Report: NEWS event
When: Afternoon, August 21, 2012
Here’s a brief report about when I went to the NEWS event last week. Sorry for the delay, I’ve been wondering whether it was alright or not to report about it, but seeing that they’re all over now in Tokyo and Osaka, I’m releasing this now and hoping for the best!
The fans in my time slot probably endured the weather elements more than anyone else because it was midday, sunny, 35C, and humid. That and there was hardly any shelter. Good thing I brought my sunglasses, sunscreen, fan, sweat wipes, and water. I had gotten there about two hours before the event was scheduled to start and passed time talking to the fans around me. These included two Koyama fans, one of who was wearing a checkered top in all the NEWS colours, a Tegoshi fan wearing an awesome skull T-shirt and pink jeans, and me in a yellow summer dress and military boots.
An hour before the event was scheduled to start, the staff started letting fans inside. My new friends and I ended up in the second row.
The first floor of the venue was filled up with fans standing, and the second floor had seats for families with small children. A bed-ridden fan was invited to the 1.5 metre space separating the first row of fans and the stage so she could get a good view (lucky!). I think there were about 1000 fans in the venue.
A large screen behind the stage had the words “集まれチャンカパーナ !(Gather round Chankapana!)”, and the Chankapana music video was played 3 times.
Everyone laughed or screamed in the same places – all chatting about why the little girl would change channels when four amazing guys were on TV, when Koyama lifts his shirt a bit, and a big laugh when Koyama says “美しい恋にするよ (Utsukushii koi ni suruyo)” with his hand held up.
When the event started, a video mix of the Chankapana video was played and Shige walked on stage. After Shige signaled for the others, they eventually walked on stage side by side, walked across the stage, and disappeared behind the curtains again. Eventually they came out again, riding one of those platform trolleys.
Shige: Thanks for buying the box set!
Massu: Box! Box! (making an X sign using his arms and jumping around)
Which fan traveled the furthest?
One of the first questions NEWS asked the crowd, was who had traveled the furthest to get here today?
Koyama: Don’t lie. If you lie you’ll be punished. We’ll make you run home.
The furthest I could hear were from Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Men in the crowd
The group were happy to see men in the crowd, and started talking to a fan who had the same hairstyle as Massu.
Koyama: Have you ever been surrounded by so many ladies? Lucky!
The topic changed to how Massu asks his hairdresser to do his hair (on this day it was blond, with red streaks underneath)
Massu: Charai, please. Shige, what did you say to your hairdresser to get that bosa-bosa (messy) look?
Shige: Ero-ku, please.
NEWS ask Massu whether he’s going to play a doctor with his blond hair.
Massu: Knife please! (makes a dancer-like pose)
Koyama: That music video you were watching while waiting. I know you were laughing when my speaking part came up! I could see you!
The guys played a NEWS quiz game, where they were seated at one side of the stage. When they knew the answer to the question, they had to run to the buzzer on the opposite side of the stage.
Here are some bits:
Q: Name four NEWS songs with titles in katakana.
Massu and Shige dashed to the buzzer, with Massu falling over.
Q: How many times does the word “chankapana” appear in the song Chankapana?
They all crowded around the buzzer, and had a ‘huh?’ look on their face while counting with their fingers.
Tegoshi: 16, no wait! (he realised Shige had already said that)
Q: Song intro quiz
first song played: Cherish (winner: Tegoshi)
second song: Party Time (winner: Shige. It took a long long time for someone to get it right)
third song: Fly Again (winner: Tegoshi)
fourth song: Fiesta (winner: Tegoshi)
Q: Who’s the best at teoshi-sumo (standing sumo, try to push the other person so they lose balance)?
Everyone was expecting Massu, arm wrestling winner, to win.
Massu vs Tegoshi. Tegoshi won
Koyama vs Shige. Koyama won
Final. Koyama vs Tegoshi. Koyama wins
All the fans were given a lottery ticket, and the NEWS members picked out random numbers. Prizes included 5 chankapana stickers, 5 chankapana posters, one polaroid from Music Station personally signed by Tegoshi, and one personally signed chankapana poster from all members, plus personally put name in by Koyama.
