8 Nov 2015

Moshi-Moshi Nippon Day II - MoshiPop

So Day-One adventures truly took a toll on my ageing body. The combination of a full-day class schedule, long travel time, and, um, wotagei serious physical activities meant that I barely managed a sleep. Using combinations of an android phone, an iPhone 6, and a recently-bought desk alarm clock, I managed to force myself awake at 8.30. My back and my legs were aching from fatigue. But I was determined to go see Denpa (Denpagumi.Inc), Wasamin (Iwasa Misaki of AKB48), KinBaku (Golden Bomber), 9nine, and SaiSai (Silent Siren). The good thing is, a ¥100 worth of bath quickly managed to fix (maybe temporarily) the problem.

Honestly, Day-Two schedule gave me all sorts of problem. I mean, should I pursue all of my favorite artists, it will result in a full-day schedule, from noon to late into the night. Denpa in the first session, Wasamin and Saisai in the middle, and KinBaku in the last. Seriously, how fucked up is that. Not to mention the train schedule. I wouldn't be able to go home, should I miss the last train somehow.

Veteran advice once said: prepare your energy.

Really, it wasn't easy to convince myself to go. There were other alternatives. My countrymen appeared to be keen to go to either Tokyo Motor Show (to take pictures of booth babes), or the chicken meat festival somewhere in Yokohama. TMS? Me? No. To be fair, they did said that they also plan to stop by Odaiba to see the Gundam statue. Interesting prospect. Meat festival? Even more so. Like I can cook.

Day travel is always more convenient.

I was more concerned with Waseda University's festival, but getting the ticket would be a gamble. Finally, the most likely candidate for a competition was an event in Yokohama Vivre. Very near. And it was one artist I really would love to support, especially ever since their split. Dorothy Little Happy (DLH) was in town to promote their new single, and they were going to do mini-live. Tough decision. Even now, there's still a lingering regret that I just couldn't shake-off. Dear goddesses, please forgive this unfaithful subject of yours.

DLH <3

So off with the long trip. I always finds it nice to ride JR (Japan Rail), especially during the day, because I got to see the outside view. It's gorgeous. Very different than the subways, where all you can see are pitch dark tunnel walls and lights glowing on it.

Long story short, I got to the event venue, The Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. It looked a lot better during the day. I got there at few minutes pass 12. Right on time, I thought. The main stage would have started by 1 o'clock. Plenty of opportunities to wander around, a luxury I didn't have on Day-One.

The event venue.

It really is strange how fate can twist things. Remember the outdoor stage I told you on the previous post? The one where Idols performed? Well, there were people crowding the stage already. It was a small crowd (presumably because it was still early), but it looked fun, so I decided to hang around. It was whimsical, for I could retrieve my pass anytime before 1 o'clock anyway, so heck, why not? But then this happened.

A cute little kid doing DJ? :O Her outfit (I think Inaba Tewi was the first image that came to my mind at that time), her voice, her petite stature, her childish face, SO CUTE!!!! Yes, I am well aware that this is the land of cute girls and beautiful old ladies. But really, it was on a whole different level. Even some of the audience behind me screamed "nan sai desu ka (how old are you)?" Apparently I got there during her first song, because afterwards, she does her jikou (jikoushoukai/self-introduction), "DJ Idol from Asobi System, POCHI. Everyone, please help me! If I say 'POCHI', you say 'wan wan'."


After DJ POCHI's performance, I took a look around the stands area. Mostly Japanese food and merchandise. There were also a karaoke stand inside a minibus vehicle and a stand that allowed you to take pictures with Asobi System models (this one has a very long queue).

I went inside the venue just before 1 o'clock. I received event flyers in the entrance door, containing the event's schedule and venue map, which I didn't receive on Day-One, maybe because I arrived very late. It was then that I noticed where the third stage really was. I've known (and attended) two of them (the outside is called Matsuri Stage and the main stage with special area for foreigners is called Moshi-Moshi Stage), but the third was not yet opened on Day-One. And the location was rather hidden. It's called the Nippon Stage. I got curious, so I skipped the main stage and went to the Nippon Stage, considering that although the main stage opened at 1 o'clock, the opening act there would not start until 2 o'clock.

Nippon Stage

Getting there, I immediately understood why it is called the Nippon Stage. It literally means the stage for Japanese people. Very few foreigners, mostly Japanese, and all performers are idols. But I don't know, I felt more at ease in this stage, rather than in the foreigners special area of the main stage. Maybe it was the energy of the crowd or something, I don't know.

