News Archive >> "NANA 2 International Premiere in New York City"
NANA the Movie 2
|"NANA 2 International Premiere" - Mika Nakashima & Yui Ichikawa|
In New York City
New York – Tokyo
Written by Lisa Lam
Yay! I am FINALLY back from New York. It was only two days, but I really missed sunny California. I couldn’t get used to the weather in New York City. Those of you who attended the premiere event, might remember me as the tall Asian girl near the front of the line, who was shivering. I also went around stealing people’s scarves and gloves. Thanks to the nice New Yorkers who kept me from freezing!
There are a lot of “unforgettable” moments in this very short trip. But I must admit that the most memorable moment for me, was standing outside the IFC Center, watching an employee hang up the letters for the “NANA 2” event. It read:
NANA 2 Int’l Premiere
With Special Guests
& Yui Ichikawa
It wasn’t till that VERY moment, that it dawned on me how surreal it felt. For the last two years, I have been reading and translating these premiere events from foreign newspapers. But in that minute, I realized that I was physically standing outside the theater, waiting for the event to start. For once, I wasn’t going to be the one reading it from a newspaper, but was going to actually experience it in person. It was very dream-like, as I’m sure it must’ve been for the other fans who were waiting in a stand-by line, hoping to get into the event. There was one guy (I think his name is Wei…?), who was waiting in line since 11 A.M. in the standby line! Talk about determination!
I arrived at the IRC Center around 5 o’clock. The location was very surprising to me. I was expecting for the theater to be decked out in yellow and black “NANA 2” text. But there was nothing! Not a poster, ribbon, or even a flyer in sight. I was beginning to wonder whether or not I had gone to the wrong place. I was toting around the “NANA starring Mika Nakashima Fanbook” in my Coach bag. So the first thing I did was pull out my cell phone and called Taeko.
Taeko picked up the phone and we finally met for the first time. (Taeko = Major Adorable) She let me know that the premiere was still being set up inside the theater. (If one peeked inside through the door, one can see a table set with tons of “NANA 2” promotional goods.) I pulled out the fanbook and started to hand it to her, when she stopped me. Instead of HELPING me hand the book to Mika Nakashima, Taeko said that I will be giving Mika the fanbook in person. My heart was doing flips upon hearing that. MAJOR fangirl moment. MAJOR nervousness.
She promptly went back inside to prepare for the premiere. I was left alone to keep myself entertained until the premiere started. I looked around for a line but couldn’t find one, so I thought maybe no one had shown up yet. There was a tiny crowd outside the theater, but I thought they were there to see another movie and so I just proceeded to look for somewhere to get a drink. As I was walking past the small crowd however, someone suddenly yelled out, “NANA!!!”
I turned around with wide eyes and disbelief. “THIS is the ‘NANA’ line?! Where’s the yellow?!!”
They laughed. Apparently, they were wondering the same thing as well. The little crowd of 7 or 8 teenagers and early-twenties, was the formed “NANA 2” line. Seriously, we all looked very different from one another. Age, nationality, style. We were all very very different. Kinda shows how diverse “NANA” fans are, right?
They spotted me because of the fanbook I was lugging around. In the back of the fanbook, there are big black letters that spelt out, “Mika” and “NANA.” They asked if they could see what it was that I was holding and I handed it to them. It wasn’t long before they recognized it as a fanbook and well… Yea… That pretty much gave away who I was.
“Hi! My name is Lisa.”
|The original gang that showed up first! I'm not in the picture.|
But I had so much fun hanging out with you guys!
We all introduced ourselves. Not surprisingly, I recognized most of them from the forums I frequent, and even my own tag board! In that small space of time, this little group of “NANA” fans formed a bond with one another. For the rest of the night, we pretty much got each other’s backs. It was REALLY cold outside! (Okay… Maybe not for them, but I was freezing my ass off!) And waiting outside the theater, we had over two hours to kill. As we were waiting for more “NANA” fans to start showing up, we found out that the IFC Center was hosting another movie preview that night. I forgot what the title to the movie was, but the catch phrase went something like, “One Woman’s Problem.” We joked around that “NANA” was WAY better. Why bother with ONE woman’s problem, when we can bother with TWO women’s problems…? (I TOLD you we had a lot of time to kill….) And somewhere along the line, I was also told by Makenshiww that he was really glad I wasn’t an old lady. Apparently, on my website, I gave off the impression that I was a old lady… (Aww man…! Two other people said I gave off the impression of a wallflower…!!)
