Tokyo Idol Festival 8/6 2016 Tsubaki Factory
My next idol related event was Tokyo Idol Festival. I chose day 5 as I had all the H!P action with Tsubaki and Kobushi Factory, UpUpGirls and even Lovendor and Bitter Sweet if I felt like it (and I didn’t). The event is quite open and welcoming to foreigners. Tokyo Girls Update organised a ticket giveaway for foreigners, I bought my ticket on Rakuten Global Market and I had an English website to help me out. I was ready to go on my own. None of my friends could come and online friends had TIF plans but there was no meet-up planned. I really imagined a much smaller event where all foreign fans are easy to spot. Boy was I wrong. The Festival is huuuge.
This freaking map makes everything seems so close
I geared up wota style ready to meet my long lost wota family. I was pumped and anxious to get everything right. I wanted to have a good spot but I had to find the place to pick up my paper ticket. The map wasn’t that helpful in that department and the website wasn’t to much use either. I knew that most of my mustsee groups are at the Hot Stage (1), while (10) looked like a good place to pick up a ticket and maybe get a wristband or something. I gathered info from fellow idol fans (thank you Crazy for Underrated Idols Facebook group) that it’s good to appear at least an hour before your fav group’s performance so I decided to play it safe and be at least 1,5h before. That meant at least 2 hours in total to get my ticket.
I arrived on time without any transport problems (I was a railway/subway pro by then). The sun was actively trying to kill me but I was ready this time (towel, water supplies, umbrella, sunglasses, attitude).
The first problem was with finding the place after exiting the station. Seriously, I’m bad with maps. I looked around and saw the Venus Fort and the huge wheel but still I didn’t know which direction to pick. I found a guy with some idol merch on him and he showed me the way. He even spoke some basic English so lucky me. I was good to go. When I got close to the Hot Stage I saw the crowds, and I mean THE CROWDS. I’ve never been to such a big event. Most of the outside events were free so there were huge masses of people wandering around Odaiba and just chilling (that is dieing of heatstroke). I had no idea where to go to get a ticket. I approached many staff members and they all showed me a different place to go probably thinking “MAKE THE FOREIGNER GO AWAY ASAP!!!”. I went to some staff tent with friendly japanese girls who looked like they could know a bit more. They didn’t. I showed them my Rakuten Market receipt which had some japanese written on it so they tried to read it but they had absoluely no idea what to do with me. I gathered that there is a place to change my ticket for a wristband (which was quite far away) so I went there and stood politely in a line. Soon enough the staff once again looked at my receipt in confusion and showed me on a map another place to go which was literally on the other side of
the Earth everything. I was royally pissed by then. I was ready to kill for some air conditioning. It was difficult to appreciate the atmosphere and fun around me. The long walk to the designated place sucked all my energy. I stood in another line which turned out to be not the line I was supposed to stand in but luckily I found a tiny little tent with “Rakuten Global Market Tickets” sign on it. Sheesh, I was so glad to finally meet some staff members who knew exactly what I needed. They gave me my wristband (which looked exactly like other wristbands. Why couldn’t I change my ticket in ANY staff tent that gave away wristbands?! Why were those two tents so freaking far away?! The myth of perfect japanese organisational skills got debunked that day).
I was set to go back to the Hot Stage which luckily for me was air conditioned (Otodama did NOT spoil us). Many people were coming in and out probably just looking around and choosing a different stage. I walked in and saw a fairly big venue that wasn’t as crowded and structured as I anticipated. There was a lot of leeway to mingle and change your spot. As long as you didn’t push or shove people around you but rather move between them, you were safe. Within 3 minutes of wota capoeira I got pretty close to stage. I was on the edge of the FAN ZONE ( those first 6 rows of people that came specifically for the idol performing at the moment or the idol after that idol) and the GENERAL PUBLIC ZONE OF RANDOM IDOL FANS (pretty self-explanatory).
The idols performing were surprisingly very good and entertaining. I went in for Tokyo Performance Doll which was a solid group with lots of personality. I enjoyed the songs, but not in a Orange Port kind of way. That is to say I was impressed but not hooked on them. Their songs weren’t that catchy. But lots of respect to the girls.
