Rie Fu had posted info about this gig on her blog and I was finally in London! So I found myself trekking through the rain from Turnpike Lane tube station to a tiny little restaurant-cum-bar called Viva Viva in Hornsey, in north London.
The venue initially looked promising, but those without a reserved table were unceremoniously shoved to the back, away from the stage. I looked to the back and… oh my god, there she is, there she is, what do I say what do I do don’t be a fanboy! just be cool… but she’s right there!
She was short. Shorter than I imagined, in any case, though probably close to average for Japanese, and she looked a lot prettier in the flesh (which I know sounds like a quasi-insult, but it really was striking how much prettier she looked). I did my usual awkward-shy thing and just dodged the whole issue by sitting down and ordering a drink. A good strong one.
There were some other acts on before “the main event” in my mind, and while they were of a similar genre, they were nothing compared to Rie Fu. By the time Rie took the stage, quite a crowd had gathered – some of whom seemed to know Rie through her university, and a lot of Japanese (presumably friends). The venue clearly wasn’t up to the job, and while there weren’t any arguments it was a tight in there for sure. Rie mentioned at the opening of her set that this was one of the first venues she played at years ago when she was just starting out, and that this would be her last gig in London before moving back to Japan to pursue the career whole-heartedly.
I was enraptured. I was seeing Rie Fu! For real! Probably my last chance at that! and she was no more than 10 feet away! And in 4 songs, it was all over. Man, all that build up!
Afterwards, I went and asked for a photo. In my head, it was going to go something like this:
Me: Sumimasen, Rie-san, hitotsu shashin totte mo ii desu ka? (Casual sounding, “Excuse me, Rie-san, would it be alright if I took a photo (with you)?”)
Rie Fu: Ah, hai, ii desu yo. (“Ah yeah, sure”)
But really, it went like this:
Me: Ano, Sumimasen, Rie-san, hitotsu…. foto… ? (Nervous sounding, “Um, pardon me, Rie-san, one… foto…?”)
Rie Fu: (shocked at the Japanese) Ah, yeah… un.. (“yeah..”)
So not exactly to plan. But I got the photo!
And when I walked home, I was singing all the way =D Now if only I could (a) be less shy and (b) get my Japanese from my head to my tongue properly.
(a couple more photos here)