It was a surprise because the winners of the signed polaroid and poster were called Mayumi!
Tegoshi shouted out to the polaroid winner, asking her how she wanted her name written.
Tegoshi: Mayumi-san? Mayumi-chan? Mayumi-pana? Mayu-ndol?
Winner: All of them!
Tegoshi: All of them? There won’t be any photo left, it’ll turn black.
Tegoshi signed the polaroid with “好きだぜ (suki-daze)”.
Each member chose someone in the crowd to ask a question.
Shige’s Q (young boy): Do you like Sapporo?
Shige: Yes! Did you come from Sapporo? Thank you
Massu’s Q (young girl, really shy, mother ended up asking her question for her): What is your favourite colour?
Shige: The clothes I buy tend to be black, green, and blue
Massu: I like black, yellow, and red.
Tegoshi: I like black, pink, and sparkly
Koyama: I like red and purple.
The talk went on with the guys saying they either liked their NEWS colour before it was given to them, or just grew into loving it. Koyama remembered when his image colour was a kind of light orange before it was changed to purple.
Koyama: There aren’t many people wearing purple. But you usually don’t see many purple clothes either.
Tegoshi: I heard that purple makes a woman’s skin look more radiant.
Koyama: Really? Then can you all please wear purple and make me happy
Tegoshi’s Q (man): Will there be another Tokyo concert?
Tegoshi: It depends. We honestly don’t know anything right now, but if you can say enough about wanting one, there could be one.
Koyama’s Q (girl): Did you know there are parody versions of Chankapana for each member? Koyama, yours was the first.
Sings verse and chorus of Koyama parody. The microphone was acting up, so it was hard to hear in some places 😦
Koyama: send the others to my radio show! Then maybe we can introduce them when each member comes!
SONG performance: Full Swing
We got told the boys weren’t supposed to do this, it wasn’t in the original schedule, but they really pushed for it (awww).
They jumped off the stage, and fans shook their hands as they passed to get out of the hall.
Shige: You have to look us in the eye, it’s a waste if you don’t! Some fans just look down and pass by.
They really rushed us through it, with lots of staff members sending fans past the boys.
The order was Massu, Shige, Koyama, and finally Tegoshi.
Massu has the most cutest smile ever. I said “大好きです！ (I love you!)” and he gave me a big smile.
Shige looked really cool, his eyes are really big.
Koyama was so close, he kind of bowed down partially like he was saying thank you for coming, but it was so close, especially when you’re looking him in the eye!
Tegoshi had the sweetest smile, and he looks gorgeous, great way to finish!
No, I didn’t go (grr, work).
But going to yesterday’s NEWS event and talking to other NEWS fans got me up to date with a lot of things, and although I can’t reveal details about what happened in the event (if you’re really itching to know, try to direct message me on twitter) at least I can report about concerts!
I based this MC report on things I heard from fans yesterday and fan blogs.
NEWS LIVE TOUR 2012 ~美しい恋にするよ~
August 19, 2012
Marine Messe Fukuoka
Tegoshi’s hair episode (spoiler?)
Kato: Massu, are you going to play a doctor (in your drama) with that hair colour?
Masuda: We start shooting while we’re on tour so I’ll dye it black soon.
Koyama: Make it like your RESCUE hair.
Masuda: If I did go back to my RESCUE hair, there’s no way it would go with my stage outfits.
Koyama: When you are dyeing your hair back Tegoshi?
Tegoshi: I think I can announce it to all of you soon, but there’s a reason I can’t change it right now. I can’t change it for the rest of the year. I’ll be able to tell you about it soon!
“What were you doing yesterday?” episode
Tegoshi said he went to the rehearsal, and met up with his friends for dinner
Masuda said he wanted to go out for dinner as a group, but it ended up being him and Koyama
Kato said he had to record his radio show…
Tegoshi: I heard it!
Kato: No you didn’t! Which station?
Kato: What did I say.
