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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.

Alex arrived on the 3rd and managed to find her way to Kashiwa with no problems. I cooked that night since I had food and we just watched TV and talked all night. I had to work the next day, but it went by quickly. I booked it quick after 5th period and came home for a wee catnap before getting ready to go out for dinner. I tried calling Jenny but her phone was off and so (being the mother hen I am) I started to worry a little that something had gone wrong along the line, even though her flight landed about 45 minutes early. But in the end, we all assembled and made it to the restaurant on time. :) Dinner was delicious, we had shabu shabu at Nabezou in Shibuya. I'd never heard of this place before but it had a cheap deal and ended up being really good. After that, we karaoke'd for three hours at Utahiro as I am wont to do on a Friday night. My only complaint about that night was that the machine in our room had a really shit connection. I had to fuck around with the volumes but we still couldn't hear things well. But other than that, it was great. Got in our Arashi song practices and some other things. I gave a thrilling performance of Popstar, probably my best yet. I clearly have no shame.

I don't think it really hit me until Saturday morning that we were actually going to see Arashi. In Tokyo Dome. I've been to Tokyo Dome once before, but didn't know I was going until we were there. Best surprise ever. And I'm such a dolt for not figuring it out sooner, but I expect that everyone else felt very much like I did that day, just going on whatever train I told people to get on, trusting me to know the way. xD I did manage to lead us astray a couple times, but not too badly. It was that fucking Oedo Line mishap that was the worst.

So Alex and I rock up late and Jenny's there waiting for us. I was actually surprised at how not busy it was but then we had come up some random exit the farthest away from the main entrance. Once we got closer, I could see a line of people stretching across the footbridge which didn't bode well for us. We climb up to the main part and see the line wrapping around the dome. It was just like Nagoya last year so I knew what to expect. Apparently, we picked the "shorter" line (though at 10:30am, I doubt that it would have made much of a difference) and jumped in when we reached the end. Having Jenny, Alex and Lydia in line with me made the hour go so much quicker. I kept keeping an eye out for some of my students (I know there are some fans in the 3rd year) but no such luck. Jenny and Lydia already had theirs and Alex and I knew exactly what we wanted so buying was quick, especially when we could give Jenny and Lydia money to go buy something while we got other things.

What a pain in the ass though, buying goods. I don't know if it's a Tokyo Dome thing or a 5x10 thing, but you had to queue up for different things in different places. Last year, there were lots of different tents but it was all the same stuff, so you just went to one person and got everything at once. Much more painless than having to queue for the pamphlet and bag and then again for photos and uchiwas. But things moved quickly and we were done shopping by 11:45. :D

We went up to Lydia's hotel room and dumped our stuff and picked up Randy. I, like the idiot I am, forgot to put my little uchiwa in my bag so I didn't even have it for the concert. But I made sure I had my flag with me and that's all that really matters. In hindsight (and I might have said this last year too), I wish I'd splurged for the stupid penlight. It's so stupid and useless after the fact, but I would have liked to have one during the show. Note to self for the future, if I ever get the chance again: buy a penlight.

After shopping, we hopped on the subway and went to Shibuya. Took some more pictures of the AU ads and the obligatory touristy shot with Hachiko. We got a bit turned around but luckily for my map, we went off to find the Johnny's Family Club with fairly little difficulty. It's tiny. And it was jammed full of people when we arrived. We just caught the end of the Arashi video message, but I didn't really listen to it. After it ended, about half the people in the room left. On one side was awards and books and CDs, some autographs, and on the other was all the messages. You could tell where the Arashi part was because there was no body moving. I couldn't tell what people were doing. This one girl was standing in front of the Arashi board for a good fifteen minutes if not long. Read the board, take your pictures and shove off! The others were relatively empty so I got to look at the News ones and this lady asked me who I liked. LOL I said Kato Shigeaki and she's like, "Oh, Shige! ♥" It was cute. I kind of wish I'd stayed and chatted a bit more but I'd had enough claustrophobia and went outside to wait.

After the Family Club, we got a late lunch and headed off to Harajuku. It had started raining so the streets were sloshy and miserable. I pointed out the Johnny's Shop and we went to the entrance of the shrine and walked down Omotesando and then went back to Tokyo Dome. The weather was too crappy for walking and Lydia said that the elevators were a nightmare on Friday night.

There were bathrooms on the first and second floor of the hotel but they blocked off the one on the first floor for patrons of the restaurant and the line for the one on the second floor was a nightmare so we ended up going up to use Lydia's room. We thought we could be super sneaky and use the service lift right across from Lydia's room but when we were going down it was locked. It took a good half an hour to get downstairs. Elevators weren't coming and when they did, there was only room for one or two people... in the end, I asked one of the staff guys if we could take the stairs and he volunteered to call the service lift for us. There were about six other ladies waiting by the time the guy came for us so it was a good thing.

