First of all, I want to thank all of you for your concern and your nice comments. And now, FINALLY, after getting some sleep, I will tell you what happened yesterday at the 109 Cinema in Kiba, Tokyo.
I was so excited to get a chance at meeting Ben that I didn’t get any sleep at all that night. So instead I stayed in my warm bed until about 5 AM, imagining how it might go and what he might be like in person etc. You know, the usual fangirl stuff. Then I got up, checked tumblr and twitter, to see if there weren’t any news about what Benedict was up to that day. Nothing new. Only the promotion for Star Trek was online. Okay then, I thought. Let’s go to Kiba. It takes about one hour from where I live to the complex where the 109 Cinema is. I left my dorm at about 7:20 AM, and of course: RUSH HOUR in Tokyo. Yay……… I hate, hate, hate crowds, especially in confined spaces. To say the trains were full would be an understatement. I nearly passed out. It was so stuffed and hot >_< Luckily, I had to change trains twice, so I got a little bit of air inbetween.
When I arrived at the complex at about 8:40, I was the first one there. Not a single person around. First, I was worried that I got the place (or date/time) wrong. But then I spotted some people with “Paramount” tags around their necks. Lucky! So I just decided to stand there and wait. After about 10 minutes, a guy (T.) arrived, and joined me. I wasn’t sure, if he was press or a fan, until he got some pens out of his back and put them into his jacket pocket. I was so happy not to be the only one there, that I spoke to him. We ended up staying together until the end :) He was really nice, and helpful.
At about 9 AM, a black car arrived, and out came J.J. Abrams and the producer of Star Trek: Into Darkness. 2 security guards made sure we two fans didn’t get too close to them (seriously? O_o)… They rushed right by, without so much as a glance in our direction. I guess we weren’t worth their time…
At about 9:30, two Japanese women arrived, and asked whether we were waiting for Benedict, and joined us. Two more came shortly after. At about 9:50, 3 black suspicious cars arrived, but didn’t stop to let anybody out. Instead, they rushed by, right into the building’s garage. Apparently, Ben (and Chris Pine, I guess) who was running late, couldn’t stop before the promotion showing started. So we decided to go to the cinema and wait until it ended. Hoping, of course, that he might come out afterwards. Spoilers: he did! ;)
The complex opened its doors at 10 AM. At the entrance, there were quite a few people, some of them waiting for Benedict as well. Inside the cinema, more and more people appeared the more the time progressed. We (and the journalists) were told that the promotion was going to take about 1 hour. At 10:30, T. and I decided to check if there were any people at the back entrance, waiting. When we found nobody, we went up to the garage and found said suspicious cars waiting, drivers and bodyguards included (nice job, waiting DOWNSTAIRS, btw. That did him much good…). We wanted to wait there, but one of these guys came over and said that we had to leave. It wouldn’t be safe, because of the cars, and we wouldn’t be allowed to take any pictures or get any signs down there.
So we went back to the cinema lobby, and found about 3 times the people when we left it. And no bloody security whatsoever. They stood randomly in a half circle in the lobby, when finally a security guard came over and told us all to back down a bit and form a line. Which is what was done. For about a minute.
Then, Benedict and Chris appeared. Guess what happened. In a split second, everybody had moved forward, some girls surrounding Benedict already, who luckily had a bodyguard at his side. (Chris Pine had two or three, I didn’t really pay that much attention to him, to be honest. It didn’t really matter, anyway, because most girls had come for Benedict.) It was quiet at first. While some fans stood in line and waited patiently for Chris and Ben to sign something, some were more aggressive, ran up to Ben, pushing over others. I couldn’t see it at that point, because I had been pushed over and ended up rather far in the back, but T., who was in the first line, later told me that a few girls even touched Benedict, grabbed him and whatnot. UNBELIEVABLE! I saw some girls reaching for his arms etc, but that didn’t seem too bad. He wasn’t hurt or anything.
Chris Pine had left after about a minute, and one of his bodyguards returned to fetch Benedict. Which was good, because things had gotten wild. Benedict didn’t smile, he asked everybody to calm down and stop pushing. Yet, he continued signing things and remained calm and friendly the whole time. But you could see in his face that he was really angry about how everyone behaved. He managed little smiles at the girls in the front row, when returning their pens etc, but that was it. I think he really had to restrain himself, not to raise his voice at some of the hardcore fans.
The guy who stood next to me was especially pushy. Literally. (And I don’t think we was a fan, btw. He had more of a business attitude around him.) Not only did he push the girls who were waiting in the front row to get closer to Ben, but he kept asking for his autograph, ignoring the fact that Benedict had told him “no”. Ben even raised his voice at him (a little), to tell him off. I had never before seen Benedict mad at someone. And he really had every right to that day…
When it got too out of control, his bodyguards (who finally arrived!) surrounded him and escorted him to the lift. Benedict remained friendly until the end, waving and saying goodbye to his fans. You could see, though, that he was a little shaken. I felt really sorry for him.
Btw, because of that asshole next to me (excuse my language), I didn’t get an autograph =_=
At one point, a handful of girls had pushed me - and everyone who was at the end of the line - over, not caring where they went or who they hurt. My camera landed on the floor, my bag was trampled over, and T. got his wrist sprained. And yes, those were Japanese girls/women. Not guys. GIRLS. I tell you, Japanese fans are scary sometimes.
Was it a nice experience? No, certainly not. But was it worth it? Yes. I got to see him. I couldn’t take my eyes away from his face. To be honest, I didn’t realize what was happening all around me, until it went bad. I didn’t realize Chris Pine until he stood right in front of me. And even then, I didn’t really care. I didn’t realize what Ben was wearing (my favourite black on black!) until I saw pictures of him later at home. It was as if I was in a daze the whole time. I just saw his face, his eyes and his lips, and kind of spaced out. Totally weird. I was really sad when he passed me without giving me an autograph, but I guess I have to thank my neighbour for that… :( And now, it doesn’t really matter. I don’t care. I am just happy that I could see him, and that he is alright.
I had decided not to go to the airport, because I feared that what happened yesterday might happen there. And I didn’t want to be there when it happened. I had hoped that the cinema would organize some kind of protection for Benedict and Chris, but no. They were totally unprepared.
I live here in Tokyo now, and I have lived in Japan before. I have many Japanese friends, and know some of the Japanese Benedict fans as well. But I must say, I was really disappointed by the Japanese fans yesterday. I had not expected for them to be so rude and aggressive. Not only towards each other, but also towards Benedict. I really hope that, should Ben decide to come back to Japan after THAT, the fans and the staff will be better prepared and act more calmly.
So. Yeah. That was it.
If you have any questions, go ahead. If you were there, and want to share your experience, I would be happy to read about it :)
[P.S.: I will post some videos later.]