On a recent winter evening in Japan, an over-reliance on Google Maps had Papermaiden and I well and truly lost in Shibuya. We were attempting to locate the address of a legendary dance studio that currently serves as the rehearsal space for NEO JAPONISM, APOKALIPPPS and other prominent chika idol units. Google insisted that the sought-after place was housed in a building among the side streets off Dogenzaka, but after fruitlessly circling through several alleyways, Papermaiden took over navigation. Soon after, Papermaiden’s efforts in orienteering led us to a single bright, square sign on a towering storefront among the thousands of others lighting the surrounding buildings and marking the target of our search.
Here, on the sidewalks of Shibuya, we met Hiroshi, the manger of the new chika idol unit, Chemical X. Papermaiden and I had been fortunate enough to be invited to attend the group’s rehearsal as the members prepared for their January 20th debut. It was a chilly evening, so the introductions were brisk: we quickly met Yossy, the group’s creator and producer, and members Amemiya R Galaxy, Chiimayu, Aoi Hitotsuki and Maho Setsuna. KILLERMACHINE, we were told, was running a bit late as she was coming from another commitment. After brief greetings, we hurried inside and upstairs to the warmth of the studio.