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Arashi Blast In Hawaii -- Part 10 -- One Love

All throughout my  moment of insight, I missed what was happening at the concert. Because they were out of my line of sight once again, I had no idea what was happening. Nino was shouting what sounded like gibberish to me. So, I made a mental note to enroll in Japanese lessons in the coming term. Then Trumpets blew. Was it trumpets? Sounded like trumpets to me. Jannie shrieked, “Guts!” Another realization hit me — I have not heard “Guts.” Ever.
Thank goodness for DVD/BRD copies and screencapping

I was hit with a cold wave of guilt. The rain had slowed down, yet it felt like there was an isolated cloud pouring strongly on me. I have not heard “Guts.” I have not seen the drama from which it was made for. Not even a trailer of it. I have not finished MatsuJun’s “Shitsuren Chocolatier.” I have not finished Ohno’s “Shinigami-kun.” Did they have an AraFes in 2014? I couldn’t remember. I have not seen an episode of Sho-kun’s Abunai Yakai. I have not seen an episode of Nino-san. I have not seen Aiba Manabu. I don’t know when Shiyagare changed format. I don’t even know when did they upgrade the Cliff Climb wall.

I have been gone for too long I don’t know anything anymore.

I watched as their platforms lifted them up high in the sky. They’re so unreachable. Too far for my short arms to reach. However I stretched, Arashi’s too far away.  


I was getting consumed by my insecurity. Earlier resolve’s in a flurry. I was in an emotional roller coaster. Outside, I was screaming Nino’s name (and sometimes Arashi). But inside — I was in a car spinning in a globe cage. I gasped at how beautiful the fireworks haloed their figures on the platforms. It reminded me once again of the little mermaid.

She waited six years to see the surface that she longed for. At the sunset of her 15th birthday, she finally rose up to the surface and fell immediately in love with a prince. She looked up at her prince amidst fireworks flying to the air. A little before a storm brought her prince into her arms.

Happy 15th anniversary, Arashi. I’ve been a fan for exactly six years. This blast is the only birthday gift I’ve ever given myself. I will aim for the Disney ending. I promise.

“Kansha Kange Ame Arashi” ended with them disappearing from the main stage. The silence blanketed all the fans. A group somewhere started the chant — Arashi! Arashi! Jannie and I followed suit immediately. The 6-foot-Nino-fan behind me chanted along. It grew louder. It felt like five minutes passed, still no Arashi ascended from the stage. The spotlights stayed off. I watched as the broken monitors flickered with an askewed white line. We stopped chanting, baffled by the lack of response.

Were we done? Were we supposed to walk back to our cars now and drive home? No an encore should be up next. They haven’t said their goodbyes yet, either. The DVD would have to have a goodbye message from each member. I looked behind me at the 6-foot-Nino-fan. We asked each other, “Arashi?” at the same time. We started chanting in a question mark intonation. Gradually the question mark faded. Elsewhere, the chanting got louder. A crest of shouts waved through the entire audience. We called out Arashi’s name as loud as we could. I was ready to go back to the Bay Area without a voice.

Lights flashed and the sound it made turned the name into wordless screams. The screams gradually faded into silence. We knew our cue. It was time for us to listen.

Sho-kun started the goodbyes. Saying something about the rain, apologizing for the rain. Tears welled up in his eyes as he spoke. He reigned it back. He was never the one to cry at goodbyes. Ohno cried the hardest the day before. He had his composure in check on the second day.

When Aiba’s voice cracked in the middle of saying, “the five of us,” I couldn’t help but to let out a “d’awww.” Our precious cry baby. Unable to control his sobs, he turned around and continued talking. His right hand was over his eyes, his left was holding the mic. MatsuJun ordered him to turn back, and he did. But still unable to face the audience in great distress, he finished his message with his back turned on us. When he turned around he just let go of the sobs.

Nino’s eyes welled up a little at the end of his speech. We’ve always known the brat was the second most distant among the five. That little unreleased tear was the most precious that we could get from him. MatsuJun’s eyes turned red and I felt affection for the fans. As soon as he said his thanks, “Seasons” started.

A video played on the big screen, a collection of pictures were flashed (or was it scrolling up?). Two of their most recognizable picture in 1999 dissolved to a 2014 version. More pictures through their decade long career peppered the huge screen.

They sang two more songs, “Bittersweet” and “Energy.” They walked all funny towards the T-stage again, avoiding the puddles of water. Nino and Aiba had their moments. Nino teased Aiba by reenacting the way he turned his back on the audience. Aiba, in turn, tousled Nino’s hair.

“A.Ra.Shi” started again while they walked back to the main stage. They waved their hands to everybody in every section. They didn’t seem to get tired of it. They looked so happy. The stairs on the stage parted ways once more, like it did in the beginning. They all went through it and disappeared from our sight. On the big screen, we watched as they waved at us through the camera. Each of them did their own thing: Aiba blew a kiss; Nino’s shaka; Ohno’s victory signs. Sho-kun gave a big, soppy (I imagined) kiss on the camera and got in the helicopter. Ohno and Nino were already inside. As MatsuJun was doing his one last thing to the camera, behind him Aiba hit his head on the helicopter's cabin door frame. I laughed the loudest at this moment. Though I noticed not a lot of people reacted. The audience were all in a trance, singing “A.Ra.Shi.”

Everyone was singing when the helicopter lifted off. It was the last part of the song — that slow part which Ohno sings solo. We sang it to them. Every head turned to follow the helicopter continually singing. We sang as we waved our hands according to the furitsuke. The helicopter lingered as we sang the last four words. And all our hands dropped. All at the same time. As the helicopter finally turned and flew away.

The storm had left.

And we were dry once more.

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