Utada Hikaru – Sephora NYC – March 25, 2009
Mostly been making some edits, and revision, so there are some updated content, and some more clarification.
Okay…okay.. I could just die now.. I am exhausted after one day of just sheer waiting for Hikki-san. After a night of becoming quite nervous, I just couldn’t bear to be late to the event.. so I embarked on the early commute, and made it to Sephora NYC, at 6 AM. This was an event that reminded me of waiting to see Rie Tanaka, common friends said that waiting for that was hell on wheels, while this was just hell on the waiting. I forgot what he said exactly. Waiting for this celebrity is one that I would never forget though. So I was really early, similar to Tanaka-san, I was among the first group of people to get there, and the event was at 6pm, a twelve hour wait.
I am by no means a professional photographer, so that first picture I have announcing this post – is the work of my acquaintance Eric M. Chu, who is a free lance photographer with the use of my camera before he went and took pictures of his own.
So we got there pretty early, and the time went pretty fast, only issue was the weather. I was literally in the cold the entire time I was there, so there was points I thought to myself – ahhh cold, nothing beats the frigid wind. Sephora staff was nice enough to pass around coffee, and doughnuts though, so that was all right. I took the coffee to try and warm up my hands, so that was that.
Because the day was very long, I had some time on my hands. I was able to go to Bear Factory nearby to get a gift for the celebrity herself. I got a cream color bear, because I was reminded by Boku wa Kuma, so I wanted to show Hikki-san, my appreciation of her song. Then of course I had to go to get some stationary at Asahiya nearby, so I had a slight bit of time just trying to figure out what type of letter to write. Hopefully, she would receive my fan gift, since she is schedule to go to Miami tomorrow, and I was unable to give her the gift in person.
In the early part of the afternoon, people waiting on the line, received yellow wrist bands to definitely indicate that they were going in. The secondary group who may or may not go in, received orange wrist bands. Sephora was schedule to close at 5:30pm for the event.
Since my friends and I were at the very front of the line, we were asked countless times who were we waiting for by passing by pedestrians, it got to the point where I said we were just waiting for a Japanese pop star, because repeating Hikki-san’s name was only met by blank faces. It was pretty unnerving, and a friend had gotten pretty rude or were pointing toward me to parrot the information.
When 6:00pm, the wait was finally upon us, as people walked in 5×5 small groups to try and squeeze as much fans as possible. I got separated from my crowd of friends, so I was in the direct center of the event. I took some picture, which had an issue of the lens not being strong enough for far away zooming, so not a lot of pictures survived the cut to be included in this small slide show I include at the end of this entry.
Hikki-san had came, and was schedule to complete an interview with Z100, a New York City radio station – so it good. While waiting for Hikki-san, they played, these tracks – On and On, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence FYI, Apple and Cinammon, Poppin, Me Muero, and Automatic Part II. Lots of people had heard the music already, so there was some tense moments.
Then she came… since I was split from my friends, I realized afterward that two of my friends got their items autographs, for which I was pretty happy for.
There was the interview with Z100, with an introduction of Hikki-san, of which some were general, of how she didn’t imagine becoming a singer, but chose this track. A lot of promotion for the iTunes availability of This Is The One.
Currently as I look, the digital download is $7.99, and it is a very good album – quite trendy and mainstream with much of Hikki-san’s experiments, and really neat R&B tunes, much more better than the American singers that the Z100 host mention as comparison. Will that iTunes price be the permanent price, probably not – but if you haven’t heard the cd, I really recommend that you purchase it! The domestic hard copy is going to be released on May 12, 2009. Also another thing – at this date, the video for Come Back To Me is Free Video of the Week!
Afterward, there was some Q & A from the fans, which I was not really impressed by – only five questions – and it turned out that it was from three guys and two girls. After a lot of gushing – from several fans, the event was over, and Hikki-san left the building.
A recap of what the questions or answers, were. Now I can’t really remember the questions, but in essences these were:
- What is your favorite type of food? Spicy Food, with mention of Thai and Vietnam foods
- What was the music that inspired you? The Little Mermaid
- What type of advice you can give to aspiring singers?
- Would you want to collaborate with any other singer? Ayumi Hamasaki for example? – No, but would have like to have sang with Freddie Mercury if possible.
- Hikki-san has not gone to Karoke in the city before.
- What inspired you to write Stay Gold in the Heart Station – Reminded of Golden Week with seeing the young people dressed up uncomfortably in business wear.
- Hikki-san has also mentioned that she felt This Is The One, was the first album she felt truly like a woman, in the sense that, this project made her realize that she is a woman, rather than the tomboy fans had seen her in the past as.
- She also mentioned that females usually feel the need to be validated.
I was at this time quite exhausted, and pretty sad by not being able to give the gift to Hikki-san personally, so I left the gift with a Utada staff member. The mob of fans were then allowed to exit the building slowly – everyone as far as I know received two items – an autographed promo picture, and a complimentary bag.
There I made some more acquaintances in this wait, and hopefully the time between now and the next event that I am schedule to go to, won’t be that hectic as this one. I hope this report is kinda coherent, and there is actually an youtube video of the event.
Hikki-san said: regarding her website – she said Utada.com, and her website is here : http://www.utada.com/
Thanks for Hinano for the clarification, and there are actually notes on how she felt after the NY Sephora event there… so check it out!
Oh and before I forgot.. here is a selection of some images I took.