Tegoshi: You said, “hi, this is Shigeaki Kato”.
Kato: I say that at every show! Tegoshi knew I had work, he said, “Shige! I’m off to eat motsu-nabe.” I ate fish ochazuke with our manager.
Matching ear phones episode
Kato: (Tegoshi) bought me earphones.
Koyama: Earphones are in fashion in NEWS right now. We’ve all got matching earphones. Me and Massu had them first right.
Masuda: We liked the ones our choreographer had and went out and bought them.
Kato: Then Tegoshi was like, “I’m buying my own too!” Then our (other) choreographer asked, “buy a pair for me too”. He’s called Shige-san, so I thought why not and joined in with, “Shige wants some too”.
Tegoshi: I bought them for two Shige’s okay. I ordered it on the spot (with my mobile).
DUET magazine cover episode
The group posed for an upcoming DUET magazine cover with the crowd in the background
This is a mashup of several fan reports I found while surfing the web.
Fan Reports: Arashi’s Waku Waku Gakkou
Evening session, 17 June 2012
360 degree screen, circular stage in centre set up like a class room with one podium and four desks (one Arashi member as teacher and the other four as students)
Before the opening
A message came up on the screen from all Waku Waku Gakkou teachers other than Ninomiya Sensei saying they want to throw a surprise party for him so please refrain from wishing Ninomiya a happy birthday until they say so.
The opening video showed the five members doing their own thing, and then after seeing the Arashi school seal would transform into their white lab coat outfits.
- Jun Matsumoto: Running on a treadmill in the gym and sees the school seal on a T-shirt on a guy in the same room
- Masaki Aiba: At a shoot for his drama “Mike-neko no Holmes”, opens up his lunch box and sees the school seal
- Sho Sakurai: Giving the weather report during News Zero and sees the school seal as he points to the screen
- Kazunari Ninomiya: Inside a bus playing on his Nintendo DS when a message flashes on the screen to look outside, he sees the school seal on a building’s TV monitor
- Satoshi Ohno: While reading through his script for the drama “Kagi no Kakatta Heya”, pours some sugar into his cafe au lait, and the coffee art turns into the school seal
After the transformation, the five appear from the staff room and onto the Tokyo Dome stage.
Ninomiya Sensei’s Kachi Kachi class
- Who dunnit game. Try and find out who broke the vase in the classroom
- Getting Ohno to open the lid of a bottle (he can’t because it’s a trick lid that has to be twisted in reverse to normal lids)
- Showing how confusing it is if someone reverses the colour of men’s and women’s toilet signs (blue woman sign and red man sign)
- The door with a doorknob, but it’s a sliding door
- Relay. Matsumoto -> Sakurai -> Aiba -> Ohno ran a relay. Towards the end Nino jumped towards the goal post and started fiddling around. But Ohno managed to run through the goal without any problems. Apparently Nino had tampered with the finish line and at a switch of a button the goal posts were supposed to move further away from Ohno, making him run more.
Aiba Sensei’s Paku Paku class
- Three Arashi members keep their eyes open when Aiba changes into a sushi chef
- Video of Aiba in a fish costume
- Q&A session (the student with the correct answer gets the sushi Aiba is making at the time)
Q: What part is shrimp miso and crab miso? This one went to Ohno who said it’s the liver. Aiba tries to make sushi but gets rice all over his hands so he starts licking it off, which puts off the others. When Ohno finally gets his sushi he bites on a big bit of wasabi, holds his nose and stopped moving.
- Members eat fried clams. Everyone compliments Aiba that the food tastes good, and he says, “I love you guys”.
Sakurai Sensei’s Goku Goku class
- Sakurai gives everyone a bottle of water to drink
- Video about recycling water (apparently Tokyo Dome toilets use rain water)
- Experiment to see how much water a person can use when taking a shower. Arashi members collect buckets of water from pools set up around Tokyo Dome, and use it to wash a mannequin dressed up as a member. One bucket = One Arashi. In this session, the Aiba mannequin used up 12 Arashi, in June 17’s first session the Ohno mannequin used 13 Arashi (he said he doesn’t use conditioner), and in June 16’s session the Matsumoto mannequin used 18 Arashi.
