Tuesday, September 11, 2012

岡崎花火大会2012:Okazaki Fireworks Festival 2012

So after Shinrabanshow, the visual kei fest, we spent a little bit more time in the Okazaki / Nagoya area.

And on Saturday night, there was the yearly Okazaki fireworks festival. Last year, I went in yukata with some friends, and it was super fun! So I was excited to go back with Guillaume and different friends this year.

Rachael came in from Gifu, Miho came in from Nagoya, and we met up with Carine and went over to the house of one of her boyfriend's friends for a bar-b-que.

The view of the fireworks from their mini backyard was wonderful, the people were super super nice (and the friend was super into punk, so we got to giddily talk about that for a while - I really don't know how I'm going to separate myself from Japan and being able to see Japanese music live whenever I want), and there was even a bit of vegan food!

I was really happy that we were able to watch them from a yard, because otherwise the area was so crowded there was barely room to walk, much less sit.

There were also quite a few kids there, so they had lots of small fireworks set up for us to do. There's this one that's apparently super popular in Japan and just sort of hangs down and only gets bright towards the very end. Of course, though, my lit part managed to always fall off and die before the very end, so I never got to see mine looking cool. :-(

The next day we decided to head into Nagoya for the day - despite it being Guillaume's 3rd time in Japan (and second time in Okazaki), he'd somehow never been to Nagoya.

We went over to check out the castle, which I also had somehow never been to before. I was happy to finally go.

We were unfortunately a little bit rushed, because we got there quite a bit later than we had originally planned and we had to meet up with Miho and Will for lunch, but it was still cool.

The gardens were really beautiful, and there was actually a lot of cool stuff to see both inside and outside the castle. There also seemed to be some sort of festival going on, so there were lanterns set up everywhere. It was really beautiful.

Then we met up with Miho and Will for lunch.

We of course had to do purikura - it was Guillaume's first, and I think he really enjoyed it.

We had a good time hanging around Sakae before heading over to Osu Kannon.

I spend a LOT of time in both of those areas, so it was cool to get to show Guillaume - I didn't really get the feeling that he was all that impressed, though. I thought it was especially cool this time, because there was a cosplay festival going on.

I still can't really figure out if this was a girl or a guy

We saw TONS of people dressed up in every possible anime costume imaginable. I literally had NEVER seen that many cosplayers gathered in one place, even when I went to the cosplay festival in France.

And with that, the end of our time in the Aichi area. 以上です。

Monday, September 10, 2012

アンティック‐珈琲店ー復活ライブ - An Cafe Reunion Lives!

So, I have a TON of other things that I'm supposed to be writing about - namely, my three weeks with Guillaume here, which were fabulous and fun and wonderful! BUT for some reason I just keep putting it off and putting it off, and this past weekend I went to Tokyo for the two most amazing days of my time in Japan - An Cafe's reunion shows in Tokyo!!!! They were SO AMAZING that I get giddy all over again just thinking about them. I imagine myself an old woman of, like, 80 or 90 or so (if I make it that long) thinking back to these two concerts and still being overwhelmed with happiness.

DAY 1: 大航海時代

So the first day of the concert was called daikoukaijidai, which means the Age of Discovery.

Even though I was going to the first day alone, Rachael and Martin were so kind as to head over with me early to wait in line to buy goods.

The line looked something like this:

We must have waited for at least 2 1/2 hours, and as a result, I was over to talk myself out of and then retalk myself into (not just once, but SEVERAL in a continuous cycle) the majority of the goods that were sold - as I was buying the goods, I was in a "talk myself into" state, and I ended up spending FAR MORE money than I would have liked.

On a happy note, though, I am SUPER happy with my purchases, several of which I am wearing now.

While waiting, there was a girl across from us that had a HUGE sign thing that she was getting everyone to sign for An Cafe. Of course, I signed it (twice :-P).

When I went in later, the big sign was hanging for everyone to see as they walked in. So cool! I wonder if they received it.
The live itself was amazing, even if I was sitting directly behind the band. Still, I was so close I felt like I could practically touch them. :-) I felt like if I could just find a way to reach out my hand a little bit further, I would be touching Teruki.

