We were only able to get tickets for today, so we've officially graduated Waku Waku School for this year.
Our seats were upstairs but we had a good view.
After the teachers did their “Waku Waku” “Gakkou!” shout, Sho and Nino had fun repeatedly calling each other “sensei”.
J: Are you excited?! (Waku waku shiteru?)
S: They sure are. (Sugoi shiteru.)
The sounds of bird chirps played.
N: Hey, it should be June, so why are we going back to spring?
Sho giggled loudly at his joke.
They mentioned the “foreigner students” attending from Singapore and waved at the cameras.
Ohno did his customary introduction of spring without pausing for even a second to let anyone answer.
During the opening ceremony where the Jump members dashed to the stage, Arioka and Inoo answered, "Hai, genki desu!" (Yes, I'm fine!) which is the way Aiba-chan talked about using at his school when he was a kid on his radio show before. Keito then said in English, "Yes, I'm happy!!", the equivalent for it. Yaotome did his Bruce Lee impression and Yamada saluted.
O: This is the start of Waku Waku School. New students, congratulations.
Ohno made an annoyed comment that he'd got no kind of response from either the members or the crowd and everyone laughed then and started clapping for them.
Jun and Sho were going to do their usual skit for introducing the school motto, but the camera was unfortunately focused on the large sign of the motto and not Sho when he interrupted Jun, so he gave a wry grin when the camera hurriedly switched over to him after it was already over.
Jun had a "time lag" when he was talking about learning together and the crowd clapped to encourage him. Right then, Ohno had called for silence to play the sounds of the seasons again. We laughed as they joked that the crowd was just trying to be nice, but Ohno pretending to get angry and said much more firmly, "Be quiet!!"
Nino complained that everyone was sitting down to slowly and just as suddenly, he called out to Aiba and Yamada.
N: You guys are taking a break from school, right? To plant rice.
A: No, my house is a Chinese restaurant.
Nino glared and started the rice-making VTR. Right as it finished, Nino started explaining again, looking over to Aiba who was drinking his water and in general, not paying attention.
N: What are you doing drinking water? Stop that!
Nino yelled at them to go over to the field. Once the next VTR had begun and the cameras were off them, Nino bowed to Aiba, probably for joking.
Still amused as ever by Nino's Mai mai jii-chan character, Jun attempted the voice too and Sho suggested Nino go stand by Mai mai jii-chan and talk at the same time to prove it wasn't him doing the voice. Aiba and Yamada took a long time preparing during the second VTR.
A: Don't push! Absolutely do not push me, okay?! No one wants to see that!
Y: I know. (smirking)
N: Have you both got your plants?
A: I don't have mine. (already standing in the water)
J: What did you get in the water for?
While Aiba was panicking that he wasn't ready, Nino quickly said, “Ready, start!”
Nino encouraged them to show off how young they were and seeing Yamada was far ahead of him, Aiba started splashing water on him. Yamada paused, straightened, then shouted, "Oi, Aiba!" and splashed him back. Aiba yelled that he wasn't treating him like a senpai at all and more splashing ensued. Yamada grabbed Aiba's leg, trying to toss him backwards into the water and after some struggle and spinning around in a circle and other members yelling at them to get back to work, they finally returned to the planting race.
N: Look. Take a look at your handy work... It's weeds!
A: I tried, but Yamada intervened!
Y: No, it was him!
They stood pointing at each other. Aiba clicked his tongue and tried to splash him once again. But somehow he tripped and nearly fell himself.
N: Old man!
At the end of it all, Aiba and Yamada shook hands happily.
After changing into yukata for Jun's lesson, Sho and Nino posed together (Nino leaning back towards Sho in a girly pose) and Aiba and Ohno stood side by side in handsome “model” poses.
Jun explained about Ohno's yukata design, a hishigata diamond pattern.
J: It's a very high quality design.
O: It's elegant? But the fabric is so thin.
N: He was talking about the design.
O: It feels so cool.
J: I know, but the design...
O: But it's so cool.
Jun called on Chinen to show his pattern next. Chinen modeled it off in various super cute poses, distracting us from the explanation, so Jun deducted a point from him.
Arioka showed off the Arashi "makie" plate from the opening video to everyone, but he struggled with the wooden box it was in so much that the members on both sides had to help him open it.
Ari: When I was watching him put the gold dust on it, I was trying hard not to breath and scatter the dust around.
S: Sasuga, “na ni kakete” (“Jii-chan no na ni kakete”, literally “In the name of my grandfather”, which is Kindaichi's catch phrase. For people who didn't know, Yamada played the most recent version of Kindaichi in his drama series.)
Yama: That was me!
Ari: I was the one with the curly hair. (Arioka played Kindaichi's best friend)
We did the Happiness Obon dance. It was fun! Nakajima was on the taiko, keeping the beat for us. They showed a father dancing on the screen and Sho mentioned him afterward, imitating his serious expression as he tried to do the steps. The camera found him in the crowd again and he waved to them.