After a while, a staffer came out and separated the growing line of “NANA” fans. One line was now for people who already had RSVP’s, and the other line was for the stand-by’s. Shortly after the two lines were formed, an employee came out and began to hang the letters on the sign. As fans, I think that was a very notable moment. We all just kinda stood there, watching in anticipation as each letter was hung. And when the sign was finally completed, anyone who had a camera pulled it out and began snapping away. It was a very touching moment. It’s not everyday that a high-profile Japanese movie comes to NYC to meet its fans.
The more time that passed, the more people began to show up. The bad thing was, people really didn’t know which line to stand in. They just got into any line. Throughout the night, I couldn’t contain my surprise at the people who came one after another. Most were in their early or mid-20’s. But there were some that were in their late 30’s and early 40’s as well. I was really shocked! “NANA” sure reaches out to a broad audience. By 7:15, the lines became REALLY long.
|Looooooong line of "NANA" fans who showed up.|
We noticed the amount of media people there as well. They started showing up around 6:30 to 7:00 with their cameras. Taeko told me before I flew to NYC, that anyone who cared about the “copyright” of “NANA” would be at the premiere. This means SONY, TBS, Toho, Shueisha, and even MTV were all there and wanted coverage of this event. A lot of us in line were interviewed (I was hiding). Ramsey and Makenshiww, whose outfits definitely stood them out, were interviewed by possibly EVERY SINGLE camera crew that was there. They wanted the fans to make noise and we tried! (Failed but tried!) I know it seems very promotional and a lot of marketing, but the media folks were REALLY nice. They stayed and chatted with a lot of us, even if some of them didn’t understand English or spoke it too well. A cameraman and his crew member (I remember this pair in specific because his crew member is a very androgynous female, whom many of us in line thought was hot. ^__^) said that we were all very “kawaii.”
Finally, a little after 7:30, we were led inside the theater. The event took place on the second floor of the IFC Center. Taeko found me and told me that she wanted me to sit in the front seat. I excused myself for a quick run to the restroom first (Nature called.). When I came back, I was surprised to find that Nicole (a super nice girl I met in line) was waiting for me, and Taeko was already somewhere else. A hot guy in a nice suit (whom I later found out was Mika Nakashima's interpreter) asked if I was the Lisa who had something to give Mika. After saying yes, he led me and Nicole to the front and seated me in the front row, with Nicole right behind me.
|Japanese press members who called us "Kawaii."|
Starrah, who I met in line, is on the left.
The room was really small and cozy. It probably wouldn’t hold more than 150 people in there. And most of the two front rows were reserved for press members. I was getting a little worried that the little group of friends I met wouldn’t get in (They were in the stand-by line). But the staff members remembered them, because they stood in line the whole day! So when they were admitted into the room, Nicole and I both gave sighs of relief.
Shortly after the doors closed, a funny man in a hot pink suit came out on stage. He was so hyper and happy! Someone MUST’VE fed him loads of sugar (or alcohol) before he got on stage. His job was to get the fans excited about the movie. He also told everyone, that if they haven’t seen “NANA 1” yet, that they’re totally “screwed.” I thought he was pretty funny and he definitely defrosted everyone. The movie immediately started afterwards.
The Movie - Spoilers
“NANA 2” deals primarily with that fact that life almost never goes the way one would want it to. Events in the movie leads the two Nanas to gradually pull apart, through a lot of misunderstandings and unexpected circumstances. Romance and heartbreaks circle Hachi, Takumi, and Nobu; While Nana struggles to stay strong for the sake of her friends, and avoid Ren at the same time to prevent paparazzis from giving them trouble.
