Winter Trip 2022-2023

20 Dec

I’ll be in Japan for World Cup 2022 which is being held in Tokyo. This will be the first time attending the World Cup in Tokyo and I am very excited to attend the World Cup in Tokyo. Go #TeamAntarctica

DATEEVENT (bold/underline is Tier 1, bold is Tier 2, regular font is Tier 3)
December 27SPARK 2022 @Shinagawa Intercity Hall
(JamsCollection, Devil ANTHEM., Qumali Depart, ≒JOY, chuLa, Takane no Nadeshiko, others)

Note 1: Qumali Depart withdrew. I didn’t realize it during the show, but that morning they tweeted that members were sick
Note 2: I have now seen all three Yoyogi groups (=LOVE, not equal me, and JOY) and JOY is a really, really bad version of =LOVE. Their lineup is literally like an ice cream shop that sells 13 different flavors of vanilla. The audience was really up for them though (definitely the most buzz of any group today), which just shows the power of being affiliated with popular groups and and being backed by an agency with money.
Note 3: I can see JOY and Takane no Nadeshiko being rivals since both are brand new up-and-comers, backed by strong agencies, and appeal to the same audience. With that being said, Takaneko obliterates JOY in every way. The difference in lineup quality is night and day. Nadeshiko’s entire lineup is fantastic and each member is visually unique. If I was to create a 10 member group choosing members from each group, I wouldn’t choose a single JOY member, meaning I think the weakest Nadeshiko member is better than JOY’s ace (whoever that is).
Note 4: Despite a lineup filled with groups that I wanted to see, this event was not very fun. The entire time, people were more focused on getting better seats and constantly shuffling around, which made the vibe really weird. I suspect Girl’s Bomb may have been funner, since they had a reserved S section, which prevents the shuffling that occurred at SPARK. The lineup at Girl’s Bomb was much weaker though.

Girl’s Bomb @Shinagawa Steller Ball
(JamsCollection, Nankini, nonfiction, Lovely Doll, My Dear Darlin’, Nanaland, Akishibu Project, elsy, others)

Note 1: I ended up staying at SPARK all day and missed Girl’s Bomb, which was at another Shinagawa venue about one mile away. S-ticket wasted :/ I wanted to see nonfiction (for Haruka, my 2nd favorite member of Harajuku Monogatari) and Nankini, and Jams for a second time. Even though both venues were in Shinagawa and just minutes apart, it’s actually a hassle going back and forth between events. Looking at this from google maps makes it seem simple, but walking through Tokyo crowds and also having just flown into Tokyo a few hours before, I just wasn’t up for it.

After leaving SPARK, I actually walked to Steller Ball and arrived a few minutes before Nankini was scheduled. I really wanted to see them (I’m a fan of two members, not really the group), and this turned out to be the only time I would be able to see them. Because I had just landed that morning and stayed at SPARK all day, I was hungry and still hadn’t checked into my hotel. I also didn’t feel comfortable that I was showing up to an all-day event just for the very last performance. This was my only regret of the trip.

*Hotel check-in Grand Prince Hotel, 5 minute walk from the above venues
Note that has nothing to do with idols: Grand Prince Hotel Takanawa has a great breakfast buffet.
December 28BOLT release event @LaLaport Toyosu

Note: event cancelled due to Aya getting sick… which sucked, but there was a huge silver lining related to the LEADING PREMIUM event…

LEADING PREMIUM @O-West, duo Music Exchange, WOMB, Ring, and Deseo
(Yosugala, on the treat Super Season, QUEENS, necopla, Maybe ME, AngeReve)

Note 1: BOLT cancellation allowed me to see yosugala and more importantly, discover on the treat Super Season and QUEENS, because my original plan was actually skipping QUEENS (!) (prior to this trip, I had only a slight interest in QUEENS because of Emiry—former Piiiiiiins member). My main objective for this event was to secure a better spot for necopla, which was at a different stage (duo) and QUEENS was performing at O-West. Because I got to LEADING PREMIUM early, I decided to see QUEENS though and I was hooked almost immediately. This group is soooo good (one of the best of all time), how did they evade me for so long?? (To answer my own question, the three year travel ban is the main reason). Scheduled right before QUEENS was on the treat Super Season (OSS), which I heard of before because of their unique name, but knew nothing about. Their music is love or hate (I love it), the lineup is really strong though. While watching them, I kept thinking one of the members, Sena, would be a perfect replacement for Asa from JamsCollection (I’ll add a photo or link to her twitter later). Both of these groups are in my top tiers, especially QUEENS. OSS has several super fine members and their outfits are hot. Not sure about the longevity of OSS though, they’ve already had one member change (although it was for a legitimate health reason) (they also recently tweeted that there are going to be changes to the group in February).
Note 2: conflicts with the Hashtag show required me to leave early, therefore missing chuLa, Antherium, and FESTIVE.
Note 3: This event was one of my favorites EVER. Great lineup, multiple venues all within minutes of each other makes a huge difference, and perfect amount of attendance (enough fans to create good energy, but super easy to move around and get front row even at the main stage, which I had for Maybe ME, necopla, and AngeReve).

