Free Time in Japan: Concerts, Instore’s and Concerts

Alright! So, I decided to do a separate post on what I’ve been doing on the weekends because only a handful really care about that; I figure, that for the people who are only interested in my work life, this allows them to bypass my posts about my free time. And NO, this is not what I did during Silver Week; that will be posted in the  next couple days.

Without further ado, let’s do this. Be prepared, this is a long one.

I love Visual Kei and I love attending concerts. If you know me well enough, or have spoken to me for at least five minutes, you should have seen this coming. Now, this is NOT my only reason for being in Japan. Many assume so because I talk about it so much, but it really isn’t all I do. In fact, for Silver Week, not a concert or instore in sight! I am in fact aware there are other things to do in Japan.

My first concert since arriving back in Japan was a taiban (multiple bands) in August, but I really just wanted to see Black Gene even though I knew many of the ones that were there. Black Gene is currently my honemi (number one band), though it is tied with Liraizo. I flailed and let myself loose during Fear Dance when Black Gene came on and LIVED. I didn’t actually think they would play it because Fear Dance is…aggressive. And if you aren’t a fan of their music then it really isn’t much fun for you. Since this was a taiban with multiple bands, you can see my doubt on whether or not they would play it. Well, they did!!!

Afterwards, I ended up getting a cheki (mini polaroid picture) with the vocalist of Uchusentai:Noiz cause why not. I had to buy their new single which wasn’t a big deal, I kinda wanted it anyways. I also ended up buying a CD that I was missing for Black Gene so I could snag a signed fan. We got in line and the members of Uchusentai:Noiz came down wearing their tour shirts. Kim and I were in the same line (by happy coincidence, I wanted a picture with Angel Taka, she wanted Yamato which were the same line) and I didn’t have a towel for them, so she went first and then she would pass me the towel as I went up to take my picture. Well…this kinda sorta worked. I was walking over to where I was supposed to put my bags for the picture, but she didn’t see that I had moved. So she threw it towards where I she last saw me standing and I looked up just in time to jump up and grab it before it had a chance to land in the sound booth. A collective “Oooooooooh! Sounded from the band and Taka even clapped for me when I sat down next to him.

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The next day, I had a series of three instore events, all for Duel Jewel. I’ve been listening to them for a while and I’ve seen them a few times in concert, but never actually had a chance to MEET them. And since they’re breaking up in February, I did all I could this time around. The first two events went by fine. Aside from them fawning over the really old towel I had for them to sign and attempting to speak English with me, it went great. Got my pictures with them and carried on. No tears, not stuttering; everything was just peachy.

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Until it came to the last event where I got to shake their hands and actually have some time to talk with them. Shun, my favorite, was first… of course. I did my best to keep myself composed, but the moment I shook his hand, my eyes started to water. I tried to express how I was feeling in Japanese, but that was diiiiiiiifficult. He said to go ahead and use English and BOOM. Waterworks. I can’t remember half of what I said, but it had something to do with loving their music, how much I’ll miss them, how upset I was I couldn’t attend their finale in February, how it was my dream to meet them etc. etc. Shun ended up patting my hand and saying that even though he only understood parts of what I was saying, he still understood how I felt through my tears. HE MADE IT WORSE. I kept crying and I don’t think Natsuki could even understand what I said because I was such a mess by time I finished with Shun. Went down the line and kept crying, though not as hard, Hayato did a pretty good job trying to make me laugh, and when I thought I had finally reached the end, Val had to go and kiss my hand and thank me for being a fan. TEARS I SAY, TEARS.

I managed to make it back in line for the two shot and something happened that has NEVER happened at an instore before; the other fans hugged me. The girls I was standing near saw how upset I was and gave me tissue and hugged me and patted my back. It was amazing if anything. Most fans ignore me at those kind of things. By the time it was my turn for the two shot (me and a member of my choice), I had composed myself and looked decent enough for a picture. The girls had lent me some of their make up to fix what my tears had messed up. I picked Shun (no surprise there) for my two shot and when I pulled away to thank him, he pulled me back and gave me a hug. Cue Mandi losing it once more. It was both an amazing and sad day. I didn’t actually realize this until after I had time to sit and look at the pictures (like on two hour long train ride home), that Shun was only smiling in the last photo I got with him. See, Shun isn’t known for smiling; he doesn’t do it that often. In the first one, he’s smirking. That’s not a smile, don’t argue that it is, you’ll lose. In the second, he ain’t doing anything. But… in the third one… there is a genuine smile! Makes my heart go dokidoki every time I look at it. It’s a simple thing, but it just makes me so happy.

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The following weekend, I saw DaizyStripper. It was a full out One-Man for their Never Ending SIRIS tour. OMG AWESOME. They did Ame no Waltz, which is a SUPER old song and one of my ultimate favorites. I. was. In. Tears. SO MANY TEARS. But I wasn’t the only one who was crying either. I was a little sad they didn’t do Setsubou no Freesia, but hey, I’ll take Ame no Waltz any day.

