Tokyo Trip: December 28–January 6
Warning: This is going to be super sloppy, poorly written, and completely unfunny.
It’s been seven years, 14 months, and 3 seconds since my last update. I no longer care about blogging and internet superstardom, but I promised my editor/grandpa that I would recap all of my trips, and promises to editors/grandpas are sacred. It’s Wednesday and I’m more than halfway through my trip. Today is the only day I will have time to write a recap before school resumes and life gets hectic again–and just thinking about my demon students is depressing :P
December 29: Girl’s Bomb!! @Shinkiba STUDIO COAST
December 30: Silent Siren @Tokyo Taikukan (Metropolitan Gymnasium)
January 1: 9nine @Zepp Tokyo
January 2: New Year Premium Party Day 1 @Zepp Tokyo & Zepp DiverCity
January 3: New Year Premium Party Day 2 @Zepp Tokyo & Zepp DiverCity
January 5: GEM @Shinjuku BLAZE
Girl’s Bomb!! Year End Concert
Girl’s Bomb is a series of idol events similar to Idol Koushien. This particular event was larger than their typical ones since it was their year finale. There were 61 groups, mostly indies, but there were a few known acts. My interests were Akishibu Project, drop, Maneki Kecak, Ready to Kiss, and Houkago Princess. Before heading to Shinkiba, I bought a new penlight and I was kind of surprised how expensive they are now. My previous generation King Blade died (although I am now starting to suspect I just needed to change the batteries. Well, I did change the batteries, but I think I changed them to a set that was also drained. Doesn’t matter now since I already threw it away :P) The new King Blade is more expensive because it interfaces with your phone and allows you to edit the colors. We’ve discovered ways to hack penlights, yet for some reason we don’t have robot butlers, flying cars, or time machines.
Ah yes, the concert. It was just… okay. I saw Akishibu Project at the outdoor stage and main stage, but unfortunately I didn’t like either setlist. For Akishibu Project I either like or dislike their heavy rotation songs, and I had bad luck with their song selection this trip. Drop performed my favorite songs, but they were dressed up in track suits. They seem to do this a lot the past year or two, basically just wearing random clothes when they perform, which is very different from when they started and really pushed their unique costumes and hotness. Ready to Kiss was missing my second favorite member who had the flu, but I still liked their set. Maneki Kecak and Houkago Princess were both good. (I told you this is going to be super sloppy, poorly written, and completely unfunny.) Lastly, I was intrigued by a group called Gallop+, mainly on the basis of one member (the blonde one if you must know!). In the past I would have afterwards done a lot of research on them, but I’m completely over that phase of my idol fandom now.
So to recap, the event was… good. [I thought you said it was “okay.”] Yes. It was.
Silent Siren Year End Special Live “Dream On”
@Tokyo Municipal Gymnasium
When I saw Silent Siren in Los Angeles in October, during the group photo I told them I was going to this concert–even though at that point I hadn’t bought a ticket, booked airfare or hotel, or did any trip planning whatsoever. Promises to your favorite bandols are sacred though–unless that sounds really nerdy, in which case pretend I didn’t write that.
Before the concert I met up with Tobi in Akasaka for yakiniku. Then I traveled to Sendagaya station (which is between the Shibuya and Shinjuku areas) and I intended to buy Silent Siren’s fukubukuro (New Year’s lucky bag), towel, and wristband. Their goods booth opened at 1PM, I arrived around 1:30 which I thought was early (concert was at 7PM), but there were thousands (?) of fans already there, and within 30 minutes it was announced that they had sold out of the lucky bags. The queue I was in was huge and my motivation for staying had disintegrated, so I decided to return to my hotel and come back for the towel and wristbands later that afternoon (good plan right?), since I didn’t think they would sell out. Turns out, I didn’t end up returning to the venue until 5PM (wasted too much time online–like I’m doing right this instant :P), and by then they sold out of practically everything. This is the third time I’ve messed up getting Silent Siren goods. On one hand, I’ve had really good luck with not being eaten by zombie dinosaurs from outer space or falling off cliffs while snowboarding (almost happened maaaany times), buuuut on the other hand, a lot of goods (more like greats) have sold out before I could buy them. Overall, I would say I’ve been unlucky.
After my e-fail (epic fail) at buying goods, there was an hour wait for the venue to open. And it was freeeezing. I’m fortunate I remembered to wear clothes that day. Because if I wasn’t wearing clothes, well I don’t think I would have survived. That’s how cold it was! Eventually the queues were set up depending upon whether you were on the arena or 2nd floor/3rd floor and everyone skedaddled into the venue. It was nice and warm inside. Kind of like when hobos congregate around a barrel fire and tell crazy stories about life as a hobo. That’s how warm it was!
