Tokyo Idol Festival – a two-day mostly outdoor Idol Festival, the biggest of its kind in Japan, already in its fifth consecutive year. It has several stages, some of them even free and is held in Odaiba, Tokyo – mostly around the end of July on a weekend, despite the disadvantage of the very hot and humid weather. The reason they won’t make it at a climatic more pleasant time is simple: School kids having their summer break and wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend it as in general, school and parents (not only in Japan ) seem to be very strict, pretending to only have their best in mind and pushing the kids to learn instead of having fun. But how can you build up a happy future when you are unable to enjoy the present? This serious thoughts aside (Sorry!) I heard a lot about the weather before from TIF veterans, as well as the many organization problems, the TIF management every year fails to resolve. I shall post my share of it here as well.
The first day of TIF had the following schedule for the morning: Arriving early in Odaiba to get my wristband, which would allow me to access all stages. After that getting myself acquainted with the surroundings (like where and what food I can buy there) as wristband exchange starts at 8:00 but the first show would only begin at 09.30, later meeting up with QwiksXnd and Tsutomo, comparing our schedules for the day and planning meet ups.
As PASSPO would only perform on Day 2 I had chosen to wear my newly acquired Bellring Shoujo Heart fan shirt. They would appear in the evening and I of course planned to see them again. I also promised this, if you remember. On my neck I put my PASSPO Towel and, to evade the sun, on my head a hat – Nice homophone there, I must say. (If you don’t no what a ‘homophone’ is – and no, it is not a mobile phone for homosexuals – look it up in wikipedia. Who would assert that you can not learn something from reading blogs?) This way I arrived only minutes after 8:00 at Telecom Station and found a long line of people queuing up already, as I had expected. But it moved pretty fast: When your turn came, you had to go either to the stand for 1-Day-Tickets or for 2-Day-Tickets. Then after checking they would put the wristband around your arm, its colour declaring if it was for either Day 1 only or both days. Mine was orange. Can’t remember the other colour but I believe it was green. When you exited the stand they handed you the schedule for the current day, inclusive the map of the area.
Tsutomo could only arrive at around 9:30 and QwiksXnd, who wanted to be there at 8:00 like I was and although we mailed ourselves what we would wear that day (another reason for wearing the hat), was nowhere to be seen. So I still had time and studied the food stalls who were build up around the Smile Garden area. And what immediately caught my eye: A stall that sells kebab. As I didn’t had breakfast, like always, I would buy me one as soon as it opens, which would be at 10:00. I even notified the sales person there beforehand to make sure I was the first. Some things you just can never let go. Shortly before 9:30 Tsutomo finally arrived, some time later QwiksXnd. After introducing ourselves, chatting and scheduling for the day we split up for the time being, with me and QwiksXnd going our way to Navi Stage, to see Ready to Kiss. After it we went straight to Grand Market, as both our schedules had no immediate shows on the radar. Here we saw the first big interference at TIF: The entrance for Grand Market / Greeting Square was now only possible after passing a security check! This of course led to long lines as there was only one entrance. What made this worse, was even the extent of the check: A fast scan with a metal detector and they took a (very) quick glance into the bags. That the metal detector beeped one time and they didn’t even inquire why, should tell you everything about the seriousness of the task they performed. Obviously just for show, after this damn incident of a crazy person during an AKB handshake event. On the positive side it was at least pretty fast, as the line was separated into 6 security gates. But waiting for it in the heat of the burning sun didn’t make it very pleasant. I was so glad in wearing a hat and my PASSPO towel for frequent removal of the sweat.
Finally we gained access and we had long lines of merchandize stands before us, which we immediately started to inspect, in my case mostly for nice Group T-Shirts. As there were many groups me and Norman were interested in, QwiksXnd soon lost his patience and left for the acclimated Enjoy Stadium, as he didn’t want anything to buy and he couldn’t cope well with the heat (I am suspecting that he was just angry with us, because we passed the GEM stand without even taking a glance *heh heh*). I was also suffering from the heat as there was no opportunity to find shadow. They could have just pitched a tent, like a waiting area. But TIF management decided otherwise and prefered to let the fans burn. The next organization mistake in my book. But anyway, the adrenaline rush of getting merchandize from my favourite groups kept me strong and as we were close to 12 o’clock, I realized I just have missed my next scheduled performance: Party Rockets on Navi Stage. This must have been the moment, were I realized: Making plans at TIF won’t get you far as it will always kick you in the butt. I should have much more of similar experiences later on. But I made the best of it: Taking part in the akushukais of Up Up Girls and Afilia Saga! The first one I got from buying their shirt, the second was a present by Norman, as he didn’t want to use it. Cheers, mate! So in summary: Not the worst alternative, right? Though the akushukai with Up Up was disappointing: It was with the whole group but in a speed that you were hardly able to even greet them. I only made it to tell Minami a quick “Minami deshou?” which resulted in a cheerful “Arigatou”, but immediately felt the tap on my back to go on. This speed maybe spared me the from the danger of embarrassing myself with my bad Japanese and the fact, that besides Minami I only knew Sekki by name. But as a event it was one of the worst I ever experienced (which aren’t many, I admit). At least the advantage of having Norman around was the information he got from the sales woman at the Dorothy Little Happy stand, that if you buy their current T-Shirt you can get it signed later on by one member. No second thoughts: I bought one on the spot, although I didn’t like the design in the least! That’s how I am. But just wait until I tell you about the event. This and the Babyraids akushukai would happen later the day.