Archive | predia RSS feed for this section

How to Survive in Japan for a Week with Only One Million Yen

10 Feb

So my editor calls me at 4AM and screams, “Hey Billy, you’re having another dream about Runapon aren’t you?!” And I was like, “Yes. Thanks for waking me.” I know the real reason he’s calling though. “Hey, since you’re awake, how are the Chubbiness articles coming along? Sponsors are getting reeeeeallly anxious. And don’t forget to plug my new book!” So predictable. “I know. I’ll finish them today.”

That was two weeks ago.

Is it just me or is it impossible to write about Chubbiness without taking five hundred dinner breaks?

I didn’t know what to write about so I went to church for the first time in like a million years and the priest tells me, “Every time you make fun of Chubbiness an angel dies.” I was like, “A chubby angel?” Kidding aside, they’re actually a very generous group. A Chubbiness 2-shot is more like a 3-shot, amiright? Yeah, they’re great. Just don’t come near iDOL Street! HAHAHA… but seriously, don’t. *long awkward pause*

Ok enough stupidity, on to the recap.

I just flew to Japan and boy are my arms something something
This trip would be my first time flying in a Boeing 787, aka the Dreamliner.
787Dreamliner? More like Nightmare liner.

One of the plane’s advantages is lower cabin pressure, unfortunately it was also freezing cold and the guy sitting next to me was really sick. I think he may have died at some point during the flight. I’ve gotten sick in Japan several times, so I was a little worried. A little very worried.

It’s a 12 hour flight from L.A. to Tokyo and I watched If I Stay five times in a row. Just because. 

predia Party
@ Shinjuku ReNY
December 28, 2014

The morning after I arrived in Tokyo, I changed hotels and went to a Doll☆Elements mini-live in Chiba. I covered that event previously, so fast forward to predia’s concert that evening. But before I get to that, doesn’t predia’s upcoming album cover look a lot like GEM’s debut single?

The predia concert was at 18:00 and the plan was to meet Tobi at Shinjuku station at 16:45. That would give us plenty of time to find the venue since neither of us had been to Shinjuku ReNY before. Unfortunately, it took me a lot longer to get back to my hotel after the Doll☆Elements event, and I didn’t arrive at Shinjuku station until 17:00.

That wouldn’t have been a big deal, but when I arrived I couldn’t find the exit we agreed to meet at. I forgot how massive and crowded this station is. I asked a station attendant and he pointed me in the direction to go. I followed his instructions and got lost. I retraced my steps and got lost. So I went back to the entrance and studied the station map.

And I got lost.

The exit I was looking for didn’t seem to exist. I didn’t want to waste anymore time, so I decided to leave the station from any exit and just take a taxi. And hope that Tobi would realize I’m an idiot and go to ReNY by himself. It was pretty lame to take a taxi though, since I was less than a kilometer away. And that’s probably why the first taxi I got in wouldn’t take me. He said it was too close. The next taxi also declined for the same reason. It made sense though and I can’t blame them. There is a giant queue of taxis outside the station and they don’t want to lose their spot just to take some guy down the street. But at this point I was getting even more nervous, because I couldn’t walk to the venue and now it seemed I couldn’t take a taxi either. I hesitatingly called a third cab, expecting to be denied again. The cab driver was a lot nicer, but still wouldn’t take me. He did try to explain how to walk there though. So I followed his directions.

And I got lost.

Getting lost in Shinjuku at night reminded me of my Osaka trip from 2013, when I was traveling by an overnight bus, got completely lost, and was literally a few minutes from missing the departure. After taking the taxi driver’s advice I ended up further away from the station, but I still had no idea where I was or where I needed to go. So I got into another taxi and since I was desperate at this point I wanted to just throw thousands of yen at him and say, “Drive!” Turned out, the driver was really nice and he actually kept thanking me for taking his cab. Maybe because he made 1000 yen for a three minute drive. Anyway, I had finally arrived. Phew, crisis averted!

