Utada Hikaru comes to Miami...for about 15 minutes


[Pedro and co. went out to South Beach for a chance to meet Utada Hikaru. The event was certainly a change of pace from Jeff's interview with her, which you can check out here. -- DMV]

Saku mentioned early last week that Utada Hikaru was going to appear at three Sephora stores to promote her latest English album, This is the One. The last of three stops was South Beach in Miami, an odd locale to say the least. However, it presented an incredible opportunity for several Japanator and Tomopop writers to see an incredibly famous J-pop star in an area that is decidedly lacking in that kind of thing, so I'm not complaining.

Follow me after the jump to see us waiting in the hot Miami sun to see the J-pop goddess herself, Utada Hikaru.

In the days leading up to the event, I heard a lot of static from people who attended the Hollywood and New York events. There was talk of Sephora making the event a glorified ad for themselves, as well as Hikki barely appearing, not to mention that there was an RSVP list that was never advertised.

While all of this did disturb me, it didn't curb my enthusiasm one bit. I woke up at nine in the morning, making sure my camera and PSP were charged. I grabbed my girlfriend, picked up Saku, grabbed some grub and drove half an hour out to South Beach and its expensive parking.

When we got there around 12:30, we met up with a friend who was waiting in the short line.

About 10 minutes after we got there, a Sephora employee walked out and gave us yellow wrist bands that insured us a place at the event, no matter where we were in line, as well as a raffle ticket for a $500 gift certificate at Sephora. After Colette and Andres from Tomopop came and got their wrist bands, we walked off and picked up lunch at a nearby pizza joint. We came back about an hour later and noticed that the line had gotten a bit bigger.

We moved to the back and continued our multi-hour wait by using portable devices, like any good nerd would do. 

After the line started getting a bit longer, the Sephora employees moved those not in the roped off area to the other side of the store, where it wouldn't block off access to the side walk. Now, considering this is Miami and nerds are seemingly few and far between, I didn't think that the line was going to be massive. This was the line at 4 p.m.

What you can't see are the people around the corner.  By this time, there must have been oer 200 people in line, which must have surprised the Miami Beach police, who were sent out for crowd control. Things like roving trucks of Monster...

...didn't help. Overall the line was pretty orderly and nobody did anything stupid, though there was one thing we had to fight:

THE BOREDOM. The sun had come out and unleashed it's fury, making portable gaming and laptop usage near impossible.

The wait was worth it when they finally started letting people into the store. After those in the roped off area were let in, the other yellow-banded people were let in five at a time. Once we were inside, we heard a DJ playing the opening tracks of This is the One over his set up.

The Sephora employees directed us around the maze they created to an open area near the front that didn't fit nearly enough people for an event like this, leaving many people stuck outside peeking through the glass doors.

A local radio personality then jumped on stage and played "Come Back to Me," getting the crowd sufficiently amped. After making a couple of lame jokes, she finally brought Utada out to a shit-ton of screaming and jumping.


This is where things get a little awkward. It was clear that the MC had done no research on Utada before the interview. The questions she asked were pretty generic and you could tell that Utada was pretty bored by the whole thing.

She also stuck her foot in her mouth when she asked Utada about her music videos and didn't know that the directors of the videos was Utada's ex-husband.

Bad form. The MC took that as a sign to move on to the drawing.

This lead to more disappointment, as Saku was one number away from the winning ticket. Sorry Saku!

The winner came on stage and took a photo with Utada, walking away with a signed promo board as well.

After that, the MC closed out the event and Utada left, signing a couple of autographs on the way out. As everybody left, employees handed out signed photos of Utada to those that came to the event, so nobody left empty-handed. It was a nice gesture and completely unexpected, which made it all the sweeter.

Overall, the event itself was a little disappointing. Utada was out for less than 20 minutes before she had to hop on a plane for an early performance. I would've liked for her to stick around awhile longer, but it may have been a blessing in disguise, as the MC was pretty bad overall.

However, I can't complain since I got to take a day off and spend it with awesome people, as well as get a signed photo of Hikki that will be framed and on my wall as soon as possible. You can check out more photos from the event down in the gallery below.

You are logged out. Login | Sign up


Click to open photo gallery:


Pedro Cortes
Pedro CortesAssociate Editor   gamer profile

Pedro Cortes has been known to swoon at the sight of a robot. This is understandable, as robots are pretty awesome. more + disclosures



Filed under... #event #Japanator Original #music #Tomopop #Utada Hikaru



You're not expected to always agree, but do please keep cool and never make it personal. Report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community team. Also, on the right side of a comment you can flag nasty comments anonymously (we ban users dishing bad karma). For everything else, contact us!