Let’s start with this little guy first. As a teen heart throb, his replacement of Kenichi Matsuyama (former Shin in “NANA 1”) was highly anticipated. The producers threw Hongo in as Shin, mainly because they wanted a good looking teen boy to draw in teenage girls. And who better to do the job than Hongo Kanata, who just came out shiny and new from “The Prince of Tennis” movie? I expected Hongo to fit Shin’s age and appearance. But he’s so young! I didn’t know what to expect from him as Shin. However, Hongo Kanata’s portrayal of Shin actually made this a pretty good movie. The kid can act. Sometimes he can be overly cheesy, but as Hachi’s Shin, he was totally believable. Not only was he kind, but Hongo’s Shin can be mischievous as well. Being sneaky and nosy, he shifted his eyes back and forth from Nobu to Hachi, before he plotted to send them both on an alcohol run, just so he can set the two up. Being a total fanboy, Shin totally sucked up to Takumi’s skills which held Trapnest together. He was in awe, and even told Takumi how much he adored him. But as soon as Takumi opened his big mouth and started bragging about nailing Hachi, gone was the fanboy and in was the very loyal friend who threw water in Takumi’s face, when Nobu didn’t have the heart to do so. And towards the end of the movie, there was the worried and sensitive Shin, who told the very heartbroken Hachi, that he was on her side no matter what. I really like this kid. He did a fantastic job.
These two are a stuck pair with each other. In the first movie, they both barely had one line. But in “NANA 2,” the script was made to give them a few more lines. I honestly wish that they would give Naoki and Reira bigger roles in the story. Their interaction with one another is so light hearted and cute. Reira pretty much speaks all English in the sequel. Naoki responds to Reira in complete English as well. However, in the ONE short line that Reira speaks in Japanese, Naoki had a blank look on his face and was like, “Why are you speaking in Japanese?" That sent the audience into a fit of giggles. Reira was especially cute in the movie, when she teased Takumi about Stella. While Takumi was busy griping on his cellphone, Reira made fun of him by writing Stella’s name with lipstick on a glass door next to him. He stared at her in annoyance but she didn’t stop. Finally, she made a face and stuck her tongue out at him before she ran off. It was a very cute moment. Even better when Takumi had to wipe Stella’s name off of the door. Go Reira!!! (And answering the question on whether Yuna Ito could act or not: Her screen time was really too small for one to tell. But what little screen time she DID have, she did a great job on. Hopefully she'll take on more acting roles after "NANA" and become successful with it.)
(Momosuke Mizutani) &
I think he stole the heart of every girl in the theater. As Nobu, Hiroki is clueless and naive, yet overly sentimental and loving guy. At the beginning of the movie, anyone can tell he was in love with Hachi. It first came off as a puppy crush. He stuttered a lot, and wasn’t brave enough to confess his love for Hachi because she was already involved with Takumi. However, after gathering his courage, he expressed to her how much she means to him. Hiroki really got all the stereotypical cheesy lines in the movie. Honestly, had it been another actor, I don’t think the guy would’ve been able to say Nobu’s lovely dovey lines without sounding insincere. But Hiroki is a very seasoned actor, and the fact that he was able to say these lines to Hachi, and still sound with deep sincerity that he means every word of it, really brought out the simplistic loving naivety of Nobu. Watching him beg Hachi to lie to him, watching him be the stronger man and walk away, and watching him just be Nobu… Man… He brought tears to everyone’s eyes. Later, when he realizes that the best thing for Hachi is for him to stay away, one couldn’t help but feel like a terrible disaster has happened. Like Nobu said to Nana: His destiny is to be a supporting character is this little story called “NANA.” That made everyone laugh and cry at the same time.
