Japan Trip Pt. 1 (May 28 – June 2)

I’ve been wanting to write about this for a little while but I’ve honestly been so overwhelmed by the last month or so thanks to a ridiculous amount of events and generally just cool things that have happened.

So during the last week of May I was finally able to go to Japan for the first time, motivated by Sphere’s 全国 Tour before their recently announced coming hiatus. The trip ended up growing in scale significantly as the date approached due to a ton of events happening to be around the dates I was gonna be in Tokyo and Hokkaido (locations for which I got Sphere tix).

Let’s begin with a small breakdown of events I ended up attending before I go into detail about the trip and the events themselves.

SME Music Theater 2017 Day 2, Saitama Super Arena May 28: This was actually one of the last things I decided to attend since I saw Harukas and Ayahi were in the lineup and I realized I was able to make it in time to Saitama Super Arena since my flight arrived at 6am to Narita.

「AZUSA TADOKORO LIVE TOUR 2017 〜DilEMmA〜」 @ Second Crutch, Hiroshima, May 29: This was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life but we’ll get to that later. I’d already booked my flight for these dates because I was originally planning to attend this live, but then the Hokkaido date opened up because of Koroazu being ill during the original one. So… this was actually a last minute decision I made at Narita since I was right there with like a billion yen bills and WELL the Loppi machine was RIGHT THERE.

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田所あずさ×天津向 コントライブ~外国みたいですね~, Theater Sun Mall, Shinjuku, June 2: We’ll come back to this one.

Tano*C Tour 2017, Womb, Shibuya, June 3: Basically the first thing I got tickets for after Sphere.

LAWSON presents Sphere live tour 2017 “We are SPHERE!!!!”, Kanagawa Kenmin Hall, Yokohama, June 4: So, here we are the reason I decided I needed to go to Japan, I got really lucky and won the lottery for this day.

THE IDOLM@STER CINDERELLA GIRLS 5TH LIVE TOUR: SERENDIPITY PARADE Osaka Live Viewing, Sapporo, June 9: I actually secured tickets to this for me and my good buddy Tim (@monoids) but I got sick and couldn’t go.

LAWSON presents Sphere live tour 2017 “We are SPHERE!!!!”, Zepp Sapporo, June 10: As with the previous one I was immensely lucky to have won tickets for this one.

THE IDOLM@STER SideM GREETING TOUR 2017 〜BEYOND THE DREAM〜: I was in the area and as luck would have it MY GOOD FRIEND Tim happened to have a spare that I was glad to have for this.

「AZUSA TADOKORO LIVE TOUR 2017 〜DilEMmA〜」 @ Second Crutch, Sapporo, June 12: This is the best Live I have ever attended in my life, as I mentioned above I got tickets for this as the date opened up like 2 weeks before I left.

For now I’ll keep it to japan since I plan on writing about AX as well later.

So onwards to the trip itself:

I left home around 5:30 pm on May 26, did standard airport stuff as usual. You all know how it is, what I was NOT ready for is how hellish the travel from Mexico City to Narita is. It’s about a 15 hr flight which in my case was ridiculously packed and I basically couldn’t eat anything due to flights messing me up real bad. I arrived around 6am on the 28th at Narita airport, did the usual customs and immigration stuff, took me like 45 minutes or so. Afterwards I exchanged money and to my wallet’s demise I found out there was a Lawson in the first basement floor. So… I did what any reasonable person would do and I bought a ticket to see Koroazu in Hiroshima… but I didn’t have a JR pass… or lodging. So! turns out you can buy JR Passes at both Narita and Haneda airports now so I am now out like 45k yen after the JR Pass, Koroazu ticket and a Narita Express ticket towards Ikebukuro less than 2 hrs after arriving in japan. Definitely off to a good start!

After doing all my airport errands I ended up arriving at Ikebukuro station around noon-ish, I’d heard from a certain scottish lad that it’s a nightmare to navigate the station… and I certainly thought so at first but it’s actually probably my favorite station in Tokyo now. It did take me a while to find the West exit but afterwards I got to my hotel without trouble and managed to check-in early. So I took a shower and headed off towards SSA to pick up my ticket for SME from a gracious Japanese twitter user that was selling an extra… except this was my first time using public transit in Tokyo and I ended up in Shinjuku by accident. I made it to SSA a little before the doors opened for the live and managed to find the group of foreign eventers led by @Kurotsuki but I still needed to pick up my ticket! Thankfully I didn’t have a hard time finding the person who sold me the ticket. And I ended up finding the group again where I ended up meeting cool new friends like Esh the famous new seiyuu (@Crimsondramon), Rob (@OrobleRL) and Sam “オーペンさん” (@RideTheIcening).

I have to say though for getting my ticket the day of the live… my seat was pretty god damn awesome.

As for the live itself I was pretty exhausted from not sleeping/travelling but I still enjoyed it a whole god damn lot. Highlights I remember are: surprise 10ch, Garni (even if the audio for their set was messed up), Ayahi, Harukas (Q&A Recital is extremely hype), FLOWWWWWWWWWWWW (holy shit I did not expect Days), Trysail (they’re fun!), connect > magia (I’m a madoka hater but this was p hype) and SURPRISE FUCKING TM REVOLUTION (he performed on Day 1 too but I was in a fucking plane for like 75 years).

