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GMT Time: Friday December 15th, 2017 03:45 Central US Time: Friday December 15th, 2017 00:45 Tokyo Time: Friday December 15th, 2017 12:45

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Artist discographies: Ayumi Hamasaki | the GazettE | Hirano Aya | Perfume
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3 big artists in 24 hours ^^

05/11/10

3 big artists in 24 hours ^^

  11:37:31 pm, Categories: Japan 2010 , Tags: ayumi hamasaki, koda kumi, yasutaka nakata

This was quite a highlight from this years Japan trip. Seeing Ayumi Hamasaki, Yasutaka Nakata and Koda Kumi in 24 hours time ;p It is exactly 24 hours because concerts on Saturday start are after 6pm and concerts on Sunday end by 6pm ;p. But it was quite a busy day as it also involved us changing hotels and moving from Tokyo to Kyoto, and the Kuu concert being in Osaka ^^ (I have a feeling this will be a long post ^^)

We stayed a little longer in bed as it would be a very long day, but didn't want to arrive too late as I had heard from Mizu-chan that buying merchandise on the first day concert had extremely long lines. I think we arrived at Saitama Super Arena between 12-13h and the merchandise lines weren't long at all, so we were lucky. As Mizu-chan was going to arrive very late, she asked to buy the merchandise for her as well. The girl behind the counter must have been thinking why this gaijin was buying so much stuff ^-^.

After that, we went to look around for Jorge who we were going to meet there around that time. We found him pretty quick. It was nice seeing him again since last time in London.

Some time later Miss_Elin and Misa-chan arrived, they bought their stuff. At the CD/DVD stand, we saw they were selling records as well, Jorge bought his favorite single Dearest, and I went all out and bought all the records they had (which were 6 ;p). Apparently you got a poster when you bought something, but you actually got a poster for EACH record you bought! Which meant I got 6 posters while there were only 3 different posters, so I got 2 of each, and gave the double ones to the others.

As it was still a long time before others would arrive, we went away from the arena to go and find something to eat. When we were sitting there outside at a table, we were suddenly approached by an old man who asked us if we wanted to paint some fish (it was for children, but because we were foreigners we could do it too ;p) (as Misa-chan and Miss_Elin were staying in Japan as students, they had good knowledge of Japanese which came in handy ;p) The fish painting certainly was a very random but fun experience ;p

Painted fish

We got back to the arena and met up with Amanda and another girl (whose name I forgot). At the train station we found Oji-san, a Japanese guy who has messaged me on AHS if he could join ;p. He also came in handy when we wanted to call Mizu-chan on the phone to ask when she would be arriving (she had a hanami party and would be a little drunk ;p) Mizu-chan finally arrived, gave her her merchandise and went to the arena as the doors had already opened.

Mizu-chan:
Mizu-chan

Group pic before concert
Group pic in original size for who wants it

So we all went to our seats and enjoyed an awesome concert! Nothing went wrong this time, because the first concert of a tour usually has its mishaps ;p. It was also the first time for some that we would hear them as the new album still had to come out a few days later. She sang some very nice old ones as well that I really liked. And her voice was better than at the CDL. I had a great time as always :-).

Group pic before concert
Group pic in original size for who wants it

After the concert, the big group met up again although some had left but some new ones had joined in. Some were originally going to come with us to go clubbing in Shibuya, and there was still a lot of doubt of who was going to come along on the train back to Tokyo. Eventually it was only me and Matt that went ;p
This was finally the first time I was going to go clubbing in Shibuya (or Japan for that matter ;p), and I had really picked out a perfect choice. The 4th anniversary party of Caddish in Club Asia, which featured Yasutaka Nakata as one of the main acts! (Yasutaka Nakata being the founder of Caddish record label and producer of Capsule, Perfume and many other artists, and I had already heard he was really good). Club Asia was in the Shibuya clubbing district right in the middle of Dogenzaka, the love hotel hill behind Shibuya 109 ;p There was a small line outside the club and our id's were checked (clubs here are usually 19/20+) and were searched at the door and bags checked. The admission fee for this party was 3500yen, which included one drink (actually quite expensive but quite normal for such a party here). I must say that all the drinks cheap, everything was 500yen, and I mean everything, a beer, a coke, a vodka orange: everything 500yen ;p. I must say that Smirnoff Ice was a very popular drink here. There were always 3 dj's, one in the main hall, one in the drinks bar and one upstairs (but we didn't go upstairs). We arrived quite early at 12am (only 1 hour after opening) and there were already quite a few people and in the main hall DJ Vee Vee was playing, who was a resident at Club Asia. The whole night was electro/techno/house music.
After Vee Vee, the first main live act started their set: The Samos. They were comprised of 3 people, 1 drummer, 1 singer/dj/guitarist and 1 effects guy, but man were they energetic! They played all their stuff live which sounded really awesome and I had a great time, would love to see these guys again. But my knee was hurting a lot again and we went back to the drinks bar for a moment. After half an hour we went back to the main hall to see if Yasutaka Nakata had started his set. And yes, he did...
Even though he played 80% of his own stuff, it was just awesome! He started off with this remix of O Fortuna that I had never heard before (loved it), and then played e.d.i.t. (from the previous capsule album) and then player (from the current capsule album), then an intermezzo song to glue it to the next series of capsule song: factory and The Music. We think he also played one of his songs for Suzuki Ami, but we weren't sure, and another song to end his set. His set lasted only about 45 minutes though, but Nakata is realllly good and his music sounds so much better in a club ^^. He plays every first friday at Club Asia and if I'd live in Japan I would go every time ;p. Not just for Nakata, but also because I like the music ;p. The club crowd was also very lively and fun, and quite a few nice girls ;p. (there are of course drunk people, but that's in every club in any country, but it didn't bother me ;p) As Matt was getting quite tired, we left after Nakata's set which was at around 3am. We still had about 1.5 hours to wait until the first train at 4:30am so we wandered around Shibuya. Lots of party goers at night, but also empty streets, an almost empty Hachiko Crossing at 3:30 in the morning, quite an experience as it is usually packed with people. By the time it got closer to 4:30 more and more people started to appear around the station for the first train, and by 5:30am we got to our hotel and managed to get some 2 hours of sleep before we had to check out of the hotel in the morning.

