Fairies, avex’s dance and vocal unit hits up the heartlands18 February, 2013 by Chad
Slept in this morning before waking up to contemplate what was the best way to spend the afternoon. I still had shopping to do, yet wasn’t too keen on wrestling with the Sunday crowds. Somehow I found myself looking up the Fairies website again. They were having a Kanagawa live event this afternoon, the last to promote their White Angel single. Discovered that while it was quite a distance, there was a direct train there. This was enough to tip things in their favor. I hurried over to Suitengumae Station to catch a train over to where the event would be held.
Today’s Fairies’ live was at Tama Plaza in Utsukushigaoka, a suburb along the northern-west border of Yokohama. In Singapore terms, this was one of those “heartlands” malls. Fairies would be performing in the Kanagawa equivalent of Bukit Panjang Plaza. I would learn today that past Shibuya, the Tokoyo Metro Hanzomon trains continues onward to Kanagawa under the Tokyu Denentoshi label. The entire journey takes just under an hour.
Had originally thought that it’d be further away, and had I known it’d be this accessible, would had made plans to attend the event sooner. Yesterday’s event at Tokyo Dome City was quite enjoyable but the poor weather conditions left much to be desired. Thankfully, the heavy rains had subsided at some point this morning.
Since I had left at the last minute, could hear the not so distant sounds of Fairies already performing as the train pulled up into Tama Plaza. Rushing toward the source of the music, the stage soon came into view. Had arrived a little too late to get a good spot. Still, managed to tip toe through to see the rest of the performance. Compared to Tokyo Dome City or even many other malls, today’s venue was quite a bit smaller. Thankfully, there didn’t seem to be too many people around.
After performing a bunch of their songs the they proceeded into another handshake event. While many fans crowded around the area to watch, hardly any were in line for the handshake this afternoon. It turned out that most weren’t willing to leave their spot, in fear of losing it.
I guess the right thing to do then was to get more copies of their single, which I ended up doing. There wasn’t any queue at the sales booth this time. Perhaps everyone had already spent their limit on the previous days. Had purchased two versions of their CD yesterday, so decided to get the third final version to complete things. Received only one handshake ticket this time and without thought picked out another random Miki picture.
The handshake session ended up being a rather pleasant experience. Miki recognised me from yesterday and seemed quite amused to see me again. Mahiro was also a lot friendlier and more upbeat today. She had tied up her hair into two tiny buns and looked quite adorable too. She explained that it was in celebration of Mickey Mouse’s birthday today.
While the handshake session was underway, there would also be the occasional person picking up tickets at the booth, so while there wouldn’t be more than a dozen people in line at any point, there would be a steady number of fans coming through handshake line.
After my turn I headed upstairs to take a look around. Even before the first event had ended, many of the (especially) younger fans were already camping out for the next. About 50% of Fairies fans were young girls and another 25% their parents. The next largest audience today were teenage boys and random members of the public who had just chanced upon the event. Your typical wota were surprisingly, the minority.
Didn’t take too many photos today. The camera’s buttons were still locked up from yesterday and would only shoot at all in Intelligent Auto. This coupled with the fact that focus and metering were still wonky (after having dropped the camera earlier this trip) made any photo taking quite difficult and would have a bit of trouble with video too.
I managed to find a good spot on the second floor just beside the stage, alongside a couple of grade school girls and a trio of seemingly normal looking young adult women. Seeing the kids come back to their groups with rations from the nearby McDonalds, I cursed my lack of foresight to get some refreshments too first.
Didn’t dare leave the spot though. Despite there being another hour until the next show, almost the entire first floor and balcony was filled up by fans who had not left since the first live. A number, like the two little girls beside had even set up mats on the floor and were having a picnic. They killed the time by reviewing through footage from the first show that they had recorded on their camera. Thankfully, I had some cup noodles in the morning but a hot drink now would had been nice. The weather today had hit an all time low and there were strong winds blowing through the open square.
Found the best possible spot this time…at least for leaving room at noon…now just need to camp for one hour. twitter.com/supermerlion/s…
— Supermerlion (@supermerlion) November 18, 2012
Clad in the usual Shibuya fashion, one wouldn’t expect the three young women to be wota. But they were. At some point all three took out their photo albums full of Fairies pictures and began flipping through, one of them had a massive collection of pretty much every single photograph to date, save for a few. There weren’t that many pictures of Fairies in existence (on account of them only being around for a year), so she made up for that by having multiple copies of each and when that wasn’t enough filled up the remaining gaps with Tokyo Girls’ Style photos.
