☆ i heart japan,  ☆ life

Living Tall in Japan, part 32

☆ To see all of the parts in this series, click here

So, I’d been living in Japan for five months now, and completely forgotten about things like Valentine’s Day as February whizzed past. Ang, one of our roomates, left to go home, and then finally, my other roommate Rachelle got ready to leave. We did purikura the week she was going to go home, at right. ^^

There was a new roommate set to come right before she left, and everything seemed alright at first. She was an older lady, in her 50s or 60s, I believe. She was from Australia, and had decided to just come to Japan and leave her husband to take care of their house. I thought that this was a bit unusual, but hey, it wasn’t my life, and what did it matter what someone else did? So, no big problem. At first, we barely saw each other anyways, as I had plenty of fandom-related things to keep me busy outside of work, and she seemed alright-enough. Things would not remain this way, but it would be a while before I found this out.

Speaking of keeping busy. On February 27th, I went to my first big concert in Japan! It was for Kimeru, and when I say “big,” I don’t mean something like Taylor Swift, or Ayumi Hamasaki. It was somewhere in-between the tiny little 50-people NaBs show, and the gajillion people at a Taylor Swift performance. A few thousand people, I would guess. It might as well have been a million, though, to me. 🙂

Kimeru – The Pleasure of Love tour
Sunday February 27, 2005 – Shibuya AX live event hall – Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan – 11am and onward

To the inexperienced me, Kimeru’s concert was amazing. Completely, utterly amazing.

I felt extremely lucky that I was able to go, though truthfully the tickets had cost me a lot (I paid about ¥8000) and I had worked hard to get to Japan. Let’s just say that having so much fun made me acutely aware of what an extraordinary life I was living, and so, so grateful for the choices that I’d made.

The day started early at about 11:00 (which was early for me at the time), and I bounced on over to meet my best friend and fellow reveler Eda at Hachiko square outside of Shibuya station. Hachiko is a really famous place, with a story all of its own about a dog who used to follow his master to work every day. His master would board the train at Shibuya, and his dog, Hachiko, would wait outside of the station until he returned from work. One day, his  master never came back, and so Hachiko waited there faithfully, until she passed away. A statue of Hachiko the dog was erected outside of Hachiko station, and is still there to this day. It’s a very popular place to meet someone, as it’s in the center of a giant,  open plaza. Lots of room to stand, unless it’s a weekend, in which case you’re unlikely to be able to find anyone or anything due to the the crowds.

At times like this, it’s helpful to be a tall redhead. It makes one easy to find. 😉

I wanted some tea from Starbucks, so I crossed at scramble crossing while Eda was waiting for our friend Aloni (remember? The world’s busiest intersection, which is right next to Hachiko). Crossing the gigantic intersection, I did a double-take. Was that Nagayan, one of the cast of Tenimyu, that had just passed me??? I didn’t know WHAT to think, but it really, really looked like him. Maybe it wasn’t. But considering that we were on our way to see his friends’ concert (Kimeru was in Tenimyu as well, which is why we were going to see him! He also sang the first ending song, You Got Game), it was entirely possible. I got my tea and wandered back over to Hachiko, where Aloni was now waiting, too. We discussed the possibility that I’d really seen one of our idols with a fervor that only fangirls can understand, I think. Hey, maybe it was him? We’ll never know.

Oh, have Kimeru singing You Got Game at a 2011 concert of his. That song will always bring back nostalgic, giddy memories for me. 🙂

After this, we hit up a store nearby that was selling some of that very Nagayan’s clothing. I don’t mean the clothing that he wore! Ahah.. no, clothing that he designed, silly! 😉

The store in question was called Gain, and it was run by a really friendly guy named Takeshi. It was also about the size of a closet, and was packed with other fangirls, so we looked really quickly and then just left. Takeshi becomes important later on in my story, though, so don’t forget him!