Nobuo’s Ren is the cool guy in the movie. And when I say “cool,” I mean cool as in distant, monotone, and emotionless. Nobuo Kyou is the actor who replaced Ryuhei Matsuda for the role of Ren Honjou in “NANA 2.” And I must say… I really prefer Ryuhei over Nobuo, but I can’t decide whether it’s due to Nobuo’s acting, or “NANA 2’s” script for Ren. The fact is, Ren and Nana’s relationship almost seem non-existant in the second movie. It seems like they went through so much in the first movie to be together, but totally fizzled out in the sequel. Yes, I understand that Nana was staying away from Ren, to prevent paparazzis from finding out about them. But when Ren and Nana are together, there’s no chemistry. And the conversation is very… Unemotional. I really didn’t enjoy their interaction in the movie. Ren really seem too distant and almost uncaring. Even towards the end of the movie, when Ren came out of his car and ignored the nosy paparazzis by just grabbing Nana and pulling her into his car, then driving away… It was supposed to show that he really didn’t give a shit about what other’s thought of his relationship, that he can sweep Nana away. But it didn’t really come off that way in the movie… It just came off as… Ren came out of his car and dragged Nana away… It just didn’t… Look right… Something was definitely off.
Tomomi is really Yasu reincarnated. There are not enough words to describe how awesome Yasu is in “NANA 2.” Not only does Tomomi look the part of Yasu (I mean shaving your head bald for two movies is quite a sacrafice!), his stance and silence really does bring the manga to life. Whenever Nana is troubled, Yasu stays by her side to help her through. He doesn’t say much, but Tomomi’s Yasu is a very loyal and caring friend. Yasu and his sunglasses also saves the day, when paparazzis trapped Nana in her apartment, after finding out about her and Ren’s relationship. Yasu just storms into the apartment, pulls the paparazzi away from the door, and scares some common sense into the guy. Everyone in the theater cheered him on. Yasu always looked kinda gangster-like in the manga and Tomomi really brought that quality out in the movie. Not only did Yasu look like a gangster, but he looked like a hero too. I don't think they could've picked a better actor to play Yasu's role.
I am a Aoi Miyazaki fanatic, and I know a lot of you expect me to bash Yui Ichikawa for replacing her in the movie. But I will not. I will be perfectly fair. Yui’s Hachi was really funny and really boring in the movie. How can that be a combination…? Well, the first half of “NANA 2” was actually really light hearted. Hachi was trying to find a place for her in this world. After being fired from work, suffering from her break up with Shouji, and just overall feeling swallowed by life, she felt really hollow and vulnerable. Hachi’s character at this point, was just TRYING to be happy. But most of the time, when Yui acted out Hachi’s “happiness,” it came off looking a little fake and silly. The acting was overly exaggerated but oddly, it worked for the movie. Her over exaggeration, bad acting, and silly gestures came off as comedy relief because it just look and sound SO silly. I’m not kidding you. Yui’s bad acting was really kinda adorable and funny at the same time. I enjoyed it and listening to other audience members’ laughter, I think they must’ve liked it too. However, after the first half of the movie, the mood became very depressing very quickly. When Takumi found out Hachi was pregnant, he locked her in the bathroom and called Nobu. Hachi was already crying that Nobu was finding out about the unexpected child; But when she heard the conversation from the other side of the door, that Nana was on the phone line and found out as well, the expression on Hachi’s face was heartbreaking. Yui was SO good in that scene, and I heard many sniffles coming from the audience members. “NANA 2’s” director must’ve caught on that Yui can portray a good crying scene, so what he did, was make her cry a LOT in the second half of the movie. However, the crying scenes quickly got old and boring. Everytime Hachi cried after that, I thought, “Is she crying again…? Oh good grief.” Its not that she doesn’t cry well. Its just TOO much and it got boring. All of Hachi’s sobbing and crying made the rest of the movie feel extremely long. Lastly, in the manga, Hachi left with Takumi because she wanted her child to have a supporting father. As a reader, even if we hated the fact that Hachi left with Takumi, we had plenty of respect for her because she was acting in the role of a caring mother. But in the movie, when Yui’s Hachi left with Takumi, it was out of weakness, insecurity, and selfishness. She was thinking that in the very end, only Takumi understood her emptiness and hollowness inside. Any sign which showed that Hachi cared for her child, didn’t come until WAY later towards the end of the movie, when she kept petting her tummy.
