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TIF Day 2: Mini-cap™(mini-recap)

25 Aug

tif2013asX6This was how Day 1 of TIF ended:

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I don’t think that is an idol.

Fortunately there is this thing called Day 2.

iDOL Street Report
I got to Odaiba late on Day 1 so I woke up at 6AM for Day 2 intending to arrive by 8:30. Somehow I still didn’t arrive until 9:30AM. I have a bad habit of spending an hour attempting to make my hair perfect.

My first stop was Azure Stage for GEM, HR, and ALLOVER, so I had to get back in the line from hell. If I was a superhero the elevator line would be my arch-enemy. Just like the day before, there was already a queue (~100 people who were cool and probably arrived at 8:30). I immediately noticed a lot of fans in line displaying their GEM goods. Strangely though, they weren’t letting people go up to the roof. GEM was scheduled to perform at 10:15 and by 9:45 the line still hadn’t moved. It was really weird considering how long the process takes. Finally at 9:50 they started the elevators *vroom vroom kerplunk*. I felt bad for the stragglers, because at this point the queue was pretty massive and it would have been difficult for them to get up to the roof in time to see GEM (assuming they were in line to see GEM).

When I saw GEM on Day 1 the experience was a total blur. The Azure Stage experience was infinitely better – the weather was cooler and more importantly I was much closer to my oshiGEM™, who actually acknowledged my existence (I was in the 4th row, stage right which is where Sara lines up during member intros) (I hope I don’t sound like a stalker). The roof stage is also just way nicer than Smile Garden, which is the most ghetto of all TIF stages (no offense Smile Garden.) (Smile Garden: I’m just trying to bring da smilez yo *cries*).  The members of GEM had been blogging about how excited they were for finally having their own merchandise, so it was cool that a lot of fans were displaying their goods. This may sound very lame, but GEM is such an innocent group that I totally believe them when they say it makes them happy to see fans wearing their shirts and displaying their towels and uchiwas. When Chanman (“Chanban” <- inside joke for cool people) asked if anyone bought their goods, the fans who did waved their towels and uchiwas. I waved my Sara uchiwa and she smiled. I felt like a peasant and she was the queen of Japan. Not much else to write about their performance, this is a mini-cap after all. You can check out their sky stage footage on YouTube.

(Just a short note on HR and ALLOVER. I’ve been following HR casually for a while on YouTube. Their TIF performance was pretty average though. Had I not already been a casual fan, it would have been completely forgettable. I’m not a fan of ALLOVER, but I am a fan of two members of the group: Anna and Yuna (they’re sisters in real life and members of ANNA☆S). Only watched them perform one song though because I was following my strategy of heading down the elevator during a performance in order to bypass the line that forms when waiting for a group to finish. I really like Anna and she is one of my favorite idols (top 30 at least). I think she saw me slowly making my way to the exit though. Or maybe I was just imagining her looking straight at me and being disappointed.)

Saw GEM again later in the day at Hot Stage. I was determined to get front row, but when I arrived the outlook didn’t look so hot (no pun intended). I happened to stand next to two other hardcore GEM fans (both had GEM shirts and towels) who were thinking the same exact thing as me: the moment Sakura Gakuin finished their set make a move to the front. The front area of Hot Stage is so congested you have to be ready to make a move the first chance you get. Of course this doesn’t mean pushing anyone, it just means waiting for a path to open and then immediately taking it and then just ride the wave of people moving to the front.

One way to tell if fans will vacate the front area is to check for hardcore fans of that group. During the  Vanilla Beans performance it was obvious 90% of the fans in the front were there waiting for SUPER☆GiRLS, so they wouldn’t be going anywhere once Vanilla Beans finished. During Sakura Gakuin’s performance I could tell there were a lot of their fans in the front because they had their pink flags.

Once Sakura Gakuin finished I was able to make it to 2nd row center. It was amusing watching some fans continue to fight and actually negotiate for position. I noticed this year fans were a lot more aggressive… and stupid. It’s refreshing knowing Japanese people are just as stupid as Americans. Americans get a bad rap, but stupidity is a world-wide thing. I also think some fandoms are on the tipping point into insanity.

The Hot Stage performance was great, but again not much to write about. They performed the same songs they always do. I haven’t watched any of the Day 2 footage of TIF, but I am pretty sure GEM’s Hot Stage performance wasn’t aired. There’s some footage on this weeks episode of GEM Nao though: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2emu4He_3HU
164252The final iDOL Street performance was the one I was looking forward to the most: all five Street-sei teams at Azure Stage. This stage is magical at night.