To make sure that you don’t forget, here are Takeshi and I, although this was taken a little over a month later. 😉

So, after the side trip to Gain, we headed our to the concert hall! We weren’t the first ones there by any means. There were hundreds of girls milling about outside, on an almost-warm, sunny day. It was the most gorgeous day we’d had in Tokyo for a looooong time. Bright blue, clear skies, and although there was a chill breeze, it was almost warm enough to go without a jacket for a little while. The only space that we could find to sit down was on a slanted concrete hill, but we took it and chatted happily amongst ourselves. We karaoked a little bit to a CD player that Aloni had brought along (again, this was pre-smartphones), trying to memorize the lyrics to “Pleasure of Love,” Kimeru’s new single.

Here is The Pleasure of Love for your pleasure, Engrish and all. 😉

On his blog, Kimeru had asked everyone to sing along with him, and since we were a part of everyone, we practiced our hearts out to make to happen. We laughed over his pronunciation of Adam and Even (ADAM-UU and EE-BU), which was thought was simultaneously the most hilarious and the cutest thing that we’d ever heard. Maybe I should have given him lessons. Little did I know, but he already had someone giving him lessons (a fact which becomes important later as well!). The girls that were closest to us kept talking about how we talked too fast in English for them to make out what we were saying.

I realized, then, probably belatedly, that there was a certain anonymity to speaking in a language that nobody could understand. A good kind of anonymity. 🙂

There was still a lot of time until the concert, so we passed the time by writing Kimeru a letter on my sketchbook paper, in English and Japanese both. I wonder if he ever read it. We bought a lot of concert goods out of excitement, stuffed our coats and bags into a tiny locker, and then three hours later, we were finally allowed to go into the concert hall. It was being held in a moderately large hall called Shibuya AX, if that means anything to you. 🙂

Aloni managed to wriggle her way up close somewhere, and Eda and I ended up a around the center of the hall. It wasn’t too crowded, and that was good because I had to go to the bathroom.. I wasn’t sure if I could make it through the concert, so I made my way across the call, picking my way through the throngs of girls, and out the door to the bathroom. When I got out, for some reason the outside was much more packed than the inside, and it was almost impossible to cross the hall.

Crap, I thought, and decided to take a detour around the side of the hall through a completely empty lobby. And let me finish the report in my own words from back then:

OMG am I glad that I did!!!!!! Because GUESS WHO was waiting then in a HUGE group in the lobby? My first thought was, ‘hey, there’s a bunch of guys here on my right!’ Then I realized how cute they were, and HEY! Don’t they look familiar!? I first recognized Yanagi’s hair sticking out of his hat, maybe because his back was turned to me and he was bending over to look at something on a table. I literally walked within 2 inches of his ass. If there isn’t a nicer place to be, I don’t know what it is! LOL. Then I recognized Tuti and Sota. GAH! They were there RIGHT next to me! But I was still 2% unsure that it was them so I didn’t say anything. ^^;;; I wish I had! I went in, not sure what I saw, and found Eda. “I think I just walked right past the Tenimyu boys in the lobby!” I told her, but I wasn’t sure. We looked up to the upper level to see if they were already there and maybe I’d been mistaken. We didn’t see them, and we were debating on going out to find them again to make sure, when there they came in the upstairs door! It was definitely them! <3 Oh, the lucky girls that got to sit right in front of them! They were all freaking out! =D I think I was seriously the first person on the bottom floor to see them, and when I started fangirling with Eda, other girls started looking up! Tuti and Nagayan even made a big look over RIGHT at our area. I think they were staring at Eda and I, I really do! They were looking RIGHT at us. We waved, so did many girls, but they didn’t wave back. They were smiling though, I think. ^-^

I admit it, throughout the concert, I was sneaking peeks up at the boys, though when they were sitting down, it was almost right above us, so it was a little hard to see them ^.^;;

Kime, though!! On to the beautiful Kime~!!! <33 He was so beautiful, wearing this interesting white long-sleeved shirt with sex-pistols memorabilia splayed across the front (Rock’n Jam tribute! LOL kawaii!!) and “never mind the bollocks” on the back! One shoulder was cut out very cutely! And of course he had tight little pants and platform boots. And the same crazy orange hair that we know and love! I LOVE HIS HAIR! (and his body, which he showed us a lot of many many many times! *cough*) He was genki from the start, all energy and charisma! Sure, it was already hot in there, but he just came right into it and made the place that much hotter!!