Hashtag 3-man @Hulic Hall Tokyo
(#2i2, #yoyoyo, #babababambi)

Note: Attendees got a free hashtag wristband, there are three types representing each group. I would have been fine with either 2i2 or yoyoyo. I knew they were random, but upon entering the venue, we are asked who we are supporting. I said 2i2 and the guy rummages in the wristband box and gives me… babababambi. How effing lazy can you be to not take another couple seconds to grab a 2i2 band. Babababambi is the most popular hashtag group, so it’s not like I was pushing for the most popular wristband. The wristbands were nice quality and limited items, which is why I would have liked 2i2 or yoyoyo (And I really, really dislike everything about bababambi—their lineup, group name, music, outfits, PVs, concept, and lineup. The lineup is just weird af. There is no cohesiveness in the members—big age differences, completely different personality types, and overall a complete visual mismatch imo.) I really don’t get their appeal or how they broke out this year.
December 29Devil ANTHEM. 2022 Last Live @Shibuya WOMB

Note 1: When this this show went on sale, I had to wake up at 2 am on a school day and refresh the page for 30 minutes before finally securing a ticket. My number was 33, which was good enough for the second row.
Note 2: The second song they performed was “Koisuru Otome no Crisis.” This is my favorite Devil ANTHEM song and one of my favorite idol songs period. Although this song is consistently in their top 10 countdowns (voted by fans), it’s very rarely performed live (it’s one of their early songs and their producer probably doesn’t like it that much. It’s very different from their other songs.) Anyway, the moment the song started I jumped around like an idiot (the song has a distinctive beginning).
December 30PLUM LIVE @With Harajuku Hall
(SAISON, Utakata Parties, others)

Note: I went to this event only to see Runa Kojima, whom I’ve been a huge fan of since 2015 (Doll Elements). Both SAISON and Utakata Parties are pretty bad, but I had a good seat and it was a nice venue right next to Harajuku station.

QUEENS, Malcom Mask McLaren, BuGG, Nemuriorca @WOMBLIVE
*Forgot to include this concert on my schedule because I bought this ticket on impulse after I saw QUEENS at LEADING PREMIUM two days prior. I arrived late because of the PLUM LIVE, so I missed the first two groups. The timetable was great because QUEENS was last, which is always the best because by then non-fans have left. There were still a lot of fans, but enough room to really move around. This is how to watch a group like QUEENS. Definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

*Hotel check-in Trusty Tokyo Bayside, five minute walk from NPP area below
December 31Tokyo Hobo Orchestra @Ueno Zoo (day show only)
January 1Women-only Onsen (all day pass)
January 2New Year Premium Party Day 1 @FujiTV Forum
(JamsCollection, BOLT, chuLa, INUWASI, #yoyoyo, My Dear Darlin’, others)

Note 1: BOLT cancelation again due to members getting sick :/
Note 2: I achieved front row for JamsCollection and it was glorious. Not thrilled with the set list, but they wore their light blue outfits which are my 2nd favorite of theirs (simultaneously cute, sexy, and cute).
Note 3: Overall, day 1 of NPP was pretty boring. Now that Zepp Tokyo is gone, their isn’t an equivalent stage with Zepp DiverCity. The stage they used in the FujiTV building was nice, but not as a main stage. It is 1/3 the size of Zepp DiverCity and takes 10 minutes just to get up to the 22nd floor, which is where the stage was located. Total hassle. Also, jumping ban was enforced. Combined with a high price, around 10,000Y, resulted in a really low turnout both days. Only half of Zepp DiverCity was even used.
January 3New Year Premium Party Day 2 @Zepp DiverCity
(Qumali Depart, 2i2, Takane no Nadeshiko, iLiFE!, maneki kecak, Task have Fun, Nanaland, Nijicon, others)

Note 1: Qumali Depart was amazing. Their performance was sooo good, they have such a strong lineup. Mei is my favorite, but Sao and Fuka were glowing. I wish this wasn’t the only time I could see them. My trip coincided with a dead zone for them, made worse when they cancelled their appearance at SPARK, which meant this performance was their first in close to two weeks. They also performed a new song, which was fantastic. Next week they have three Zepp DiverCity 2-man concerts in a row ;/ Also really liked iLiFE! who I also saw at the SPARK concert.
January 4Prism on the Stage (4-man) @Club Asia (yosugala, QUEENS, Mirror Mirror, PRSMIN)

