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My Marching J report

04:20 JST April 3, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

What: Marching J

When: April 2 2011, started lining up at 10:30am and got out at 3:15pm

Who did I see up close: Kanjani8 and Yuma Nakayama

Who did I see/hear from afar: SMAP, KinKi Kids, KAT-TUN, Kis-My-Ft2, and Jun Hasegawa

Here’s a rough account of my day:

10:15am: Arrive at Harajuku and go to the toilet one last time before lining up for who knows how long.

Final equipment check:

  • food (chocolate, jelly, throat drops)
  • water
  • newspapers (to read)
  • fully-charged iPod
  • fully-charged mobile
  • coat in case it gets cold
  • hat in case it gets too sunny
  • converse shoes so I can stay standing up for long periods and not get sore feet
  • salel pants.  Not essential, but they’re my new fave fashion item.

The start of the queue! I can see my goal across the road

My first impression was that the queue was insanely long, and staff members dressed in blue jackets were telling us to expect to line up for about four hours (this was later updated to six hours of waiting, arrrgh).  At the beginning of the queue, I was right across the road from where the stage was set up so you could already hear the talents talking, but it was hard to figure out who was speaking.  These voices died out soon as the queue started going everywhere…

Marching J: My first part of the queue

Marching J: My second part of the queue

Marching J: MY third and last part of the queue (5 hours later)

Looking around, the majority of people lining up were women.  Teenagers, adults, and mother-daughter combinations.  There were a few groups of 2, 3 guys, but most other men seemed to either be accompanying their girlfriend, or a father or brother who had come along with the family.

A lot of girls were dressed in pretty clothes with high-heeled shoes, which although were cute, also gave a lot of them sore feet a few hours later.  Because this wasn’t a concert, I noticed most people hadn’t come in costumes of their favourite talent, and there weren’t too many talent uchiwa fans being waved around either.  A good number of fans did have their fave idol’s eco-bags with them though.  I saw a lot of Arashi, Hey! Say! JUMP, Kanjani8, and NEWS concert bags.

Vending machines and food stalls in the path of the queue were being kept busy with the arrival of a few tens of thousands of fans.

Me being odd, I passed my time in the queue by listening to my iPod and reading newspapers.  This, I must stress, is not normal.  Most other people were chatting with friends while some people (I’d estimate one in every four or five people) were playing on their Nintendo DS or PSP, or exchanging information with other fans and predicting who would be coming today.

I talked to a few fans, some had come because their daughter wanted to see her idol, some had come from around Japan, and others were trying to decide whether they should stay in the long queue or give up and go home.

The moment I seriously thought, "how long is this queue!?"

Once the queue started going around the Yoyogi Dai-ichi Taikukan, staff members started handed out blue slips of paper to everyone.  On one side were instructions about the event, and on the other were the names of every Johnny’s talent written out by the talents.  I wouldn’t call them autographs, but it was nice to see everyone’s handwriting 🙂

It was also nice to see that the Japanese flag flying inside the stadium area was flying at half mast.  Reading news about the 3/11 disaster in the newspapers also made me realise how great this relief project was going to be in helping victims up north.

It wasn’t until the last hour in the queue that I began to hear the Johnny’s talents voices again.

When my part of the queue got into the final section (in front of the stage area), SMAP’s Nakai told us to keep moving and that we were almost at the front.  Fans would wave their hands towards the stage when they heard their fave talent, or when a talent was talking to our area (Nakai said things like, “can you hear us at the back?”).

I think everyone who had been tired until then suddenly got very energetic because the queue was moving faster in this area compared to where we were four hours ago.  I did find it was a real energy booster to even just be able to hear your fave talents talking.

The Johnny’s stars would be on and off the stage.  All of them would stand across the stage and talk with other members about anything really.  They’d introduce themselves in the beginning, thank fans for making the effort to line up for this long, what they hoped to achieve during this relief project, etc.

You could see them clearly from a distance, and I found that most of them were wearing dark-coloured clothes.  A lot of black and brown shades.  I’m not sure whether this was deliberate because of the event’s cause, or because Japanese people in general tend to wear black and brown clothes (that’s at least what I find looking at Japanese people in the city).

Getting closer to the stage, I found it really was a gamble for fans coming here.  The talents wouldn’t be on stage constantly, and even while my part of the queue was moving closer and closer to the stage, SMAP, KinKi Kids, Jun Hasegawa, and KAT-TUN had come and gone.  To me,  being able to get close enough to the stage when your favourite star was on really depended on luck.