Last year Street-sei wasn’t on my radar at all. Most of the members were new, and although the street-sei system was expanded into five regional groups, I figured they were just the equivalent of AKB research students. I did catch w-Street Osaka, but that was only because they happened to be scheduled before BiS. And regretfully I wasn’t really paying attention. Although I was at the stage I was mainly passing time taking crappy photos of them.  And then for some reason a reporter and photographer interviewed me during their performance, which distracted me even more. Considering my three favorite GEM members, Sara, Ranachin, and Jurin were all performing (also a Natchi fan of course), it was a pretty big fail on my part to not see them when they were just starting out.

I’ve since realized the street-sei is nothing like AKB kenkyuusei. After SUPER☆GiRLS, GEM, predia, and Houkago Princess, they were my highest priority “must-see-at-all-costs” group.

After predia’s Azure Stage performance was rained out on Day 1, I knew there was a chance the same thing could happen to Street-sei’s night performance on Day 2. In fact according to the weather forecast it was more likely to rain than not. Although I didn’t want to repeat the experience from Day 1, I didn’t really have a choice. If there was even just a 10% chance to see Street-sei I had to take it.

Fortunately on Day 2 there wasn’t a queue when I went up to the roof. In reviewing the schedule I’m pretty sure the reason for the massive line the day before was because Idoling was performing. Wherever Idoling goes a horde of Idoling fans follow. Even though getting up to the roof was quick, one of the elevators was closed (there are two of them) so there was a huge line on the roof attempting to get down. Sucked for them. The lack of stairs to the roof is completely irresponsible (total fire/earthquake hazard). Anyway once I got to the Azure Stage the group hy4_4yh was performing.

And it started raining.

On the inside I was totally freaking out, but on the outside I looked totally cool. Once hy4_4yh finished whatever it is they do (no offense), TIF staff began covering up the speakers with plastic and frantically drying the stage. It kind of seemed like they were determined to keep the stage open (for once TIF staff were actually doing something productive. Honesty I’ve never seen a lazier group of morons than the TIF workforce). Street-sei was the final performer at Azure Stage so at this point everyone on the roof was an iDOL Street fan. I thought it was pretty cool because there was a mix of iDOL Street, SUPER☆GiRLS, Cheeky Parade, and GEM fans all there supporting Street-sei. Fortunately a miracle occurred and the rain stopped when the Shanadoo song “Carry On” began, which marks the beginning of a Street-sei performance.IMG_6770I should mention that each Street-sei group still did their original MCs and hadn’t updated their team names yet (i.e. Nagoya wasn’t “Nagoya Chubu”). The groups did perform their new songs though. Each group performed two songs: 1) either an iDOL street song or a team-specific song (in the case of Osaka and Nagoya) and 2) their new song. Runa and Ayaka are pretty cute in person, but I was more focused on Yukipa. I’m still not really sure how viable she is in an official group, but she deserves a chance.

IMG_6938Last year I thought w-Street Osaka was easily the strongest street-sei group, but since they lost four members to GEM, I don’t think that is the case anymore. They’re still a great group, just not the dominate force they used to be. I’ve been pretty harsh on Haachin in the past (predicting she wouldn’t make it into GEM), but I’m actually a fan of hers and when GEM was first revealed she was my 3rd favorite member. As GEM continued to progress though I no longer felt her “my pace” style fit the cool, high-energy image they were attempting. During the Azure Stage performance she seemed more “awake” than normal, which just proves that when she isn’t in “sleepy-mode” she can be a legit idol. I also have a soft spot for Yui because she is the only remaining 3rd gen member and she is just a sweet person. It must be hard for her, but hopefully she sticks with the group. Kyoko is my favorite of the new members, for superficial cuteness reasons. Seira and Mizuki have potential to move up my personal, completely unimportant ranking though.

IMG_72581I don’t really know anything about the Fukuoka team. It’s a completely new team since the original members have either changed teams, joined GEM, or graduated *sigh*. I like their new song though. Riko got the most attention from the fans, I guess she is the most popular at the moment.

