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I need to write this otherwise I never will, well more than my existential post talking about feelings and crap. Alex and Jenny have already written theirs and there are other reports floating... I don't even know what I'm going to write but I feel like I should recap the experience for my own memorial purposes. Now that there are paparazzi pictures out, I am feeling refreshed.

So, let's start at the start.

Omg so tl;dr it's not even funny. )

On Sunday I lead everyone on a tour of Tokyo, we walked through Nihonbashi and Ginza, went for a little ride on the Yurikamome, stalked around NTV, visited a temple and enjoyed the Tokyo Tower-ed skyline. I'm sorry Jenny that we couldn't go up. :( Or make it to Keio. I didn't think it would be that busy and we made some detours to the agenda. You'll just have to come back another time. Maybe by then, the new Sky Tree will be finished.
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I would have posted sooner but I was so tired yesterday and LJ is being a bitch this morning.

This was it. There was so much to love and I had such a good time. The production quality was amazing, the VTRs on the big screens, our seats, the stage, the energy, the company: it was all perfect. There were so many good things that I can't just choose one or two as favourites and of course, now my memory of it are starting to blur a bit from being overwhelmed and excited and just plain exhausted.

There were no low points, no things I wish they had done better, no heinous costume accidents, no gross vocal mishaps. And even though I know logically that they are a little older than I am, but I don't feel like they are sometimes when I see them making complete asses off themselves on TV but last night, I really saw them as adults, as people my own age. I really feel like they have grown up a lot this year and that was definitely a recurring theme last night.

And I admit, I did get misty towards the end of 5x10. I didn't think I would cry at all. But (and now this is going to sound really sappy) if I didn't have Arashi, my time in Japan would have been drastically different, I'm sure. I was feeling kind of emotional at the end of the last encore. The lyrics of My Girl really hit me, about spending a season together but now it's over.

They weren't by any means perfect either: flubbed lyrics, missed lyrics, improvised lyrics, trips on the stage, jolts on the carts, trains of thought going too fast to keep up with mouths. Solid evidence in front of my face that they are human too.

Wow, this came out really existential and I didn't really mean for it to, but there you go. I can't fangirl about this with keymashing and babbling about how so-and-so was so hot (though at the time, I did, and if in my wettest, wildest dreams, if the 5 of them ever wanted to have an orgy with me, OH HELL YES) because I respect them too much. It seems like a very Japanese thing to me to be so thankful for ten long years; I can't think of the same thing happening with any artist/group in the English music scene.

Ah, it was just. Just.

And I'm pretty sure that they saw my flag because it was kind of hard not to. If this the 5x10 tour gets put out on DVD, and I don't see why it wouldn't, I'll be watching for it in the audience.

Now, if only my body would right itself, that would be great.
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So I didn't get tickets to his showcase and I made my peace with that. On Friday he write on Mixi that was going to play another show in Shinjuku on Tuesday and if you wanted to go, send your name in and they'd reserve you some tickets at the door. So I asked Ginny along because I know she's got a love for Japanese boybands and this isn't that far of a stretch and I haven't seen her for a while.

We met up in Shinjuku and grab some dinner and then try and find this live house. I thought I was smart because I printed out a map at work but the map was complete crap and we ended up walking around (not through, around) Kabukicho for like a hour before finding the place. If they had put the big love hotel on the map and we would have found it right away. Anyway.

We arrived at about 8pm and Joe wasn't scheduled to go on until about 8:50. We caught the end of this band from Kyoto and another which was really good. They're doing a one man show (which means... their own show) on the 2nd and I'm contemplating going but I'm going to be leaving the house at like 6 to go to the airport the next day so maybe not.

I saw some of the same people who were at Joe's show 2 weeks ago (and I know at least one recognized me) but there were quite a few more than last time. Even this 12-year-old kid with his mom! The set list was the same but he forgot the lyrics to one song and had a some technical difficulties with the computer but generally seemed more comfortable on stage than last time. He started doing some impressions (Hard Gay, guys.) and people were throwing some requests out like the donguri song (yeah, that one from Uta no Oniisan) and Nirvana. But what do he actually play? Some Michael Jackson: Bille Jean as suggested by me. And even moonwalked. I thought maybe that might be a bit off colour seeing as how, you know, MJ is no longer with us, but whatever. I win. Not to mention he totally saw me and pointed from the stage during the final song.