I think the first song was DECIDE – First Gate. In any case, it was a hyper, upbeat song and he really started the crowd jumping around and getting excited. He was energetic (reminds me EXTREMELY of Gackt’s MARS concert..) He got us cheering, clapping, singing along, and had short introductions before most of the songs. He had to stop for a bit, though, during Beat a Path, because some girl was fainting or something.. I didn’t know what was going on at first, because just suddenly in the middle of a refrain, he put out his hands, and called out for the band to stop playing. It took them a moment to quit, and for a moment it was just music and no singing. Then Kime asked if the girl was alright, which apparently she was. That’s good. It did kill the mood a little bit, but to his credit, he brought it right back up to the pace that it had been quickly. He then apologized after the song for stopping and bowed REALLY deeply, but said that we should take care of ourselves and such. =^__^= He was crying! ;_;

He continued with the upbeatness, and even had us sing along during The Pleasure of Love. But suddenly, during that song, the girls on my left were making these big X’s with their hands. I didn’t know what it meant. ^_^;; I actually thought that it was some kind of parapara move, since I’d seen some girls practicing them outside earlier. ^^;; Nope, apparently it means ‘distress’. Another girl had fainted! I saw Kime looking, but he didn’t stop, because the concert staff was already on it, and they took her out of the hall, right in front of me and Eda. I’m sure she was okay, but she was out cold! o.o;;; Whoa. I understand, though, because it was boiling hot in there, and everyone was jumping,clapping,waving,shouting, etc. And probably sweating buckets. I stole a look at the Tenimyu boys upstairs, and they were looking a bit worried, but everything was okay.

Before he sang Pink, Kimeru had a long talk about why he had named the song this way, and what it meant to him. Pink was for Sakura petals and romance. I got that, but when he started talking about seeing an old married couple outside today I didn’t understand, and thought that he was talking about getting married. ^^;;;; Oops! I had to ask Eda for help on that one! ^_^;;;;;;;; He said that it was a really good song for spring and love, and Aya told me later that it was the kind of song that someone should sing to a woman when he proposes. ^-^ Aww, how sweet! =^__^=

He was on for about an hour and a half or so, then ended with Make You Free. they sure made us clap and chant (people tried MANY times to organize chants of various things, from “ann-ko-reee” {encore} to “Kime! Kime!” to just random cries of “Kime-chaaaaaan!” but they always fell apart after a while, lol.) I think that they made us wait more than 5 minutes before the lights changed and Kime came bounding back out………. dressed in his concert t-shirt and with a towel around his shoulders! =D ROFLOL! OMG I think Kime is the ONLY one that could pull those hideous colors off! XD  He talked about why he’d chosen the colors (green for spring, and pink for sakura blossoms), and apologized for it being so gaudy. He also mentioned that he was wearing the smallest size possible (and it was still hanging off of him! LOL) He was very very cute, and very Kime! I am glad that I could follow this part alright. ^^ Then he talked about his band members, and we cheered for them all, and also about his next concert– a 1-day only event! <3 Since we were at the concert here, all of us could preorder! SCORE! We did so promptly the next morning! <3 Hopefully we get in! <3

Kime started in with another couple of bouncy songs, and had us all do this cheering-stomping-clapping thing that even he couldn’t keep the beat on! XD;; Hilarious! And oh-so-cute!! His last song, he introduced as ‘his first song’ or maybe better said as, ‘the song that gave me my beginning’. You Got Game! I love this song!! <3333 He had us sing along, and was being so bouncy and silly that he did cute half-jumps with one leg in the air (EXACTLY like Gackt’s in his U+K Mars performance.. I swear, he wants to be the next Gackt!). He leaned really far on his bassist Ken, and at one point fell over! But while his voice lurched, he kept on singing! It was the cutest thing EVER! <33

There were multiple times during the performance where he pulled his shirt up to show off his beautifully toned stomach, and several times asked us how we liked it. XD SO CUTE! The audience interacted with him a lot, and he nodded at us. I think that he tried to make eye-contact with a lot of people (me! Come on, I know he was looking at us foreign fans especially! There were only 3 of us), and tried to  involve everyone and make us all feel special! Gah, Kime is love! <33 He also had it out with his fellow Tenimyu ones, shouting things and asking them questions. There was one point where he directed attention up there, and the boys waved back like, ‘nooo! don’t draw attention to us! Keep it on you please!’ XDDD It was sooo~ cute! <3