IMG_7307The real reason I absolutely had to see Street-sei was e-Street Sapporo. The new members are great, but my fandom for Saku is at that annoying fanboy level. She used to be completely overshadowed by Yuuki and Nagi, although even when they were around every now and then she showed glimpses of “miracle member” level super-cuteness. Now that YuNagi is gone, fans are beginning to notice the real star of Sapporo. She got the loudest reception of any street-sei member… and for some reason she pointed at me three times during KiraKira Holiday (during the chorus members point at fans). The first time I figured she’s just randomly pointing. Maybe it helped that I had my glowstick set to light blue. The second time she pointed at me… it no longer seemed random. I was in the 4th row so it’s not something you can be mistaken about when you’re being singled out.  I’m a pretty shy person so I rarely maintain eye-contact with idols, unless its Reira or Sara. So I never have these weird moments. Previously the only time an idol went out of her way to single me out was when I saw Afilia Saga last year and Meiry continually waved at me (and she didn’t stop until I finally waved back). The third time Saku pointed at me she was on the other side of the stage. I literally and figuratively melted at this point. And this is why I have leveled up from Saku fanboy to insane Saku fanboy level 2.

IMG_7418The new and improved Tokyo team “headlined.” I figured they would go last, but I was hoping they would go first because I had already decided to leave early in order to make it down the elevator (there were still several performances I wanted to see even though TIF was wrapping up). I had to see Naapon, Rihona, and Narumi though, so I gave myself permission to watch their first song (they covered “Miracle ga Tomannai.”) Then I slowly moved further from the stage (I didn’t want to make it obvious I was bailing, it would be rude to them and didn’t want other fans to start thinking about doing the same thing). Once I was out of sight, I skedaddled to Doll Factory to watch 7cm and Kaiketsu Tropical Maru.

[photos from http://nikkan-spa.jp/483064]

predia
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My second favorite jewel-themed idol group and the only group that’s ever survived my 2-year rule (<- reference to my tendency of losing interest in a group after two years). Because rain cancelled predia’s Azure Stage performance, I was only able to see predia one time at TIF. Once GEM’s Hot Stage performance ended I booked it to Enjoy Stadium. When I arrived the venue was closed so I joined a queue that literally only had two other people in it. For some reason the guys in line wanted me to go in front of them, I have no idea why. I forgot how long I waited in that line but based on the timetable it must have been 30 minutes. Totally worth it to see predia from the first row.

Scheduled before predia was an idol duo called kurikamaki. I don’t know anything about them but they wore bear-themed outfits, they were kind of cute, and their music was decent.

When predia came on stage they were wearing their Hey Now!! outfits. Super cute and a big improvement over most of their previous outfits.
ptif13cThey opened with Hey Now!! Fortunately I watched the Idol Yokochou Matsuri stream a few weeks before when Mai did a hilarious job at explaining the audience participation. She asked the fans to practice the Hey Now chorus, but just randomly yelled out “HEY!! Hey!”. It’s not complicated, basically just say “hey,” “now,” “love,” and “hey now.” The easier these things are the stupider you look if you don’t know what you’re doing. This song is so much funner than Crazy Cat.
ptif13gAfter a short MC they sang Crazy Cat, Diamond High Heals/Hey Boy Mix, and Restart Game.
ptif13eI wish they could have performed for another hour, it was ridiculously fun. Absolutely my favorite TIF performance this year. It really sucks that they didn’t get to perform on the main stage and for the second year in a row weren’t featured on any of the TIF television footage. Stuff like that just makes me want to support them more.

[photos from predia member blogs]

Houkago Princess
Although I’ve been a fan since their debut in 2011 I’ve never been able to attend a Houkago Princess concert since they operated outside the idol scene, and only did shows at their “White Base” theater (which resembled an evil scientist’s basement more than a glamorous idol stage). They changed their approach recently and begin doing events with other indie idol groups, which may have been influential in being invited to TIF.

Since day one my favorite member has been Sakino Chiba, who I think is the best dressed idol ever. She also has the best hair. Every time I visited her blog I wanted to go clothes shopping afterword.
13-4-28 S12-6-8 S13-2-22 S13-5-25 S13-5-15 S13-4-19 S13-5-1 S13-4-11 SOf course something tragic had to happen because for some reason God loves interfering with my TIF dreams.

One morning while checking her blog on my phone the nightmare scenario all fans fear the most occurred. I noticed her most recent blog entry had a lot more comments than usual and even more prophetic, included zero photos. From experience this could mean only one thing: it was a serious post, aka not related to fashion, her hair, or a recent shopping spree. Last year she had graduated only to change her mind a few days later, and I immediately knew it was another graduation announcement. Almost one month after Houkago Princess was added to the TIF lineup she announced her graduation. Even more painful, her last concert would be on July 21, seven days before TIF. My fandom was stronger than a single member, so I still definitely wanted to see them, but the timing was hilarious.