The season changed to fall. Ohno, in his very nice kimono, began to explain his lesson. From one of the holes in the stage in the back, Sho darted out and ran as fast as he could to his seat.
Ohno raised his voice, "The VTR was long so you thought you'd be okay making it on time, didn't you?!" Sho apologized and bowed his head several times, a little frazzled. Ohno said lightly, "It's perfectly fine though." We laughed at his complete lack of discipline and how laid back he said it.
In Ohno's Tea Ceremony, the hanging scroll said, "名利共休" (myouri tomo ni kyusu). It was meant for Nino, who was his guest. And Nino gave a very smug smile when he was announced to be the guest for today.
Nino took forever changing socks to enter the room.
N: I've turned 32 after all, it takes time to put on my socks now.
When he finally did, his movements were so stiff and cute coming into the room and moving to his spot that the called him an old lady later.
I'm so grateful to the cameraman for zooming in on Ohno's beautiful hands as he worked. We chuckled at the large amount of green tea powder he added and how his hand shook violently as he added the water.
Nino picked up the cup, put it down to our laughs, bow respectfully to it and Ohno, moved his mic, and took a sip. He took another sip and paused before giggling. It was either too bitter or he was just finding the whole situation funny and couldn't hold it in. His finally slurp was rather quiet too. Ohno prompted us to do our “air slurp”.
J: I think since Osaka, this corner has turned into something of a skit. At first, it was an old lady who came into the room...
O: It was his posture.
Ohno told us about the characters on the scroll and why he chose it for Nino. It meant that “one doesn't truly need fame or wealth”. An expressionless Nino nodded over and over as Ohno explained it, “angrily” declaring that money and fame weren't important at all. Then he made Nino say out loud that “Money isn't everything. I'm so very sorry.”
They finished the ceremony and the members started asking questions. One from Jun was, “What country were the words on the scroll from? China?” Ohno immediately looked down at his binder, flipping a page slowly.
N: Apologize! Say, “I'm so sorry for not knowing what country that phrase came from!”
The tables turned, Ohno bowed properly and apologized for not knowing. The saying was from China.
In Aiba's lesson, they moved over to the mochitsuki area to pound the rice. Inoo was chosen to go first.
N: What's with that hair style? (It was kind of in a bowl-cut)
I: Don't make fun of my hair.
J: Then why don't you change it?
I: It's Inoo!! (Turning to the mochitsuki pro) So who goes first? (Gestures to Inoo) Me?! Okay, leave it to me.
His rice-pounding was very slow and everyone was quick to tell him so. Even the pro could only say that he was “.... not bad.”
I: It was heavy! Show us how to do it senpai!
Jun was up next.
J: What stance should I stand in?
S: So serious!!!
J: I'll apologize first. If I hit you, I'm sorry.
Jun's hits were much faster.
The pros demonstrated their super fast version and Jun was enthusiastically imitating it in the background.
They ate their pounded mochi at their seats. The camera focused on Ohno first as he ate his tsubu-an mochi, stretching it out. But the one who stretched the mochi out the furthest was Yabu. It was so far his arm couldn't stretch out anymore.
They announced the things the wanted to forget the most and Okamoto went to ring the bell.
Yabu wanted to forget watching a Hey Say Jump show in a sauna with some old men. Chinen read out his letter of “The first time I went snowboarding, in an hour, I'd already hurt my knee.”
A: Next, Oh-chan.
S: Where did you get hurt?
Ohno rolled his eyes and related his story about taking a walk in the neighborhood around his house for an hour, getting lost cuz he went too far, and taking a taxi home.
A: And how far was it?
O: The meter didn't even go up once.
A: Then you were really close!
O: Yeah, it was a waste of money. I want to forget about it.
Aiba read out some random letters from the large glass container of them. One fan broke their house key and one got nervous about admitting they were a Johnnys fan for the first time ever.
S: Ah, it seems everyone's nodding at that.
A: Here's another one. What I want to forget this year = nothing.
As they were throwing them into the pit, Sho picked one out. “I'm about to celebrate my 60th birthday. I've already forgotten everything that I wanted to forget.” All the members laughed loudly at that one.
A countdown showed on the screen. We counted the last ten seconds together. Ohno and Nakajima were cutely swinging their arms at their sides together.
Shiwa-kun, the winner of the luck race from the VTR, came to join us in Tokyo.
Sho explained the rules. “The 1st place runner will hug me when they get here... Ah, they “get” to hug me. The 2nd and 3rd place runners will hug the dolls.”
Nino and Jun complained loudly in the background.
J: Sakurai-kun ga ii---! (But I want to hug Sakurai-kun, not the dolls!)
At Osaka, they seemed to have realized that winning against Shiwa-kun playing fair was impossible, so they started blocking him and pulling his shirt to hold him back. Today at Tokyo, they started with the tactic of the four Arashi members surrounding him at the start line to keep him there.