This time he had a little survey to fill out (name, age, gender, where you from, how'd you hear about me, what's your favourite song, what other artists do you like, etc) and merchandise for sale. There was stuff there and I had wanted to get a CD before but just never got around to it so I talked Ginny into lending me money. This was before I even realized he was sitting there at the table signing stuff.

We kind of jump the line by accident and hand him our questionnaires (which I may or may not have wrote too much in the "message" portion). I'd had 3 beers, that's my excuse. I appologize and blush like a beet and jump the back of the line (I forget how much my feet are hurting for a while) and when we get to the front, he's got the album I'd asked for (the last one~!) set aside and goes, "Heather, right?" (Insert squeel here.) So he asks me if I live in Japan and if I'm fluent and what I do for a living... it's like a 1 minute conversation but it was just. I don't want to reduce myself to the same level as those girls who were taking all these pictures on their phones and probably write him ganbare messages on his BBS and Mixi everyday. I'm not that bad. It sounds so fucking lame but this is a dream come true. I'd thought, what if I was able to get something signed? I never thought it would actually happen. I hope that when he gets to be super famous, he'll remember this Canadian fan in Japan that he met.

Bonus: I turned Ginny into a fangirl. She kept saying, "He's so hot!!" even after the show ended. Aftewards, we spent a good hour and a half chatting at the shrine about music and boys. It was so great!

The only thing that would make this better would be to wake up with a thank you note message from him on Mixi but I'm not going to hold my breath on that one. I think I've been lucky enough.

And now some pictures! )

And now after that night of sheer awesome, my feet are absolutely shredded. Damn you, new shoes! I would have been fine had it not been for effing getting lost in Kabukicho and walking in circles trying to find the damn club. And now, it's 1:56am and I'm totally not sleepy at all. I've done the 4 hours of sleep thing and it really is not conducive to work but what can you do? Luckily I've got 1st free and only 3 classes tomorrow. Maybe I can get another chunk of my remix done! I'm already at 1500 words.
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OMG OMG OMG.  I'm still like :DDDDDD after the concert which is awesomesauce.  I want to blog extensively like I told Lydia I would but really, it's a pretty short story.  I should get to bed ASAP cuz tomorrow is going to suck balls but I need to rehydrate anyway.


I only wish this picture was mine.

OMGOMGOMG!!!

Okay, so I manage to get home earlier than expected, showered, hair curled and all dolled up in record time.  Got to Shindaita at 5:50 and waited for JR, who in typical gay man fashion was late.  He got there around 6:35 and then we went to find some eats and went to the show.  This live house only opened in March so everything is still shiny and new.  It's directly across from the station so super convenient.  There really isn't much else in Shindaita but its only one stop from Shimo-Kitazawa, the old hipster hub of Tokyo, JR tells me.

The first band, Haushinka was interesting.  A mix of punk, rock and metal.  They did some Beatles and Ramones covers, very lively and entertaining.  The second band was Rally the Bird. these two guys, one on drums and one on guitar that were pretty blah.  Pretty nice arrangements and the singer had a nice voice--it's just too bad we couldn't really hear was he was saying.  And pretty much no crowd interactions.  Boo.

THEN JOE! :DDD  I went to the bathroom before he came out the start setting up but JR said all the girls screamed.  LOL  When we got there there was maybe 2 dozen people but there was a fair crowd by the time Joe got to the stage.  He opened with Nowhere and then played Pa-pa-pa.  Then he says, "Where are you guys from?" into the mic after his song in English.  JR and I were the only visible foreigners in the crowd, but we couldn't help but ask, "Who, us?" 
"Yeah."
"Oh, Canada."
"Awesome. Rock on!" 
Though being the only two white people in a sea of Asians, dead centre, is kind of hard to miss.  But it just makes me feels so amazing because that is absolute, undeniable proof that he saw me there and took notice. :DDDD 

And I bet you all the rest of the girls in the audience--ie the whole audience were jealous as fuck!  Especially the one in pink right at the front who spent his entire set waving her hands and jumping up and down.  I guess it's not done in Japan to sing along at shows but I didn't care.  I knew all the words and JR made fun of me but whatever.  He sounds just as good live as he does recorded and he's damn cute.  As if I wasn't already in love with him before.  He also played Closer, Maboroshi and his new song coming out this month, Go.

