What is Nostalgia Trip?
Nostalgia Trip is an idea to explore the stories from anyone about events that made a difference to their idol fandom. Live events, trips, concerts, meeting your Idol, meeting other fans, your first purchase, if it’s an interesting story we can talk about it!
!Note: Format is still open for modification, we are a work in progress!!

Have an interesting story?
E-mail InvisNantoka at takamaruyo.net
with your story, big or small, and you might see your story on the site!

Comments or suggestions?
Drop it in the comment box below.

Continuing from last week, Invis and Dran continue to talk firsts this time with Dran’s first shift to his current Oshi, Sudou Maasa, and the forming of the fan group, the Church of Maasa.

Invis:
Okay, so we kind of have an idea of your first purchase and your transition into Berryz. Was Maasa always your first and always?
Dran:
Yeah. Once again, I have no idea why it happened, but it did. It goes back to the first time I watched that stage-play. Maasa got a grand total of maybe three lines in the entire play, but I saw her and simply said to myself “Her. She’s going to be my favourite member.”I think it says a lot that she managed to stand out and catch my attention to such a degree when she had very little to do in the play.
Invis:
Heh, I think I could say something about that for my own favorites too, but that’s definitely a different story. So it was something of an infatuation at first sight thing huh?
Dran:
I think that’s a pretty apt way of describing it, yeah. Her character really shone through, even when she wasn’t talking, and that really attracted my attention.
Invis:
So you’ve come to like Maasa and pretty much always have since then. How did the whole fan group thing come into play?
Dran:
Well, I had left the forum I mentioned earlier and moved to H!O, where there was a more active community of Berryz fans. Back then, the Sudou Maasa thread began to develop a bit of a reputation for rabid loyalty. Or, at least that’s what people have later told me. (lol)

At the time, threads could have subtitles, so each member would have a little descriptor like “Berryz Tower” for Yurina or “Pudding of Puddings” for Risako. Maasa’s was “Second Berryz Tower”, and needless to say, we were not happy with being compared second to anything. We got it changed to “World’s Strongest Idol”. Much more appropriate.

Invis:
I’m assuming that caused quite a stir to anyone who noticed. (lol)
Dran:
That would have been it, but for various reasons, some regulars from the Shimizu Saki thread showed up and started demanding that it be changed back, because “Captain is much stronger than Maasa!” or something to that effect. We argued back, and got described as using “cult-like behaviour”.
Invis:
(lol) Fandom gets that way sometimes, not a big problem most of the time.
Dran:
That was really the moment the Church of Maasa was born. Not wanting to be compared to a cult, I created Maaism as the very first H!P-based religion. I think it really hit a chord with people, as the other regulars in the thread started to emulate that way of thinking. And, perhaps more tellingly, various other H!P churches would later appear, including the Church of Nakky.
Invis:
So in order to show your fandomism wasn’t… over the top, you made it into a religion?
Dran:
Exactly. I think it was trully inspired! (Lol) But yeah, that really came to define the community’s perception of me and of Maasa fans in general for quite a while.
Invis:
So it basically sounds like your group formed because you were spending a lot of time collectively trying to prove Maasa was awesome. That got everyone together, huh?
Dran:
Well, I had always felt annoyed that Maasa wasn’t as popular as she really should be. I would look at threads like those dedicated to Airi or Reina and get somewhat jealous that our little circle was tiny in comparison. Perhaps I was the only one who felt this way, but when we created the Church of Maasa and really began to assert Maasa’s dominance over petty other Idols, it really stuck with people. But, somewhat ironic given the original tone of the Church, I think it actually helped me somewhat accept that we don’t need our community to be the biggest and the best. It was already the best, because it had the best people in it. Or something like that. It helped us define ourselves as a community within a community, and I got to know some people through it that I’m proud to call friends.
Invis:
“Petty other idols,” Please be nice to our readers, uh…Deacon…Reverend? I’m not quite sure what your position is…
Dran:
The position has always been a point of contention. People regularly refer to me as Pope, but, given that the word “Pope” comes from the Latin for “Father”, it’s somewhat misused. The creed of the Church of Maasa was always that we are all Children of Maa and therefore all equal in her eyes. For them to call me Pope just felt wrong.
Invis:
Heh, so perhaps it’d be more apt to call you the originator then…or perhaps just “the first”? (lol) You know titles these days it’s all about picking a word you want to use.
Dran:
I always preferred the term “First Minister”. Primus inter pares. But, I don’t feel that it ever caught on. (lol)
Invis:
(lol) Okay, but let’s reel back a little bit, we don’t want people thinking it’s like a cult thing, talk a bit about how this Church of Maasa thing works, like give people an understanding of how it holds people together and why it’s not really cultish…(lol)
Dran:
Probably a good idea.(lol)

