Tokyo Summer 2016 Mini-Cap™: Yumemiru Adolescence, GEM, and Akishibu Project

15 Aug

Going to Japan was a last minute decision, although I was deliberating it for a while. On July 31, I finally decided and booked my flight and hotel for August 3–12. My main motivations were seeing Akishibu Project, Yumemiru Adolescence, drop, and GEMAnother motivation: I had purchased tickets for J-POP Summit in order to attend Silent Siren’s U.S. debut in San Francisco on July 23, but as luck would have it, I ended up getting a job interview at a new school the following Monday, so instead of going to San Francisco, I spent the weekend preparing my presentation for the interview. So I wanted to make up for that loss. Everything turned out for the best, I got the job, went to Japan, and I’ll see Silent Siren when they perform in Los Angeles in September. 

Every summer, I stay at the same hotel in Odaiba, because it’s a ten minute walk to Tokyo Idol Festival. After checking in, I went to Akihabara to see Yumemiru Adolescence at Akiba Cultures Theater. In the ten times I’ve been to Japan, I’ve only been to Akihabara twice, and I had never been to a show at Akiba Cultures. For some reason, I’ve also never been to Ginza, even though that is the first district of Tokyo I learned about when I was in college studying Japanese. Surprisingly, I was able to purchase a ticket to the show using my Pigoo account and credit card. Now in addition to being able to purchase drop and Maneki Kecak tickets, who use Peatix, I can also purchase tickets for shows at Akiba Cultures. That’s so GEM!™

This is the process I used for entering the lottery and purchasing a ticket
1. Register for a Pigoo account (assuming you don’t live in Japan, you’ll have to fill in a fake Japanese address.)
2. Wait for the pre-sale period, which varies depending upon the type of membership you have. For free accounts, I believe the lottery period begins ten day before the show. You can review the details here.
3. Enter the lottery and wait for the results, which will be sent to your registered email address.
4. After you win the lottery, pay using a credit card or paypal.
5. You’ll receive an email confirmation, which includes your ticket number.
6. On the day of the concert, pick up your ticket 30-60 minutes before the show start time by showing your email confirmation along with a form of ID. 
7. Pay the 500Y cover. If you plan on buying merchandise before the concert, arrive early, because sales end about 15 minutes before showtime.

This was a new experience for me and it was a little nerve-wracking, because I kept thinking my ticket would be cancelled since I used an American credit card and a fake Tokyo address, so hopefully the above instructions are helpful.

Yumemiru Adolescence
YUME LIVE! @ Akiba Cultures Theater

August 4, 2016

I arrived at the theater 30 minutes before the start time, and since I’d never been there before, I tried to casually observe what was going on–which is difficult when you stand out. Eventually a staff member yelled out that anyone who still needed to exchange their ticket should go to the ticketing area, so I walked in (still kind of thinking there was a chance my ticket could be invalid). Fortunately my fears were unfounded and I was able to show my ticket confirmation in exchange for a real ticket. The girl helping me checked my ID and I wonder if she compared my California address to the fake Japan address I used for my Pigoo account. I was prepared to explain the situation if pressed, but it wasn’t necessary.

After getting my ticket, I was literally a few seconds from entering the queue for merchandise when they closed it, because by that time it was 15 minutes until showtime. My ticket was #289, which is pretty bad for this venue, since capacity isn’t much higher than 300. The concert sold out, and I think they sold extra tickets beyond normal capacity. Despite my high ticket number, I had great visibility from the standing area in the back.

Most of the fans in my area were pushing Karin (who is also my favorite), and since she is color-coded red, we were the red light district. Which reminds me, when I was still at home packing my luggage, I tested my penlight and found that half of the colors weren’t working–it’s supposed to toggle through 10 colors, but I lost yellow, light blue, brown, purple, and two others. 

The concert lasted only about an hour, but I knew that beforehand from watching their previous YUME LIVES. The concert was great and now that I know how easy it is to purchase tickets, I’ll go back in the future, since a lot of groups I like perform there. The venue also isn’t as janky as I once thought :D The low-res streams on niconico kind of give a bad impression of the theater.

And I feel very mature for not once mentioning how hot the members are.