I had hoped that he would come out and mingle afterwards like the first band (they passed around comment sheets to everyone!) but no dice.  I guess because he's on the up and up he (or his management) doesn't want to mingle with fans for security reasons?  I don't know.  JR and I hung around after a bit, had another beer and played with the door-girl's dog for a while afterwards but no sign of my future-ex-husband. 

All I can say is that he's very personable on stage.  Some of the girls were calling out things, "Kakkoii~", "Ganbare~", "Oishii?" when he took a drink of water, and he just rolled with it.  He hasn't got a big head about his fame (yet) which is nice to see.  I wish all the best for him in the future.  Now I can say I saw him before he got big, from 6 feet away. 

Sweet dreams for me tonight!
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Click for bigger.
 
Sometimes the fanclub has their act together and sends a preprinted form and sometimes they don't so you have to pick up a blank payment form (払込取扱票 harakomi toriatsukai hyou) from any Japan Post branch and fill it in by hand. 
  1. Fanclub account number - 00180-7-605272.  Align the third section to the left so that the first cell (from the left) is empty.  
  2. Total ticket price - [(Ticket price x # of tickets) + ¥500 fee]
  3. Payee's name - Arashi Concert Department (嵐コンサート事務局)
  4. This is the area you write all your information, as laid out in the instructions sent by the fanclub. It's pretty much the same everytime. You need to number everything as well: (1) The name of the concert/tour, ie. 嵐 国立コンサート2009, (2) FC number (8 digits)  - A00000000, (3) # of tickets, (4) You have to write it out that way because the people in the office music be dumb... (Price x # of tickets) + ¥500 = total price, (5) Phone number and/or email address
  5. (6) Which show(s) you are balloting for. Sometimes they give you 3 choices, sometimes not. Write the concert code of the shows.
  6. (7) Your address, (8) name, (9) phone number
  7. The stub on the right is your copy but you still should write it out all nice. They change information they want you to write in the tiniest info box in the world but this time they want your address, name, phone number, # of tickets and the concert code of your number one choice. They don't specify more, but there's no room for more.
I'm not going to post this to any communities but if you want to share it around, go for it. 
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I got the official announcement email from Johnny's web today. I haven't even looked at the comms but this is more for my information than anyone else's. Apologies to anyone for reading this for the sixty-second time.

Cut to save your flist! )

Well, the fact of the matter is I can't afford to go to the stadium show. If tickets were only 5,000 yen, like they were last time, maybe. But 7,000 is a lot and I'm going to Singapore. I would love to go to Tokyo Dome. It's close to home and I sure that it would just be fantastic show. Lydia will also probably be here! I wouldn't mind go to Nagoya. I've been there once, I know my way arond and what's the best way to get there and back. Tokyo is the most balloted venue, I think so I think there's a better shot at winning Nagoya, but it's the last venue. And the last shows are always the best.

I've got til the end of July to figure this out. I think I have more friends who want to go than tickets available. And I wouldn't want people to make plans to come all the way here from overseas especially for the concert and then have no tickets.

Now that it's official, I really want to go!
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I think I've figured out why I don't get Arashi news first (like you think I would, living in Japan)--I don't stalk 2ch or read any of the newspapers. But that's what LJ is for.

I love best-of albums. This one, I will pay money for. I wonder what kind of extra goodies they will include. The last few releases have come with a DVD. Maybe some kind of mini-documentary? And a concert~ I'm not surprised? Well, after the rumors before, it was bound to happen. Rumors don't just start from nowhere. And it's pretty much the same as was reported before. I'd love to stay in Tokyo for a show, rather than have to travel somewhere. But I can't afford a concert in August with Singapore in the mix. Maybe Tokyo Dome? Yvonne won't be in Nagoya anymore for me to crash but if I had a friend or two (or three) to travel with, that would be fun too. We could find somewhere to crash or just take a bus back to Tokyo afterwards. Since I've been to a show in Nagoya already, I know we could make it on time for the bus back. And it's the last show and if all my years in theatre are anything to go by, the last show is always the best. :) We'll see what happens with ballots.