Matsumoto’s Somo Somo class
- Goes around families sitting in the audience asking them for stories about when they were born or the meaning behind their names
- Video about birth
- Now the members give the audience a sign, and everyone shouts, “Happy Birthday Nino!”
Nino’s birthday section
A birthday cake appeared in both the morning and evening sessions of June 17. After everyone sang Happy Birthday, Nino would blow out the candles.
Apparently in the evening session, the cake was decorated in strawberries and umeboshi sour plums. Matsumoto had said it was because Nino’s mum always gives sour plums to Arashi when they have a concert so his image of Nino’s mum is sour plums.
“In the script it said that when Nino eats his cake and says, ‘why is it sour?’ then Matsujun would say, ‘because this cake has sour plums on it’. But how can he not spot the sour plums,” Sakurai said.
Nino’s birthday comment:
“Thank you so much for celebrating my 29th…not that anything has really changed, but I’m enjoying every day. Now I think it might be an idea to dye my hair blond from time to time whether I’m 30 or 40 or 50.”
Matsumoto had said he heard from Nino’s mother that he was a baby who grew so much inside of her, that no matter how much she tried, he just did not want to come out. She said when he was born he weighed 3900g, or roughly the same as a one month old baby.
Matsumoto: When I asked her why she called you “Kazunari”, she said, “we were fussy about the (kanji) stroke count, and decided we wanted him to become a friendly person, treasuring the 和(wa, harmony) of those around him”. Not only that, but she also spilled on the other name they were thinking for Nino. “大 (Hiroshi)”.
Nino mum’s letter
Ninomiya’s mother wrote a letter for Nino which was read out, but because she knew there were two sessions on his birthday, she wrote two letters.
I couldn’t find a fan who managed to write everything down word for word, but you can get an idea!
These are bits from the morning session:
“Happy Birthday Kazu.
When you were born you weighed 3900g, your neck wouldn’t strengthen as quickly as it should have, you got an infected ear, an ambulance came when you got heat cramps, you got the mumps, the doctor said there was something wrong with your heart, then there was massaging you every time there was a nappy change to get you over from hydrocele testis.
You didn’t like extra-curricular classes. (You cried when going to Kumon, pretended to sleep when it was time to go to piano lessons. But baseball went on for a while)
A lot of people have looked after you over the years. Never forget what it means to be thankful.
Whenever you come home to eat my monja dish, you always say thank you before leaving.
Thank you for coming into my life.
These are bits from the evening session:
“Happy Birthday Kazu.
I remember when you joined Johnny’s when you were at junior high, and when you were bullied as a child in early primary school and walked to school at a different time from the crowd.
When there was bullying going on in your fifth grade class, your teacher told me that you weren’t involved and that you treated the student getting bullied like a normal person.
I also heard that when your friends invited you to peak into the girl’s changing room with them, you said you didn’t want to. I was happy because it takes real courage to stand up to your friends.
I remember when your friends would come over to the house and you would make takoyaki, how you’d be playing video games a lot, and how the adults in the neighborhood would call you a charmer because you always took your hat off when saying hello to them in the street. Everyone loves seeing you work Kazu, and you always make me smile when I come to your concerts. I am your biggest fan.
After reading the letter, the other members asked him whether he remembered saying no to his friends when they dared him to peak into the girls changing room.
“When I was a senior at primary school, the girls changing rooms were on the top floors so I think I was just too lazy to go all that way,” Nino said.
Ohno Sensei’s Gera Gera class
- Gera Gera championship. See who could laugh the best.
- Gera Gera laser. This is the section that got a lot of TV coverage on wide shows. Ohno doing the gera gera dance and song. To see a clip from the news, click here.
It’s exam season in Japan! Ganbare!! 頑張って、受験生たち！！！
Sometimes there are stories about a Johnny’s talent getting into university or graduating, but I thought it would be cool to give some info about some universities.
Because, some of these universities are very hard to get into, and some of them are nice to visit.