A cute story unfolded at one point when I was standing next to a family.  The family’s father was obviously not used to being around Johnny’s fans because when there was an announcement that Kanjani8 had come to the venue, the crowd erupted in screams, and the father instinctively crouched down and lifted his hands above his head as if to protect his head from anything that might fall on him.  I felt like patting him on the back and telling him I knew how he felt.

Unfortunately, I did have a gut feeling Arashi and NEWS wouldn’t be making an appearance today since they came on Friday.  But I decided to come today because the weather was sunny and I knew SMAP would be there, which was an achievement in itself.  SMAP never take part in Johnny’s Countdown concerts, so to see them interacting with other Johnny’s groups was a real treat.  Mind you, at one point I did think that Nakai was talking so much that I had began to question whether he was hosting today’s Marching J.

The moment I had been waiting for was right at the end.  Donation boxes were set up on tables for people to put money in.  Johnny’s junior boys wearing bright pink jackets stood behind these tables (four boys were on my side) and thanked you for your contribution.  Then I walked right past the stage, Kanjani8 and Jr’s Yuma Nakayama were standing there, talking and waving at everyone.  The stage was a decent distance from the barrier + line of security staff, but I could get a very clear view of every talent from head to toe.

Seeing Ryo Nishikido in the flesh was like several kinds of amazing, he looked so cool!!!

Tadayoshi Okura looked really cool too (I’ve been following him since I saw him in the 大奥 (Ohoku) movie).

The Kanjani8 guys were really cool, they were thanking fans for coming, joking around as usual, and even thanking international fans.

I couldn’t make out who was saying it exactly, but they saw some foreign fans and said, “look, we’ve got people here from overseas”.

“Thank you, thank you” (in English).

3:15pm: After all of this magic, it was just a matter of walking back to Harajuku and meeting up with friends…and going to the loo.

Thank you so much to Johnny’s for setting up Marching J, which brought a heart-fluttering smile to my face.  My donation might be insignificant in terms of the total cost of the 3/11 disaster, but I’m sure that the effort every one of your talents, staff members, and all the fans can make a significant contribution towards the recovery of north-eastern Japan.  I will continue to support Johnny’s efforts as much as I can.  Thank you.

April 3 2011

Momo Edgewood

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  1. BBB
    05:08 JST April 3, 2011 at 5:08 AM

    Love your cute comment about Nakai-kun. (^-^)

    • 16:46 JST April 3, 2011 at 4:46 PM

      @BBB:

      Lol, but he was talking a lot!

      Momo xoxo

  2. 06:29 JST April 3, 2011 at 6:29 AM

    Thanks for your report, I really enjoyed reading it. I wish I could have been there too, despite the HOURS of queuing.

    • 16:47 JST April 3, 2011 at 4:47 PM

      @Kamichan:

      I think it would be bearable if you went with friends and had someone to talk to.
      I was going a bit over-enthusiastic on twitter because I didn’t have anyone to jump around with.

      Glad you liked it!

      Momo xoxo

  3. 09:54 JST April 3, 2011 at 9:54 AM

    Sugoi Momo! My hat’s off to your endurance for the 6-hour queue and managing to see Ryo-chan. 🙂 Was he wearing spectacles, like yesterday?

    • 16:48 JST April 3, 2011 at 4:48 PM

      @Althea:

      It’s amazing how all the things I endured and wanting to go to the toilet were forgotten as I got closer to the stage.

      Nope, he was just natural Ryo yesterday with scruffy hair, lol.

      Momo xoxo

  4. Mika
    10:42 JST April 3, 2011 at 10:42 AM

    What a great report! Sugoi! Thank u! Did u able to take their photo?

    • 16:51 JST April 3, 2011 at 4:51 PM

      @Mika:

      Thanks for reading it!

      No, I didn’t take photos of talents cos there were signs and staff asking you not to…
      But I didn’t think it was too cool if I tried taking photos when my main aim of the day was to make a donation for 3/11 disaster victims.

      Momo xoxo

  5. Yan
    11:18 JST April 3, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    Thank you so much for the report! It’s such an interesting read! And that part about the father hahaha.

    OMG THE QUEUE!! O.O

    • 16:52 JST April 3, 2011 at 4:52 PM

      @Yan:

      ARRRGH, the queue! It went forever!
      It was impossible to predict where it was going until the last hour!

      Thanks for reading.

      Momo xoxo

  6. lyan
    11:51 JST April 3, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    Wow, quite an experience Momo… To be able to donate to the relief effort and seeing some of your favourite J-talents at the same 🙂
    I would love to have done that xD
    Thx for the report 🙂

    • 16:52 JST April 3, 2011 at 4:52 PM

      @lyan:

      You’re welcome 🙂

      I just think it’s so awesome Johnny’s is doing something like this.