The next group was Up Up Girls so with the change of fans I officially entered the FAN ZONE, more wota capoeira and I got closer to stage. I began to notice that this zone was full of H!P fans, even those wearing Kobushi Factory gear! And Kobushi would appear at 18:35 (it was 12:20). I think everybody was waiting for Tsubaki like me and UpUpGirls were a nice interlude before that. I was happy to see them since I had great hopes for them when they debuted. I was a MoriSaki fan but I don’t really follow the group anyway. They are not strictly H!P and the songs are too generic for me although I LOVE the alien song 😀
Yep, I really like this song 🙂 I was mentally prepared to cheer for Morisaki and did my best to gain her attention during the live. She must have noticed me but she did her best to avoid any eye contact. Am I the scary foreigner?
Konatsu tried really hard to reach everybody and she was the most entertaining of the whole bunch, She really outshone other members in terms of crazy energy. There was a Konatsu fan next to me and I understood his devotion completely. I on the other hand was starting to like MoriSaki less and less. Her performance was very good but properly good. She was smiling but not that brightly or sincerely. It’s weird how your oshis can change over a live performance. Sometime I hear people saying that they like this or that member more and I read how japanese fans are sometimes surprised by our choices. I understand that now. The “vibes”, the “chemistry” the girls give during the live performance is very important. It doesn’t mean that without seeing your idol live you can’t call yourself a true fan or anything because that is just stupid. What I’m trying to say that there’s an extra layer to idol-fan relationship I wish that everybody could experience at least once.
It’s funny how I made fun of Konatsu during her Egg days. I think it was similar with Momochi. They both gave me the creeps initially with their over the top behaviour but after meeting them I changed my mind. I’m not a sudden Konatsu convert but I really warmed up to her. That is to say that I might have found a new oshi after all. Sato Ayano was standing in the centre a lot. She was often right in front of me and did her best to look me in the eye, wave and smile. The first time she did it, I was shy but very happy. She’s got a different aura about her that I was drawn to. I never noticed her before.
When the end of the performance was getting close, I could see how people already started to slowly push their way to the holy grail of the FAN ZONE that is the first row and the MAGICAL RAILING. This is when it also started to get messy. People warned me about crazed fanboys before (again thank you Crazy of Underrated Idols Facebook groups but forgive me that I didn’t believe you). I had this naive and idyllic view in my head of japanese fans being so enthusiastic, loving ang genuinely open to foreigners. They were a big wota family. I considered myself to be one crazy fangirl but I had nothing on them. Reaching the MAGICAL RAILING that separated them from the stage, was the ultimate goal. You would be wrong thinking that all japanese fans are respectful and self organise like those at Otodama. This time “first come first serve” rule would be the fairest option, right? Not? Okay. How about “strong elbows first serve” or at least “loudest first serve”? Nope. It was “my comrades kept the place for me and a bunch of my friends so I’m served first” rule. I really didn’t expect that familiar European stunt that even where I come from is so frowned upon. I had no chance whatsover to reach the railing not because I wasn’t fast enough or waited long enough, but because people already there shielded it with their bodies in a ferocious battle to keep if until their friends from behind me would reach it. By accident, somebody pushed me to the front so it looked that I’m trying to go for the first row (I wasn’t) and the japanese guy next to me bodily moved me to the side.
I mean, dude. Chill the hell up. You’re about my age (but I look much younger, sucker) and there’s gonna be a 30 minute show of underage girls in 3 minutes. You have all the merch on you and clearly you’ve attended plenty of events by now and you push aside a foreigner that as you probably noticed does not have that many opportunities. I didn’t expect any special treatment. There was a women only section to the very right. I did expect some humane treatment after all. Japan did sign Geneva Convention. Okay, maybe without ratifying it but give me a break.