Setlist
1. Suterusu Bukai 25: 00
2. Mai Gene!
3. Mawaru Sekai

4. Shomei Teenager
MC: Announced a free live on 8-13, the day after I leave :P
5. Oshiete Schrodinger
6. Fantastic Parade
Encore
7. Love for You (new single)
8. Hi! Summer Dreamer


GEM, Yumemiru Adolescence, Up Up Girls, Moso Calibration, et al
GIRLS❤GIRLS❤GIRLS SUMMER LIVE!! @TSUTAYA O-EAST
August 9, 2016

When I found out that Yumemiru Adolescence was performing at an event called GIRLS❤GIRLS❤GIRLS SUMMER LIVE!!, my first instinct was to purchase all the tickets and not share GIRLS❤GIRLS❤GIRLS with anyone! But then I got hella dizzy looking at the word GIRLS so many times in a row and realized one ticket would suffice.

A friend mentioned that this event sounded like a strip club, which reminded me that when I was in fourth grade, when returning to school from a field trip, our bus drove by a building that had a huge sign that read GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! I was only ten at the time, but I remember my best friend and I thought that was hilarious and wish we could have gone on a field trip there instead.

The concert was two days after TIF and was sponsored by a Tokyo radio station celebrating their anniversary, which is why the lineup included groups which typically wouldn’t participate in a shared concert. This was also the last real show I would go to for this trip; everything else was release events.

The full lineup in order of appearance: J-Dee’Z (opening act), Zettai chokkyū joshi Play Balls, Tsubaki Factory, GEM, Bakusute Sotokanda Ichome, Moso Calibration, Yumemiru Adolescence, and Up Up Girls.

I’ve never seen J-Dee’Z, Play Balls, or Tsubaki Factory before. I’ll just write one sentence about each:
J-Dee’Z’s music and style is kind of old-school and the way they dressed, it was like they just pulled clothes out of their closets and then went on stage.
Play Balls are a baseball-themed idol group and they have two guys in the group who wear baseball uniforms and act like idiots on stage to the delight of their fans.
Tsubaki Factory is a Hello Project trainee group, and like all Hello Project groups, are old-school and incredibly boring! :D

GEM followed Tsubaki Factory and as one of the few remaining good guys in the world, I politely plowed my way to the front center. GEM was actually a late addition to this concert. Obviously, that’s so GEM!™ Ever since I’ve been a fan, my interest in them has constantly been up and down though. They recently added two members to the group, Monami and Hirari, when Maya went on hiatus and almost immediately I became a huge fan of Monami. Because of her, my interest in GEM had skyrocketed into the furthest reaches of outer space. Unfortunately, Monami fans came crashing back down to earth soon after her debut, because after about ten days of activities, she went on a sudden hiatus–and hasn’t been heard from since. It’s possibly due to illness, but no one is really sure, because there hasn’t been an update on her status.

Despite her absence, I still love GEM and had a great time. Their set was much funner than any I had seen from them at TIF. Although, instead of doing their new overture, they came on stage singing “We’re GEM,” which was disappointing since the new overture is cool and “We’re GEM” is not. At least the choreography allows us to repeatedly point at our oshiGEMs. They performed their new single “Spotlight” and “Party Up” from their recent album, which are both great additions to their normal rotation. “Do You Believe?” is fun, but I doubt I’m the only one who is getting tired of it. Lastly, I continue to get haunted by the song “Can’t Stop Loving.” Every time I see GEM, they perform either this song or it’s brother, Star Shine Story. And I would see them perform these two songs three more times during the trip.

GEM’s setlist
1. We’re GEM

2. Spotlight
3. Party Up
4. Do You Believe?
5. Can’t Stop Loving

Bakusute Sotokanda Ichome was next and umm, I’m not going to write about them so fast forward to Moso Calibration, although I don’t have much to write about them either. The last time I saw them was 2014, and I remembered their fans do wotagei and also run around in circles, so I moved out of the center. Their fans were extremely tame during their set though. 

Afterwards, I again became a gentleman and politely plowed my way to the center for Yumemiru Adolescence. There were a lot of YumeAdo fans at the show, so the front area was more congested than it was for GEM. There was still space to move and jump though. Really fun setlist, the funnest of the night for me. Basically just a lot of jumping around.