Okay ladies. Wipe up your drool. Yes, Tetsuji Tamayama was extremely hot in “NANA 2.” He really knew how to work his Takumi hair extensions. But was Tetsuji really as big of a bastard as the Takumi we knew from the manga…? Yes… And no. How Takumi treats Hachi throughout the movie is almost parent-like. He takes care of her and pampers her, but he also scolds her and puts Hachi in her place. Sometimes he has the patience of a saint when it comes to her. And sometimes, he wouldn’t give Hachi the time of day if her life depended on it. But one thing was very clear: She was just a pet. At first, it was very notable that Takumi went to Hachi (after their Trapnest tour) just to get back at Nobu, who was in love with her. And the story follows the manga, when Hachi thought she “broke up” with Takumi on the phone, and got into a relationship with Nobu afterwards. However, it was never made clear why Takumi went to Hachi’s apartment: He misses her? Before he knocked on the door to the apartment (shortly after Hachi finds out she’s pregnant), he had this look on his face. Guilt? I have NO clue. Who knows? Maybe Hachi really IS important to Takumi. Reading the manga, whenever it came to Hachi and Takumi, many fans don’t think that Takumi is forgivable in the way he treats her. However, as a girl watching the movie, I kept thinking that Takumi is just an asshole that can still be tamed. There is still hope! So overall, how was Tetsuji as Takumi in “NANA 2…?” He’s just delicious. Whatever Tetsuji’s Takumi have done or will continue to do, we forgive him. Does that mean he wasn't bastardly enough...?
I know this might sound biased to some of you (because I’m a huge Mika fan), but I believe that Mika Nakashima actually had the most surprising role in the sequel. Shortly after a copy of “NANA 1” made its way to the internet, fans were complaining about Mika’s portrayal of Nana Oosaki: Too cold, too stiff, and not friendly at all. In “NANA 1,” Mika’s Nana was a little lacking from the manga. However, in the sequel “NANA 2,” anyone can see that the director and script writers are trying a LOT harder to get Mika’s Nana to be closer to the Nana we know from the manga. For the sequel, Mika really grew into her role as Nana. She was able to pull off Nana’s spontaneous and silly gestures in “NANA 2,” when moments like that were almost nonexistent in “NANA 1.” But the trait that made Nana so lovable in the sequel is really because she was a true friend. The best scenes in the movie are not between Hachi and Nana, but Nobu and Nana instead. When Nobu thought he was worthless because he couldn’t hold onto Hachi, the tears that came from Nana’s eyes are very real. She hugged him and cried, asking him not to put himself down over a girl; That before Nana met Nobu, she hated everyone else. She helped Nobu get through some of his toughest moments in the movie. And even when Hachi moved out of Room 707 without telling Nana first, Nana still put Hachi’s well being above all. Despite the fact that Nana already had her own problems in the movie, she cared for everyone’s feelings before she bothered with her own. At first, because Mika’s Nana had so few scenes in the first half of the movie, I was worried that they were cutting out Nana Oosaki scenes because of the complaints from the first movie. But instead, most of Nana’s scenes came during the second half of the movie. The storyline had all the characters suffering through disappointment and heartbreak, before Nana Oosaki came through in the second half, to patch up everyone’s wounds. Mika’s Nana is a true friend in “NANA 2,” and her moments on screen are as poignant as they come.
Japanese movie critics and viewers gave “NANA 2” an overall score of 3 stars out of 5 stars. After watching “NANA 2,” I agree with the rating. “NANA 2” really did have a faster progressing storyline than “NANA 1,” and a more entertaining plot. However, at times, the movie seriously felt very long. Some scenes weren’t necessary at all. Whereas, Reira’s “Endless Story” performance in “NANA 1” was a necessary and touching scene, the filming of the “Truth” scenes in “NANA 2” actually aren’t necessary at all. You can cut that scene out from the movie, and the storyline would still go on. There was a 20 second preview of the “Take Me Away” video in “NANA 2,” that was really cool though! I must say, that the promoters behind “NANA 2” made a mistake when choosing which Reira video to release. “Take Me Away,” with Reira shooting off a gun was definitely the more exciting video. (But we are going to have to wait for “NANA 2’s” release on DVD next year, before we can see the video for that.) Also, Ren could’ve had a more active role in the movie, and Hachi’s crying scenes could’ve been toned down. The element that held this movie together was really the concept of “friendship.” The chemistry was lacking between Hachi and Nana, but Nobu's and Nana's scenes worked. Had that not been stressed in the movie, “NANA 2” would’ve been a waste of time. But thankfully, the producers of the movie at least understood that fans really appreciate the bond between the characters in “NANA.”