Of course I don't know shit about these idol groups, their songs, and their members. So I kinda loitered behind the overly-enthusiastic crowds, or went to the periphery, and just watch what they were doing, and if I could, I'd copy them. It turned out to be not very different to what me and my friends did back home. Chant, PPPH, kecha, mawari, clapping, the usual wotagei physical exercise stuffs. Obviously each idol group has their own special chants so I won't copy those. Also I noticed that when it came to MIX, they were doing it slightly different. The were no "yossha ikuzo!" at MIX 1 (replaced by double-clap, I think), no "Kassen-tobi-jokyou" at MIX 2, and I couldn't make it out for MIX 3. I started noticing this on DJ POCHI's audience. One other thing I noticed was that where the special area in the main stage is reserved for foreigners, the special area in the Nippon Stage is reserved for people with Wannabee bracelet. I figured they must have paid a premium for that.

VIP area with Wannabee bracelet

I watched two groups there, Up Up Girls and Nijicon (Niji no Conquistador). Wonderful performance by them. Nice crowd too. Then, at two o'clock, I went back to watch to the main stage to watch the opening act. It started with a modernized version of Japanese traditional dance. They also took the opportunity to promote Ukiyo-e t-shirts during the MC. You know, ukiyo-e, Japanese traditional paintings.

Day-two opening act.

Denpa was the main act of the segment. Again, the foreigner's section was quiet, though it could be a contrasting effect playing on me, having come from the Nippon Stage. For instance, when asked "what country did you came from?" nobody answered, except me. May be that's why when they spout country names randomly (not necessarily countries, because as in "anybody from Germany? from France? from London?"), Ind****** was among mentioned. No-not that I was glad they noticed, thi-this is just to point out my conjecture. (Then again may be they only listed places they've gone to, which includes Ind*******).

Now don't get me wrong here. It's not like I was disappointed by the foreigner crowd. I mean, they have absolutely every right to be there. Being quiet is fine. The event is, after all, meant to promote Japanese pop culture to foreigners. I mean, if you're a company, you should be promoting to the people that doesn't know you yet, right? So in a sense, mission accomplished, I guess? I'm just saying that the other two stages are merrier. Of course I always had the option to step out and join the regular crowd, but the way the stage was laid out, I didn't think I could catch a glimpse of the artists, so I decided against it, and do my *cough* usual stuffs *cough* by myself in the foreigner box. No, no, I'm not referring to *cough* physical exercise *cough*, more like, for example doing the "EEEEEHHH?" when an artist said "so next is my last song". You know, that kinds of stuffs. No, I didn't do the physical exercise stuffs in the main stage. Honest.


After Denpa, still part of the same segment, other idols followed with half-songs (as in, not the full version of their songs, but the short versions, usually used for PV). By the end of it, one of the idol groups announced that they were going to be performing in the Nippon Stage, so please come and watch (in Japanese, of course, and no translator in the stage, so I don't think it was a message meant for us mere gaijins). Okay, Wasamin and Saisai segment was supposed to start after 4 o'clock, while it seemed that the main stage will mainly feature fashion shows, hair-cutting shows, sponsors' items such as instant camera, cute miso-shiru poduct, and electric scooter, so not my cup of tea. Time to go back to Nippon Stage.

As I was about to leave, I managed to to found a schoolmate of mine. I remembered she's from Lithuania, met her once during our college's welcome walk for foreign students, so I called out to her. She said she's with her friend, and haven't found any other students from our campus other than me. She said she didn't know any of the artist. Uh, okay, I don't either, with the exception of Denpa, Wasamin, Saisai, 9nine and KinBaku (that's a lot of exceptions). She said she only knew Kyari Pamyu Pamyu (Or KPP as I like to call). KPP's scheduled for Sunday (Day-Three), but she said she's not sure whether she'll be attending on Sunday. For a moment I thought about inviting her to see the Nippon Stage, but I decided against it. It's not a stage for the faint of hearts.

Back to Nippon Stage. all of them are great performers, but if I have to pick the ones who stood out for me, I think Faint*Star and Sora Tob Sakana did. I like Faint*Star's musical style, and awesome hand gesture movements, which reminded me of Temodemo No Namida, but on a whole different level. They don't have to do all the jumping around, so there wouldn't be any need for a lip-sync, I guess. Sora Tob Sakana, uh, are they even legal? I remember overhearing one of the audience "you can call me rorikon or whatever, let's move to the front!" In particular, Rei is cute. She said in her jikou that she's a half. Other performers I got the chance to see were Yamaguchi Kassei Gakuen, Musubizm, Osaka☆Shunkashuto, Devil ANTHEM, and predia. Each and every one of them are awesome.

Back to the main stage, time for some enka. The first artist was Hayabusa. Okay, so I guess they're like a boyband enka. But take nothing away from these guys. They know how to sing. Enka. Cool.