Sorry if I’ve missed anyone, and let me know if any facts are wrong (history is not my forte, I love stories but I’m terrible with dates)
Waseda University 早稲田大学
- Johnny’s talents attending through correspondance: Yuichi Nakamaru (KAT-TUN), Yuya Tegoshi (NEWS, Tegomass), Kota Yabu (Hey! Say! JUMP, well…he will be soon)
- Waseda University is a private university in Shinjuku, Tokyo.
- It was founded in 1882 by samurai scholar and former prime minister Shigenobu Okuma, and was named Waseda University in 1902.
- The university belongs to the Tokyo Big Six League – a baseball league made up of six prominent Tokyo universities (Hosei University, Keio University, Waseda University, Tokyo University, Rikkyo University, and Meiji University). It also has a strong rugby and baseball team (Keio and Meiji are considered their biggest rivals)
- Seven of Japan’s prime ministers following WWII are Waseda graduates. Many of Japan’s corporate leaders are also Waseda graduates.
- It has the highest number of international students in Japan.
- Last year, more than 110,000 students applied for the university. About 5600 were accepted.
- To go to the university website, click here. To go to the university’s wikipedia page, click here.
Meiji University 明治大学
- Johnny’s talent graduates: Tomohisa Yamashita, Keiichiro Koyama (NEWS)
- Johnny’s talents attending: Kei Inoo (Hey! Say! JUMP)
- Meiji University is a private university in Tokyo and Kawasaki.
- It was founded by three lawyers in 1881, and established as a university in 1920.
- The university belongs to the Tokyo Big Six League – a baseball league made up of six prominent Tokyo universities (Hosei University, Keio University, Waseda University, Tokyo University, Rikkyo University, and Meiji University)
- Last year, more than 110,000 students applied for the university. About 4500 were accepted.
- To go to the university website, click here. To go the university’s wikipedia page, click here.
Keio University 慶應義塾大学
- Johnny’s talent graduates: Sho Sakurai (Arashi)
- Keio University is a private university in Minato, Tokyo. It is the oldest-known higher education institution in Japan.
- It was founded in 1858 by author and political theorist Yukichi Fukuzawa (he’s the guy on the 10,000 yen bill).
- The university belongs to the Tokyo Big Six League – a baseball league made up of six prominent Tokyo universities (Hosei University, Keio University, Waseda University, Tokyo University, Rikkyo University, and Meiji University). The university’s sports games against Waseda are famously called the “Sou-Kei-sen (Waseda-Keio match)”, or “Kei-Sou-sen (Keio-Waseda match)” depending on which side you’re supporting.
- Two post-WWII prime ministers are Keio graduates, as well as many corporate leaders.
- Last year, more than 48,000 students applied for the university. About 4000 were accepted.
- To go to the university website, click here. To go to the university’s wikipedia page, click here.
Aoyama Gakuin University 青山学院大学
- Johnny’s talent graduates: Shigeaki Kato (NEWS)
- Aoyama Gakuin University is a Japanese Christian university in Shibuya, Tokyo.
- It was founded in 1874 by American missionaries, and later on, John Franklin Goucher helped establish it as a university. Canadian Methodist missionary Davidson MacDonald helped establish Aoyama Gakuin, and by 1949, the institution was established as a comprehensive university.
- Literature is the oldest department at the university.
- Last year, more than 50,000 students applied for the university. About 2500 were accepted.
- To go to the university website, click here. To go to the university’s wikipedia page, click here.
What: Tegomass 3rd Tour Tegomass no Mahou
When: 13:00 – 15:50 Sunday, December 18 2011
Where: Yokohama Arena, Yokohama
Other notes: Chilly 9 or 10 degrees celcius, sunny, calm breeze, and tons of Tegomass fans and Barcelona fans at Shin-Yokohama station (it was the Club World Cup).
Circular stage with two long stages going out to the side, two more shorter stages leading to elevating platforms. The band played inside the circular stage, and another stage cut straight across the circular stage in the centre, and this could rotate around slowly.