YumeAdo’s setlist
1. Love for You

2. Bye Bye My Days (Note: I would link to this song, but it’s disappeared from the internet)
3. Kurachu Summer
4. Mai Gene
5. Fantastic Parade

After their set I went to the bar to redeem my drink ticket. I had noticed 7 or 8 foreigners at the show, and two came up to me while I was getting my drink and mentioned seeing me at TIF. Up Up Girls came on shortly afterwards and I went back to the floor area. I’ve seen this group several times, and they’ve never clicked with me and I left after watching two songs. I was also starving since I’d been out since early that afternoon and it was now 9PM.


Fairies Event @LaLaport Tokyo Bay, Chiba
August 10, 2016

I haven’t followed Fairies in a long time, but I’m still slightly interested in them, so I went to their event in Chiba. They sang three slow songs, including their new single Crossroad. I’ve noticed they’ve rapidly matured their look during the past year. It seems to be working since they are still getting more popular, but I prefer the more high energy, cool look they used to have.


GEM @Ikebukuro Sky Deck (aka the Tobu Department Store rooftop)
August 11, 2016

GEM and Akishibu Project both had two events in separate locations in Ikebukuro, and because of the timing I was able to go to both of GEM’s and one of Akishibu Projects. Later that night I wanted to go to Narumi Takiguchi‘s one-man in Shibuya, but that didn’t work out, so I went to Akishibu Project’s third event scheduled that day, which was also in Shibuya.

I feel like I shattered his perception of the oversees GEM fan. Anyway, I’m still surprised that I was able to see GEM so soon after the new GEMber’s debuts, yet I wasn’t able to see Monami. It’s pretty rare I become a fan of a new member so quickly. I honestly hope she’s okay and returns to the group, but this situation is kind of unprecedented.

GEM Event 1
Overture
Spotlight
Can’t Stop Loving
Star Shine Story

GEM Event 2
We’re GEM
Do You Believe?
Spotlight
Party Up
Can’t Stop Loving


Akishibu Project events
@Shinseido, Ikebukuro
@HMV & BOOKS, Shibuya

After GEM’s first mini-live I rushed to Akishibu Projects event at Sunshine City (a large mall in Ikebukuro), which was about ten minutes away. On the way I saw their truck promoting their single and had to stop to take a photo. I also saw the truck in Odaiba during TIF and in Shibuya.

Their event was at a Shinseido store at the far end of the mall, and was a little hard to find since it was actually a mini-store inside a store. Since the shop was small, the stage was even smaller. The members were dressed as staff and handled cd sales.

I purchased two copies of their single and afterwards, I had to rush back to GEM’s event, which was beginning in 20 minutes. Because I was in a hurry, I bought the wrong version of one of the cds (each of the five versions have different tracks). Not a huge deal, but it’s a great single and it’s doubtful anyone will upload the other versions. Yuechi helped me with my purchase. I have several favorite members in the group, which is why I like them so much, but Yuechi and Yuna are my favorite. I was a little nervous and I’m pretty sure my hand was shaking like a person being electrocuted as I handed her the cds.

After their Shinseido event and GEM’s second event, I went back to my hotel for an hour, before going to Shibuya. Earlier in the day I found out Narumi Takiguchi was having a one man at a small club near O-EAST, and I really wanted to go, despite not having a ticket. I’ve been a fan of hers since 2013, when I saw her with her old group Takokusekigun, at an underground idol show in a small club called Shibuya Deseo. So I went to the venue she was performing at called Vuenos. I had to run to get there and arrived 5 minutes before the opening time. There was literally no one there though. I thought maybe I had the wrong day, but checked her twitter and confirmed this was the day. There was a sign on the door in English that said “Not Ready,” but I went inside anyway. There was an old man sweeping the floor and a few girls standing inside, but I didn’t see any staff or Narumi fans in the lobby. I went outside and waited until 7:10, not really sure what to do since this was an underground show and I already felt out of my comfort zone. Akishibu’s event was at 7:30 at HMV & BOOKS, which is across the street from Tower Records, so I knew I could get there quickly if necessary. I waited a few more minutes and didn’t see anyone enter or leave the venue, so I walked around to the back thinking there could be an alternate entrance. I didn’t find one so I decided to go to Akishibu’s event. It was getting late, so I also had to run there. Running through Shibuya’s crowded streets isn’t the coolest thing to do, but I’m an extremely fast runner so I was able to get their quickly.