Afterwards I managed to meet up with the group and we went to Akiba for dinner, original plan was curry but the restaurant (cocoichi? I don’t remember) was full so we settled for McDonald’s next to the station… which was actually a fucking great meal probably because I hadn’t eaten in like two days. We also met with Dad Southrop(@southro_p) on the way to find food. We ended up staying at McD’s until basically the last train which was fun.

The following day I had to wake up early to make sure I would make it to Tokyo station in time for my Shinkansen to Hiroshima which proved to be an adventure because I only made it with about a minute to spare. The ride itself was pretty uneventful, unfortunately I reserved my seats before anyone else did so I had to ride alone in a different car. Once I arrived at Hiroshima station I met up with Kuro, Rob and Sam and we checked in to a hotel we found next to the station which was a pretty convenient location (cheap too!). And then I fucked up by walking to the venue for buppan. Turns out I can’t really handle 2+km walks too well. But it’s okay because I made it to the venue somehow and spent like 75 million yen on Koroazu merch, unfortunately the gacha didn’t go so well. Thankfully Kuro offered to help me get back to the hotel so I could rest for a bit before the live.

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side note: Hiroshima’s public transportation is GREAT, it’s super easy to use and more accessible than anything in Tokyo.

Now for the live. Well. As you can probably tell if you know me (that’s why you’re reading this hopefully). This is the best decision I ever made in my entire god damn life. Koroazu is amazing and I love her so god damn much. I’m also glad it was at a small Livehouse because I got to be so close to stage. The actual setlist was SUPER hype as well.

I already loved Koroazu’s music before seeing her live, but what made me love this concert so much was actually seeing how much of a dork she is during the talk segments in between songs in person (which again, if you’re familiar with her is not news, especially if you’re into Million Live). She’s really funny but also gets embarrassed easily and it’s goddamn great seeing it in action. At one point she got so flustered she had to ask John Kanda (guitarist for Penguin Research, also part of her live band) to take over for her because she couldn’t continue talking. Another highlight was her asking the audience if we’d heard her latest single [DEAREST DROP] and the audience responding enthusiastically only for them to be completely quiet when she asked if anyone had bought the single (I did! I have two copies even). Cue a very loud “Oiiiiiiiiii!!!!” from her.

I could probably write a post just about how much I loved all the talk segments at her lives (I probably will!) but suffice to say that while I was already a huge huge fan now I’m here for life.

So as for the setlist itself. I’m super glad I got to hear all my favorite songs in one night (spit out, 1HOPE SNIPER, 孤毒ディストレス). However Boom! Boom! and Junshin Always jumped up a lot in my favorites because they’re so goddamn fun live.

So… immediately afterwards I ended up buying even more Koroazu merch and thank god I did because now I have like 7 million bromides.

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The following day was pretty uneventful as I basically spent most of it trapped inside a Shinkansen bound towards Tokyo on my own.

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Wednesday was a pretty low energy day all things considered I had been running on very little food and energy so I took the day to recharge as much as I could but I still made my way towards East Ikebukuro to see if I could find some M3 CDs I really wanted that hadn’t been ripped. I ended up being successful at melonbooks but I’m pretty sure the cashier hates me now because I grabbed display copies of like two albums by accident and didn’t really know what to do. At night I went out to dinner with the usual suspects but I did manage to meet Niichang for the first time! (you all know who it is I don’t even need to tag him). We had sushi in Ikebukuro near my hotel by complete chance because the place we originally were going to was extremely full. And we ended the night by doing some Karaoke at Pasela which was next to my hotel.

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Thursday… man fuck Thursday, I went to Shibuya to meet up with PenguinMan from bemaniso so I could pick up my tickets for Sphere/Hardcore Tano*C/Koroazu Hokkaido/Cinderella Girls LV but I kind of got rained on suddenly… the same day my backpack kind of broke. I did end up getting my tickets and walking around Shibuya for a while with him. We ended up at the Guhroovy store which was pretty cool but I was so dead by then that I didn’t have the chance to truly appreciate it.

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Afterwards I’m pretty sure I just spent the rest of the day resting at my hotel, probably played some IIDX at the bowling alley across the street. Ended up buying a ticket for 田所あずさ×天津向 コントライブ~外国みたいですね~ that night because I found out they were still available

Friday was kind of great, I went to Akiba during the afternoon, mostly to check out the area and went to Suruga-ya and K-books. Also spent some time at try amusement tower playing old bemani.


At night I went to Shinjuku to see Koroazu again, this time at the コントライブ and it was amazing. She’s really good at stage acting and it was amazing seeing it in person. She’s hilarious and the VTR they showed inbetween comedy skits was the best thing in the universe. It was her failing at middle school subjects for about 40 minutes and I loved every second of it. All the skits were really good too, I particularly liked the one where she plays a Yakuza(?) at a host club and hella negged the shitty Host played by Tenshin Mukai. I did get kinda lost in Shinjuku at night but it was SO worth it because I got to see Koro again. Shinjuku station’s kind of the devil, especially the underground. I’ve tweeted about it before but it legit makes Japanese dungeon crawlers look like a joke.

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End of Pt. 1

I’ll talk about the rest of the lives and Japan trip in a second part (maybe third too?) and I’ll link back to the other entries as I write them.

 

Part 2: http://iserlohn.co/?p=138

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