This was my fifth predia one-man and the longest set-list I’ve seen them perform. The concert was Aki’s birthday, who I think is around the same age as me, or maybe a year younger. They debuted new outfits halfway through the concert (the black and white dresses on their album cover), which were hotter than the red dresses they wore at the start. During the MCs, they announced the release date for their 1st major album and talked about a “revenge live” at Shinjuku Blaze. Evidently they tried scheduling a one-man at the venue years ago, but it was cancelled due to low ticket sales. They also debuted two new songs from their album,  “Maboroshi ha Zanadu” and “Tokyo Love Affair.” “You’re my Hero” was also new to me. All three songs were pretty good, but there was something off about the concert’s pacing.

A long setlist sounds good in theory, but the concert dragged because every great song was followed by an average one. Which was annoying because the filler songs took the place of “Hey Now!!,” “Diamond High Heels,” “Honey B,” and “Kimi Mitai ni.” They also had chairs set up on the floor, which were so close together there was literally no room to move.

But enough complaining, they were hot and that is all that matters. Although… I was studying their outfits really closely and noticed a tragic design flaw.

The dresses could have been much shorter!

1. Boukyaku no Cinderella
2. Melty Snow
3. Yasoukyoku -Akai Nokoriga no Sasoi ASOUKYOKU-
4. Dia Love
5. Mid9t Luv
6. Maboroshi ha Zanadu
8. Eyes2Luv
9. Utsukushiki Kodoku Tachi
10. Yakou Chou
11. one more yesterday
12. Silky Rain
13. You’re my Hero
14. Namo Naki Shiroi Hana ha Kie Iku
15. Kowareta Ai no Hate ni
16. Tokyo Love Affair
17. Crazy Cat
18. you slipped away
19. Going To Ride
20. Dream Of Love
22. Re-start Game
-Double Encore-
23. Do the Party!


Predia Party @ Mt. Rainier Hall

24 Aug

ppmrhPredia Party #37
Mt. Rainer Hall, Tokyo
August 10, 2014

I feel lazy for reusing the above banner since it doesn’t match the current lineup, but in my defense there aren’t any high resolution photos of them online. (Which reminds me, why are low res photos still the standard for J-pop groups? What is this, 1876?)
IMG_3496I actually don’t know if this was their 37th “party”–which is what they call their solo concerts, but it’s the fourth one I’ve attended. There were a few notable differences between this concert and the one I went to last March: (1) this was their first as a major label group, (2) there were three changes in the lineup, and (3) they ended the dual vocalist format, which was one of their defining features.

Since their formation, Predia has been one of the most overlooked pop groups of all time, not just by idol fans in general, but even by their own agency. The group has been ready to debut since 2012 and that two year delay felt like an eternity. Two years for an idol is like 50 in walrus years! It’s been frustrating for fans; I can’t imagine the frustration the members have felt. Even when the group was formed back in 2011 they weren’t “young,” at least not by idol standards. Most of the members are now in their mid to late 20s, a crossroads age requiring them to decide between continuing their roles in the group, or focus on longer-term careers, family, or whatever women in their mid to late 20s think about. While Japan is much more age obsessed than Western countries, it’s still hard to believe that age alone could make them that unappealing to a record label. Whatever the reasons were, their long wait made the lineup changes really bittersweet. When predia announced their major label debut in February, they also revealed that Terumi and Megumi were graduating. Both were original members and integral to the group. The timing of the announcement was surreal. The silver lining is the new girl, Yuu Maeda, has become predia’s miracle member. Ya-hoi!

The third change involved the group’s dual vocal format. Akane and Rumina had been the primary vocalists, while the other members rotated as back-up singers. It’s not a perfect comparison, but if you are familiar with the EXILE spinoff group Generations, you’ll understand predia’s dual vocal system. The rules relaxed over the years and other members began singing more, and a few, like Runa and Sakurako, even got solos. When the group announced their major debut, they also retired the dual vocal format. Now all members have mics — and they aren’t the fake prop mics that some of the PASSPO members have (<- inside joke about PASSPO). Akane and Rumina are still the primary vocalists, but the change has resulted in the entire group leveling up. They’re all like level 100 Pikachus now! (and I don’t even know what that means!)

