(To help promote Rika “Angry” Ishikawa’s appearance at New York Anime Festival next weekend: This is the first of several installments of my key experiences and observations from the tour, celebrating not only the 2 women in question, but the devoted fans who made the experience once in a life-time indeed.)

For the record, when the 4 dates and cities of the Hangry & Angry first European Tour were announced, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to see even one show because I had just arranged to go to New York for an extended weekend. It was the same weekend of the first concert that Sunday in Berlin, with Helsinki, London and Paris that following week. Plus I had arranged the trip as a birthday present for my best friend so I had hostess guilt as well.

I had started the “acceptance” process of being a fan who would miss out on this momentous event, having to be content to live virtually and vicariously through the stories and pictures of other fans that would be able to make at least one concert.

I fully admit I couldn’t complain. I had been to last year’s Sakura Con in Seattle Washington just for H&A debut, and I had a memorable autograph encounter with “Hangry” in her solo guest appearance at Anime Expo a few months later. I had even gone to Chibi Japan Expo ’09 in France as a press representative of fan message site, JPHiP.

However, as the H&A online fan community started to weigh in on excitement about the tour, I was started to be reminded about the other benefit of being a English-speaking H&A “live” groupie: sharing the experiences with other fans. People I never would have ever dreamed of meeting, much less become friends with, had it not been for our mutual devotion and support of the 2 talented and charismatic young women who made up the duo, Hitomi “Yossy” Yoshizawa (Hangry) and Rika Ishikawa (Angry).

The H&A tour timing and location was too tempting. Being a California girl, the New York trip would mean I would already be half-way to Europe. And my best friend wouldn’t have that title if I didn’t know I could abandon him,( as long as his return trip ticket was paid for.) And me being me, since this was already an insane idea, I figured I might as well go for as many of the 4 tour dates as possible, eventually resulting in committing myself to going to all shows, in the same spirit of support and sharing that signified the group of H&A fans that I already knew, and would meet.

Now committing myself to the shows was one thing, getting tickets and to the venues was another thing entirely. (Never mind the fact that I never thought I would ever go to Finland in my lifetime, never mind for a Japanese goth rock concert.) And that’s where the H&A Fan Network would prove most invaluable, for me and other English-speaking fans.

Next: Knowledge is Grrrl Power