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Tokyo Idol Blah

15 Aug

Tokyo Idol Festival just kind of existed this year. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t horrible. It was just blah.

Everyone’s experience is different though. For instance, I won’t watch a performance at an outdoor stage during the day because I avoid the sun at all costs. That’s a rule I follow that most people probably won’t care too much about. All three days my favorite groups performed at outdoor stages during the hottest hours of the day and I either passed or watched from far away in the shade. And then there are overlapping performances, which happened a lot this year. Overall, the schedule didn’t work out for me. I’m not upset or anything; this happens and it’s expected. If anything I lucked out at past TIFs because the timetable usually worked for me.

Speaking of luck, the day after TIF, it rained in Odaiba. That would have been a disaster since the organizers didn’t have a backup plan and most stages are outdoor.

My TIF schedule that I occasionally deviated from.
Ignore the numbers. Those were scenarios if Harajuku Monogatari won the main stage contest.

An easier to read format.

Day 1 – Friday Day 2 – Saturday Day 3 – Sunday
El Float Candy Zoo Shibuya3 Project
READY TO KISS Siam&Poptune GGirls
Harajuku Monogatari Idol College Yamaguchi Kassei
Moriwaki Yui Harajuku Monogatari HimeKyun
One Pixel Yu Kikawa Starmarie
AIS Maneki Kecak MAPLEZ
predia Tsuribit C-ute “thing”
Dreaming Monster LinQ Batten Shoujo tai
X21 callme Dreaming Monster
LinQ Philosophy no Dance Moso Callibration
drop SUPERGiRLS Philosophy no Dance
Lovely Doll TokyoPerformanceDoll Yumemiru Adolescence
TokyoPerformanceDoll GEM PASSPO
GEM sora tob sakana 9nine
drop predia SUPERGiRLS
SUPERGiRLS Fudanjuku  Tsuribit
Nichome no Sakegaki Idol College  TokyoPerformanceDoll
predia Yuka Ueno  Vanilla Beans
Band Ja Naimon Yu Serizawa  amiinA
  AIS  drop
  Harajuku Monogatari  Grand Finale
  Zenryoku Shoujo R  
  Tenko Shoujo  

Day 1
Friday was an important day for fans of Harajuku MonogatariTask have FunAppare Harajuku, and 26-ji no Masquerade because there was an early morning queue for the Main Stage competition. Tickets would be passed out at 7:30 and there were only 500. Harajuku Monogatari members were active on twitter asking fans to queue early. Appare Harajuku had also asked fans to vote after they performed at Konya wa Anata no SUPER LIVE earlier that week. The groups definitely cared about winning. This was a competition that Maneki Kecak won last year.

Even though it was important, I decided not to queue for a ticket. I want Harajuku Monogatari to conquer the world, but the timing of the competition clashed with stages of Tokyo Performance Doll, GEM, and drop. Another issue was arriving early enough. My hotel was a ten minute walk from TIF, but getting there by 7:30 would still be a hassle, and realistically I would have to get there much earlier than 7:30 since Japanese people seem to love queuing. Logically it didn’t make sense to try for the ticket. Sorry Monoga.

Instead, I warmed myself by the fire and ate my TIF Super Breakfast™ and arrived at TIF at 9:00 to collect my wristband.

[Wait a second, you prioritized breakfast over your favorite group, when they really needed all the support they could get?]

It wasn’t breakfast. It was TIF Super Breakfast™.

Mini-cap: Of all three days, the weather was the best on Day 1 and it had the smallest attendance. According to TIF, the numbers were 21,338 on Friday, 32,787 on Saturday, and 27,253 on Sunday.

While walking to TIF, a water slide was being set up on the bridge. It looked fun, but it turned out to be a classic case of something being interesting in theory, but really stupid in reality, because I saw it in action the following day, and the slope simply isn’t inclined enough for anyone to slide down without being pushed.

During Day 1, I was usually at an outdoor stage, but in shaded areas. At Festival Stage, I saw Harajuku Monogatari, Moriwaki Yuidrop, X21, and LinQ. Moriwaki Yui is the center of Yamaguchi Kassei Gakuen and she is now doing solo lives that are really cute. Maybe too cute.

