Now I began my trip to Akasaka, in search for the venue for the UTA Musume Show. Why I wanted to go there is pretty simple: One of the member of the idol group COCORO ODORU, named Sayumi, started to follow my Twitter account some time ago. This is nothing special as most fresh idols do that to acquire a fan base. Still I wanted to show my gratitude and at least once visit her show. The music of COCORO ODURU I found on Youtube also wasn’t that bad, so the only thing that kept bothering me was how it would be for me, a foreigner, to attend such underground event.
But before anything I had to find the venue. It should have actually been pretty easy: Exit Akasaka Station and then go straight ahead and in one of the small side streets it would be, the venue called Akasaka GENKI. Well, it wasn’t easy for me. The part where I had to go straight wasn’t working as there was a small crossroad with no way of telling which would be the right direction. After some quick contemplating I finally decided for one – and got lost! So nothing else to do then using my iPhone to see where I am right now exactly – confirmed my location – confirmed my target – continued my search – and got lost again. I was heading in the wrong direction… A few attempts later and I, at last, was standing before the building which my iPhone was pointing out as the venue. Now a new problem occurred: There was actually no sign on the building indicating the Club GENKI nor advertise for the show, which would be held there only a few hours later! The only things that at least made me optimistic to have found the right place was the name of the building itself (KDG) which coincided with the venues website and the fact that it houses an (yet closed) idol café named ANDROIDOL CAFÉ (Cool wordplay here.) Some mention of ‘Idol’. Better than nothing. As I couldn’t do anything about it now, I came to the following solution: Come back here later, shortly before the start of the show and tweeting Sayumi, if this actually is the right place! In the meantime I would get me something for lunch and head back to the hotel to change into fresh clothes, as my current ones were already drenched in sweat. Lovely Tokyo climate.
After finishing my preparations and checking Twitter (Sayumi confirmed it to be the right place, just that it will be in the basement.) I headed back, enough time for allowing me a cup of coffee in a nearby Starbucks. Here again I made an interesting observation: Japanese people are VERY trustworthy and not the slightest concerned about leaving their personal belongings unattended. Opposite to me on a large table a girl came in, put her (open) bag on the seat, her mobile on the table and after taking out a 1,000 Yen bill even leaving her purse there. She herself went to the counter to order a coffee as well. If I would do that back in Germany I wouldn’t find anything of it when coming back. Makes me curious why it is so different between this two countries.
After finishing my coffee I again took the path directing to the supposed Akasaka GENKI. This time I was sure I have found the right place as there was:
- some people already waiting for entry,
- a sign board indicating the show I was looking for was really in the basement, just as Sayumi had tweeted me.
Perfect. Now I just waited there until entry time, of course in keeping my distance from the Japanese crowd as I was still a bit uncomfortable. I doubt that many foreigners would visit such an event on a regular basis and I also saw that the attendance in general would be quite low. Anyway, time for entry came and I successfully got me inside, after having some minor trouble as it seems that in general you preorder your ticket by sending a Email to your favourite band. Oh well, how should I know. After I explained (‘No registration’) my name was put on the COCORO ODORU list anyway and were granted access. What awaited me was a waiting room with a bar where I immediately used up my inescapable drink ticket. The stage area was small but the venue itself was quite nice. The only fact that bothered me was that there were hardly any persons inside, maybe twenty. So this would put me on a huge display. Damn. Luckily the crowd grew by time, exceeding maybe 50 people. Which is good for such shows, I guess? It consisted in majority of male wotas, with the usual age range between teen a nearly senior.
The show started soon, with groups more or less professional but it was a lot of fun as they all gave their best. What impressed me was a group called AKAGIDAN. They had a lot of members (12?), too much for such a small stage but they fared well with it. Their songs weren’t exceptional but not bad either, their stage presence showed it was not their first time on stage and they displayed some great fan interaction, running around in the audience during one of their songs. This was also the time where they asked the people around to participate more and come nearer to the stage. In my case it was Yuna pleading with me – well, it is obvious that I couldn’t decline an offer from her, right?
Too bad, I hadn’t time for visiting their merchandize sale, as COCORO ODORU would be next. With a bit of luck I will see them again. I certainly will look out for AKAGIDAN (and Morimoto Yuna) in the future. And when you look at their homepage header, doesn’t this style remind you of some other certain airline-themed group?
Next would be finally COCORO ODORU and they seemed to be the group with the largest fan base there. The reason for it became clear: This day would be the graduation of one of their members named Megumi, stage name Meguro. It was quite tearful but also ha a good laugh: On of the fans, the leader maybe of their fan club, was handing her a bouquet of flowers and after giving a final speech proposed to her in a jokingly fashion (free interpretation): ‘Now that you have more time on your hands, why don’t you marry me?’ Her reaction: A slap in the face (also in a jokingly manner). But it was too strong anyway as the glasses of this fan were thrown to the ground! Huge laughter followed! After that they performed again and also did a song where the group came down from the stage, ran around the audience and even performed in the middle of them, by forming a circle. Megumi on the other hand was carried around on the shoulder of some fans, while still singing. I was glad to have been a spectator of this, though graduation will always be a sad occasion. And so that you know who is Sayumi:
After their show I again was unable to visit their merchandize sale as I promised Norman to meet up at PARMS, Akihabara for the Alice Project evening show. As it was already past 19:30 and the show was starting at 20:15 I had to hurry.