Note: yosugala and QUEENS were great, and mirror, mirror was surprisingly good. The venue allowed lifting though, which made it uncomfortable. The venue is small (~300 capacity) and I had to be on alert the entire time. Right as the live started (Yosugala was scheduled first), some guy tried to get me to lift him and I was having none of that. At first, my brain was not even processing why the eff some guy was climbing on my shoulder. I totally left him out to dry and I was a little worried that I broke etiquette, which is why I felt on edge despite the live being great. The girls in the audience were also not enjoying themselves for this reason. For the entire Yosugala performance, I acted as a shield for the girls in front of me who were visibly uncomfortable. It’s sad that indie groups have to pander to low-class fans and charge practically nothing for the tickets. The show was 1200 yen and some of these groups have regular show for 500 yen or less.
January 5No shows today

Note: Went to Shibuya Parco for Nintendo, Capcom, and JUMP shops. I bought souvenirs at the Nintendo and Capcom stores. The Nintendo store required getting a ticket beforehand because of store congestion. Then I went to the Opanchu Usagi pop-up store at Tokyo Station (this was the final day for the shop).
January 6A day of rest… at Women-only onsen (half-day pass)
January 7Two days of nothing… then this:

BOLT release event @LaLaport Toyosu (12 and 15:30)

Roppongi Idol Festival @EX Theater (12:00 start)
(JamsCollection, Takane no Nadeshiko, My Dear Darlin’, FESTIVE, Peel the Apple, Kamiyado, Antherium, HKT48, others)

ANTVOX @Veats Shibuya (10:30 start) (QUEENS, Yosugala, on the treat Super Season, others)

Devil ANTHEM. teiki kouen (Kurumi’s birthday) @Veats Shibuya (18:00)

Note 1: Ropongi Idol Fes and ANTVOX are in direct time conflict and I’ve chosen to attend ANTVOX, because there is still Jams tour in Nagoya. It was unfortunate though because the only three groups I wanted to see at Roppongi were Jams, Takane no Nadeshiko, and Kamiyado, and all three were scheduled one after another, which would have meant no dead time (which is the worst part of these long festivals) and I could have left right afterward.
Note 2: This day is a mess. In the morning, I have to choose between Jams, Takane no Nadeshiko, and Kamiyado vs QUEENS, Yosugala, and OSS. And then the BOLT mini-live got bumped up to 15:30 (their past events have been 12 and 16). It’s only 30 minutes, but now it conflicts with QUEENS performance, because it takes 30 minutes to get from Shibuya to Toyosu. I need to catch every train perfectly from Shibuya to Toyosu and I will get to the venue right when the live starts, missing the product sales period. I’d have to watch from the behind the priority area, which sucks because that doesn’t support the group.
Note 3: Slightly annoyed that of the 5 Jams events that I bought tickets for, I am only able to go to 3 of them.
Note 4: I have since changed my mind, so everything ^ has been scrapped. I plan on going to the ANTVOX event for yosugala and TELLMIT only, and then leave for the Roppongi Festival. ANTVOX btw is the agency for OSS, TELLMIT, and PRSMIN—whom I saw at their 4-man a few days earlier. I like OSS and TELLMIT, but not a fan of PRSMIN (although they are okay). I’m going to the Roppongi Festival for JamsCollection, Takane no Nadeshiko, Kamiyado, and Anthirium. This means missing OSS and QUEENS, which is extremely annoying. But this is simply more logical (4 groups I like > 2 groups I like), and also allows me to go to the BOLT event on time.
Note 5: I need to update this. I basically went to ANTVOX show for 4 groups, Roppongi Idol Festival for 4 groups, BOLT event #2, had dinner in Shibuya and then Devian concert. I should also mention that the Yamanote line was closed this day which caused delays getting to the different events.
January 8JamsCollection Tour @Zepp Nagoya

*Hotel check-in The Strings Hotel, next door to Zepp
January 9Return to Murica

Winter Trip 2019-2020

25 Dec

I’ll be in Japan for the 2020 Winter Olympics which are being held in Tokyo. This will be my first time attending the Winter Olympics in Tokyo and I am very excited to attend the Winter Olympics in Tokyo. Go #TeamTanzania

