This diary entry is part 23 of 28 in Lily's diary dated 31 - January 2024

Hi! It’s me! Lily!!!

And I’m TIRED!!!!!

OMG what a day!!!

So Yuki and I checked out around 8 AM and got to the gate at plenty of time, and boarded around 10 AM.  We got to Japan at about 4 PM the next day, the flight was late.  Aww.  But that’s okay, Yuki and I took the chance to get some sleep.  We got seats next to each other so we just kinda snuggled up and had a little plane girl-pile.  Usually she’s not the keenest on that, but hey, small quarters and at least we’re friends.

Yuki wasn’t kidding.

When we were waiting for the plane, she got recognized and people asked for her autograph.  When we disembarked, she pretty much got mobbed.  I guess someone at the airport posted on LINE that she was there, and there was a huge crowd of people waiting for her to leave security.  It was embarrassing, actually.  She took it all well, but I get it now.  They just wouldn’t leave her alone.  Even the taxi driver was acting a little star struck.

And it’s worse because she’s not the only one.  After they got through mobbing her, someone yelled “TRAIN ONEE CHAN” and it was my turn to get mobbed.  They seemed amazed that I signed my name in English, but everyone just seemed happy to meet us.  It was the strangest thing.  I think I’m starting to see why they wanted me to make this video with them.  Apparently I’m a bit of a celebrity.  Not as much as Yuki, but I hold my own, I guess.  I guess it was kinda big news that Yuki and train onee-chan were both getting off the plane together and seemed to know each other.

But she told me she was glad I was there because it helped her to feel a little more safe and grounded.  Doesn’t hurt that I could flatten any of them, I guess.

And she… helped take some of the focus off me, I guess.  Well, a lot of the focus, I suppose.

Anyway, we got picked up by a taxi and taken to the producer’s offices in Shibuya.  We met the producer, who was very polite (as I expected) and I got to meet all of the idols.  They were doing idol stuff, but when I showed up, all the idol stuff stopped and it was “meet the new star and Yuki” time.  They of course mobbed Yuki, but this was more professional admiration than fangirling, though there was some of that too.  After that we all went to dinner at a high end ramen place.

OMG was that delicious.

The idols are so interesting, there are about ten of them (including Minami now) and they all have such different personalities.  They started with their idol introductions (“With a bright smile and happy face, Happy beam!  Yamamoto Miki desu!”) But I told them to cut that out, we’re all friends here and I want to know who they really are, not their idol faces.  They seemed very surprised at that, (that was not very Japanese of me, but I’m not Japanese), but then many of the pretenses dropped and I got to know them a little for who they really are.

There’s Kashiwagi Reina, who’s kind of quiet and reserved but shovels down the ramen almost as fast as Yuuko does anything.  There’s Yamamoto Miki, who’s bright and cheerful and bubbly but has a tinge of sadness when she thinks no one’s looking.  There’s Takahashi Mikoto, who always seems to have a book with her when she’s not doing her idol stuff.  There’s Tanigawa Rika, who seems to be best friends with Miki, and they always want to sit with each other.  She’s a bit quieter though, just seeming to enjoy watching Miki when she goes off.  There’s Tanaka Yui, who doesn’t seem all that remarkable but is a trained pianist and musician, who probably could give me a run for my money if she wanted to.  There’s Hanada Rei, who is spectacularly beautiful and apparently does a lot of side work as a gravure model.  There’s Toyoda Safaia, who is actually of the famous Toyoda family (you know, the cars) but prefers to run around singing and dancing than acting like an heiress (she hates her name, much like the eponymous character in “Sound! Euphonium”), there’s Takagawa Rie, who seems a little moody and a little snappish, but everyone seems to like her anyway, and Ogawa Miko, who is almost as beautiful as Rei and seems to be the glue that holds the group together.  The producer is Nakamoto Kento, and he brought along a couple of assistants, and you can’t forget Minami, who seemed to be absolutely bubbling over and was so happy to see me and Yuki she could hardly contain herself.  Anyway, it was a full house, and most of them seemed so full of energy, even though they’d been practicing all day.  Gotta admire their dedication.

Amazingly, most of the people in the ramen shop ignored us, I guess they’re such frequent visitors there to one degree or another that they’ve gotten used to that.  Though the girls were all laughing at me being “train onee-chan”, they thought it was hilarious that that one thing that my sisters did went so viral that they were going to be doing a video with me.  They didn’t seem to mind though, other than the more standoffish ones they thought it was a really fun song and were really looking forward to performing it.  I got the impression that the standoffish ones… it wasn’t personal, they just weren’t too keen on strangers.

After we got back, we had a meeting with the producer, who told us what he has in mind.  Tomorrow we’ve hired out a train, and we’re going to film on the train.  While it’s going from station to station they’re going to do all their dancing and stuff, and my job is to just sit there and be annoyed.  They have a few other things for me to do, but they promised I’m not going to have to dance around.  Whew.  I’m in pretty good shape, but those girls are trained for it, I’m not.  I asked if they had something in mind like “Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari”, and the producer kinda cringed, and said something like “Yeah, we almost didn’t do this because of that, but the subject matter demanded it.”

They just want Yuki to be another person on the train a couple of seats down from me, just kinda minding her own business.  Maybe she’ll be reading a manga or something.  Apparently they just want her to be an uncredited cameo, they figure there’ll be a lot of hubbub when people figure out who she is.

They’re probably right.

They played the song for me that they’re going to sing, and it’s hilarious.  It’s basically about a big sister everyone loves.  It’s perfect!

After we do all the recording, if we have some extra time, they’ve asked Yuki to do an idol masterclass for the girls.  After all, she’s got a lot more experience than some of them – some of them are close to our age, but some of them are more like thirteen.  Yuki has a lot of things to teach them.  I might sit in and watch, that sounds fascinating.  Besides, it’ll be cool to see Yuki in her element again.

We have to be at the studio bright and early to get our makeup and outfits done and get on the bus though.  So Yuki and I are back at the hotel now and we’re going right to bed after this. It’s like morning our time, and we’re tired.

Love you all!!! ❤️

From the creator

Keeping all these idols straight is going to be hard.  I might make body models for them at some point (the fact that they’ll all wear the same costumes will make that a lot easier (and less expensive) for me, but posing them is going to be a pain.  Maybe this weekend if I can make time.  And coming up with all those names was a chore.  They’re all legit Japanese names though.  Except for Safaia, which is a kirakira name, but you’d kind of expect rich parents to do that…

A gravure model does a lot of swimsuit and fashion photoshoots.  Think cat-girl, but a teenage girl and at least trying to appear wholesome.

I shouldn’t need to say it, but all characters in this fic (except for Allison, her family, the “Texan Tinkerer”, and some famous characters) are entirely fictional and have are not based on any real person, living or dead.  The idol group described here and all its members are entirely fictional, and while I’m sure they share names with real people (the aidols definitely do, for example) that’s the extent of any resemblance.  I’ll have to put that in a disclaimer page at some point.  The idol group is inspired by actual idol groups, taking some elements from about three of them, but the inspiration is superficial.

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