Fast forward to TIF, even without Saki, Houkago Princess was amazing. After predia @ Enjoy Stadium, GEM @ Hot Stage, and Street-sei @ Azure Stage, Houkago Princess’s performance was my favorite. Like a lot of indie groups they’ve developed their own unique, unidentifiable style which is simultaneously super cute and high energy. Considering it was so fun, I can’t even imagine how it would have been if my favorite member was still in the group. Hopefully when I go back to Japan in spring 2014 I’ll have a chance to see them again, however unlikely that may be. And maybe by then Saki will have changed her mind again and rejoined the group.

Is it okay to talk about Secret Court now?
Secret Court at TIF 2012:

IMG_0627Secret Court at TIF 2013:
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Tokyo Idol Festival actually only exists so a certain member of Fudanjuku can act like the biggest dork in the universe
Momotaro missed TIF 2012 (with the exception of the encore jamboree), so she had an excuse to act insane during the encore. But this year I realized that the entire festival actually only exists so she can act like the biggest dork ever. Everything before the Encore Jamboree is just a time-filler for the main event of Momotaro jumping around the stage like a deranged lunatic.
mb2mb3mb4mb1Momotaro’s dorkiness was also contagious and spread to Ryoma
tifj1
Day Two
GEM
HR
ALLOVER (1 song)
Especia (1 song)
Caramel Ribbon
Up Up Girls
Negaigoto
Tsuribit
Spangirl
PPP! Pixion
Houkago Princess
Links
SIR
palet
Cheeky Parade
Dream 5 (1 song)
Sakura Gakuin
GEM
Barbee (1 song)
kurikamaki
predia
hy4_4yh (1 song)
Idol Street (all 5 street-sei groups)
7cm
Kaiketsu Tropical Maru
Mai Kotone
Dorothy Little Happy
Encore Jamboree

I can watch this performance until the end of time


I wish all their music was like LIFE SIZE (unfortunately the higher res version of this video got removed)

Tokyo Idol Festival 2014
GEM, predia, Street-sei, and Houkago princess made Day 2 the best single day experience from either TIF 2012 and 2013. Unfortunately Day 1 was a bust due to the weather, long lines, and overcrowded venues.The novelty of TIF faded a lot since last year. I was on an idol high for months after TIF 2013, but this year I was over it the moment it ended. The more idol concerts I’ve gone to the more desensitized I’ve gotten. This happens with all hobbies though. Hopefully Tokyo Idol Festival will continue next year (and until the idol thing implodes), but at the moment I doubt I will go back next year. Watching the FujiTV footage makes it look a lot funner than it was. I’m starting to think fans aren’t missing out on that much by just watching the broadcast. 

A year is a long time though, and maybe by then GEM will have conquered the world. And maybe predia can finally get on the main stage.

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Tokyo Idol Festival Rule #1: Avoid anything with the word “Jamboree”

4 Aug
tif2013asX6

Tokyo Idol Festival All-Stars

Has it already been a year since Tokyo Idol Festival 2012? I feel I’ve gotten much, much dumber since then.

I was in Tokyo from July 26-29 in order to attend TIF 2013 (in case you want to go back in time and stalk me). Where I’m from (earth) the number 13 is considered an unlucky number. <- That’s a literary technique called foreshadow.

Los Angeles to Tokyo is a twelve-hour flight, which is enough time to watch this movie six times:

IMG_1409I didn’t technically “watch” this, but I did glance at a lot of the scenes from the beginning to the end.

Okay I did watch it, but at least I skipped over the documentary and behind-the-scenes footage. And since I’m admitting I watched this, I also watched it on my last flight to Japan in March. I can’t help it. It’s not my fault that Delta has kept this movie in their in-flight catalog. I feel admitting I am a Katy Perry fan will somehow come back to haunt me.

I arrived at Narita airport at 5 pm, got through customs, exchanged my currency, and arrived at my hotel in Akasaka at 7:30 pm.
IMG_1080Roppongi is a five-minute walk and I did last-minute TIF shopping.
IMG_1429I purchased an X10 glowstick at Don Quijote. The coolest feature is the ability to toggle through ten colors by pressing the button on the handle. It also includes a solid and glitter tube, which you can change depending upon your preferred style. Using the solid tube makes the glowstick look like your standard Star Wars light saber, while the glitter tube gives it the sparkly, glitter effect that idols prefer.
IMG_1427IMG_1517Afterwards had a quick dinner.
IMG_1177IMG_0648Got back to the hotel, showered, checked the TIF website for updates, and took a handful of these things:

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During my Spring Break trip I only slept 6 hours total the first three days, so I decided to take these to prevent that nightmare from happening again. Speaking of nightmares , I’ve read that taking these can cause you to have really intense and lucid dreams. Most of my dreams already involve alien abductions and dinosaurs, so I wasn’t that concerned.

