Monday, June 28, 2010


And not you since you probably didn't go *nyah nyah*

Last weekend, I went to Jin Akanishi's first solo concert in America omgsoexciting. Who the heck is Jin Akanishi, you ask? He's one-sixth of the popular Japanese idol group (read: boy band) KAT-TUN, managed by Johnny & Associates, Inc., one of the largest entertainment agencies in Japan.

Akanishi is top row, center. I have soft spots for the other two in the top row, Taguchi and Kamenashi respectively.

He's taking a break from the group to do a solo tour in America. He's one of the few to even acknowledge the Western fan base, much less put on a tour of his own material in English. Some of the other idols in the company have visited the states for promotional activities, and most of those appearances are available in full on YouTube if that gives you an idea of how painfully short they are. Akanishi has given a few interviews about his shows and the motivation behind them, and he seems to understand that catering to only Japanese fans is pointless (and maybe to some extent xenophobic - which I could go on and on about).

BUT OMG HIS SHOW WAS GOOD. The time on the tickets said 5PM, so my dear friend Christina and I went to stand in line at about 430PM. I thought we had a pretty good place in line for showing up only half an hour earlier, since this was the situation about 15 minutes later:

Girls picking up their tickets.

Club Nokia is on the third floor, accessible only by elevator or escalator,
so the line continued downstairs.

*Tangent: I was tweeting the entire time, so you can read my Twitter for sarcastic bite-size commentary*

I woke up too late on ticket purchase day to get floor seats, but I think our seats were pretty good. The stage was a bit smaller than I expected, but it was perfect for the show he put on. You can't see it in my crappy cell phone picture, but there are TV screens on both sides of the stage and above the balconies. Since this was almost all new material, someone decided that it'd be a good idea to put the title of the song on the big screen at the back of the stage and on the TV screens, which also had the lyrics scrolling down as the performance went along.

Opening acts were good (aside from Akanishi's producer person, who was waaaay too cocky for a bad NeYo rip-off), although I had to get up and pee quite a bit because I drank a lot of water before arriving and I had the Best Idea Ever™ to have a beer at the show.

The opening was a song titled "Christmas Morning," which had nothing to do with Christmas and featured Akanishi doing his best Justin Timberlake falsetto for the entire song. And he played a bunch of instruments. It was weird. But the song was good, and the next five songs were good and dancey and clubby. I read an interview today that Akanishi wanted the American crowds to get into his songs and not just politely watch like how the Japanese crowds do. Don't worry, Jin, I did my part.

I forget if he performed "Yellow Gold" during the first or second half, but that one also stuck out and I was singing it the next day. The only song I remember really not liking was "Hey Girl" (something about the girls saying, "Maji?!") and I'm still kind of torn on "Paparats." He finished the first half with "LoveJuice," his first English song released under KAT-TUN, which is the quintessential Jin Akanishi song about getting down with a foreigner at a club, and then some. I'm still not convinced he understood all the double entendres he made while writing the lyrics.

And then an intermission! Thank God, because I needed another potty break. The audience was 95% female, with a few guys scattered around, so the line to the restroom was ridiculous. The men's restroom was located a few feet before the women's restroom, so I asked the attendant (seriously the men's restroom had an attendant and not the women's - and they had candy and stuff lined up by the sinks!) if anyone was even using the restroom. He begrudgingly let me in, and then a few more females followed. I got some looks for that from the Japanese girls, "Shameless American girls! Using the men's restroom, how uncivilized!" They're the exact same toilets as the women's restroom, and I even got a mini Snickers bar and you didn't.

Second half of the show was more ~*performance art*~ than anything. Akanishi and his dancers showed off their skillz, ABDC style. In fact, one of his dancers was a girl from the Beat Freaks(?) crew on ABDC, she was amazing. Akanishi even threw in some kabuki-esque stuff for good measure. And his Japanese pop-and-lock dancer was adorable, I think they said he was 16 and he was also really good.

This was from the finale. They put a big bubble on the stage and I guess it was supposed to represent the world but... uh... I don't know. He performed three more songs, including "Tipsy Love" which was reeeaaallllyyy goooooood. Normally I would not encourage people to download stuff or watch these things on YouTube, but Akanishi hasn't officially released most of these songs and has no plans to (he said he wants to, but that isn't set in stone), so until he does I don't see how else you'd get to enjoy them. You can find the entire show on YouTube, because someone was kind enough to record it in their pocket.

It was AWESOME and he's going to make another stop in San Francisco later this summer, so I'm going to try my best to go again (and drag more people with me muahahahahaha). As much as I love Arashi and my darling Aiba, it is safe to say I have a lot of respect and admiration for their kouhai Jin Akanishi.

And maybe next time I can try to hunt him down at the clubs, and not wimp out with a $14 martini at go to bed.

Friday, June 25, 2010


久しぶり! (Can't see that? Download a Japanese font package, お願い!) (It says, "Hisashiburi!" or "Long time no see!")

I seem to have found myself with extra time these days, and after nagging from older bro I've decided to put some of that time into my blog again.

I had a hard time deciding how I would like to focus my blog, now that I'm out of Japan. What sorts of silly things can I write about now? No more lost weekends in Shibuya, no more nampa... But I still have crazy Japanese classmates, strange encounters with Nihonjin, and still love the J-boys.

Meh... I'll just write what I want. Try to keep it strange and kawaii.

And so I'll begin working on my first *real* post in about a year and some odd months. I just came back from L.A. to see the A in KAT-TUN~ I have like 3 photos to show for the entire trip, but that's okay!