That night I got to Mt. Rainier Hall at 17:50, which was 10 minutes before they would open the theater for fans to choose their seats. The venue is located next door to Shibuya 109. 
IMG_3510In addition to their major debut, the concert was also celebrating Sakurako’s birthday *golf clap*.
IMG_3495I mentioned previously that I had ticket B4, which typically would be a 2nd row ticket when going by the seating chart. Fan club members are able to purchase tickets in advance though and they have priority over general ticket holders. At last year’s concert there were ~60 fan club members, which resulted in me getting a 6th row seat. For this concert there were over 120 fan club members in attendance. And the staff guy was clearly trying to be the most annoying person ever because it seemed like he would never finish calling out fanclub ticket numbers and get to the general ticket numbers. A million years later my ticket was called, I paid the 500 yen cover and *accidentally* caused a huge queue to form because I was being weird and paid entirely in 10 yen coins. It was like I was trying to be the most annoying person ever. Umrhpon entering two guys were handing out Sakurako uchiwas and pink glowsticks. The theater was packed and I chose a seat close to the aisle in row 11. The concert was sold out and actually oversold because they opened up a standing section behind my row. This is where the fans who like to jump around like animals congregate.

I went to the bar to get a drink and while in line I heard music start and someone mentioned 3 Min was opening. Akira shock. Predia’s blog and twitter hadn’t mentioned an opening act, although it turned out 3 Min (pronounced “San Minute” or “San Min”) tweeted about it that morning. Initially I hesitated returning to my seat, because I really needed a drink and I wasn’t enamored with the thought of seeing 3 min. Earlier this year I stayed up until 3AM in order to watch one of their concert streams and I wasn’t impressed. I didn’t like their concept, outfits, or music, so I intentionally avoided them at TIF. And there was something about one of the members that just bothered me. She was… how do I put this nicely, “beastlike.” Turned out the member I didn’t like graduated a few months ago. And the girl who took her place is super fine. That’s addition by subtraction and addition by addition! 

I made the correct decision to skip the drink and skedaddle back to my seat, because I was completely wrong about the group. Or maybe I was right, and they just got a lot better in the past six months. They were really, really, reeeeallly… kinda… really, really… pretty good. Now I regret not making time for them at TIF. They sound like a cross between Perfume and nanoCUNE and they look like a cross between HimeKyun and Babyraids. Sounding like Perfume/nanoCUNE is fine, but looking like a generic version of other groups probably isn’t. It’s weird when an idol group is dressed worse than the girl fans attending their concert. They performed three songs, with each being ~3 minutes long (which is their gimmick). Afterward, they announced their first one-man and are hoping 333 fans attend. Fan #334 is like, “Fine, I’ll just stay home and play Mario Kart with my grandma!”
Bur6YGiCMAA6eOHThen the lights went out and predia’s intro music began *boop BEEP BLEBOP* Each member took the stage one at a time and did a little dance. (OMG, I can’t believe they are ripping off La Pom Pon!) They then proceeded to perform all of their awesome songs (Kowareta Ai no Hate ni, you slipped away, HEY BOY, Hey Now!, DIAMOND HIGH HEELS, Dream of Love, Kimi Mitai ni, and Dia Love), their good-to-very good songs (Silky Rain, Mid9t Luv, Re:Start Game, Crazy Cat, and Boukyaku no Cinderella), and then their “other songs” — the mediocre ones like image and Sunburned Heart that haunt me because they somehow got into their normal rotation. The setlist was actually really good, borderline perfect, because even though predia has accumulated quite a few filler songs over the years, they performed very few of them. The b-side to their newest single, Boukyaku no Cinderella, is one of those songs that is borderline when listening to the recorded version, but is really elevated when performed live.

One of the unique elements of a predia concert is the ability to take photos and video throughout. I took one obligatory photo (crappy iphone pic below) and then just enjoyed the concert. A lot of fans take non-stop photos and video the entire concert, and I wonder how they can enjoy the concert that way. I also wonder how the group feels about that kind of behavior. Predia has allowed photography since their first one-man, but it’s probably still a little distracting when fans have these giant professional grade cameras taking photos of them the entire concert. And I bet from the member’s perspectives they look super pervy while doing it. They’re like, “Is that guy going to watch the concert or just take photos of my boobs all day?” And while they are contemplating that question, their boobs have been photographed another hundred times.
IMG_3494Looking at my photo I didn’t even remember them wearing their purple dresses, but evidently early in the concert they had a costume change into the hotter, less purple-ly, and all around superior Kowareta Ai no Hate ni outfits.
BvCBDF0CQAAN3XxDid I mention hotter? And less purple-ly? (Well, there’s some purple there). Yeah, but there’s a lot less of it. And it’s hotter.
BvoDHh9CcAEFKnmSo thank you Kowareta Ai no Hate ni costume designer guy!
14-8-16 RAfter a few songs the guy sitting next to me who had the aisle let me take his seat, because he wanted to go the back of the theater… in order to set up a tripod with his camera! Weird, but some fans take the oppertunity to photograph the group seriously. So just like the Fairies concert the day before, I was able to slip into the aisle for unobstructed viewing. Another reason I don’t take photos is because the group collects photos at #prediaphoto and the quality is infinitely better than what I could manage.