TIF 2013 Day One
I woke up at 7AM and I didn’t recall any of my dreams. I don’t think the pills did anything. I want my money back. I was supposed to have a dream where I crash landed on a deserted island that Reira also happened to crash land on. 

I had breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant while going over the TIF schedule *adjusts imaginary glasses*
IMG_1475I checked the TIF twitter for last-minute changes, showered, and then spent half an hour deciding whether to bring my messenger bag or not. The forecast warned there was a 50% chance for scattered thunderstorms so I knew I should bring my umbrella, but I also wanted to pack as light as possible considering I would be out all day. Ultimately I decided to bring my messenger bag, but to only bring essential stuff: 2 glowsticks (x10 and SUPER☆GiRLS), 1 SUPER☆GiRLS towel, Reira uchiwa, 2 bottles of water, and 1 million yen.

I finally left the hotel at 9:25 AM which was about thirty minutes later than I planned. At least my hair looked awesome.

It took 30 minutes to arrive at Odaiba. My original plan was to go to Azure Stage (the stage on the roof of Fuji Gulf Studios formerly known as “Sky Stage”) to see Idoling!!! “unit” and Kaiketsu Tropical Maru and then skedaddle back down in order to see GEM at Smile Garden. I changed my plans when I noticed the massive line for the elevator.

IMG_1452That’s not the best photo of the line, since it actually turned the corner and stretched another 100+ people. Considering there are two elevators and each carries a maximum of 14 people, a line of 250+ people would take about an hour to clear. There’s also a line inside the building itself that you can’t see from outside. It’s like at Disneyland when you’re in line for a popular ride and it doesn’t seem so bad at first. But after a while you realize how deceptive the line really was, because once you clear one room, you enter an even larger room with another labyrinth of lines. And then even in the final room, there is one mini-line before you get to get on the ride.

As early as 10AM it already seemed like there were a lot more people in attendance compared to last year. At least the weather seemed perfect. Heading up to TIF I was tracking the weather, and the forecasts looked pretty bad even that morning:
IMG_1445While waiting for GEM’s Smile Garden performance I decided to go to the market place. I never went to the market place last year so I felt a little guilty for not supporting my favorite idols better. I planned on buying a GEM towel, GEM cd, and GEM uchiwa (Sara), SUPER☆GiRLS uchiwa (Reira), wristbands, and Tokonatsu High Touch (which came with a free poster), predia towel, Dorothy Little Happy towel, and Dorothy Little Happy pin+wrsitband set (Kana version). Unfortunately there was a massive line for the Tower Records shop which is where most cds were being sold, so I decided to skip buying Tokonatsu High Touch (I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the poster anyway).  Next I went to the iDOL Street booth (there was actually four mini-booths, one for SUPER☆GiRLS, Cheeky Parade, GEM, and street-sei). It was only a half hour into TIF and the SUPER☆GiRLS wristbands had also already sold out! Why do they keep selling out of these? They’re silicon wristbands. They cost less than a penny to manufacture but they can sell them for a billion % profit. They were really popular at TIF though, saw them everywhere.

The lines for GEM and SUPER☆GiRLS were pretty long, and since the wristbands had already sold out, I felt if I stuck around I would miss GEM’s performance. So I decided to come back in an hour, after I saw GEM at Smile Garden and Cheeky Parade at the main stage, and do my shopping then.
tifd1sgWhile waiting for GEM I saw a group called HimeCarat, an idol rock group with a pretty cute lead singer. They performed a couple high-energy songs and then GEM came on stage. Since I arrived late I had a pretty horrible position off to the side. I’ve watched the youtube footage of this stage and couldn’t even find myself, so it must have been pretty bad. I was smart enough to get on Sara’s side of the stage at least. GEM performed Speed Up, Do It Do It, Kitto For You, and Kimi Koi Telepathy.  I feel I’ve seen these songs performed a million times now. And I’ve realized that there’s nothing to do during GEM songs. They need to devise a chant for their songs, or preferably debut new music.