December28Devil Anthem. 5th Anniversary in Shibuya
December29Magical Punchline 1st Album event in Shibuya
December30Silent Siren Year End Live in Yokohama
January 1 
January 2New Year Premium Party Day 1
January 3New Year Premium Party Day 2
January 4 
January 5Tokyo Hobo Orchestra @Ueno Zoo
January 6Women Only Onsen (All day pass)
January 7 
January 8 
January 9Marquee Matsuri @TSUTAYA O-WEST
January 10=LOVE Winter Tour @ Zepp Nagoya
January 11SUPER GiRLS 5th album event in Osaka
January 12Return to Merica

May 12 Update: After school is over in a few weeks, I’ll write a mini-recap of this trip considering a lot has changed in the world since January. Just a few months ago, the Summer Olympics were still scheduled for 2020 and I was planning on returning to Japan in June for SUPER GiRLS 10th anniversary concert and =LOVE’s tour finale at Tokyo Dome City Hall, two concerts I was really looking forward to. Now, optimistically, the earliest I could travel is during my school’s winter holiday again, which is late December through early January, but having traveled to Japan during winter twice now, it’s a little too cold and gloomy during that time of year, and more importantly, I don’t even know if international travel will be possible this year.

SILENT SIREN “Girls Will Be Bears Tour”

24 Jul

SILENT SIREN “Girls Will Be Bears Tour” Finale
July 13 & 14, 2018
@Toyosu Pit (Tokyo)

I bought tickets to SILENT SIREN’s tour during their first lottery, which followed the initial fan club sales. Fast forward seven months, the first ticket was… A600. That’s okay considering it’s a 3500 person venue. In order to collect the tick–[What about the second ticket?] As I was saying, in ord–[You haven’t mentioned the second ticket. wHaT aBoUt ThE sEcOnD tIcKeT??] I don’t want to talk about the second ticket! Second ticket is dead to me!! Jk, second ticket was A2399. At least it wasn’t A2400, amirite??

The ticket pick-up process was new to me. Typically I would go to 7-11 with a confirmation number and have the ticket printed by the cashier. Or I would have the physical tickets mailed to my hotel. This time, I received a confirmation number and instructions to use Famiport, which is the self-serve terminal at Family Mart. Speaking of Family Mart, for years I intended to photoshop “Gemily Mart” and add it to the “Sponsors” banner, but I was too lazy. And now GEM is gone. 

The ticket process was easy enough, although I probably looked like an idiot since I was at the Famiport machine for over 20 minutes and the staff kept glancing at me. [“What is that gaijin with awesome hair doing? Is he trying to buy groceries with Famiport? OMG HE IS TRYING TO BUY GROCERIES WITH FAMIPORT!] After 20 minutes of trying to buy groceries with Famiport, I correctly used it to collect my Idol Yokocho and Silent Siren Tickets. For tickets, you press the button in the upper left corner (highlighted in the first photo), enter the complete ticket number, and then proceed through the confirmation screens (all in Japanese of course). Eventually the receipt will print out and you take it to the cashier. There was no fee to collect the tickets, but in certain situations I think there could be a small processing fee (like 108 yen).

I didn’t mention it previously, but for Idol Yokocho, I was able to use Rakuten’s Japanese site to purchase the tickets. I never knew this was possible, although I recall Tobi telling me it was. I always had problems entering a valid address, and then gave up. The morale of the story: don’t give up. Anyway, this is great because with Rakuten, tiget, and peatix, it is much easier for oversees fans to purchase tickets on our own. *thunderous applesauce*

Overall, both concerts were just okay. I was in the center of the 10th row for the Friday concert and much further back for the Saturday show. Wasn’t thrilled with the setlists ( I never am) or outfits… or Suu looking like she just rolled out of bed. She dyed her hair purple and it didn’t look healthy. She looked like a witch with unwashed and tangled-up purple witch hair. No offense of course! This is typical behavior of some naturally good-looking people who take their looks for granted and either sabotage their appearance or do nothing to embellish it. It’s insulting. For me, it takes hours to make my hair awesome and many, many surgeries to make me look good. (Kidding)

During the Friday concert, the group asked if anyone came from outside Tokyo. Someone yelled Saitama. No one laughed. Another fan yelled Hong Kong. I never say anything even though I get occasional curious glances.

They performed their newest song, which is kind of cute. The song and video promotes Tenkaippin, a ramen chain that sponsored the tour.

Despite being the tour final, they didn’t make any future announcements. I was hoping for dates for their end of the year concerts and US shows (assuming they visit again).

Thinking back, my favorite concerts have been their two Los Angeles shows (front row makes a big difference), “Dream On” (their New Years concert in 2017), and “Mezamashi Live” (the first time I saw them in 2015). The rest have been blah, which were all tour dates. Lesson learned. I’ll only go to their LA shows and big concerts from now on.


And only if Suu washes her hair!