I was in the third tier, but managed to run up to the front to participate in Black Dropper. The girl who stood next to me would run down with me, but she was so short, she couldn’t lift herself high enough to touch Rei (I did!). So, being a good fellow fan, I knelt down on one of the sets and boosted her up; great intentions, BAD IDEA. My knee is still feeling it O_O From then on, we would run down holding hands and then look for each other on the way back up and help each other back into our original spots. She was so nice!

I didn’t realize this, but their Nagoya stop was the Semi-Finale for their tour, sooooo we had three encores. THREE ENCORES. I’ve only ever see two happen at lives for actual Finales. The last encore was only one song, but all the members played janken (rock paper scissors) to decide who would do what. Mayu (usually r. guitar) won first, so he picked drums, Rei chose main guitar (usually bass), Yugiri chose rhythm guitar (usually vocalist), Kazami sang (usually drums/piano), and Nao had bass (usually m. guitar). I’ve never see them do that before to that was so much fun. This is the first time however that I haven’t seen Kazami do his piano solo. He’s like… known for that.

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More recently, I attended the Reign and Liraizo Two Man live for Kili’s Birthday with Kim. We don’t normally go out of our way for concerts; the only time we’ve gone to a concert in Tokyo together was for the 10th Anniversary for the Gazette. However, since this particular live was for Kili’s birthday and the fact that four original members of AND would be playing at the same venue, we went for it (Ikuma, the vocalist of AND is now the vocalist of Reign, Kili the main guitarist for AND is now the guitarist for Liraizo, Suzune, the drummer for AND before Kaji is now the drummer for Liraizo and Ken, the bassist for AND was coming for the session band, which also included Suzune and Kili). We took a night bus from Nagoya on Friday. We didn’t know that we could lower our seats back so simply put… it was a very uncomfortable ride. We got into Tokyo about 6:45 am and spent most of the morning charging our phones at a nearby Starbucks. Kim passed out for a little bit while I fiddled around on Twitter. We had a second round of coffee as we did our makeup and hair. We decided we needed to find a Loft or 100 yen store because the bag I had put Suzune’s gift in just wasn’t cutting it and the tape on Kim’s gift to Kili was coming undone.

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We wandered over to Ikebukuro to scout the area. We weren’t sure how early people were going to start lining up for the special 9 shot photos, so we went early. After a very sketchy ride in a very sketchy elevator, we got distracted by Closet Child (a used Visual Kei goods store) and may have raided more cheki than I had meant to…

We got lost looking for the venue, which I wasn’t surprised by; soooo many people told me Edge was one of the hardest venues to find if you didn’t frequent Tokyo. I mean, name any Nagoya venue or live house and I got you. Tokyo… I know… two tops. We decided to run by the 100 yen store nearby to get some last minute things to finish our presents. It was actually the best decision ever because as we were walking in circles, looking at my phone for the map to find the building, we literally ran into Liraizo (the band we went to see) as they were unpacking their van. Tohma, the rhythm guitarist, saw us and asked us if we were lost and we said we were there for the Liraizo/Reign live but couldn’t find the venue. He actually recognized Kim because she’s been to all of their instore events and concerts for Nagoya. He showed us where the entrance was and she was even able to give Kili his birthday gift in person. I had seen Suzune briefly before Tohma told us about the venue, but I wasn’t able to give him my gift. I ended up giving it to a staff member later on when I bought the special collab cheki. Instead of being weirdos waiting outside the venue for a couple hours, we wandered around the area; though we still stuck somewhat close to the venue because we didn’t want to get lost again.

Around 3:00 we headed back to the venue to start lining up for the special 9 shot picture thing. We were actually the first ones in line. I ended up going first because Kim didn’t want to, so I bought some special collab cheki (one member from each band in the picture), a few ‘day of’ of cheki (outfits Liraizo would be wearing that night, supposedly) and then a few old cheki from previous lives and instore events. And then a towel! We grabbed our tickets and went back upstairs to secure a coin locker!

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We hung out by the stairs waiting for the live to start; we had different numbered tickets, she would go in sooner than I would, but we ended up having really good spots! Since Suzune is in the back center of the stage, you can really see him anywhere, so we stood on the right side of the venue for Kili. It didn’t take me long to remember why I dislike going to concerts in Tokyo; Tokyo fans are fucking nuts. They’re so mean! I’m so used to Nagoya fans that I forget how bad Tokyo can be. That entire evening, I think we met only two or three good Tokyo fans.