I saw GEMStar when they opened for SUPER☆GiRLS during the Celebration Tour, but this was my first time seeing Yuu, Chisami, Kakochin, Yuuki, and my oshiGEM™ Sara. Technically I saw all of them last year at the SUPER☆GiRLS Summer Battle concerts and then TIF 2012, but I didn’t know who any of them were back then. Sara is so cute. I can’t believe she is the least popular member. It is seriously weird she is so unpopular considering her cuteness level. And she is a great dancer, so it’s not just superficial cuteness that I’m obsessed with.

Anyway something really cool about this years TIF that I want to mention is the precision of the timetable. Last year the schedules could be more than an hour behind, but this year each stage began and ended on time. This meant you didn’t have to worry about arriving at a stage on time and seeing a different group perform and potentially waiting an hour before everything finally caught up. If that doesn’t make sense, just pretend it did.

After GEM’s performance I went to Hot Stage to see Cheeky Parade. This year the main stage was located at Zepp Tokyo instead of the newer Zepp DiverCity. Despite it’s age, I think Zepp Tokyo is cooler. It’s a little bigger, the stage is nicer, and there’s better lighting effects. The walk is slightly longer though (by 2-3 minutes), which seems like nothing, but when you plan on making the walk over and over, and it’s hot, and and your schedule is already pretty tight, the walk can get annoying.

Once Cheeky Parade’s live was over I went back to the marketplace. I checked out the entire place twice but I couldn’t find the predia, PASSPO, or DLH booths, so I just bought GEM goods (more like “greats”) and Reira uchiwa. I also stopped by the Takokusekigun booth to see if they had their debut single for sale and met the members there.  Which reminds me I saw a member of negaigoto (Miyagi Satoshi) at Shimbashi station on the way to TIF. Not that interesting, but I put a note on my phone to mention it.
IMG_1537At this point it was 12:30 and I had to choose between 1) GEM’s handshake event, which had already started and I had a ticket for since I purchased their cd or 2) begin queuing for SUPER☆GiRLS performance at Enjoy Stadium which was at 1:30. Just based on experience I knew if I wanted a good spot for SUPER☆GiRLS I needed to at least catch the previous performance (in this case Tochiotome 25) and then move up once they finished.

It wasn’t a difficult decision to choose SUPER☆GiRLS, although it would have been cool to chat with GEM. Unlike practically every other group, I know all the members of GEM enough that I could say something somewhat interesting to each one. And I read all of their blogs and they constantly ask their fans to attend the events. I know they are just writing what they are supposed to, but it’s still really effective at making me feel guilty for not going. And on a lot of episodes of GEM Nau (their youtube series) it seems very few of their fans go to their events. There’s like five people in the handshake line… yet I find it hilarious their staff still rushes the fans through.

I arrived at Enjoy Stadium at 12:50, which was 45 minutes before SUPER☆GiRLS performance. Enjoy Stadium was a new stage at this years TIF and basically took the place of Fantastic Theater, Green Oasis, Wonder Future Planet, and Secret Court. The stage is located directly next to Doll Factory and when queuing, the left side of the entrance was used for Doll Factory and the right for Enjoy Stadium. Once you enter the building you walk down a corridor which splits off in two directions depending on which stage you are going to.

I figured the stage had to be somewhat large considering the word “Stadium,” the number of stages it was replacing, and because SUPER☆GiRLS were performing there (logically they wouldn’t perform at a smaller stage). It turned out this stage would be my favorite at this years TIF. It was a medium sized stage with a capacity of 500-600. There was also a convenient area near the near the entrance where most fans just dropped off all their bags. It was cool that there was a mountain of crap right next to the only entrance. 

You can tell which fan-bases are at each venue based on shirts, towels, and wristbands. During the Tochiotome 25 performance it was obvious that 90% of the people there were for SUPER☆GiRLS. That’s why you have to plan ahead and potentially sacrifice events or other performances. Had I done the GEM handshake I probably wouldn’t have been able to enter the venue in time for SUPER☆GiRLS. I was relatively lucky that I was in row 5 when SUPER☆GiRLS came on.

They wore their yellow and pink Tokonatsu High Touch outfits and sang 4 or 5 songs. Which ones? Totally forget! None of the songs I like, that’s for sure. It was still cool seeing them close up in a relatively small venue. Reira definitely noticed me, but I have no idea if she remembered me or was impressed or cared either way. It was pretty obvious though that I had to rethink my “strategy” to get to the front row of their performance at the Hot Stage. There were way too many SUPER☆GiRLS and iDOL Street fans at TIF. It’s pretty much the same story with Idoling fans, there everywhere and just the sheer number of them complicates your personal schedule.