My seat was on the 2nd floor, but my view was great. Surprisingly much better than probably 70% of the arena seats. I almost felt bad for them. They thought they were cool because they were in the arena area, but the band never performed on the runway or end stage. Meanwhile, I was in the second row, with no one sitting in front of me, or on either side of me, so I had an unimpaired view of Suu and Yukarun and the rest! And I could jump around like an idiot! This was despite my area being designated as the “family area,” which meant no standing. I knew the rule and would have definitely complied, but at least half the fans ignored it, so I just followed along. It’s like I always tell me students, “It’s okay to be a follower. Just don’t follow someone over a cliff.”
To save time, I’ll just recap my highlights:
- The second song they performed was my favorite Silent Siren song of all tiiiime, LOST.W. This song is extreEemely rare, despite being extrEEEemely awesome. (too rare for a youtube link)
- They also performed Yumeoi, which was my first favorite Sai Sai song back when I really got into them a few years ago. It’s also rare, but not as rare as LOST.W.
- Their outfits were extrEEEemely cutiful, maybe their best ever.
- Somehow one of the concert streamers with a message from each member landed right in my lap. The guy sitting two seats from me actually tried to snag it while it was in the air, but he missed and looked like an idiot in the process. And right when it landed on me, a girl behind me asked for it. I didn’t even have it for a second and people were trying to take it–as if a guy wouldn’t want to keep it. She clearly doesn’t read my blog because I collect these things :P
- Most of the venue was filled, except for the first two rows of my block of seats. It was sad when considering where the fans were sitting in this photo. It also made my area a dead zone, outside of me and a few others.
- The “Dream On” part of their concert was a campaign asking fans to send their dreams to the group. This part of the concert included two fans getting photos with the group on stage and a couple who recently got married getting serenaded by the group, as if they were their wedding band (this was when they performed Happy Mari). Considering the theme of the concert, I was surprised they didn’t allow fans to take photos during a song, since they allowed this during their Yokohama Arena concert a few months ago. They probably didn’t want that to become a permanent thing though, and if they allowed it at two big concerts in a row, fans would expect it every time.
- They announced their 5th anniversary tour, which helps plan my summer trip. Since TIF also revealed the dates, I already know the dates I will go this summer. Yata!
3 Lucky Girl
4 Ring Ring Ring
5 Joshiko Senso
6 Hachigatsu no Yoru
7 Happy Mari
8 Koi i Yuki
11 Strawberry Moon
12 Koi Hana
14 What show is it?
15 Guruguru Wonderland
18 Fujiyama Disco (new song)
19 Bii San
I didn’t mention a lot of details about the concert: Overall the show was amazing, maaaybe not as amazing as their LA concert when I had front row, and less than two meters from Yukarun and Suu, but it was at least a close second. Fujiyama Disco is an okay song–not as great as Hachigatsu no Yoru or their other newish song Sinbad, but way better than Cherrybomb; they also changed labels; they will have two Budokan concerts as their tour finale; and they unveiled new logo. But I did say this would be super sloppy, poorly written, and completely unfunny.
@ Zepp Tokyo
Laziest recap ever.
January 2 and 3
New Year Premium Party (TIF x @JAM collaboration event)
@Zepp Tokyo & Zepp DiverCity
I’m writing this recap four months after the event–I umm, got busy.
I had unrealistically high hopes for NYPP because many of my favorite groups were performing: SMAP, GEM, Yumemiru Adolescence, SUPER☆GiRLS, predia, Maneki Kecak, and Akishibu Project.
I actually still remember one detail very vividly. I brought some work with me to Tokyo [I’ve mentioned before that I’m a new teacher (this is my second year) and I had to grade short stories my students wrote: the topic was living on Mars]. Anyway, the day before NYPP, I was grading the stories in my hotel’s lobby and I got a message from a friend on LINE: “YumeAdo has turned down/withdrawn from the New Year Event :(” I just stared at my phone in disbelief. Even today I’m still annoyed at what happened. YumeAdo has just released the music videos for two new songs and I really wanted to see them perform “Idol Race.” My interest in the group has died a lot since then.
This event basically came down to two things. For the first time ever I got front row for GEM at a main stage. I’ve seen them from the front row once or twice, but they were random small stages, and I was off to the side. This time, I waited out a few groups and had a little bit of luck and was able to get right in front of Sara and Maho’s section. Needless to say, their performance was #greatestGEMory.
