I heard a Bell ring. Is it Christmas yet?

24.12.2015
Christmas Eve. Time for idols in Christmas outfits – of which I care nothing about. Still a great time to be in Japan, despite the decorated streets and parks or annoying Christmas Songs, there was hardly anything that reminded you of a traditional Christmas day. I like it so much! Hopefully it won’t be my last Christmas time in Japan.Several idol options that day were possible:
Lovely Doll held a Christmas Live.
Chu-Z held a Christmas Live.
JyuJyu held a Christmas Live.
PiiiiiiiN held a Christmas Live.
But none of it was on my schedule, then there was no second thinking about me attending the show of Bellring Girls Heart at the Shinjuku Marz. Not only for the sake of seeing the group for the first time on this trip and it being a 90 minute live, but rather I promised to go there – to Kanra, who had her 18th birthday on the exact date. So I packed in my carefully prepared unique individual birthday present, clothed myself in full Bellha attire (Shirt + Parka) and, as my ticket reservation went through some days ago, made my way to Marz.

I also have to add that this live on the 24th as well as Bellring Girls Heart participation at the Idol Koushien on the 30th have been the only announced shows BEFORE I went to Japan. I found this to be only reasonable, as reducing the shows so close to their big Zepp Tokyo One Man on January 2nd felt logical, giving some rest to the members and some more time to train the performance. But just a few days later after I arrived I could read on Twitter about SEVERAL new show dates. Not only that, they were all much longer than usual. Instead of maybe a 20-minute live set it now became
24th  – 90 minutes
26th – 45 minutes + 60 minutes
27th – 90 minutes.
So basically the shows were close to One Man duration already, in a time span of 4 days, one week before Zepp Tokyo. Honestly I would never have dreamt about it, but of course was more then happy about the increased opportunities to see the group – and meet its members 😉

Oh wait, until I continue my report for the Live, there was something happening before that. I actually went for a meal with two friends! The already mention Marty and Julian, who made a spontaneous decision on a two week idol trip, as his favourite group, Gohou Lolita Syndrome (or for short: Lolisyn), announced there disbandment for the end of February, which awoke a desperate need in him for seeing the group right away. If you can not relate with that line of thought, you are not a fan of idols! Anyway, it was nothing in regard of a Christmas gathering. I am not even sure, if we exchanged Christmas wishes. Instead we met at Tower Records Shibuya – everyone knows this place, even Marty 😉 – and looked for a decent restaurant. To our surprise most of those in the closer area were closed over lunch and would only open at around 17 o’clock. Unbelievable, as it is Tokyo we are talking about. What what to expect from a mega-city, whose subway closes shortly after midnight? After some running around, or rather elevator excursions, we finally made out a nice Japanese place, talking until the closing time (15 o’clock) about – idols, of course. It became even more apparent how different our take on the topic is. But that doesn’t stop the fun, as we are all wotas in some way or another. I guess…

NOW I can continue my report about my Shinjuku experience. I got in pretty early, a fact I hate, as there is no-one to talk to. I basically just stay around doing nothing. At least that way I was easily able to find a safe place for my bag (with the present inside) and coat. What the present in question included? Nice of you to ask. Well, from the outside it looked like that:

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The Present

Take special attention of the Disney figures I put on with lots of difficulties 😉 No idea if Kanra actually likes those but doesn’t every Japanese girl? Inside it contained actually two things, as it was not only her birthday, but Christmas as well. For the latter part my idea was to find some German Christmas sweets, best in a box which is also reminiscent of Germany. So I picked this:

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Christmas Cake Box

The birthday part should be more individual, like an insider just between us. So if you remember our discussion from our first meeting, you should have a rough idea what was coming: Something about castles. I searched the net for anything useful surrounding it and in the end decided for a desktop calendar, already certain that Kanra will never use it and probably throw it away. But it is worth the fun, don’t you think?

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Calendar

But back to the live: While I was waiting, some fan was handing out the usual pen lights, red in Kanra‘s case. He also told me for which song it should be used, saying something that sounded like “Ro Tai Do” (Japanese pronounciation) to me. I thought hard about which Japanese song of the group he could mean by it and even considered he was saying “Rock Aidoru”, but this also made no sense, and so I gave up. Later during the live I figured out he actually was saying the English named song “Low Tide”. Of course… Nevertheless a fantastic choice, as it included a certain part, were the lyrics say “akaku, akaku”, which is the adverbial(?) form of the Japanese word for red. Although the song needed to grow on me, I regard it now as one of Bellha‘s best rock ballads. The dark choreography even adds another melancholic layer to the song, best observed here. But as I found a better version with audience sound, I put this on bigger display:

I also brought some sweets for Satoru, who was clothed in a reindeer costume and busily preparing decoration at the place for the live later. He didn’t have much time for talking, but after handing him the present he thought of what to give me and as Satoru, as the Kanra Top Oshi, was involved in the production of the Birthday Shirts, he gave me one for free. He made a joke about it though by choosing one in XXL size. Still nice to wear, lol. I also wouldn’t have bought one as I didn’t like its design 😛 and for the fact, that I wasn’t sure if it was alright to wear a Kanra shirt, when my favourite is Ayano. (It turns out it doesn’t matter.)