After SUPER☆GiRLS finished I quickly went to Hot Stage to watch the last half of Dorothy Little Happy’s set.  They were alright. It seemed their performance was a lot less high energy than normal. Once they finished I was able to move up to row 3 on the left hand side for Afiilia Saga. I try to go on the side of the stage my favorites tend to perform, but it couldn’t be helped this time and I ended up on the opposite side of Emiu and Aria. I haven’t really been keeping up to date with them since Meiry quit. I’m starting to realize how much GEM has monopolized the time I spend on idol-related stuff. I’d love to go to an Afiilia Saga  solo concert, but they are extremely rare which makes it’s unlikely I would be able to time it with my next trip.

I’m just going to pretend that Vanilla Beans performance didn’t exist and fast forward to SUPER☆GiRLS. At this point I was in row two, directly behind a group of girls. There was no way I was getting to row one, but I was in the direct center with a perfect view of the stage. I’ve already ranted about this performance a bit already, but unfortunately it didn’t go that well. The setlist was really disappointing. They sang all three of their summer songs (aka their worst songs), Dream Seeker, Be With You, and Everybody Jump. Everybody Jump is cool, but there were way too many people in the front section so it was impossible to move around, let alone jump.

It was during this stage that someone actually stole my SUPER☆GiRLS towel. (Stephanie Tanner: “How rude!”) Unknown to them I immediately put a curse on it. Every time I saw someone with the green SUPER☆GiRLS towel I wondered if they were the thief. But I didn’t see them randomly struck down by lightning so I figured they were innocent. Anyway I’ve watched the Hot Stage performances on youtube and you can’t really tell that it was too crowded. It looked pretty tame actually. I know I wasn’t hallucinating all the people that were pushing into me though. The whole experience was just really uncomfortable and by the time it was over I felt disgusting because I was covered in other people’s sweat. I’m a clean freak so I hate the feeling of being unclean.

Let us never mention that stage again. Honestly this was supposed to be the highlight of TIF for me, so it’s weird to reflect on.

I stuck around Hot Stage for another hour and a half for Tokyo Girls Style and AeLL. I wanted to leave AeLL’s performance early in order to line up for a block of performances called “Smash Play Live” at Doll Factory to see Power Spot, Shizukaze & Kizuna, GEM, Idol College, and Takokusekigun, but my position during AeLL.’s performance was ironically too good, which kind of trapped me at that stage. Fans are allowed to leave a stage whenever they like, but if you are in the front center, it would look really rude to the performers to leave right in front of them, so I didn’t feel I had any choice but to stay until the end.

Once I made it to Doll Factory there was a pretty long line, maybe a hundred people. I ran to the other side of the building to check on the line up the elevator and it was even longer. Ugh, that was not good. I had to take a minute to check the schedule and do some quick math in my head to make sure I would be able to get up the elevator in time. My priority at this point was predia’s performance at Azure Stage. It was basically the only thing that could reverse the SUPER☆GiRLS experience.

The line for the elevator was probably 40 minutes at that point, so I felt I had no choice but abandon my plan to go to Doll Factory. So I got in this giant, slow moving line while GEM and Takokusekigun were performing. Well at least I’ll get to see predia, right!?

The line wasn’t that bad because Up Up Girls were performing and you could watch the Smile Garden stage from the line. There were also random idol groups walking around handing out fliers to people in line.
IMG_1458
^ Up Up Girls still performing at Smile Garden

I got to the roof and arrived as bump.y was performing their last song. I should mention at this point the weather had been perfect all day. 

Ten minutes pass and the group Weather Girls comes on. As if on cue clouds appear. One of the members makes a silly comment about rain not being in the forecast. They begin to perform. It starts to rain lightly. No big deal. It starts getting windy. Nothing to worry about. It starts to rain harder and gets even more windy. Aww crap.

I was in the front row (pretty much no one was there to see Weather Girls) and I see their manager screaming hysterically for them to get off stage. She’s probably insane in real life, poor girls. They finish their song and leave the stage. TIF staff covers all the speakers with plastic bags and announce the stage is closed temporarily and everyone has to go back down.

I had waited in line for 40 minutes in order to see predia, sacrificed GEM, Takokusekigun, Idol College, and Shizukaze & Kizuna, and only got to see literally my two least favorite groups at TIF perform one song each.

And then I had to get in another massive line to get down.

The whole time I’m thinking this same exact thing could happen tomorrow night when I see iDOL Street street-sei (all five teams were scheduled at 6:30 PM at Azure Stage on Day 2).

Once I got to the ground floor there were people hanging out anywhere they could to avoid the rain. Meanwhile predia was tweeting about being on standby.

