after the announcement I was talking to a friend of mine and with my eyes closed, I had a sudden epiphany. For whatever reason, Gaki-san didn’t graduate in late September with Takahashi. She’s now set to graduate some time in May. I went online and looked up my school calendar and looked up the current schedule of Morning Musume’s spring tour. It occurred to me, somehow… somehow, it could be possible. Somehow, I might be able to see her before she graduated.
If indeed Gaki-san is set to graduate on the last concert of the spring tour on May 13th. That places her concert right after I finish school. As it stands it is mere days before my own graduation from school. Do I expect her to graduate on that day? No, however no additional information has been announced that deters me from the current target date.
I have looked forward to seeing Morning Musume live for the longest time. The first night, I frantically started thinking a lot. Is it really possible? Can I go? How much money would I need? What would I need? Where would I stay?
There are so many questions. There are so many things I need to prepare for. I’ve never been out of the country. I’ve never traveled a long distance by myself. I’ve never placed myself into a foreign country where I wasn’t semi-fluent in the language. There’s a lot to consider …
And yet as I was questioning myself at every turn, I realized something. I realized, I wasn’t saying no. I realized, I wasn’t telling myself I couldn’t do it. This time it was different, I was telling myself what do I need to do? What kind of problems would I run into?
At some point, I realized … I was thinking about going to a foreign country, alone, for the first time all for one girl. One girl, who I wouldn’t even talk to, possibly not even make full eye contact with. One girl, who at the end of the day would not know who I was. I was thinking about making one of the biggest decisions in my life all for Gaki-san.
And I thought for a moment … is this love? Now, of course not love, by the standard metric that is a relationship with a companion. But something different all together. The only way I can explain what I felt that night was, “is this love?”. If you are ever in the same situation that I described, think about it and let me know.
Long story short (which I never do on this blog), I entertained the idea of going to Japan to see Gaki-san one last time before she would graduate. When Morning Musume came to Anime Expo, they were on the opposite side of the country of me. I resolved I couldn’t go on day one. Did I regret it? Yes.
But as you read, that night I had a very different reaction. I didn’t say it was impossible. I was convincing myself that if Gaki-san meant that much to me, it could be possible. Well, what if it weren’t possible? I would never know unless I tried, wouldn’t I? What if I tried and couldn’t make it? Well, at least I knew I tried. What if I could have tried harder, wouldn’t I regret that I was so close? That was where I came up with my resolve. I didn’t want to be me years ago who didn’t even try to make Anime Expo happen. I didn’t want to give up before I even tried.
Sometimes life changes in the oddest ways. Some people find their calling in the most unforeseen hobbies. Other people find the love of their life in some freak accident. Morning Musume has a lot of meaning to me. I believe that this graduation is not meant to be a concert that will merely be recorded on DVD for fans to reminisce and future fans to see. If anything, Takahashi graduating first taught me one important thing and that’s the meaning of, AI Believe.
I believe that if this means as much to me as I believe it does, I will make it happen. I believe that I won’t let anything stop me from getting on a plane to Japan and getting into that concert hall. I believe that this graduation means so much more than just a step in my fandom. I believe I will make it to Japan to see Gaki-san graduate from the group that I have come to and will continue to hold dear to my heart.
~Siggy, who almost teared up writing the last paragraph~