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Kanra Birthday Shirt

After some more waiting, the live began with a support group, the idol from T!P. I actually saw them on some other trip time at a taiban, but they are very average so I forgot about them. Although completely different to Bellring Girls Heart, the fans were enjoying the show and participated a lot. It was really nice to see, as nothing would be more worse than performing to an indifferent crowd. I watched the Opening Act from the balcony, but after T!P left the stage after half an hour to make room for the main act, I went down for the stage area. The members of Bellring Girls Heart soon appeared in their usual black outfits, but each of them wearing some Christmas accessory, like a red Santa Claus hat or reindeer horns. It didn’t last long though, as the dancing got rid of it very fast. The place was pretty well attended for an mid-week day, which made it very difficult to find suitable space. In the end I was standing near the stairway, as it left me some room to move, without the danger of getting involved in too heavy moshing. The live was basically non-stop like every time, with only a short MC for the introduction speeches of the members. They performed a variety of their output, to my joy the fantastic “Thanatos to Masquerade” and one new song for their upcoming album, named “The Victim”. This was some track to get used to, as in contrast to their general retro-rock sound it was an electronic song, with a quite catchy refrain.

The live, although as long as a usual concert of a western band, still felt too short and for the first time of this trip I felt like I had finally arrived in Japan and could know really enjoy it. The upcoming event was in part annoying though: Not only became the queues messed up in the limited space of the venue, but also I was wearing far too much clothes. I put on the Kanra Birthday Shirt right before the live started – over my already worn shirt, which itself was hiding my undershirt. On top of it I still wore my Bellha parka. I totally felt like a fashion victim, being much too hot. Before the show I actually acquired some cheki coins at the merchandise table. This must have been the first time after my first encounter with the group one-and-a-half year ago. The majour reason though was me wanting to use my point card of the group again 😉

My plan to go for Kanra‘s queue was near to collapsing as the lines for each members were totally indistinguishable and also the whole place was now more than overcrowded, as the members of the group plus the staff were occupying some space before the stage. I began to check out other options, like talking to Ayano or even Moechi, as the latter will soon graduate. But their queues were long as usual and as it had already been announced beforehand that the event will be closed at 22 o’clock at the latest – the reason being the Marz having been already booked for some other event that night –  I gave in and fought my way through until I reached Kanra‘s looping queue. As the Birthday Girl she deserved priority. To my relieve, the time for talks this time was shortened for her, though it still was much longer than with other groups during similar occasions. The setting was special as well, as Kanra has dressed herself in the Birthday Shirt. with a Christmas suit (hat + jacket) over it, while sitting on a small sleigh where you could sit beside her. When it was my turn, she called out my name and I sat down next to her, wishing her Happy Birthday as well as Merry Christmas, while handing Kanra my present. She showed her famous big smile (=grin) and thanked me a lot, just to get interrupted by the staff, who wanted to know how to take the photo. I didn’t understand though and initially thought I did something wrong by sitting next to her. But I was wrong. After some communication mishaps by staff and Kanra I realised that he was just inquiring, if I wanted a wide shot with the sleigh on it or the regular shot. It came all to sudden for me to decide so quickly, so I shortened it by agreeing to the regular one, without the sleigh 😦

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Couple Look

Some quick chat with Kanra followed, but as I knew the length of the queue I didn’t stay for long. As you can see on the cheki, the present is put in a plastic bag. “Why?” you may ask. The reason, two actually, is simple: Those stupid little Disney figures always got lose. I even went out the day before to buy me adhesive tape in a nearby conbini for stabilising them again. With putting the whole present in a bag I therefore hoped it would stay mostly unharmed. The positive side effect because of it was the second reason: That way our conversation, short because of the circumstances, wouldn’t be only about her investigating the present. This topic I save myself for a later time 😉

There is nothing more to add. The queues for Ayano and Moechi hadn’t reached an appropriate level for me to join in the meantime, so after I collected my things and watched the event for some minutes from the balcony, I went for my hostel, happily smiling inside.

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Do you find me? 😉

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