Mika Nakashima & Yui Ichikawa
Immediately after the showing of the film, the pink suited MC ran back on stage and loudly introduced “NANA 2’s” leading stars: Mika Nakashima and Yui Ichikawa. Looking to the right of the little theater, the aisle was already filled with “NANA 2” staffers and Japanese press. Through the door came Mika Nakashima and Yui Ichikawa’s petite forms. Coming down the steps to the stage, Mika and Yui stopped briefly RIGHT next to me (less than a foot away). Seeing both girls up close was really AMAZING. Those of you who thought they look beautiful in photos, on screen, and in magazines… Well, let’s say that in person, they look WAY WAY WAY better. Absolutely no airbrushing needed. Whereas even the best photos can make them look skinny and pale, in person they are flawless: Glowing skin, small petite forms, perfect hair, and beautiful style.
|The Interpreter, Mika Nakashima, Yui Ichikawa.|
Fans and press members snapped a lot of photos, while the two girls made their way to the stage. When they were finally standing in front, the energy in the room was greatly lifted and everyone was excited. Even the pink suited MC became a little bashful. Mika and Yui had an interpreter on stage to help them with the English language. The following time was allowed for fans and the press members to ask questions to the two actresses.
One of the first questions was asked by a fan to the actresses: Where were they while we were watching the movie…? Mika responded that they were eating out.
Question: Do you like New York City?
Mika’s Answer: She has been to New York City many times before, but this time she was able to stay a long time. She got to know the city a lot better and actually really like NYC. (Actually, on NANA-NANA.net’s tag board, Kaori claimed that her friend saw Mika shopping in NYC before December 13th. So there’s a good possibility that Mika and Yui came to the US for a break, shortly after “NANA 2” premiered in Japan.)
Question: Mika worked on many different music styles before, from pop, to rock, and jazz. What can we expect from Mika next…?
Mika’s Answer: She has been singing a lot of rock styles lately, so she’s getting a bit bored with rock. Her upcoming musical projects are ballads.
Question: From Mika’s official site, fans got a short preview of the Yutaka Ozaki’s classic song, “I Love You,” covered by Mika. Can we expect a release of the song any time soon? (We know now that the song will be released in February, but around the time of the press conference, no one knew.)
Mika’s Answer: She doesn’t know anything about that. She really doesn’t visit her own official site, and so she isn’t in charge of what actually gets put on there.
Question: How is Mika’s relationship with HYDE?
Mika’s Answer: They don’t really have a relationship, aside from working. When they’re working together, they talk a lot with one another. But outside from that, there are no romantic links or anything other than being professional friends.
Question: Yui Ichikawa replaced Aoi Miyazaki in the sequel, “NANA 2.” Stepping into such a high profile role, was there a lot of pressure?
Yui’s Answer: She didn’t know at first, but there was a lot of pressure placed on her, after she got the role. She really tried her best to play Hachi and hope everyone enjoys her part.
Question: Which Ren did Mika like more…?
Mika’s Answer: She gave a neutral answer. She was really nervous playing the role of Nana Oosaki in “NANA 1.” But in “NANA 2,” she was more relaxed.
Question: Which guy would Yui have picked? Takumi or Nobu?
Yui’s Answer: If it was up to her, she would’ve definitely picked Nobu.
Mika’s Answer: Yasu!