Before heading to the main stage I went to the marketplace. This was the only time I’d go during TIF. For most of the day there was a long queue because of the security check point and just the number of fans trying to get in. I bought a drop towel and Harajuku Monogatari’s mini album. I wanted to buy their towel, but it sold out. In retrospect I should have bought their singles also, but I figured they would be included in the mini album. I went to Moriwaki Yui’s tent, but it was kind of in disarray. I wanted to buy YKG’s live bluray and Yui’s towel, but the guy couldn’t find the right box. Long story short, I left without being able to support them. I did buy their new album at their release event earlier in the week though.
If you are wondering about the event tickets, I never use them. It’s not an interest of mine. Sometimes I will give them away to random concert goers. If I’m not comfortable doing that, I’ll just keep them.

Later in the day, I saw Tokyo Performance Doll and GEM at the main stage. Both sets were okay and I had a great spot in the center column at the very front of the second barrier. This was the only time Nana and Kaho of TPD would perform at TIF because of a theater play they are doing. They are really important members. And I cried a little. [They’re also hot. Please mention that. And you actually cried a lot.] Lastly, I saw Band Ja Naimon for the first time. I’ve been interested in them for a while, but I guess I should have done more research because I didn’t like their music at all.

Day 2
At 9:00, I queued at Dream Stage. The stage would open at 10 and Harajuku Monogatari would perform at 10:45. I should have arrived earlier though; I only got second row and I wanted to unlock the “Front row for Monoga” achievement. Front row for them is difficult though. They have a small fanbase, but I can tell it’s mainly the type who jumps from one group to the next, whatever is trendy. Those fans aren’t long term, but they are hardcore. Their performance was HOT and I feel I should mention their outfits. It’s impossible without sounding pervy though. I’ll just mention that their skirts are the shortest I have ever seen a group perform in. [Yeah, that doesn’t sound pervy at all.]

Afterwards, I spent most of the day at Zepp DiverCity and saw Maneki Kecak, SUPER GiRLS, Tokyo Performance Doll, GEM, LinQ, and others. After spending six hours in the air-conditioned Zepp, I went to Sky Stage for Harajuku Monogatari. Even though Maneki Kecak was performing two sets after, I was only going for Monoga because I wanted to go to Doll Factory for LADYBABY (I’m a Rie Kaneko fan) and TPD, and Maneki Kecak’s army of fans would be a hurdle. This was the first time I went to Sky Stage since 2014. I thought there would be a queue, but when I arrived there was literally no one and I went up the lift that was already at the ground floor waiting. Upon exiting there was a massive queue waiting to get down though. 

When I arrived at the stage it was 17:00 and Fudanjuku was performing and I noticed that all of the original members have graduated. Harajuku Monogatari was scheduled for 18:30, so I tried to enjoy the other performers. There were two solo acts, Yuka Ueno and Yu Serizawa, which I thought was amusing because I’d also seen Yui Moriwaki and Yu Kikawa at TIF. And of course there are other more famous Yui’s that are solo artists.

There were a lot of people on the rooftop, way more than I expected. Front row for Monoga would be impossible. When they came on stage, they were performing in different outfits from that morning, which weren’t as hot as their normal attire, but still hot. The setlist was different (they always mix things up which is cool because most of their songs are great) and there was more fan excitement at this stage than at Dream Stage. Because of the strict rules at this year’s TIF, I was surprised they performed Party Animals. The stage was too congested to truly enjoy the song, but it was still fun. During the song TIF security cut in and warned fans to behave. This was the final time I would see them because they were at Smile Garden at 12:30 the next day and I would have disintegrated in that heat had I gone. 

Once they left the stage, I rushed to the lift and the massive queue from before had completely dissipated. I had literally gone up and down without waiting a minute. I was therefore able to catch the last half of LADY BABY. While waiting for TPD, I saw Zenryoku Shoujo R who I’ve seen before and I kind of like them, but their fans do annoying shit like clear space so they can mix and then rush the stage. TIF cracked down on certain behavior like lifting and non-stop jumping, but other things continued.

TPD came on minus Nana and Kaho and like everything they did at TIF, it was all blah. It was like their producers were sabotaging them. Boring setlists and unit songs that only the most hardcore fan could appreciate. Really disappointing showing from TPD.