Is it too early to ask who wants to go with me? LOL Never to soon to start planning, I guess. If the first show is in August, then balloting should be starting soon. It's only 2 months away. I'll probably get the FC announcement in the mail in the next few days. Come on, Johnny. I'm overdue to win something!

Long day of grade 6 today. At least they are an energetic bunch for the most part. Some maybe too energetic... At least the day will go fast. And then I have to go pay all my bills. Good-bye, 80,000 yen.
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OHMYGOD IT WAS SO GOOD

This is how I wish I felt after Arashi in May.  Really.  That was a fucking awesome show.  I only knew about half of the songs (and no Switchblade 327) but it was just lkgjadfkjdf!!!  We got there just before 7 (it would have been closer from Shibuya after all) and a staff guy said we could sit closer because 75% of the 2nd floor was empty!  There were two girls directly in front of us who got drunk and flailed around (because that was not dancing) but otherwise it was great.  There was such an array of people from people our age (actually most of the audience) to an elderly couple, punks, rockers, those Elvis impersonators from Yoyogi Park on Sundays even.  And Brian Setzer seems like a genuinely nice guy from his stage presence and the little he said.  And the music!!! :D  Such a talented man and group of people in general.  I'm so glad I impulse bought those tickets.  Ariel enjoyed it too.  I took her non-classical concert virginity tonight.  I even took some sneaky audio on my phone but I can't download it from there and it probably sucks.  Maybe I'll use it as my ringtone for a while.  Ahhdlkjdf~ !! I'm just really fucking happy right now. :)) 

AND Nagase is the guest on Shukudai tonight.  What a great Monday! 

I have an hour: maybe I can finish this fic too.  That would just be the cherry on the fucking cake.

I need to make sure I make time to hang out with Ari because I have just realized how much I missed having girl friends.  We have also decided to make the gay boys do straight things for us more often.  No more Arty's, no more faggy queens trying to pick fights with Ariel.  We are going to celebrate our birthdays this weekend with karaoke and possibly clubbing.  We don't know when Andrew and Ben get back (they suddenly went to Cambodia) but we're going to make them man up for a nice $50 dinner for us at some point.  Maybe it will have to wait until the 21st. 


aide: (Oh no I'm bored)
My F-list has been boring the last few days and this is quite a disappointment.  Not the people on it becuase real life gets in the way but I find that interesting anyway but nothing severely interesting has been posted to my comms lately.  It's sad.  Maybe I just woke up hungry and on the wrong side of the futon this morning.  That's a possiblity. 

I got the One Love single(s) yesterday so I'm giving things a thorough listen.  I remember not being super sold on 冬を抱きしめて when I heard it for the first time but it  grew on me (I don't think it's possible for an Arashi song not to grow on you).  How to Fly has a nice Latin twist to it.  Interesting.  I was just saying to [profile] everystarrfall last night that I wish they were more experimental with their music: I love the techno/raver song Yes? No?, the jazz influence of COOL & SOUL or the hard rock ones like Pik*nchi and 五里霧中.  I love the cookie cutter J-pop, don't get me wrong, but I would like so see them branch out.  But I guess JE isn't about experimenting and growth, it's about packaging what sells in mountains of glitter, shiny and fur.  Oh well. 

Thank god that I have two free periods first thing.  Jun cancelled his classes today for self-study before the tests.  Imai-sensei won't, but I know she'll actually use me.  Kaneko-sensei's lessons yesterday (3 of them T_T) were the longest periods of my life.  They were just doing a review sheet and I went around marking and helping... but it was fucking hot and stuffy so I was uncomfortable as hell.  Makes 50 mins stretch that much farther.

Today is the day I'll go submit a ballot for tickets.  The 2nd show is on the same day as the Sports Festival... so I think I will just ballot for a pair for the Friday.  I really don't fancy running straight downtown after sweating all day without a break (the show is at 5:30pm... are we 12?  Actually... that's a very dumb question) and then maybe missing it or being late.  Not worth the hassle.  I'll ballot for a pair and see if I can't trick a certain closeted fanboy into coming with me.  Or sell it to some lonely fan at the gates.  Maybe I'll have met some other LJ fan friend to go with me by then.  Who knows.

Immigration tomorrow.  I'm extremely not excited.

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