As anyone can see, most questions asked were for Mika Nakashima. The pink suited MC dubbed the audience, “The Mika Nakashima Fanclub.” I don’t remember all of the questions. But Mika commented that she doesn’t really think that she’s popular in the states. If anything else, she thinks it’s from “NANA’s” association that she’s talked about at all, because the manga is getting popular in the US as well. As for whether she prefers singing or acting, she started her career doing both at the same time. Mika doesn’t discriminate! ^__^
Also, I was seated in the front row, so I was extremely close to the stage. People in the back probably didn’t see this… But Mika Nakashima and Yui Ichikawa were REALLY nervous! Yui was the more obvious one. She held her hands together and fiddled with her fingers to prevent her hands from shaking. But when she pulled her hands apart and waved them a little, it was very apparent that her hands were shaking from nervousness. Mika’s nervousness wasn’t that obvious. She seemed very poised and professional. However, I noticed that when she shifted her knees, they were shaking. It was really hard to tell. I asked Nicole if she saw this too, since I handed her my camera and she was snapping pictures for me. (Thanks Nicole!) It wasn’t just me. Nicole definitely noticed it too.
|Mika Nakashima, Yui Ichikawa, and the Audience.|
After the Q&A session, the pink suited MC suggested for the fans to get onstage and take one large group photo with Mika and Yui. However, the management in charge of the event quickly said no to this. The stage was extremely small: Too dangerous to have the fans all on stage at once because someone might fall and get stepped on. So it was quickly suggested that Mika and Yui would stand in front of the audience, while press members got on stage instead to snap pictures. After this, Mika and Yui left the room. And the “NANA 2 International Premiere” was over. Mika Nakashima, Yui Ichikawa, and all the other staffers boarded a plane and returned to Tokyo on the morning of December 19th.
I dub Ramsey the “Special Fan” of the night. Before we got into the theater, he was the most excited and active one. Even if he didn’t have a RSVP beforehand, he was waiting most of the day and practically begged to get in. All the media folks interviewed him, and he generated a positive energy to anyone standing near by.
During the Q&A Session, he was called on to ask Mika a question. But he was so nervous, that after stuttering a few times, he had to sit down. He raised his hands, and since the pink suited MC remembered him, Ramsey was called on again. He was the one who asked about the “I Love You” question. At the end of the event, he asked if Mika would sign his “Mika Nakashima Piano Collection” book. Mika was more than willing too, and was in the process of signing it, but her management quickly said no and gave the book back to Ramsey. Mika and Yui were escorted out the room shortly after that.
|Mika was really amused by her fans.|
Now, Mika’s management didn’t mean to be a jerk about the autograph. Fact was, when fans saw that Mika was going to sign something for someone, they were all ready to rush to the front for an autograph too. Can you imagine the chaos that would cause? For everyone’s safety, Mika wasn’t allowed to sign any autographs.
Ramsey’s eyes started tearing up and cried a little. Someone told him that if he stayed a bit after the show, he may get his autograph just yet. So afterwards, the original group from the beginning of the night, waited with him inside the theater. (I told you we all formed a little bond!) And sure enough, a staffer came out with Ramsey’s “Mika Nakashima Piano Collection” book, autographed. Mika even wrote his name in English! I don’t think there are really words to describe the look on Ramsey’s face, after he saw the autograph. He looked like he just might cry again!
|The cover was made of foamies and card board.|
A kinda gothic looking "Room 707" theme.
I spent the majority of the trip feeling totally freaked out. By the time I boarded the plane for NYC, I had already gone 2 days without sleep and no meals, and the fanbook project was still not completed. I shortened the due time for the fanbook submissions, because I knew the “NANA” community very well: Procrastinators. Even after I announced that submissions were no longer being accepted, close to 40 submissions were sent in anyway (mostly from New York and California). Me and Helen stayed up the whole night on December 16th, organizing and printing out all the submissions. Up till the time I left for the airport on December 17th evening, people were STILL sending in submissions. We did what we could to keep all the submissions in the fanbook. There were only three that I didn’t bother to look at: One was because I was suspicious of a virus, one was because the person who sent in the message was being VERY rude, and the last one was because I was already leaving for the airport and didn’t have time to print out the submission. There were over 120 accepted submissions…
I couldn’t sleep on the plane, so make that 3 nights with no sleep. I arrived in NYC on December 18th morning, the day that the “NANA 2 Premiere” will take place. Since I couldn’t check into the hotel yet, I sat in a café and spent the morning gluing and organizing the fanbook. All the pages together ended up being a whole inch thick! After I got back to the hotel, I had to figure out how to bind the whole thing together, without it falling out. I ran out of glue, no more stickers, and the only thing I had left were ribbons… Hence the ribbons. ^___^;; The fanbook was literally completed just 10 minutes before I started out to the IFC Center.
