Chihara Minori 茅原実里 (Nagato Yuki in Suzumiya Haruhi) has had three lovely pieces in her blog about her trip to LA with the SOS-Dan for Anime Expo. I think she wrote a bit at a time and then posted each day's reflections all at once. Here are very rough translations:
Day 1 (Friday)
It was scary, but we've landed safely in Los Angeles! We're in the car on the way to Long Beach. It's my first time overseas! The roads are so wide. The sky seems limitless, and bright blue. All the road signs are in English! All the cars are left-hand drive!! And there are so many beautiful golden-haired sexy people!!!
In all this, I have a strange feeling of excitement. I just can't calm down. And I'm still not used to the time difference, so my body feels almost anesthetized.
Today, the SOS-Dan were guests in a panel discussion. The people in the hall could just go and line up at a mic and ask us whatever they wanted.
I've never experienced an event like this in Japan. I was nervous, wondering what questions they would ask. Some people did their best to ask questions in Japanese.
I was moved by the love for Haruhi coming from their hearts. I don't understand English, so I had to depend on the translator, but I am really grateful for the precious opportunity to see their faces and feel their feelings. Today I really know that this show is loved across borders. Tomorrow I will return their feelings with my songs.
The whole staff went out to dinner at a beautiful restaurant. I ordered my favorite dish, prawns. That's a prawn! A prawn! ...not really. It's a lobster!! It was enormous! ... People there said: "That's not so big."
America is on a different scale.
Day 2 (Saturday)
This morning I ate "the first watermelon of the season" from the buffet at the cafe. It was sweet and delicious.
Tonight we have a live event. The staff said that there would be about 9000 people there. I didn't believe it until I saw the hall. We went there for rehearsal... And it was so big it was just overwhelming! I have to settle down, I thought, so I set out to walk all around the hall.
I thought that when I went on stage, I'd like to have a little English to say. Can I do it? (Sweat...) Despite differences of language and culture, I thought that if we were carried away by what we enjoyed, we would all be together as one.
It made me so happy to see with my own eyes the Americans and the many Japanese people who were there, all enjoying the performance together. We also had a little open recording session with the American seiyuus. It was so stimulating!
The emcee was Patty, who was super-cute, and we and the ASOS members got together for a photo in the green room. When we sang Hare Hare Yukai, they were our backup dancers. They must have practiced so much! It was really moving.
We experienced so much today. It was a very rich day.
Suika is called "watermelon" in English. I learned one thing on stage today.
By the time we got to the hotel, I was so tired. I'm just going to sleep.
Day 3 (Monday)
This morning began with a torrent of interviews and photos. There were almost no Japanese among the interviewers, but talking together was such fun.
When the work was over, we went to the Chinese Theater area [note: this is the center of tourist Hollywood] to walk around. Although the temperature was only 32C, the sun's rays were awfully hot.
As soon as we arrived, I saw a Superman buckle that I just had to get. That was the first time I had actually paid for something here myself: I was so nervous, lol.
In front of the Chinese Theater were cosplayers for characters from various movies. I was surpised.
I had my photo taken with characters from Star Wars. Walking down the street with them, I look like I've flown into the movie, don't I? It's like an optical illusion.
Just to try it, we ate in a real American McDonalds.
I worked in one when I was in high school, so it made quite an impression on me. There were lots of things that are not on the menu in Japan. And yes, the portions were huge. I was full!
We went into a chocolate shop to buy chocolates. When I saw a whole apple covered in chocolate, I couldn't help exclaiming out loud.
Then, with our chocolates, we went to the musical Wicked. I really wanted to see a live performance on my free time in America. I am so grateful that I was able to.
Despite the language barrier, I was moved by the set, the direction, the acting, the singing...they were all wonderful. The Four Seasons Theatre Group has just started playing Wicked in Japan. I really want to see it, if I can get a ticket.
It was another full day.