Two days of Japanese music festival to commemorate and celebrate the final days of Tokyo's National Olympic Stadium before it gets demolished and rebuild for Tokyo Olympics 2020 (it was ready in 1963 or -4) - the day I got to firstly visit the stadium after the work begins with a proper press meeting, this is the account of the 2nd day of the trip and I made it to the stadium, where the Olympic flames were lit up among the huge attendees!

See what happened on the first day to catch up where I left off - including meeting the musician and producer Aiji after being Twitter friends what it looks like at the Shibuya scramble at 3AM - is it busy, or empty?

Bookmark this link as this gets into major details from morning to night of day 2. To enable the full experience read it bit by bit and play the music later!

And hi again from the same place (my room and my new hobby of becoming a Shibuya Scramble day analyst/watcher):

So... in the morning right. Woke up about 8AM-ish and didn't feel hungry, skipped breakfast and hopped to the nearby depaato (department stores).

Basically we had to be back by 12.30PM to join the bus that drives us to the other hotel for the official press meeting. And meeting Aiji - now he did not probably sleep to prepare today, poor lad. Cos we did this at 2AM, hahahahha

After making random rounds and not getting anywhere we went down to the supermarket and there, was glory of freshness. Now that I recalled and becoming disappointed in myself that I WAS. IN. A. SUPERMARKET. A good one. I saw a whole rack of Twinings tea to just compare prices (sadly, I can't inform you guys because I don't remember) but I completely forgot to have bought tons of natto, wakame, dried wakame, and every other bits of konyaku and dietary needs that costs a fortune overseas but just perfect in the country. I can say to you that I'm downright annoyed to my own lack of memory and again, the loss of appetite > no natural callings of raiding supermarket > forgetting everything about the food to bring back.

From editor's instagram - with ocha on the side~
Anyhow, this is what we got for brekkie (right), freshnessss~! Can you believe it that mine (sashimi, top) was sufficient?! I probably wanted to nom more but it was pretty OK for me till like 4-5pm. I was in a ridiculous sitch of my own being. Still sad for the fact i wasnt able to enjoy more of being a foodie.. look how beautiful it is with #nofilterneeded

At 11.30AM we were back in our rooms to eat our brunch and the cleaning lady hasn't come to our room which was surprising - in Japan, editor Lily said.

And then she came in when we came in, and we told her that we'll be done in half hour. She apologised profusely to which I felt bad because it wasn't her fault at all! Living in the residence I am now in London, there's a set of time for housekeeping to clean the house within that hour. We have to evacuate out of our relaxing poses and scramble to find ourselves lost within the hour... well, let's not get to that because the sitch here is completely different where one is the okyaku-sama and customer is king. Super.

More funny spottings around Shibuya, taken from my SOASSOAS album:

Aiji during briefing - from my Twit

After the briefing which later brought us to Hotel Cerulean about 10 mins away from our hotel, the bus took us to the stadium. The funny thing on board the bus was, getting to say hello to fellow journos and as I remembered, Taku - Anna - me - Joe - Tilo occupied the back row, and Milla/Warren was like "so hello you kids" which we did look like ones compared. Now that I know they're legitly enough to label us as kiddos. And so, welcoming team Azzuri - no, I meant the press bib team, for this 2 days...

PS. Shoutout to Joe here who became our trusty papz around our side, not about the artists, but ourselves so we pictures below are mostly his to remember this fantastic journey!
Tilo and Joe, caught on camera

Aiji on spot!

Few of us here, from Tilo - Taku - Anna - Me - Lily - Chief from 'Gitar Plus' indo zine

After briefing and arriving at the stadium we were given time before the concert start. Spotted Sherlock and Downton Abbey's poster - indicating how huge the fanbase is here as well. BBC, you're doing pretty snazzy with this. As planned, we escaped to Harajuku, a stop (or was it two?) away by station! Now, Harajuku has two parts, the Takeshita-Dori (竹下通り) area and the Ura-Hara ( 裏原宿). The former is a street known as the shopping mecca for most gals getting their sweet, kawaii to a bit of black metal outfits ala 90s Avril Lavigne - tons of shops are around and the most famous brand franchises open in this lane. There are a lot of tourists around, and I overheard one say "this is where youth meets and create, lots of crazy stuff happening here, especially with the way they dressed".
Fire Emblem from 'TIGER & BUNNY'
 I took the photo (below) in front of the famous Takeshita-Dori - the sign on top keeps changing every time and this one is the princess and the fairy thing going on. Check out the other older decorations, super cute. All offence aside, can anyone from Anthropology of Japan or similar to it tell me why there are a lot of black males, dominantly, in this street to hold the selling banner and shout, and also have shops? It's just new for me to see them in Japan - was there any trade going on or something? Plus, they spoke Japanese (duh) so I'm trying to trace back the reason why the chara exist. Fire Emblem is inspired from (which I discovered the show through its movie and did a SOASSOAS review about it). It's not common yet to see a dark-skinned chara come to play in manga/anime... half of them are tanned and not technically from the black race, if you get what I mean.