From the emails exchanged between me and Taeko, I was pretty sure that I would hand the fanbook over to Taeko and she would help me give it to Mika. However, when I met Taeko at the IFC Center, she took one look at the book and insisted that I give it to Mika myself during the Q&A Session. Ahhhh…!!! I was so freaked out (Half because I would be so nervous to even SAY anything to Mika. The other half because I don’t like being centered out for attention.). But the fanbook at that point started to feel really heavy. I didn’t understand how big of an obligation was, until the book was handed over to Mika. I felt the weight of responsibility lifted from my shoulders and realized that I was starving…!
Taeko patted my shoulder during the Q&A Session and told me to ask Mika a question and then give the fanbook to her. I was really nervous, so I pretty much waited until I was the last one to ask a question. When I was called on by the pink suit MC, I asked if I could give Mika something. Mika and her interpreter had a blank look on their face at that moment, and oddly, people in the audience started cheering. I got up and handed her the book. I don’t think Mika knew what it was that I was handing her. She looked really blank. So then, I tried my best to explain that a lot of her fans couldn’t make it to see her, but sent her a message instead. She stared at it and looked at her interpreter, who explained to her what I had just said. By then, I had scrambled back to my seat. Mika smiled, bowed and said, “Arigatou...!” to me. I must’ve melted and shrunk down in my seat, because her staff members were standing right next to me, and they were giggling.
Mika tried to open the book, but couldn’t figure out how to while she was on stage. So did she actually open the fanbook and read it…?
Taeko told me that after the event was over, everyone involved in putting this event together, went to the café next door to celebrate. NewYork-Tokyo staffers were chatting up with the “NANA 2” staffers. Mika Nakashima and Yui Ichikawa were there too. The café appeared closed to outsiders, but they were definitely in there.
Mika Nakashima still didn’t really know what the fanbook was at first. She asked Taeko if she knew what it was. And since Taeko hadn’t really seen in detail what was inside, she couldn’t give Mika an answer either. But Mika soon figured it out by herself. And for over half an hour, she very seriously read and flipped through the fanbook.
The Mika Nakashima Fan Book Gift Project was 100% successful! Many of you don’t know this, but a fanbook takes WEEKS, if not MONTHS, to organize and make. The fact that this fanbook project was announced on the morning of December 14th, entries gathered by December 16th, and turned over to Mika by December 18th, is an amazing task! I don’t think I’ve EVER seen any fan website succeed at putting together a successful fanbook in such a short time. SO THANK YOU EVERYONE!!! For being so awesome and participating from everywhere in the world. We got submissions from almost every continent (except Africa and Antarctica). Let’s do this again, a million years from now! ^____^
Mika Nakashima Fan Book Gift Project
Thank You NewYork-Tokyo!!!
Everyone should really thank NewYork-Tokyo for putting the “NANA 2 International Premiere” together. Fact is, they really didn’t know until a week and a half before the event, that they were going to have it. Hong Kong was scheduled to do the “NANA 2 International Premiere,” but it was cancelled. NewYork-Tokyo was called up last minute, and asked if they could put together the event in a week. So the staffers REALLY worked extremely hard to get everything up and running. From Tokyo’s side, Taeko said that there were a lot of demands: The size of the theater, the size of the audience, etc. But in the end, an awesome premiere was put together for “NANA” fans. So thank you NewYork-Tokyo!!
Other Useful Links:
+ Ultrateg took REALLY good pictures.
+ Demoruri's Video Clips of the Q&A: [ Part 1 || Part 2 ]
Newspaper Clippings Submitted by Makenshiww
Weekly NY Japion - Volume 385