Japan Trip Mini-Up™ (mini-update

4 Aug

Inexplicably my brain thought it would be a good idea to do some vacation homework, aka a trip update.

July 29: Concert tickets and Hotel check-in
I arrived at Narita at 2:00PM, which was more than an hour ahead of schedule, and collected my concert tickets at the 7-11 in the airport. The process was a little amusing and I’ll explain it in a later recap. In the afternoon I checked into my hotel in Odaiba, which I’ve stayed at before because its within walking distance of Tokyo Idol Festival 2015 and Silent Siren’s Mezamashi Live concert at Fuji TV’s Yume Tairiku summer festival.

July 30: Museum and Silent Siren concert
At 9:00 I met up with Tobi in Ueno to check out the National Museum of Nature and Science. Yes, we’re both nerds. But Tobi is nerdier because when I casually referred to prehistoric mammals as “dinosaurs,” he immediately corrected me that those creatures weren’t dinosaurs :D Hey, in America a Woolly Mammoth is a dinosaur! (jk)

Tobi also gave me a copy of Yururirapo‘s debut single. Thank you!! This will be worth millions of yen in the future.

After two hours at the museum we parted ways because he had a concert to attend and I had a Silent Siren concert that night. At 5:00 PM I headed to the Yume Tairiku festival to collect my 1-day pass (which is included with the concert ticket and necessary to access the concert venue) and to purchase Silent Siren goods (more like greats). Earlier in the day the band tweeted there would be a high touch event after the concert, so in addition to purchasing a towel and wristband, I preordered their new single Hachigatsu no Yoru, in order to do the high touch.

Afterwards I went to the stage area because the band had started rehearsing! And they were super long kawaaaaaiiiiiii!! They rehearsed for about 20 minutes, playing parts of randoms songs, including my favorite Silent Siren song Yumeoi. When they finished I left the stage area to get into the queue.
My ticket number was 211, which was pretty good since there was about 900 in attendance. In comparison, at last year’s SUPER☆GiRLS Mezamashi Live, my number was 684. Upon entering the concert area, staff members handed everyone Silent Siren disposable glowsticks and I chose a spot in the center column of Row 7, which was based on where the members position themselves on stage. I am a huge Suu fan (lead singer and guitarist) and she occupies the center position. My second favorite member is Ainyan (bassist and backing vocals), so I deliberately chose a spot that was directly in the middle of the middle column (for Suu), but I then shifted two seats to the left (to get slightly closer to Ainyan’s spot), in order to maximize my field of vision for both members. [In other words you’re a huge nerd. And that explanation was poorly written!] I also kept shifting back and forth trying to find the perfect spot, which I think confused and annoyed the people around me. [Umm, no one needs to know that detail.]

The group performed wearing super cute white dresses, which are actually outfits they’ve worn since 2013. Even though I wasn’t a fan of the setlist (I don’t really like their “popular” heavy rotation songs), the concert was amazing. Their new single Hachigatsu no Yoru is my second all-time favorite Silent Siren song after Yumeoi and from the moment the first chord was played I was just crying non-stop like a baby gorilla and screaming “Suuu daiSUUUkii” directly in the ear of the person next to me for the entire song! I was flailing my arms and just kicking whatever was in my path knocking over people and just having a blast! (<- All of that may or may not have happened). They also performed their cover of ZONE‘s “Secret Base,” but I think their version is a little rough. Maybe they are still getting the song down, or maybe they intentionally didn’t want to do a clean version. The concert lasted about 45 minutes, and another 15 minutes for the high touch to conclude.  

The high-touch went great… until Ainyan looked at me and said “Whoooa!” like she just had a close encounter with an alien from Mars. Initially I thought it was hilarious, but after thinking about it more I have no idea if it was a positive reaction. My hair was pretty spiky that day so maybe it was a combination of that and being a foreigner. I’ll see them again on August 5 in Kamakura, but this time I’m setting up official Suu fan headquarters directly in the center because Ainyan is dead to me! (jk)

Setlist
1. Soukai Rock

2. BANG!BANG!BANG!
MC

3. Secret Base (ZONE cover)
4. Hachigatsu no Yoru (New single)
5. Starmine
6. GuruGuru Wonderland
Encore
7. Bii San (Beach Sandals)

July 31: GEM and SUPER☆GiRLS concerts

I’ll recap these concerts when I return home. The concerts were pretty good, particularly SUPER☆GiRLS, and both shows concluded with a high touch.