This photo of Reiko isn’t even from the concert! It’s from a show they did a few nights earlier, but it’s super long kaaawwaiiiiii, so I allowed myself to include it… but just this once.
BtJsQXXCEAI2LZEDuring one of the MCs, Sakurako started groping Yuttan in a reenactment of an erotic scene that was cut from the Kowareta Ai no Hate ni music video. It’s hilarious how Sakurako always makes fun of Yuttan’s weight, physique, personality, and age. That’s love.
Bu9A19SCYAAFzWqRe:start Game was the final song and fans took out their Sakurako uchiwas and pink glowsticks, and proceeded to wave them in the air like they just don’t something something. At one point Sakurako hilariously took one of the uchiwas from a fan in the front row and inspected it, but held it away from her face like she was holding a rabid animal covered in radioactive slime, before casually tossing it back to the guy, as if saying, “Peasant, I grow tired of this!” She has such a weird, aloof personality that is half cool, half ice-cold. She’s just lucky she is hot. Btw, if anyone in Japan happens to see the uchiwa I left under my seat, please mail it to America asap, kthxbye.

Bvamm3oCEAAfXnhI actually got sick the day before the Fairies concert. Evidently I had a fever and the only prescription was more Yuu.
Bvn_Qc7CYAAQZdHDouble (w) oshimen.
BvFv7A1CAAEUV_sSet List
Opening Act: 3 Min
1. Mystery Angel
2. Panarama World
3. Make a Fire

1. Kowareta Ai no Hate ni
2. Going to Ride (extended version)
3. you slipped away
5. Free
6. Mid9t Luv
7. image
8. Sunburned Heart
9. Silky Rain (extended version)
10. Negai
11. Hey Now!!
12. Cherry Love
13. Crazy Cat
14. DIAMOND HIGH HEELS (extended version)
15. Dream Of Love
16. Boukyaku no Cinderella
17. Re:start Game
18. Kimi Mitai ni
MC (announcement of 4th anniversary concert)
19. Dia Love
Double Encore
20. Kowareta Ai no Hate ni

Looking at the setlist, there was a song called Negai (“Wish”) that I don’t remember hearing, and I actually never knew existed. I did some research and it was a new song that was included in their “Best of” album. Unfortunately, the album is too expensive to purchase for just one song, and it isn’t available on the Japanese iTunes store, nor has it been uploaded to youtube. I would have been fine with a 30 second sample from Amazon or CDJapan, since I just wanted to recall the song. The only option now is to go back in time… or hope for them to perform the song during their weekly concert stream from Akiba Cultures Theater, but I think that series of concerts is coming to a close.

After the concert I purchased two copies of Kowareta Ai no Hate ni and received three tickets to their event.
IMG_3527I gave all three to the guy sitting next to me during the concert because he was cool for giving me his seat and I no longer have the patience to participate in these events (there is a lot of waiting involved).
pptThey had an individual handshake, 2-shot, and group shot. I think you had to buy the limited edition box set of all three versions of the single to take a photo with the entire group.

Predia’s reign of terror has begun

kanhnowI was hoping they would sell more than 25k, considering how great the single is and the amount of promotion their label gave them, but anything over 2ok would have been acceptable. Selling less than 20k would have been disastrous though, so I’m relieved the fanbase didn’t embarrass them. I probably should have purchased more than just two copies, but considering I returned to Los Angeles with just 40 yen, I had pretty much withdrawn the precise amount of money for my trip.