Day 3

Nothing was scheduled in the morning that interested me and Japan’s summer heat finally appeared. I started the day at Festival Stage at 10:45 and saw Shibuya3 Project, which is a Platinum trainee group. They sang songs by predia, 3 min, and Silent Siren.  G Girls followed and I am actually a fan of two of their members, so I broke my rule and watched up close while standing in the sun. During their set I realized I left my iphone in my room, so afterwards I had to go back to my hotel. Which is why I mentioned Japan’s summer heat had returned. I ended up taking a shower when I returned to my room and had to redo my hair. Miraculously I made it back to Zepp right as YKG took the stage. I jumped around like an idiot for Yui and it was only later that I realized I had completely forgotten the no jumping rule, but no one had stopped me. I think the rule was mainly enforced at Smile Garden, Dream Stage, Doll Factory, Sky Stage, and maybe Hot Stage. HimeKyun followed and performed in their last TIF as they are disbanding. MAPLEZ tweeted a few days before that original members would join the current lineup just for TIF and it was awesome.

I stayed at this stage for five hours and saw Yumemiru Adolescence, PASSPO, 9nine, and several other groups. Also the C-ute “thing,” which I thought was poorly produced and had I been a fan, I would have been disappointed. Three songs in 30 minutes, super lol.

From there I went to the main stage for the last half of SUPER GiRLS. Again I had to skip Maneki Kecak who followed right after because TPD was at Smile Garden. Worst of all, I didn’t even stick around for TPD. Their setlist was so horrible I left. How many times do they need to perform “Brand New Story”? This song is boring and old school and will not bring them new fans. And Goo-Choki-Paa’s “Crazy Coaster” song is just embarrassing. They performed these two songs at all three of their stages. Whenever TPD came on, there was zero excitement in the audience. Their management is clueless. TPD has a lot of cool songs, but they rarely perform them. Instead, they regurgitate the same bland songs which reinforces their boring image.

Before heading to Doll Factory for drop I detoured to the gacha machines to get a Harajuku Monogatari pin. Or so I thought!

It’s already random, do they really need to combine three unrelated groups in one machine? I felt compelled to keep at it until I got a Monoga pin, but it’s not like the group would benefit in any way from my spending. It’s annoying because I like every member of the group and would have been fine with anything. I wanted to leave what I got in the machine in the event a real fan could enjoy it… but then I wouldn’t be able to blog about it!

TIF ended on a high note with drop. This entire trip they did not disappoint. And I love their summer outfits. They are a huge improvement over the weirdness they’ve been wearing the past two years. The VV collaboration shirts were also amazing. Unfortunately the sizes were L to 3XL (Why?!)

 TIF Fun Police
One of the changes that carried over from last year was the security at TIF. There was a visible presence last year, but they didn’t impact the experience too much (at least not for me). This year the organizers really tried to crack down though. They were somewhat effective, but they also sucked the fun out of the event. Not all banned behaviors are the same. Watching SUPERGiRLS perform “Everybody Jump” and not being able to jump was ridiculous. 

TIF also really needs girl-only areas at every stage. It’s ironic that practically every group, even the really tame ones, have concerts with sections reserved for girls. With the obvious exceptions, most pop concerts don’t need them, but at TIF, where they would be vital for a girls enjoyment, they are nonexistent. Of course, they reserve disproportionately large areas for the one or two photographers that attend though.

The main stage was another example of one step forward, one step back. The stage was a huge improvement over the main stage they used previously, but they brought back the labyrinth of barriers. It felt like being cattle in a slaughterhouse. “In you go!” *closes the gate*

The Future
They announced the return of New Years Premium Party on January 2 and 3. Last year’s event was just alright, but I’m still interested. I really wanted this to be the last time I go to Japan though. This was definitely the last TIF I’ll attend.

On a positive note, who loves corn dogs?

And I just remembered Goo Choki Paa.

[Corn dogs reminded you of Goo Choki Paa?]

Yeah, they’re both stupid. But lovable.

And remembering Goo Choki Paa reminded me I was supposed to recap TPD’s event and one man. But my brain is fried from this recap. I really wanted to share this cute photo of Saki too.

The End

[Why did she draw a pineapple after Choki?]