It didn’t really bother me too much because the situation was unavoidable. The weather was great all day and it would have been impossible for me to predict that it would start raining. So I still feel I made the logical choice to go to the roof instead of Doll Factory. It was just really bad luck. 

I ended up going to Hot Stage  to try to salvage what was left of Day 1. I had no idea if the Azure Stage would be re-opened, but I figured I could at least see BiS. After IzukoNeko’s performance they announced the Azure Stage and Smile Garden would be closed for the night.

I didn’t really care about seeing any other performances at that point and left. I just wanted to get back to my hotel and shower, sleep a couple hours, and hope for the best for Day 2.

Day One
Hime carat
GEM
bump.y
Cheeky Parade
[Grand Market]
Tochiotome 25
SUPER GiRLS
DLH
Afilia Saga
Vanilla Beans
SUPER GiRLS
Tokyo Girls Style
AeLL.
Weather Girls *After one song the stage was closed due to rain.
Seiko Omori
IzukoNeko
* Announcement that Azure Stage and Smile Garden were closed for the night.

TIF Crisis Hotline

17 Jul

sgwbq
This morning I received the SUPER☆GiRLS silicon wristbands I ordered last month. They’re randomized so I bought six hoping to get at least one purple (Reira’s color). If I got light blue (Saori) and orange (Gocchan) that would be idol gravy. Ideally I hoped for 1 purple, 1 light blue, 1 orange, 1 white (Rika), 1 black (Mirei), and 1 yellow (Miyari). I’m an eternal optimist, aka an idiot, so I was basically wondering which colors I got in addition to Reira’s.

Wristband #1
IMG_1366Nice start. After all I <3 <3 Rika.

Wristband #2
IMG_1368Cool, now I can casually bring up how hot Gocchan got.

Wristband #3
IMG_1369Cool, I <3 <3 Rika. I mean… Oh no… this cannot be happening… this cannot be happening…

*I began opening them slower at this point*

Wristband #4 
IMG_1370Good news: It’s not white. Bad news: It’s not purple.

Wristband #5
IMG_1371
OMG (Oh my GEM). I like Miyairi… but now I only had one final chance to get purple.

Since I’m an eternal optimist I had this strange feeling (female intuition) that the next package was going to be one of those special limited edition “lucky” packs that contain purple and light blue. (You mean one of those “lucky” packs that have never existed ever?)

Wristband #6

IMG_1372

I actually turned the package upside down and tapped it like someone would tap a bag of chips hoping another one would magically drop out. When nothing came out I literally tore open the packaging like a deranged serial killer still thinking another wristband was hidden inside. I can’t believe I got three white. I’m too depressed to even calculate the odds of buying six and getting three of the same color.

IMG_1374

I’m a rational person but I can’t help but think that God was directly responsible for this travesty. God was probably at the furthest edge of the universe busy creating some distant planet completely populated by only beautiful women, but he just had to stop what he was doing and interfere with my wristbands.

I do have a feeling they will sell wristbands at TIF though, so I am going to either buy three more, or ideally trade with someone there. I’ve seen SUPER☆GiRLS fans trading photo cards and buttons at concerts, so maybe some fans will be willing to trade wristbands. Only if they are still sealed in their plastic of course *adjusts imaginary glasses*

Opening the wristband packages was a total emotional roller-coaster. Not getting purple isn’t the end of the world… but it kind of is.

Day One Update
TIFd1v11x
Continuing the trend of slightly bad news that I am totally over-reacting to, Dorothy Little Happy and Tokyo Girls Style switched time slots at the main stage.

Why does God keep tormenting me? God was probably taking a nap (like he always does) and while sleeping randomly decided to interfere with the TIF schedule. Although it seems like a minor change, it doesn’t work in my favor since DLH is my 5th ranked group (#4 at TIF since HimeKyun isn’t attending). The schedule change will prevent me from seeing at least half of their Hot Stage performance and I’ll have a horrible spot since I’ll be arriving late.

The only thing I can do at this point is add another racing arrow to the schedule because now I really have to skedaddle to the main stage after SUPER☆GiRLS first performance. I’m a fast runner (like all cool people), but I have no intention to run from stage to stage. The main problem with missing half of DLH’s performance is on day two I won’t be able to go to either of their two stages, so I can’t make up the lost time. Unfortunately on day 2 their time slots conflict with GEM. The only possibility is to arrive at GEM’s main stage performance late, which I can’t  seriously consider.

To consider that would be so not GEM.