The first band was a session band with two current members of Liraizo (Suzune and Kili), a vocalist from another band, a second guitarist I wasn’t familiar with, and the bassist from AND (Ken). So. Three original members of AND playing together once more…I was hopeful I would hear some old songs! But at the same time, I didn’t think they would because it was never really announced WHY AND broke up in the first place and I wasn’t sure if it was a touchy subject. So my expectations were quite the roller coaster. The very last song they sang was fucking BLACKOUT. Out of all the songs they could have played, they played my absolute favorite song. I was literally screaming and crying when I heard the first chords. I had so much fun doing that song again, I remembered ALL the furi for it. Sadly, the few people around us were NOT original AND fans and did not participate and seemed really agitated that we were. When we rushed the stage for the gyakudai part of the song, they refused to move and when we returned to our spots, they wouldn’t move. It was so annoying! Halfway through the song, we gave up trying to move past them because it just wasn’t worth it.

We had small intermission where we went back to our original spots and waited for Reign to come on. After about…20 minutes, they came on and I was curious because I hadn’t heard Ikuma’s new band in person yet (he’s the former vocalist for AND). I did like Club Bunny; that was a fun song. Their very last song was one of the most intense gyakudai’s ever. Like, omg this was so insane. The band members were literally pulling fans on top of each other to make the pile bigger. At one point, I had a face full of Ryuzi, not that I minded at all 😛 I also managed to touch Tano. I lost my ability to see at one point because my glasses got so smudged from rubbing against my face and other people. In the future I need to decide on how much I actually want to see during concerts because I left my good concert going glasses at home and I don’t like I can’t go all out on furi because I’m trying to keep my glasses on my face.

Before the intermission, we got to see the music video for Reign’s Club Bunny which was awesome. I was able to quickly clean my glasses to watch it. After 20 minutes, we thought that Liraizo was finally coming up. But… the screen hadn’t rolled back up yet. Well! We got treated to the new music video for Liraizo’s recent single! Kim and I knew they were making one, they had hinted at it all month, but then….we got a second video. One that NONE of us were aware of.

It. Was. Amazing.

Like…I was floored with how beautiful it was. It takes a lot for music to make me cry, but Liraizo is one of those few bands that have accomplished that. It is just beyond words. I was crying and screaming (I wasn’t the only one) and omg I wish that it was showed again. If there was ever a time when my fangirl mode was at 100%, that was it. The live was amazing. I let myself go with the furi (Kim had taught me the night prior as I hadn’t been to a Liraizo live yet) and was just all over the place. I got to touch Kili, Yuki and Tohma. Sooooooo awesome. Their gyakudive wasn’t as intense as Reign’s, but it was still a lot of fun. I caught Kili’s guitar pick, but I gave it to Kim because I couldn’t keep it with a clear conscious.

When the live ended, we walked around the venue trading with various fans and talking about the live. I love trading, it’s so much fun, especially when I don’t get to do it that often. We got in line for the photo session and promised to meet a few fans upstairs afterwards to trade some more. Kim went first and I heard like a roar of laughter, but no idea why. When I went in for my turn, she was turning around to leave and I was like “I’ll see you upstairs!” The moment I spoke, all eight heads swiveled towards me. I got a chorus of hellos and I just smiled and sat down between Ikuma and Yuki. When the staff said I would get two pictures, they were all like “oooooh! Big fan!” So I got my two pictures; I meant to change poses, but the staff was so quick with it, I didn’t have a chance. I didn’t get to pick who I sat by either ;A; When the staff was finished, I turned around to thank them and Ikuma was like  (in English) “Thank you very much!” And I was like (in Japanese), “Your English is really good!” There was an eruption of oohs and aahs and clapping, and Tohma was like (in Japanese), “You’re Japanese is amazing!”  Tano asked who my favorite member was and I said it was Suzune and he did like a small fist pump, like he was the lucky one who caught the foreigner’s eye. I thanked them and said I hoped to see them all again and left. For reference, Suzune is the one second from the right with the red streaks in his hair.

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I went upstairs to trade some more cheki with Kim and we ended up getting some drinks with a couple other fans we connected with earlier. I don’t know, but there’s just something about having ice cold drinks and sitting outside the venue talking about the live that just feels… right. Even though our Japanese isn’t the best and their English wasn’t the best, we were still able to communicate with each other about things we felt passionate about. It seems so simple, but it’s one of those things I’ve always seen happen and thought “I wonder when I’ll ever get to do that.” Well! That was the night! It will probably stay with me for the rest of my life. Kim and I had intentions of doing purikura when the live was over, so we asked them if they wanted to join us and they did! So, we went out for purikura at a nearby arcade. It was amazing! They were so creative with the rakugaki!  I’m so happy I went. One of the best days ever!

Okay, if you’ve stuck it out this far, you’re amazing. That’s all for this post, I’ll try not to make the other one’s this long!

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About mandipanda13

I love Visual Kei and almost everything about Japan! If you're wondering what the small percentage of dislike is consisted of I'll sum it up in a few short words: COCKROACHES AND HUMIDITY. Alaska has neither of them; hence, no likey.
This entry was posted in ALT Life, Instore Event, Japan Concerts, JET Program, Visual Kei and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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