August 1 and 2: Tokyo Idol Festival 2015

I won’t write too much about TIF because it’s too time consuming, but eventually I’ll recap my personal highlights (prediaDoll☆Elements, and NEO from Idoling) and random thoughts (like why is that orange sphere in the sky so hot?). The biggest TIF disappointment was Silent Siren for performing only three songs before having a long and boring conversation with PASSPO about Yukarun losing their tour’s punishment game and thus having to perform with PASSPO. *However* I also had an unobstructed view of Suu, who was wearing a skirt with a slit up both sides that revealed most of her legs, therefore I forgive them. So the real disappointment was Passcode performing during day 2 at a venue and time-slot they shouldn’t have been within a million kilometers of. This group should be performing at sewer treatment plants, city dumps, radioactive landfills, and alleys behind 10 yen sushi bars, not the biggest stage at TIF. They killed the perfect chain combo of Doll☆Elements, GEM, & predia.

August 3: Hotel change and IDOL NATION 2015

I changed hotels to Toranomon Hills in order to get more centrally located. Odaiba is fine during TIF, but it gets tedious traveling into and out of Tokyo from there.

I’ll recap IDOL NATION in more detail later because it was awesome. Definitely one of the best idol concerts I’ve ever attended. Great production values, great stage layout, great lineup, great crowd, and there was a lot of space to move around in the arena area, as opposed to TIF where most stages were overcrowded and fans were packed in tighter than Chubbiness in their tour bus.

August 4: NEO Idoling mini live in Odaiba
I went back to Odaiba for NEO’s “best of Album” mini live at My Navi stage. The event was in the morning and I arrived later than I intended, but I was still able to catch the rehearsal and 30 minute live. I wasn’t sure whether to purchase their album considering the group is disbanding and purchasing an album without new content seemed pointless, so I just acted the part of the clueless tourist who happened to stumble upon the live and watched from the non-priority area.

August 5: Otodama Sea Studio ~Tomomi Itano x Silent Siren
Otodama Sea Studio is a summer concert venue located directly on the beach of Kamakura, a city 50 kilometers to the south of Tokyo. Travel time was 70 minutes by train and when I arrived I quickly visited Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, a popular Shinto shrine. The shrine is in the opposite direction from the beach, so I only had about 15 minutes to look around before I needed to head to the venue to queue. The weather was really nice because of the proximity to the ocean, and a total departure from the Tokyo heat. 

When I arrived at the beach, the staff had just began letting fans into the venue. Unfortunately, I had no idea what the process was, because they weren’t calling by ticket number. It seemed like they were just letting in blocs of people based on ticket number ranges, beginning with fan club members. I knew I had a good ticket so I just got in the queue, which seemed logical at the time and I entered without a problem. It’s a free standing venue and I was able to get 4th row in the center column. The floor is actually sand, since it’s a structure set up on the beach. 

The two-man line-up was interesting because I doubt there is fan overlap between Silent Siren and Tomomi Itano, and the ratio was probably close to a 90/10 split in favor of Silent Siren. Because it was a shared concert, I figured the etiquette of letting fans of each group have priority would be in effect. I didn’t know who was opening though, so I chose the best spot available, and would vacate if Tomochin opened. I figured she would open though, since the stage didn’t have Silent Siren’s instrument setup. Most of Tomomi’s fans are girls, so when she came on first, I let them pass me, but I still had a decent position. I’m no longer a fan, but when I followed AKB48, she was my fourth favorite member, so I was interested in seeing her as a solo artist, despite having low expectations. I won’t get into detail about her performance, but it was entertaining, although she heavily relies on a backing vocal track. I think she sang six songs, with a short MC, before returning for a one-song encore.

At the conclusion of her encore, the Tomochin fans relocated to the back of the venue, and I returned to the front near Suu’s spot. Silent Siren’s staff then brought out their instruments and did the standard instrument checks. For the concert Hinachu would use an electronic drum kit instead of her typical acoustic drum, which you can see in the photo below.
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It’s difficult to judge depth based on photos, but I was two meters from the stage, and I actually moved closer because I don’t recall ever seeing the guy wearing the hat in the above photo. There wasn’t the typical gap between the stage that exists at most live-houses, so the group was extremely close. They performed wearing the same dresses from the Mezamashi Live concert, but this concert was a lot better, because they performed more songs, it was free standing, and being on the beach the venue had a better vibe than Odaiba. During the MC, Suu explained that the two-man came about because Tomochin requested Silent Siren, and their managers set it up.

They performed BANG!BANG!BANG!, Lucky Girl, Hachigatsu no Yoru, What show is it?, Guru Guru Wonderland, and Bii San, in addition to a few others. I’ll update with the setlist when it’s uploaded somewhere.

