Supermerlion goes to Japan, Again!

15 March, 2010 by

Every so often, the stars and moons align, resulting in both AKB48 and Morning Musume holding their major concerts in close proximity and within a 2 week time line. To the people at Supermerlion, yes, it’s the perfect excuse to have a 2 week vacation in the land of all things kawaii!

Our previous romp through Japan was guided by Hello Morning! spots and other rural touristy places of interests. This time, we were going more for the shopping, concerts, events, cosplays and just all out fun. With 3 cameras and HD videos, hopefully we’ll have tons of photos after all the dust settles and wallets drained.

Main highlights of this trip, to me are as follows.

We literally ran out of money the last trip, so this time I’m going prepared. We’re setting aside 4 full days of shopping in and around Harajuku, Shibuya, Ginza, Omotesando and Roppongi Hills. We plan to leave no shop unvisited, and no piece of clothing untouched. When you go someplace with your luggage only half full, you know you’re going on a spree 😀

Objectives simple, to replace my abysmal wardrobe with decent clothing and accessories from the trendiest place on earth. You can’t buy anything decent locally. Everything looks the same here in Singapore. Template clothing from template shops from template shopping centers.

If you ask me to choose between scenery in Europe vs concerts in Japan, I’ll pick the second one without even blinking. I mean really, nothing beats an idol concert with wotas armed with bags of glowsticks. And as luck would have it, 2 of the most popular idol groups are having their concerts this month.

Morning Musume Concert, is a must go. I predict this to be my last concert experience. They’re outgrowing their agency, and the agency’s not doing anything to catch up. Still producing mediocre releases and decisions that don’t do them justice. Plus I promised myself to get a better seat and come armed with glowsticks the last time I was there.

The only issue is the ticket prices. 1st row ones come at around S$2500, 2nd row ones around S$500. Mind you the money doesn’t go to the company, but to the fan club members, who buy them at about S$130 and resell them for a sizable profit. We’ll see if the ticket prices go down as the concert date draws nearer. We mustn’t let our 16 pink glow sticks go unseen by Sayumi!

AKB48 Concert, is also another must go. Since they first started out 5 years back, they’ve rose to mega super stardom, surpassing Morning Musume and even Ayumi Hamasaki in new single sales. From their tiny theater in Akihabara with the original 20 girls, they’ve since grown to over 90 girls, with countless TV appearances, shows, movies, events, and now they’re able to hold sold-out concerts at the massive Yokohama Arena.

The thing I like about AKB48 is not just the girls (in fact, I can’t tell who’s who except for the original few), but the people behind the girls. The agency has very high production values, and they grow with the girls, with each singles PV surpassing or at least maintaining the high standards of the last one.

Ticket prices aren’t as insane as the Morning Musume ones. We managed to secure front row tickets at S$265 each for this one not too bad. I’ve never been to a concert with 48 Idols on stage all at once, so this is going to be something new.

Well we’re not actually going to climb it, but visit the areas with the best views. Hakone and Gotemba. From the photos online, these places are rich with culture and traditional architecture, so it’ll be a welcome break from all the urbanization in Tokyo.

10 years ago maybe I would be more keen, but it is the only place on with nightly fireworks, carnivals, and huge big headed characters walking around as photo opportunities for tourists. I rather take photos with high level cos-players than a huge Micky, but a Japan trip won’t be complete without Disneyland, so we’re going!

Another huge reason to go to Japan, to witness the Sakura Blossoms. We planed many trips to parks around the area just to catch this amazing sight (or so they say). It also offers the perfect opportunity to cam whore in parks for new Facebook avatars.

Other things that cannot be mentioned!
We will hopefully, also be exploring the other side of Japan that it’s so famous for. Their nightlife and AV industry! One of the world’s top 5 clubs (WOMB) is located in Shibuya, so that would one of the highlights after dark. Other after dark places of interest would be Kabukicho and Yoshiwara, the land of soap! We’ll most probably be broke after that.

Apart from other more touristy places, that about sums up upcoming trip to Japan. We’ll probably be updating daily over there as well, so check back soon for all the photos :]

Planning your holiday? We recommend visiting Agoda for a full list of hotels with early bird specials.

Born and raised in Singapore, MJ earns his keep by pushing pixels around as a media designer. Other jobs include getting paid taking pictures, as well as being a full time fanboy for all things cool & kawaii. MJ shoots with a Canon 5DmkII.