The second thing: I saw Tokyo Performance Doll for the first time and… I was intrigued. [What were you intrigued by?] Their hotness! They caught my eye the same way Doll☆Elements did when I saw them at TIF 2015. I’ve known of TPD since their debut in 2013, but I thought their music was repulsive and their weird stage shows were too AKBish, so I ignored their existence–even though I knew since the beginning that they had a great lineup. Fortunately, they’ve evolved a lot since their debut and don’t have to rely on the original TPD music anymore. Since the four months that I saw them, I bought their 2015 concert blu-ray and downloaded every concert I could find. They are what SUPER GiRLS used to be: an elite group of super hotties with talent and amazing outfits. Like SG, their only negative is their music is either hit or miss. Regardless, they are new number one group. Never thought that would happen. Although I never thought I would become a hardcore SG, DE, or drop fan either. Seeing TPD was definitely #greatestGEMory. [I thought front row for GEM was #greatestGEMory?] There can be two #greatestGEMories!!
I could have gone to Akishibu Project’s regular live and/or an idol event also with Akishibu Project, drop, Maneki Kecak, LinQ, and Houkago Princess, but I felt burned out on shows. So this was a lazy day for me and I just thought about life and contemplated important questions, like whether I prefer cute idols or cool idols.
GEM 1st Tour (day and night shows)
@ Shinjuku BLAZE
When I booked my trip on October 3, GEM’s tour hadn’t yet been announced. It was complete luck that three weeks later they revealed the tour dates, and the Tokyo shows miraculously fell on my last full day. And they were performing two shows. Considering my last day was a Thursday made it even luckier, because that’s not a common day for a concert.
A few days before the concert, there was an absence notice informing that Chisami would miss the shows because of the flu. The flu has hit GEM hard the past month, so again I was lucky again that my favorite members were unaffected.
The first show was at 12, and merchandise sales began at 10. As usual, I messed up and arrived way later than I intended and had to rush to buy their wristbands and penlight. Wristband colors were random, which meant it was part 2 of this ordeal.
I wanted SaRana wristbands and ended up getting Kako (pink), Chisami (white), and Rana (green). Rana’s was the last package I opened, so up to that point, the colors I got were kind of a disaster (no offense). After opening the packages I noticed that behind the booth was a bag of wristbands that had been removed from their packages so the colors were visible. In retrospect, I wonder if I could have asked/begged for the colors I wanted.
Both of my tickets were around #250, which from experience I knew wouldn’t be great. Years ago, I had ticket #80 for a SUPER☆GiRLS show and that was third row. Somehow I ended up with 5th row for the first show and 6th row for the second show, both center stage. That was probably due to a combination of a lot of no-shows because of the cold weather, it being a school/work day, and Chisami’s absence. Because of Chisami the group asked fans to switch their penlights to white for certain songs, and Kako being a huge dork held a penlight for Chisami for close to half of both shows.
The concerts were the best I have ever seen them perform. The two members from Tokyo (Maho and Hirari) produced the concerts. One of the many highlights was the segment when they reminisced about street-sei and performed wearing their old street-sei team outfits, which they hadn’t worn in five years. I think they mentioned this was the first time Hirari performed these songs. They also performed the two b-sides to their new single, although I think both songs are average. All three times I saw GEM this trip, they didn’t do their dance intro, I wonder if they scrapped that permanently. Sara also mentioned that she assumes everyone who has a green penlight is pushing Rana. She asked her fans to do something different to make her aware their green is pushing her, but I couldn’t comprehend what she requested. Since Jurin’s color is black, I’ve wondered what penlight color she has. Turns out it’s a really ugly dark purple. And I’m skipping a ton of details, but in my defense I’m really sleepy right now.
Last thing: Something I noticed previously from a SUPER☆GiRLS video I watched years ago, is how idols can have little knowledge of concert behavior. On this particular show, Reira and Mirei were watching GEM perform and were given penlights and they had no idea how to use them. Similarly, during GEM’s concerts, more than half of the GEMbers were unable to turn on their penlights–Jurin had to turn them on for everyone. Sara got frustrated and just threw hers aside.
So to answer my question from earlier, cool idols are the best.
Setlist – Day
1. Speed Up
2. Fine! ~fly for the future~
3. FLY NOW!!
5. Delightful Days
6. Like A Heartbeat
7. Tears in the sky
8. Zettai Love Magic (street-sei song)
9. GEMbatte Seishun (SUPER☆GiRLS song)
10. Sugar Baby
11. WHAT IF
12. We’re GEM
13. Just Call Me
14. Baby, Love Me!
15. Yume no Tsubomi
Setlist – Night
1. Speed Up
2. Tears in the sky
4. FLY NOW!!
6. Star Shine Story
7. Like a Heartbeat
8. Miracle ga Tomannai! (SUPER☆GiRLS song)
9. Real Material (street-sei song)
10. Sugar Baby
11. Do You Believe?
12. We’re GEM
13. WHAT IF
14. Baby, Love Me!
15. Yume no Tsubomi
16. Just Party
17. Just Call Me
18. Can’t Stop Loving
My next (and final–for real this time) Japan trip will be July 24–August 7 for Silent Siren and TIF 2017.
I’m preeeetty sure these will still be around by then.