ochakai (お茶会): "tea party''

A gathering held by a fan club for fans of a particular star which takes place during a performance run. These are attended by a majority of club members, as well as friends of members and sometimes other people interested in the star. It is an important event for many fans — some may travel long distances for the sole purpose of going to the ochakai.

In keeping with the name, tea and/or cakes are generally served to everyone at the tea party. In cases where attendance is very high, fans may receive a small bottle of tea and/or a packaged snack instead.

Attendees are generally expected to arrive at reception (uketsuke) at least half an hour before the star arrives to begin the ochakai. During this interim time, club staff may sell photo sets, senjafuda and other items bearing the star's name / picture, collectively known as "goods".

After the star arrives, the ochakai runs for approximately an hour. The star usually answers questions about the current performance, and sometimes past performances and offstage activities. There may be an interactive game — sometimes including participation of the star — for a prize or prizes. It is also standard to hold a raffle or lottery during which many people can win signed items and/or other coveted star goods.

Sometimes the ochakai will close with the star singing a song or, on rare occasions, performing a dance. There may also be an opportunity to shake the star's hand and/or give her a gift. This varies widely between clubs, but in general the more popular the star the less direct interaction she has with fans.

There is generally one ochakai in Takarazuka and another in Tokyo during a main-theater performance for all stars with formalized fan clubs. Top stars and others with large clubs usually have tea parties for non-Grand Theater performances as well. However, stars with smaller fan clubs may not have an ochakai for every performance.

While new fans may believe that a tea party is an exclusive event for club members only, non-members who are interested in the star are almost always encouraged to attend. This is because it is a chance for stars to show their offstage appeal and hopefully increase their fan base. However, shimbokukai and shokujikai are usually members-only events.

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Created by caithion. Last Modification: Friday 13 of June, 2014 12:46:49 GMT-0000 by zaraphena.