The latter, Ura-Hara by literal translation is "Back side or backstreet of Harajuku". Where the main street lies in Takeshita and alongside the road on the other side to find the famous department stores, Ura-Hara houses the indie and obscure brands and labels, created and established in this very historical street. I only read the history then again since I've forgotten everything from my undergrad studies.
Without a doubt, Harajuku is globally known to be the birth of Tokyo fashion that sprung up into stardom mid to late 90s with their originality, creativity, and style. To pull off assumptions BTSSB (Baby the Stars Shine Bright) is NOT in Shinjuku/Harajuku area, it's in fact "south" from Shibuya (see map), where I lived I didn't take photos as I guess it's ubiquitous enough for everyone to experience the crazy crowded street and if there is one thing I should say, it's the disappointment when I arrived the street.

After years of adoring, reading, adopting, and obsessing with what is Japan and Japanese streetstyle is all about, highly concentrated in this district, I came back to write this post-trip with a huge sigh of disappointment... the crazy clans or creative looking people arent as omnipresent as it used to be. True to form, there are a lot of tourists combined. Certain shops that house indie labels would be more likely be found in Ura-hara.

Gilda-san of Revasseur said the fast fashion killed it. Marcus was looking for ganguros. Its so back then and not in fashion anymore. I regretted not visiting this place a few years ago when it was still celebrated. 2009 was still before Korea and the Korean style grew too. I kept repeating to myself that I absolutely regretted not going down to this street back in winter 2009 where I was visiting Japan and escape while the whole tour troupe went to Disneyland.

Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh! It was still feisty back then, I guess the kira-kira sparkle is not felt anymore. Maybe the hubbub of things re moving towards Shanghai and Seoul? Fashion business-wise, the 90s saw Burberry and Westwood to have designed a specific and Japan-only line, and only obtainable there. That's how big the potential of Japan back then, and the reason why they were more exposed to international, western fashion, the credo that creates world trends. Today, as the market progresses and how Japan's economy is stagnant - plus post-tsunami - things have dissolved and not have been into pumped up lights again. Although still, Japan still has the most unique small market network and still sells weird services and product - it sells!

In one alley in Takeshita I found the AVEX ARTIST ACADEMY - the place to see future beautiful kiddos in Japan.  It's a strategic spot; Kyary was also scouted in Harajuku then this is it, the centre of youth. The original AVEX office is around Omotesando.

We ran back to the stadium on time after munching in Yoshinoya simply the easiest food around... and off to the stadium. Upon briefing and entering the premises, we entered the area by using the staff lane on the left side - the usual perks to enjoy. However, with the Japanese, entering an entertainment venue was very well-mannered, not to mention how it started ON THE DOT 6:30PM with over half of seats capacity inside the enormous Olympic stadium. Now that's something I never find in Indonesia. Does the US have the same timely manner? Even in the UK those K-pop concerts tend to be slightly off by tens or twenty to bring the crowds in or just to give the wait for 'suspense'.

KOKURITSU, YELL OUT FOR JAPAN! Bringing you the best rising and established J-pop stars in one stage, this was JAPANNIGHT DAY 1.
(photo credits)

The first concert was directed by Seiji Kameda, bassist of my band hero of all times Tokyo Jihen (disbanded). Their 'eerie', funk, spunk, jazz, pop, synthesizers, electro, beat, whatever you call experimental but still acceptable to a raucous and spiffy head like me, it just fits and vocalist Shiina Ringo (sadly not present) has one of those unique shrill voices that you can't get bored of - it gets to you, it's not even annoying (for me, might be for the rest of anyone who dislikes the rather kooky head Japanese, heheh). Sot that night, with a full orchestra - all songs sung by various artists that night were rehearsed and re-arranged by him. Talk about the wrong venue - the orchestra was extremely beautiful and I wished it was indoors . Pop songs, groovy songs, upbeat ones and those melodious ones, all adapted to orchestra, amazing!

The report my editor and I co-wrote is now out in Indonesian in the magazine Animonstar. Here, below, I'm sharing you the songs I discovered and actually enjoyed the most! As a long-time fan of Ikimonogakari, I was disappointed again that they sung the more latest songs I haven't kept up to date with but wasn't the best song choice to end the concert as it wasn't as upbeat and crowd-pumping as the ones I'm sharing below. This was JAPANNIGHT day 1, half attendance of the crowd but it was about 50,000 strong (check it out).

This kindergarten girl with such a big square-ish bag walking out, all alone! I wonder what I did in that age.

No cameras and taping allowed in this concert - except taking photos of anything besides faces of artists.

Still acceptable to take shot of the screen instead. Seiji-san~!!!

Did you enjoy the song choice like I did? I'd love to know what you think. (Artist, from top: Sukima Switch, Funky Kato, Naoto Inti Raymi)

Here we are, back in the hotel, while I decided not to join karaoke with them (regret of the lifetime but I was too tired) I was looking for late dinner to fail. Back to the room and wanting to shuffle the article but sleep calls in... this time it's proper sleep to prepare for day 3 chocolate disco dancing!

1 comment:

Milla said...

nice work, kiddo.