Update: I’m back in Los Angeles and the weather here is so much nicer than Tokyo. My editor told me that it’s bad form to leave updates incomplete so…

August 7: OTONA no Bansan Vol. 3 in Shibuya

Otona no Bansan (“Adults’ Dinner”) is a concert series featuring idols and groups in their twenties. The lineup was Yururirapo, Hachaketai, Yuu Kikawa, Vanilla Beans, and predia. I’d been to O-West a few years ago for a HimeKyun concert so I took the “short-cut” to get to the venue, which is going through MarkCity, a mall attached to Shibuya Station, which allows you to avoid the summer heat and crowded Shibuya streets and quickly get to the venue, since the mall’s exit is directly across the street. I arrived 15 minutes before the concert began and purchased a ticket from the box office. When I purchased the ticket the girl said, “Really? This live?” and she showed me the ticket to confirm. At the entrance a staff member asked for the name of the group I was supporting, and I said Yururirapo (even though I like predia more) and she replied, “Really? Yururirapo?”

At the entrance a member from the opening act DREAMING MONSTER was also handing out flyers. After the opening act, Yururirapo, Hachaketai, Yuu Kikawa, and Vanilla Beans, in that order, performed four or five song each. The venue has a second floor closed off to the public that members of each group often occupied while watching the other performers. Predia concluded the concert with seven songs. Even though there were more people in attendance than I had anticipated (I thought it would be empty), it was nowhere near a sellout, so there was plenty of room to move and jump around like a idiot–if that’s your thing :D Except during Vanilla Beans of course. That was nap time.

August 8: Doll☆Elements Summer Tour in Nagoya

The Doll☆Elements one-man in Nagoya was in a tiny, uber janky, and possibly haunted, live-house about fifteen minutes from Nagoya Station. I’ll recap this concert later. In an unexpected highlight, they began the concert wearing their “Kimi no Negai Kanaetai!” (4th single) outfits, which are not only beautiful aesthetically, but more importantly, the skirt length has to be one of the shortest ever for an idol group. Thank you costume designer person!

August 9: Doll☆Elements Summer Tour in Osaka

The one-man in Osaka was also in a tiny venue, but larger than Nagoya’s and nicer because it had a relatively unique three-tiered floor layout. It was still a little janky though, because the club’s bar was actually located in the floor area (as opposed to the lobby), which was a ridiculous design choice because it significantly reduced the venue’s capacity. The setlist and MC segments were similar to the previous day’s concert, but there were a few different songs, which I preferred and made a big difference. I was also more familiar with the new songs I had heard in Nagoya, so it was a much funner concert overall.

Concluding thoughts
Before planning this trip, I had decided this would be my final visit to Japan. After eight trips in five years I’m burned out by idol groups and I want to travel to locales that are more agreeable to my friends and siblings, because traveling solo has a lot of downsides. I also once again learned that because of the heat and humidity, summer is the worst season to visit Japan. It only took five summer trips to fully realize this. Seriously though, it’s 2015; why hasn’t someone invented an on/off switch for the sun? And where the f-junk are flying cars and robot butlers?

Conversely, my fandom for Silent Siren has completely skyrocketed and I fear I’ve become an addict. Whenever I fall asleep at work my colleagues tell me that I mumble “DaiSUUUkii” in my sleep, while clumsily caressing my keyboard.

So maaaybe one more trip will be okay.

For Suu.

And Suu’s legs.

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15 Responses to “Japan Trip Mini-Up™ (mini-update”

  1. wattstax17 2015/08/04 at 9:23 pm #

    Was your hair like that on the morning of Day 1 TIF? Where you the only foreigner in the audience? Otherwise those reactions happen pretty often. Wait on my blog post ;)

    I hope to read more of your Idol nation / GEM / SG / TIF experiences, not just the pictures ;)

  2. Marty - JP in 4 days (@jpidoldeath) 2015/08/05 at 12:34 am #

    WTF is wrong with you are you blind or something… I mean no love for Hinachu!!!!

  3. Shaun 2015/08/06 at 7:13 am #

    I mistakenly uploaded this post way before it was finished, not like you guys have to re-read it :P

    ^^ Yeah, the “shock” reactions happen all the time for me, which is why I skip events. I didn’t see any other foreigner. I changed my hairstyle for TIF, I went for a softer look, as opposed to hard spikes which isn’t the style here.

    ^ I like all the members. Suu is just drop dead cuteiful to me and Ainyan has that exotic look that all the kids love.

    • Marty - JP in 4 days (@jpidoldeath) 2015/08/06 at 9:57 pm #

      Hehe.. yeah Su really is cute especially combined with her tiny voice.