Kime is a hyper, sexihot, unbelievably charismatic piece of work! His live was one of the most exciting experiences that I’ve had being in Japan. Completely, undeniably an awesome and sexy performer! And oh-so-gaytalented!! KIME IS LOVE! Please, please, please support him by buying his new single, and by seeing his concert if you ever possibly can! <3 It is an experience you’ll never forget!

After the concert, we were SO on a Kime-high! <3 I bought the new single finally, and we got our fliers that told us how to preorder tickets for the next concert! <333333 YESH! <3 Money we didn’t expect to spend, but well spent! <33 THEN, it was on to DEMACHI time! Demachi was a long wait, and there were maybe about 10 or 12 girls there is all, including us. We waited over an hour in the chilly air, in the dark, near the exit. Eventually all but 3 of the japanese girls and us 3 left. But quite suddenly, there was Kime in his car! <333 SUGOI! He did a TOTAL double-take at us (I think.. at least I’m pretty sure that he’d gotten and read our letter just before that) slowed down, rolled down the window, and thanked the 6 of us that had waited for him! I think he was touched! It was the best Kime-demachi that I’ve ever seen! <33 SUGOI~! <3 Kime and us=OT4! XD;;

After that, we were on a total Kime high still! So we hit up the rest of Shibuya and got ramen for dinner, then headed off to karaoke! Mmm, karaoke! We spent an hour in the place right above Mandarake singing ONLY Kime and NaB’s songs, plus a nightcap of “Can you Feel The Love Tonight” and “Neverending Story” in honor of The NaB’s, who sang both of those at their last concert. To make it more authentic, we read the katakana romaji above the english lyrics, and sung it that way. OMG it was so hilarious we laughed most of the way through! “can yoo feeru zaa raabu toonaiito? Itsu wea wii aaa-!” Fun fun!

In the end, I can say absolutely positively that it was one of my favorite nights that I’ve ever had here. It was a total blast! If you can ever see a Kime concert with some friends, GO! DO IT! ~<3 It is SHINY!

The songs titles and some of the nicknames might not make sense to you unless you are a fan yourself, but I hope that the crazy, insane passion that I felt at the time comes through. 😉 There was nothing, nothing like being a fangirl at that time in my life! Japan was really, really looking up.

Looking back now, I do feel a little bit embarrassed, but this was a part of me back then, and I should own up to it. I was excited about life, fandom, friends, and adventures in a land that I’d only dreamed about for years. It really was the time of my life! 🙂

I’ll see you guys tomorrow, with more tales. Will it be happy, like this, or a sad, depressing tale? Well, you won’t find out until tomorrow!

Love you all! *^o^*

(295 geeks have read this)

Hi! This is Jamie Lynn Lano! I am a Washington State (USA) native who: ☆ Holds a Bachelors of the Arts in Media Arts & Animation from AiPx. ☆ Worked as an assistant mangaka in Japan for Konomi Takeshi on The Prince of Tennis. ☆ Was an essay columnist for Asahi Weekly from 2008-2013. ☆ Was the star of Asahi Pop'n Press on Asahi TV (Japan) from 2009-2013 ☆ Was a write for Metropolis magazine in 2010. ☆ Has kept a blog foreeeeeeeeever! First and Current blogs.

3 Comments

  • Aakash k Singh

    Wow!!! So, the concerts were in English or Japanese cause there were a lot of English names. I heard a Japanese sing an English song un code geass. I liked it a lot and downloaded it with lyrics and yeah she did pronounce cry like cree…but it was great

  • KC

    aww… your old LJ entry makes me feel nostalgia about fangirling over a musician!! it’s been a while since i’ve been into anyone that much! i miss it!! XD

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      I do, too!! Those days were so full of fangirling, I was hyper and excited and everything seemed so sparkly. I love Taylor Swift just as much, but it’s a different kind of feeling. I hope that I can find that energy again!

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