      Momo xoxo

  7. Maraam
    12:32 JST April 3, 2011 at 12:32 PM

    Thank you for sharing your experience dear ^^y
    It was very warm, otsukaresama deshita.

    • 16:53 JST April 3, 2011 at 4:53 PM

      @Maraam:

      Arigato!!! Doitashimashite 🙂

      Glad you liked it 😀

      Momo xoxo

  8. joan
    13:45 JST April 3, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    did you know i was waiting for your report the whole day yesterday. lol 😀 i’m soo happy to see this when i woke up. 😀

    you’ve been waiting for a long time~ 6 hours? wow. good thing you didn’t go home 😀
    i know it’s tiring but it’s worth it ne? it’s still a charity work and you know you’ll be helping people out 🙂 good job! 🙂 i feel sorry for those who are wearing high-heels….

    you’re pretty ready with all that stuffs, did you use them all? 🙂 well at least the newspaper, ipod and mobile entertained you while waiting 😀

    btw, are all KT members there? too bad you didn’t see massu but i guess you’re ok with his handwritten name. lol 😀

    • 16:57 JST April 3, 2011 at 4:57 PM

      @joan:

      Lol, nice to know you liked it.

      When I walked out I still had water left and my mobile battery almost went down to 30%. My salel pants have a huge huge pocket so I kept my extra bag of oreo chocolates in there.

      I couldn’t see clear enough if all the KAT-TUN members were there, but Ueda was easy to point out!

      I’m sure I’ll catch Massu again sometime in the future 🙂

      Momo xoxo

  9. Eileen
    14:29 JST April 3, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    I’m so glad I found your all-Johnny’s website. Thank you for sharing your experiences. I am so envious that you saw Ryo-chan up-close. Sigh … 😉

    • 16:58 JST April 3, 2011 at 4:58 PM

      @Eileen:

      Thanks for coming by!! And reading my report!

      Lol, I’m sure you’ll get a chance some day too 😀

      Momo xoxo

      • Eileen
        01:17 JST April 4, 2011 at 1:17 AM

        Well, I have to admit I saw Ryo-chan pretty close when I saw NEWS live last September, but I just got carried away and envious when I read that you saw him last weekend – haha! I want to see him again! 😉

      • 08:33 JST April 4, 2011 at 8:33 AM

        @Eileen:

        You realise my jealousy just jumped up a notch right?
        Lucky!!! I didn’t go to LIVE! LIVE! LIVE! last year 😦

        But his drama’s starting up so at least we can get good views of him up close (>v<)

        Momo xoxo

      • Eileen
        08:50 JST April 4, 2011 at 8:50 AM

        What is wrong with me? Just mentioning that his drama begins soon got my heart racing … I feel like I’m betraying Yamashita-san somehow since I liked him long before Ryo-chan!

  10. Mellyjelly
    18:13 JST April 3, 2011 at 6:13 PM

    LOL at the father… if my dad were there he’d make a run for it haha
    JE is so wonderful to do something like this.. no wonder people love them so much ^^ DAMN I WANT ONE OF THOSE PIECES OF PAPER WITH PSUEDO AUTOGRAPHS ON THEM!!! XD you’re a lucky girl!

    • 09:55 JST April 4, 2011 at 9:55 AM

      @Mellyjelly:

      Lol, I think there are scans of them on the web now 🙂

      Thanks for coming by!

      Momo xoxo

  11. Aninochi
    22:46 JST April 3, 2011 at 10:46 PM

    That sounds amazing ^w^ I really wish I could have been there. Even if the queue seemed to be endless. You’re so lucky to be able to go there.
    Some days ago I donated a little money to the Japanese Red Cross. It wasn’t much, but I guess if everyone gives a little, it would eventually help a lot 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us! 😀

    • 09:56 JST April 4, 2011 at 9:56 AM

      @Aninochi:

      Thank you for your donation and you’re welcome!

      I think you’ll get a chance to be a part of something like this in the future too so don’t worry 😉

      Momo xoxo

  12. jana
    23:27 JST April 4, 2011 at 11:27 PM

    Thank you for the report, Momo! Of course I’m envious 🙂 Do you think any fans were able to come to the event three days in a row? This weekend I also donated some money to help Japan, so somehow it felt I was a part of the crowd too 🙂

    • 09:19 JST April 6, 2011 at 9:19 AM

      @jana:

      Actually, I do think it could be likely someone went three days in a row!
      Kids and students are on spring vacation right now so I would imagine someone had the time

      Yay! Marching J everywhere!

      Momo xoxo

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