    • wattstax17 2015/08/08 at 10:48 pm #

      If you are in Rome, do as the Romans do… Though I can’t say that I mind the idols reactions to foreigners. When I think back to Emirin, I still find it amusing. lol

      Seriously though:
      Have you read Henry’s blog? He was not that satisfied with the Idol Nation.
      And it was like a festival with several stages? But I guess you just participated in the big stage one, right?

      I am interested in your report about Predia, Yururirapo and Hachake Tai. ANd of course your Runapyon-adventure ;P

    • Infzer0 2015/08/12 at 12:08 pm #

      Im surprised you liked Idol Nation. It’s the opposite for me (see my blog for my thoughts about it, just updated it recently), i mean, the venue is okay being indoor and all, but i think the crowds abit boring to me — or maybe im just unlucky — cuz my seating is quite bad, all around me are either sitting down or just don’t care if it wasn’t their favorite group’s turn to perform.. which is sux to be honest lol.

      My seat is in between the 2nd/3rd floor btw, (K section, forgot which seat number). Maybe if my seats are located downstairs near the stage area, it would be much better haha. And also, each artist only gets to perform 2-3 songs which is a let down also. But other than that, i guess it’s quite worth it for 3500 yen + the line up is quite awesome.

      And also…Silent Siren. They just recently came to indonesia for a live concert, i only saw them twice (the first one at TIF during the Silent Siren x Passpo segment, which i agree, abit dissapointing lol)… and the 2nd one during their performance in Jakarta last weekend. Not bad.

      Took many silent siren pictures when they are performing, you can see it on my Flickr here:

      DSC_1023

      I think they will come again to Indonesia next month for a full live concert, definitely will attend it properly this time (instead of taking pictures lol).

      • Shaun 2015/08/12 at 4:03 pm #

        Thanks for the comments.

        @ Wattstax. IDOL NATION was just one stage in Yoyogi 2nd Stadium (the smaller venue next door to Yoyogi National Stadium). But it was part of a-Nation, which included concerts at Yoyogi National Stadium and smaller lives at an outdoor stage near the entrance, where groups like SUPER GiRLS, GEM, and Chubbiness performed throughout the day.

        @ Infzer0. I read your recaps while I was in Japan :D Lol @ the random TIF 2-shot with the girl in the bikini and the box of free stuff. I’m surprised we didn’t see each other because I also queued at Heat Garage on day 1 and day 2. I arrived pretty early for both days though, especially day 2 when I arrived at 8:00 before the queue had started. I also saw your GEM photos from Festival Stage. I was also in that area in the shade behind the Gundam statue. I was in the shaded area to the left of the statue and it looks like you were in the area to the right (if that makes sense). Oh yeah, when I read your TIF preview last month, I was going to remind you that Heat Garage = Zepp DiverCity (previous TIF Main Stage), but I wasn’t sure if I should leave a comment :P

        For IDOL NATION I was in the arena/standing area, third row in the center column. I can completely understand your perspective, it would have been a different experience if I was in the outer rim, because the fans were more quiet and several sections were closed off because of low ticket sales. There were only four people in my row, so we all spread out and I got the aisle and just went crazy, especially for GEM, Doll Elements, SUPER GiRLS, and Idoling. I agree that the main groups should have performed 1-2 more songs and the DJ segments should have been 3 minutes instead of 10.

        Great photos of Silen Siren. I love Suu’s dress. All dresses should be that length :D Did you have a media/press pass again, or was everyone able to take photos? Definitely see Silent Siren when they visit again. I was surprised they are doing a one-man, which means they’ll perform their awesome songs, and not just the played-out “popular” songs :D

  4. brian 2015/08/09 at 9:17 pm #

    Your trip sounds fun! And I’m jealous you got a copy of Yururirapo’s debut single. It really will be worth millions in the future even though you joke about it!

    ” Passcode performing during day 2 at a venue and time-slot they shouldn’t have been within a million kilometers of. This group should be performing at sewer treatment plants, city dumps, radioactive landfills, and alleys behind 10 yen sushi bars, not the biggest stage at TIF” oh my god

    (And Jo told me you got the Colorful Infinte single. Thank you so much!!!)

    • Shaun 2015/08/12 at 4:52 pm #

      I didn’t realize I had a comment waiting to be approved. Sorry for the delayed reply :P

      I’ll mail the Mai Kotone single soon. The cd survived the trip in great shape though; I had all my cds in bubble wrap.

      • wattstax17 2015/08/13 at 5:29 am #

        Too bad to hear you losing interest in idols and Japan. But say the truth: You just don’t want to see me and Caio again! :(
        jk Should have had a Goodbye-dinner then!