Kowareta Ai no Hate ni reminds me a lot of Dream of Love, which is my favorite predia song, and possibly my most listened to idol song ever (Pretty Lie by PASSPO is either #1 or #2). I checked the credits for the single and Another Infinity wrote the music. This name may be familiar to long-time fans because he/she/it wrote the music to the group’s first four songs (Dia Love, DIAMOND HIGH HEELS, Dream of Love, and Kimi mitai ni, as well as you slipped away) which are all the best predia songs. Their other early music was written by Bamboo Helicopter, who was responsible for most of PASSPO’s early music.

Random GEM connection
There were GEM flyers in the lobby and obviously I took one or two, or ten. I noticed a few other fans taking them as well. Maybe they saw GEM perform at TIF, since they performed immediately before predia at one of the stages.

It would be fitting if there is fan crossover. After all, predia and GEM are the two best jewel themed groups ever!IMG_3584v2

I’m not sure why, how, or why, but Saori accidentally took (possibly STOLE) an old man’s generic 100¥ iphone case and then accidentally put it on her iphone and thought no one would notice!

28 Sep

13-9-5a SWhat is that?? (not referring to the foot in the background.) 13-9-5c SThere it is again. Is that… can it be?? No, it’s impossible! But it really does look like… 13-9-5b S

…an old man’s generic 100¥ iphone case!

I’m not sure why, how, or why,  but Saori accidentally took (possibly stole) an old mans generic grey 100¥ iphone case and then accidentally put it on her iphone and thought no one would notice! And then for the next several days she featured the possibly stolen iphone case, which was clearly never intended to be within 10 meters of a girl (let alone an idol), in several high-profile photos at her blog. And she totally forgot to at least add a bunch of useless accessories like straps, charms, and mini-plushies like every idol ever. I have no idea how this could have happened, but an old man in Japan is desperately searching for his phone case. Of course once she decides to return the case it should be worth millions of yen. Because she touched it. A lot! And I bet she took the phone into the bathroom with her when she bathed!

I wish she would steal my phone case and use it for a few weeks and then return it. And also wear all of my clothes and sleep in them, and then give them back to me… without washing them of course.

13-9-3 S

Saori changed. It’s like I don’t even know her anymore.

This is what an idol’s phone is supposed to look like: 13-2-22 b11-9-2612-4-412-5-2512-12-1212-10-22

Predia-ry™: Hey Now!! edition IMG_1639I noticed the iTunes version was uploaded at that one place but this is the superior single version with instrumental tracks.!!.rar

This may or may not be about bikinis and I may or may not mention how hot Gocchan got

IMG_1641I also bought the June issue of Young GanGan. It’s old but I had to do more research on the bikini thing I was investigating a few months ago. IMG_1642


I wonder how the photographer talked them into doing that shot? It doesn’t seem very idol-y. And where are they walking to?

Photographer: Everyone hold hands and walk into the ocean. I’ll tell you when to stop.

 GEM “pic of the week”

13-9-10 RRanachin invited a totally cute GEM portmanteau.

So here is my official GEM portmanteau list
GEMVP (someone at iDOL Street came up with this one)

oshigem (oshimen)
gembatte (gambatte)
gembers (GEM members)
gem fatale (femme fatale)
gemocracy (democracy)
gempire (empire)
gempress (empress)
gemporary (temporary)
gemolition (demolition)
gemonstration (demonstration)
gemtation (temptation)
gemployee (employee)
gembarrassing (embarrassing)
geminder (reminder)
gemselves (themselves)
gemomena (phenomena)
regember (remember)
high gemsion max (high tension max – aka that weird Japanese phrase)
gem (them) (example: I really like gem)

I’ll try to use the above whenever possible. Except for the gem (them) one. That one is horrible, totally gembarrassing.

iDOL Street-Talk
Pigoo is no longer displaying the number of MVP votes each member is receiving. That sucks because last week Runa wasn’t able to participate (but you could still vote for her), so it would have been interesting to see if fans were still being lame and giving all their votes to her. If I was a conspiracy theorist I’d question the coincidence of them removing the vote count the day before Runa’s absence.

Even though Sutori- – – – – gu 2 has been pretty disappointing so far (the MCs have been really awkward) there are definitely quality members in gen 4 and my personal street-sei ranking has changed a lot since the competition begin. Saku will always be my favorite though.