A picture I stole without permission from the An Cafe facebook site

They started off with Smile Ichiban Ii Onna, and of course, the crowd went absolutely CRAZY. I think that may be their most popular song.

After playing quite a few AMAZING songs (of course they were amazing, all of their songs are amazing), they did a skit which was absolutely HILARIOUS. Apparently, according to Miku at least, Yuuki thought of it. I guess it was supposed to be like a video game, and Kanon and Teruki were hungry, and Yuuki was supposed to have made food, but he didn't because Takuya didn't give him any ingredients with which to make food.

This is what I was sitting in front of!

And then there was a sea monster that was going to eat all 4 of them, but there were 5 of them, so they were confused. Miku did lots of fun voices and Teruki and Kanon's faces were absolutely PRICELESS. I SO hope they make a DVD of the show so everyone can see it.

I imagined the monster looked like a super cute nyappy character like this

And of course they had an MC section in which Teruki mimicked someone, Ganon, maybe? - I don't actually remember the name because I didn't know who it was, but it was funny nonetheless. Teruki is always funny. He also had lots of funny stories to tell about Kanon (which prompted Miku to say - you guys get along really well, are you maybe doing it?).

Anyhow, at sometime in there, they played Amazing Blue, and everyone got out their An Cafe blue light stars, and the entire crowd was BLUE - it was beautiful to behold!
They also played Jibun Setsumeisho (Self Manual) sometime in there, which is my favorite song from the mini album. They also played quite a few other songs from the new mini album - for one of them, I think it was Saku, Yuuki led us in an absolutely fabulous choreography (according to Miku, he'd spent the last 2 1/2 years coming up with it) - because I'm completely lacking in coordination, it took me a while to get it - but even though I'm completely lacking in coordination, I did manage to eventually get it. Fun times!

They encored with YOU and ended with Bonds (towels flying!), and it was absolutely beyond amazing - no words to describe the perfection!

DAY 2: 原宿奪還

Day 2 was called Harajuku Dakkan, which means Harajuku Recovery (or rescue).

This time I went with Rachael, and we got there a little bit early to walk around Harajuku - there were SO many people dressed up in An Cafe cosplay - I was sort of jealous. I wish I were capable of something like that. I always think I want to cosplay a member of An Cafe, but unfortunately fail.

It was super super fun to look at them all, though.

Me ready for An Cafe!!

When you first went in, there was a stand of the brand that designed An Cafe's clothes this time around, and they had one of those "be a ~insert whatever~" things for An Cafe, so of course Rachael and I took a picture! :-)

On day 2, they started off with Maple Gunman, which is absolutely one of my favorite songs. They also played quite a few other of my favorite songs this day - Kakusei Heroism, Snow Scene, and their last song before the encore - Cherry Saku Yuuki. I was, of course, thrilled beyond belief. There were only a few repeats in the set.

The setup when you first walked into the venue

For Teruki's mimicking MC, he imitated a famous Japanese singer (again, I don't know the singer, and I'm really bad with names, so I don't remember it) - I thought it was funny, but no one was really laughing. So Miku decided that we didn't know how to laugh and conducted a laughing practice session with us, which was hilarious beyond belief.

Miku's laugh is so pure and clear - we all couldn't help but just laugh with him.

They also did the same sea monster skit as the day before - while the beginning was exactly the same, they changed the end up a bit, so it felt fresh and new.

After several minutes of all of the fans screaming Mou Ippai (One more cup of coffee - it's what An Cafe fans scream instead of Encore), they encored with Bonds, and we all waved our towels around like crazy.

Then they ended with Smile Ichiban Ii Onna, the song they had opened with the day before. Somehow, it just felt right.
When An Cafe does something, they do it right, and that is all.

I can't even believe how much I enjoyed myself. I was reminded of why An Cafe will forever and always be my favorite visual kei band. They are just awesome, that is all. More awesome than all of the others.

I took the bus home Monday morning, and I spent the entire bus ride listening to their discography, from first album to most recent.
I'm listening to Amazing Blue now.

So yeah, best two days of my 2 1/2 years in Japan.