Then came what I've been waiting for. It's Wasamin's turn! Yay! And boy, was she good or what. She was being presented as Iwasa Misaki from AKB48, and introduced herself as such. It works well for both AKB48 and Wasamin, I think, although I do believe that by now Wasamin doesn't really need that AKB48 status anymore, as she's been successful enough in the enka world. Which begs the eerie question of how much longer will she remain in the group. Hopefully long enough. Oh I wish my friend Tora was there to see her. He would love every second of it.

Finally got to see Wasamin live in person.

Thereafter lied a new problem. See, at 10 past 5 o'clock Wasamin would held an akushukai (HS event) or so what I heard her saying. Next segment would have been SaiSai, but not after the, uh, filler segment from the sponsors. Hey no offence, I love you guys sponsors! My point is, I have to choose between these two. Okay, between akushukai and Live, it would be obvious to choose SaiSai's Live. But to make matters worse, there was this too.

Okay, but sorry, POCHI, I've planned to see SaiSai since...

Please come, onii-chan?

... but hey, DJ's great too. I love DJs. So heck, why not!   *wan wan*.

I went outside, and found the crowd got a lot bigger now. It was DJ PandaKeiko's turn when I got there. And boy, was the crowd crazy or what!

Doing something like this....

... and this. 0_0

Yes, they do all sorts of crazy stuffs. It was nuts there. And I thought the idol stage was nuts enough.

Time for POCHI to take the stage. She now wore a casual clothing, with a black T-shirt and, uh, well, go see the picture for yourself.

A pair of idol from Drop came and adds to the show (not scheduled).

POCHI asks to have her picture taken and then mentioned to her via Twitter.

At the end of the performance, the guilt came back to haunt me, because the last song that POCHI picked to play was... DEMO SAYONARA. It was a special song to me, reminiscence of Dorothy Little Happy's 2014 Live in Ind******. This song. And yes, I still remember the chant "suki yo -> ore mo!".

Dorothy Little Happy - Demo Sayonara (2015 Version) from RoboEbi on Vimeo.

As if that wasn't enough, google wanted me to remember this:

Apparently it has been EXACTLY one year since Dorothy Little Happy came to Ind****** and perform Live on J-Music Lab. In case you're wondering, that's not DLH, that's AmiAya, just before DLH. Oh right, I was also able to see AmiAya on the main stage, although as models, not performing DJ. I think they are scheduled for Day-Three perrformance. So yes, I'm rather amazed by these artists. They seemed to be multi-talented, as evidenced by AmiAya and POCHI.

BTW, at the start of POCHI's turn, an ojii-san a kind gentleman lent me a green cyallume glow stick. Apparently I've shown enough physical exercise to warrant the stuff? I managed to return the stick after the show (actually meaningless, since it would basically be rendered useless in 3 hours) and got to chat a little with him. It seemed that he's a POCHI oota fan. He wore POCHI's official black t-shirt (like the one she wore). The nice guy invited me to follow and support POCHI, showed me some of her pictures, you know, typical oota music enthusiast conversation. (i.e. *shows cellphone* "Kawaii desu nee..." "Aa, tashikani kawaii... aa, sore mo kawaii...")

I went back inside and on to the main stage where Tempura Kidz were performing. And then... 9nine! Yay! ZOMG ZOMG I got to see Ginga Bishounen theme song Live! This is so awesome! I can't contain the urge for, uh, physical exercise anymore.

According to the program leaflet, the next segment was for Sharp Aquos HD TV. Not interested, but with nowhere else to go, I decided to stay. And that's when...

The gaijins around me weren't fully aware of what's going on, but me and the Japanese crowds went "eeeeeeh? nandeeeee????" Because, well, the global icon was only supposed to be there at Day-Three? Apparently she was there for this:

After the long wait, we're down the last two performance, Mito Natsume. I don't know much about Mito Natsume, other than that she's been a runaway success domestically and abroad, and I must say, she's very good. BTW, have you seen that Pac-Man movie?

And then finally, the much-hyped, much-anticipated Golden Bomber. Okay, so I finally tasted the KinBaku live experience. And no wonder these guys have been so famous. With all their antics. And I mean, they were absolutely nuts. Getting half-naked on the stage wearing a one-piece babydoll and disastrous sailor moon cosplay. Really, I don't know what to say to that. And perhaps for the first time, and justifiably so, the foreigner box exploded! It was packed full of people for once!

So yeah, F.U. guys! F.U.! What has been seen cannot be unseen.

So overall, what a great event it has been. What with the idols, the DJs, the crowds. Plenty of memorable moment. Thank you for the promoters and sponsors for making a memorable two day journey in my life. Yes, I wont be going for Day-Three. I have to wake up early for classes in Roppongi, so it wouldn't be a good idea to watch Kyari. Besides, if Day-One is for anisong and Day-Two is for idols, Day-Three is I think for the fashionistas and socialites kinds of people. So not me.

Next event, I think, would be Chiaki Ishikawa's Live on November 28. See you guys then.