Alas, it seems she was missing some and that wouldn’t do. Taking this opportunity between lives, the three banded together and started making their rounds. They approached several other Fairies fans whom they seemed acquainted with and attempted to convince them to trade some of the photos they were missing. They didn’t seem to have much luck though.
Apart from photo cards inside first press copies of their CDs, there are also pre-order bonuses and even specific photographs, the last of which is only available at such live events. Today’s event added 7 new photographs, one for each member. I would learn later that due to their scarcity these pictures go for as much as (if not more) than the CDs themselves on the secondary market. Theoretically, you could go for as many handshakes as you want and still make a profit (limited by the number of actual Fairies fans of course)
Oddly, there weren’t that many people going for the handshakes though. The Japanese are pretty thrifty, or perhaps Fairies were that unpopular.
Eventually the second live came around. Just before the performance started, they opened up the handshake area in front which was reserved for children and their parents. Some of the younger women had brought children that were way too young to be fans.
Out of four attempts, this was the one time that I managed to get a pretty good view. Fairies performed 5 songs (Tweet Dream, One Love, White Angel, Hero, Song For You) in total, which with the exception of White Angel, were mostly different from the first event. Needless to say, it was pretty awesome. The group has yet to release a song that I truly dislike. It seemed the crowd shared similar sentiments as myself in favoring many of their B-Sides, since they got the loudest cheers whenever one was performed. White Angel and Song For You would be stuck in my head for quite some time after.
After their performance Fairies hurried off to grab some jackets. They had come better prepared this time but ultimately the weather still won. It was getting cold, even for me since had only brought a thin blazer. A quick check revealed that it was currently 6 degrees. They were real cute about it though and laughed it off, while fidgeting on the spot between handshakes.
Rationalizing that it was a pretty good deal (it was), I bought another copy of White Angel’s event only edition for one final handshake ticket. For 1,000 yen you got the CD, a photo album and again one photograph of your choice. Considering how much they sold for, perhaps I should had put more thought into selecting them, but in the haste of things picked out one at random again.
Like in the first session, most of the fans just stood around watching the members. While there wasn’t anyone in queue after the first wave of fans, the entire handshake session dragged on for quite a while. The girls hung around even when there was no one in queue to make sure that everyone who did have a ticket did manage to use theirs, or for the occasional person to purchase another copy. A result was that those that did come later could spend just about as much time as they wanted.
In anticipation of the girls leaving, the fans formed a self policed line along the corridor to bid the girls farewell. I guess everyone had expected that they’d be returning up the same lift which they had come down from. Instead, to everyone’s surprise they left from a closer elevator. The fans dispersed quickly after that. If not for today’s live, the mall was pretty empty. Soon after one of the Fairies members shouted from upstairs which resultant in shrieks of “Rikako” and the younger, more energetic fans running upstairs.
Even after the members had left, some of the staff stayed around and together with the fans began following a baseball game while the rest helped pack up the set. Japan were playing a friendly against Cuba this evening in preparation of the 3rd World Baseball Classic. Ran off to get a quick snack (more fried chicken) and a drink from the nearby Lawson before heading back to the apartment.
The night was still early, though it did not make for the best weather to go out. Returned to the apartment to thaw out for a short while, whilst picking up a thicker jacket.I hoped to perhaps find something good for dinner nearby so spent the next half an hour or more walking around the entire neighborhood. Made an entire loop beginning at Kabayacho, continuing onward to Ningyocho and then to Suitengumae. All of this was in vain. Since the Nihonbashi area is mostly a business district, about everything closes here as soon as it gets dark.
Not wanting to rely on convenience store food again, I ignored my own advice to stay clear of these sort of fast food places and settled for dinner at a 24 hour Sukiya inside of a petrol station.
The place was staffed by a couple of young Chinese women, since they were probably the only ones willing to work for minimal wage for this sort of hours. There was only one other unfortunate customer inside and he left with much of his food untouched. Another victim arrived later.
I had some sort of shredded beef curry. Prices here were cheap, even less than what you’d spend at a combini, but the servings were sparse. As far as the curry went though, I’d recommend sticking to the convenience stores. At first the water from the jugs provided tasted like cigarettes, but on closer inspection turned out to be roasted barley tea that had been diluted beyond recognition. I returned to the hotel to cheer myself up with a little snack that had been kept around from Donki.Planning your holiday? We recommend visiting Agoda for a full list of hotels with early bird specials.