        Your choice was just a matter of time the moment you began skipping events. At least you will further enjoy idols by CD/DVD, I hope.
        But I understand your reasoning, especially the traveling alone part. I have to add though that my travel style is completely opposite to yours: I started with visiting different countries in the world and just ‘recently’ (1,5 years) discovered idols. This should give me some time.

        The Otona no Bansan sounds like a great festival with fantastic line-up. Too bad I couldn’t go. But I laughed at you being asked if you were at the right event. Your spiky hair makes you look too cool to be considered an idol fan, it seems ;P
        Don’t get, why they didn’t believe you being there for Yururirapo.

        The Doll Elements shows sound nice as well, though I know what you mean with too much people in the audience. It always lessens my enjoyment of the live as well. And the constant fear for my glasses…

        With the heat issue I *think* I reached the same resolve: I won’t attend it again. Although the setting is one of the best I know, it really is not worth getting sun burn, being sweaty and all the rest.

  5. Infzer0 2015/08/13 at 6:02 am #

    @shaun

    For heat garage day 2, i came quite late at around 920am, the queue is pretty long already, but still quite ok compared to the hkt48 queue haha. I couldnt get earlier since my hostel is near the ueno area, so its quite far from Odaiba.

    For GEM at the festival stage, im at the right side indeed. I was rushing from the marketplace area (thank god the exit to the marketplace area is just near the festival stage) so i can quickly go back and forth between the marketplace <> festival stage lol.

    For Idol Nation…no wonder you have much better experince, you’re at the arena / standing areas haha. Being seated upstairs really sucks, in front of me there’s also a little girl with her mom, so i can’t really do anything weird or the little girl would keep staring back at me lol, And since there’s a seat number, i cant move around to other places — compared to free standing lives where you can free roam and decide where you want to see the stage…. so basically im just stuck there. Haha.

    For Silent Siren, i didnt get media pass this time. Wanted to borrow my friend’s one so that i can take picture, but when the performance started i saw lots of people taking pictures / recording video as well with camera, so i just went along to take pictures also, since there’s almost no security at all !

    Silent Siren performed for around 1 hour though, which is not bad at all for a free live, They will come back again to indonesia next month for a full proper live at indoor location, and the ticket price is quite cheap also…for approx 12$ USD !!! Ill definitely watch it them again~

    http://beatmag.com/jakarta/timeline/silent-siren-upper-room-jakarta-saturday-september-19.html

    • Shaun 2015/08/13 at 6:22 pm #

      ^^ I think the girl wanted to confirm I chose Yururirapo because it’s a difficult name to say so I said it slowly like an idiot… Yu-ru-ri-ra-po. Maybe she just wanted to hear me struggle saying the name again :P

      Seeing Caio and you was great. I spend so much time in Japan on my own that those moments are highlights.

      ^ Have fun at the concert! I’m seriously jealous :D The members tweeted a lot of photos from their trip to Indonesia and it looks like they had good time.

  6. tsutomo 2015/08/15 at 4:16 am #

    “Except during Vanilla Beans of course. That was nap time.” LOL

    sucks that you won’t come to Japan again. though I think you should still come to visit non idol related stuff, like temples, castles, haunted places, natural spots… there’s plenty of things to look. and come around winter once so we can snowboard together! =)

  7. OMG I never knew you made so many more updates to this post!

    The Otodama Sea Studio venue sounds awesome, perfect for summer! I love that it’s close to that shrine as well. It’s got some cool history behnid it too. I love shrines and temples.

    “I’m no longer a fan, but when I followed AKB48, she was my fourth favorite member”
    Who were your favourite AKB48 members? :O

    I had no idea you went to that Otona no Bansan show! You got to see Yururirapo in person.. *___*
    That person who sold you the ticket has bad taste. :D

    It sounds like you should stop going to Japan during the summertime and maybe try going during autumn or winter. Like tsutomo said, you could also go and do/see lots of non-idol related things! :D (Going to haunted places sounds super fun!)

    Or just go up to Hokkaido and sink into that sweet, cold snow while dreaming about Silent Siren. When they find your body, the biggest smile ever would be on your frozen body.

    • Shaun 2015/08/18 at 3:37 pm #

      ^^ I’m sure I’ll visit again. It’s just not automatic like it was in the past. Winter 2016 probably.

      My favorite AKB members were 1. Yukari Sato, 2. Atsuko Maeda, 3. Mai Oshima, and then Tomomi. I was a fan of the original Team A. I never saw Yukarin, but I did see Acchan, Maimai, and Tomochin at the LA concert.

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