The entire arena had a cutely magical feel about it. There were fairy lights strung from the ceiling, making it look like stars, and large 5-pointed-star and moon decorations dotted around the place.
At the ends of the stages were two white Christmas trees.
Mahou no Melody
Massu wearing his red and white costume (mostly red), and Tegoshi wearing his red and white costume (mostly white), appeared from where the Christmas trees were, and performed the song standing on top of rotating disco ball-like platform.
Bokura no Sora
Tegoshi: “Tegomass noooooo Tegoshi deeeesu!”
Massu: “Domoooo! All you little kids, it’s Massu! All you not little kids…Massu dayo!”
The two went on the elevating platforms. Massu was on my side. So cute…
Kushami, Sotsugyo Album, and Wasuremono were sung one after the other in a ballad setting. Tegoshi and Massu sat on chairs on the circular stage with two other musicians on chairs playing acoustic guitars. Towards the end, heart-shaped confetti started falling from above.
The two came back with new costumes on. Tegoshi in an all-white ensemble, and Massu with…a marching band-like navy or black jacket, a leopard print jacket on top of that, and bright red baggy pants.
The firework-shaped lights were lighting up in different colours, it was very pretty.
At the end, Massu read one of the heart-shaped confetti that had fallen a few minutes and said, “Dear Massu…you’re good-looking.”
Yuuyake no Uta (Masahiko Kondo song)
Ding-Dong (TOKIO song)
Tomadoinagara (Arashi song)
Zutto (from NEWS first album “touch”)
Arigato.ima (coupling song to NEWS’ 7/11 limited edition single)
Yuuyake no Uta, Ding-Dong, Tomadoinagara, Zutto, and Arigato.ima was a medley of songs from the early days of the duo’s career.
The two said it’s a medley of songs known by hardcore fans as “コアファン萌え萌えメドレー (Hardcore fans Moe Moe Medley)”.
Old video footage of them was streamed on the screens.
I liked it how Massu said that “Tomadoinagara” was the song they sung when they were back dancers for Arashi.
The second half of the song was sung with Tegomass sitting in giant miso soup bowl sets at the ends of the stage.
Massu took one of the giant chopstick props and started playing it like an air guitar.
Kiss 〜Kaerimichi no Love Song〜
At the end, Massu ran to the centre of the stage and jumped to catch something.
“What’s the matter Takahisa?” Tegoshi said.
“Yuya, I caught sound,” Massu said.
“Umm…do you know what sound is, you can’t catch it,” Tegoshi said as he walked towards Massu. Massu told Tegoshi to look inside his hands.
“oh my gosh, it’s there!” Tegoshi said.
Massu opened his hands slowly, and when you looked at Massu’s hands on the giant TV screens, animated sparkles flew out of them.
The two were talking about how different their costumes were. They said because the first costumes were all about the tour’s theme of “Magic”, they were thinking along the same line.
But then when the two of them worked by themselves to design their own costumes…the end result was one in white and one in a multi-coloured, multi-pattern outfit.
Tegoshi was disappointed Alberto Zaccheroni hadn’t invited him to join Japan’s national soccer team yet.
Tegoshi also seemed disappointed he couldn’t watch Barcelona play in Yokohama today.
Then Massu asked Tegoshi, “If Zaccheroni invited you, what position would you play”.
“Well, their formation right now is 4-3-2, but in European soccer it’s still 3-3-2, so obviously………..,” Tegoshi said as he kept going on and on and on about soccer. Or something like that, I hope so…I lost him after the first few numbers and names.
Then Massu collapsed!
“It’s just that there were so many numbers….and I was trying to add them all up,” Massu said as he explained that his brain had overloaded.
Massu was talking about the chaos a year ago during the Soccer World Cup when Japanese fans swarmed into central Shibuya to party.
“I was there,” Tegoshi said.
“EEEEEEEE!?” the crowd said (including me).
“No, really. My friends I were calling one another saying, ‘something amazing’s going on in Shibuya, let’s check it out!’ so I went there,” Tegoshi said.