J: We'll hold him back, so do your best!
Sho had the taiko drum sticks in his hand to start the race, but surprised everyone by beating out the same rhythm for the Happiness Obon dance perfectly. Nakajima, the taiko drummer, complained that Sho could have done the taiko instead of him if he was that good.
N: We'll seriously try our best. Because we're adults.
J: We won't lose.
Then they surrounded Shiwa-kun.
The race started. Hey Say Jump took off while the Arashi members shuffled forward, arms spread wide to keep Shiwa-kun back. Arioka was at the front for a while. Shiwa-kun ducked under Jun's outstretched arm and shot off like the wind. The four didn't bother with the race, just waving to the crowd as they walked leisurely to the stage. Shiwa-kun caught up to Jump in a few seconds, weaved in and out, until he was at the front. Nakajima dove at the doll for 2nd and Arioka was 3rd place. Arashi hadn't made it back to the stage yet by this point, so Nakajima yelled, “Oji-san-tachi, sugoi!!” Meaning, “Old men! In a way, that's amazing (that you are so slow)!”
N: It looked like CG. (When Shiwa-kun ran for real)
S: Is that how you run when you're serious? Ah, sorry, you don't have a mic. (He dashed off to get him one)
Shiwa: I was able to slip past them.
J: We were useless.
Arioka: I could see his shadow coming up from behind me.
Nakajima: There was a “whoosh” sound when he went by.
Chinen: Oh, my hamstring.
They waved goodbye to the winner.
J: Shiwa-kun, we'll win tomorrow!!
S: So who was in last?
S: Arashi gave up, didn't you?
Sho asked them what goals or dreams had come true for the members recently.
O: I remember. There were some things... But I forgot most of them....... Sorry.
Sho turned to Keito, who replied, “Um, they came true.... Probably... If you ask me to give a specific example, that might be a little difficult.”
The secret talk was from the 2005 single, “Wish”. They talked about Leader wanting to get a drivers license and drive them to Hawaii, Aiba wanting to go to Tai on a vacation, and wanting to become more popular in Japan than they already were in Tai.
S: Do you remember saying that?
S: Drive to Hawaii? What did you mean by that? That you hoped cars would become that amazing in the future?
O: Something like that.
N: You wanted to get your license by 30 and you're, what, 70--?
O: I am not!
J: Did you get a license for boats?
O: Not yet.
J: So what do you show them when they want to see an ID?
O: My insurance card.
They laughed loudly at his answer. Looking back, they had accomplished most of the things they said they had wanted to do during the secret talk.
S: So our “Wish”es were granted.
Everyone ooohed at his pun that included the single title.
Sho whipped out his camera, excited to wield it. Yaotome was picked, but his voice was extremely hoarse. He said it was from trying too hard during concert rehearsals and doing his Bruce Lee impression on TV too much.
“The 9 of us in Jump have never had a real fight. (cough) Sorry for my voice. Keeping Arashi as our goal, I hope that we won't ever need to fight and we'll continue to aim higher in the future. In 10 years, I want us to have a goal that we can go towards together.”
S: Is it true that you've never fought?
Yao: Well, there are sometimes when I feel irritated.
Yao: Like at Yamada-kun, who has completely forgotten that I'm his senpai.
Yama: It's just that Yao-shi wears such lame clothes... With Arashi around us, I didn't think it was appropriate... and then there was this guy sitting next to me.
Yamada looked over at Nino.
Yama: You should have seen him today! He was in a gray... faded gray t-shirt, shorts, and these mysterious slippers.
N: Stop already!
S: That's what we want to say!
N: It's not like the “yellow” one in the group always has lame fashion!
Yaotome stood up, pulling at his jacket that had a yellow lining, his member color too.
N: If you ask Sho-san to get you some clothes, he'll definitely buy something camo.
S: I'll find you some really cool camouflage.
Wrapping it up, Sho explained that goals should be made every year, month, and day, but messed up and said “day” for all of them, so he started over.
They made a special announcement about July 20th being Friendship Day and showed us the postcards they are making available on the Johnnys website to download. It says “Thank 友”(thank yuu) on it, 友 meaning friend. Check for an official announcement about where to download it from later.
We recapped the evening, each member saying their line in turn (Yaotome still hoarse as ever. Pretending to be touched by what everyone said, Jun put his hand over his mouth and sniffed loudly like he was trying not to cry). We sang “Furusato” together and waved when they went by in the large carts.
The Jump members gave their closing comments, the funniest being the last two on Ohno's cart.
I: I want to get faster at pounding rice.
A: Learning about the seasons, it made me happy I was born in Japan.
Sho and Aiba peeked through the crack in the door before it shut. With the loss of the “field trip” in Nino's lesson and a few VTRs taken out, they shaved down the time from three hours in Osaka to two and a half in Tokyo. We finished at 7:35.
Next up is Freestyle II in Shanghai! I might write a small report on the experience after we get back.