We got to our entrance at 5:45 and picked up Ginny and all was well. No one asked for ID or membership cards or anything. A cursory glance in my bag and asked if I had a camera and that was it. One we found our seats, it finally hit. We were in the second row of the upper block and could see everything. Even if we were at the back of the room, that's what I liked about my seats at Koda Kumi's concert.

There's so much I can write about the concert itself, so many highlights and priceless moments and things that happened. It's all kind of blur now so I'll just write about the most memorable parts to me.

They opened the show on the wires in shiny white outfits, hanging off their giant 5x10 balloon and floated across the entire dome to the small stage at the back of the floor. They did a couple songs back there, oldies I think. Did their greetings and all of a sudden it was Aiba's solo.

They all chose solos from songs/tv dramas they starred in and he did Pikanchi. There was a lot of dancing and it was hard and dirty sounding. Very unlike he's usually sunny solos which I loved. I really liked the drum line to start things off with the juniors. I was totally watching for Tatsuoki-kun but it was hard cuz there were just so damn many of them.

I think Nino was next up with Kotoba Yori and his guitar. I leaned over and shouted to Alex, "Look! He's a real musician!" It was excellently done and though it lost some of its oomph because there was only one voice (which is really what I love about the song), it was still wonderful.

Sho did Tomadoi Nagara, the song from Yoiko no Mikata. I never really liked the song before, it was just so bland and forgettable but I really liked how he remixed it for the concert. And of course, the glittery hoodie and the dancing was right on.

Ohno did Kumori nochi, Kaisei, of course. Complete with sun and cloud balloons and the outfit. We saw several people in their own UtaOni outfits which just made it greater. I don't really know why he didn't do a remix of his song, but I guess it's so new still. Or that's its so epically perfect that it doesn't need to be updated.

Lastly was Matsujun and holy damn, after that solo, I might have to proclaim myself a Matsujun fangirl. I had been talking with Alex about how all his solos are really over-the-top and he just tries so hard to lay on the sexiness and I really don't like a lot of his solo songs anyway. He redid Wish swing/broadway style and sweet mother, I fell in love. The outfit he was wearing didn't really fit that great but I didn't care at all because it was just brilliant. It didn't even sound like Wish at all, and I was having a bit of trouble singing along because I couldn't find the melody but that just made it even better. I cannot wait to see that again on DVD.

The VTRs for this show were absolutely beautiful. My favourites were the video for Everything: a montage of people passing each other and traffic lights, city scenes and skies. During Ashita no Kioku, there were pictures of the boys from birth all the way up until now. It was gorgeously set to the music and really impressive. It was nice to see where the started and where they came from. (Not to mention Aiba's peen. Oh yes.)

That segued into a video about all their accomplishments since their debut in 1999. Clips from their day on the boat, talking about how nervous and excited they are. Clips from various dramas and shows, 24 Hour TV, concerts, everything. They've worked so hard to get where they are today and it shows.

Then the 5x10 montage of all their singles, complete with plastic rain outfits. I will never forget that for as long as I live. XD

They rode around the trucks a few times and I had my flag out each time. I'm absolutely positive it could be seen, but the only problem was that I couldn't see them. But it doesn't matter. I will cherish the (perhaps silly) thought that they saw it and new that they have touched so many people. I also know a hell of a lot more choreography to Truth than I thought. xD I was dancing and singing along the entire time. The girls behind us must have thought we were sacrilegious or something.

They thanked the fans, one by one, for all the years of support and lead into 5x10. I heard so many people crying around me and I did get a bit misty in the end. But it wasn't even that song that hit me the hardest. The last song of the night, after the popped out after singing a couple more for the enchore, was My Girl. The song never really struck me as much before, just a formulaic drama theme ballady type song, but oh, hearing them sing it live and the words, it really did hit me. Like they were singing it for me. It sounds so lame, but everytime I hear it from now on, I'm going to get a tight feeling in my chest.

ありがとうの思いを伝えたいよ そっと君のもとへ
I want to send my feelings of thanks to where you are
遠く離れてしまっても 思い出に満ちた未来へ
Even if we are far apart, to a future filled with memories
瞳を閉じれば 君と過ごしたあの季節が思い浮かぶ
When I close my eyes, I recall the season I spent with you
ふたりの記憶つないでいく今日も そっと小さな温もり集めて
Tie our memories together and today, too, we'll gather a little bit of warmth

It was an absolutely great night. I'm so happy to have gone with you girls, Lyida, Jenny, Alex and Ginny. It made it so much better than it would have been otherwise.

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.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-12-11 01:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
♥ not tl;dr at all

(no subject)

Date: 2009-12-11 02:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Your rendition of Popstar was TO DIE FOR! and I'll definitely come back to do things properly. Hopefully when you're still (or have returned to) Japan?

(no subject)

Date: 2009-12-23 04:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
dude. dude. dude. dude. So lucky!

They wore the see-through outfits! I never thought I would be ever to see them wear them again.

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