I don’t think that is a pineapple. Speaking of pineapples, back in January I wondered if the PPAP gacha outside of Kokusai-Tenjijo station (the station closest to my hotel in Odaiba) would still exist when I returned in the summer.

And now I know.

 The End

Speaking of Saki, why does she only have 680 twitter followers? Actually, while that is weird, that isn’t what I wanted to point out. Look at the Goo Choki Paa shirt she wore at TIF:

It says “All the cool girls are lesbians.” I’m pretty sure that isn’t true. But Saki wouldn’t lie.

The End

Speaking of corn dogs, when I went to TPD’s event, it was the same day as an event Silent Siren was doing. It wasn’t a one-man, there were other bands, which is why I chose TPD’s event. While I was walking to TPD’s stage I looked across the bay and saw the venue where Silent Siren was performing. So close, yet so far.

The End

Why Japan is better than the rest of the world: Reason #143

I want those posters in my classroom!

Tokyo Hobo Orchestra “Hobo Fes 2017” (aka My Summer Trip)

4 Jul

Every summer since 2011 I’ve gone to Japan to see Tokyo Hobo Orchestra. Summer isn’t summer without peanut butter popsicles and at least one THO concert (or two or three or ten SUPER LOL).  You could say I need summer THO. Get it? Summer sounds like “some more.” That was really funny, so laugh. Now continue reading.

This will be my very first time attending Tokyo Hobo Orchestra “Hobo Fes 2017” *thunderous applesauce* And I know everyone is wondering the same thing… “Will there be hobos wearing top hats?” and “Will there be top hats wearing hobos??” Well, I have noooo idea, because I’ve never been to Tokyo Hobo Orchestra “Hobo Fes 2017.” So, I can’t answer whether there will be hobos in top hats or top hats in hobos, but if I had to guess… sure why not! Spread the word. There will be hobos in top hats and top hats in hobos and top hats in top hats. 

I don’t care about any of that though! I’m only attending Hobo Fes to make new best friends… and to figure out my oshimen hobo’s home address.

Now for my real trip schedule (July 24–August 8)

July 24
July 25 Silent Siren 5th Anniversary Tour (Shizuoka)
July 26 Silent Siren 5th Anniversary Tour (Shizuoka)
July 27 Akishibu Project (Yuna, Natsumi, Saori graduation) (Tokyo)
July 28
July 29 Tokyo Performance Doll, SUPER GiRLS Roppongi Idol Fes
July 31 drop, Cheeky Parade, Maneki Kecak, R2K, others (Tokyo)
August 1
August 2 Tokyo Performance Doll release event (Tokyo)
August 3 Tokyo Performance Doll one man (Tokyo)
August 4 Tokyo Idol Festival Day 1 
August 5 Tokyo Idol Festival Day 2 
August 6 Tokyo Idol Festival Day 3 
August 7 GEM teiki koen (Tokyo)
August 8

Akishibu Project’s graduation concert at Akasaka Blitz went on sale on 7/4 and sold out within a few hours. Since announcing the concert last month, they hadn’t released any info on the sale date and I forgot about it. I happened to check their LINE blog two days ago and a new post (that wasn’t included in their LINE feed) mentioned ticket sales would start the next day(!) I scrambled and used japanconcerttickets to buy a ticket. I was lucky; looking at the member’s twitter accounts, a lot of fans weren’t able to buy tickets.
Silent Siren also recently announced a “world tour” that includes Los Angeles and San Francisco. They are playing in the same five cities as last year (LA, SF, Jakarta, Hong Kong, and Taipei). It’s convenient for me, but sucks for most international fans. Because their California concerts are in December, it is even more convenient, because now I won’t be compelled to go back to Japan, giving me the flexibility to travel anywhere during winter break. Maybe I’ll visit that one island nation. [Which one?] The one that is populated entirely by beautiful women whose religion has outlawed clothing. [Oh yeah. I like that country.]

Tokyo Idol Festival 2017
Looking at the lineup, 99% of my idol interests will be at TIF. [Great. So you should be completely satisfied and not complain about anything.] Wrong. I will internet rage until gallop+ and Narumi Takiguchi are added. [And then you will be happy?] No. Not until all the groups I dislike are uninvited.

And disband. 

Then I will be happy.