This whole negative energy around me, shoving and pushing, really saddened me. I reached the second row, which is awesome and I was to the very centre, something I’ve never been able to achieve before. Yet I felt miserable and lonely. Adding to the injury, a guy came to the crazed fan in front me and started arguing with him in japanese. Both were pass their younger days, yet they started a shoving contest more fitting to kindergarden. Me being directly behind the fan with rabies and next to the guy claiming the right to be at the front (my basic japanese helped me to understand some of their words), I got hit with an elbow and pushed quite aggressively. I yelled “Itai!” like a proper hentai heroine but they weren’t impressed nor interested. The show started by then and they both chose to hit each other while at the same time cheering for the girls. They even asked for security to resolve the problem while I was trying to show with my face how miserble I was and in pain so security might remove both of them making more room for me 😄 Staff told them something about the rules and just left them be. How unhelpful.
I tried to focus on the show and ignore the drama. I was there for the girls, to show them support and cheer for Yamagishi Riko as my alien faced oshi.
If you haven’t seen it already, the full stage is on dailymotion added by Japan Under Music.
Can you spot me? I was very sneaky. I could see myself in the monitors on stage during the live so I tried to wave my glowstick as often as possible during the time the cameraman-san showed the crowd. Yep, the green glowstick in the very centre is me. Again I was starstruck by seeing the girls performing. The surreal feeling of seeing idols so close to you will never get old. I didn’t think of them as “new idols” or “less known idols” like some other groups at TIF. For me they were H!P like any other groups. They stood on the same stage as C-ute or Morning Musume. They didn’t have to earn it. They are popular just by being under the agency I love. However, at that moment I saw young girls who still had no idea how to behave or how to perform like a pro. It was eye-opening how poor the performance was compared to Tokyo Performance Doll. The girls had loads of charm but they seemed so stiff. It didn’t make the experience worse for me at all. I was just surprised and yet again I noticed something about myself. I value the most floppy dancing, horrible singing Kenshyuusei over any idol from a non-H!P group just because she IS a part of H!P.
But what DID sour the experience for me was the over enthusiastic rude guy in front of me. He started oshi jumping and everytime he landed, he landed on me or a person to his right or left. Never on the place he jumped from.
I totally understand how the bad rep for wotas came to be. Nobody was happy with this guy’s behaviour, and nobody acted so rudely around him. I couldn’t just allow him ruin the fun. I looked to me left and noticed a very short guy standing just behind me. He was twenty-something and standing very politely with his arms to himself and glowstick close to his head as not to disturb anybody. What endeared me the most were his eyes. He had this spark while watching the girls. The plan formed in my mind and I smiled at my own wickedness. The guy was a perfect human shield MUAHAHAHAHAHA *coughcough* HAHAHAHAHA.
Smiling my most honest looking smile, I indicated for him to move in front of me. He was dumbstuck. Apparently, that’s not that common. Go figure. A couple of times, he tried to make sure that I knew what I was asking of him. I smiled and threw some basic japanese pleasantries like “どうぞ” or “どけのろま” and he moved in front of me bowing like million times at the same time. His friend standing also next to me (the much taller friend) smiled at me. The energy around me changed to more positive and I felt great again. I was safe from the rude guy at the MAGICAL RAILING, I had a better view of the girls and the newly made wota friends around me were having polite fun. Now, that’s what I call good thinking. I had more space as well. The tall friend next to me oshi jumped once without touching me but still felt the need to check with me if he didn’t disturb me or anything. I smiled at him and when Yamagishi Riko sang I tapped his shoulder and oshi jumped myself to show him that I’m okay with it. We had more space to ourselves so jumping from time to time didn’t bother anybody.
More than once both mine and his fav member sung together so we jumped together and I didn’t feel alone anymore. When the second MC came, my heart was full of warm feels. I stood there with my hand on my chest, breathing hard and I started to cry looking at Yamagishi Riko. Iwas making my dream come true. I was at another H!P related event, I was watching one of my oshis so close to stage. Again magic happened and Riko looked my straight in the eye and it was Airi in Paris experience all over for me. She made this sympathizing face, smiled and nodded at me. I think I peed myself just a tiny bit. Don’t judge me. I get emotional with idols.
If Morisaki changed my view of her, Yamagishi Rika just set her Tsubaki Factory oshi status in STONE. I mean, BRO, that girl slayed my heart so bad.
more to come…