Maybe I should have another look at that footage to see if I can find Tegoshi…
“How about you, Massu. I mean, you do clothes,” Tegoshi said.
“…what do you mean I ‘do clothes’,” Massu said.
“I mean, like, if you looked at what you do over a week, the majority of it would be taken up by clothes,” Tegoshi said.
“So you mean I like shopping for clothes, looking at clothes,” Massu said.
But Tegoshi confessed that he has no interest keeping up with fashion trends. He said he usually looks at window displays of clothes to decide what shops to go into or buy.
“You know, like stripes. They’re called what, ‘borders’? And what do you call blobs?” Tegoshi said.
“DOTS!” the crowd yelled.
“Oh, that’s right,” Tegoshi said.
They two were talking about how younger juniors were debuting, like Sexy Zone, who are already sexier than Tegomass.
But Tegomass promised that even when they’re 30, they’ll keep true to their cute nature.
But Massu said the merchandise might change. He said they might start selling Tegomass beer glasses in a few years.
“Yokohama Arena Aoi-na”: song for Yokohama Arena
With Tegoshi on guitar and Massu on vocals and tambourine, Massu sung a piece they made especially for Yokohama.
It went something like this:
“Walking step by step to Yokohama Arena
Waiting in the backstage room
Here starts the (Johnny’s) Jr years
V6, KinKi, Arashi, Taki-tsuba
We danced so much for them
You! Dance now. In 2 minutes!
When we finish we’ll go home on the train
The same as all the fans who were watching us
Everyone looked like a super star
I hope I can be like them one day
Yokohama, Yokohama, Yokohama
Yokohama Arena is in Kanagawa
Arena, you’re chair’s are Aoi-na (eng: blue)
I want to see ya next year
All those (Johnny’s) Jr who are growing up behind me….aren’t there!?”
Kibou no Hikari wo Kokoro ni Tomosou
This one was sung with the two of the elevating platforms on either side of the arena. Now Tegoshi was on my side.
The platform’s safety barriers were covered in white flowers and fairy lights. At the end, Tegoshi took a flower and threw it into the crowd.
Yuyake to Koi to Jitensha
The only song if I remember correctly with a dance sequence.
Cheetah Gorilla Orangutan
The two went around the upper stands on magical elephant rides wearing the Tegomass no Mahou parkas.
Lots of “Lalalala” singing with the fans. And I mean LOTS.
Tegoshi would raise his hands when he wanted everyone to sing louder, then crouch right down with his hand when he wanted everyone to quieten down.
Introducing the band members
A song written by Tegomass.
It was really cool because the lyrics on the giant screens indicated which parts were for fans to sing, so it was like everyone was singing a duet with Tegomass.
At the very end, Massu and Tegoshi passed right in front my side!
Because I was sitting in the second row, I got a very good last look at Massu and Tegoshi 🙂
What: Tomohisa Yamashita’s solo concert tour Super good Super bad
When: 13:00 – 15:00 Sunday, May 8 2011
Where: Yoyogi National Stadium 1st Gymnasium, Harajuku, Tokyo
Other notes: Sunny with blue skies and white clouds and a hot 27C. In shorts and t-shirt and I’m still sweating, why!?
Arriving at JR Harajuku station just before noon, I noticed a number of fans heading to Yoyogi stadium wearing red. Red dresses, red T-shirts, girl friends with matching red hats or coats. Otherwise a lot people were dressed like me (shorts and T-shirt) with shorts, skirts, dresses, t-shirts, and thing cardigans.
It was my first time in the Yoyogi stadium, and I must say it was totally cool. My seat was in the south side of the stadium on the first floor stands. Looking up, Yoyogi stadium looks like you’re inside a giant tent.
The inside had a very Asian theme. Red lighting in the background and banners with Yamapi’s concert tour logo on it hanging everywhere.
A group of fans sitting around the stage on the ground floor started chanting, “Yamapi” after 1pm. As soon as the lights went black, the stadium erupted in screams and there were red flashlights (and a small number of blues and greens and yellows from other flashlights) everywhere.