HMV & BOOKS is a relatively new store and they have an event space on the 7th floor. It’s supposed to hold 100-200 people, but that seems like a complete exaggeration. I should have purchased more singles, but I still hadn’t realized I bought the wrong version earlier in the day, so I just watched the live. They came on stage wearing pajamas and I loved all the songs they performed. It was a short live, but this was their third event of the day, and they had been promoting all week, so it was understandable.

Setlist
Summer Summer

LOVE&PARADISE
Be Yourself

If you think you can have any interest in Akishibu Project, please watch the video for Be Yourself. It’s super long kawaiiii and super long kakkoiiii!


My original schedule included a show at Shinjuku ReNY with drop, Houkago Princess, and Maneki Kecak the following day, but that listing turned out to be a mistake. The lesson here is to not automatically assume everything on idolscheduler is accurate!

I didn’t want to go to that show anyway!! *sobs into a pillow*

The End

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3 Responses to “Tokyo Summer 2016 Mini-Cap™: Yumemiru Adolescence, GEM, and Akishibu Project”

  1. Infzer0 2016/08/16 at 12:00 am #

    Nice info regarding the akiba cultures theatre. I wanted to go there last time for some events, but since im not sure how to register, in the end i just gave up. Maybe next time i can give it a try using fake tokyo address lol.

    As for GEM….weird, ‘can’t stop lovin’ is actually one of my fav GEM songs. I dont really spotlight in comparison. But Party up is awesome. So, the setlist from your GEM Event 2 is quite good actully (for me anyways) haha

    ooo yea i though hirari is also quite cute hahaha, but i still like Maho and Lana better.

    Nice recap tho. I’ll be waiting for your TIF post~ ;)

  2. wattstax17 2016/08/16 at 8:45 am #

    Good to see you returned safely. Good luck in your new job. And see you next year at TIF then – maybe ;)

    When I see you mentioning the brown coded idol. Have I told already you, that I saw a group that actually featured one? Forgot the name, but it was a group with 10 members. Anyway, the fact they are still selling Monami cards – is this a positive sign, that she is still in the group? And is that Maho anyway decent? She must be blond or english speaking to make them assume that foreigners prefer her.
    The supposedly canceled show at Vuenos sounds strange. Must have felt weird to wait there without a clue. I wonder what happened. As you are more used to decent size livehouses you probably wouldn’t have liked the Vuenos. It’s lobby is pretty big, but their is a longer stairway leading to the actual stage and it is very small. Much smaller then Akiba Cultures even,

    Regarding the Akiba Cultures: You can also go there without a ticket 30 minutes before the start. Then the general sale also begins. Of course there is the danger of it being sold out already. That was the only way I could attend Culture Shows, as it never worked with my credit card. Though last time was already 2 years ago, so maybe that changed. The venue is definitely okay. So thank you for the detailed description of the buying process. Maybe I can use it some time (to secure my ticket early).

    • Shaun 2016/08/16 at 5:24 pm #

      ^ That night, while I was at Vuenos, I had a feeling the show hadn’t been cancelled and that it was just really low turnout. The next morning I checked her twitter, and confirmed the show did happen–there were photos and even a video. You’re right about the venue being small. I actually passed on going to a show at TwinBox during this trip because I went years ago and it was uncomfortably small. I actually liked Akiba Cultures though.

      Maho is a popular member with oversees fans. She is blonde and is one of the more talented members. And knowing avex, they will continue to try to make money even if they know a member is not returning :P

      I also corrected a detail about the Akiba Cultures ticket reservation. With a free account you can enter the lottery 10 days in advance (initially I wrote 14 days). I knew about the possibility for day tickets from your blog :)

      ^^ Hirari is cute. At the GEM lives I went to the fans were really vocal with their support for her. And I agree about Akiba Cultures, I’ve avoided shows there because the lottery process confused me, and I don’t like to rely on day tickets. But now it’s a possibility and a lot of groups have their teiki koens there (PASSPO, predia, LinQ, GEM, YumeAdo, Lovely Doll, palet, etc)

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