Another day with the rainbow stars20 January, 2012 by Chad
This Friday would be our second and only other day this trip spent idoling or so we thought, as we made our return to Harajuku in the early morning to pick up the leftover tickets for this evening’s last SUPERGiRLS New Year concert. Thanks to Gorakudoh’s convenient website that was updated at multiple times each day, we learned that the two back row tickets we had seen from yesterday were still available. After yesterday’s amazing live, I was eager for another chance to enjoy their performances.
The two tickets cost us only 2,000 yen each. Which was a little sad for whoever was selling them since they cost 3,500 a pop. He would have made a considerable lost, even before deducting whatever Gorakudoh was charging for their services. Had our trip been less impromptu, we would had been able to get much better tickets (in the 300-400 seat range) online for less than their original price too.
Now that more of the shops had opened, we managed to look around the clothing stores at the actual Harajuku Street. This is where you’d find more of the interesting brands, indie labels and knick knack shops as opposed to the teen clothing at Takeshita dori. Spotted a pretty cool pair of limited edition Nike sneakers at one of the shops here. It was made out of yellow reflective material, the kind you find on safety vests.
Stopped by the Freshness Burger here for an early lunch. Somehow Gage hadn’t tried any of their burgers yet, not even in Singapore so it was time to fix that.
After lunch, we revisited Nakano with hopes that more of the shops would be back from their holidays too. Thankfully, that was the case. But while it was fun looking around at all the different stuff people were attempting to sell (most of it being AKB48 related) our wallets were pretty stretched out already at this point of the trip.
Some things of particular interest were that many shops selling American or rather American themed goods there that looked to be doing rather well. We would find more of these shops elsewhere too. These have found popularity with a segment of Japanese youths, some sort of reverse weaboo.
I have some friends at Ubisoft who would be proud to know that someone must had thought their games good enough to warrant a temporary Assassins Creed art gallery set up here. It featured fan interpretations by various artists known and unknown.
The late afternoon saw us heading back to Shinjuku and BLAZE for the last SUPERGiRLS concert. The JR station here displayed a series of large banners advertising AKB48′s second behind the scenes movie. It stretched across the entire walkway.
We were the second last batch of 20 to get called in so getting anything but a corner in the back was inevitable. Fortunately though, the audience area in BLAZE is a series of elevated steps so getting a view from the far end was still possible. Or at least it would be if not for the really tall youths and their frantic maneuvers. Decided to head to the left hand side this time so that Gage could get a peek of Shimura Rika and it didn’t hurt that it was Kano Kaede’s end of the stage too.
The entire back row was jammed up by a rowdy group of 7 or 8 Japanese teens, who must had been 170cm or taller. In their defense, they had pretty good tickets in the 400 range but decided to head all the way to the back so as to continue their shenanigans. But it wouldn’t had be possible to see past them even if they weren’t jumping wildly. Fortunately, there were a couple of more grounded middle aged men on the left corner of the rail. This gave us a fairly limited but direct view of the left side of the stage.
Initially tried tiptoeing past the bunch of fans to at least see more of the other end. But realizing that it was in vain, settled on just appreciating what we could see. Had the many AKB48 shows in Singapore not trained me for this identical situation, I would had been pretty pissed. And the people behind us who didn’t make it to the back railing and had to stand behind that bunch of fans had it much worse. One of them unwrapped a stool and binoculars he had just bought from Tokyu Hands for this purpose. Note to self, bring foldable stools to concerts in the future.
The first few songs in the show followed an identical structure to yesterday’s performance. Starting with iDOL Street members performing their only songs. The groups shuffled around a little today with 3 Kansai members selected to perform Zettai! Love Magic instead, which ridiculous dance had won me over instantly yesterday. The Kanto lineup did it better.
SUPERGiRLS emerged again in their EveryBody JUMP!! outfits to open with their new album songs and Joshiryoku Paradise. Perhaps it was the pressure of being the last show this series but the fans seemed especially rowdy today. Even yesterday, fan participation bordered on the insane with SUPERGiRLS fans combining many of the worst elements of both Hello! Project and AKB48 fan behavior.
The group of youths basically put on their own show throughout the evening, performing outrageous wotagei actions without actually paying attention much to the concert. The obstructed fans behind them laughed but were probably furious to have their entire vision obstructed. Yet, this particular group must had been well known for their antics. Katsuta Rino even saluted them in a familiar manner during one of the MCs.
After their introductions, the girls changed into their MAX! Otome Kokoro costumes (the white and blue ones, not the bikinis). They wore their Ganbatte Seishun costumes for yesterday’s first show. Something told me I must had missed the Joshipara show.
Today, they performed a number of b-side, singles and group songs. They interrupted for breaks where they split up into two groups, with one staying on stage to play a game of charades. This would replace yesterday’s calligraphy session. The surprise was that the losing team would have to end up performing whatever unit songs from their album Chouzetsu Shoujo that they were in. This was pretty awesome, since I was looking forward to hearing some of those.
The losing team ended up being comprised of Tanaka Mirei, Miyazaki Rina, Katsuta Rino, Shimura Rika, Kano Kaede and Goto Aya (I think). Mirei did a short segment of The Rock You by herself repeatedly stopping while saying she couldn’t remember how to perform it. Miyazaki and Katsuta sang the entire Egao ga Porori with Katsuta taking over all of Maeshima’s parts. She humbly said after that it was impossible without Ami, to which the fans responded that she did great.
The remaining 3 girls jumped in as soon as the back music for Tokimeki Iro no Kaze to Kimi started remembering it quite well. The other members from the unit joined in midway too. Kano Kaede even pulled in Arai Reira (who wasn’t part of the unit) to fumble along. It was great fun.
They also held the same ballot where fans could win letters from the members. The concert moved on to more awesome group songs from their first album. It was eventually time for MAX! Otome, which was met with the loudest cheers. Gage was particularly won over by KIRA PURE POWER.
Somehow ended up dropping the pink battery operated pen light that I had bought last year for the sake of the AKB48 Singapore concerts and was surprised to find that it had snapped in half. This was especially unfortunate, since its made of the soft plastic material used to make drink bottles and thus pretty resistant to such falls. It had snapped off at the join too, which was probably stiff from being left in my bag while we roamed around Tokyo in the freezing temperatures. This would had been a pretty bad omen for AKB48, had it not also served as my Maeshima glow stick.
There was an encore today, which started immediately after the girls left and promoted others to ask them to slow down. Still, the members returned to the stage surprisingly fast. They did EveryBody JUMP!! for a second time before ending the high tension NIJIIRO STAR. Any remaining doubts about SUPERGiRLS from yesterday was easily vanquished. Made plans to attempt to join their free live and hi-touch event, which was scheduled just before our flight on Monday. Had I known about it earlier, would have stayed another day for this purpose but I hadn’t been quite in touch with idol related news for a while.
Found a Tengu Izakaya nearby where we would get dinner. Ordered a couple servings of their nama (parma) ham pizza and more diced steak. Also some sashimi, yakitori and fried smelts.
While there were no concrete plans for the remaining days. There were a number of places we had considered visiting such as Ueno Zoo, Odaiba and a train museum in Saitama, which we had seen advertisements for en route to Disney Resort.