Yamapi appeared on the centre stage with his semi-long hair, which was dyed a nice shade of brown. He sang, danced, walked and waved at fans around the stadium.
Johnny’s band FiVe were jamming on stage, there were string instrument players (violins, violas, cellos), and Johnny’s Jr. dancers. Two fans sitting in front of me were really happy to see A.B.C-Z dance close by, and I thought it was awesome to see fans cheering them on too.
I’ve said before, but it was very hot today, and after one song Yamapi clearly said, “暑い・・・ (Atsui…, It’s hot…)”.
In the MC section, NEWS didn’t come (waaah…) but instead, Yamapi asked each A.B.C-Z member to introduce themselves and talk a bit. Fumito Kawai did a cute impression of Jun Matsumoto (Arashi) singing and dancing to “WISH” and Takahisa Masuda (NEWS) singing and waving his hands to “Miso soup”. Kawai…you just earned a good place in my books (>v<)/
Then, Yamapi said he wanted to talk to fans!
A.B.C-Z members started running around the ground floor around the stage looking for fans with a question for Yamapi. Here’s what I could note down:
Q: “When is NEWS going to release a new single?” (11-year-old girl)
A: “Ummmmm, how do I say this. I don’t know. I’m sorry but there are things that even I don’t know. When we know we’ll let you know okay.”
Q: “What’s your favourite thing to eat?”
Q: “What kind of hairstyle do you like on a girl?”
A: “I get asked that a lot. Ummm, but say if Matsuko Deluxe got smooth, straight hair, I still wouldn’t like her. But if the pretty ladies here today had smooth, straight hair, then maybe, yes…It’s your birthday? Oh, then I’ll give you my towel.”
Yes, Yamapi gave this lucky fan the towel he had wrapped around his neck during the MC!
Q: “Which member of NEWS do you like the most?”
A: “This is such a popular question. Even yesterday, someone asked me to rank the members of NEWS in the order that I liked them. (But I guess it would be) Nishikido. Just because we’ve been friends for so long. Thank you for your wonderful question.”
Q: “Could you give me a hug?”
A: “…Come here. Oh, you’re really little (8-years-old).”
When the whole crowd went “ehhhh!” in envy, Yamapi said, “don’t get jealous of this small girl.”
After giving the girl a hug, he told the crowd, “you do know what a question is right?”
Q: “Today’s Mother’s Day but did you do something for your mother?”
A: “Well, I took her out for dinner last night.”
Q: “Could you wipe your sweat using our towel?” (two fans…looked about 18 or so)
A: “You do know what a question is right…?”
Q: “What colour underwear do you like a girl to wear?” (same two fans as above)
A: “So now you’re asking me a dirty question…what am I supposed to say? Um, any!”
Later on, Yamapi said that he hopes when he turns 30 years-old he’ll be able to answer questions about underwear more easily.
Q: “I want to get into Johnny’s & Associates, will you let me in?” (little boy with white T-shirt with “Yamapi” written on it)
A: “Uhh, well, practice your dancing, your singing, send in your application form to Johnny’s and get your parents support. I think if you work hard at what you want, eventually you’ll get it.”
Q: “What was your favourite thing to do when you were at kindergarten?” (little girl fan)
A: “Ummm, I did forward flips on the bars a lot.”
In the second half, Johnny’s Jr. got to sing and perform songs like Arashi’s “Monster”.
As the concert drew towards an end and Yamapi introduced the entire band/dancers/string instrument players/backing vocalists and said goodbye. Then, the crowd started chanting “Yamapi”. Soon, for the encore Yamapi appeared on the second floor wearing a silver suit which turned into several colours in the spotlight. Standing in a movable stage, staff members pushed him all around the stadium and lucky fans in the front row of the second floor got to high-five or shake Yamapi’s hand.
I decided to go home straight after the encore, so I’m not sure whether Yamapi came out again…but I bought a pamphlet and got some concert tape 😀
All in all, it was a cool concert and fans were definitely satisfied with the time they had spent with Yamapi during his concert.
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)
- 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.
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…
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.
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