The Church of Maasa isn’t really a tangible thing, it’s simply powered by the drive that people have to create communities. Despite how I try to make it sound all serious, the truth is that it’s just a fun way of encouraging that community spirit. There are hundreds of these “churches” out there across the H!P fandom, even if they don’t use a religious moniker.

Some will take the religion aspect, such as the Church of Maasa. Some prefer other prisms through which to view themselves. There was a particularly active group of Captain fans who styled themselves as the Premiership of a communist state – the Captainist Party. Others still don’t feel that they need such a thing. TKMR, for example, is one of those “churches”. It’s a community, but it just treats itself like it really is. It’s a group of people talking and joking about Idols.

Invis:
That reminds me, I don’t actually know the origin of that flag you use for your Church of Maasa stuff?
CoMaasaFlag
The Church of Maasa flag, notable for it’s red pinwheel like emblem placed over red radial lines on white.
Dran:
Ah. It’s a symbol I stole. I put quite a lot of thought into what should symbolize the Church of Maasa, and I decided on using the Lauburu, or the Basque cross. I just flipped it and coloured it red. It is of particular significance to the people of Basque Country, though no one is actually sure what it originally meant. Perhaps it represented the sun, or perhaps it represents concepts such as life and good fortune (as well as the reverse of those two).
Invis:
so you took the symbol without know what it really meant…changed it and made it mean something?
Dran:
Indeed. That’s pretty much exactly what I did. So I guess I should apologise the the Basque people for usurping their symbol, but it really fitted in my mind. It’s sometimes thought of as being a swastika, which at the time was commonly used as a symbol of prosperity in eastern religions, as well as in western culture at the time.
Invis:
Did you all just agree on it? Any thoughts on changing that now that you’ve grown? Or is there some extra meaning now that you’ve had it for so long?
Dran:
It wasn’t really something that was agreed upon, now that you mention it. It was just something I put in the header of my blog and started using as my display picture for a while. It has been used for so long that it’s probably embedded into the minds of everyone, and so changing it would just feel wrong. At least, for me it has. (lol)
Invis:
So we learned a lot about you and your firsts today, Dran. Why don’t we summarize how it all comes together? How do you feel about your firsts?
Dran:
Well, everything about my Idol fandom, going back to 2007 when I first discovered Morning Musume, has really made me into the person I am today. How could it not? It has been 6 years and I’m still here. It has brought me a lot of fun times and allowed me to meet a lot of really great people.
That moment where I first saw the PV for Go Girl ~Koi no Victory!~ and when I first saw Edokara Chakushin ~Time Slip to Kengai!~ are really embedded into my very consciousness. If a life is a series of events and decisions, then those two have been the defining moments of mine.

In my mind, that’s a pretty good ending~

Invis:
it does sound good to me too. Is there anything you’d like to advertise or promote?
Dran:
I think I did a lot of advertising for H!O and the Church of Maasa already. (lol)
Invis:
How many people are stil active in the Church of Maasa anyway?
Dran:
It fluctuates, but the people are still around. Especially now that Maasa cut her hair. We’ve noticed a strange surge in interest after that happened. (lol)
Invis:
(lol) Even though it pains you huh?
Dran:
Yeah. Silver linings, I guess.
Invis:
Thank you Dran, for telling us about some of your firsts, who knows what’s coming next time, but in any case that’s a story for another day.
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