We got out of the hotel at around 8:30am and had to rush to Tokyo Station quickly to catch our Shinkansen to Kyoto. As the journey takes 2.5 hours we were able to get some rest on the train. We were on a very tight time schedule as the Kuu concert started at 4pm in Osaka. Our hotel in Kyoto was only 5 minutes from the station so we were able to check in fairly quick and get back to the station to take the Shinkansen again to Osaka. The Shinkansen arrives at Shin-Osaka station so we had to take another train to Osaka station (only 1 stop though). There we had to find some ticket reseller shops. I had done some research and knew that there were a few shops in a shopping arcade near the station, and there was apparently one shop that still had tickets to the Kuu concert. The shopping arcade was divided in 3 buildings and 2 floors which didn't make it very easy and I didn't know exactly in which building it was. I think there were about 6 reseller shops there, of which 2 sold concert tickets, but not for Kuu... We still hadn't found the actual shop that had the Kuu tickets so we found some free wifi and searched for their website again, and we finally found it, but we had bad luck and the tickets were already sold... So with no tickets, we went off to Osaja-Jo Hall to see if we could get lucky using the last resort at the arena: scalpers. (And for some merchandise anyway).

We didn't want too expensive tickets and we wanted seats together, so after some wandering around we approached some scalpers (they were old men who were holding tickets in their hands so they were obviously scalpers). Tried my best japanese and their bad english, but first he said to move a little further away from the arena (probably to not get the attention of the concert staff as scalping is in fact illegal ;p). He still had 4 tickets of which 2 were together, he sold them for 10k each. Which was a very good price as the original price is 7800 yen; and prices tend to drop as the concert doors were already open and they have to loose the tickets as well. So we finally got our tickets 20 minutes before the start of the concert! But I had one more problem, I still had my camera bag with me (and not my backpack), and they always check one bag. It was a little too late to go back to the station to find a locker. I wasn't going to use my camera anyway, but I was sure they would check it. BUT I figured I'd try something that I had noticed on my previous concerts here. They never check bags on your back, only the ones in your hands (which are usually merchandise anyway). So I moved my camera bag to the back and went with our ticket to the doors. I handed the guy my ticket and made no move to show him my bag and left it on my back. He took one small glimpse at the bag when I passed him, but did not ask anything!! Now I was confused, my previous understanding was that they have to check 1 bag. If you're carrying 3 bags, they only check one bag, not more. (probably due to time constraints and the amount of people). Maybe he just let me because I was a gaijin and he didn't want to make it difficult for him to communicate with me ;p. Anyway, we got in the arena and moved to our seats. There we was a new problem... there were people in our seats... did the scalpers trick us with fake tickets? They didn't look fake at all and with the correct date on it. There were 2 open seats a little further though. I asked one of the concert staff to show us our seats just to be sure, and she pointed to the 2 open seats. So we finally got to our seats and were ready to see our next concert.

The concert them was "space" as the album and tour title was "Universe". The stage looked like a closed space ship. Even the tickets looked like boarding passes ;p. The concert started 15 minutes late, but it kicked of with a blast. The concert stage was very versatile (what wouldn't you expect from Avex ;p) with big screens and lights. A very beautiful act was the one were it was as if she was a mermaid floating on top of a fountain of (real!) water, very beautiful. She also always gets a fan from the audience to come on stage and sit next to her on a big swing and she sings a song to the fan. The costumes were grand as well, just like Ayu does ;p (no wonder from the 2 leading J-Pop artists). I had come along because Matthew wanted to do a Kuu concert and as Kuu is hot and it's a big show, I didn't mind coming along ;p and I want to see as many big Japanese artists as I can anyway :). After the concert we really wanted to buy some merchandise as well, and we had seen these very nice black t-shirts with big white kanji signs on it which spelled Koda's name on it. Afterwards I looked up the kanji and it actually reads Team Koda, and the leaflet also seemed to state that it was a fanclub t-shirt, but they sold it to us without hesitation, so we're not really sure if they were fan club member exclusive. Nice touch: the kanji light up in the dark ;p.

Well, these were some very good 24 hours of my life, seeing 3 big artists in a row. And I'm very happy that I did it and would do it again any time. It would have been even better if my knee hadn't hurt so much, but I'm tireless when I'm in Japan ;p. It had started to rain a bit and we went back to Kyoto, watched an episode of Bottom at the hotel and then went to sleep.

Sorry for the long write up, but it was a long but very fun 24 hours. Thanks for reading it ;p

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